Fred Wilson: It’s Nice Having Friends

Wouldn’t it be great if any time you had a question, you could just turn to a panel of experts and get their input? Sort of like what the president of the US gets in the oval office. And sort of what CEO’s of great corporations can get whenever they want. This advice does not solve your problem, you still have to make your own decisions. But it can give you insights and present options.

So these guys do it. And what about the rest of us? Normally, we cannot get this service on demand. But that is not because there are no people around who could give us advice. We just are not connected.

This is one thing that blogging can do — if you can build a community. Fred Wilson gives a good example in his blog. A question popped up about tech business strategy.  Luckily for Fred, he runs one of the more popular tech business blogs around. So Fred posted on the question, and asked his followers what they thought. Boom! Last I checked, there were 222 comments. Instant advisory panel. Very cool

Can we do this? In theory, yes. In practice, no. Why not? One reason is that we are not set up to ask questions this way. We are not prepared to get the advice that is out there. That, of course, can be fixed if we choose to do so. We prepare  by formulating and implementing a connection strategy.

Join the adventure!

Dan Pink: Persuasion

Dan is right. We are all in sales now. Why? One reason is that forming agreements to partner is more important than ever. In his book, To Sell is Human, Dan brings out a barrier that we need to overcome to get better at selling (clue: selling and persuading are the same thing). We cannot do this with an inward looking perspective. We need to be “attuned” to what others are seeing. Here is a good example of what happens without that. The title “Managers Reject What Customers Want” says it all.

Dan does a good job in his book to help you get attuned while selling. But being attuned is also a strategic concern. You might ask this question: is your life strategy outwardly or inwardly focused? Good question. Join the adventure and learn more!

Steve Pinker: How to Write

The “how to …” genre of story telling is exploding, and no surprise. Everyone wants to live better and we all can use advice on how to do it. But one “how to …” area is not well developed. – how to write more effectively.  I am not talking about how to  use grammar or how to become more stylish. I am much more interested in how to build connection. Steve Pinker (via Oliver Burkeman at the Guardian) has a great suggestion. Follow the link and find out!

Louis Zamperini on toughness

There is no question that Louis Zamperini was one tough SOB. And his toughness is inspiring. Here is the story.

The article says that his story offers some life lessons for men. Well, I think these are relevant for men and women.  The first one is that “energy needs an outlet”. As a child, Louis lacked that outlet and as a result, he got into trouble. Then with the help of his very astute brother, Louis found an outlet in sports. This is a great story – but it leaves open where this energy comes from.   Csikszentmihalyi  argues that energy and flow arise from how we interpret our experiences. We generate our own emotions and these are the sources of our energy.  The more flow we generate, the more energy we have to use.

The second lesson is tha t toughness is the ultimate preparation for any exigency. Ok. Louis developed an incredible toughness and that toughness saved his life more than once during the war. But toughness is a subset of focus. And focus is what empowers us to learn from what we do.

The third lesson is to be future oriented and embrace a purpose. No argument here. If we are not pulled into the future, we get stuck in the past. And we recycle events from the past rather than live on.

The fourth is to keep promises. This is how to build trust. And building trust is the key to connecting . That connecting takes place within the self and with others.

Good lessons to help us think more strategically! Join the adventure!

Here is a link his Mr. Zamperini’s NYT obit.

Digital Tonto: Platform Strategy

we are all getting “digitized”. By that, I mean our experiences both at work and elsewhere are affected more and more by evolving capacities brought about by digital technology advances. This is producing some amazing shifts  in how we relate to each other.

One shift relates to how we connect through platforms. Facebook et al are just the beginning. Over time, we can expect much more sophisticated platforms tied to more nuanced projects. This produces a new concept – platform strategy. How well do we think about platform building, usage and adaption? You can get a sense of this from Digital Tonto’s article on the subject.

At the core of this is the value we promote here – a love for learning. We used to learn to plan. Now we plan to learn. And that planning to learn is governed by a  learning strategy. Join the adventure!

Rick Smith: Accelerated Learning

There is no question that over the last 500 years or so, mankind has accelerated its learning. What is going on? Have we been visited by aliens more often? The answer  is so simple that we don’t see it.  As Rick Smith points out, we more regularly and more systematically test our assumptions about what is going on around us.

And we do well to do the same with regard to assumptions about ourselves. Join the adventure!

Charlotte Lieberman: What Passion?

Do what you love or love what you do? It is an age old question for people starting out in life. And back in the 1970’s, Joe Campbell delivered some misleading advice. He urged people to “follow their bliss!” It sounds great. But what does it mean? Most often, it meant indulging the ego.  As Charlotte Lieberman points out, this is not great strategy.

Can we do better? Of course! The first step is to cultivate a love for learning. Come join the adventure!