Category Archives: Popular on Google+

The Lamborghini effect in Social Media marketing

Categories: Popular on Google+, Semi-Popular, Social Media | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I have been doing marketing for my entire life it seems. I remember as a kid, I marketed my lawn mowing business. I came up with sweat intensive methods for attracting clients in a heartbeat. I used to write an estimate on a flyer and leave it under their door mat if they were not home. I got hired by 10% of the people I left a flyer with. That is phenomenal. But, it is because I used a personal touch, and gave a quick and customized bid to everyone. Being fast at doing accurate estimates has its advantages.

As an adult, I have been running websites for more than a decade. It is hard to run a website, and the marketing keeps changing. Google is basically in charge, so whatever they like, you had better do!

The Lamborghini effect
It sounds like a movie. The Italian Job, The Bridge on the River Quai, The Lamborghini Effect — playing at 5pm, tickets sold at the door. Basically what I am talking about is having a marketing methodology so potent, that if you just tap the gas pedal, you will hear a huge “Voom” sound, and magic will happen. Today, I had a Lamborghini moment, if I may coin that phrase. I published a popular blog entry. But, I had also channeled some traffic to my outsourcing blog (the one you’re reading,) from my newer travel twitter which gets a lot of retweets. The result is that my traffic was more than double for a few days on my blog. Wow! All I did was tweet a few tweets and voom!

Followers are useless, you need results!
Lots of companies and individuals are in social media marketing, and claim to be good at it. You will see offers where they can get you 2000 followers overnight for a low fee, or maybe even 30,000 followers. Followers are useless. You need relevant, active, engaged followers, even if you only have a hundred. Most companies hire people who are not that experienced, and who will not get you amazing results. They will get you some new followers, maybe write a few tweets if they can even write well, and perhaps get you retweeted a few times. There is no focus on results, only on spinning the wheels. I don’t like this. I not only want results, I want to be blown out of the water. Real results are traffic to your site from clicks, and getting new customers — not new dormant followers who just sit there collecting cyber-dust.

My goal
My goal in social media is to learn how to get results so potent that I can help others to promote their social media campaigns. I want one or more twitter accounts, and blogs that get so much active traffic, that one tweet from me, and you won’t know what hit you! It amazes me that my older Twitter accounts have 4000, or 8000 followers, but only get retweeted two dozen times a month, while my newer travel twitter gets two dozen retweets per day, on a bad day. Wow! But, what if I can get my campaign to the point where I am getting hundreds of retweets per day? I think it is possible.

As far as blogging is concerned, by blogging more and more, I learn what is popular and what is not. Writing a popular blog entry in a niche market can get you a few thousand clicks over the life of the blog entry. Some entries get a lot of clicks their first week, while others slowly get clicked on and attract search engine traffic over years. Some of my most popular blog entries were written in 2011 by the way! My goal is get better at identifying what people like, and to continue to write more popular blog entries. I want to get so good, that all of my blog entries are popular. We’ll see what happens, but it is going well so far.

Most social media companies will give you “a” Twitter account and “a” Facebook account and perhaps a blog that is “blahg.” Don’t settle for less. I like it when you get results that are so amazing that you say, “What happened?” That is the Lamborghini effect in Social Media Marketing. Once you’ve experienced it you’ll never forget it!

Create stories in your blog about the experience of your clients

Categories: Marketing, Popular on Google+, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

But, I don’t have a blog? Get one!

Most people just focus on acquiring clients. Their mentality is not far from a rickshaw driver’s who only wants to know, “Where are you going? Do you need a ride?” Prospective clients often want to get to know you first and don’t just want to start off talking about the work. Don’t hustle your clients, engage them instead!

Engage your prospects!
If a client talks to ten different companies, and one of those companies pleasantly engages them without any pressure, two months later when they make their decision who to hire, which one will they remember the most favorably? That’s a no-brainer! They will remember the one who engaged them, who told them charming stories about their clients, and about life in Dehra Dun, Mumbai, or wherever you might be.

Storytelling 101
Being a good businessman is more about understanding margins, numbers, hiring, firing, buying and selling. It is about engaging, and engaging with stories. Obviously, you need to be able to explain to others what is unique about your company and why they might consider hiring you. It’s good to keep in touch regularly just to remind them you are still there if you didn’t hear from them. But, tell them a story about something your client did and how they became successful using your service, or perhaps some other unrelated service. Tell them the story about how last week you had to go hungry because an elephant at a parade in Nashik grabbed your banana right out of your hand and ate it! Ask them if they have ever been to India and engage them in a conversation where they might tell you their stories too! If you want to get clients, get close to people. People will trust you more if you are nice, entertaining, and if they get to know you a little!

But, what about blogging?
You can’t tell someone a story if you haven’t met them yet, but you can blog a story to them! People find me on my blog every day. They like the crazy stories I tell on my notary blog. They like the tips and the nit-picky technical points I make. They sort of get to know me before they have ever talked to me. Blogging allows you to be personal, interact, and get people to know you, before you ever talk to them. Then, by the time they talk to you, they already sort of know you — or at least know a lot about you. So, think up some stories. Hire a writer to help you. Put your stories in your blog. Tell them how you had one client who came to you and he became a millionaire partly because of the help you gave him. Then, tell them about the time you had a head on collision with a cow while in a rick-shaw. Share, entertain — blog!

And remember, don’t sell by selling — sell by telling stories. It’s more fun and works better!

Can a top level executive really take a year off?

Categories: Of Interest, Popular on Google+ | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The concept of a Sabbatical comes from the Hebrew tradition (that wasn’t always religiously followed) of letting the land rest every seven years. That way it would be refreshed for following years. If it were me, I would plant soybeans to get some nutrients back into the soil, but that is just me.

There is even a mystical river in Jewish tradition called the Sambatyon River that spits up rocks six days a week but rests on the seventh. Where is this mystical river? I bet it would be a good tourist attraction. It might only exist in the ethereal realm somewhere near Shambhala!

But, what about an executive taking time off? I take a week off or ten days off regularly. I work seven days a week and need a change of scenery otherwise I lose my mind. Taking a month off would be a stretch, but a year? Most executives can’t afford to do this because they would lose their job permanently. Sure, they might be able to reapply and get back in if their boss liked them, but there would be no guarantees. If you run your own company, your company might not exist after you hire some other guy to manage it for a year. Most people are screw-ups, so if you plan on being totally uninvolved, make sure that new manager is thoroughly tested over a three year period at a minimum.

But, maybe it is a good idea for this to be a cultural norm. Professors get to take a year off. Why can’t executives? Maybe larger companies could have a dental plan, health benefits, and a 30% paid sabbatical. If there were some system in place like a maternity leave which is standardized in many countries, then people could take that break they really need.

Executives are decision makers by trade. They live in a changing world, and the articles I read suggest that CEO’s burnout and crumble after around — you guessed it — seven to nine years. The opportune time to take a break is in exactly seven years. It is like taking a cruise on Princess Cruises — “Come back new.” Well, that is what they say in their commercials. Taking a break from work will not help with tactical decisions. But, tactical skill would come back quickly in only a few months. Strategical decision making skills could be greatly refreshed from taking a year off and seeing the world. You would be very deeply rested and have a completely new perspective on life, especially if you lived in different countries during this time or went back to school to take a few refresher courses.

After all of this time I’m spending writing about sabbaticals, I’m beginning to think it is far past due for me to take one! But, where will I travel to? Bali, China, Dubai, The Himalayas, and of course — the Sambatyon river (if I can find it.) My intuition tells me that it is in North Africa somewhere if it indeed exists. Maybe I’ll find the lost tribe roasting marshmallows on a camping trip on the banks of that river.

Vampire Programmers from Transylvania!

Categories: Popular on Google+, Popular Posts, Software Development | Tagged | Leave a comment

Vampire Web Developers in Transylvania? Beware of Signing Contracts–in Blood

It was early evening as I arrived for the meeting. Twilight, that mysterious time between day… and night.

I was in Transylvania, as they now spell it, an area of Romania, for a meeting with a web developer. The outsourcing firm was called “Count Source,” and the CEO had assured me “After you meet with me, your life will never be the same.” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As I walked up to the large wooden door in the dark stone building set back from the road at the end of a long driveway, I had the odd feeling I was being watched. I shrugged, stood at the door, and knocked. Count Dracula? Count Source Outsource? I laughed to myself. Why worry?

“Good evening,” said the strange man who opened the door. He was dressed vaguely like a butler. “I am Ambrogio. Mr. Strigoi is in the office. Have a seat. He is just finishing up a session.” At that moment, a piercing scream came from the next room: “MY CODE!!! What will happen to–” Silence.

“Would you like some…wine?” Ambrogio asked.

“No thank you. I have an appointment with Vlad Strigoi,” I said, suddenly uncomfortable. I looked around the room. “If this is a bad time I can–”

“Oh no,” said Ambrogio. I couldn’t remember where I had heard that name. “He will be with you in just a moment. We have been expecting you,” he said, smiling in a strange, sad way. He walked slowly toward the ‘office’ where the scream had come from…somewhere down a long, shadowy hall.

I looked around the room. I realized it was not only quiet but dark, lit with a few electrified candelabras on antique tables. Dark wood. The air smelled musty. This was more like a parlor, an ancient sitting room, than the waiting area of a modern hi-tech office. In fact–it looked nothing like the brochure I had seen online!

In a moment, a dark figure dressed in black walked hurriedly down the hall towards me. The first thing I noticed were his eyes: gleaming, electric, hypnotic. I was already sure this was the developer for me…

“So pleased to meet you, Mr. Montbel,” he said smoothly, barely whispering. “Won’t you come in?”

“Thank you. That’s Belmont,” I replied, but added, “Yes…Montbel…also a lovely name… I want to give you the codes to my site at once,” I murmured– not even sure why I was saying this.

Imagine the rest. In a moment, I had given a stranger the codes to my website–and all my personal information. As if I were in a trance… dazzled by the sample websites and figures and company information I was being shown. But–there was no company! No employees: only a man named Strigoi…in a room that smelled strangely like–blood. I could almost taste it, metalic and salty. And there he stood, with those swirling, penetrating dark eyes– holding out a pen for me to sign–a 200 page contract–just to get 100 hours of initial programming done! And as he gazed at me, he came ever closer…closer.

Suddenly, just as I was about to sign and give Strigoi a $10,000 retainer– I awoke from my daze, put down the red pen–and ran from the house. Suddenly I remembered: Transylvania meant “the land beyond the forest,” and Ambrogio meant “the undead” or “immortal.” Strigoi– was the name of an ancient clan–of vampires!

If you are beguiled by a sales pitch and a smile, then persuaded to sign a contract just to speak with the company about its services, or to be able to give them a test project, or do a few hours of programming–beware: it may cost you–more than you planned for or really want to spend!

(1) Programmers from Transylvania prefer to sign their contracts — in blood!
(2) An outsourcing company in Transylvania was called, “Count Source”
(3) After you meet with them, your life will never be the same: Outsourcing to Transylvania

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If you do outsourcing, your programmers need English

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Popular on Google+, Semi-Popular, Software Development | Tagged | 1 Comment

Many programming bosses think that their programmers don’t need to interact with clients. They don’t like dealing with human beings in any case, right? This is true. Programmers have a particular gene that scientists have isolated that is responsible for antisocial behavior. It is the S3427 gene. It causes people to not be physically capable of picking up a phone and dialing 10 digits, or sending an email on their own initiative. It is a most interesting gene, and so many people have it. But, sometimes the client needs to be able to interface directly with a programmer, especially for more complicated projects.

Many programming companies have a “project manager” who is someone who flakes 90% of the time and doesn’t really supervise anything, not do they double check anything. Clients are forced to relay their question to the project manager who asks the programmer who gives the project manager an answer who relays the answer to the client. There is double the quantity of communication, triple the aggravation, and quadruple the miscommunication. If you are talking to someone, you should talk directly to them, especially if it is complicated.

But, if you hire people in India, the programmers typically don’t know English. So, how do you work with them? You can find people who know a little English, and hope for the best. Or, ideally you hire people who really do know English. After centuries of British rule, you would expect more people to know English, right?

The bottom line is:

If your .net programmers don’t know English, you will encounter a lot of problems outsourcing to English speaking countries. Why not hire people who know English, and then train them in good communication skills?

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Steve Jobs watched his programmers carefully — so should you!

Hiring people with a good attitude does wonders!

Steve Jobs watched his programmers carefully — so should you!

Categories: Management, Popular on Google+, Popular on Twitter, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Just let the programmers do their work?
I am always being told to just let the designers do their work, and just let the programmers do their work. But, whenever I am not watching, they do things wrong and go off on expensive tangents that cost me hundreds in lost labor. They will fail to follow directions, or on a vaguely discussed point, build things in a way that I either don’t like or simply cannot use. Watching programmers can save you hundreds, thousands, or your life. So, why would people tell me to back off?

It is annoying to have someone looking over your shoulder.
I believe it is a nuisance to people to always have someone looking over their shoulder. But, if they would do their work the way I want it, I wouldn’t be looking over their shoulder in the first place. If a software developer generally does what they are supposed to, I don’t need to inspect their work that often or as carefully. But, very few of these software developers follow directions well. It has gotten to the point where I just won’t work with someone who has a track record of following directions any less than 80% of the time which is still a low figure.

So many people do not want me watching their programmers.
But, Steve Jobs watched his programmers much more than I watch mine. If you want to be successful, the evidence points to paying more attention, not less. I believe that I have been dealing with very negligent people who just want me off their back and don’t care much about the quality of the work.

Fire people who don’t want to be watched – immediately
The moral of my little article here is that if people want you off their back — fire them. Find people who are on your team, who are willing to be watched if necessary. Find people who care about following directions and getting things done on time in a reasonable amount of hours. Doing a long search to find good people might be difficult, but it is easier in the long run than hiring people who are evasive, dishonest, difficult, or who just don’t follow directions.

Good luck finding cooperative people
Unfortunately, to find a software development firm that generally does things right, they are less than 1%. Happy hunting! It might be better to hire your own programmers so that you are in control if you can’t find another company who cooperates 100%.

(1) If Steve Jobs watched his programmers carefully, why shouldn’t you?
(2) If your programmers don’t want u watching over their shoulders, watch over their butts as you kick them out of there
(3) Your workers won’t mind you watching over their shoulder as long as you give each shoulder equal time
(4) Watch carefully over your programmer’s shoulder, or shoulder blame for shoddy work they do on their own.
(5) If Steve Jobs watched his programmers carefully, so should U. Come back for upgrade of this tweet a year from now.

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Does your company have testimonials from happy clients?

Categories: Popular on Google+, Sales, Semi-Popular | Tagged | Leave a comment

Does your company have testimonials from happy clients? Yes? Do you think you should post those on your website? Maybe put a few on your home page and then have a link to the rest on some other page. Credibility is what drives business in today’s world (and yesterday’s world as well, but saying today’s world sounds better). You gain credibility when a client refers you to another client. You gain credibility when you have a professional looking website. You gain credibility when you have smart people answer the phone at your company and behave in a helpful way.

But, testimonials are one of the more potent forms of credibility. So, if you have a few, don’t waste them. Show them!

People want to work with you if other people are happy with you.

(1) Do you have testimonials from happy clients? Post them on your website!
(2) You gain credibility when a client refers you to another client. Get online reviews!

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Mistakes & learning from them

Categories: Management, Popular on Google+, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Learning from your mistakes

Do you kick yourself when you make mistakes, or do you regard them as a valuable opportunity to learn? Sometimes the value of what you learned from a mistake can be much greater than the financial damage done by the mistake. But, the value of what you can learn from a mistake is directly tied to how much thought you put into thinking about the mistake, and how you can avoid similar mistakes in the future.

A lot of mistakes that I have made were due to a lack of experience in seeing the signs of people’s behavior. I worked with someone who started out being a little bit sloppy. Since my other programmers were also somewhat sloppy, I felt like I had no choice, but to work with people who were sloppy. But, the sloppiness got much worst over time. The types of errors became more and more serious. It got to the point where we had scheduled a server migration when the site still had bugs in it. Then, after a migration of another site, the logout feature was actually broken for a few days which was a huge security risk. So, what should I learn from all of this? It is difficult to interpret if you start looking at the situation from months back. But, it seems very easy to interpret now.

If you hire someone who starts out doing something sloppy, this is really dangerous. Generally, when you start someone out, you are watching them closely and not giving them critical work. But, after you get comfortable with them, then you are in danger. Comfort is dangerous and the worst mistakes I have made in business were when I got comfortable with someone who I shouldn’t have had. The innocent mistakes on things that didn’t matter — down the road translated into dangerous mistakes that risked the integrity of my data on two occasions down the road. My mistake was that I overlooked an obvious sign.

From now on, when I see behavior which is sloppy, angry, questionable, slow, or unacceptable in any other way, I will stop working with that person if the bad behavior is the norm. I can accept 80% good work/attitude and 20% mediocre work/attitude from someone. But, that is as far as I will compromise. When it becomes 60-40 that doesn’t work. Here’s why. If you get to a point in the project where they make more mistakes than good work — and that ratio continues for more than a month, the staff member will not be able to endure your criticism. So remember, that 60% good work doesn’t cut it, because in a bad month it will become 30% good work which means endless unbearable criticism, and the worker will get fired during the bad month. If you start with 80% good work, then in a bad month, the majority of the work will still be good, and on a good month it will be nearly perfect. If you can find 100%, then take it, but if you are offered 80% — that is not bad.

I worked with someone else who avoided me, and was rarely around to answer calls. Since I knew her for years, she was within my comfort zone. She got worse and worse and my project ended up being the endless project from hell. I learned my lesson.

Don’t hire someone mediocre you are comfortable with — hire someone who will get the job done no matter how hard they are to find!

I learned from my mistakes. I hope you learn from your mistakes too! Remember — it is not bad to make mistakes, it is only bad not to learn from your mistakes. If you are really lucky you will learn from OTHER people’s mistakes!

(1) Failure is more important than #success in terms of what you learn from it.
(2) Do you kick yourself when you make mistakes, or do you regard them as a valuable opportunity to learn?
(3) I made many mistakes in business from not being able to read people’s behavior.
(4) People start off w/their best behavior when you 1st meet them.
If their best behavior is sloppiness, you’re in big trouble!
(5) When you start someone out, give them non-critical tasks & watch them closely

(6) Comfort is the most dangerous feeling you can have in business.
If you are too comfortable with someone, you let down your guard.
(7) If I see behavior which is sloppy, angry, questionable, slow or unacceptable in any way, I will cut my losses.
(8) If someone at an #outsourcing company is avoiding you, avoid them back & find a better

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How to create a new corporate culture in 3 easy steps!

Categories: Of Interest, Popular on Google+, Popular on Twitter, Semi-Popular | Tagged | 1 Comment

Creating a new corporate culture is easy with our new powder. Mix with water, get a new corporate culture. It is actually, not that much harder than that, but you need good analytics and cooperation from higher level people at your company to pull this off.

Sometimes, to succeed in a particular market niche, or to be efficient in your company, you need a particular type of corporate culture. If you have a few anti-social types, lazy people, or uncooperative people, that can throw the entire corporate culture off. It is much worse than the fact that those individuals are not producing the types of results you want, they INFLUENCE others in a negative way — and you can’t have that!

Or, maybe the corporate culture you have is uncultural. Let’s say that you can not talk to your employees about Mozart or the finer points of Hungarian literature. Maybe those attributes are important to attracting better future staff members, or perhaps attracting more cultured clients. Remember, high class people are impressed by people who are cultured. On the other hand, most rich people in the United States are culturally illiterate, so maybe culture doesn’t matter.

Putting aside what types of attributes you want in your new culture, you should have good reasons for whatever attributes you want, and a sensible way of gaining them.

If you have a corporation with 300 employees, you might find that people fit your new cultural model to a greater or lesser extent. If you have clearly defined attributes written down, you might find that 100 of your employees fit the model well enough to keep. Perhaps another 100 have a few of the attributes you like and would be worth it to TRAIN to meet some of your other attributes. The remaining 100 employees should ideally be let go — but, not all at once.

Step 1: Start firing the worst 33% of your workforce that doesn’t match your new model

If you have to get rid of 33% of your workforce, you need a timetable for doing so. You need a plan of which types of workers to get rid of first as well. You create an algorithm which takes many factors into consideration. How well someone fits your corporate cultural ideal would account for several of the factors, how well they do their job and contribute in general would account for the other factors.

If you fire roughly 1.5% of your least favorable employees per month, over a period of two years, and rehire people who fit your new corporate cultural ideas to a tee while doing great work as well, you have accomplished much of creating a new corporate culture.

Step 2: Hire new people who meet your cultural and work model to a tee.

Step 3: Culturally mold the employees that you didn’t fire, as well as your new hirees to see if they can match your new model perfectly

Training is the second and potentially more difficult part of the cultural change. You need to INSTILL new corporate values into the workers who you are not going to can. If your new values include being knowledgeable about Mozart as you plan your takeovers, then play Mozart all the time. Give lectures about Mozart to your people. You can write lyrics to Mozart string quartets too.

“We’re going to seize your assets…. I’d like to see you try… Your corporate debt…. It makes me cry… We’ll take you over….. You will see… and in the end…. you’ll understand our decree.”

“Oh no you won’t… we’ll call in the calvary… we know investors… that can turn this around… never mind that our lyrics do not rhyme… you will see that we will save our corporation in thyme!!”

You can play Mozart piano concertos in the morning, sonatas during lunch, string quartets in the early afternoon, and then test employees on their knowledge. Those who can’t deal with the new corporate culture would need to be weeded out slowly over time.

Step 4 (of 3): Continue the process for around three years with any necessary refinements.

The end result after about three years, is that you would have successfully converted your uptight and stuffy corporation into a bunch of music loving nuts who do corporate takeovers and sing silly lyrics to Mozart string quartets. All you need is a vision, a very capable HR department who understands algorithms & counter-harmony, plus a really good corporate training division which hires Russian dissidents who know how to teach music (and chess) really well. A good sound system wouldn’t hurt either.

Good luck!

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I’m going to succeed because I’m crazy enough to think I can?

Categories: Popular on Google+, Semi-Popular, Success | Tagged | Leave a comment

I read these words on the empowerment network. These words are actually very deeply philosophical despite how simplistic they sound. Most of us do not succeed because we think that we can not. The neighborhood we grow up in has most of the positive and negative attributes that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. If you grow up in a rich area, you assume that you will be rich like your daddy, right? If you grow up in a slum, you assume that as an adult that you will remain there. Sure, we dream of winning the lottery, and many work their way out of poverty. When I turned 23 and graduated from school, I realized that I would be lucky to make a quarter of what my father had made because my skills were not in demand and because I was not valued.

We all have inner blockages within our mind that prevent us from doing many things. So, maybe the topic of this blog entry should be on overcoming those blockages.

I am overweight and have been for years. But, I love nature and love hiking. I go to Yosemite national park in California regularly. It is a long drive, but my passion drives me to go there. I love to hike up the mist trail to Vernal Falls. I feel very winded and exhausted every time I go up that high. Sometimes it is dangerous going down those steps so exhausted because I lose my balance much more easily when tired. My goal had always been to make it to the next waterfall — Nevada Falls. But, I couldn’t picture myself getting that far. So, after several attempts at this monsterous trail, I made it 20 minutes farther than Vernal Falls. The thing which we should note here is that my attempt that got me 20 minutes farther created a new possibility in my mind. The new thought is “I can”. I did not have that thought before that point in time. So, the very next time I went up the mist trail, I made it all the way to the viewpoint for Nevada Falls. I made it! Now, I understand subconsciously that I really can do it, and that consciousness opens up doors to possibilities.

In business most people think that they cannot start a business. Most of them are right because they don’t have the skills. But, many people who do have the skills also think this way. They might need to brush up on marketing and management, but many of these people COULD start a business if they took it seriously. People who do have a business have serious limitations in what they think is possible, or what they are comfortable with. The limitation starts with a thought, or a type of consciousness that you have where the type of success you could achieve doesn’t exist.

So, how do you break this type of limited consciousness. I don’t call it negative consciousness — just limited. You have to try new things. If you want to expand in a particular direction, but going that direction, your consciousness will adapt to include that direction in its set of possible things that you can do. Once you achieve a small success, your consciousness will record that in the consciousness database, and a bigger success will look a lot more possible — just like me reaching the viewpoint of Nevada Falls was not initially possible, and then became thinkable and possible. It was a few months after I thought it was possible that it actually happened.

My parting comment is that I always joke about there being a Starbucks up on the Nevada Falls mountain trail. I always say, “Isn’t there a Starbucks in another 20 minutes or so?”. In real life there are no businesses up there, and only a bathroom building near one of the bridges two miles up. Maybe my goal should be to bring soft drinks up that mountain and sell canned starbucks and coca-cola up there so that my joke comes true. Unfortunately that would be illegal — and I would be responsible for the trash created as well.

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The 2 Minute Contact Rule!

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Popular on Google+, Semi-Popular | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The 2 Minute Contact Rule

For those of you in marketing, what I learned in my years can be reduced to a few simple principles. One of these simple principles is something I will spend the next two minutes explaining to you — it is called, the two minute contact rule.

If you are prospecting for new clients or calling existing clients, contractors, subcontractors, or people you work with, the rule still applies. Business is about relationships, and the key to relationships is mastering the stages of a relationship. You get to know someone, you consider working with someone, you start work with someone, you develop your working relationship, and then from there it either ends or it blossoms!

As a general rule it is good to make quick regular contacts with people you work with. It strengthens your relationship with them regardless of who they are. You will be in the front of people’s minds if you keep in regular contact. They will be more likely to want to work with you, and they will be likely to do better work for you too.

If you are prospecting for new clients, the most important thing is NOT to make a sale right away. It is hard to sell to a stranger, so the first hurdle is to make the stranger an acquaintance, and one who likes you. It is good to make a quick contact with a decision maker. Be nice and be positive. Let them know that you are there to help and listen to what they have to say about their needs. Nobody likes a pushy salesperson with a deal they want to push down your throat. Never be pushy! Be gentle, friendly, and prove to them through knowledge (not force) what a helpful asset you can be to them. Your first call to a prospect could be as little as two minutes where you introduce yourself and your company, and what you could offer them. It is not even about price or availability at that point. The point is people connecting with people — it is powerful and it is effective for future sales. The fact that they have gotten to know you a little, and that you were pleasant and helpful makes you 100 times as likely to get a deal out of them than some other clown (not that you are a clown).

Calling those who you work with
If you hire people, or work in conjunction with others, it is great to make a two minute call from time to time. It is a little like throwing another little stick on the fire. It keeps the fire going, and momentum is everything in relationships and business. You can just say hi, and bring up one or two quick points in a casual way. If you live in India, many of you need to learn to be more casual in your business relationships — being uptight just isn’t pleasant for others (at least not by my standards). The people who you work with will work better with you as a result of your quick call. They might work more efficiently for you or put in more hours just because they are thinking more about you, and thinking in a positive way.

Calling existing clients
People who succeed in business do so generally by having many long term clients. Building momentum and trust is everything. Giving your existing clients a quick call is a wonderful thing to do. I do this all the time. They might have questions which they never thought to email you about. Your call will stimulate these questions, and thoughts about purchasing more. I notice that when I contact several hundred people in a two day period with quick calls, there will be many new sales as a result of these quick talks. Not everyone buys something, as a matter of fact, relatively few purchase anything as a result of the call — at least right away. But, a few will make a purchase within 72 hours, and then others in a week or two, and a residual sale or two will pop up a few months later as a result of your quick calls. If I put a dollar or rupee value on these quick calls, it might be worth $200 or more per hour to me in the long run. That is a lot of money by my standards!

What to talk about?
In a quick call, you could ask the other person if they have any questions. Or, you could ask a few quick questions, or quick discussion topics. You could also make quick pointers or customized suggestions for a client. NEVER make general suggestions, because it can turn people off. It shows that you care and are paying attention if you offer suggestions that are taylor made for the individual you are talking to, and this applies to emails to. If you segment your email blasts to target companies with similar needs, then you are sending companies information that is particular to them which they are very likely to appreciate!

Let bygones be bygones?
On the other hand, it is part of efficient management technique to know when NOT to contact someone. If a relationship proves to be fruitless, you need to know how to identify how fruitless it is in order to stop all contact. Don’t waste your time contacting companies or individuals who are just not worth it. Become an expert at assessing other people’s worth — and don’t listen to those religious types who say, “Judge Not” — that doesn’t apply to business. Judge! And judge effectively!

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Programmers and their speed of work

Categories: Popular on Google+, Software Development | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Programmers and their speed of work
I lacked perspective because I used the same people for years
I have had the pleasure or displeasure of needing the services of many programmers in my lifetime.  They are all different in so many ways.  Some get back to you when they are supposed to while others leave you always wondering what their progress is, has been, or will be — if any.  In any case, I had spent too many years with the same programmers and noticed that one of them was pretty fast while the other was sometimes reasonably paced, and sometimes a little slow. I didn’t realize that the speed of a programmer can vary much more than these two.
Programmers quitting & getting fired by the boatload
After this, one of the programmers got fired, and the other quit.  I was left high and dry. So, I tried some other programmers out, foolishly thinking that they would churn out work at a similar speed to the previous programmers.  The first one I hired took three times as long to do similar tasks as my previous programmer.  He used the excuse that he was not familiar with the coding of the site.  I tried another who took four times as long.  Familiar or not, I feel that maybe taking 50% longer makes sense but three or four times is ridiculous.  I don’t know who is right or wrong because I am not a programmer.  All I can say is that I would really like to have my old programmer back.
Don’t pay by the hour as a general rule
The moral of the story from a business standpoint is that you can NOT assign programming jobs to be billed by the hour, unless you are very familiar with the individual doing the work.  Otherwise, you can easily get crazy bills that are high because the programmer is slow, or perhaps they are padding their hours, or who knows what? It is not easy to say unless you know a person’s character or behavior. I only know the bottom line which is that I am being billed for far more hours than I feel is reasonable.
Quality & speed can really vary
Additionally prices for programmers can range from $10-30 per hour in India and from $45-$180 in the United States.  The quality and speed of their work can really vary, and it is not easy to know how skilled an individual programmer is unless you really know them well and have worked with them extensively.  The best way to assess a programmer is to engage them in conversation, see how responsive they are about their work, and use your senses.  If you start having problems with their work, that might not show up for months, so in the beginnning — use your senses.