Monthly Archives

December 2016

Seasons Greetings!!

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seasons greetings

Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings!!! As we wrap up 2016, it is a good time to reflect on what we are thankful for, the progress we made this year, and where we want our lives to go in the upcoming year. Personally, I am grateful for family, friends, community, health, and the opportunity this year has provided. The opportunity to write a book to help others and create a business is a tremendous blessing. I thank you all for your support.

I have made a lot of progress this year. I am happy to say the Potential book has reached its first draft and will be going into proofing shortly. I spent a few months this year just doing research for the book and service. I have built several different prototypes of the basic service user interface with different technologies. I have done all the things needed to run a business including incorporating, websites, social media, marketing, etc. It has been a fun and busy 6 months.

This year hasn’t been all work. I had the joy of taking a cruise to celebrate Kate’s 40th birthday around the Mediterranean to see amazing things in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. It is amazing and inspiring to see the creations of history. I was privileged to take many TechShop classes and learn how to work with metal, wood, and other materials. I am currently using this knowledge in my robotics work. I also had some great fun doing automation for Halloween.

What does next year hold for me? Well, I plan to release Potential in January and have a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of Karmas. So many people make new years resolutions that they typically drop by January 15. I hope to help everyone be more successful at reaching his or her goals. I hope you had an amazing year and hope the New Year is even more amazing.

Wishing you the best year ever,

Guy Bieber
Inspire – Be Inspired – Create Amazing Experiences 
When you need The Guy: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]

Preorder Potential today at https://www.thepotentialbook.com/preorder/

Boost Creativity: Lateral Thinking, Perspective, and Intersections

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creativity

Perspective Seeking

“To understand something you need to view it from at least three perspectives.”
– Leonardo Davinci

Humans crave novelty in the forms of insights and surprise. We need stimulus to grow. One way to gain new perspectives is to look at the world differently: look more broadly, look more closely, or think younger. In the book Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly studied what made 91 exceptional people successful. This study examined Nobel Prize winners, famous authors, and famous artists. He found three things these experts needed to succeed.

  • Knowledge: Tremendous amounts of information. This provides many perspectives.
  • Interaction: Motivation to combine ideas.
  • Network to Exploit: Criteria of judgment for the field.

This study also found several characteristics these successful people shared. They could take opposing perspectives simultaneously in many areas:

  1. Smart and naive
  2. Playful and disciplined
  3. Imagination (fantasy and whim) and reality
  4. Opposite tendencies on introversion and extroversion. Need solitude and interaction.
  5. Humble and proud
  6. Escape gender prototypes – psychologically androgynous
  7. Rebellious and independent
  8. Passionate (attachment) and objective (detachment)
  9. Open and Curious
  10. Use and restore energy on demand

These characteristics allowed them to gather perspectives and seek the intersections where new innovation happens. We see the power of intersections of ideas from many fields through time. In The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson, Frans describes how the Medici family drove the invention that came out of the Renaissance by paying people from multiple disciplines to come to the Republic of Florence and work. Anywhere ideas can mingle has been a place of innovation. During the rise of the first coffee shops in the 1500s (coffeehouse), people from different walks of life gathered and shared different ideas and perspectives. If you are stuck on a problem, by definition, you need another way to approach the problem; that is another perspective.

Lateral Thinking

“Being a little weird is just a natural side-effect of being awesome.”
– Sue Fitzmaurice

In the book Smartcuts: The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking by Shane Snow, Shane describes the power of lateral thinking (similar to intersectional thinking, i.e. jumping fields). He describes how people have climbed higher by jumping laterally to a different ladder. For instance, Obama jumped ladders from a Freshman Senator to President by using data analytics and social media. In the trade up game (popular with young Mormons), everyone starts with a toothpick and trades it for something else (that is something on a different value ladder). In one game, a young man traded for a house after 14 trades over 6 months, starting with merely a toothpick!

Astro Teller tells a story about the British Air Force during WWII. The Germans were taking a dramatic toll on the British Air Force. They were rapidly losing planes and pilots. They knew they had to add armor to the planes or lose the war. The planes would be too heavy and slow if they armored the whole plane. They didn’t know where to put the armor. So, they called in a professor from one of the universities to look at the problem. He went off for a week, crawling around planes and mapping where the bullet holes were. The air command staff had forgotten the professor was working on the problem when he showed up. The commander told him they decided to put armor where the holes were. The professor said that would be a bad idea. He handed them a map of where they should put armor on the planes, and they asked him to explain. He said these planes all have one thing in common; these pilots and planes survived. This means, where the bullet holes were didn’t destroy the plane, so armor where the holes weren’t. This worked. This is an example of taking a different perspective on a problem. Sometimes, you must question the status quo. Dell started by asking why computers cost 5x the cost of parts (book Little Bets).

Intersection Seeking

“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.” – Frank Tyger

Many successful people have talked about how they collect and eventually connect the dots (find the intersections) to succeed. Steve Jobs followed his curiosity after dropping out of college and attending a calligraphy class. Later, this drove the fonts in the graphical interface of the mac and a desktop publishing revolution. Elon Musk is a master of this intersectional and lateral thinking. He has founded / created many businesses using this thinking, including PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, SolarOne, and Hyperloop. Here are examples of lateral jumps Elon has made.

  • Take the reusability of planes to rockets to reduce space travel costs.
  • Take the light construction of rockets to cars to enable light electric cars.
  • Turned cars into upgradeable computers to enable new vehicle features to be uploaded.

Takeaways

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
– Albert Einstein

Here are three takeaways for you to become an innovative, deeply unconventional thinker.

  1. Be poly-curious (curious about many things). Collect different ideas and perspectives broadly.
  2. Connect ideas laterally across fields. Always be thinking how you can apply something you learn to another field. Recognize what is important.
  3. Be able to compare and hold opposing ideas simultaneously. Look from many perspectives.

I find a couple of techniques useful for filling my idea / perspective cue. I am always looking for interesting books. I use Google alerts to be notified of new articles in topics that interest me. I determine which people and blogs are most interesting and follow them on Twitter. Twitter gives you a rapid way to evaluate content, through a forced 140-character limit describing what the article contains and an image. If you want to dig deeper, just click on the article. Ted Talks are another great way to collect perspectives. Ted Talks are under 20 minutes and contain some of the best compressed knowledge by experts in every field. There are an unlimited number of things you can learn and explore on the Internet. Keep finding insights, connecting, and looking with multiple perspectives.

Gratefully,
Guy Bieber
Inspire  Be Inspired  Create Amazing Experiences 
When you need The Guy: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]

Preorder Potential today at https://www.thepotentialbook.com/preorder/

Connect! Don’t go it alone!

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connect

Why Connect?

“Someone created the computer on their own, and it was thrown away. You have to have infrastructure to make an idea big. You can’t be a loner.” – The Innovators

The longest longevity study watched 700 men from wealthy backgrounds (Harvard) and from poor Boston neighborhoods over 75 years. The number one thing they found that increased happiness and healthiness was good relationships with family, friends, and communities. That was regardless of wealth or genetic disposition. People who were happiest in retirement replaced workmates with playmates. Loneliness was toxic to health and happiness. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 Americans are lonely. We need to connect with others to make our journey more enjoyable.

There has been a trend towards solo-preneuring where an individual starts a business. The solo-preneur is a misnomer; eventually, if something succeeds, you need to involve other people to grow. As a solopreneur, there are many connections you can make:

The journey is always more fun when we go on it together. For a viable business, you at least must take your customers on that journey.

Mentors, Coaches, and Your Personal Board of Directors

“Too little confidence you will be unable to act. Too much confidence you will be unable to listen. “ – John Maeda

Entrepreneurs with mentors raised 7x the capital and grew 3.5x faster (Smartcuts). Mentors are important in developing a business and life. Everyone needs a personal board of directors; in particular, young people can really benefit. For a business, having the right mentors is helpful. You want mentors who have been through what you are trying to do before or are experts in an area you are not. Mentors often know an effective tool or can make an introduction that helps you move forward. Having a mentor connected to many people, a super-connector, can be very useful for making the right introductions. I am grateful for the many good mentors I have been blessed with throughout my career.

I have been fortunate to have executive coaches at various jobs. They really help you figure yourself out and give you tools to be more effective. If you have the means to get a coach who works for you, do it. If not, there are a lot of services that can get you some short-term specific mentoring. Clarity provides advice for startups in every area of creating a business. Mentors on Clarity provide by the minute mentoring at various rates. If you need help getting unstuck coding something, Codementor provides by the minute mentoring on software development. There is also the possibility of a coaching internship, where you follow around someone who does something you aspire to do. There are many ways for you to get help. Simply ask and be grateful.

Besides mentors I can talk to, I have a dream board of directors, composed of people I admire. When I get stuck or demotivated, I ask what they would say to me. My dream board contains Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Leonardo DaVinci, Albert Einstein, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Bill Joy, Astro Teller, Freddy Mercury, and John Lennon. Some of these people I know, some are long gone, and some I hope to meet someday. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it helps to think about how these people might advise me. Have fun with it. You can have any dream board of directors you want.

In her TEDTalk, Barbara Sher described how isolation is a dream killer. She started forming success groups to help people achieve their dreams. People just have to describe a wish and an obstacle, and then the team helps them overcome it. It was amazing how people helped each other. One woman had not had a vacation in years and wanted to go on a cruise. Someone in the team had won a free cruise they didn’t want to go on. They gave her the ticket. Another person offered to help babysit her kids. You are much more likely to get the answers you seek if you cast your net more widely. That is what success teams are about.

There are many opportunities to find your community. Meetups have become a popular way to connect with your local community. Tools, like Meetup, make it easy to publish and find events. Mastermind Groups create multidisciplinary teams that meet to brainstorm, achieve goals, and learn. The resources are there for you; you just have to reach out.

Power of the Crowd / Collaborative Economy / Sharing Economy / Peers

Many companies have harnessed the power of the crowd and created amazing networking effects for their businesses. Wikipedia used the crowd to create the first constantly updated online encyclopedia. Uber allowed people to use one of their least used and most expensive assets to make money on the side. Cars are only 5% utilized; yet represent 7% of family income. Uber created the world’s largest transportation company. Airbnb allowed people to share spare bedrooms or homes with guests and create the world’s largest hotel company. Threadless runs tee-shirt design competitions with the crowd, takes preorders, and prints shirts on demand. The examples are endless. In her book Peers Inc, Robin Chase describes the principles and benefits of taking a peers approach to business.

Principles

  1. Using excess capacity makes sense.
  2. Platforms enable simple sharing.
  3. Peers are powerful collaborators.

Miracles

  1. Peer models can have exponential growth.
  2. Smart platforms create exponential learning via machine learning. Law of Accelerated Learning for Peers: Pace of learning is proportional to the size of the network.
  3. Diverse networked peers mean instant access to the right minds.

Networking effects matter. Companies that orchestrate networks have 2x to 4x the valuations of their peers and outperform them on both product and growth. Robin suggests we are moving from an industrial economy to a collaborative economy. She describes the collaborative economy this way.

  1. Openness: Open assets are more efficient than closed assets. The benefits of openness are far greater than the problems of openness.
  2. Connectedness: More networked minds are greater than a few fenced-in minds.
  3. Sharing: I get is greater than I give.

Robin describes the phases that peer businesses go through. They move from a controlled kernel, to everyone welcome, to power imbalance (between the community and platform), and finally power parity (everyone is benefiting). The Internet, machine learning, and the cloud are making it easier than ever to create a peers-based company.

Crowds / Peers enable you to find people with similar goals, people with knowledge you are looking for, and people with skills you might need. It is much like the game show 1 versus 100, where a crowd typically beats an individual, regardless of how smart they are. Peers help you get unstuck, because someone always knows a faster, cheaper, better way of doing things you are struggling with.

The crowd can also fund your ideas. Indiegogo and Kickstarter have funded billions of dollars to startups. You just have to connect with something people really want. The book Bold describes what you need to have a successful crowdfunding campaign.

  1. You need to be in the late prototype phases.
  2. The team assembled and capable of executing.
  3. The product is community focused and consumer facing.
  4. The team has access to a large community of followers, who can be pitched directly.
  5. The product aims to solve a problem people care about.

Crowdfunding has many advantages, well beyond just raising capital.

  1. Market validation and real demand measurement.
  2. Development of paying community of customers.
  3. Inexpensive customer acquisition.

Another way to use the crowd is to solve big problems. Prize-based competitions are capital effective for solving big problems. The XPrize spawned commercial rockets. DARPA prizes created the driverless car and humanoid robotics. The book Bold talks about the reasons for doing competitions.

  1. Raise the visibility of challenges. Makes people think it’s actually doable.
  2. Prizes break bottlenecks of traditional players.
  3. Prizes cast a wide net.
  4. The appetite for risk increases.
  5. Crowdfunding is possible.
  6. Prizes can creates 100s of technical solutions.

For prize-based research to work, you have to tap into the passion of the community.

Pay it Forward

“Golden Rule: Treat others like you want to be treated.”
“Platinum Rule: Treat others like they want to be treated.” – Dr Tony Alessandra
“If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” —@KevinSpacey

The one pitfall of the golden rule is that it assumes others will like what we do. The larger the community, the less likely this is true. Receiving always starts with giving. If you want a community you go to for help, you need to be the person willing to help others. If someone mentored you, pay it forward by mentoring someone else. In the movie Pay It Forward, a young boy launches a goodwill movement. He helped other people and asked them only one thing in return; help someone else. He asked them to pay it forward. Imagine a world where one small act of kindness ripples out into 100s, 1000s, and millions of acts of kindness. That would be a great world to live in.

Gratefully,
Guy Bieber
Inspire  Be Inspired  Create Amazing Experiences 
When you need The Guy: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]

Preorder Potential today at https://www.thepotentialbook.com/preorder/

The Potential Book Update

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writing desk potential

As I wrap up the first draft of Potential, I wanted to share my progress with you. The first draft will be done this week. I will spend a week on a second draft and then it will go into proofreading. It will be finalized and available on Amazon in January. I believe it will help people achieve their new years resolutions and bigger goals.

The articles on my blog give you a sneak peak at some of the content in the book. I am really pleased with the way it is turning out. Your support has meant a lot to me, so I wanted give you a sneak peak at the table of contents.

I intend to do a Kickstarter campaign shortly to launch the book. Keep tuned!! As always I would love to hear your feedback. You can still preorder the book (we don’t charge you until you get the book). All preorders will get a special gift when their order is filled. Keep tuned.

Gratefully,

Guy Bieber

Inspire w Be Inspired w Create Amazing Experiences 

When you need The Guy: @theguybieber [email protected] [email protected]

Preorder Potential today at: https://www.thepotentialbook.com/preorder/