The Ultimate Life & Business Hack

Seemed like an appropriate title for someone who isn’t really sure what a hack even means but knows that taking these actions, will make you more productive and enjoy your daily time more. So here it is… PLEASE STOP WITH THE EMAILS. We need to work toward eliminating the majority of our emails and we need to write better emails. This from the woman who used to receive hundreds of emails a week and sent the longest emails in the history of the world (this may not be an exaggeration).   1. Stop using emails as a conversation. There are … Keep reading the juiciness!

A minimalist guide to running your business

A minimalist guide to running your business Identity Division Lis Dingjan

A few years ago I didn’t know #minimalism was a thing. But now there’s a name for it so I’ll run with that. To me, minimalism is a name for an approach to life; a mindset of conscious consumption and priority led actions. It’s about deciding whether something has utility; if it’s useful and enjoyable to you. If it’s time, or money, well spent. If it is, keep it. If it’s not, eliminate it. That practice works for physical stuff, life decisions and business. It’s a pursuit of freedom derived from simplicity. And since we often start businesses chasing freedom, … Keep reading the juiciness!

Are you sure you want to do this?

Are you sure you want to do this? How you spend your time Identity Division Lis Dingjan

A few weeks ago I was minding a baby at an event. Between the snuggles, crying, giggles and sleeping, I had a lot of time to observe what was happening around me. 48 hours of wedding from set-up to all the guests laughing and smiling around the long tables for dinner under the glowing lights. Moving purposefully and busily around me in the warm sunshine were workers setting up a marquee and installing wooden floors, florists coming in and out, lighting specialists, stylists, tableware deliveries, a band getting ready in the dancing room, cleaners, service staff re-arranging and preparing what … Keep reading the juiciness!

Why don’t we do it faster?

We could. But we don’t. Rapid prototyping. Design sprints. Minimum viable products. In the rush to fail fast, to get everything out there as quick as possible, to start and iterate – iterate – iterate we’re missing something. We’re missing the time it takes to churn on thoughts. We’re no longer languishing in reading and research periods. We’ve paused deep, thorough thinking and curiosity to replace it with a do-it-now task. We ask lots of questions that address specific analytics but we don’t have the time to ask questions beyond the first why. Most of us even spend money in … Keep reading the juiciness!

It’s all an illusion

The Hotel Tonight app (which I adore & use a lot when travelling to big cities) is famous in the startup world for creating a front end and faking their back-end. They started working on their app in September 2010 and submitted it by Christmas with the 3 of them working on it. In such a small space of time, the app looked gorgeous to users but behind the scenes it was them calling the hotels all day. A number of hotels didn’t even know they were on it at the time. Gradually they built the back-end functionality. And the … Keep reading the juiciness!

It’s possible, but it’s not practical

“Could we add an Instagram feed on the home page, under the header on the right that pulls from the hashtag of our team at matches?” Absolutely. But I don’t believe we should. On average, most Instagram users aren’t also great photographers. A lot of your audience uploads vertical or landscape photos with white or black or duplicated backgrounds on them. It’s not pretty when you’re looking at it in a grid block. And lastly, that hashtag isn’t always used for your games. Sometimes it’s used for other things. And sometimes people might purposely use it for the wrong reasons. … Keep reading the juiciness!

The CEO Problem

Big business has a big problem. They require CEOs to make important and sometimes complex decisions. And the decisions are ultimately made to maximize shareholder wealth and the revenue of the business. At nearly any cost. And then the CEO gets a bonus. Long term thinking is thereby discarded in favor of short term rewards. In the long run, the company is very likely to run into issues as CEOs make questionable choices to positively impact their immediate wealth. To change this behaviour you could instead offer some small short-term rewards and big long-term rewards. If the company achieves X … Keep reading the juiciness!

The Inefficiency Effect

I once worked for a company that sold a gigantic amount of iron ore (please don’t hold that against me). They made billions. And then the price of iron ore started falling. Heavily. Suddenly hundreds of people were made redundant. Labor hours were more closely tracked. Big vendor contracts were renegotiated. Procurement was managed. A few levels of managers were cut from the hierarchy. Processes were altered and refined to be better. It didn’t take long but they were able to produce the same amount of iron ore if they wished. In a better way. That’s the problem when business … Keep reading the juiciness!

The Wrong Focus

The logo still isn’t quite-the-right-vibe but I can’t explain to you why. I don’t know what I like but these 32 don’t feel like it. It’s too small. It still doesn’t pop. Could we make another tweak to version 8 of Round 4? If you’ve been presented with high quality logos after some customer development and research into your business, then generally this has nothing to do with the logo. When you become so fixated on one thing, it’s nearly always procrastination. And it usually means two things. You don’t know what to do next or you’re overwhelmed with everything that needs … Keep reading the juiciness!

Revenue isn’t the problem, you are

When I see people who appear to suddenly start running workshops or consulting sessions outside their direct business or niche/expertise, or when I notice that they’ve quite quickly launched a new service, micro business, or product not within their current framework I always cringe a little inside. Most of us are guilty of the side-service. The ‘just a couple’ of coaching or consulting sessions. The ‘one or two clients’ we take on outside our normal scope of work. The ‘some people have asked so here’s event X’. The thing it makes me immediately think though is either; they want to make … Keep reading the juiciness!

Changing Companies

Ask a dedicated group of people in your company to come together to brainstorm (whether it’s 2 people or 20) and they will come up with 50 ideas on how to make the business better. Push them to dig deeper and by the time a few hours is up you’ll have upwards of 100. Plenty of ideas worth talking about. Worth putting a priority on. Worth actioning. Things that make staff happier, that increase productivity, that improve client relationships, craft better strategies and have a direct impact on your bottom line. Ideas that are innovative and make you a standout in your field. … Keep reading the juiciness!

Problems, not solutions

When I worked in the ‘big conglomerate of corporates world’, a common conversation took place that went something like this… Project Manager/Department/Customer – “Install X” or “Negotiate a new contract with X so we can sign” or “Swap Y for X” Us – “What do you require X for? Can you explain the problem you’re trying to solve?” Them – “We need X” Frustration would eventually reach peak point. And X would happen. Not because some people wouldn’t think deeper or really attempt to pushback to find the most appropriate solution (sometimes at the cost of their future job prospects), … Keep reading the juiciness!

Motivation won’t get you there

A special person once said to me that when it comes to diet and exercise, vanity will only get you so far. So too I think of what we choose to do with our lives and our businesses. Motivation will only get you so far, and often, not through the hard bits.  Good habits coupled with constant consistency – that’s what really stretches your road. We often get this wrong by confusing doing (the stuff that executes results) with being busy. Busyness feels like action – except generally it doesn’t produce outcomes. The ones you really want that is. Steve Blank … Keep reading the juiciness!

What would you pay?

I stared at my wardrobe. All the clothes in there I never wore but kept for some reason as if to point out, hey, if you look into my closet, you’ll find a variety of options in here. I’m an equal opportunist for clothes I’d say. Maybe I’d wear it to a fancy event one day. Maybe, in an act of fashion science, it would look good on me next time even though the last seven times I’d pulled it on, I stared in the mirror exasperated and tugged it right back off again. Maybe because I need to justify that … Keep reading the juiciness!

The science of persistence

“It is more likely that there are numerous universes…” “Unless God put a wall behind ours”, one Brian stated. “Or Donald Trump does”, the other Brian quickly quipped in return and the audience began laughing. This was part of a discussion that elegantly skimmed across a whole range of ideas through string theory, quantum mechanics, relativity and the recently observed gravitational waves. And those gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein 100 years ago – they’ve rolled themselves into our world. The world you and I orbit where certain bits of science become illuminating, fascinating and popular. If you’ve no idea what … Keep reading the juiciness!

Everything is Possible in New York

“We can’t be part of the tradeshow.” Why not I asked? “Because it’s in a few months and there’s no way we can cart over all the set-up across the world and make it cost effective.” It’s New York, I said. You can just hire it. I bet they have a solution for that already. Anything is possible in New York.  A few minutes of googling later and there were a whole lot of options. It’s possible in New York because it’s filled with people who are creating, and crucially, actually providing, that very thing you’re after. Create it. Make … Keep reading the juiciness!

Why don’t we just make it easier?

Every single month when I get my period it surprises me. That means I get surprised by that 12 times a year. Why? Because my months are so jam packed and there’s so much going on in my head at any given point in time I literally never, ever remember when I last had it. Even if it was 3 days ago. Sometimes when I get a few stomach pangs I think ta-da I must be getting it! Clever me just intuitively knowing! Days later it still hasn’t arrived. Do you know what that is other than too much information? … Keep reading the juiciness!

Fact. You Just Can’t Please Everyone.

Even Kirsty and Phil can’t. And they are location, location, location specialists. A good 18 seasons in. I watched much of this living in London (along with Grand Designs) and sometimes I’ll watch an episode where people desperate to buy their home just don’t like anything they’re shown. And consequently don’t buy. Even when it’s the absolute best they can get right then. Despite the specific criteria, the one on one cafe chats, the ability to read their faces and reactions in person, in the house. Despite the fact that Kirsty and Phil have a team, are experts in their … Keep reading the juiciness!