The weekend brought snow and took away electricity. Unlike the power loss from Hurricane Irene, dealing with the cold is an issue here along with the inconvenience of working remotely. Then again, no trees fell on the house or car although we saw several that did just that as we drove around yesterday to a relative’s house for shelter. You feel for those people – it’s far easier for us to replace the food that will spoil than the roof or a car others will need to fix. Which of course got me thinking about something we sometimes neglect in business. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: October 2011
I read something this week that fits our Foodie Friday theme and ends the week with a stimulating thought. There is an ongoing flame war between Mark Bittman, a well-known food author, and Josh Ozersky, who is an award-winning food writer as well. The battlefield is Time Magazine and the subject is “industrial food.” If you’re interested in the blow-by-blow, you can read the articles here, but their conversation about our food system makes a broader business point in my mind. Continue reading
Not surprisingly with the weekend approaching, your writer’s thoughts turn to golf. Every golfer who plays regularly should have a handicap index. This is probably the most misunderstood statistic that golfers use. The short explanation is that for every round one plays, you (or a computer, usually) figure out the stroke differential between what you shot and the stroke rating of the course. You adjust that for something called the slope rating (a measure of how difficult the course is relative to other courses) and add it on to your list. Your handicap index is 95% of the average of the ten best (lowest) adjusted stroke differentials of your last twenty rounds. Clear? Good, because it’s a great business lesson too.
A really interesting piece yesterday on Facebook pages and ads. GigaOm reported on a study by Campalyst concerning user engagement on Facebook which you can find here. We’ve talked a lot about how you and I wouldn’t have a conversation in the real world in which I am constantly selling you stuff and this research serves to confirm that it’s more effective if advertisers don’t conduct themselves online any differently. In my mind, it points to one things that will make fan pages – or any other digital executions – successful is delivering great, engaging content.
Here are the specifics.
The hardest thing about being an independent consultant for me is business development. Not on behalf of others, but for my practice. It’s not that I can’t do it or that I don’t know how. After all, I spent a good portion of my early career doing just that for ABC and CBS with excellent results. It’s more that I’d prefer to spend my time working on my clients’ business and not on my own, I’d guess. Maybe I need to be more selfish.
A good friend who has been on his own for 30+ years told me early on that this would be the hardest part and that there would be anxious months with not enough work. He was right, as usual, but the remedy is something far simpler than anti-anxiety drugs or meditation and is applicable even to those of you that live in the corporate world and is something I want to share since it goes beyond business as well.
Sometimes I’m convinced that the most successful businesses have no idea what they’re doing. Oh sure, if you asked an executive about their strategy, he or she would probably give you whatever is in their planning document verbatim, but I think that’s crap. I think they’re telling you what they believe to be the truth but in fact may only be accurate in their minds for that moment. Instead, I think the most successful companies are masters of dealing with the utter chaos of the business world and not being too anchored to any one detail of a plan. Yes, planning is important, but so is reality, and that often means dealing with something for which we had no plan. So why bother planning? Continue reading
To end the week in our usual food-themed way, I want to talk about a piece of advice I was given a long time ago. I thought it concerned shopping and it turns out it’s important business advice as well. I’ll admit that it was given to me in a different time, when much of the food didn’t come from a supermarket the size of several airplane hangers. Shopping involved going to the butcher or the cheese store as well as the larger store where one would get grocery items and the advice was to make friends. Despite the change in store sizes, it’s still great advice for shopping and business. Let me explain.