March 30, 2012

Become Chief Curator

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:15 am

The people, places, and things we are exposed to have a profound effect on our work. So it’s worth making a continuous effort to improve the inputs your organization is exposed to.

Surround Yourself and Your Team with Sources of Inspiration

Seek out inspirational products, businesses, works of art, music, heroes, and mentors, and share them with your team.

It can be useful to think of yourself as the curator of your own museum. Careful curation can set the tone, expectations, and acceptable norms of your organization.
– The Startup Daily


March 29, 2012

The Magic of Getting Lost in the Woods

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:18 am

Getting lost is the first step toward finding original solutions.

When a project takes you into unfamiliar territory, there is a phase early on when you don’t yet know what can and can’t be done. Unencumbered by conventional wisdom and expert opinion, you become hyper-attuned to your surroundings and open to wildly creative solutions. It is a period of ambiguous uncertainty, but also endless possibilities.

When Designing New Products or Solutions, Don’t Research What Others Have Done too Quickly

Savor this window of opportunity for as long as you can before learning what others have done before you. The creative energy available to you at this moment is difficult to recapture.

Research will help you narrow down a solution and even find new paths to explore. But when done too soon, it can also limit the scope and creativity of those solutions.

Next time you find yourself lost in the woods, spend more time exploring the unknown before consulting a map and finding your way back.
– The Startup Daily


March 28, 2012

The War Room

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:41 am

As a project matures, it generates a growing set of artifacts, prototypes, and documents. Without a shared space to collect and display these artifacts, valuable information and insights can be lost in the paperwork. Deliverables, and even entire projects can falter as timelines, priorities, and key insights get burried in the noise.

A Project War Room is One of the Best Ways to Maintain a Project’s Momentum

Assigning a dedicated physical space sends a signal to the entire organization that the project is important.

The space allows key information, like user personas or major milestones, to be visible at all times, and becomes the go to place to share insights, offer feedback, and get the latest status updates. The space also acts as a fossil record for project artifacts.
– The Startup Daily


March 27, 2012

Resist Reliability

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 9:29 am

Most businesses follow a similar story arc. The founders come up with a creative solution to an existing problem and continue tweaking it until customers like it enough to start buying. At that point the business becomes focused on executing and optimizing that solution.

As the company grows, the natural forces of business reward repeatability and reliability. Systems replace executive decisions, and the kind of exploration that led to the original solution is systematically discouraged.

It’s the Leader’s Job to Keep Exploration Alive

While this reliability bias reduces the risk of small variations and errors, it increases the risk of the business being blind-sided by catacalismic events. When the environment changes or a competitor develops a even better solution, the organization must cycle back to the exploration phase.

This is where many businesses fail. Without active protection from the leadership, the tolerance for risk, failure, and exploration will have been optimized out of the organization. Only the leadership can keep these seemingly counterproductive habits alive until they are needed again when the cycle repeats.
– The Startup Daily


March 26, 2012

Prototype First

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:57 am

When designing a product, build a functioning prototype before making any major decisions about your product.

You Don’t Really Understand Your Product until You Put a Prototype in Front of Users

Observing how real users interact with your product in the real world is the best way to prove your assumptions and uncover new insights. Doing this before making major time and resource investments will save you money and possibly your business.
– The Startup Daily


March 23, 2012

Presentations Fail Because of Too Much Information, Not Too Little

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:34 am

A Presentation is not a document, and it doesn’t need to be crammed with detailed text, charts, or diagrams. Each slide should only contain enough information to help your audience recall the point currently being discussed. The bulk of your information should be delivered verbally.

Each Slide Should be Simple Enough to Be Processed in Three Seconds

If you have dense information to share, create a supplemental document to hand out to your audience. If you try to repurpose your presentation slide deck as a handout, it will likely fail as both.
– The Startup Daily


March 22, 2012

Practice Ruthless Exclusion

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:24 am

Every presentation should have a single point, argument, or goal that you want it to accomplish. You cannot design an effective presentation until you have identified what this goal is, and how you intend to accomplish it.

Once you have identified the goal, it will become obvious what to include and what to leave out.

If a Slide is Not Contributing to the Main Argument of your Presentation, Take it Out

It doesn’t matter how interesting a slide is. If it’s not there to support the main objective of the presentation, it’s a distraction and an obstacle to your argument.
– The Startup Daily


March 21, 2012

The Real Secret of Steve Job’s Presentations

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:56 am

Steve Jobs was a master of delivering presentations, and many of his techniques have been well documented. But what really set him apart was the amount of time and effort he put into rehearsing his presentations.

Effortless Presentations Are the Result of Deliberate Practice

Steve Jobs rehearsed obsessively for weeks before each presentation, sometimes putting in hundreds of hours of practice for a five minute demo.

Endless repetition will only give you so much improvement. To get the most from this practice, you should incorporate feedback.

Using video to record your rehearsals will help you identify areas for improvement such as eye contact, body language, energy, and the overuse of distracting filler words such as “um”, “uh”, and “you know.”
– The Startup Daily


March 20, 2012

Press B for Focus

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:46 am

Press B for Focus
If you are presenting using slideware such as PowerPoint or Keynote, the B key is one of the most useful keys to remember. In both of these applications, pressing B will temporarily replace the current slide with a black screen. Similarly, pressing W will bring up a white screen.

Blank the Presentation Screen at Key Moments to Force the Audience to Focus to You

Slides can be a great supplement to a presentation. But they can also be a distraction. Blanking the presentation screen removes the distraction and causes all eyes to fall on the presenter. Used sparingly, this can be a powerful tool for maintaining an engaged audience.
– The Startup Daily


March 19, 2012

Should You Start with a Joke?

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:54 am

The beginning of a presentation is the most difficult time. The speaker is nervous about presenting to a group. The audience is nervous that the presenter will be boring or even painful to endure. The first few moments will decide if the audience is going to stay engaged or tune out.

So it’s no surprise that people often start with a joke in an effort to lighten the mood and release the tension.

The problem is that being funny in a situation like that is really hard. Even professional comedians take a few moments to get warmed up.

Skip the Stand-up, and Start Your Presentation by Talking About the Audience

Telling a story is a great way to start. Just make sure the story is about something the audience cares about—like themselves or people just like them.

Asking the audience a question is another good way to start. As long as it’s relevant to the audience, and not a meaningless question like “Who wants to be more successful?”

Whatever you do, don’t start a presentation by talking about yourself.
– The Startup Daily

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