All collaborations are a love affair

51p0mziztfl._sx329_bo1204203200_We fall in love with a creation, a work of art, a song, a poem, or piece of code. We’re floored. Just gagging. There’s something about it that we couldn’t have ever possibly concluded. Like Einstein and the Theory of Relativity.

We want to know what genius was behind it. What nurture/nature paradox produced the human being that thought this up? How audacious! How tenacious! How did they think so clearly and elegantly? How did they put such a novel spin on it?

So we google them,we watch their videos on YouTube, and we follow them on Instagram. Then we retweet their posts about Reactive Native because everyone needs to know about this right now because I’m really feeling this and I want to be the first one to recommend it to my friends.

In “The Culture Code – The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups,” Daniel Coyle explains that successful collaborations are like triangles. Stable. Three-pointed. Elementary.

“To live comfortably in a triangle, it seems to me that certain feelings about oneself have to be in effect. The individual has to feel good about himself and be able to stand on his own two feet without having to lean on someone else. He can be temporarily odd-man-out without feeling bad or rejected. He needs to be able to wait without feeling he is abused. He needs to be able to talk straight and clearly, and let the others know what he is feeling and thinking and not brood and store up his feelings.” – Daniel Coyle

Choose the wrong advice to follow and the triangle breaks down. The collaboration tanks. It’s barely noticeable but then the more you look at it, the more you realize it’s actually happening. The work doesn’t sing anymore. The paint starts to peel. The communication gets rough, like someone bumped up the elasticity in the physics world. The rice starts to taste sour. The gears rust and the collaboration seizes up.

“Pain instructs.” – Benjamin Franklin

This weekend I talked to my friend Larry on Zoom. First we talked about the new widgets at WWDC. Then we tried to figure out exactly how long the new laptop batteries could theoretically last with Apple Silicon. Then we started to talk about how the stay at home order has affected our moods and productivity. That’s when the conversation really got interesting.

Larry and I both work out. Not a lot. But we have “set it and forget it” routines that keep us fit and active. The spike in infections in California and Hawaii made us both reconsider how wise it is to run outside, and now we’ve both stopped running.

We’re both noticing our moods tanking. We have goals we’ve set for ourselves. And now that we’ve postponed them. We don’t feel good. Literally, we don’t physically feel good because we’re not coming through on the promises we made to ourselves.

“Self esteem became hooked more easily when a person had not really developed a solid, appreciative sense of his own worth. Not having his own, he would use an other’s action and reactions to define himself. If someone called him green, he would agree with no checking and take the other’s comment as one fitting him. He was green because the other person said so. It’s easy for anyone with doubts about his own worth to fall into this trap.” – Daniel Coyle

Larry and I discovered that getting things done contributes so much to our self-worth and actual feelings of well-being that we need to reassess our goals to set new metrics to gauge our success.

Sticking to the old goals leaves us feeling bad. Because we’re not coming through on what we said we were going to do. That’s the reason we’re so immaculate with our words.

“The single most crucial factor in understanding how an initial love relationship flourishes is the feeling of worth each has for himself, together with how he expresses it and what demands he makes of the other, and how each acts toward the other as a result.” – Daniel Coyle

All collaborations are a love affair. Even the collaborations you make with yourself. Keep the relationship from tanking by building up your own self-worth.

The way to keep your self-esteem high is to come through on the things you say you are going to. Be immaculate with your word. But also understand that these changing times may require you to take a moment and assess how you’re doing. Do you need to take a look at the script? Maybe it needs a rewrite? Maybe it needs some new characters?

Are you living your life from an old script?

“If humans never find their sameness, they will never meet; if they never meet their differentness, they cannot be real or develop a truly human and zestful relationship with one another.” – Daniel Coyle

Keep your collaborations on point and take care of your self-esteem. Did this post raise any questions for you? Contact me I’d love to hear about it.

When you want to change someone’s mood, tell a story

Today I finished reading the book “Thank you for Arguing” by Jay Heinrichs. Heinrichs uses historical figures like Cicero and Homer Simpson from fact and fiction to illuminate the art of argument.

The book is written in a hilarious tone with lots of asides for pro tips on how to argue more effectively.

I had a hard time deciding what to post because there’s so much good content in this book. Today I want to focus on the topic of persuasion.

“Persuasion can attempt to influence a person’s beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors. In business, persuasion is a process aimed at changing a person’s attitude or behaviour toward some event, idea, object, or other person, by using written, spoken words or visual tools to convey information, feelings, or reasoning, or a combination thereof.” – Wikipedia

Persuasion gets a bad rap because of all the negative attention it receives. Books like The Hidden Persuaders and Influence shine a negative light on persuasion. They talk about how it can be used to compel people to do things they don’t want to do or that could even harm them.

Each of us uses persuasion on a daily basis. We need to use persuasion to communicate our needs, assess the needs of others, and work together to create win win situations like Stephen R. Covey talks about in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

In order to persuade someone, you need to sound like him.

“You persuade a man only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his.” – Heinrichs

The audience only cares about three things. Have you prepared? Do you know what you’re talking about? And what do you have to offer me?

“Persuasion doesn’t depend on being true to yourself. It depends on being true to your audience.” – Heinrichs

Heinrich encourages readers to keep the three parts of the proposal firmly in mind as you are persuading:

“Every proposal should have three parts – payoffs, doability, superiority. Describe the benefits of the choice, make it seem easy to do, and show how to it beats the other options. You might even keep your audience in suspense, not telling them your choice until you have dealt with the alternatives. Rhetoric is most effective when it leads an audience to make up their own minds.” – Heinrichs

Don’t think you’re getting through to the person you’re trying to persuade? Are they expressionless in the face of your crystal clear valid points? You might need to change up your strategy.

“When you want to change someone’s mood, tell a story.” – Heinrichs

Finally here’s one of the pro-tips Heirichs shares in the sidebar of the book. The idea is to show the audience that you are just like them. It’s called the Pratfall effect:

“Reveal a weakness that wins sympathy or shows the sacrifice you have made for the audience.” – Heinrichs

How do you persuade in your work and life? Have any horror stories of taking persuasion too far? Contact me I’d love to hear about it!

Don’t fight the trail. Take what it gives you.

513zzb8xfrl._sx322_bo1204203200_I started running 5 miles every other day a few months ago when the stay at home order started.

I’ve stuck to that schedule ever since. I’m finding that running does 3 things for me.

First, it clears my head. Second, it makes me think faster. And thirdly, after running I just feel happier – like hard things are somehow easier.

Today I want to discuss the merits of running as they have been outlined by Christopher McDougall in his book, “Born to Run.”

At the end of this post I’ll share the most surprising thing I learned about running from reading this book.

“‘Try the meditation of the trail, just walk along looking at the trail at your feet and don’t look about and just fall into a trance as the group zips by,’ Kerouac wrote. Trails are like that: you’re floating along in a Shakespearean garden paradise and expect to see nymphs and flute boys, then suddenly you’re struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak… just like life.” – Christopher McDougall

Life is tough. There’s no doubt about it. Running shows me that I have  more power and potential than I thought.

“Beyond the very extremes of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own: sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.” – William James

But then how do you turn the fatigue into energy?

“Strictly by accident Scott stumbled upon the most advanced weapon in the ultrarunners arsenal: Instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well, you’re not afraid of it anymore.” – Christopher McDougall

Running gives me the tools I need to deconstruct life’s problems and find solutions.

“The only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it.” – Christopher McDougall

Running makes me feel as strong as Superman.

“If there’s any magic bullet to make human beings healthy it’s to run.” – Christopher McDougall

Benjamin Franklin worked on problems while he slept. He discovered that if he went to sleep thinking about a problem, more often than not, he’d wake up with a solution. Sometimes running is like this. And sometimes it’s not.

“If you don’t have answers to your problems after a 4 hour run, you aint getting them.” – Christopher McDougall

Sometimes people think running is all about competition and proving that you are stronger, better, and faster. Competition gets in the way of running. I run to get outside myself.

“The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other, he understood. But to be with each other. Scott learned that before he had a choice, back when he was trailing. He was no good and had no reason to believe he ever would be, but the joy he got from running was the joy of adding his power to the pack. Other runners try to disassociate from the fatigue by blasting iPods or imagining the roar of the crowd in an Olympic stadium, but Scott had a simpler method. It’s easy to get outside yourself when you’re thinking about someone else.” – Christopher McDougall

Running doesn’t require special equipment. You don’t to rally a team. You can just go outside and run at any time.

“I keep thinking back to the way Garp used to burst out his door in the middle of the workday and go for a five mile run. There’s something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure. We run when we’re scared, we run when we’re ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time.” – Christopher McDougall

There you go. We’re nearly finished. I’ve discussed the reasons I run as they have been outlined in Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run.”

I run because it clears my head. I run because it makes me think faster. I run because I just feel happier. And now as promised, here’s the most surprising detail in the book.

Running has always surged when there is a national crisis.

“And when things look worst, we run the most. Three times, America has seen distance running skyrocket, and it’s always in the midst of a national crisis.” – Christopher McDougall

Thanks for reading. Keep running!

“You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running.” – Christopher McDougall

Did this post resonated with you? What book do you think I should read next? Please let me know!

Professional Marketing Trends – Creating Engaging Digital Experiences

I attended the “Engaging Digital Experiences” webinar on March 3, 2020 to see what I could learn about crafting more engaging digital experiences.

Make the most of the current situation

During the dot com boom/bust the big players now were investing big in digital: Apple, google, etc. Let’s take this time and really invest in digital. Take advantage of the opportunity this virus gives us. Leapfrog the competition.

Make sure you measure along the way

How do you measures your results? Customer Data is the customer journey. What are all the touch points and engagement points? What is the content? The expectation from our customers on content has changed.

The main goal

If customers can get their goals with your company they will stay with your company. If we keep customers, that is profitability. Strengthen the brand and use technology to augment our brand. Invest enough in digital to survive.

Why do you need a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)?

Meaning of content has changed. Users are engaging with us through different fields. Augmented reality or virtual reality are two new options to connect. Augmented is a real thing and has advance into something called mixed reality. This allows for a transaction in reality.

How do we put plans around that to find out how to engage and immerse ourselves in this journey?

  1. Create a strategy – where is our content? Where does it go? What destinations do we need to come into contact with?
  2. What is our content? What destination is most optimized for what contnet? IG is good for video. Twitter is good for text heavy. Image heavy. Linked in is where you post articles.
  3. Create content on purpose that is optimized for that destination.
  4. Manage the content life cycle. To make sure what we have on there is relevant and fresh and helps our users accomplish their goals.
  5. Amplify that content. Drive traffic back to our source content. Connect the dots. Make the connections between our content management hub and who it will be distributed to.
  6. We don’t always have to look back what what has happened. We want technology to prescribe to us what kind of content needs to be established to what channel. It’s beyond what has happened, it’s now to this is what should happen. Get to that point.
  7. Manage that content life cycle.
  8. Measure and provide guidance to what we have next.

Once you have this going, use the tech to get us where we wan to go. Content Management System is decoupled from the front end.

Tag things. Have an image repository. Things the end user will not see. Grow the separation out. It doesn’t have to be a one to one relationship. You can build up tech info and then farm it out.

Don’t just keep your content on your website. Push it out to the destinations you have. Twitter, IG,  and your website are each only one channel. You need to push out your content. You need to control the journey that your customers go on.

Digital signage is big now

Control that content from a central location – your Content Management System. Billboards, hospitals, advertisements, this is one of those elements that we can take a look at and say this bridges the gap between digital and physical. We physically see the signs but we can bring the content digital.

Progressive web applications – next evolution of responsive web. If the device is a mobile device, I will reposition the content to fit on that mobile screen.

We don’t want to read an entire article on our device. We might want to transition to a different device to read it on a different device. We change the code of the content. We transition that content and optimize it for that device.

Push notifications – cannot be done with webpages
Have offline mode – cache your experience, if in dense spot or connect to network, you can still participate in that Progressive Web App (PWA) experience.

FT, twitter, NASA, have PWA experiences.

Transform the browser into something palatable.

Immersive Technologies

Immersive technology – Warby Parker, try on glasses without receiving glasses.

Augmented reality – we need to feel like we have a physical element in a digital world. Mixed reality.

Chatbots – was cool before but them leaves. Chatbots now have capacity of machine learning adn AI capabilities. We can gather data from other sources and provide that info in a chat. Allows us to accomplish things without human intervention.

Wearables – Realize how often you access data from that little screen. Even withpout adjacent devices. Don’t even need phone near me to access the data that I need if I do it from my Apple Watch.

Can enhance that experience through desktop or tablet or through mobile device.

Evolution of technology:

Social media – 2010 facebook dominant, tiktok, lasso, other platofrms – how is your digital experience on your social networks. Do you have a plan? Is all the style and tonality similar on our social media?

Big Questions:

  • Do we have a direct Call to Action (CTA) to drive users to a specific result?
  • Do your ads lead to an e-commerce platform? Make a click and have a sale and we are shipping a product to them?

“You want to be a little unpredictable.”

To have a different methodology: how are we taking our plans and experiences in ways to apply them to the customer expectations? They want seamless experiences wherever they go.

Develop and agile methodology for extensibility

How do we bolt things together to expand our footprint? How do we integrate with other partners?

Shoptalk conference – how do you know what people want? We don’t know what people want or what the next big thing is. But we are constantly putting things out, measuring the changes, and recording the results. Seeing what works – this works with tech, applications, messaging, etc.
Get our heads aroudn this, how do we get stuff out, test build, design, plan launch, = this is the agile methodology – fail fast technique.

Look into the cloud for tech.
We are still doing things on site. cloud allows to not set up infrastructure, we can initiate the output we are looking for. Saas tech, paas, get up and running faster if we do cloud based tech.

Mar Tech – Marketing technology – growing indusrty

Microservices – been aroudn for a while but gaining
One tasker = does one thing sreally well,
Rules or logic or workflow – this is a microservice.
Connect to personlization services
Electronic transactions – how do connect website to transaction capabilities (paypal visa, stripe, etc)
Lightweight and set up to use fast
Containerized – no need to spin up entire stack
Purpose built applications/services to accomplish goal and expand capabiliites.

CDP = Custoemr data platoform (REALLY SEE THIS AS BENEFIICAL)

Strategy to pull all this tech together

  • All starts with a modern CMS
  • Store your content and have it available
  • Content management to a digital epxerience platform
  • Make a better journey
  • Make more sales
  • Have more control over the digital experience
    This is where the matruity level compes in by integrateing all that we know

Ask yourself – Are you able to push your content from wordpress to your twitter, facebook, etc. To get your content out and so it is not jsut a webiste and it lives in multiple places.

Website activity to connect to better places and more engagment.

Wordspress post to out put and push it out to multiples.

When we get into the framework of how things are constructed and how they interact with each other

Digital eXperiecen framework is our guide to how to define a strategy.

Need data sources to tap into
CMS, ERP, CRMs, are data sources. Need to have them well defined, where they are and whatr they do. then we need to connect them.

When you fall in love with the process you can be satisfied anytime your system is running

What have you been doing to de-stress? My go to de-stressor has been running. During high school I slacked off in gym class and frequently ran 13 minute miles. We’d walk when the teacher couldn’t see us. Now I’m running 5 miles every other day.

In this blog post I’m going to discuss how the habits in James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, have helped me re-frame running. Now running is a fun activity that I really enjoy and even look forward to.

I’m surprised that I’ve latched on to this hobby as much as I have. I’ve been running 5 miles around Kapiolani park every other day for weeks now.

Why do I run? I love it. Not the run, but my ability to get my shoes on, get outside, and start running.

“When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.” ― Clear

I’ve set the goal to get downstairs every other day. The run runs itself. I just have to take the smallest action then I can hang back and just let it happen.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” – Clear

I read online that we should be taking this opportunity to form new habits so we will be even better off once the Corona virus situation has concluded.

“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.” ― Clear

As long as I’m downstairs with my shoes on in the morning I consider it a win.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” ― Clear

What kinds of habit systems are you developing during this forced downtime? Contact me I’d love to hear about it!

The situation calls for us to become increasingly better improvisers

We’ve all had to wear a number of different hats over the past 3 weeks. I’ve had to learn how to wear the “making breakfast for my daughter” hat under the “attending a website-accessibility webinar” baseball cap under the “washing the dishes” top hat under the “researching live chat solutions for our website” fedora.

That’s a lot of hats.

It’s not so much the number of new tasks that need to be taken care of as the pressure of doing all the tasks simultaneously with the same quality and care as they were done before Covid-19.

The situation calls for us to become increasingly better improvisers.

Keith Johnstone, the father of improvisation describes why perfection is so difficult to achieve through improvisation:

“If you improvise spontaneously in front of an audience you have to accept that your innermost self will be revealed. The same is true of any artist. If you want to write a working class play then you’d better be working class. An artist has to accept what his imagination gives him, or screw up his talent.” – Johnstone

We’re good at tools when we’ve become experts. It takes a long time to master a tool. How long will it take you to master Zoom?

It’s hard to write this blog post because my daughter is crying in her pack and play next to me screaming that she needs “more wah bah” before she takes her nap for the day.

Maintaining focus is the hardest thing. There is no option to work at the coffee shop. There is no, “I will work on this when I have some time to myself.”

We need to work with each other in new creative ways because we need to keep our composure to retain the peace we need to survive.

“One who excels in employing others humbles himself before them. This is known as the virtue of non-contention; this is known as making use of the efforts of the others. To know, yet to think that one does not know, is best … the sage does not hoard.” – Johnstone

We need to be the first to apologize.

“The actor or improviser must accept his disabilities, and allow himself to be insulted, or he’ll never really feel safe.” – Johnstone

Think about that. Really think about that. We need to allow ourselves to be insulted or we will never truly feel safe.

Covid-19 requires us to relate to each other in new ways that may have felt uncomfortable or unsafe before. We need to get better at solving challenges together. We need diverse collaborators.

“What matters to me is the ease with which I free associate and the skill with which I reincorporate.” – Johnstone

But we can’t take too long to take action.

“I don’t deny the importance of thinking, inventing, or planning, but if you have to improvise on the spot, and that’s exactly what we have to do, you must act and not think. It’s action we must have – wise, foolish, or naive, simple or complicated, but action.” – Johnstone

We have to improvise. New tech is a dance of improvisation. We’ll have to find the steps and incorporate them into our daily rituals before we can truly learn to dance.

My nephew used to get down on himself at baseball practice. He’d compare himself to the other kids who had been playing baseball for years.

I’d keep telling him, “Don’t worry about not being good with it now. The only difference between you and the kids who do this well is experience. They’ve had 100 at bats. They’ve just done it more than you have.”

The best way through improvisation is over-communication.

Over-communicate to let your colleagues know you got their email. Open yourself up to new ways of communicating your solidarity through this tough time.

Virginia Satir is a well-known psychologist who’s written many books on people-making. She stresses the primary importance of communication:

“Once a human being has arrived on earth, communication is the largest single factor determining what kinds of relationships he makes with others and what happens to him in the world about him.” – Satir

During these tough times, it can be easy to write people off and focus on how their communication style clashes with yours. The important thing to remember is that it “takes the whole city to raise a child.”

We need to find commonalities and focus on our similarities to develop the relationships we desire:

“If humans never find their sameness, they will never meet; if they never meet their differentness, they cannot be real or develop a truly human and zestful relationship with one another.” – Satir

We need to rely on each others strengths right now. We need to allow for differences. We need to recognize that we are in this together and use this opportunity to reconnect and rediscover our shared humanity.

Contact me if you have any stories about how you pushed through difficulties to over-communicate and thrive during these Covid-19 times.