Profitable or Passionate?

This past week I had the pleasure of working with a friend I met in University.  He has since graduated from the film program at the U of R and now owns his own business called Living Sky Media.  Riley doesn’t charge an hourly rate for filming and editing video.  He can’t.  If he did, his clients would either;

a) Pay an absurd amount of money because he works on a project until it is perfect (or very near perfect) not worrying about time.


b) Pay a seemingly miniscule per hour rate to account for the extra time spent making the video great.

When you are passionate about your work time doesn’t matter.  For Riley, he’d rather put in the extra effort to make the video amazing whether he’s getting paid for it or not.

Most financial and business consultants would say this is a terrible business model because it does not amount to being profitable.  If Riley’s main goal was to be profitable he wouldn’t create such amazing video’s.  Now I’m not saying that being profitable is a bad goal to have but putting your passion before profit is something that many people do not do in business.  This isn’t his long term strategy, I bet he’ll do it long enough to show the world how good he is, then by means of demand, he will be forced to raise his price.

What’s your main goal, being profitable or being passionate?

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Don’t Be Earl

Social media isn’t just about Facebook and Twitter, though they both have proven to be among some of the best tools to carry out your internet networking fantasies. Opportunities will pass you by if you are not monitoring what others are saying about you and your organization and engaging them in a conversation.  Communication on the internet is only increasing in speed, if you choose to ignore it, you may lose.

Could you imagine if the next time you took your car in for an oil change, they told you about their customer comments section on their website; where if you leave a comment about how the service was, you get 10% off your next oil change?  Would you leave a comment?  Would you read what others have said? Please let me know below

What if we could hold companies accountable when they provide an unsatisfactory product or service?  What if you could look up what others are saying about the restaurant you’re going to tonight?  What if you looked up a new hair salon and this came up: (click on the picture to make it larger, this is what actually came up in a Google search for this hair studio)

People are going to talk about your company whether you like it or not, it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to ignore them or engage them.

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The Growth Strategy of a Church

At one point in history someone figured out that if you customize a product or a service for a certain group of people it works better. Demographic segmentation was born.

Malls have kids stores, women’s stores and shoe stores.  Television has old movies, rated R movies, and kids shows. Restaurant’s have a kids and seniors menu.

I have had a problem for the past couple of years; I would like to see Church gain popularity towards the younger generation (13-25 year-olds), sadly I believe the opposite is true. It’s not just “society’s” fault, I think the Church could be doing a better job.

Church doesn’t customize very well, sure there’s a daycare and Sunday school but a congregation is usually made-up of people anywhere from the age of 12 or 13 all the way to 80 or 90 years old.  Is there any other time in our lives that people 70 years apart in age can truthfully find meaning in the same message?  Possibly some movies or spectacular entertainment productions but for every other part of our lives, organizations have improved their service to cater to certain people.

The answer I receive when I mention my argument is always; “the Church shouldn’t have to cater to you, you should just like it.”  I believe it’s that attitude that turns our generation away. When your strategy to engage the younger generation is “they should just like it”, I don’t think you have much hope for growth.

If you have any suggestions on this conundrum I would appreciate your help, obviously it is a delicate topic but I assure you the intent of this post was not to offend.  Just trying to help everyone who’s been confused in a Church service before, including myself.

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We’re Not Dumb Anymore

The Flynn effect states that since the 20th century, IQ test scores on average increase by 3 points every decade.  A person taking an IQ test in 1930, scoring in the average, would be considered mentally handicap compared to today’s IQ standards.  As civilization progresses, so does our average intelligence level.  When the knowledge base increases across the board, strange things begin happening. We get smarter.

Something I’ve noticed as of late is that pyramid schemes as business models are still around.  In the past month, two friends have been invited to “recruitment” seminars, which I am proud to say they both, within minutes discovered the pyramid business model and left in disgust.

Now the proper term is “multi-level marketing” (MLM) but it’s the same theme, you make commissions on your sales and on the sales of the people you’ve recruited as sales people.  You can already begin to see the problem.  If I’m selling, then I get you to sell, we are now competing for future sales.  Doesn’t make sense does it.  Not anymore, but it did for a very long time.  What surprises me more is that their is actually a list of companies still around using this as a business model.

As communication worldwide increases over the internet, so do conversations.  Within three minutes of researching MLM I came across a startling figure that 99.9% of all participants end up losing money by joining the organization.  When in history have we been able to verify a businesses legitimacy within five minutes?

Maybe we’re smarter (our IQ’s would say so), maybe we’re just better at finding information which make us seem smarter.  Either way this new generation isn’t dumb, business models such as these are now a joke around the water cooler.  There will always be people who join for unknown reasons, I just hope that if you are ever proposed on a seemingly to good to be true scheme you’ll Google first before signing up.

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Re-Thinking Your Music Career

I’ve been to a few local live bands that I can say have amazing talent.  You know the local ones that you’re positive they will go somewhere with their career?  But then comes the hard part. How do you get to the next level?  How do you consistently get paid for playing music? You must re-think your industry.

When you ask the majority of up and coming artists they reply, “oh we have a CD coming out soon, I sure hope you’ll buy it!”  I want to be supportive but I also want to be realistic.  I haven’t purchased a CD IN TEN YEARS!  Why are they still making CD’s?  I know there are exceptions to the rule and some CD’s still sell but have they ever thought about researching their own market before?  Ever tried to understand how others in their situation have grown their own music business? I can guarantee you it did not happen by selling CD’s.

In Chris Anderson’s book Free: The Future of a Radical New Price it explains that if the price to duplicate something is relatively free (as in a music file) then eventually it will be free. Young musicians needs to understand this and adapt accordingly. You’re going to reach exponentially more people by offering a free download than by trying to charge for a CD. The difficult part is putting monetary gain second and your fans first.

I’m not saying most artists are money hungry, they just need to understand their industry better.  They need to have a following, groupies, a tribe on their side that wants to tell the World about their music then give them to tools to do so.  Enabling this group to spread their music as well as finding innovative ways to make money not by selling CD’s is the new way to re-think your music career.

It’s been almost three years since Radiohead shook up the music scene with a “name your own price” album which turned out to be their most successful in history (including two Grammy awards).  It is difficult to compare yourself to Radiohead, but doing something innovative on a large scale is much more difficult then changing your band’s marketing strategy right now.

So, how would you market your band if you had one?

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My Top 10 Podcasts

My friend Colter (@Codaclothing) asked a bunch of us to submit our favorite albums of 2009 to put up on his website.  Knowing that the song from the Amazon Kindle commercial or Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance will probably be vying for top spot so I thought I’d take a different approach.

Below are my top 10 Free Podcast’s with links to get them in your iTunes.  Enjoy!

  1. Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce – One of the best story tellers and authors of our day, this talk is almost six years old and still applies today.
  2. Seth Godin on Standing Out – an oldie but a classic, Seth is one of the foremost minds in marketing today having authored eleven books and is a captivating presenter.
  3. Stochasticity“A wonderfully slippery and smarty-pants word for randomness.” This is the explanation on the site of what Stochasticity means.  Very interesting podcast that you’re sure to find some tidbits to chat about around the water cooler.
  4. Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation – From the famous Ted conference this talk will change your mind on how to motivate people in the work place.  The surprising part is I think most people actually think the opposite of what research shows us.
  5. Deception – Why we lie, where it comes from; the startling science of deception.  This one includes a couple stories that’ll have you “white knuckled” on your steering wheel. Listen with caution.
  6. Numbers – a mind-blowing show on numbers, where they came from, why we use them and a some facts I bet you never knew.
  7. Seth Godin on the Tribes we Lead – Based on a book he wrote, Mr. Godin argues that the internet has allowed us to join groups of people who have the same ideas and values as we do.  Combined the group is much more effective at creating change than any single one of it’s members.
  8. Stress – Where it comes from, why we experience it and a bunch or stories in between.  Everyone needs to understand the implications of too much stress, so download.
  9. Do Schools Kill Creativity? – Sir Ken Robinson entertains the crowd the entire time he makes a compelling case for fostering creativity in our schools, rather than the opposite which is happening all too frequently in our schools today.
  10. Killing Babies, Saving the World – this one is number one because it was the first Radiolab podcast I’d heard and immediately I needed more.
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