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Dave’s blog

Sign-up for Your Fantasy

I love this story because not everyone gets to live their fantasy.  Most people don’t TRY to live their fantasy.

Sometimes a magical moment happens, as it did for Scott Foster, an accountant called into action for the Chicago Blackhawks by a weird fluke.  He never expected it, but he signed-up for it.  Nobody else did.  Why not?  To most it seemed too silly, too outrageous to bother.  After the game he said, “This is a dream.  No one can ever take it away from me.”  14 minutes and a lifelong dream.  (video)

People thinking about starting a business also worry about being outrageous, about failing and looking foolish.  In my interview with Matt Talbot of GoSpotCheck, we talked about how others would judge founders who, as Matt and his partner did, start a new company then abandon it to start something completely different, becoming over-the-top excited about this new thing.  Matt did that, and he was married with a baby, living away from his family on his co-founder’s couch.  Worthy of bewilderment from anyone observing.  Since then GoSpotCheck has raised $48 million in venture funding and is serving customers including PepsiCo, Panera, Under Armour, and Dannon.

Goalie Scott Foster had a good night.  He stopped all 7 shots.  What if he hadn’t?  What if he’d been scored against and lost the game?  How do you think he’d look back on the experience?  Still a “dream?” Would he feel he’d lived his fantasy?  I’ll bet so.  Trying, regardless of the outcome, is always more gratifying than sitting on the sideline.

Being right is making me miserable

See if you can relate to this story…

I’ve been wrestling with a frustrating situation.  I cannot fix it because I cannot change the people who are causing it.  I know this because I have tried to change those people – and, well, they don’t want to.

To be clear, I haven’t just tried a little, I’ve tried a LOT to get things to change. My efforts started with suggesting and recommending, then asserting and confronting. When those didn’t work I tried sleeping less, drinking more, taking on stress, and complaining to those close to me – even those haven’t worked. And to make it feel even more futile, the people whose views I’ve been trying to change don’t seem affected in the least.

Coincidentally, I began listening to the book, The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday, and I became dramatically introspective. Holiday’s comment, emotion is an indulgence of our lesser self, felt like a reprimand directed at ME.

I still know that I’m right about the circumstances that need to be changed. AND, I’ve decided that focusing on what I can’t change is making me miserable. I am striving to focus on what I can control – what I can do to be my better self.

Blockchain’s Lesson… about Sales!

Like you, I’m learning what I can about Blockchain technology.  Not so I can invest in Bitcoin, but because of the prophecy that Blockchain will rule the future of digital commerce and securing data.  I’ve watched three documentaries and two YouTube videos intending to get a handle on Blockchain.  I still don’t think I fully “get it,” and that got me thinking about why.

Consider one expert’s explanation of Blockchain:

We have the wherewithal here to change technology that will actually help the entire human race.

This authority is passionately committed and clearly knows what he’s talking about… but I’m finding a chasm between the knowledge of experts like him, and the communication to people like me so that I can understand it and emotionally connect.  I need a “picture” (besides digital currency) of how Blockchain will impact business opportunities and my life.  I want to understand and I WANT to buy-in, and I still don’t get it.

That got me thinking…

Whose responsibility is it to close the chasm of understanding between an expert, and another?

Perhaps those in the videos don’t need to care if I understand Blockchain.  But if I’m selling a product, service, even an idea, I must be sure my customer “gets” how what I’m offering works in their context.  My Blockchain research experience is an excellent reminder for me that if I want another to think along MY lines, to agree with me, then I must enable them by bringing them across the chasm of understanding to my side.

See Building a StoryBrand  in Dave’s Reading List for how I’m taking-on this challenge!

P.S. I’ll get Blockchain figured out.

Innovation is not born from the dream, innovation is born from the struggle.

This headline is a tweet from Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why.

In my conversation with Lee Mayer of Havenly, we talked about the hard work of running a startup, and the huge personal price to be paid.  I asked, “Do those close to you understand your challenges and sacrifice?”  The answer: “No, not always.”  Being a startup CEO is a tough existence.  Social marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Ideas are Shit – it’s all about execution.”  And he’s right.

Our world is so cluttered, particularly in media.  When I get on LinkedIn for example, I see everyone busy posting and reposting – and sometimes I get sucked into admiring them.  Then I remind myself that the people most worthy of respect, the best role models, are not those creating social media IMPRESSIONS.  It’s odd that I have to repeatedly remind myself to respect WORK over impressions.  But I do, and we all should.

So why am I featuring a tweet as the headline?  Because Simon Sinek uses social media to spread his work, not as the work itself. Being an entrepreneur and a leader – that’s hard work – and it’s what we ought to admire to support what Lee Mayer describes as a culture that builds on success.

Killer Marketing Lesson #1 from Congress!

The original title of this blog was, “Congress Sucks – Because of Me!” and it was all about how as a moderate, I don’t make my voice heard.

Then a conversation with my son Dan, got me thinking… actually our members of congress are AWESOME!…

…at MARKETING!

I’ve missed it until now, and I’m feeling pretty dumb about it.

What is the most powerful, most fundamental element of marketing? Find and cultivate a sustainable niche. And what do members of Congress do? “Appeal to their base.” Yup. I’ve been criticizing them for “pandering to the crazies.” Guess what? As a “moderate,” I’m not their customer. They aren’t trying to sell to me. Do we chastise Tesla for appealing to an upscale, image oriented audience? Do we scream at Walmart for focusing on low prices? No – we call them smart, savvy, and focused. Our elected officials are doing what any excellent marketer does – focusing on their customer – those who help them get elected. Improved governance requires that moderates figure out how to make ourselves seen as desired customers of our members of Congress.

In the meantime, perhaps we can at least learn marketing from them.

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