Random Neural Firings

the inner workings of a restless creative brain

What’s Holding Me Back? Ha! Writing Challenge Day 6

June8

I’m still catching up on the writing challenge. Here’s Day 6:

The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.

Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.

The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?

(Author: Matt Cheuvront)

N/A, as in Not Applicable. It’s not that I’m fearless, per se, but my fears run more towards extreme heights, bungee jumping, and bugs. Not the kind of fears that hold me back in life. The challenge asks of something you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to. I can think of literally nothing. This does not make me special, or especially unique. It’s a character trait (some would call it a “flaw”) of a serial entrepreneur.

I used to keep that Goethe* quote around:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

And I believed it. Want to start a business but don’t have money? Write a strong business plan, make a compelling case, and raise the money. Don’t know how to raise the money? Ask everyone you know. Somebody else does. Don’t know how to set up a company? Buy the “For Dummies” books. That’s how I figured out what type of corporation I needed to be. Have an idea you’d like to patent but don’t know where to start? Google it. In fact, these days, you can pretty much Google anything you need to know.

So I’ve done this a few times and am embarking on another business venture, right now, as we speak (so to speak). I have some ideas for mobile apps. I knew nothing about developing mobile apps so I started emailing tech folks I know and had a chance to meet with or talk to 4 different programmers and/or companies. I’ve never marketed a mobile app before but plenty of people have, so I Googled it, took notes, and wrote a marketing plan. I couldn’t afford the initial development out of pocket so I considered two options: 1) revenue share with the developers or 2) increase credit card limit and pay on credit. For a myriad of reasons, I chose #2. I figure my odds of actually breaking even are 1 in 10. Making money even less.

But you know what? The only way I’m going to learn and understand the app market is to dive in. I might fail with this first one, but I’ll bet you I’ll succeed somewhere.

If you want to know how it goes, follow me on Facebook. We should be launching this first one in a few weeks!

*I put an asterisk here because there is some debate as to whether or not Goethe actually wrote this.

Here’s the back story on the 30-day challenge.

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BP Epic Signage FAIL

June8

Have you seen these pictures making their way around the Internets? 😉

Yeah, I know it’s childish of me to pile on but this is the kind of thing that spreads faster than strep. The days of protecting your image and brand are OVER. Not just for BP, but for all of us who own a business. You can’t protect it; you have to sit up, take your lumps like a man (pardon the sexism), own what you did if you screwed up, do everything you can to make it right. Don’t take shortcuts or b.s. your customer (I’m talking to you, Toyota and you, Sigg, and you, BP) because we’re onto you and we will tell all our friends who will tell their friends and so on and so on and so on.

And you will live in infamy forever.

I still have businesses tell me they don’t want a Facebook page or a blog because they’re afraid they’ll get negative comments. Seriously? That’s what you’re worried about? The COMMENTS? How about the actual issues your customers have? Address them. And you know what? When you address them forthrightly in a public forum, most people will forgive you and even reward you for doing the right thing.

Having said that, I think it’s too late for BP. What do you think? Any shot of damage control here or are they done?

(Cross posted over at my business blog, New Thought Marketing)

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Tech Tuesday – Manage Information Overload

July7

google-readerYou’ve got a career, a family,  friends . . . you know, a life. You can’t find time to read all your emails, much less keep up with the news you want to read.

One of the most helpful things I’ve done is set up an RSS reader. What’s an RSS reader? RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. Your favorite websites and blogs (like this one) have an RSS feed that you can subscribe to. This will let you know when there is a new post and give you a quick summary of it (you can then decide to click thru to the full post).

You need to subscribe to these feeds in some sort of a reader. It’s like the personalized My Yahoo or iGoogle pages, both of which use RSS feeds to populate your selected content. But the one I like and use is Google’s Reader. It has a list of my feeds down the left hand side. I click on one and get summaries of stories (or blog posts) in a reading pane — just like email. I scroll through and scan and click if I want to read more. To add a site to your reader, just look for the RSS or Atom XML button on a site. (Sometimes, I do a CTRL+F which is a “find” shortcut and type in “RSS” to find the feed button.) Once you click on that, it’ll ask you where you want to put the feed, and there is almost always an option to add it to your Google Reader.

It’s simple once you get the hang of it. If you try it and need help, just shoot me a note and I’ll help you out.

One more thing: I often read news on my phone when I’m in waiting rooms or standing in lines. You can pull up your Google reader on most mobile phones and it optimizes the content for mobile viewing. That’s another tool I use to keep up with what’s going on and maximize my time a bit.

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