Monthly Archives: August 2013

Lowercase Free

So there’s a lot of FREE stuff out there.  And much of it is easy to find.  Why?  Because the easy-to-find FREE stuff isn’t really free.

But what about the hard-to-find free stuff?

Like laughing your ass off with your friends.  Or relaxing with your lover.  Or reminiscing with your family.

Yes, people making a living facilitating that free stuff.  Going to a movie, or on vacation, or dinner is not FREE.  But the stuff that comes with it is.  And while it’s sometimes hard-to-find, isn’t that the best kind of free?

Abundance of FREE

Free stuff is easy to find.  In fact, many people make a living showing you FREE.

Currently, I pay the bills by showing you free.  Not this blog which I write for free.  But by showing you how to get a Vitamix shipped for FREE.  You get your Vitamix, I get credit for the sale.

For several years, FREE Credit Report dot com has built a business showing you free.  You get a credit report, they get an opportunity to sell you services.

For nearly a decade, Facebook has been “FREE and always will be”.  You get connected, they get to show you targeted ads.

This stuff wasn’t really free, right?  $500 for a Vitamix, $20 / mo for credit monitoring services, your privacy.  No wonder it was so easy to find.

It’s Business, Not Personal

When you leave your door unlocked, robbers will take your stuff.

When you leave your passwords unchanged, robbers will take your identity.

When your leave your great grandma to fend for herself, robbers will take her money.

Robbers aren’t out to get you.  Taking from you is just their business.  Why take it personally if you made their job easy?

The Blue Collar Briefcase

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It comes in all shapes and sizes.  But it doesn’t carry a laptop.

Why do nearly all construction workers pack a lunch?

Is it because they save money by not eating out?  Is it because their packed lunch keeps them fuller for longer?  Is it because they can save time avoiding lines at restaurants?

Maybe.  Or, it’s because that’s “what we do”.

For people who work in an office, it’s the same.  The guy who brings a bag of spinach, deli meat and hard-boiled eggs is an outsider.  It’s like a construction worker going to Potbelly for lunch.  It’s just not “what we do”.

Are you gonna have the courage to change “what we do”?

3 Life Lessons From Last Night

Good acts are tough to follow.  Last night’s Breaking Bad made Dexter look 10x worse than it actually has been this season.  Even if your act is good, everything is relative.

Allow things to progress naturally.  Dexter went on four seasons too long.  It progressed ever-so naturally up until season four.  Breaking Bad has been naturally progressing throughout its entire run.

Under promise, over deliver.  How many ads did you see hyping this premier or Breaking Bad?  Could last night’s episode have been as good if you were expecting a “shocking” premier?

Bonus lesson.  Don’t mention last night’s Breaking Bad to anyone who hasn’t seen season 1. Why?  See above.

Matt, Trey, Dave Chappelle Walk Into a Bar

South Park and Chappelle’s Show have made Comedy Central millions.  Same with their creators.  So why are Matt & Trey still going strong while Dave Chappelle vanished after a few incredible years?  Few theories.

Scope creep.  The scope of Trey and Matt’s duties have’t changed despite the shows evolving sophistication in animation, effects and sound.  These guys still make shows in one week using a few meetings in a conference room.  When Chappelle’s show got bigger, however, so did the scope of his work.  More filming, more promos, more writing.

It’s lonely at the top.  For Chappelle, who had his back?  Who was he sharing the highs and lows with?  Chappelle had a couple co-creators, but he was the star.  For Trey and Matt, it’s always 50/50.

Not in it for the money.  Trey and Matt may have been at first, but certainly aren’t now. Today, they have more money than they could ever spend.  And yet, they’re still working hard.  Dave Chappelle was just a stand-up comedian.  He worked his butt off to reach the top of Comedy Central Mountian.  Why?  To get paid.  The ending credits to his show said it, “I’m rich, biatch!”

Lessons here?  Be more like the South Park guys.  Set some expectations, find a partner in your work and do what you love.

Good talk.

Here’s a classic clip of Dave Chappelle on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2001

Why Does My News Feed Show That?

Facebook recently spoke about their news feed.  Their algorithm filters through an average of 1,500 news items and delivers us a mix of 300.

The results are staggering.  Increased revenue.  Increased engagement.  Increased satisfaction (addiction).

It’s kind of like Facebook took its top 20% (300 / 1500) of its toolkit and ditched the rest.

No algorithm required for that math.


No More Talk About Proverbial Toolkits. No Excuses.

Pre-committment is a powerful tool.

Schedule a workout on your calendar.  Tell readers that you’ll be writing every day.  Be the coach for your kid’s little league team.

Pre-committed.  Pre-committed.  Pre-committed.

Try making excuses when you’re pre-committed.  Yup.

What’s in your toolkit?

If you’re a homeowner, your toolkit probably has a hammer, screwdriver and maybe a power drill.  The rest is a bunch of other stuff you only use 20% of the time.  

If you’re a small business owner, your toolkit probably has MS Office, a printer and maybe an email marketing app.  The rest is a bunch of other stuff you only use 20% of the time.

If you’re an amateur chef, your toolkit probably has some knives, pans and maybe a Vitamix. The rest is a bunch of other stuff you only use 20% of the time.

So, since all theses toolkits probably take up lots of space, and 80% of it is hardly used, why not downsize?  Someone else probably has a toolkit to replace your “bunch of other stuff”. And that’s what that toolkit does 80% of the time.