Just read the following blog posting Howard Marks: Dare to Be Great II | The Big Picture. – that is focused on on what makes one a superior investor. As I read through the article the points that the author covered are applicable to more than just being a successful or superior investor. The points he covered can be applied to any area or profession. It is not limited to the field of investment. Some of the key areas covered in memo are:
- Dare to Be Different
- It Isn’t Easy Being Different
- Dare to Be Wrong
- Dare to Look Wrong
- Looking Right Can Be Harder Than Being Right
The dare to be different point rang true for me since I have always marched to a somewhat different beat (and some might argue that I dance to a different beat as well, but that is a different story). I have always counseled my kids to not follow the crowd. Along those lines, though, many of us realize that being and doing things differently is not easy and never will be. It takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude to “be different”. The other points highlighted in the memo are all insightful and once again are applicable to all walks of life. Hats off to Howard Marks for his second installment on the subject of “Dare to be Great”. The posting is a little lengthy, but worth the effort – scroll to the middle of the blog posting to see the memo from Marks.
Came across this article the other day and was quite impressed. Might be considered a little intrusive by some, but it appealed to my inner geek. I’m not sure who the first airline customer will be, but I am sure their premium class customers will be very happy. Way to go B/E!
The Business Class Seat of Tomorrow Will Blow Your Mind, and Freak You Out a Bit – Skift.
and instead start talking with them. When I make presentations I always remind myself (and others) not to talk to the crowd, but instead talk with them. Engage them in the presentation and you might find yourself participating in a robust discussion instead of another ho-hum presentation. I know, easier said than done.
The same holds true in interacting with your customers. The more you talk with them, the more engaged they are, and the more likely they will be to share your product / service with others. I recently read a couple of books that prompted this post. They are “Contagious” by Jonah Berger who teaches at Wharton and “Highly Recommended” by Paul Rand. A quick side note, the book written by the professor (Berger) is well done and does not come across in a professorial manner. Reads more like a general strategy book. On the other hand, the non-professor’s book (Rand) definitely reads like a professorial tome. Somewhat didactic in nature as well. But I digress. In general, both of these books are good and focus on the same end goal, which is how products and services catch on with the masses. They are also both somewhat critical of Gladwell’s Tipping Point and I must admit more insightful.
I am not going to bore you with passages from each book, but focus on what I think is the most important aspect, which also happens to jibe with my experience. There are clearly a number of offline and online methods (Berger and Rand do a good job of describing) that a company can use to facilitate customer interaction. Whether you are soliciting ideas from customers or engaging them in contests of some sort, you may find yourself 2-3 steps ahead of the competition. Many companies have facebook pages, twitter accounts, etc. Many companies do a fine job of pushing information to customers via these channels, but how many provide a meaningful mechanism for feedback? More importantly, how many provide a meaningful mechanism for interaction? Take a step back from your day-to-day responsibilities and consider what activities you can influence so that your organization can better engage customers. What things can you do to influence “word of mouth” about the product or service you provide? Advertising has been around for quite some time, but an endorsement from another customer (an engaged customer) is much more powerful than a paid advertisement.
So, Stop Talking to Your Customers…And Instead Start Talking With Them
When Customers Make You Smarter.
A great post about the learning (and increased revenue) one can achieve when talking to potential customers. Based on the article, the team at Tidepool is going through a very structured process in launching their service. It seems, though, that the most important thing they learned (they were potentially leaving revenue on the table) came via an “aha” moment when talking to potential customers. A very important reminder that organizations should try their best to engage with customers (as well employees, suppliers, and the like) because “aha” moments do not necessarily come about when you are alone in the office (or lab) “thinking”. Get out there and interact with the users of your product / service. Listen to what they are saying and you might surprised by what you hear. Make sure to check out the video at the end of the post.
MIT lab builds self-assembling robot cubes | The Verge.
Take the time to watch the video in the article above. I think what the team at MIT has developed is very innovative and quite refreshing. Seemingly they have taken a page out of sci-fi movies and brought it to life. It will be interesting to see how their robots evolve over time.