Sunday, August 29, 2004

Illusions

5 minutes ago, I was lying in my bed, unable to fall asleep, mostly because I was worrying over stuff related to my business. As I tried to calm myself down, a revelation struck me:

It's all a game.

Society today constists to a tremendous percentage of intangliables, ergo, Illusions. Originally, every dollar was had to have it's equal amount of gold availiable for exchange at any time, but that is no longer the case. The value of money nowadays is nothing more than a collective illusion. Stocks are an illusion. The concept of the future is an illusion. Copyright is an illusion. Our view of time is an illusion. Collective illusions that we accept because it's convinient, so that we can continue to play the game of modern society that we enjoy so much.

But in the end, it's just a game that we choose to play. Some people take it very seriously, and some take it less seriously. Some are more concious about their choice to play it, and some are less concious about it. I myself like the idea of looking upon business and career as a game. It really lessens pressure and worry, plus I like playing games.

My cat doesn't play our game. She spends her time chilling out most of the time. And eating. And Cuddling. And playing with other cats. She spends her time in reality. She does not care for the illusions that I enjoy so much.

Don't get too caught up in the illusions. The game is great. I enjoy it very much. However, remember what is actually real: Spending time with friends. Watching the sun go down. Breathing fresh air. Taking a warm bath. Having a good cup of coffee. Kissing. Laughing. Cuddling with your cat.


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Doubt and mission statements

Just had an interesting (and verry long) discussion with a good friend of mine over the phone about motivation. We both agreed that we had the same problem of not doing things unless we absolutely had to. After a bit of deductive reasoning, we concluded that we didn’t do these things purely because we were forced to, but rather because that in those cases, all doubt about doing it was removed. i.e. there comes a point where it is obvious that doing the task now is the best course of action one can take at the moment. A just do it-moment, if you will.

If you are certain that what you are doing is the best possible route to achieve what you want, worry and doubt is removed from your mind, and you’ll do the task in question with a clear mind. This is why mission statements and goals that you believe in are so effective. If you truly want something, the one best course of action is always to strive towards that goal, in pretty much all situations.

Re-Imagine

I'm listening to Tom Peters book Re-Imagine. It's a pretty nice book overall that deals with the current trend change in how we market products. It's all nice, except for the chapter on female consumers. That chapter is not nice. It's not okay. No, it's mind-blowingly awesome. You really, urgently need to read (or like me, listen) to this book, if for nothing else, the chapter on female consumers. No, make that just the fricking statistics he cites in the chapter. The book is worth it by those stats alone. If you are not reading this book, you are missing out really, really badly.

Three little tidbits of info from it:
1. 80% of riding lawnmowers are purchased by women.
2. Investment club returns: All-Men: 8% Co-Ed: 19% All-Women: 22%
3. Average recommendations to friends for same company: Male Clients - 2.8 Female Clients - 21

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Old school business lesson: Don't compete on price!

Well, this question comes up again and again. Someone posted on Sitepoint.com that he was sick of people selling their services so cheaply. This comes up very often, and every time, the opinion comes from someone unfamiliar with business economics and the basic principles of capitalism.

My reply was this:

Time for old-school business lesson!

Competition inevitably leads to lower prices.

Read the above sentence again. Seven times.

To counter this, you should, as a small business consultant, NOT compete on price. Ever. It will be your demise. You will always be crushed sooner or later. Always, always, always compete with other things than price. It’s one of the most basic business principles that you need something that sets you apart from your competitors. This advantage should be as close to unique as possible, make you as different as possible, and be EXTREMELY hard to duplicate. That last part is the most important one, since your advantage can be rendered useless over a night otherwise.

If I start telling you what advantages you should use, this will turn into a specific business philosophy and not an explanation of fundamental business principles, but I’ll give you a few examples…

Your customer service can be fantastic
By “fantastic”, I don’t mean “good”. I mean blow-people-out-of-the-water fantastic. So fantastic that your clients step back and say “Wow, I can’t believe they did that”, when you give them a new suit for free after they have had their old one shredded by accident. If you think this is easy to duplicate, think about the customer service of the last 10 companies you dealt with.

Your product can be of superior quality
Same thing here – it has to be MUCH better than your other competitors. Not only the product/service itself, but also the packaging, delivery and overall presentation of it. Everything about it has to ooze quality. If you’ve ever had an Apple Macintosh delivered to you, you know exactly what I’m talking about here.

There are much more possible ways to separate you from the pack, such as location or niche expertise (such as focusing ONLY to travel agencies). They are all good, as long they really clearly separate you from your (cheaper) competitors.

Make sure it is hard for your competitors to duplicate. If you are competing a lot with companies on the Internet or in India, counter that by visiting your clients in person and by having your offices in the client home town. If teenagers steal a lot of business from you, send your clients wine, be professional as hell, have a real office, and do stuff that teenagers simply cannot do for the client. If your competitors are cheap, send your customers gifts and use expensive binders.

In summary, be different from your competitors, and do it in a way that they cannot duplicate easily.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Project Power

Here's a bit of reminder for you people who work for yourself...

Yesterday, me and two team members of a project I'm working on tried something new. We took three laptops and planted our arses in my ugly kitchen, armed with lots of coke and an 8mbit ADSL connection via WiFi. The objective was to finish a screenplay script and some other documentation, and we made use of a Wiki to do this. I.e. we all sat around a kitchen table with our computers and edited the same Wiki. Very, very efficient way to work on documents, by the way.

However, that is not my point...

The plan was to work for two hours and thirty minutes. We started after work, at 5PM. At 8PM, we started to get a little hungry, and went over to McDonalds and picked up some grub. Then we went back and continued. At 4AM, we were finished. We were all horribly tired, but satisifed and pround of ourselves. 11 hours of work almost straight. I would NEVER have been able to do that kind of performance by myself. I simply wouldn't have the energy to work for 11 hours in solitude, but when you are part of a team, it's not very hard at all. I call this effect Project Power.

It's when you work with others toward a collective goal that Project Power appears and gives you a vitamin injection. It's almost magical. Try to find people to work with on your projects, and they will become much better.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Swedish lesson

Today, I will teach you a swedish word, that also works in english. Kind of like "Gratis" or "Smorgardsbord". It is...

Fjortis.

It refers to young teenage girls that dress slutty, talks about makeup and clothes all the time, and/or is really really rebellious. 14, if you will. Fourteen = Fjorton = Fjortis. It can also be used towards anyone expressing these qualities, regardless of whether they are teens or not.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Meatballs and beer

22:46. Tuesday.
I'm having a beer and eating meatballs. Life is good.

You know, when you start worrying about something, try to turn that negative thinking into positive. When you think "Oh, what if ninjas and mafia leaps through my window and kills me" you should immideatly think of how you can achieve the opposite. The opposite of ninjas and mafia is beer, cute women and video games, so you should think: "How can I get more beer, cute women and video games" instead of worrying about the ninjas and the mafia.

If you are too lazy to think and comprehend the hidden meaning in the above post, remember that Rich is the opposite och bankrupt.

Strindberg & Helium

Are you familiar with the works of August Strindberg? Then you will appriceate this:
http://www.strindbergandhelium.com/

Monday, August 09, 2004

First post!

So, this is my first post in this blog. Figured that I really ought to have one.

Interesting link:
Have your cat cloned (contains extraordinarily cute kitty pics!)
http://www.savingsandclone.com/