Archive for the ‘Thinking’ Category

Blessed to be a blessing.

January 31st, 2014


After 13 years it’s sort of surreal to be locking the door of this office today for the last time. I didn’t think I would be so sentimental but this space has truly been a blessing to have, both for me and many others.

People say there’s a difference between ‘a house’ and ‘a home’, I think the same could be said about an office. This wasn’t just a cool space, it was a home. So many friendships have been made here, events, co-working days, laughter and tears.

But ultimately it’s been a place for others. I remember moving in 13 years ago and feeling so blessed to have found such a great spot, I really had no choice but to share it.

I find it ironic that I’m now setting up shop nearby at my friend John’s office, he has so graciously offered me a desk to use until I leave on our great adventure in May.

Sharing just makes life better.

Changing education paradigms

September 12th, 2013

A great video follow up to the post below. Thanks Jamie.

The people you meet and the books you read.

June 27th, 2013

LukeMysse_booklist books

I was reminded a couple weeks ago about a great quote by the late Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones. He said “Five years from today, you will be the same person that you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.” .

Last night I returned from an amazing trip to San Francisco for the HOW Design Live conference. As a speaker I had opened and closed the Creative Freelance conference on Saturday / Sunday but then stayed to take in some sessions of HOW Live.

It’s crazy when I think about how I only see some of these people once a year and yet we pick up right where we left off. So much inspiration has come from this group, I can certainly say that I’m not the same person because of them.

I’m going to issue a HOW Live challenge. People and Books.
1 – Share a book that you’ve read in the last year.
(I just emailed out a my Book List to a couple people that asked for it after hearing me speak. Post what you’re reading right now twitter.)

2 – Introduce someone to someone else.
(You know when you meet someone and say “oh you need to meet blank” but then you get busy and forget? Let’s stop forgetting and actually send that intro right now.)

Small Company Syndrome

June 14th, 2011

One of the questions that came up after my Kaseya Connect talk was what to do about branding and marketing if you’re a small company. If you’re only a couple of people, what should you invest in and why? Some observations:

1. Don’t spend just because others are
It’s temping to try and mimic larger companies and spend money on things that you may not need right now. Yes, a killer website will help you sell, but it might not be what you need right now. If, for example, you’ve seen success in a certain vertical or have a great success story with a certain type of business, I would spend money on having someone help you tell that story (case study) before I would spend a bunch of money on a website. Focus your money on what will get you in front of the right people. You can always build the killer site later.

Likewise, don’t spend money on a bunch of blanket mailings that go out to anyone and everyone, or on a yellow pages ad that won’t reach anyone. You would be better off putting together a list of 50 potential clients that fit your company, and then spend your money and efforts marketing to that group. Not only do your marketing dollars become more potent, but you find the clients that fit what you do. It’s one of the hardest things to do as a business, but in order to get into the mind of the prospect, you have to sacrifice.

For example, if you had a couple of auto dealerships as clients, and they love what you do, write up that story in a compelling case study. Then start to market to a short list of auto dealerships that could benefit in the same way. Even if you’re not completely selling only to that niche, you can pursue a niche or channel for a season.

2. You must track
If a marketing tactic is not somehow measurable, I don’t think it should be done. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with companies that are spending money on some sort of tactic and have no way of measuring results. They get sold on doing a blanket mailing or a yellow pages ad, but they don’t really know if it’s working or not.

With any tactic, you should be able to measure. Know if it’s working, know how to adjust it if it’s not and, most of all, make sure you at least learn something. It’s okay to try things and maybe have some of them not work, but at some point, if it’s not working, you need to learn and move on. I’ve done this successfully with Google AdWords. Put a small amount of money in the hopper and run a campaign for a short season. At the end of that season, decide if it’s worth investing more, worth investing the same or that it doesn’t work and move on to something else. Try, track, learn and improve. If you’re not tracking and learning, you’re wasting money.

3. Laser sharp focus
I mentioned above the idea of picking a place to focus. This is so essential for a small company. You simply don’t have the resources to play with the big boys yet. You need to find a couple of niches, or just one where you can be that big fish in a small pond. This will allow the marketing dollars that you do have to be more potent. It’s also easier to talk to one industry than it is to try and create a blanket message for all. If you show up to auto dealerships with a story of success with another dealership, you will get further than just putting an ad in the yellow pages.

Some final thoughts …

Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you can’t market and brand yourself well. In fact, you might be at an advantage if you’re forced to focus on a niche. Being small and agile could allow you to find a niche and sell, sell, sell.

Sometimes little things make a brand

June 13th, 2011

When it comes to building a personal brand, I think the little things can make a big difference. I was reminded of this as I think of my two sons. And yes, as a branding guy, I think of everything in terms of branding, even my two young kids. But seriously, even at a young age, I can see things that fit their brand.

My youngest is a complete clown. He loves to laugh and make people laugh. His little brand touch lately has been adjusting the straps on my backpack. He knows that I pick my bag up every morning and I’ve mentioned to him multiple times that I don’t want him playing with it, but his rebel clown brand lives on.

Contrast that with my older son who is easily one of the most thoughtful kids I’ve met. He has been known to buy flowers for his mother without anyone prompting him. The other day, he put toothpaste on my toothbrush and laid out my pajamas while I was in the shower. His caring, thoughtful brand shines through.

Another example is Apple. If you’ve every purchased one of their products, it’s hard not to notice how brilliant and over-engineered their packaging is. I doubt it costs much more than any other electronic packaging, but it’s so thoughtful and it gives you the feeling that you really are part of something special.

What are your favorite brand touches? What could you be doing as a brand to add those little memorable touches? Toss in a little surprise now and then; sometimes it’s the little things that make a brand grown big.

It’s about the miles

June 24th, 2010

Unlike cars, we don’t depreciate over time. The more miles or experience we have should allow us to charge more for what we do. Something may only take me a couple hours to figure out but that efficiency should be a gain for us both. As a client, you get the good ideas, the perfect solution. As the vendor, I get the benefit of doing what I do well and charging accordingly for that service.

However, like cars, I think if we aren’t careful, we can begin to tarnish and rust over time. I’m shocked at how many people I meet that haven’t read a book since college. The world is moving at an incredible pace. If you don’t do things to continue learning, you will soon find yourself left behind.

Experience + continued learning = a very valuable person in any market.

Some young guy might have the learning but lack the real world experience to make things happen. Likewise, a more experienced person might have the years, but may have grown stagnant and as a result becomes a dinosaur at his trade. So keep learning, read constantly, be open to new ideas and put in the miles.

Speaking with @Jovenville

May 6th, 2010

I’m excited to be speaking with my friend Joven Orozco next week at My 4 Hats, hosted by WAG. We will be sharing about the need for Creative Professionals to wear multiple hats.

The interesting thing about speaking for me is the preparation beforehand. I find it to be informative and stretching at the same time, it really makes me look into my thinking and processes. Speaking also serves up a dose of conviction now and then.

Example, during one of the sessions I will be talking about ‘segmenting your week’, about the mental tax we pay for multi-tasking and the need to sometimes just work at one thing until it’s done. The conviction came when I realized I’ve fallen out of discipline on this, it’s time for me to ‘eat my own dog food’ and get back to an ideal week.

When I speak I try to be transparent about my struggles because I truly believe we are all in this together. If I learn something, I’m going to share it.