Books I Want

Took a walk and visited “The Dusty Bookshelf” earlier.

Found some books that I’d like to read.
The Granite Farm Letters: The Civil War Correspondence of Edgeworth and Sallie Bird
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

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Democracy in America

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Inspire People to be Great Don’t Demand It

I’ve heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me! – Dr. Seuss

I texted that to my (almost) 10 year-old boy this morning.

He replied, “why did you say that?”

I said, “To encourage you to be GREAT today!”

He replied with a billion smiley faces:

😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

He’s the sort of person (as am I) who, when facing a challenge, needs someone to enthusiastically  tell him YOU CAN DO IT!

And I know without seeing him that he’s 20 feet taller, 20 years wiser and 20 times more excited about his school day than he was before.

 

Mission accomplished.

Locked in a Closet With Club-Wielding Bullies

Have you ever been locked in a closet with a group of bullies who are beating on you?

Welcome to my life.

Hopefully this will never be a literal truth, but we all have our closets and we all have our bullies.

This is what truth, art, poetry and childhood all fight against.


Bullies beat you down and tell you you are worthless.
Truth says all are valuable – made in the image of God.

Bullies destroy, pillage and hate beauty.
Art transcends time and culture, finding – celebrating! – beauty in all of life.

Bullies hurl insults and curses.
Poetry heals. Poetry soothes and inspires transcendence.

Bullies berate and belittle. Bullies believe buffoonery is better than blessings.
Childhood has all the promise of a full life ahead without the dullness that time can bring.


So here is the challenge – approach each day with truth on our lips, art in our fingers, poetry in our hearts and childhood in our minds.

I’ll leave you with a poem I wrote 15 years ago.

Sunshine Smile

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m losing my mind
Said the girl with the sunshine smile
Except, maybe you just don’t understand my kind
Always losing, sometimes finding, only to lose again

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve lost my heart
Said the boy looking at the sunshine girl
If I really have lost it, I wouldn’t actually mind
But I need to know if you know where I could find

Silently nodded silently hoped …
Golden curls knowingly bounced, hopeful
Eyes glinted, hinted at the secret hidden
Within their depths only diving could reveal

“I’ve decided to run away, run to the north woods”
Said the boy to the girl with the sunshine hair
“I was wondering if you’d like to… if you could…”
“Well, if you’d like to come along … for good”

Big rain drops formed at the corners of her sky
Blue eyes, silent thunder crashed, on her earthen
Red lips, brilliant lighting flashed from her soul
As her mouth silently formed a single word, “Yes”

03-06-2000

Sponsorship Based Business – Auto Racing Edition

You provide value, and your value is all attitude – “We love what we do, we love what our sponsors do and we’re super excited to be able to do this together”

Sponsorship creates a customer/vendor relationship. What value does a race sponsorship bring? It brings recognition to a brand. It brings an attitude of “We chose our sponsor because they are so awesome you really should check out what they do.”  As the vendor serving a customer, your racing team will need to have this attitude permeate its entire culture.  You are creating lasting relationships that benefit you and your sponsors.  This means you do not try to figure out how to maximize a sponsorship or find people who will give you money, you are not trying to talk people into anything. You provide value, and your value is all attitude – “We love what we do, we love what our sponsors do and we’re super excited to be able to do this together”

A lot of what I’ve been reading recently has been about customer-first thinking.  With this in mind, your customer is your sponsor.  This is the relationship to nurture.  Every fan interaction, every media experience must have your customer in mind. In a lot of ways, you’re not in the racing business, you’re in the excitement business and you have to be excited about your sponsors! (See what I did there with that exclamation mark?)

Did you know Starbucks isn’t really in the coffee business?  They are in the real estate business and they are masters of it.  They are so good at it, in fact, that property values of surrounding properties go up.

What does that look like in practice? Let’s look at the historical home value appreciation of areas that now are located within a quarter mile of a Starbucks. A home that is now near a Starbucks would have sold, on average, for $137,000. A home that is not near a Starbucks would have sold, on average, for $102,000.

Fast-forward 17 years to 2014. That average American home has now appreciated 65%, to $168,000. But the Starbucks-adjacent property has far outpaced that, appreciating 96% to $269,000.”  qz.com

In the same way, you’re not in the racing business – you’re in the excitement business.

Life is relational – utilize existing relationships to find someone who is looking to enter into a sponsorship.  Make it known that you’re willing to pay a finders fee.  Make a list of the top 10 people to talk to.  Write 10 different emails.  Send them.  (this is the important part)

Make a 10 item list of the companies you could be super excited talking about. Company or product.  It can’t be fake excitement so be careful.  When you identify these companies, do your research on them.  Take your time, make a presentation just for them. This will take time but it’s worth it.  This could even take months.  Find out who to speak to at the company – there is the potential to have multiple people who have the authority to make a decision – figure out who is the person most likely to understand the value of sponsoring your racing team. 

Once you identify a company don’t go with a beggar’s mentality – you don’t need to beg for a sponsorship – you’re offering a unique opportunity.

This is a business.  You need to have a polished presentation and demographics and marketing ideas etc.  Make a list of 10 marketing ideas for joint marketing efforts – they should benefit you and your sponsors.

Even before you have your first sponsor, start getting excited and posting YouTube videos. Tweet exciting things about the progress of your racing empire.  If you’re going to be in the excitement business you need to start now.  Your first assignment is to come up with 10 ideas for 2-3 minuteYouTube videos.  production value must be high

Ignore facebook for now – you don’t need your friends loving you – they already do.  You need to get strangers to love you.

Think local.  Community banks, local icons (businesses that have been around for at least 30 years).  Local restaurants with multiple locations. Local lowers your cost of travel.

Do some business networking.  Find some meetup groups that are for entrepreneurs.  Ignore anything that is even remotely similar to network marketing or MLM, etc.  You’re looking for groups that are primarily focused on helping each other with support and advice.  It should be free or cheap.  You need to find a group that is comprised of leadership level people – big thinkers.  You want to be in a group where the attitudes reflect a big thinking attitude – where big business is measured by 8 or more digits.  Even though the membership might not represent c-level positions, the group still needs to know how to think big.

Do not attach yourself personally to your presentation and ideas for this.  This allows you to be objective and your delivery or the content of your presentation can improve over time.  If, when you’re done with version 1 of your presentation, you think “This is awesome” you’ve failed.

Talk to business people you know – they might be members of professional networking groups already.  While you may not qualify or be welcome as a member, many times these groups have times where outsiders can come in to make a presentation.  The goal of the presentation might be as a way to let people know of an opportunity, but (and even better if you ask me) it might be a way to help you refine your delivery and content.

“Hi John, are you a member of or know of any professional groups that meet regularly – I’m looking for a group to make a presentation about an exciting opportunity to become a racing team sponsor and would love an introduction.”

Don’t worry about what kind of promises you make, just over deliver.  Deliver radical value.  Do this and the value of a sponsorship will grow, your racing team will be worth more and your revenues will go up and you’ll get better at delivering amazing value.  It’s a virtuous cycle. 

Get Into Flow

Flow, that elusive state of extreme productivity. Here are 10 ideas to help you achieve the state of flow.

  1. Eat a delicious salad.  With steak.
  2. Be happy. Don’t have any lingering arguments with the people in your life. Arguments sap your mental and emotional energy.
  3. Go somewhere new. Loud is good. If you can get into flow in a loud place you’ll have the focus to stay in flow for a long time.
  4. Have other important things going on. Ignore them briefly while you’re flowing. This increases the desperation to get focused and productive quickly.
  5. Do something. Anything. Starting is the thing.
  6. When you’re halfway through sometimes you’ll hear a whisper of the “real world” trying to sneak in to distract. Push back against this.
  7. Before starting, take a walk to get your blood moving and your heart pumping.
  8. Stimulate your creativity by writing, drawing or playing a musical instrument… anything creative helps.
  9. Stuck? Shake things up. Go wild – run down the street. Switch desks. Make a change.
  10. Turn your phone off. Delete the Facebook app. Ignore it – you’re flowing. Nothing. Stops. You.

Startup On the Side

Here are my thoughts on a transition plan from full-time employment to full-time unemployment; also known as becoming a founder of a startup.

  1. Never sign an anti-moonlighting or non-compete agreement – ever. Never sign a blanket IP assignment agreement.
  2. Find the smallest iteration you can do. Do it.
  3. Iteration zero: plan the first four weeks of development.
  4. 1 hour of focus each weeknight, 2 on Saturday. 0 on Sunday.
  5. Consider learning to be productive time. This includes reading books.
  6. Create a quiet space in which to work. Have a family? Include them in the planning so everyone has a voice and catches the vision.
  7. Write down on paper and post in your offline life somewhere: “Life is a marathon not a sprint – pace yourself.”
  8. Sleep well, eat well, don’t drink. No sugar, no pop, no diet pop, no candy. You need mental focus.
  9. Maintain old and foster new relationships. Life is relational not just task oriented.
  10. Don’t give equity away. Everyone’s time has the same value no matter what role they play. $200/hr, $100/hr, $50/hr – doesn’t matter what you choose when everyone is the same.  More is probably better later.