Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Height and prosocial behavior

Linking height, escalators, views from airplanes or satellites help individuals be more cooperative

David Schroeder explains

Overall these studies show remarkable consistency, linking height and different prosocial behaviors -- i.e., donations, volunteering, compassion, and cooperation. While we may be inclined to think that our behaviors are the product of comprehensive thought processes, carefully weighing the pros and cons of alternatives, these results clearly show that this is not always the case.

Friday, March 25, 2011

NFC coming to restaurant near you.

If it is on the iphone your business will have to accept  in a big hurry.

Mathew Shaer explains,

NFC – the acronym stands for near field technology – allows users to "swipe" their smartphones, as they do with credit cards or subway passes. (The Nexus S smartphone is already equipped with NFC tech.) An example: You could use your smartphone to pay for groceries at the supermarket; the NFC unit in the phone would interface with a receiver at the store, and your bank account would be charged automatically. 

Fun! (And a little scary.) Over at Forbes, Elizabeth Woyke says manufacturers are "gearing up for the additional NFC traffic the iPhone 5 will bring."

"From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information," Woyke writes. "To further bolster his statement, the entrepreneur said that manufacturers of NFC readers – whom he has been talking to for his own product – also expect the iPhone 5 to have NFC."

How are you marketing Earth Hour

The opportunity to help the planet and your brand are rarely woven into one. Earth Hour is a convergence of all things good.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ring the bell for first timers

At the neighborhood breakfast diner they ring the bell to alert everyone in the place that we have newbies among us. People who walked into the diner for the first time are made to feel welcome. Sure it's a gimmick, it's fun and it creates some excitement. People who visit often are called by name which is the sweetest sound to any customer.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Signs of Spring

On March 20 at 6:23:21pm (-5 GMT) the Vernal Equinox will usher Spring into Chicago. There are signs everywhere you look however that the season of rebirth is upon us. The neighborhood DQ has taken the boards off their windows and will reopen for the season. The slender tulip shoots have begun to rise from the frozen ground where they have laid hidden under the snowy blanket of winter.

Happy Spring!

Comfort with uncertainty

Tim explains why comfort with uncertainty is the key 

I’m thinking that the single most important trait of the true entrepreneur is establishing a good healthy long-term relationship with uncertainty. As an entrepreneur, you don’t know for sure, but you act. You program, you contract, you create, you hire, you borrow, you spend, and you act, all like the explorer setting forth into unknown territory. 

Planning helps. Research helps. But you have to be able to live with the educated guess.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Somewhere in the universe

Somewhere in the universe the image of a bright shining face full of awe and wonder is crossing the flatwater for the first time. Somewhere the image is streaming through the vastness of time and space. Somewhere the promise of the new dawn lies waiting to be lived.

Such is the magic of the moment.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Along with grit you need serendipity

Steve Tobak outlines the qualities of Accidental Success,

5 Characteristics That Enable Accidental Success
  1. Being opportunistic. That means taking advantage of opportunities as they arise, including a willingness to act boldly and decisively and to take risks without overanalyzing possible outcomes. Successful invention requires a lot trial and error. That’s the mindset of an entrepreneur.
  2. Ability to network, schmooze, persuade. Not social networking, but old school networking. In fact, the actual definition of schmooze is “to converse informally, to chat, or to chat in a friendly and persuasive manner especially so as to gain favor, business, or connections.” That’s what opens doors.
  3. Having a can-do attitude. You can be presented with all the opportunities in the world, but if you’re a negatron - always seeing the glass half empty, the fly in the ointment, why it can’t or shouldn’t be done - you’ll never capitalize on any of it. You’ll be the guy who’s always saying, “I almost [fill in the blank]; I don’t know what went wrong.”
  4. Being genuine and open. Some people think BSers and those who sugarcoat the truth or tell people what they want to hear get ahead. Now that’s BS. Smart, successful people are attracted to those who are genuine and open about their feelings. Being genuine entices others to open up and share their thoughts and feelings.
  5. Being inquisitive or searching for answers, how things work, a place in the world. This characteristic is difficult to explain or quantify, but I think it comes down to a genuine need to figure things out, understand how things work, or do something important. It drives certain people and, one thing’s for sure: we don’t stop until we find what we’re looking for.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It is all about grit

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." Calvin Coolidge

Jonah Lehrer  explains the results of a study,

those with grit are more single-minded about their goals – they tend to get obsessed with certain activities – and also more likely to persist in the face of struggle and failure. Woody Allen famously declared that “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. Grit is what allows you show up again and again. Here are the scientists:

Our major findings in this investigation are as follows: Deliberate practice—operationally defined in the current investigation as the solitary study of word spellings and origins—was a better predictor of National Spelling Bee performance than either being quizzed by others or engaging in leisure reading. With each year of additional preparation, spellers devoted an increasing proportion of their preparation time to deliberate practice, despite rating the experience of such activities as more effortful and less enjoyable than the alternative preparation activities. Grittier spellers engaged in deliberate practice more so than their less gritty counterparts, and hours of deliberate practice fully mediated the prospective association between grit and spelling performance.

What color is your luggage?

Jon Gordon asks an interesting question,
why so many travelers buy a black bag.
After all, they have a choice. Go to any luggage store and you’ll see green bags, red bags, yellow bags, blue bags and even pink bags and yet most choose black.
They have an opportunity to buy a color that stands out and yet they don’t. They conform. So when it comes time to find their bag it’s not easy to distinguish their bag from others.
It’s the same way in business and life. We have a choice. We can stand out in traffic or we can choose to conform and be like everyone else.

If you don’t stand out and simply conform, when customers are given a choice they won’t be able to differentiate you from the competition. You’ll be like a black bag in a pile of black bags.

People and organizations and brands that stand out in traffic are the ones that thrive. They are easy to find and everyone knows there’s something different about them.

Does your business stand out?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How is everything so far?

How about asking how I am enjoying the dish in front of me? A table visit is an opportunity to connect with me. "How is everything so far" is just as bad as "how is everything"?

Maximize the table visit and ask me how I am enjoying my steak?

Pi Day

One of my favorite spring flings is Pi Day (3.14), however any excuse to eat pie will suffice.

Happy Pi Day

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mismatch between quality of food and design of room.

There really is no easy way to correct this because someone thinks their design is brilliant. The food is great but the design of the room is horrible.

People design matters.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The moment before

Michelangelo's iconic painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel captures the moment before. Life, business and the universe are all about doing the right things consistently until the moment before everything changes.  

James Altucher posts about the moment before,

The moment before their famous walk across Abbey Road, Paul had to adjust something on Ringo’s collar. At that moment they were human. In the famous walk, which we’ve seen everywhere, they aren’t human anymore. They’ve become gods.

The outcomes are all uncertain. Life hasn’t changed just yet. You can be anxious for the outcome. Or you can relish the moment, knowing the preparation is in place. You’ve done all you can. Good things will happen.

You can say, “live life as if its your last moment before you die.” But there’s also, “live life as if it’s the last moment before you really come alive.”
Now you have to wait. If you did the right preparation, the moment will come. If you did the preparation with passion, with inspiration, with aspiration. Now you wait. Every day we have the potential for godhood, to be something that breaks us out of that fate. That careens us onto a path God had not intended for us.
Imagine you are Paul Mcartney right this second. You’re adjusting Ringo’s collar on his tuxedo. The noon sun is hot and bright and you’re uncomfortable in the clothes but every wrinkle has to be just right. You’re about to cross the street to make the famous photo for Abbey Road.  And for the last time in your life, you are 100% human.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Get what you want

Ivana Taylor explains,

Getting what you want is really just a function of three things:

1.  Being clear about who your audience is and what’s important to them.

2.  Taking the time to analyze the situation, design a solution, and craft a creative and visual presentation of your idea.

3.  Making it easy for your audience to say yes to your idea and take action.

Let’s go through the outline minute by minute.

:30 - 1:00 minute  

What’s happening? This is the first statement of the presentation – but it will probably be the last thing you actually write.  Starting your presentation with an authentic statement about what’s happening will get everyone on the same page.  After you make your “What’s Happening” statement, the little voice inside your audience’s head should say something like “WHAT?  How can you say that?”  Your “What’s Happening” statement should be no more than two or three sentences.

1:00 – 3:00 minute  

How did we get here? In this section of the outline, you get to prove your point.  This is the section where you place all your data, charts, and graphs. Don’t overwhelm your audience with numbers and tables.  Make the title of each graph what you want your audience to be left with. Instead of “2011 Sales By Region” use “Southern Region Exceeds Sales Goals." Your audience will thank you because they won’t have to analyze the data themselves and you can move on with your presentation.

3:00 – 5:00 minutes   

What will we do? At this stage, the little voice inside your audience’s head is begging for solutions.  Now you have them where you want them.  They are eager to hear your ideas.  Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.  Take the time to present your idea in a tangible, visible way.  Use props or demonstrations to engage your audience and get them living into the future of your idea in action.

5:00 – 6:00 minutes   

What’s the payoff? You have a great idea, but why is it good for your audience? That’s what they will want to know and you get to tell them.  Be clear and descriptive about the benefits.  Use lots of adjectives to describe how wonderful the future will be with your solution in place.

6:00 – 7:00 minutes   

How do we get started? By the time you get to this stage of the outline, your audience will be excited and ready to do something.  Tell your audience what you want them to do and make it easy for them to take action right away.  If there is something to be signed, make sure that you have the forms, the pens, and anything else that’s required.