Sunday, November 30, 2008

New way to think about tasks

  • In the freezer: Stuff we need to get to at some point in the future
  • In the fridge: Stuff we'll be working on in the next few days
  • On the stove: Stuff we're actively working on right now

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Is the teacher learning?

I just listened to a captivating TED talk from a gentleman who voluntarily did not speak for 17 years. As one would imagine, he has some interesting things to say about listening. During his silence, he was a college professor where he would write and use a make-shift sign language to communicate. He said many times as he would make signs and gestures the students would play a kind of guessing game trying to make out what he was trying to say. Many times they got it right. Sometimes they would not. Frequently, he would think to himself, "That's not what I was trying to say!" And then he'd catch himself and think, "...but it probably should have been..." as he realized the students had struck upon a critical angle or point he was overlooking. His point was that if you are not learning while you're teaching, you're probably not really teaching.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Seth Godin and Cosmetics

My wife is legally blind and often comes to me with a handful of frosted glass cosmetics jars of every shape, size, and color as she's getting ready in the morning asking what each of them are. I'm continually amazed at how specific (and frankly creative) many of these products can be.

At the same time, I'm reading Tribes--Seth Godin's new book. Seth is one of my favorite authors and a common theme of his (and Tom Peters for that matter) has been to find and dominate micro niches (or some small territory along the long tail) rather than taking on Ma Bell. Basecamp or Highrise from 37Signals (one of my favorite companies) is a much better bet today than trying to take on Word or Excel.

So that got me thinking: if Revlon can sell a cream for women of a certain age to place just around their eyes--only at night--how many possible creams/lotions/potions are there? And if they can do that with their market, why can't I do something similar with mine? How many ways can you slice and dice your target market? And after you've done that, you're sure to find at least one of those micro market niches is underserved at the moment. And Seth would say there's a "tribe" waiting for you to be their leader.