Archive for the 'leadership + management' Category

Thankful for entrepreneurs…

Stolen from facebook:

A boss plans, organizes, and coordinates. A leader inspires, motivates, and galvanizes. A visionary perceives an improved reality.

An entrepreneur does all of the above under great personal risk and sacrifice knowing for certain that they will never received praise or acknowledgement and having only the slightest possibility of ever receiving any financial reward.

True entrepreneurs are an economic and psychological anomaly. We do it for the thrill of the hunt and the adrenaline of the game. We do it to maximize of locust of impact to have a meaningful impact for our fellow men. We do it to find out if we can.

All of us should be grateful, as I am, that entrepreneurs continue to take unimaginable risks at illogically insane personal sacrifice to strive towards the vision of building meaningful improvements for us all. I can assure you that those who believe the government could ever do this have never really known a true entrepreneur.

Yes, thank God for entrepreneurs!

Heads Down

Sometimes it’s important to turn off all of the “noise” that gets in our way, when we’re trying to do something.

  • Turn off the TV.
  • Turn off the radio.
  • Turn off the RSS Reader.
  • Turn off the phone.
  • Turn off the people around you if you can (close the door to your office, or go hide upstairs or something)

I call this time my “head’s down” time. Like “Hey, my head is down in my work over here. Leave me alone!”

I just spent the last four hours doing work that probably would have taken me 8 hours, if I’d done it in my normal reactionary, distractable nature. Instead I put my head down, and got a lot done.

Figure out how to put your head down, and get more done in less time.

The importance of focusing

As I work on this side project I’ve been writing about, I’m putting in about 2 hours a day on it actively, but the rest of the day, while I’m doing my full-time job, and running another company, my mind keeps drifting back to this side project.

Meaning I’m not focused 100% on whatever it is I’m working on at the moment.

That’s human nature, but it’s also distracting as hell.

So, I’ve started taking whatever is in my mind, and adding it to Evernote whenever I’m thinking about it, which helps me clear my mind, and store the extra ideas I’m having, so that I can think more about them later, while not sacrificing too much of what I’m working on right now, or forgetting the bolt of inspiration I’ve been given.

The system works.

I’ve also added a “TODO” section to each file I’m working on in my programming project. It’s at the top of each file, and I’m using it as a place to store thoughts that I have in a contextually relevant place, which again, let’s me preserve the inspiration, without getting in the way of what I’m actively working on too much.

For example: Yesterday, I was writing some code to insert some data into a database. Simple, but took some time, because I didn’t remember how to do it, so I had to do a bit of research. In the middle of doing all that, I had a thought that if I could do “X” on that page, it’d be awesome, so instead of spending a lot of time thinking through “X” I added this to the top of the page:

// TODO:
// Figure out how to do "X" on this page, or the page before it, or after it.
// "X" will let us do Y and Z here, versus later on in the process = more 
// $$$.

Focus when you need to focus. You’ll discover how unbelievably productive you can be when you’re focused. Then harness and keep that focus, and drive it deeper.

New Projects and Passion

Heart by eyed mostafa zamani on FlickrNew projects are always exciting at first. Or scary. Depends on your mood and perspective.

Either way, your adrenaline gets flowing, whenever you start a new project.

In the last two weeks, I’ve taken on a few new projects.

First, I launched AggieCamusology.com, and pre-populated it with about 2 months worth of content, added some Google AdSense ads, so that maybe it’ll pay for itself later this year, and posted a few comments on Aggie related sites, so that we can start getting some natural search ranking and some free inbound traffic. Already, we’ve gotten about 10 page views… not bad for a site that’s less than a week old, and in a very very niche market segment.

The second project I’ve started is a completely new website, that requires me to open up my old PHP manual, and read a bunch on php.net or other sites, so that I can learn how the basics again. It’s super challenging (it’s been about 7 years since I’ve really looked at writing any real code) and super fun. Definitely gives me fuel to keep diving in, and opening up whatever possibilities might present themselves. I’m keeping this second project in beta for a little while, while I build it out more, but it’s fun so far, and I’m loving doing it and talking about it with others.

Third, I’m going to write more. More on that below.

One thing that I’ve noticed during the process of thinking about and starting these new projects:

Passion is what has enabled these projects.

  • AggieCamusology.com wouldn’t have gotten launched if I didn’t go to Texas A&M and have a decent amount of passion for the idea. Would you launch a website about kittens if you didn’t love cats?
  • The second project has been brewing in my head for months now, but I couldn’t justify investing much in the idea, because I couldn’t get around the “what problem does this idea really solve?” and then it struck me last night around 7:00… building this project doesn’t neccessarily solve a huge problem for anyone, but it will give me the chance to dust off my PHP skills, and that’s something that I will enjoy, and bam… work began.
  • I’m committing to writing more on inluminent.com, because I just got done reading pretty much every post on Spencer Fry’s blog, and am totally inspired by his writing. I’m not sure I’ll stack up to him after it’s all said and done, but I am inspired.

What is your passion? Can you make enough money to live on doing it? What are you waiting for?

Do not let your fire go out…

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplacable spark. In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.

-Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

(via Shelly)

Stuff No On Told Me (but I learned anyway)

Found this web comic today by Alex Noriega. Great insight. Great writing. Great illustrations:














It’s fun to find a little inspiration when you aren’t looking for it.

I hope this guy comes out with a book someday… It would sell well, and I’ll be one of the first people to buy it.

Five-Minute Management Course

Found this today… thought it was good enough to post here:

Lesson 1

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.

Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, “Who was that?”

“It was Bob the next door neighbor,” she replies.

“Great!” the husband says, “did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?”

Moral of the story

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.


Lesson 2

A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?”

The priest apologized “Sorry sister but the flesh is weak”

Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129 It said, “Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.”

Moral of the story

If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.


Lesson 3

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out.

The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish.”

“Me first! Me first!” says the admin clerk. “I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.” Puff! She’s gone.

“Me next! Me next!” says the sales rep. “I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.”

Puff! He’s gone.

“OK, you’re up,” the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.”

Moral of the story

Always let your boss have the first say.


Lesson 4

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him,

Can I also sit like you and do nothing?”

The eagle answered: “Sure , why not.”

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high > >> up.


Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.”

“Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the
bull.

They’re packed with nutrients.”

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story

Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.


Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the Winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story

(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of is your friend.
(3) And when you’re in deep , it’s best to keep your mouth shut!

THIS ENDS THE 5-MINUTE MANAGEMENT COURSE

Out of Office Autoresponder template

I’m going out of town soon, and will be out for 10 days, and have no idea if I’ll have access to email or voicemail, so I researched out of office away messages and leaned heavily on Tim Ferriss’s “Best and Worst of 2007″ to come up with something that I think works for me:

Hey, it’s John here –

I’m traveling on vacation and will return on Thursday, November 18th.

http://meetwith.me/johnengler < --- That's my schedule

All email I receive between now and 11/18 will be ignored until I return, so if you have an emergency, please contact one of the following people accordingly:

Jessie
Traffic Issues
[email protected]
(Contact Jessie for ....)

Jack
General Business Development Issues
[email protected]
(Jack can triage pretty much any situation and get you in touch with the right people inside the company if it's not traffic related)

Shannon
Accounting Issues
[email protected]
(if you have an AR or AP issues, email Shannon, and she'll take care of you)

My goal is to make sure I'm not totally overwhelmed playing "catch-up" when I return, and I can hit the ground running and give you the immediate attention you deserve when I get back.

Please note that I won't be answering the phone while I'm out either. I appreciate your courtesy in advance and look forward to our paths crossing again after November 18th.

Best wishes,
John

Hoping that template will work for everyone that emails me!

I also used this auto-responder for my more personal email addresses:

Hey, it’s John here –

I’m traveling on vacation and will return on Thursday, November 18th.

http://meetwith.me/johnengler < --- That's my schedule

All email I receive between now and 11/18 will be ignored until I return, so please resend your email after 11/18, if it's important.

My goal is to make sure I'm not totally overwhelmed playing "catch-up" when I return, and I can hit the ground running and give you the immediate attention you deserve when I get back.

I appreciate your courtesy in advance and look forward to our paths crossing again after November 18th.

Thanks,
John

David Ogilvy’s Rules on How to Write Potent Copy

I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, A true classic.

Ogilvy’s rules on How to Write Potent Copy:

On Headlines:

  1. The headline is the most important part of the ad; it is what gets the reader’s attention and what makes them keep reading. Invite readers and do not say anything to exclude any readers.
  2. Every headline should appeal to the interest of the consumer.
  3. Try to put news in the headline. The words new and free are the most powerful words that can appear in the headline.
  4. There are several other words that are effective: How to, Suddenly, Now, Announcing, Improvement, etc. Headlines can also include emotional words.
  5. Five times as many people read the headlines and the body.
  6. Include a promise in the headlines, and longer headlines sell more than short headlines.
  7. If the headlines make the consumer curious, they will more likely read the body.
  8. Do not try to write tricky headlines, be simple and to the point.
  9. Do not use negatives in the headlines.
  10. Always make the headlines have a meaning.

On Body Copy:

  1. Write the body as if you were recommending the product to a stranger.
  2. Do not try to impress the reader with big words, be simple and concise with the body.

David Ogilvy’s Rules on How to Keep Clients

I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, A true classic

Ogilvy hated the idea of firing people the produced good work, but in the advertising field it was necessary when the advertising failed the client, and the client fired the agency (happens all the time today too)

So here are Ogilvy’s rules on How to Keep Clients:

  1. Appoint the best people possible to each account, and do not let executives go after accounts, it makes them greedy.
  2. Avoid hiring unstable executives who are hard for people to get along with.
  3. Avoid taking clients who change agencies on a regular basis.
  4. Keep contact between the agency and the client on all levels of the business.

He also added these bits to the above four rules: Never join two clients in one ad.  Never keep a client who has reduced the quality of their product.

David Ogilvy’s Rules for Selecting New Clients

I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, A true classic

According to Ogilvy, the first clients are the hardest to get, but after you get a reputation of doing good work, companies start to seek you.

Ogilvy’s Rules for Selecting New Clients:

  1. Only advertise products which you are proud to be associated with, never advertise a product that you don’t respect and don’t like.
  2. Never advertise for a company that you feel has better advertising than you can offer.
  3. Never advertise for a company that has had failing sales for a long period of time. This normally means that the advertising will not help the sales.
  4. Make sure that the client understands that the advertising agency has to make money as well; don’t make the client money while losing money from your own company.
  5. Question any account that would not be very profitable. If it gives you a chance to show off your skills to other potential clients, then take the account.
  6. Always find the motive for the client switching agencies, if he was let go from the previous agency, find out why.
  7. Do not take clients that put little importance in advertising.
  8. Never advertise for a product that is not yet on the market.
  9. Never take associations as clients.
  10. Only give in to the demand that a person be hired if you get the account if you feel that the person is capable of doing good work for your company

And lastly, if a company publicly announces the companies which it is considering to do their advertising, do not try to get the account, if you do not get it, you will publicly be known for being inferior to the successful company in some way.

David Ogilvy’s Rules on How To Build Great Campaigns

I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy.

Here are his rules on…

How To Build Great Campaigns:

  1. What you say is more important than how you say it.
  2. Unless your campaign is built around a great idea, it will flop.
  3. Give the facts. (The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.)
  4. You cannot bore people into buying.
  5. Be well-mannered, but don’t clown. (You should try to charm the consumer into buying.)
  6. Make your advertising contemporary.
  7. Committees can criticize advertisements, but they cannot write them.
  8. If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops pulling.
  9. Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your own family to read.
  10. The image and the brand. (Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.)
  11. Don’t be a copy-cat.

David Ogilvy’s Rules on How To Be A Good Client

I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, even if it was written in the 60s by a man who started an agency in 1952.

Here are his rules on…

How To Be A Good Client:

  1. Emancipate your agency from fear.
  2. Select the right agency in the first place.
  3. Brief your agency very thoroughly indeed.
  4. Do not compete with your agency in the creative area.
  5. Coddle the goose who lays the golden egg. (provide enough time and resources to do the job well.)
  6. Don’t strain your advertising through too many layers.
  7. Make sure your agency makes a profit.
  8. Don’t haggle with your agency.
  9. Be candid and encourage candor.
  10. Set high standards.
  11. Test everything.
  12. Hurry. (Profit is a function of time.)
  13. Don’t waste time on problem babies (Back your successes and abandon  your losses.)
  14. Tolerate genius.
  15. Don’t under spend. (The surest way to overspend on advertising is not to spend enough to do the job properly.)

Meetings and Masturbation on a Schedule

I’m reminded of this quote this morning from Dave Barry after reading an article on scheduling and meetings by Paul Graham:

“Meetings are an addictive highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate.” – Dave Barry

I’ve only worked at one organization that used meetings well all the time. It was simple: we had a one hour all company meeting once a week that lasted no longer than an hour. Anytime we met outside of that, I think we wasted a lot of time… because we weren’t as focused, and we’d already met that week and discussed some of what was on the schedule for that “other” meeting. If we’d have just focused on limiting all group contact to that one weekly meeting I think people would have gotten really good at communicating everything they needed to quickly and efficiently, and we would have left “the makers” a lot more time to get shit done… but hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?

Integrity questions

When you aren’t sure if you’re keeping you integrity, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I know to do?
  2. What am I saying I will do?
  3. What do others expect me to do, even though I haven’t said I will do it?
  4. What do I have to do to have my work complete?
  5. What do I have to do so that it’s done the way it has to be done to be considered complete?

Entrepreneurship is… throwing yourself off a cliff, and building a plane on the way down.

“Entrepreneurship is throwing yourself off a cliff, and building a plane on the way down.” -Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIN.

the end of any nation


“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can not give to anybody anything the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

To All My Valued Employees

This kind of says it all, doesn’t it:

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. I was married to my work.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don’t. ! There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom.

I eat and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes, Federal taxes, Property taxes, Sales and use taxes, Payroll taxes, Workers compensation taxes, and yes – Unemployment taxes.

Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him.

Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or the federal government?

Here is what many of you don’t understand … TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY YOU NEED TO STIMULATE WHAT RUNS THE ECONOMY. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth because I wanted to make even more money.

My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine.

So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it won’t be my problem.

I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizens! Hip?

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Signed,
Your boss

Larry Page Quotes

Things on the internet have a way of disappearing, so I’m copying the below so I know I have it, if I ever want to reference it. Originally posted at http://www.ycombinator.com/pagequotes.txt:

(This article originally appeared on a site that split it across
*eleven* pages. To save people from that I copied it into a single
text file. -pg)

Secrets of success from Google co-founder Larry Page

January 5, 2009

# If you have a product that’s really gaining a lot of usage, then
it’s probably a good idea.

# When you grow, you continually have to invent new processes. We’ve
done a pretty good job keeping up, but it’s an ongoing challenge.

# We built a business on the opposite message. We want you to come
to Google and quickly find what you want. Then we’re happy to send
you to the other sites. In fact, that’s the point. The portal
strategy tries to own all of the information.

# Pretty early on, I saw a newspaper story about Googling dates.
People were checking out who they were dating by Googling them. I
think it’s a tremendous responsibility. If you think everybody is
relying on us for information, you understand the responsibility.
That’s mostly what I feel. You have to take that very seriously.

# Part of our brand is that we’re pretty understated in what we do.
If you look at other technology companies, they might preannounce
things, and it will be a couple years before they really happen,
and they don’t happen in the way they said they would.

# Through innovation and iteration, Google takes something that
works well and improves upon it in unexpected ways.

# If you can run the company a bit more collaboratively, you get a
better result, because you have more bandwidth and checking and
balancing going on.

# The ‘be good’ concept also comes up when we design our products.
We want them to have positive social effects. For example, we just
released Gmail, a free e-mail service. We said, ‘We will not hold
your e-mail hostage. ‘ We will make it possible for you to get your
e-mail out of Gmail if you ever want to.

# The dotcom period was difficult for us. We were dismayed in that
climate… We knew a lot of things people were doing weren’t
sustainable, and that made it hard for us to operate. We couldn’t
get good people for reasonable prices. We couldn’t get office space.
It was a hypercompetitive time. We had the opportunity to invest
in 100 or more companies and didn’t invest in any of them. I guess
we lost a lot of money in the short term — but not in the long
term.

# Talented people are attracted to Google because we empower them
to change the world. Google has large computational resources and
distribution that enables individuals to make a difference.

# We don’t have as many managers as we should, but we would rather
have too few than too many.

# We think we’re an important company, and we’re dedicated to doing
this over the long term. We like being independent.

# Serving our end users is at the heart of what we do and remains
our number one priority.

# It definitely helps to be really focused on what you are doing.

# My experience is that when people are trying to do ambitious
things, they’re all worried about failing when they start. But all
sorts of interesting things spin out that are of huge economic
value. Also, in these kinds of projects, you get to work with the
best people and have a very interesting time. They’re not really
taking a risk, but they feel like they are.

# From its inception, Google has focused on providing the best user
experience possible. While many companies claim to put their customers
first, few are able to resist the temptation to make small sacrifices
to increase shareholder value. Google has steadfastly refused to
make any change that does not offer a benefit to the users who come
to the site.

# You (the Google user) want answers and you want them right now.
Who are we to argue?

# Many leaders of big organisations don’t believe that change is
possible. But if you look at history, things do change, and if your
business is static, you’re likely to have issues.

# If we are not trusted, we have no business. We have such a lot
to lose; we are forced to act in everyone’s interest.”

# I would rather have people think we’re confused than let our
competitors know what we’re going to do.

# We chose it (the name Google) because we deal with huge amounts
of data. Besides, it sounds really cool.

# The ultimate search engine… would understand exactly what you
mean and give back exactly what you want.

# Our company relies on having the trust of our users and using
that information for their benefit. That’s a very strong motivation
for us. We’re committed to that. If you start to mandate how products
are designed, I think that’s a really bad path to follow. I think
instead we should have laws that protect the privacy of data, for
example, from government requests and other kinds of requests.

# Many companies are under pressure to keep their earnings in line
with analysts’ forecasts. Therefore, they often accept smaller,
predictable earnings rather than larger and less predictable returns.
Sergey and I feel this is harmful, and we intend to steer in the
opposite direction.

# We think a lot about how to maintain our culture and the fun
elements. I don’t know if other companies care as much about those
things as we do. We spent a lot of time getting our offices right.
We think it’s important to have a high density of people. People
are packed together everywhere. We all share offices. We like this
set of buildings because it’s more like a densely packed university
campus than a typical suburban office park.

# We’re trying to use the web’s self-organising properties to decide
which things to present. We don’t want to be in the position of
having to decide these things. We take the responsibility seriously.
People depend on us.

# Google is organised around the ability to attract and leverage
the talent of exceptional technologists and business people. We
have been lucky to recruit many creative, principled and hard working
stars. We hope to recruit many more in the future. We will reward
and treat them well.

# By always placing the interests of the user first, Google has
built the most loyal audience on the web. And that growth has come
not through TV ad campaigns, but through word of mouth from one
satisfied user to another.

# You don’t want to be Tesla. He was one of the greatest inventors,
but it’s a sad, sad story. He couldn’t commercialise anything, he
could barely fund his own research. You’d want to be more like
Edison. If you invent something, that doesn’t necessarily help
anybody. You’ve got to actually get it into the world; you’ve got
to produce, make money doing it so you can fund it.

# Invariably we try 10 things that don’t quite work out in order
to do one thing that’s successful. And we learn a lot in doing the
10 things that didn’t quite work.

# We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things
we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I
think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.

# We think a lot about how to maintain our culture and the fun
elements. I don’t know if other companies care as much about those
things as we do.

# It is an advantage being young. You don’t have as many other
responsibilities.

# If you have a great product that meets people’s needs, they start
telling their friends, especially when it’s a search engine, which
is something that everybody has to use. So we’ve actually been
growing 20 per cent per month, compounded, for our whole history,
and without spending any significant money on advertising. It’s an
incredible phenomenon.

# We were, I guess, lucky enough to be trying to be profitable long
before it was fashionable, and that was a really good decision. I
think it’s more luck than real insight on our parts, but Sergey and
I really felt a lot better about having a business that could
actually make money. So we figured that once we were at that stage
then not much could hurt the company.

# We are focused on providing an environment where talented, hard
working people are rewarded for their contributions to Google and
for making the world a better place

# The amazing thing is that we’re part of people’s daily lives,
like brushing their teeth. It’s just something they do throughout
the day while working, buying things, deciding what to do after
work and much more. Google has been accepted as part of people’s
lives. It’s quite remarkable. Most people spend most of their time
getting information, so maybe it’s not a complete surprise that
Google is successful.

# Our goal is to organise the world’s information and to make it
universally accessible and useful. That’s our mission. When we
started, we had about 30 million Web pages, which was quite large
for the time — that was two years ago. Now, we have well over a
billion Web pages. So that gives you some idea of how we’ve grown
in content. So we try to make more and more stuff available to
people. We try to, when you come to Google, fulfill that need that
you have as quickly as possible.

# Because of our employee talent, Google is doing exciting work in
nearly every area of computer science. Our main benefit is a workplace
with important projects, where employees can contribute and grow.

# We’ve actually been very deliberate about making all of our
decisions in a way that minimises the risk that we will go out of
business basically. We have pretty conservative financial planning.
That turned out to be really smart, and we’ve had tremendous viral
growth anyway, so we haven’t really had any marketing expenses or
things like that and we have huge volumes.

# The increasing volume of information is just more opportunity to
build better answers to questions. The more information you have,
the better.

# You can try to control people, or you can try to have a system
that represents reality. I find that knowing what’s really happening
is more important than trying to control people.

# In the same way Google puts users first when it comes to our
online service, Google Inc. puts employees first when it comes to
daily life in our Googleplex headquarters.

# Technology knowledge is going to drive wealth: people’s ability
to deal with technology and to build interesting things.

# Always deliver more than expected.

# It is a tremendous responsibility for us to have all eyes focused
on what we do and to give people exactly what they need when they
ask for it.

# We believe it is easy to be penny wise and pound foolish with
respect to benefits that can save employees considerable time and
improve their health and productivity.

# Our opportunity and responsibility has continued to expand. It
doesn’t feel all that different to me than it did a few years ago.

# The thing that matters is experience. We have lots of executives
from failed companies; they learned a lot from these things. They
say, ‘We can’t do that — we tried that and it didn’t work.’ So
failure is useful.

# When you have basic technology you find interesting things to do
with them, and if you’re lucky they’ll turn into something big.

Quote: Today

“Today is the best day to do something, if you want something done.” – John Engler, 1/5/2009 in a IM conversation with a friend.

Some bosses…

Seth Godin writes things all the time that just make so much sense. In his post “The You Show” I found this nugget:

“Some bosses don’t want to hire people who have a vision, a personality and a shtick. That’s okay. You don’t want to work for them anyway.”

[via @tylerfonda]

Build your own wings

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
Ray Bradbury (1920 – )
American author

What happens if I fail?

I love this cartoon from Hugh:

What if I fail?

Classic.

More great cartoons here.

Mary Kay was pretty awesome

“You cannot keep determined people from success. If you place stumbling blocks in their way, they will use them for stepping-stones and climb to new heights.” – Mary Kay Ash (1918–2001)

Senate Bill 1738 – The PROTECT Our Children Act Passes

A few months ago, my wife asked me to send an email to our Senators and Congressmen, after watching an episode of Oprah about Senate Bill 1738. So I did.

Here’s the response I just got from my Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison (who I’d love to see run for president, btw):

from: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison <[email protected]>
to: John Engler
date: Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 5:17 PM
subject: Constituent Response From Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Dear Mr. Engler:

Thank you for contacting me regarding on-line child safety. This is an issue that is very important to me, and I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Children in schools and households across the country log onto the Internet every day to access a wealth of information resources, to communicate with friends, or simply to seek entertainment. For predators, however, the Internet represents a vast unregulated space in which they can target and victimize innocent children. This is a frightening reality that we must confront as explicit material becomes increasingly available online. Since 1996, the FBI has documented a 2,000 percent increase in the amount of child pornography on the Internet. According to a study conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ), 25 percent of all children have been exposed to unwanted sexually explicit material. Those numbers are alarming, and we must act to protect our children so they can safely use the Internet as an educational tool without being exposed to illicit material or targeted by predators who try to trick them into revealing personally identifiable information.

Safeguarding our nation’s children has been my longstanding priority. In 2003, I sponsored a bill that was later signed into law and that created the National AMBER Alert Network. Since its inception, the alert system has safely returned 420 missing or abducted children to their parents. I also cosponsored the Internet Safety Act. It was signed into law in 2006 when provisions of the bill were included in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which directed the DOJ to conduct training of state and local law enforcement to effectively deal with computer-aided child exploitation crimes. We must ensure that the law enforcement community possesses all necessary tools to pursue and apprehend child predators, from enlisting the support of Internet providers, to educating local law enforcement, to bolstering awareness among parents.

On June 28, 2008, Senator Joe Biden introduced S. 1738, the Combating Child Exploitation Act of 2008, a bill I joined as a cosponsor. The Combating Child Exploitation Act directs the Attorney General to create and implement an initiative known as the National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction. This legislation will also help strengthen cases against criminals by requiring Internet service providers to provide information on the Internet identity and geographic location of suspected sex offenders, and preserve electronic evidence of child exploitation. I am pleased to inform you that the Combating Child Exploitation Act of 2008 has been passed by both the Senate and the House, and has now been sent to the President.

In addition, I have also cosponsored S. 431, the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007 (KIDS Act), and S. 1965, the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act. The KIDS Act requires a convicted sex offender to register any email address or online identity in the National Sex Offender Registry and requires the Attorney General to maintain a system that allows companies to check the database prior to granting an individual access to social networking sites such as MySpace and Face Book. The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act contains important provisions that raise public awareness. It requires schools and libraries that receive support from the federal universal service telecommunications fund to provide age appropriate Internet safety education for all children. The KIDS Act has passed both the House and Senate, and will now be sent to the President. S. 1965 passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and was passed by the House of Representatives as part of another bill. It will also be sent to the President.

I will continue to support efforts to combat child exploitation and to ensure that those who prey on our children are punished to the full extent of the law. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you.

Sincerely,
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)
http://hutchison.senate.gov

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY to this message as it is not a valid e-mail address. Due to the tremendous volume of mail Senator Hutchison receives, she requests that all email messages be sent through the contact form found on her website at http://hutchison.senate.gov/contact.cfm.

If you would like more information about issues pending before the Senate, please visit the Senator’s website at http://hutchison.senate.gov.  You will find articles, floor statements, and press releases, along with her weekly column and monthly television show on current events. You can also sign up to receive Senator Hutchison’s weekly e-newsletter.

Thank you.

Thank you Senator! And thank you Oprah for bringing this bill to light, so I could voice my concern.

Go for the Kill. Close the Deal. Everything else is a waste of time.

From Entrepreneur.com this week:

Forget the Sale–Go for ‘the Kill’
Create the scenario that can help you establish invaluable business relationships.
By Mark Stevens. September 22, 2008

All across the nation, thousands of salespeople are preparing for sales meetings. Sales calls. Cold calls. Networking sessions. You name it.

All are variations on the same thing. All are wastes of time. All are counterproductive. All are based on clichés taught by “sales trainers” who have never sold anything.

It’s time to change all of this Willy Loman nonsense, toss it in the waste basket and reject it as busy work that leads to the big looming question that haunts so many would be salespeople: “I wonder why I didn’t close the sale.”

A sales classic!

How to post a job for free on LinkedIn

I use LinkedIn to advertise open positions in my company, but, I do it for free, instead of paying for them (we also use Craigslist and the University of Texas Access website for former graduates, since we’re in Austin). All of these options are free. Craigslist and UT Access are great sources of candidates. LinkedIn can be a good source for mid-senior level candidates, but more importantly, it’s a way of advertising your company’s growth or success to your peers, colleagues and associates. When people see your job ad, they usually think something like “Great, John’s company is hiring and growing… that’s awesome!” Posting a job on LinkedIn also gets me back in touch with people I haven’t had a chance or need to talk to in a while, which is an added bonus… as a sales person, there are reasons to talk to people that might be able to bring me business or vice-versa, but I might not be as good at keeping in touch as I should be all the time.

LinkedIn redesigned their website sometime in the past 6 months, and I found myself needing to post a job listing to send to my connections on LinkedIn last week. The old design made it easy to find with a “don’t want to pay now, send your job listing to your connections” call to action ad on the job posting page. With the new design I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to post a job listing for free. So this quick guide is for all of you looking to send a free job posting on LinkedIn to your connections:

1. Login to your account.
2. In the menubar at the top click on “jobs -> post a job”. This takes to you the “Compose a job” section of the “Hiring and Recruiting” section of LinkedIn.

3. Then “compose” the job you want listed.

4. Click “Save Draft” or “Next” it doesn’t matter* (hitting “Next” will save your job posting as a draft)

*I’m assuming it doesn’t matter, you just have to then make sure you don’t actually pay for the job posting on the next page if you click “Next”

5. Click on the “Manage Jobs” tab in the “Hiring and Recruiting” section (you should be there still)

6. On the right, click on “Distribute” next to the job you just posted as a draft.

7. From there, just select your connections and send the posting. Note: You are limited to a certain number of connections, so if you have more than that limit that you want to send the job to, you might have to do these last two steps (6 and 7) a couple of times to get your job sent out to all of your connections.

One note: if you have a lot of connections that aren’t in the same city as you’re hiring, and the job requires living in that city, or relocating… make sure you note that in your job posting. There’s nothing like having to disqualify the high-quality resumes you’ll get from LInkedIn because you didn’t take time to add that piece of information to the job posting.

Hope that helps. Good luck finding the right candidate through LinkedIn.

And yes, we’re hiring a Marketing Manager at my company: UnsubCentral. If you’re interested, or know someone in Austin that might be, contact us through this Craiglist posting, or my LinkedIn profile, if we’re connected.

Thanks!

Patton is still alive

Love it:

Note to JobSeekers: Don’t save your resume in Office 2007 format

I’ve got two job openings that I’m trying to fill:

A Sales Manager position and an Account Manager or Coordinator position (if you’re looking in Austin, shoot us your resume … contact info on those job postings – or if you can find my email address on this site (it’s on here somewhere, but I don’t want to get more spam), email me.)

Anyways, I’m trying to fill this position. And someone just sent us their resume in Office 2007 format.

I don’t have Office 2007. In fact, I’d make a bet that most people don’t have Office 2007. I’m still using Office 2003 on Windows, and Office 2004 on my Mac. So, I try to open their resume (which looks weird with the .docx extension by the way) and Word prompts me to download and install some Office 2007 backwards compatibility stuff. So I hit Okay. And the installer makes me restart my computer.

“What the fuck?” I think to myself.

And I’m thinking about hiring this person? They just cost me 20 minutes of my day. Nope, next.

So, lesson to all of you that might be job-hunting. Save your resume in a format that’s really portable. Use an older Word format, or even better… save is as a Rich Text Format (.RTF) file. That’s totally cross platform compatible, and will open in just about any text-editor, or in Word, and it’ll still look good.

Don’t use Office 2007 to send out your resume… it won’t impress people, it’ll just waste their time. Impress them by sending it in RTF.

And BAAAAD Microsoft making me restart my computer to install a converter utility.

Top Sixteen Lies of CEOs

Top 16 Lies of CEOs

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Leaving a Job – A Few Lessons for Management

Here are some management lessons for anyone that runs a sales organization. No names will be used. If you know who I used to work for, I’d appreciate it if you kept it to yourself in the comments (or your own posts) on other weblogs about this entry.

These are the reasons I left my last job:

  1. They changed the entire sales organization structure and compensation plan in January 2006 to my short term detriment, but probably in the end it’ll work out well for the company. It’s a smart move, just wasn’t communicated well at all.
  2. They changed my compensation plan on January 1, 2006 and didn’t explain the new plan until late January 2006.
  3. The new plan took a good 25 percent of my last year’s pay out of my pocket, with no warning and no effort to compensate for the change.
  4. My boss promised lots of things he had the responsibility to deliver but didn’t have the authority to promise. Needless to say, enough of the promises were broken or backed out of to leave a very bad taste in my mouth. If you’re a manager, don’t promise things you don’t already have approved. Don’t say “I’ll try to do X if we hit this goal.” That’s an implied promise.
  5. My boss’s boss embellished facts (basically lied) to friends of mine and potential clients of ours… and then had the nerve to call it selling. I firmly believe in selling what you’ve got, not what you want to have. Don’t get me wrong… answer questions as positively as you can, but don’t outright lie.
  6. I was given a new sales territory, but wasn’t given the two biggest accounts in my sales territory, even after I asked for them multiple times and made arguments as to why they should have been mine. That planted the seed that said “We don’t trust you to handle this business.”
  7. I started to resent management, and wasn’t sure of my decision to work for this company based on the “new organization”. I had a hard time telling myself that “it would get better” when it clearly wasn’t.
  8. This will sound silly, but, no one asked me how I was doing until it was too late (ie. three or four weeks after I decided to start looking for a new job).
  9. My boss actually said these things in group meetings (or at least this is what I heard him say) “If you don’t like it, then you should find a new job” multiple times, and “The CEO is telling us ‘this is the message, if you don’t use the message, then we’ll fire you… if the message doesn’t work, we’ll change it.'” What was I supposed to do?
  10. Oh, and one other thing I thought was really stupid:

  11. The company published a “no-blogging” policy in sometime in early Q1. This “no-blogging” policy comes from a company that has had me telling clients that “transparency is the future of this business.” Ugh!

In the end, trust is a two way street, and I lost all trust in my current immediate manager and senior manager. I trusted them to take care of me, while I took care of them. When they showed that they didn’t trust me to take care of them, I started questioning their motives. Then I started seeing that they weren’t taking care of me. At least not fast enough for me, and while I never said point blank “fix this stuff, or I’m leaving” I did ask for help many times, and it usually fell on deaf ears, or so it seemed.

I told myself I’d give it 90 days in January. Guess what?

I was kicking ass under the new sales organization and structure as of the day I quit (number 4 in an organization of 15 or so, after starting at “tied for number 15″ in January). I’d given it 90 days and didn’t see any real progress other than my own.

I can be successful anywhere, and I will be at my next job.

The funny thing is that I’ve left behind a really good bunch of people that’ll be really successful as individuals, and I hope that the old saying “a rising tide raises all boats” isn’t the only thing that makes my old company successful… but I’m fearful it might be. I was the 7th person to leave the sales side of the company in 5 months. 7th out of 15 or 20… tell me that that tells you when you see someone lose one-third of their sales staff through attrition that quickly.

I know there are lots of resumes out on the street from that company. So if you’re looking for a good sales person, senior sales person, or VP-level sales person, let me know, and I’ll put you in touch with my former co-workers, as best I can based on my NDA/non-compete.

Long story short, I stopped drinking the company Koolaid, because I stopped trusting my superiors.

For those of you stuck in bad positions: Find a backup plan if you want to make things better… find that next job, then go to your management and see if you can get things “made better” for you, if you want to keep that current job. If you don’t want to stay, leave, and take that next job. If you’re a good employee, and are worth keeping, they’ll probably fight to keep you. But remember, especially if you’re a sales person, that you’re only worth “What you did for me lately” so that tact may backfire for you if you threaten to leave and don’t have a backup plan… you never know.

First Day

Today was my first day at the new job. I showed up at 8, spent about 3 hours with the C-Level execs talking turkey, then spent a couple of hours with one of my direct reports. Then a meeting or two, then played with my laptop getting some of the settings just right. Then another hour or two with a peer and then with the President. Got home at 6:00… Then after playing with the kid, eating dinner, giving him a bath and talking to the wife a little, I started digging into some of the numbers I’ll need to learn. Overall: A great day! Can’t wait for tomorrow.

The Top Ten Lies of Corporate Partners

The Top Ten Lies of Corporate Partners

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New job on 5/22

Just a note to say I quit my job on Monday. Or at least I gave them two weeks notice.

I start my new job on May 22nd, and will post more then.

I’ll also say that my former company is enforcing my non-compete, which limited the offers I could accept (I had three on the table). In the end, the job I’ve taken is going to totally kick ass, and I’m excited about it (it’s the one I wanted to take anyways) but I wanted those other options open for my own negotiation power… and they’re being dicks about the non-compete.

Lesson learned: don’t ever sign another non-compete. A NDA, or IP-clause, fine… but not a non-compete.

More on the reasons I left and where I’m heading next after I get my last paycheck.

Sidenote: I should be blogging more again soon ;)

WWJD?

Go watch this: WWJD?

Powerful stuff, huh?

The Five Most Common Lies in Business

The Five Most Common Lies in Business – An irreverant look at some of the things I’ve heard in business over the past 10 years. Totally agree with these statements. If you hear yourself saying these things, check your BS meter.

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Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation

Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation – good read for managers and management.

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Modern Sales Training

Modern Sales Training–What’s Smoke? What’s Real?

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The Personal MBA

The Personal MBA – great idea.

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Hiring Salespeople

Hiring Salespeople – spot on comments and observations.

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Inbox Zero

43 Folders Series: Inbox Zero – Great series on how to get your inbox under control.

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Urban Legend: 80% of Business Fail

This one is for Scott Johnson: Urban Legend: 80% of Business FailScott always says “Yes, I know 80% of small businesses fail” in his podcasts (which are excellent by the way)

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what sort of bonuses should you pay?

It’s not about the money – great little post about what kind of bonuses you should pay. I agree with this for every field except for salespeople that are highly motivated by dollars.

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look busy

from Looking Busy : “It’s more important to look busy than be busy.”

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Apple features EchoStorm

This is too cool: Apple has posted a case study about EchoStorm which just happens to be run my David Barton and Jason Barton… old friends from my Mac Web days. Congrats Jason and David. Nice feature… and nice little business you guys are building there!

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BadBossology

BadBossology.com – hehe: “How to deal with bad bosses, problem supervisors and difficult managers” I think this is just too funny that it has to be linked to.

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The Art of Schmoozing

The Art of Schmoozing — Can I just shout this out loud now: “I LOVE READING GUY KAWASAKI!!!” … ok, got that off my chest… This post from Guy is one great example of why I wish I could work for the man. In fact, if I could afford to, I’d work for Guy with no pay, just to learn from the man.

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Be an Individual

“Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have an obligation to be one.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), U.S. First Lady, U.N. diplomat, humanitarian

from JustSell.com

Advice for new managers: part 1

Advice for new managers: part 1 – great read.

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Bootstrapping

The Art of Bootstrapping – required reading for anyone looking at starting a business without funding. (and probably good reading for those of you with funding too).

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