Monthly Archives: August 2008

Grabbing the Tab At Dinner (all-the-time) Can Sometimes Create Tension

Yesterday I noticed in slightest of forms of how I can sometimes generate tension between other people trying to be as nice as possible.   I have a bad challenge of sometime wanting to grab the tab every time I go out and eat with other people, and although it may seem good in nature, and does have some benefits, there are sometimes drawbacks as well.  I’m not taking about the money aspect, I’m talking about building relationship tensions.

I’ve noticed if done repeatable it can create a slight bit of tension between I and the other person with whom I’m eating with.  Now let me forewarn you, this isn’t like a hating tension, we are all still good friends in nature, but by covering sometime and not allowing the other party to it can create the slightest bit of tension between you and the other person. Because now they feel like they owe you, and weren’t able to ‘clear the deck.’

The main reason that I try to grab is that we are in the relationship building business, we are in the entertainment business, like most of the companies in this industry we like to take very good care of our customers, and it isn’t that they are just our customers, in what we do relationships are huge in this business, it is a small industry of very powerful individuals.  So anytime we can do someone for someone else we work with, we will always go all out in trying to do what we can to serve. 

So naturally we want to cover the costs for whatever it is, especially of course when it is at one of our own-hosted events.  But what I noticed yesterday is that doing so repeatbly, over time can create tensions.   For instance if someone wants t pay, we should let them because it allows them to clear their deck, and feel like they contributed, and allow them to not feel like they are indebted.  (which they aren’t really, but I can see how the other party may feel that way.)

See I think, (I think) it’s fine, if you want to grab the tab at the first get-together with new people, but if later that day, so you eat again and do it again (for instance going to dinner) and you want to grab the tab again, you may be (and may not be), in the slightest of way building tension with the other party because they might want to chip-in too, and your not allowing them to do so.

Only after reading the book by Guy Kawakasi, which I reflected on a short chapter here, I was able to see it.   Last night we were at the Seattle Meetup, we had grabbed lunch and paid for everyone to go to the gaming place, which really isn’t that expensive and we were planning on hosting it because it was our event naturally.  But at the last dinner James paid for the dinner, which was cool, that allowed him to help as well.  But what I noticed (seeing it from the other side, of not paying) that another member was interested in chipping in, but James went ahead and grabbed the whole tab.  Which is what I’d normally done, but now sitting in the other persons’ shoes, even though I didn’t want to grab the tab, I could feel the other person really wanted to chip-in, because they felt like they owed us for the previous stuff we did.  But only after a day I realized it, and noticed that it does cause some tension and that the way to do it is to simply allow them if they want to, to chip-in.   Now James is a great guy! And I’m not saying anything bad about the situation, everything at the dinner was good, everyone is good, but I noticed that it can cause tension with others (but not everyone), depends who it is, but now seeing that it can cause tension with certain people.  It was my fault for creating that atmosphere, of ‘I got it, don’t worry about it’ and paying for dinner in the first place.

But again, everything is fine in our relationship, James is awesome and did nothing wrong, and of course I’m not calling out, but this post is more about ‘reflecting’ and noticing ‘the smallest’ of improvements that can be made, and challenged to see if we can’t improve upon them.

This post is about having more finesse in your relationships, even though everyone is in good standing, as an entrepreneur for someone who wants to be really successful we need to look at the smallest of improvements we can make.  It is about trying to become a master communicator, and not that I’m one, but I will try my best and study it, and notice even the smallest of areas which were we can improve upon.  Even though grabbing the tab is good and its doing favors, it’s more the best way to build relationships, a higher-level of more sophiscated relationship mastery is needed, and that’s what I hope we are all trying to achieve. 

The athletes receiving medals this year at the Beijing Olympics didn’t earn their medal when they crossed the finish line.  They earned their medal in the gyms and working out everyday, in the gym where they practiced their sport everyday is where they became a gold medalist.  Only in public everyone saw they were a gold medalist, but they became a gold medalist in the daily workout routines they had. 

Remember.  It isn’t the big things in life that matter, it is the smallest things in life, the things that don’t seem to matter at all, the things we did every day that   make the big differences in our life.

Getting More Unproductive As Your Business Grows.

Although it may appear from the outside looking at a company as it moves forward, and becomes more successful that stuff is now getting done faster and faster.  And in some respects they are, but in a lot of aspects they really aren’t.

Unfortunately I have noticed a decrease in overall productivity in the last 1-2 months and only until now I’ve really started to ask myself why and found the root core reason why it is.  I’m staying busy sure, but being busy, and being productive are two completely different things.  The core reason I’ve found now that I’ve been unable to develop as much as before, as the company has moved forward there are a lot more obligations to take care of, and we are actually a smaller team than before as well.  But even as general, there are more people to talk to now than ever before, and all of that takes away from what I need to focus on.

At the early stage of any your startup there is won’t be much demand for your time.  Your flexible and you don’t have any customers to respond to or big contracts you need to keep track of, and because of that you can just focus on doing that one thing you need to do, for me it was programming the first beta of Tracking202.

I moved to San Francisco on about a passive income of a little more than $1,000, barely enough to live.  But it forced myself to succeed, because I had to, and not knowing anyone in the city and not yet having any customers to talk to, or anyone else really for that matter, I was able to go to work, and be productive and not just bus.

But now the complete opposite is true, as we have moved forward it has been becoming increasingly difficult to get even just the simplest of things done.   Where as before we were bootstrapping and all we had to do was code all day, now, we work with many people, we have customer support posts/twitters/aim/emails to respond to, affiliate networks want to work with us, we are going to events, we are putting on events and simply talking to a lot of people.  After we have gained momentum the world load, more so the relationship maintenance has gone up considerable and has taken us away from our business, which is developing software products.   Going on AIM any more is a disaster, as with over 400+ affiliate marketers on a single AIM name you can expect to get nothing done when logging on anymore.  That is why starting next month I’m going to probably remove AIM completely and switch entirely to email.

There are many distractions attacking for our time every-day.  I’ve only now in the past two months realized the core reason that I wasn’t getting anything done, its not that I haven’t been busy, I’ve been working, but talking with everyone has replaced programming, which is what I should really be focused on.

So what is the point of this post?  That as you start to move forward your going to get distracted, more things come up to do, and you are only one person, you either have to scale out the team, or go-back in a cave and focus on that one thing you do best, which is generally the best route.  Make sure to focus on what you can be the absolute best at in the world.

Stay focused on what your doing, you can really get 200% of the work done, in ½ of the time, lately I’ve been distracted, but starting next month all AIM is going off, and we’re going to launch a new product.  That is what we need to do.  And I hope you can focus on what you need to do, I’ve lost 2 months of productivity, maybe this post can share some insights into the future distractions that will arise for you and you’ll know about them in advance and be able to adjust better than I was.

Should I Program Myself, Or Pay Someone Else?

Have you asked yourself this question before? “Should I program myself, or pay someone else?” It is a question asked every day by internet entrepreneurs, and it is a good question. I too had to figure out what direction I would take years ago. In this video I will share some of my thoughts on which direction is best to take, depending on certain your situations.

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To sum it up though, learning how to code can never really be a bad thing for your business. In that knowing an extra skill like PHP and MYSQL for instance will only be benefical to you in the future, and is probably not a bad thing to take a step back and learn some time.

Really if you have a small project, it is general ok to pay a freelancer. But if you want to build a web 2.0 company with some really innovative software unless you plan on doing it right, don’t do it at all.  And if your going to pay and fund a large web 2.0 startup you need to invest alot of money, and hire a team of programmers, and potentially an IT consultant, and vest ownership over several years.  See if you really want to build sometime long-term you’re going to need long-term people, you can just pay someone in another country for $500 to build you something that is going to be bought out for millions of dollars.  Sorry its just not going to work, and I have seen people try to outsource big ideas to cheap freelancers and it almost fails every, single, time…

Trust me a $500 freelancer can’t just build a and I can’t scale and keep making a better tracking system by paying some rent-a-coder online whenever I need them.  You need long-term employees who will build it, or you need to build it yourself.  If it is a big project, either do it right, hire a team of full-time employees to do it, or build it yourself so you are the system artitect, and later on hire other coders to build off your existing platform.

Cloning Dinners

Cloning Dinners is a simple, but powerful concept to maximize your time networking with others. I wanted to say thanks to James Seligman from the Seattle Meetup202 Group for recommending Never Eat Alone, the book that I read this from. It’s an awesome book, I highly recommend it. An example of a super cloned dinner is Ian Fernando’s IANteract dinner, where he took out 20+ people and paid for dinner. This helped strengthen the relationship with Ian, and other affiliates at the dinner.

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Some Ideas On Running a booth/table at an Expo Event

Ok, don’t make fun of me now.  This is my first attempt at using some new video equipment, it’ll get better as it progresses.  I’m going to switch from text to video blogging, and see how effective it is.  The studio is modeled after the one over at the Have to give credit, where credit is due.

Max over at asked me to make a short video post for his new startup BlogGears, which you can find here, and which I promised to link-back to.

Ok in this quick video I wanted to share some ideas I had running a table over last week at the Affiliate Summit. Because everything was pretty unorganized this first time around, I forgot 2 things.  Add theses to the list.  It would have been nice to re-do everything and make it nicer, but sometimes we just need to get things out and not try to be perfectionist even if there is some flaws with it.

1) It’d be a good idea to have more than 2 people at the booth/table because it is hard talking to everyone with one person, it just won’t work.

2) If you can get others in the crowd walking around with your t-shirts, this was of course easier for us because we already had users that liked our product at the event, but none-the-less, others could do the same as well.

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