Monday, December 15, 2014

Why Businesses Should Thrive On The Expectation Of Ideas...

And then there are those organizations that die with a lack of ideas...

I had a dream about all the company employees I've know throughout my career. They were all standing in a circle telling me about "the good old days" of x company. They kept getting louder and louder. Some of them worked their way closer to me. "It was different then, it was different then..." They kept screaming at me. I finally broke through the crowd and ran away. I found a safe spot and rested my head. I was soon approached by one of the workers. He had a calm face and quiet demeanor. "Do you know why they are yelling?" He asked. I answered that I didn't know, and wanted them to stop. "No one listens to their ideas anymore... Their ideas are dying, and so is their work. When ideas die, so does good good work." He said lowering his head in sadness. It was then that I woke, and started writing this blog post...


I'm not sure if the worker who approached me in my dream is right, or not. But I realized why all the workers were so upset. If no one listens to the troops in the field, then wars are lost. The same is true of companies. Those executives that don't talk to their customers, nor listen to what field-level employees are saying will similarly lose revenues. A lot of the best ideas come pre-packaged, not from consultants who simply re-package what you already know, but from the field-level employees whom have carefully considered the angles of their idea, usually, with the customer involved. They are truly a wealth of knowledge. I've learned, throughout my career as a leader, that just by listening and engaging employees you can super-charge your organization. I've also learned that ideas soon begin to flourish when you listen. It all seems so simple, yet we don't do this...

In my dream, I ran from the employees. Instead, I wish I had just engaged with them as the workers in my dream were my ideas trying to gain their voice. Even in our heads, we stifle what could be a the next big thing. Listen up, and down, and inside!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Next Year, I'm Going To The Coastal Gravity Park - Video!

Looks like one of the coolest bike parks around the Northwest!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Steve Jobs - "Think-ing Different" - Video

Excellent example of a CEO detailing the product roadmap, discussing strategy, marketing and team development/communication...


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

South Africa's Rocklands Has Trad Climbing - Video

Rocklands seems like a treasure chest of rocks to climb! However, the media I've seen shows only portrays a place for boulderers. This video proves my expectations wrong, way wrong... The phrase in the movie "unlimited potential" sums it up well...



Rocklands is more than just a bouldering paradise, it is for trad climbers too!

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Love Doing These Restaurant Operator Interviews!

I've had the pleasure of speaking with several restaurant owners, managers and staff employees. My latest WhenToManage discussion was with Mike Myers, Saratoga Springs Operator Mike Myers. Great talk Mike!



Monday, November 10, 2014

Why Biz Dev Teams Should Love Balsamiq's Mockup Tools

Remember the book Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug? In the book, Krug argues that great web/app design has one rule - make it easy on your users. Simple things like, don't make clicks so hard! In other words, if I have a goal to get to somewhere using your app and I feel like it should take me two clicks instead of six; well, you get the point. Business Development teams are, more and more, becoming product team members. We don't just take a product and sell it, we take small tasks users do and elevate them as more cost-effective, profitable and efficient. And to do this well, you need to tell a good story! That's where Balsamiq comes in...


I've used Balsamiq for my own projects, but never that often in sales presentation. However, I've found demonstrating new feature upgrades, ideas and software tasks easier to message when using Balsamiq. For some reason, and I'm sure Balsamiq knows this, creating fun mockups is addictive. To me, it is akin to standing at a whiteboard going through a presentation (the interface feels that way). For some reason, the whiteboard is fun too...


With Balsamiq, I can create mobile mockups on iOS and then connect the dots to a web app. I can showcase how users will find success after each click with arrows and indicators. Naturally, I can add a smiley face to accentuate the glory of what I'm showcasing. Remember when we used to do all this with Visio? Well, try out Balsamiq during your next pitch and you'll see what I'm talking about... Furthermore, you just might find out how good you are at mockups and create your own apps!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Again, Here's To The The Crazy Ones!

Apple's iconic advertisement about the "crazy ones" should serve as a reminder how passionate people move technology, culture and beliefs further than the professional people do. We admire smarts, but we follow brilliance. And that spark only come from those with enough enthusiasm to sell their ideas. In other words, it is the unrelenting trouble maker that gets his product to market, and people to buy it. The formula = have passion about an idea + push conventional boundaries * sell it well enough that people want to copy you!



So, again, here's to the crazy ones...