Dare to Explore

Resting on a long weekend Monday for me means letting my mind explore.

A business idea has been brewing in my mind for a few months now and so far I have prototyped it, did some initial interviews with vested parties (groups that would use the service) and gotten back some great questions, feedback and support. Of course there are opinions from the consumer end as well, and not all were approving.

Some comments:

  • This isn’t for me
  • This isn’t for the XYZ market
  • I could see value for this for ABC market, but not the mass market
  • How long will this last, the market won’t be hot forever

All these points are well taken, but here’s the positive spin on it.

  • Great – it means it’s not for you but for somebody else.
  • Great – not for XYZ market means it could be for ABC market – a product/service should have its lovers and haters or else you would be sadly, nothing.
  • Great – as long as there is a way to make the service profitable for a niche market, it’s still a win.
  • Sure – but when is it hot forever? I can apply this comment to every single business out there but hey, we’re all still working every day right? Might as well work to earn all that we can so that when the market isn’t hot anymore we can feel safe from all that we have saved, earned from NOW until then.

So – if you have an idea, at least explore it. Talk to parties about it, do your research, and commit to a small investment that would tell you whether the market would respond to your proposed product/service. A small pilot would do, but it still takes time and effort. The point is, don’t stop at the first negative comments that are thrown at you, get the service out there and see what the market says to a tangible product/service.

If they hate it – move on. If they love it – keep at it. You might have hit something big!


Beware Overpromising

We have all heard it a millions times. Seriously.

One of the rules of marketing is to underpromise and overdeliver, and it is always amazing to me how some salespeople overpromise in order to close the deal or inflate the value of their “network”.

I have an acquaintance who would inflate details and overpromise what they can deliver in order to close deals or give the perception that they are more connected than they are.

For example, an angel investor in their words might become a venture capital investor. $10 million in capital might become $100 million with their framing.

This is setting yourself up for no repeat business, because you will always underdeliver, leaving customers disappointed and wanting to look elsewhere. It is people like these who give marketers and salespeople a bad name of overpromising.

If you are currently utilizing this practice, I urge you to rethink whether this will bring you sustainable wealth and revenue streams in the long-term; my speculation is that it will not.

What Are You Reading?

I am currently sitting in the Thai Airlines lounge reading various business, current affairs and fashion magazines.

I noticed (from my sample size of one) that what I read reflects a change in my career intent and direction since last year. A year ago I would have gladly picked up an entertainment and/or fashion magazine and wrapped myself in/with it for an hour. It may be the workaholic in me or, when thought of in a more positive light, a shift in issues I care about. Now the publications on the table in front of me are Hong Kong Business, TIME, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek and Harper’s Bazaar (there’s my balance!)

I want to read about ways to build a better business, ways to utilize my cash to make mine with money, and learn more about cultural affairs/need to identify the next place I want to visit.

It feels like I’m inevitably growing up and my reading choices are a clear indicator. As the year comes to an end (and I am on vacation for a few rare days during the year where I am not working on my laptop) it’s a time for reflections to see where you’ve been and set your mindset for where you want to go for the next year.

Believe it or not, I find this activity to be pretty relaxing 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Why I can’t sleep and why you shouldn’t sleep

This is why I can’t sleep tonight; I read this article on Facebook: http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/butterfly-child-dreams-of-the-northern-lights

I commend the bravery of the butterfly child in living his every day. Even if he’s not so-called living it to the ‘fullest’ (between managing pain and painkiller-induced drowsiness it’s tough to do any living at all).

It makes me think why I am not making the most of my time when I am able to live it to the fullest. We should be grateful we are even given a chance to choose to live life to the fullest.

So this is why I can’t sleep, because it choose to spend more time being awake and doing things I love whether it be drawing, reading, whatever it is you wish to do… just enjoy being alive and healthy – that is already a privilege and a gift.

Experiment with Life

We often fall into a routine for living – we get up around the same time everyday, eat the same breakfast, go to work and then come home and lounge around or at best we go out and socialize. This is just a guess of most people’s routine.

The point is, what have you done lately to experiment with life? Take on a new sport? Try new things? Learn a new language? Even wake up earlier in the day to change your sleep schedule?

Shake up the routine and you will be surprised at how refreshed your mind feels. All I had to was go to sleep early, and now I wake up inspired to write in the morning. Big progress comes from small changes – so go ahead, experiment with life!


What Comes Around Goes Around


Today I went for a morning hike with a few friends in Deep Cove in North Vancouver. After circling for 20 minutes, my mission to find a parking spot seemed pretty hopeless. I pulled into a 1 hour spot and went into a fresh juice store beside Honey’s Donuts. A Korean lady greeted me warmly behind the counter. I asked her whether they tow cars quickly here and motioned towards my car parked outside. She said it’s really rare and said if I am back within 2 hours it should be fine. I walked back to my car still worried about my car and debates whether to take the risk. I saw the Korean lady wave at me from behind the counter and I went back to the store. She offered her parking spot to me so I could spend more time hiking and not worry about my car.

The result? I spent 2 hours hiking and enjoying the sun and went back to get a fresh fruit smoothie from their store afterwards. She had offered her spot to me for free but the drink is just a token of my appreciation.

She did a good deed for me today and I am supremely grateful for people like her, who gave something requesting nothing in return. Something that’s free for them to give too but made both of is feel fantastic.

What have you done today for someone else?

Escape Rinse & Repeat

Escape the rinse and repeat trap of corporate planning. 

For consultants out there who have successfully convinced their clients to take some risk and even foster some borderline creative behaviour, kudos to you. For the first year you were probably able to establish new partnerships, gain some traction, largely because your client wasn’t really sure what to expect with this new endeavour. 

Once your client thinks they understand the process and see some good results in the first year, they simply want to rinse and repeat and do everything the same for the next year; easy for you to sit there and collect a retainer, tough on your brains with all those awesome ideas trying to get out. 

So what do you do? 

  1. Find a champion – someone in management who buys your ideas and believes that continual innovation and creativity is required to get to the next level. They will actively vouch for you to ensure that the ideas are implemented. 
  2. Move on – pick your battles. You can’t change the world view of a client (until their competitor ends up doing exactly what you told them they should’ve done and then they call you and say “oh my god you were right!”), but you can change who you work for. When they need you again, they’ll come to you. Even better, keep an eye on their progress, and reappear when you feel like they are ready to do something creative again. 

Whatever you do, at least do something about it instead of sitting there and just going through the motions. If they tell you it’s “too risky” or “out there”, I would say that great ideas usually had a relatively higher amount of risk and almost doesn’t seem possible at first. Finance 101, risk/reward ratio.