I recently heard that Jack Dorsey uses “themes” for his day, at one point CEO-ing both Square and Twitter with full attention. Good idea for busy people. I’m trying something similar (of course, on a much smaller scale).
… A quiet place to sit and think is a good thing. Having something to capture your thoughts makes it even better.
… Looking forward to the new Jack Ryan movie. I like Chris Pine’s acting, but I really like some of the parts Kevin Costner is playing lately. He’s a good story teller. Did you know Chris Pine is the fourth actor to portray Jack Ryan (after Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck)?
… If you’re a movie fan or storytelling student, you should read Screenwriting from Iowa. I like the way Scott W. Smith presents stories about the stories we watch.
… There is almost always a simple offline metaphor or simile to explain an activity of using online tools or networks. Write these on index cards and use those as a “swipe file”.
… With the Steelers out of the playoffs, I guess I’ll revert back to my “home” team and root 49ers for my dad’s sake. Probably won’t watch anything but the headlines.
… It’s all ecommerce now. This thought is stuck in my head. At the grocer recently, I didn’t find the rice we like (Tsuru Mai) – so I went online. Got it shipped direct from grower. All while standing in the grocery aisle.
… Want to “understand” the craze of taking selfies? Take a lot of selfies and see what you like/dislike. Experiment with backgrounds. I’m sure you won’t be wasting film. You don’t have to share them. But you’ll have a new perspective.
… Maybe your Fridays can be a “visuals” day. Selfies in the morning. Build a library of stock images in the afternoon.
As a youth, Saturdays were filled with visual candy with cartoons in the morning and matinees in the afternoon. In 2014, I’m doing an adult version of that, looking for and sharing scenes and clips that help teach business lessons I talk about offline.
This thought: Ideas are like Butterflies has been floating in my head. This post (series?): Friday Flutterings is a way to capture thoughts like that and see if and how they grow. Maybe they land here and stop. Or get expanded upon elsewhere. I dunno – let’s find out.
… Decades ago, Larry King would write a column for USA Today (and another for The Sporting News) that read, well, sort of like his Twitter stream. It was a great read, especially if the commuter was a short hop. Another example in this Larry King tribute. Maybe this is a bit of that.
… I haven’t had a good salami in a long, long time. Probably won’t for a lot longer. But it’s a great memory. With sourdough bread.
… I forget who said it, but it resonates: “All music is jazz, if it’s really coming from the heart.” I do so enjoy when a singer sings like he’s telling a heartfelt story. This rendition of Steve Winwood’s Can’t Find My Way Home is storytelling.
… This post – or the style of it (if there is a style to it) – is somewhat motivated by No 3 in this article. Which brings me to James Altucher. He shoots straight (and sometimes colorful). If the color upsets you, skip the color. Or go read Psalm 119:165 and get back to reading. Maybe his writing is jazz. (Thanks, James).
… I’m going to miss Pumpkin Butter. I’ve been putting a touch of it in almost everything. See you in the fall.
… The word “relate” is a root of the word relationship. Why do so many folks chalk a lack of understanding (ignorance?) up to “…can’t relate”? It’s a choice difference, not a generational difference.
I have a three-word compass for my work in 2014, and also a three-word compass for people I work with.
My own three words for 2014 – it has less to do with golf than the picture presents.
They line up in an acronym on purpose: C.U.P.
Clarity – I enjoy being able to see many things when looking at one thing. Sometimes, ideas are like butterflies, fluttering around inside my head. Ideas (and butterflies) can be distracting. So clarity is what I’m after, and capturing the ideas in an organized way will help in clearness of thought without losing various perceptions that may later come in handy. With such focus (and vision), I can move forward with purpose rather than pressure.
Urgency – This word has always seemed synonymous with “hurry” – and it shouldn’t. Not always. With the work I do, there is often a sense of urgency – the hurried kind. There is also, however, a sense of urgency knowing that if solutions aren’t already in motion – emergency is beyond urgency. Urgency preceded by Clarity allows me to maintain sights on the goal or target to be pursued.
Pursuit – Decades ago, I drove a cab at night for additional income. While some drivers would “park” at the airport or train, or even a vacant parking lot, I tried to keep my wheels in motion. I would bid for a call miles away rather than turn off the motor (and the meter). If my tires rolled, the income kept increasing. Sometimes, the call I’d get was only a $3.00 call – but it all added up. By focusing on the next call, rather than the long haul, the work seemed short, the connections with people more vital, and by the end of the day – there was more profit. Pursuit of that nature is what I’m doing with SmallBizTracks – both as a project and in the work we do with clients.
There’s a clip in the movie “Seven Days to Utopia” that often comes to mind at this time of year. Again, it has less to do with golf than the clip presents:
I used to play a lot of golf. It stopped being fun and I couldn’t figure out why for years. Now, the errors in my head and heart are clear. When I was on the fairway, I was already thinking about the green (putting was not a strength of mine), which led me to the rough or a sand trap. There was no Clarity. Urgency was premature and pressured. Pursuit was misplaced.
Everyone has a role, helping to make the large project of a holiday meal much more manageable.
With Mom serving as coordinator and director, she also makes sure each small task gets done efficiently and on time, making sure the large task of a holiday table got set in fast fashion with no one getting stressed or heavy-burdened.
Like a choreographed number set to holiday music:
One person, setting up the flatware
While another, placed each fork and knife
With glasses to the right, candles provided light
Such beauty from many hands without strife.
On the counter, one chopped the salad Yet another, a hot plate for each side Mom handles the course main, smiling with each step gained For her such a feast with many mouths, an amusement ride.
After supper, one delivered the bowl of fruit salad A signal, for a brother to clear the plates While another brought cake, all but your fork he will take Someone pours coffee, with egg nog as its mate.
And now the dishes, already getting rinsed While a set of hands, puts each of them away A delicious job quickly done, now it’s time for fun Which of these board games shall Mom choose for us to play?
As I watch the scene unfold, my desire is for this to be similar to how SmallBizTracks continues to work with the businesses and people we assist in 2014.
As Mom engineered and coordinated the table above, making sure that everyone is served in a fresh and timely way while no one lifts too big of a load, SmallBizTracks looks forward to doing the same for our customers, project partners, and readers.
A couple of years ago, I offered to start publishing “guest posts” with guidelines. This is a new set of guidelines (though there may be similarities) for 2014.
Ending 2013 with a flurry of activity around the SmallBizTracks project (ideation, cir. Sep. ’12; launch, cir Nov. ’13), ConverStations has become the blog and voice of SmallBizTracks (FAQ).
SmallBizTracks works in helping small business, rural business, and independents at building a better business presence taking small steps leading towards bigger results, online and offline.
If you have a company, a service, or a product that can:
assist a small, rural, or independent business
give them a boost in building their presence
lead towards bigger results without making them taking large steps,
We will entertain a guest post from you or your company.
We will only post one third-party post a week. The post will be published on a Friday afternoon (only one guest post per week). Which Friday depends on what’s in the queue. It will be promoted across social platforms. It will be included in the Whistle Stops Weekly newsletter.
There are still guidelines to the writing:
Any submission would be gladly received. But before you begin, a couple of thoughts:
First, read this post on Eye Rests (I’ll know if you haven’t, and if you haven’t your post will not be published)
Try to keep your post to 600 words or less. With Eye Rests!
Include a link, perhaps a call-to-action to your service or product. I’m cool with that as long as they point to a resource that would be helpful for the reader.
It is a requirement to have a bio to plug in at the bottom that includes your page on at least one of the following (best case: all) – Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or your blog. Get started by emailing a request with your piece attached.
Every submission/query may not get a respsonse. Thank you for your patience and hard work.
A lot of small business owners are Do-it-Yourself types. DIY is an acronym for Do-it-Yourself folks.
An acronym we’ve been using as it relates to some of the work we do is EASY. It appeals to the DIY in the businesses we serve.
With every track we do, our goal is to get the job done quickly and above expectation. Our hope is to make sure it’s EASY as well
E – Efficient A – Affordable S – Sustainable Y – Y as in Why the work is being put in play
E (Efficient): Once the work is put into place, we strive to make sure the business doesn’t get bogged down with time – we are out to save time, maybe even make time if we can – so the business can operate in a more lean or efficient manner.
A (Affordable): - We also want to make sure anything we put into place is affordable, and the tools or subscriptions to outside services is as close to zero-cost as possible. Of course, you get what you pay for, but we never want to put a cost-center into place.
S (Sustainable): If the DIY type of owner wants to continue on or even grow without our helping hand, we want to make sure the process is at very least a sustainable one.
Y (Why are we doing this?): This “Why?” is a question to ask at the beginning, middle, and all the way through. It is, in part, how we measure the success of the project — so you stay on track.
Have a question? Click the phone number: 800-825-2273 (EASY, yes?)
Lots of football to watch this time of year – whether you want to or not. It’s on all the time it seems.
Something to keep a lookout for if you are watching a game or highlights – is how the best players and great plays get started with short, quick steps that keep pumping towards open field, what’s often called “daylight.”
Watching a player gallop ahead of the pack in an open field is a beautiful thing to see. Yet, the daylight often comes only after a series of short steps and pivots – often in traffic when it seems unlikely the play will go far.
If you get stuck in a work project, shorten up your steps.