Where Business & Marketing Collide with Human Nature

Entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, linchpins, over-achievers, and those who feel a little weird and don't fit in.  
This blog with tips, ideas and resources is for you.

How to Study by Working Smarter - Not Harder [infographic]

Never stop learning. It is one of the essential needs of people as shared in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you are not familiar, the four needs are: Live, Love, Learn, Leave a Legacy. 

To learn more and improve your skills, it is not a matter of working harder... it is about working smarter. It is tempting to cram, study on weekends and optimize caffeine. This is harmful and ineffective.

Here are a few bits of information you might find helpful when trying to conquer new topics:

  • The brain finds it difficult to process any new information after 90 minutes of studying. 30 minutes of block study is much more effective.
  • A short nap can often refresh and recharge the brain. The recommended time for a good nap is between 20 and 30 minutes.
  • Three in every five college students stay up to study all night at some point, but this practice is linked with lower grades.

If you are working a job where a constant learning curve keeps you working overtime, or in school preparing for your masters degree, consider the tips in the infographic below. 

Topics: Learning Study

Test Your Intelligence Here & Why 'Smart' Holds You Back

If you are exceptionally brilliant, you probably realize it because unlike others who are working and studying harder, making more errors and sweating with unusual stress, you move forward with ease.

It is however, very easy to get a false sense of reality. It is possible that you are not so smart but instead associate with, work with or hang around less intelligent people. In this case you could appear to be a genius (and they will tell you so). You will strut a little and believe their truth as your own. Since you are obviously so advanced, you won't work as hard to learn, more acquire more skills and takes risks (Which adds to experience and wisdom).

Joining a membership, club or attending networking events can trap you with a false sense of intelligence.

If you have begun to rely on your reputation for being the smartest person in the room (in regards to your industry or field), you can easily assume that all is well.

When someone walks into the room who runs circles around you and asks questions you don't have the answer to, you will sneak away for two minutes to Google the questions so that you can appear to be "in the know". It reminds you that maybe... you might not be quite as intelligent as you thought.

Anyone can be at risk of being removed from the top spot by not only the boss, but also by clients, customers, peers, mentees and those we hope to impress because of pride and social status.

It is sad to know that so many want answers to questions like the ones below simply because they want stay off the bottom - beat the person next to them.

  • How intelligent am I?
  • Is there a test? (Like in school)
  • How intelligent do others believe me to be?
  • How smart to do I have to be?
  • Should I consider myself "the expert"?
  • What do others believe?
  • Which is most important? Intelligence or wisdom?
  • Is my I.Q. ?
  • How do I improve my intelligence.
  • How can I prove to others that I have intelligence and wisdom.

Get ready to test your intelligence - Here are quizzes and tests to take that will help you dig deeper into who you are, and your personality:

Topics: Test Intelligence Quiz

The Theory of Success - Jesse Henry at TEDxFSU discovered the formula

When its a theory, does it matter? The theory of gravity exists and we take the existence of gravity as a fact. If we have enough science and proof behind the theory, it soon becomes a fact. At this point, with a plethora of corroborating evidence, the TEDx talk below by Jesse Henry should in reality be a "Fact". Which might change the title to "The Facts and Reality of Success".

Fair warning, Jesse Henry will begin with a "rope-a-dope". Instead of feeling resentment, you will have an appreciation of his perspective and it will draw you in.

Watch Jesse's TEDx video to learn the three things that catalyze success:  
Perspective, Strategy and Execution. 

Topics: Success Business Success Entrepreneurship

Radio Shows & Podcasting - Taking Advantage of Your Talent for Speaking

You woke up this morning with one thought in mind: Transformation!  Why not take advantage of your special skills and talents and use radio or podcasting to pursue your vision and spread the word about your ideas?

– just like a butterfly!  (aka metamorphosis) 

Unfortunately, you know your lizard brain is still working to keep you away from anything that looks even the slightest bit dangerous.   ...even butterflies have lizard brains.

In the process of your metamorphosis, you want to focus on one of your special strengths of thinking+speaking.

That makes sense since you have spoken, talked, chatted, sold, taught, lectured, motivated, inspired and presented to many.

The options for recording a presentation or delivering it via a live radio show are below:

Topics: presentation tools Podcast Audio

Take Action on Your Innovative Ideas with Infographic Software Tools

The next big idea will happen at the most inopportune moment and the idea you share will no doubt get immediate resistance. This leads to arguments and potentially the need for pursuasion and selling. (which is time you could be using to take action on your idea).

The most creative ideas can quickly die a quiet death when  "I have a million dollar idea!" turns into squiggles, chicken scratches and unintelligible dribble that only the author can understand.

PowerPoint and other powerful tools can become an arsenal to confuse instead of creating clarity.

With a primary goal of "speed to market and personalization", learning sophisticated software does not always empower an innovator to start NOW.  

If you have a plan to make an  impact, conquer the world or change the community, you will recruit others to join you in your mission:  investors, staff, peers, advocates, potential customers, cheer squads, advisory board members, and more.  They will appreciate your enthusiasm but will need more than a lame squiggle to get it done.

With PowerPoint experience and 200+ tools in my toolchest, it is more difficult to get my attention with new free or low-cost software.  If you can show me a way to help people make more impact by taking action on their ideas without a steep learning curve, you get my attention.

Topics: presentation tools Business Software Free Software Graphics. Design

Core Value Index (CVI) Calendar Magic

I use a calendar vs. a spreadsheet for marketing/business planning. (I love spreadsheets but hate taking time to transfer a plan to a calendar. Seems like one step too many.)  Blocks of time are color coded based on the types of activities on the calendar.

The calendar is blocked-out a little like this:

  1. Research (Listen) 
  2. Learn (and/or train)
  3. Plan
  4. Create / Build
  5. Connect / Share
  6. Analyze

Back to #1

It is like a dance, a song, a beat. These are activities in which I excel so work seems like a little too much fun on some days.

Color codes in the calendar include the CVI Core Value so I know if I will have a fun week.  If there is too much green and red in the calendar, uh oh. 

The Core Value Index (CVI) has become a warning tool to say: “Mike, your colors show you are spending too much time in areas you are most comfortable with.” or it might also tell me to get more Almond Roca ready because it will be a tough week.  

When you make a plan and calendar, you might find a similar issue. Instead of maintaining a balance of activities to grow business, you might be focused on analytics. (I love numbers so must be careful with time analyzing as well.)  Or you might find your calendar full of networking and connecting (...with little creating/building time invested.)

Have you seen an example Core Value Index?

Below is a snapshot of a CVI showing my core value index to be creative, intuitive, an innovator and connector, This is why I work so well with people who are builders, I am an Innovator/Merchant.  

Topics: Business Planning Core Value Index

Celebrate With These Small Business Owners Graduating from SBA Emerging Leaders Program

Small business owners begin the journey with hope and determination as they overcome fears and persist regardless of barriers. Fortunately, there are support programs to ensure success. 

Fifteen small business owners across the state of Washington graduated from the SBA Emerging Leaders program, a seven-month executive education program for local business on the brink of growth.  

“Small business owners often know where they want to take their business, but struggle with how to get there. The Emerging Leaders initiative provides the tools and expert guidance to spark sustainable growth,” said SBA Seattle District Director Nancy Porzio.

According to Seattle Emerging Leaders Instructor Mary Marshall, “every $200 the SBA invests in the Emerging Leaders program creates a new job in the local economy.”

As you read the names and businesses of the graduates, remember how recognition, celebration, and congratulations are as easy as:

  1. Picking up the phone.
  2. Sharing a blog.
  3. Pointing others to their business via social media or email.
  4. Making a comment on their social media accounts.
  5. Sending a personal "Way to go!" card in the mail. (Yes. The mail) 

Or if you are local, you may decide to visit in person on the way to your next destination.

The SBA has done the work and made the announcement. I have added website links for you to click below. It takes less than five minutes to make an introduction and make their day. 

Topics: Guerrilla Marketing Business Success Business Success Stories SBA

What (or who) Influences Research for New Marketing Technology Solutions

This particular marketing chart shows how social media accounts does little to influence decisions while peer recommendations is an important influence. 

What it does not tell you is whether the vendors use social media tools to connect and add value or instead used in traditional methods similar to broadcasting.  However, the study also demonstrates that buyers feel that vendors’ social activity can help establish a company’s credibility.

MarketingCharts.com article refers to the survey:

"There appears to be demand for more marketing technology, according to the report, as more than 4 in 10 feel that their existing stack is out-of-date and insufficient."

The report also talks about when the search begins:

"Not surprisingly, the search for a new marketing technology most commonly takes place when respondents recognize a need (44% share) or when the current solution isn’t delivering the right results (21%).

But marketers typically learn about marketing technologies before they turn to search: 30% said they usually first learn about them from peers or colleagues; 20% first from publications or blogs; and 13% first from search.

As for the publications that inform them, Forbes (44%), Wired (37%) and the Wall Street Journal (35%) are the destinations where the largest proportion of respondents read about marketing technology solutions and marketing industry news."

In segmenting respondents by titles, the Walker Sands study notes that:

  • Price is the top purchase factor for CMOs 

  • Peers are the first place each job title first learns about solutions

  • The company or product website is on par with product demos as the top content source 

  • Budget is the biggest obstacle to a purchase for each job title

Topics: Analytics Marketing Marketing Chart

Free Educational Resources and Practice Tests at Varsity Learning Tools

You have seen tutor signs similar to the one above and while their entrepreneurial commitment is appreciated, you will move on to another who has more skills.


"Learn" is one of the four "Ls" in "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. (Live, Love, Learn, Leave a Legacy) When a person stops learning, part of that person dies. Learning is more important than many realize. I highly recommend the book by Mr. Covey.

Free Educational, Training and Testing Resources

Free educational resources are available at Varsity Learning Tools. Over 75,000 professionally have written problems and thousands of distinct practice tests across 150 subjects. This includes subjects like history, math, foreign languages, and science for all experience levels.

This is especially important now for more professionals who compete in the world where the youth appear to be more "up to date". Those of us over 42 years of age know this is NOT true but must still find ways to prove that we are not antique dinosaurs ready for pastures.

Varsity Learning Tools also offers practice tests and problems for common standardized tests like the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, ISEE, and SSAT.  http://www.varsitytutors.com/practice-tests

40 million

To date, students have completed more than 40 million problems on the Varsity Learning Tools platform. Each question is tied to a specific academic concept, which means your students can pinpoint their particular strengths and weaknesses in almost any area.

Topics: Education Free Training Skills

Mindfulness - There is now an app for that! Lower your mental workload.

Mindfulness involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there's a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.

Mindfulness is a popular method to handle emotions by paying attention to them. It is derived from the Buddhist concept Sati

You may practice mindfulness since a very young age but not realize it. Here are a couple examples:

At Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest Washington, Sofia Parodi recently took a coveted seat at the head of the classroom and asked a fellow fourth-grader to switch off the lights and instructed the class to “Close your eyes and take three deep breaths,” They fell into a familiar rhythm of silently counting their breaths, then sharing their experience with their classmates.. Source: The Washington Post

Mumpreneur Dani Matthews shares the weekly mindfulness schedule she has set. Source: The Huffington Post

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist leader who introduced mindfulness to Westerners (Google got first dibs on him as a guest speaker), once said, “The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” Yet for the majority of sentient beings today, simply getting through an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” without tending multiple screens is a quasi-mystical triumph. Naturally, the architects of our electronic age approach the situation as if it were an engineering problem.

And so... the architects of our electronic age have invented an app for that!

Topics: APPS