Monday, November 18, 2013

The Winning Attitude - at peace with death

Succeeding at pretty much anything means at some point you have to be ok with failing.  A friend of mine who has studied and taught mixed martial arts for many years was meeting with his Sensei.  They were discussing a major break through for his teacher during his competitive years in Jujitsu.  He wasn't the biggest guy to enter the ring but he became known for being one of the most innovative.

The secret, he told my friend, to his success came in the middle of a fight with a brutal defending champion.  By the end of a round in the middle of the fight my friend's teacher thought he would not be able to continue.  He was physically spent.  His father was in his corner and encouraged him to persevere.  He told him that his opponent was growing weak but was disguising it well.  At a crucial point in the next round the Sensei was getting choked out.  In his struggle he believed that if he continued he might die.  Something became instantly clear. He was ok with death.

He wanted the championship even if the worst of all possible outcomes were to occur.  At the moment he faced death and accepted it, all fear left.  His courage and faith felt limitless.  He finished and won the fight.   From that defining moment on, each time he entered the ring he accepted death, found peace, and fulfilled his destiny.  He left the sport an undefeated world champion!

Amazing commitment!   His name is Rickson Gracie

"BIG FIVE" personality traits - Entrepreneurs and Innovators

How do you measure up?

Entrepreneurs and innovators should be heavily weighted in the last three traits.

Sensitive / Nervous    VS.    Secure / Confident

Energetic / gregarious     VS.     Solitary / Reserved

Inventive / curious        VS.     Consistent / cautious

Orderly /  Industrious     VS.     Easygoing / Careless

Cooperative / Empathetic    VS     Self-interested / antagonistic

Are you smarter when its harder? Take this one question IQ test.

The answer is yes you are and here is I guy who can explain why with exhaustive detail.  Because I know you will be smarter for enduring the exhaustive process check in it out.
Adam Alter, assistant professor at NYU  

Here is one of the simple intelligence questions.

QUESTION:  If the total cost of a bat and a ball is $1.10 and the bat is $1.00 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

or asked this way....

Harder version of the QUESTION: If the total cost of a bat and a ball is $1.10 and the bat is $1.00 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

Obviously it is the same text, but because the question is more difficult to read, we take more time to think about it and our accuracy increases.

Want to see how you did?  Click here for the answer...

In Malcolm Gladwell's new book David and Goliath he explores some very interesting and counter intuitive phenomenons including things like this that relate to a variety ways that the underdog wins and wins big.

IQ test Answer - to the question what does the Ball cost?

Did you guess that the ball would cost $.10?  Most people do.  The question (if you missed the question see it here) looks deceptively simple.  

But if the ball did cost $.10 then the bat would cost $1.10 and the total would be $1.20.  Most of us learned basic algebra in grade school.  But to do the following in your head is more time consuming:

Total Cost = $1.10 
Ball           = X
Bat            = X+1.00

So we are solving for  $1.10 = X+(X+$1.00) 

subtract $1.00 from both sides:  

$.10 = 2X

dived both side by 2

$.05 = X

ANSWER: The ball costs $.05

For some reasons when we have to take time to read the more difficult to read version of the question we are more willing to take the time to do the algebra.

In Malcolm Gladwell's new book David and Goliath he explores some very interesting and counter intuitive phenomenons related to a variety ways that the underdog wins and wins big.

Saturday, November 16, 2013 - Our Blades Are F***ing Great

Very smart marketing.  Funny, effective and a product to follow up with.  Love it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Survival post II - smoke screens

Smoke screen one - Change is happening FAST!  Isn’t it?

I want high velocity change!
But I don't get what I want...
I get what I need.
 Moores laws illustrates the phenomenon of computer processor speeds doubling every 18 - 24 months.   This rate of change creates a ripple affect across many industries as new products get smaller and the frequency of better, faster versions becoming available is shorter.  This creates a perception that everything around us is changing SUPER FAST!  Most of us feel the ripple affect when we experience things like the Internet, real time Facebook, and a plethora of apps on our smart mobile devices.  

We change agents observe a paradigm of unprecedented levels of change along with a whole lot of noise.  Thank you social media and some gazillion channels on YouTube and cable TV.  There is great change going on.  But is it really any more than societies have experienced at other times in history?  Could it be that we are just so much more connected that we hear about everything that is going on and it makes us think that more paradigms are shifting now then at other times in history?

Alongside all this noise and change is an opposing force that arguably neutralizes Moore's potential for impact on society. I suggest that this force is even slowing the rate of change within our societies.  This momentum killer is the same force that creates inertia for Moores law. The force growing in inertia is us.  There are a lot of us that innovate cool things and there are a lot more of us that don't like change.  We are highly skeptical stick in the muds that prefer retarded momentum.  Just look at our US congress for proof of that.  The average age of a Senator is 60 and 55 for a house of representatives.  We need a bunch of 30 year olds in there.  

The global group of us that resist change the most are our so called “seniors”.  This group is growing from 7% of the population in 2000 to a projected 16% by 2050. See the wisdom years.  And conversely the 0-19 year old change agent group is actually shrinking from 39% to 27%.  This leaves the majority of us in the middle-aged group of 20 – 64 year olds.  Because I think we start getting more resistant to change in our mid 50’s the momentum killer group is going to be even larger.  In 2010 the 55-64 group was already 100M+.  These stodgy old farts are going to be very opinionated by 2050 and a lot larger too. 

Another important factor is that the largest concentration of the change agent group is located in developing nations.  This is likely to reduce their proportional impact on the momentum of societal change.  At least in the short term.  

For you bottom liners, all this to say we have to accept that there exists a powerful force pushing against the notion that change is good thereby making change quick.  When you ask people to change their behavior, be prepared to wait awhile.  I will talk more in depth on this as a strategy in my next post.  If you want your product  adopted quickly, create something that doesn't require your target audience to change their behavior.

What's next?  An historical example of slow change

OK, that is was lot of macro data to take in and 2050 is way out there.  So lets look back in time in my next post.  We will learn how long it took for one of the most powerful mood creator, paradigm changers in history to gain momentum, and do an autopsy on the unintended consequence that helped the inventor win the race.

Proof is the best copyright protection - Four Types of Evidence

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Survival - part one... Collision point vs. Tipping point.

Survival - part one


Is the survival of a BIG idea for the smartest, luckiest, quickest or the most committed?  In the next few blog posts I will discuss 5 fundamental survivalist techniques for entrepreneurs, artists and anyone who pursues changing the world and wants to make a living while you do it.

Discover and conceive

As a technologist, consultant, start-up mentor and entrepreneur I find myself on a never ending quest to  address the needs of niche markets as I listen to their problems and preferences and assess the readiness to change.  I research to discover innovative technologies, ideas, and attitudes that already exist so they can be combined with the magic sauce of gap filler technologies, creative ideas and simple business models to meet a need and survive.  The 1M+ apps on Apple's app store alone illustrate the magnitude of the possible BIG ideas as well as potential competitors.   Once you have conceived your next BIG idea, understanding the difference between collision point and tipping point is one essential survival technique.

Collision Point or Tipping point?

Collision point

When I think I am onto an innovative idea to a address a need or problem using a combination of technologies discovered or developed, I remind myself of the even more difficult task of predicting how ready the market is to like and adopt it.  Whether is it a new song, gizmo, software or movie, the earliest possible point of marketability is when the market need/desire intersect with product's capability. I call this the collision point.    It might look exciting, and even inspiration at first, like the photo above showing the collision of protons and electrons.   But many times in the life cycle of an idea the point where the collision occurs only touches a small portion of the market, like the innovators and maybe the early adopters portion of the graph shown below.  

Take the 4 million MySpace artists whose Mom's loved their latest song.  That small biased market research is not an indication that there is a market out there ready to buy your product.  A willing few may share with their friends, especially when it costs them nothing.  To an experienced optimist like myself this may be all that is needed to jump energetically head first into an empty pool.  Some of my early ideas were merely empty pools because I was unprepared for the adventure ahead.  If you are full of testosterone, and armed with an MBA like I was, you may be tempted to beat your competition to the market and find your own empty pool.  If you do, your great swan dive of faith could leave you unconscious at best and might even render you comatose.....unless you've planned to survive the iterative cycle of new product and market development!  

The Tipping point

Several years ago as I argued passionately for a early stage business concept with a my boss, he told me that the pioneers are the guys with the arrows in their backs.  He didn't want to take the risk.  I couldn't argue with that.  I had my share of arrows.  If you have an early stage idea and want to be one of the pioneers who can survive a few arrows then develop a plan for surviving until the market's tipping point arrives.  

The tipping point is when the stars align for your BIG idea.  Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point is a great read.  The tipping point can be the smallest combination of things that have evolved to make conditions perfect for adoption within your SAM (serviceable available market) to build with some momentum behind it.  For the fax machine, just enough people had to have one before everyone needed one to compete.  

I don't know if it is possible to make tipping point estimation a science, but we are certainly capable of seeing the trends develop in our social media world.  Now we can listen to the discussions of our market by searching key words and hash tags, measure the trend's growth and predict the arrival of the tipping point.  I also highly recommend Seth Godin's Tribes for a detailed look at building momentum.

We will explore some strategies like prototyping, MVP, and hibernation, in other blog posts.  For now I will only highlight that tools like patents, copyrights and strategies for perseverance will give the survivors the extra stuff needed to wait while market conditions evolve.  Then when the market conditions are right, you can paddle out into an ocean of opportunities and ride a wave of momentum.  If you time the wave right, you might be one of the few to reach the wave's crest and be the market leader.  

What's next?

In my next post we will continue this discussion and explore the smoke screens that can mislead us into believing our market's tipping point is just around the corner when it really isn't.  And will look at some strategies for riding the storm out.  Until then hang on and enjoy the ride and look out for empty pools.