Archives for April 2008
I get a fair amount of traffic to my post on Visa Stock. And it’s clear by the search terms that a lot of people are wondering ‘Should I buy Visa’?
If you got in on the IPO at $44, you’re a pretty happy camper. Even if you got in on opening day at around $60 it’s still a pretty sweet deal. But what about now? As the price continues to rise?
Hindsight is Not 20/20
You know how people buy lottery tickets and they’re just one number out from winning a couple grand. “Ohhh, I had 42 instead of 43″.
Well, you could have had 10 or 7 or 22 and you’re just as far away from 43 as you are with the number 42. A different ball came down the chute. Period.
A friend emailed me these pictures of the hiking route up to the Huashan Teahouse in China. It’s your typical viral-entertainment email … but the pics tell a pretty cool story and I like hiking and other mountain sports so check this out …
1. First, you’ve got to get to where you’re going. Pretty cool, and yes, I’m one of those people that jumps up and down on trams …
2. Next, walk the plank. Luckily there are some chains anchored to the wall for you to hang on to … so it’s not scary at all …
The real hurtle is that in business, and in life, we’re often confined to operating within certain constraints. It’s called being “normal”. People will tell you to think outside the box, but when it comes to actually stepping outside that box …
Radical change requires radical action. It’s time to push your keyboard to the side and learn some serious brainstorming techniques to get the ideas flowing:
- Go big. I use a pen and a simple pad of lined paper to organize my day most of the time. But when I really need to whip up a storm I have an 18″ x 24″ artists pad to scribble over. Think “whiteboard”. Think “that wall looks pretty bare”.
- Take it to the street. Get yourself some chalk and find yourself a bare piece of asphalt (preferrably traffic-free) and start crafting ideas.
- Wage a table-top war. 50 bucks will get you a trunk load of little green army men. Set ‘em up on the boardroom table and game out how you’re going to storm the market.
- Oxygenate your team. Pull out the football and hit the field. Make it a rule to only discuss business, not plays. The game is just a conduit to get the blood pumping and the ideas flowing.
- Take a field trip. One of my favorites. Visit your competition, your suppliers, or your point of sale and chat up a storm. You will get amazing ideas from the outside and instantly see how you can incorporate them and make them even better.
- Captains log. Grab a video camera and start recording/acting out your ideas and bring a supporting cast with you. A camera changes the whole tone and has a way of bringing out everyone’s inner superstar. And even Captain Kirk didn’t have a video log.
- Go barefoot in the park. Just loosen up. Take off your shoes and walk through the grass. Or the creek. Or the waves on the seashore. Scan the sky or the horizon and just let your mind wander into new territory.
The key here is that when you’re stuck, new ideas won’t solve your problem. You already know you need new ideas. It’s how to get them that’s the problem.
And for that you need to get out and find a different approach. Now, up in the right hand corner of your computer you’ll see a little button that says IO.
Good times and bad times start at the top, and then the effects “trickle down” to small businesses and regular people.
Right now, we’re seeing the trickle down effect from a bursting property bubble and mile-high piles of consumer and government debt. So what’s the best way to deal with that?
Well, trickle “up” of course.
First, The Vicious Trickle Down Cycle
Because of the property price implosion, a lot of things are happening:
- Lumber mills are shutting down temporarily or even for good
- Companies like Linens & Things are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
- Many large companies are laying off thousands of employees
Could it actually happen? Read on …
Google invests in (or buys) a lot of very innovative web projects; YouTube, Firefox, Android, and many more. And their share of search engine traffic is growing. It’s not inaccurate to describe Google as unassailable, even in the face of controversy.
All Roads Lead to AdWords
But despite all the innovation they’ve brought to the web, from a business perspective, they’ve often been described as a one trick pony.
And the trick is called AdWords.
It’s the only thing they’ve ever made serious money at, and serious money they do make. And this is where the problem lies. AdWords is a pinch point. Damage AdWords and you damage all that Google is.
The very nature of being an entrepreneur means you’re taking a bit of a shot in the dark with your business idea. You’re blazing a new trail. Going where (hopefully) no one else has gone before.
But you can make your startup a whole lot easier by following someone else’s trail in the beginning.
You Gotta Be a Prince Before You Become King
In the end, it’s that new territory that you discover and conquer that will make you the king in your industry. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and the best place to start is to follow the current kings around and learn from them.
No matter what you’re selling; products, services, affiliate marketing … there are already people and companies out there making an absolute killing in the market. Some of them spend millions of dollars develping packaging that sells, ad copy that stops you in your tracks, and websites that convert into sales.
Take advantage of that.