What you can learn from an Auschwitz survivor?

viktor Frankl wife meaning

Nothing is pointless.

No experience, no encounter.

Viktor Frankl survived the Auschwitz concentration camp through a combination of luck and a meaning he found dear. For him this was finishing his life’s work on psychotherapy. (a book which would go on to sell over 10 million copies)

Viktor concluded there were three ways one could find meaning in life:

  1. Creating a work or art
  2. Experiencing something or someone (love)
  3. Find meaning in unavoidable suffering

Now for all of you who are:

  • artists
  • sisters
  • friends
  • parents
  • relatives
  • brothers
  • sufferers
  • entrepreneurs
  • those facing seemingly insurmountable challenges

This applies to you.

There is one thought, which got people through hell, and can get you through any experience and come out stronger:

“The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us” – Viktor Frankl


Why Marketing Expert Seth Godin Is Wrong About House of Cards and Mariah Carey

Sorry Seth, there is now more than one way to create a buzz around a product release.

World famous marketeer Seth Godin thought Netflix made a mistake with the way they released House of Cards. Their hit show from last year was released all at once, not the traditional episode by episode.

From his post:

“And the mistake Netflix made was that they didn’t drip. They didn’t queue it up for their viewers, didn’t coordinate and sync the buzz.”

Netflix house of cards is a game changer

Kevin Spacey from House of Cards. Ominous game changer.

(By the way, this is the only way I watch a series. I never watch it episode by episode. I literally wait for the entire season to come out before watching.)

The other option to creating buzz is to go with the surround sound effect. Release it all at once, no pre-hype, no hype in the drip, the build up or the crescendo.

Upon releasing the show or the product your customer hears about you EVERYWHERE. In all their favourite blogs, from their friends, it’s in their feeds. They feel compelled to check it out because everyone they trust and are interested in are talking about it too.

Mariah Carey’s album which she dropped in December was a game changer according to Snoop Dogg/Lion. (he wrote: ‘ayyy Beyonce just chanded d game!! #getcultured.’) She changed the game because she did not drip feed her fans at all. She announced the 14 song collection on her twitter account. There were no singles released in advance – nothing. Surprise!

The result: she temporarily brought down the iTunes.

While drip feeding has been a golden rule for creating buzz it is no longer the only rule. It is being re-written.

And don’t think it is only those with mass followings who can do this – check out what these guys did for their Kickstarter campaign. Includes practical templates.

Measure Temperature At The Coal Face

The Chief Firefighter can’t measure the temperature of a fire, he is too far away. It is up to the front line, the firefighters, to measure the temperature.

What does this mean for the founder?

It is not your role to be on the frontline. It is not your role to collect data.

Your role as founder should be to ensure your front line team knows it is their responsibility to feed data back to the rest of the organisation. You also need to be give them the authority to do this. It is your responsibility to make sure there are tools in place for them to do this.

What does this mean for the employee?

Data is the most powerful way to instigate a change within your organisation or team. Data is not an opinion and it is in your face.

Let’s say you are working in customer service and have noticed a large number of complaints from customers for similar issues. You could let your manager:

“Over the last 30 days we have received 16 complaints from customers who complained of a faulty adapter. These customers spent an average of $246 with us and we have now lost over 70% of them as returning customers.”

Instant wake up call!

It might be frustrating when your organisation doesn’t work as it should. But you have the tools at your disposal to make a change.

Data is the best tool to instigate a change in behaviour. In an organisation or anywhere else for that matter.

Asking For Customer Feedback over SMS

Vodafone are my phone service provider. I received an SMS from them today asking for feedback on my recent visit to their store – changed from an iPhone to Samsung Galaxy last week.

Vodafone SMS Customer FeedbackThis was the first time I have received a request for customer feedback via SMS. Email is overcrowded and businesses tend to ask for too much. Phone calls don’t work as I don’t want to give up the time.

“Could I borrow 5 minutes of your time?” or “This survey will only take 10 minutes?”

The SMS worked well. They already had my mobile number and they asked for simple and actionable ratings. I replies back with 1 number to each SMS. I could tell the feedback would go back to the person who served me.

They only asked 5 questions, it took 1 minute of my time and I could reply to each of the 5 messages in my own time.

Hopefully businesses take advantage of different avenues for gaining valuable customer feedback like this.


Business Success and The Ability to Save

Last week I read a post from Steve Sammartino about the ability to save and it’s indication of financial success. It is worth worth reading all of the post, but the part I thought I would highlight is:

“I really believe that any human who wants to succeed financially and in business needs to be able to save money. It is the most basic of financial requirements to prove to ourselves we have the capacity to think ahead and delay gratification.”

I have never given any thought to this before but could not agree more.

Savings shows patience and the ability to stick with something for a long period of time without a near sign of reward.

I still remember saving for a $40 boogie board at the age of 7. It took over 6 months. My pocket money was $1 per week.

The memory of saving has stuck with me for a long time. So has the discipline.

I cannot think of better business skill my parents could have given me at a young age.


How Santa Claus Controls Costs In An Unbelievable Business Operation

Xero recently added Purchase Orders… finally! It has been a long time coming. Santa Claus could even tell you this – and yes Santa would clearly use beautiful accounting software. Christmas come early!

Santa gets the most energy from building his brand image through his majority ownership in Coca-Cola and, being a perfectionist, pressing his elves to get every last detail right on every toy.

However, Santa is also a great leader capable of the impossible. In order to accomplish the impossible he needs to understand the spokes (tell me in the comments what this should really be) which hold his sleigh together.

Few business operations in the world need to be able scale as quickly as the one he runs. His favourite tool for managing costs without micro-managing and chewing up his own unscalable time is Purchase Orders.

1. Delegate and allow your team to grow

Early on Purchase Orders allowed Santa to grow his business from the small man operation it was to the annual empire it now is. Santa was able to set up the appropriate levels of authority so he only authorised the level of purchasing he needed to but left the majority of purchasing decisions up to those below him with the responsibility.

2. Purchase Invoice matching

When any of the elves places an order for goods, they were either quoted a price, or were working off their price list from the Polar Bears whole supply the materials and services. Once the Purchase Order is approved it is automatically sent off the the supplier at time of order with the price and quantity ordered. If the invoice arrives at a different value it will be picked up straight away there is an issue.

3. Manage goods that have been received but not invoiced

Purchase Orders allow Santa’s merry crew to receive goods and recognise the cost they just incurred, even if the invoice arrives in Summer.

4. Match goods delivered against what was ordered

One year when pulling 80 hour weeks in the early start-up years one of his elves, Marcus, ordered 10 tonne of beautiful vintage wood for rocking horses. However, only 8 tonnes turned up. The invoice went straight through to Santa’s bookkeeper and was for 10 tonnes. The man in the red suit ended up paying for 2 tonnes more than what arrived. It only took this one costly mistake for Santa to realise the value of Purchase Orders and matching the goods received against what was ordered.

Santa runs the business operation in the North Pole on unbelievably slim margins and scales his entire operation at a seemingly impossible rate. It is easy to see why Santa considers a Purchase Order system an essential tool in controlling costs and freeing up his own time to focus on both doing what he does best and gets the most enjoyment out of.

You Are Probably Failing Your Business As A Leader

You are failing your business as a leader if on any given day you hear one of the below phrases from someone in your team:

  • I would like to…

  • Request permission to…

  • What should we do about…

  • Do you think we should…

  • Could we…

These are all indicators your business is run in through a command and control leadership style. You may not think so but if you are hearing any of the above I can guarantee it is. It may have even happened inadvertently.

You could be getting more out of your team and business if you pushed responsibility, accountability and decision making down the organisation.

Anytime you here one of the above phrases you need to stop the person immediately. Let them know from now on you want to hear “I intend to…”.

Be sure to stay on this same message with the entire team until it sinks in. It is a subtle but powerful difference.

The “I intend to…” philosophy was learned from Captain David Marquet who as commander of the USS Santa Fe turned it around from a ship with low morale, performance and retention into one of the fleets finest. If you are interested you should read his book.

It worked on a nuclear submarine, what is stopping you from implementing this in your business?