Monthly Archives: June 2008

One Book A Week

Hey everyone, just wanted to give you an update on the elite mastermind reading group.  I’m in process of setting it up right now, I was going to use BaseCamp, which we used before in another collaboration group but it got to spammy after-awhile because it replied on email, I’m programming a simple script for us to collaborate on, it’ll be ready soon.

Share Brass, BrassTV : the money side of life.

Bryan Sims is someone whom I highly respect as entrepreneur; not only in his ability to generate a highly profitable company, but more so in the way that he does it, by educating the younger generation how to become financially free through his company Brass Media has asked me to show everyone BrassTV.  I was fortunate enough to know Bryan sims personally, he went to the same college as me, Oregon State University, and like all of the now succesful entrepreneurs I know dropped out of college to build a company.

Bryan has recently joined Ben Casnocha, and Ryan Allis in becoming one of the new top 25 young entrepreneurs by the Entrepreneur Magazine.  I wrote about Bryan Sims awhile ago here.  The reason I like Brass so much because their whole business is essentially empowering the younger generations by teaching entrerpereship, investing and showing examples of young entrepreneurs making their dreams come true.  He has done something that I respect him very highly for in offering free seminars to students, this is something I wanted years ago, and I was happy to see that he is actually doing it.  

BrassTV, which is seen on ShareBrass.com, is a new division of BrassMedia.  BrassTV will be a TV show that features young entrepreneurs making things happen and educating people on how to become financially independent.  

 

 

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink was an interesting book about the first two seconds of looking–the decisive glance that knows in an instant. I just finished reading it on my Kindle. The book centers on the concept of how fast we really do make judgments, called “thin slicing”, and how deeper analysis can sometimes provide less information than more. It is all about cognitive speed. If that doesn’t make any sense at all, its hard enough to try to explain.  I made a lot of notes on the book and I’d like to share them with you here, there is a lot of information here.

“There is one emotion that he considers the most important of all: contempt, if Gottman observes one or both partners in a marriage showing contempt toward the other, he considers it the single most important sign that the marriage is in trouble.”

“What it suggests is that it is quite possible for people who never met us and who have spent only twenty minutes thinking about us to come to a better understanding of who we are than people who have known us for years. Forget the endless “getting to know” meetings and lunches, then. If you want to get a good idea of whether I’d make a good employee, drop by my house one day and take a look around.”

“Sometimes we’re better of if the mind behind the locked door makes our decisions for us.” (the guy instinct, he is referring to, that we get in a blink of an eye about something)

(in reference to 6 minute speed dating) “If you are enjoying the connection, time goes quickly. If you aren’t, it’s the longest six minutes of your life,” she said contagious, winning spark. “You know, girls are really smart,” Jon, a medical student in a blue suit said at the end of the evening. “They know in the first minute, Do I like this guy, can I take him home to my parents, or is he just a wham-bam kind of jerk?” Jon is quite right, except it isn’t just girls who are smart. When it comes to thin-slicing potential dates, pretty much everyone is smart.” (in reference that within just a short time, we really can gather enough information about something to make a decision yes/no)

“We need to accept our ignorance and say, ‘I don’t know’ more often.”

“Most of us, in ways that we are not entirely aware of, automatically associate leadership ability with imposing physical stature. We have a sense of what a leader is supposed to look like, and that stereotype is so powerful that when someone fits it, we simply become blind to other considerations.

“If you buy a car from Bob Golomb, he will be on the phone to you the next day, making sure everything is all right. If you come to the dealership but don’t end up buying anythimg, he’ll call you the next day, thanking you for stopping by. “You always have to put on your best face, even if you are having a bad day. You leave that behind.”

(in reference to trying to remove prejudice) “It requires more than simple commitment to equality. It requires that you change your life so that you are exposed to minorities on a regular basis and become comfortable with them and familiar with the best of their culture.”

“Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can be easily snuffed out” (in reference to that even though we might in a blink get a gut-feeling of something, we can easily be fooled and misinterpret the situation)

There are, I think, two important lessons here. The first is that truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.”

“The second lesson is that in good decision making, frugality matters. John Gottman took a complex problem and reduced it to its simplest elements: even the most complicated of relationships and problems, he showed, have an identifiable underlying pattern.”

“Because buying jam is a snap decision. You say to yourself, instinctively, I want that one. And if you are given too many choices, if you are forced to consider much more than your unconscious is comfortable with, you get paralyzed. Snap judgments can be made in a snap because they are frugal, and if we want to protect our snap judgements, we have to take steps to protect that frugality” (in reference to most times we over-load ourselves with to much information and block ourselves from taking decision action in the right step because we have to many choices, or to much information to think of a good decision quickly)

“Cheskin was convinced that when people give an assessment of something they might buy in a supermarket or a department store, without realizing it, the transfer sensations or impressions they have about the packaging of the product to the product itself. To put it in another way, Cheskin believed that most of us don’t make a distinction–on an unconscious level– between the package and the product.”

“They served two hundred people Christian Brothers Brandy out of an E & J bottle, and the E & J Brandy out of a Christian Brothers bottle. Which brandy won? The Christian Brothers, hands-down, by the biggest margin of all. Now they had the right taste, the right brand, and the right bottle. The company redesigned their bottle to be alot more like E & J’s, and, sure enough, their problem was solved” (E&J and Christian Brothers are both brandy drink companies. What they found during taste testing, that regardless of which companies brandy was in E&J’s bottle people said it tasted better than the Christian Bottles bottle. Even though they swaped the acutal drink between the two bottle, when ever people drank the brandy out of the E&J bottle it was better, even if it wasn’t E&J brandy in it. It even went as far to say that the taste testers said now that Christian Brothers’ Brandy that was in E&J, tasted better than the E&J in the Christian Brother’s Bottle.

“The general rule is, the closer consumers get to the food itself, the more consumers are going to be conservative. What that means for Hector is that in this case he needs to look pretty literal. You want to have the face as a recognizable human being that you can relate to. Typically, close-ups of the face work better than full-body shots. We tested Hector in a number of different ways. Can you make the ravioli taste better by changing him?” (in reference to ravioli can on the store shelfs)

“Masten picked up a can of Hormel canned meat. “We did this, too. We tested the Hormel logo.” He pointed at the tiny sprig of parsley between the r and the m. “That little bit of parsley helps bring freshness to the canned food.”

“When Del Monte took the peaches out of the tin and put them in a glass container, people said, ‘Ahh, this is something like my grandmother used to make.’ People say peaches taste better when they come in a glass jar. Just like ice cream in a cylindrical container as opposed to a rectangular package. People expect it’s going to taste better.”

“When you are in product development world, you become immersed in your own stuff, and it’s hard to keep in mind the fact that the customers you go out and see spend very little time with your product,” says Dowell. “they know the experience of it then and there. But they don’t have any history with it, and it’s hard for them to imagine a future with it, especially if it’s something very different. That was the thing with the Aeron chair. Office chairs in people’s minds had a certain aesthetic. They were cushioned and upholstered. The Aeron chair o course isn’t. It looked different. There was nothing familiar about it. Maybe the wod ‘ugly’ was just a proxy for ‘different.'”

“if the Aeron had just been a minor variation on the chair that came before it– the act of measuring consumer reactions would not have been nearly as difficult. But testing products or ideas that are truly revolutionary is another matter, and most successful companies are those that understand in those cases, the first impressions of their consumers need interpretation. We like market research because it provides certainty– a score, a prediction; if someone asks us why we made the decision we did, we can point to a number. But the truth is that for most important decisions, there can be no certainty.”

The first impressions of experts are different. By that I don’t mean that experts like different things than the rest of us–although that is undeniable. When we become expert in something our tastes grow more esoteric and complex. What I mean is that it is really only experts who are able to reliably account for their reactions.”

“If you were to approach a one-year-old child who sits playing on the floor and do something a little bit puzzling, such as cupping your hands over hers, the child would immediately look up to your eyes. Why? Because what you have done requires explanation, and the child knows that she can find an answer on your face.”

“But one of the things that Van Riper taught me was that being able to act intelligently and instinctively in the moment is possible only after long and rigorous course of education and experience. Van Riper beat Blue Team because of what he had learned about waging war in the jungles of Vietnam. And he also beat Blue Team because of what he had learned in that library of his. Van Riper was a student of military history.”

It’s the kind of wisdom that someone acquires after a lifetime of learning and watching and doing. It’s judgment. And what Blink is–what all the stories and studies and arguments add up to–is an attempt to understand this magical and mysterious thing called judgment.”

Judgment matters: it is what separates winners from losers.”

“Hooker choked, and I hope that after reading this far, you recognize the characteristics signs of judgment’s fragility. From experience, we gain a powerful gift, the ability to act instinctively, in the moment. But–and this is one of the lessons I tried very hard to impart in Blink–it is easy to disrupt this gift.”

“This is the second lesson of Blink: understanding the true nature of instinctive decision making requires us to be forgiving of those people trapped in circumstances where good judgment is imperiled. There’s a third lesson in the Chancellorsville story, and in the time since Blink was published I’ve come to think that it is the most important lesson of all. Lee outthought Hooker, even though he knew far less about Hooker’s army than Hooker knew about his. Hooker was the only one who knew exactly how many soldiers his enemy had. Hooker was the one who had two hot-air balloons up in the sky giving him perfect aerial reconnaissance of his enemy’s position. Le won the battle despite knowing less than Hooker. But now that you’ve read Blink, you’ll know that I think we ought to turn that sentence around, and say that probably Lee won the battle because he knew less than Hooker.”

(in reference to instead of pre-judging musicians before they stepped on the stage to see if they were good enough to be hired, they would put a screen so the reviewers couldn’t see the person and would just rate the performance based on the music alone, not their appearance, not their sex, not their race.) “It was only when the screen went up that the maestros’ judgment was restored. Think about it. How much of the “information” in an audition is visual? Seventy percent? Eighty percent? It’s mostly visual. An audition is supposed to be an exercise in listening. But mostly what we do is look. How is the musician dressed? Is she tall or short? How does she hold her instrument? How does she carry herself while she’s playing? In the classical music world, 80 percent of the information available to the maestros was removed, and lo and behold, the maestros suddenly exercised much better judgment. As I’ve talked to people about Blink over the past few years, I’ve been amazed at how often this point has come up. In fact, I would venture to say that no argument in the book has resonated more with readers than this one. We live in a world saturated with information. We have virtually unlimited amounts of data at our fingertips at all times, and we’re well versed in the arguments about the dangers of not knowing enough and not doing our homework. But what I have senses is an enormous frustration with the unexpected costs of knowing too much, of being inundated with information. We have to come to confuse information with understanding. “

“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding.”

(in reference to the court systems like the musicians, how some people are pre-judged before they even get to say anything are are condemned more often just because on peoples biased opinions.) I think that the accused in a criminal trial shouldn’t be in the courtroom. He or she should be in another room entirely, answering questions by e-mail or through the use of an intermediary. And I think that all evidence and testimony in a trial that tips the jury off to the age or race or gender of the defendant ought to be edited out.”

This is the real lesson of Blink: It is not enough to simply to explore the hidden recesses of our unconscious. Once we know about how the mind works–and about the strengths and weaknesses of human judgment–it is our responsibility to act”

That is all my notes from Blink, took awhile to read? I hope there was some valuable information here, it sure took a long time to type this all out! What’s your thoughts on this format after you have read the whole thing, is it good, did you find something like this with points highlighted from the book good. I put them all here, was it to much or to many? What’s your thoughts on the ideas, and more specifically this post, and if I should do more like this on each great note I can find and share with everyone!

 

 

Sharpening Your Edge – New Mastermind Group and Looking For Serious Entrepreneurs

During the 18th century two brothers walked out to the forrest, both had axes in their hand.  They planed on cutting down as many trees as they possibly could within six hours.  The two brothers, Abe and John are about the same age and have the same physical build, they are equally strong.  It is a bright early morning, and they figure there is about six more hours of sunlight, so they will see how many trees they can cut down within the six hour time period.  

As they walk to the cutting area John decides to challenge his brother Abe to a competition,  “Brother Abe, I bet you that I can cut down more trees within 6 hours than you can.”  Abe replies, “Oh really? We’ll just have to see about that.” The two brothers agree to see who between them can cut down the most trees within the six hours.

At noon they arrive to the area where they are supposed to start axing.  John starts right away and beings axing immediately.  After about an hour he cuts down his first tree and looks over his shoulder to see that his brother Abe has not cut down any trees at all.  In fact, he notices Abe isn’t cutting at all, instead he is just sharpening his axe.  John shrugs in disbelief that his brother is sharpening his axe, so he continues to axe himself and after another hour he cuts down a second tree.  After he cuts down the second tree he looks over to his brother Abe again whom he finds is still sharpening his axe!  

“What are you doing Abe? I’ve already cut down my first two trees in two hours! I’m going to beat you,” yells John laughing at Abe. Giving no attention, Abe continues to sharpen his axe. In disbelief John turns around to the trees and begins cutting down his third tree.  After another hour John has cut down his third tree, he is cutting about one tree down per hour.  John feels confident that he will win, because he has already cut down three trees so far, and his brother Abe has not even begun axing yet.  

As John starts to start cutting down his 4th tree, he sees his brother get up and start axing.   Within 20 minutes of cutting John hears a big thud, he turns around to see a tree was just cut down by his brother Abe.  Abe had cut down his first tree within his first 20 minutes!  

“He must of just got lucky,” John thinks to himself.  But then another 20 minutes passes and Abe cuts down another three, while John is still working on his tree. The next 20 minutes Abe cuts down a third minute, he has now just cut down three trees within an hour.  John finally cuts down his forth tree.   So on the the fourth hour, John has cut down four trees already, and his brother abe has cut down three! 

It appears that John is cutting down a tree every hour, but his brother Abe with the sharper axe is cutting down 3 trees an hour!  Six hours finally comes out, and John’s total is six trees cut down, and his brother Abe who spent the first three hours sharpening his axe, cut down nine trees in the last three hours.  

Who cut down the most trees? Abe did.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six hours to cut down trees, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my axe, and the last three cutting down the trees.” Lincoln was a smart man.

Even though John spent the whole six hours cutting down trees, his axe was so dull that he was only able to cut down one tree every hour.  While on the other hand Abe invested the time sharpening his axe and was able to cut down three trees per hour.   So what’s the point of this whole story?

The point of the story is to cleary show that someone who invests the time to develop their own personal skills has a great advantage over someone who doesn’t take the time to invest in-themselves.  The person who avoids studying and becoming a better entrepreneur fails to someone who has taken the time to invest in themselves and become a better entrepreneur.  

It shows the dramatic difference between entrepreneurs, that for example, in ten years two people starting out at the same spot can have completely different levels of success because one person took the time and invested in himself, learning how to be a great entrepreneur from people have already done it, when the other simply just put hard work into his business but never learned the best possible way to build his business. 

Now the actual story that I told you was a fake one, I made it up.  Although the quote by Abraham Lincoln is a real.  Then why the story?  Using stories is a great way to teach a piece of philosophy.  Philosophy by itself is somewhat boring and engaging, but throwing it into a story makes it fun!  Rich Dad Poor Dad the book is basically about two things, number one, we should increase our financial intelligence, and number two, buy assets and not liabilities.  But it was his story he told that you remember, and the story that taught the lessons which made it a new york time’s best seller.  So that is why I embed the lesson with a story, you’re more likely to remember the story.

How do we sharpen our axe?  There is two primary ways of learning new things, and becoming better, stronger and wiser.  Simply broken down they are: Learned Knowledge and Activity Knowledge.

Learned Knowledge is more passive knowledge that you gather from reading books, going to seminars, listening to audio books, reading quotes and learning from other people.  The other, Activity Knowledge is knowledge you acquire by doing and learning things sometimes the hard way.  

We need both types of knowledge to really excel.  If you just try activity knowledge all day you are learning the hard way, you don’t have to read any more.  You’ll figure out what works by trial and error, and you’ll learn new things.  And if you just read all day, what good would that do?

The sharpest and brightest people in life, in my personal opinion are those who are constant learners of good information, but then apply the knowledge immediately.  They switch off between learned knowledge and activity knowledge daily, and do both, and excel at what they do.  Each day they do what they do better.

I personally know older entrepreneurs that have small businesses that they have grown to 1-5 employees.  They have been working for 10+ years in their business, their business now looks about the same it did years ago.  The reason the business is about the same is because as of today entrepreneur of the business is the same as they were years ago.  In other words, the entrepreneurs businesses haven’t experienced any growth because the owner hasn’t changed himself.  They have the same old ideas and tricks they had years ago and use, and doing the same things they did before are getting them the same results.  In other words even though they are working hard at their business, they aren’t getting any better at it, so they find themselves after 10 years at roughly the same income level as before and frustrated.  They think they know everything there is about their business and refuse to accept the idea that there is anything else they can do, so they fall into the trap.  They fall into the trap that there business won’t grow any further because they won’t grow personally.  They are so busy chopping away with a dull axe, they completely forgotten to sharpen their axe, and if you give them a book, they say their to busy.

Here is a key note to remember: “Your income seldomly exceeds your level of personal development,” Jim Rohn.   To receive more in life, we have to become more.  

So let us together, not become someone who works all day with a dull axe.  Let’s put in the time axing away at our business, but lets spend time also sharpening our axe.  So that each day we become better than the next and really grow.  

I myself have been failing in some aspect on sharpening my axe lately.  Studying personal development has become like a roller-coaster, one month I will read 3 books, and then the next month none.  I tried once to read a book every week but I failed, miserably.  

Although I just received my Kindle in the mail today, probably one of the best devices for learning I have ever come across of.  I liked it so much I bought one for my dad the same day. Now I have access to all the best business books and books on philosophy in a second, I can download through the air instantly and read them immediately.  All my library is now on a single device which is must easier to read than a single book, I strongly believe now with this tool I can really read one book a week.  I’m going to give it all to start this up, if I can read one book a week that is over 56 great books on entrepreneurship in a year.

I plan on sharing as many ideas from the book with you as I possibly can, it’s good for you and me.

I would also like to extend an open invitation to anyone who is serious about entrepreneurship to join me a new mastermind personal development group.  I thought about putting together one over a year ago, and now were going to do it.  If anyone here is interested in reading one great book a week and discussing them each week please comment here and we’ll get together a group of 10-20 serious people who are interested in seriously sharpening their skills.  

In order to read a book each week you will be probably have to dedicated an hour to two hours per day in order to accomplish this, it is a lot of work, and it is not for the light-hearted, reading one book a week is extremely hard, yet I believe, it will be extremely rewarding if we can get it down.  I need your help,  sometimes the best way to get big things done is to get work-out partners who help each other get through.  If I find you slacking on reading I’m going to get on you, and I’d expect you to get on me.  So if your interested in joining me in a new reading mastermind mind group, please let me know and we’ll do this.  I might require everyone to have a kindle, as a serious requirement, its $359, but the best money you can spend is money invested into self-development.  Don’t short-change yourself when it comes to your own education.  I’m not asking anyone to buy a piece of junk, I’m asking you to invest in something that if used, will earn you literally millions maybe billions if you are really sharp, in the near future.  

I hope you again found some value in this post.  Remember the story and the quote by Abraham Lincoln, “If I had six hours to cut down trees, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my axe, and the last three cutting down the trees.”  How many hours this week did you spend sharpening your axe?

Do What You Said You Were Going To Do

Do you open up your email inbox, read the emails and then think to yourself, “I’ll just reply later?”  And then 50% of the time we never reply with our follow-up email?

Why does this happen so much?  Well if you want to know the real reason, it is mainly because a lot of us simply lie to ourselves.  Think lying to others is bad?  How about lying to yourself, that is just as bad, if not worse.

For example, we are lying to ourselves every time we say we are going to do something and we don’t do it.   The reason we accidently lie to ourselves in most cases like this is because we generally try to do way more than we actually can do.  For instance, you get 10 emails, you tell yourself, “Oh I’ll reply to them later.”  In good faith, you do honestly intend to reply to them later, however, later on you have a less chance of replying to the emails, especially the somewhat unimportant looking emails. 

What happens later is that some of them done get replied, and as you told yourself earlier you would reply to your emails, we didn’t, and we lied to ourselves.  We lied to our self because we tried to do too much than we actually could do, and then of course we failed at it because we set unrealistic goals that couldn’t be accomplished.

Lie to yourself enough, and you’ll become a liar.  I’m sure we’ve all been there, lying to ourselves, telling ourselves were going to do things and then they just don’t get done.  Soon it gets bad and whenever you tell someone your going to do something, it generally never happens.  How many times have we told someone we would do something, and then don’t?  Ouch, to many of those and your in trouble.

Hey, I’m not perfect either, but I do try to remember, to do stuff, and I will say No, I can’t do this because I know it can’t get done, so I won’t lie to myself telling myself I can get it done when honestly I won’t be able to.  So lets be honest.  To ourself.  Be honest to yourself and get the things you said you want to get done, done.  The more we fumble the weaker we get, and the worse we become at getting thing dones.

That’s why I like to say, if you set goals month after month, and they don’t happen.  I bet none of your goals are hit.  Your goals just become words and fun things to think about, but nothing gets done, there is no momentum, there is no accomplish.  It is just one weak goal after another, over and over again.  And then nothing gets done.

I’ve taken a very long time to practice goal settings, what if I told you I could consisntely hit every goal on target, every time over and over?  You know when your good at goals when you say your going to do something, and you make it happen on the day your going to do it.  Then you make another goal and it is done exactly when you said it would be.  Then you gain momentum and nothing can stop you.  Is it possible to hit 100% of your goals, 100% of the time?  I tell you yes it is. 

Stop failing goals.  Start hitting goals, every time.  Can you do it, it’s not hard, and that’s why most people aren’t where they are in life.  Let’s stop lying to ourselves, and lying to other people.  Get consistent at being on-target, every-time.  I have seen so many people doom themselves because they always say their going to do this and that, never do it, and they cycle into a negative momentum of never accomplishing any goals over and over.  There words become weaker at each failed attempt and they ultimately give up because they aren’t doing what they said they would. 

Do what you said you were going to do. A very simple concept, like focus.  But it is extremely hard to do.  Try not to lie to yourself even just today, and you’ll see how difficult it is.  Say your going to do something, and do it. 

And think with me for a second.  If you actually mastered the simple concept of being honest and doing what you said you would do, you would have everything in life you wanted.  If you are like the rest of the 250,000,000 people in America who say their going to do something and then don’t do it, you’ll live an average life style.  One simple concept, one person does it, the rest do not. 

Do what you said you were going to do.  

Will be in Seattle, and Portland next 2 weeks

Hey everyone, I will be in seattle from the 2nd of June, to the 8th, and Portland from the 8th to the 15th.  If you live around here and want to meet-up, please give me a message here on my blog.  Looking forward to attending SMX Seattle, Meetup202 Seattle, meeting up with Steven Truong, Noah Merrit and Sean from GetClicky, my old partners at Prolegic Enterprises, and of course my parents.  If your around and want together shoot me a message, would love to meet other serious entrpreneurs and affiliates if your around.