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This is one of the best business books I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot)!

There are 3 reasons why I liked it so much:

  1. It mashes together several interests of mine:
    • Technology
    • Entrepreneuriship/start-up companies
    • The future of our planet
    • Electric cars, autonomous vehicles, and the future of transportation
    • Solar power
    • and space travel
  2. It is superbly written
    • (by Ashlee Vance, a business columnist who has written for many major publications)
    • Vance steps back and forth between present day and the past with flashbacks that bring real depth and understanding of Elon Musk’s story, his background, his motivations and his relentless drive
  3. It fills me with hope
    • It’s the same reason I love TED videos too, because they fill me with hope about the future of the human race
    • Musk has found a way to make things the planet needs (electric cars powered with solar power as an alternative to burning fosil fuels, a plan for colonising another planet incase we screw this one up), and making billions of dollars in the process that he feeds into his next idea
    • That a person can have several epic ideas as a kid and see them come real in his own lifetime thanks to his own hard work (I hope my kids have the same experience)

With these book summaries I always nudge you towards getting your own copy to read yourself, but with this one more so.

In the meantime, here are just a few of my favourite parts of the book “Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future by Ashlee Vance”

“One thing that Musk holds in the highest regard is resolve, and he respects people who continue on after being told no.”

“During a time in which clean-tech businesses have gone bankrupt with alarming regularity, Musk has built two of the most successful clean-tech companies in the world. The Musk Co. empire of factories, tens of thousands of workers, and industrial might has incumbents on the run and has turned Musk into one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth around $10 billion.”

“Musk has taken industries like aerospace and automotive that America seemed to have given up on and recast them as something new and fantastic.”

“Outside of his studies, Elon would read the newspaper alongside Kimbal, and the two of them would identify interesting people they would like to meet. They then took turns cold-calling these people to ask if they were available to have lunch.”

“[Musk] viewed the Internet, renewable energy, and space as the three areas that would undergo significant change in the years to come and as the markets where he could make a big impact.”

“Where a typical manager may set the deadline for the employee, Musk guides his engineers into taking ownership of their own delivery dates. “He doesn’t say, ‘You have to do this by Friday at two P.M.,’” Brogan said. “He says, ‘I need the impossible done by Friday at two P.M. Can you do it?’ Then, when you say yes, you are not working hard because he told you to. You’re working hard for yourself. It’s a distinction you can feel. You have signed up to do your own work.”

“The total cost for Dragon came in at $300 million, which would be on the order of 10 to 30 times less than capsule projects built by other companies.”

“One of my favorite things about Elon is his ability to make enormous decisions very quickly. That is still how it works today.”

“There is a fundamental problem with regulators. If a regulator agrees to change a rule and something bad happens, they could easily lose their career. Whereas if they change a rule and something good happens, they don’t even get a reward. So, it’s very asymmetric. It’s then very easy to understand why regulators resist changing the rules.”

“The only decision that you have to make when you come to one of our Tesla stations is do you prefer faster or free,” Musk said.

“The sixty-billion-dollar bullet train they’re proposing in California would be the slowest bullet train in the world at the highest cost per mile,” Musk said. “They’re going for records in all the wrong ways.” California’s high-speed rail is meant to allow people to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about two and a half hours upon its completion in—wait for it—2029. It takes about an hour to fly between the cities today and five hours to drive, placing the train right in the zone of mediocrity, which particularly gnawed at Musk.

“It bothers Musk a bit that his kids won’t suffer like he did. He feels that the suffering helped to make him who he is and gave him extra reserves of strength and will.”

“He seems to feel for the human species as a whole without always wanting to consider the wants and needs of individuals. ”

Your Thoughts?

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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It was only recently that I developed an an interest in politics. It was during my 2016 campaign in which I sought election onto the Tauranga City Council. I was not elected but that has not extinguished my new found fascination with politics, both local, national and international.

I came across a TED Talk in which Chris Anderson interviewed Jonathan Haidt on why Trump was elected into office. I found what he had to say very interesting and I sought out this book to find out more.

I loved the book. It really does do a great job at explaining why people vote the way they do.

One section that really stood out to me was in Chapter Four which talked about how being accountable to an audience increases “evenhanded consideration of alternative points of view”. I saw myself in this because I’ve found that having my audience on my mind when I read business books helps me concentrate, and again when I read through a large volume of council documents during my election campaign, I read them with an open mind because I intended to share my summaries of them with the public.

Another thing I’ll say about Haidt is that he writes amazing chapter summaries.

Forgive me if some of the sections I’ve highlighted seem a bit choppy in places. The justification for some of his statements stretched on for several paragraphs or pages and I wanted to be brief (even then the following notes are 6000 words!).

As always, I encourage you to read this book yourself in full, but in the meantime, here are my notes/highlights on the book “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt [Amazon].

Introduction

When I was a teenager I wished for world peace, but now I yearn for a world in which competing ideologies are kept in balance, systems of accountability keep us all from getting away with too much, and fewer people believe that righteous ends justify violent means.  Not a very romantic wish, but one that we might actually achieve.

The central metaphor of these first 4 chapters is that the mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s rob is to serve the elephant. The rider is our conscious reasoning – the stream of words and images of which we are fully aware. The elephant is the other 99 percent of mental processes – the ones that occur outside of awareness but that actually govern most of our behaviour. The rider and elephant work together, sometimes poorly, as we stumble through life in search of meaning and connection. In this book I’ll use the metaphor to solve puzzles such as why it seems like everyone (else) is a hypocrite and why political partisans are so willing to believe outrageous lies and conspiracy theories.  I’ll also use the metaphor to show you how you can better persuade people who seem unresponsive to reason.

ONE. Where Does Morality Come From?

For you, as for most people on the planet, morality is broad.

Some actions are wrong even though they don’t hurt anyone.

Understanding the simple fact that morality differs around the world, and even within societies, is the first step toward understanding your righteous mind.

Piaget argued that children’s understanding of morality is like their understanding of those water glasses: we can’t say that it is innate, and we can’t say that kids learn it directly from adults.

It is, rather, self-constructed as kids play with other kids.

Taking turns in a game is like pouring water back and forth between glasses.

No matter how often you do it with three-year-olds, they’re just not ready to get the concept of fairness, any more than they can understand the conservation of volume.

But once they’ve reached the age of five or six, then playing games, having arguments, and working things out together will help them learn about fairness far more effectively than any sermon from adults.

Piaget and Kohlberg both thought that parents and other authorities were obstacles to moral development.

If you want your kids to learn about the physical world, let them play with cups and water; don’t lecture them about the conservation of volume.

And if you want your kids to learn about the social world, let them play with other kids and resolve disputes; don’t lecture them about the Ten Commandments.

And, for heaven’s sake, don’t force them to obey God or their teachers or you. That will only freeze them at the conventional level.

Morality is about treating individuals well.

It’s about harm and fairness (not loyalty, respect, duty, piety, patriotism, or tradition).

Hierarchy and authority are generally bad things (so it’s best to let kids figure things out for themselves).

Schools and families should therefore embody progressive principles of equality and autonomy (not authoritarian principles that enable elders to train and constrain children).

Even in the United States the social order is a moral order, but it’s an individualistic order built up around the protection of individuals and their freedom.

When you put individuals first, before society, then any rule or social practice that limits personal freedom can be questioned.

If it doesn’t protect somebody from harm, then it can’t be morally justified. It’s just a social convention.

Unexpectedly, the effect of social class was much larger than the effect of city.

In other words, well-educated people in all three cities were more similar to each other than they were to their lower-class neighbors.

I had flown five thousand miles south to search for moral variation when in fact there was more to be found a few blocks west of campus, in the poor neighborhood surrounding my university.

These subjects were reasoning. They were working quite hard at reasoning. But it was not reasoning in search of truth; it was reasoning in support of their emotional reactions.

Where does morality come from?

The two most common answers have long been that it is innate (the nativist answer) or that it comes from childhood learning (the empiricist answer).

In this chapter I considered a third possibility, the rationalist answer, which dominated moral psychology when I entered the field: that morality is self-constructed by children on the basis of their experiences with harm.

Kids know that harm is wrong because they hate to be harmed, and they gradually come to see that it is therefore wrong to harm others, which leads them to understand fairness and eventually justice.

I explained why I came to reject this answer after conducting research in Brazil and the United States.

I concluded instead that:

  • The moral domain varies by culture. It is unusually narrow in Western, educated, and individualistic cultures. Sociocentric cultures broaden the moral domain to encompass and regulate more aspects of life.
  • People sometimes have gut feelings—particularly about disgust and disrespect—that can drive their reasoning. Moral reasoning is sometimes a post hoc fabrication.
  • Morality can’t be entirely self-constructed by children based on their growing understanding of harm. Cultural learning or guidance must play a larger role than rationalist theories had given it.

If morality doesn’t come primarily from reasoning, then that leaves some combination of innateness and social learning as the most likely candidates.

In the rest of this book I’ll try to explain how morality can be innate (as a set of evolved intuitions) and learned (as children learn to apply those intuitions within a particular culture).

We’re born to be righteous, but we have to learn what, exactly, people like us should be righteous about.

TWO. The Intuitive Dog and Its Rational Tail

Yet the result of the separation was not the liberation of reason from the thrall of the passions. It was the shocking revelation that reasoning requires the passions.

The head can’t even do head stuff without the heart.

Margolis proposed that there are two very different kinds of cognitive processes at work when we make judgments and solve problems: “seeing-that” and “reasoning-why.”

“Reasoning-why,” in contrast, is the process “by which we describe how we think we reached a judgment, or how we think another person could reach that judgment.”

“Because I don’t want to” is a perfectly acceptable justification for one’s subjective preferences. Yet moral judgments are not subjective statements; they are claims that somebody did something wrong. I can’t call for the community to punish you simply because I don’t like what you’re doing. I have to point to something outside of my own preferences, and that pointing is our moral reasoning. We do moral reasoning not to reconstruct the actual reasons why we ourselves came to a judgment; we reason to find the best possible reasons why somebody else ought to join us in our judgment.

The Rider and the Elephant

Two different kinds of cognition: intuition and reasoning.

I chose an elephant rather than a horse because elephants are so much bigger—and smarter—than horses. Automatic processes run the human mind, just as they have been running animal minds for 500 million years, so they’re very good at what they do, like software that has been improved through thousands of product cycles. When human beings evolved the capacity for language and reasoning at some point in the last million years, the brain did not rewire itself to hand over the reins to a new and inexperienced charioteer. Rather, the rider (language-based reasoning) evolved because it did something useful for the elephant.

The rider can do several useful things. It can see further into the future (because we can examine alternative scenarios in our heads) and therefore it can help the elephant make better decisions in the present. It can learn new skills and master new technologies, which can be deployed to help the elephant reach its goals and sidestep disasters. And, most important, the rider acts as the spokesman for the elephant, even though it doesn’t necessarily know what the elephant is really thinking. The rider is skilled at fabricating post hoc explanations for whatever the elephant has just done, and it is good at finding reasons to justify whatever the elephant wants to do next. Once human beings developed language and began to use it to gossip about each other, it became extremely valuable for elephants to carry around on their backs a full-time public relations firm.

HOW TO WIN AN ARGUMENT

Hume diagnosed the problem long ago: “And as reasoning is not the source, whence either disputant derives his tenets; it is in vain to expect, that any logic, which speaks not to the affections, will ever engage him to embrace sounder principles.”

If you want to change people’s minds, you’ve got to talk to their elephants.

You’ve got to use links 3 and 4 of the social intuitionist model to elicit new intuitions, not new rationales.

Carnegie repeatedly urged readers to avoid direct confrontations.

Instead he advised people to “begin in a friendly way,” to “smile,” to “be a good listener,” and to “never say ‘you’re wrong.’

He used a quotation from Henry Ford to express it: “If there is any one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from their angle as well as your own.”

If you really want to change someone’s mind on a moral or political matter, you’ll need to see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.

And if you do truly see it the other person’s way—deeply and intuitively—you might even find your own mind opening in response.

Empathy is an antidote to righteousness, although it’s very difficult to empathize across a moral divide.

If you ask people to believe something that violates their intuitions, they will devote their efforts to finding an escape hatch—a reason to doubt your argument or conclusion.

They will almost always succeed.

THREE. Elephants Rule

Here are six major research findings that collectively illustrate the first half of the first principle: Intuitions Come First.

1. BRAINS EVALUATE INSTANTLY AND CONSTANTLY

Animal brains make such appraisals thousands of times a day with no need for conscious reasoning, all in order to optimize the brain’s answer to the fundamental question of animal life: approach or avoid?

Wundt said that affective reactions are so tightly integrated with perception that we find ourselves liking or disliking something the instant we notice it, sometimes even before we know what it is.

The brain tags familiar things as good things. Zajonc called this “mere exposure effect,” and it is a basic principle of advertising.

In a landmark article, Zajonc urged psychologists to use a dual-process model in which affect or “feeling” is the first process.

10 It has primacy both because it happens first (it is part of perception and is therefore extremely fast) and because it is more powerful (it is closely linked to motivation, and therefore it strongly influences behavior). The second process—thinking—is an evolutionarily newer ability, rooted in language and not closely related to motivation.

In other words, thinking is the rider; affect is the elephant. The thinking system is not equipped to lead—it simply doesn’t have the power to make things happen—but it can be a useful advisor. Zajonc said that thinking could work independently of feeling in theory, but in practice affective reactions are so fast and compelling that they act like blinders on a horse: they “reduce the universe of alternatives” available to later thinking.11 The rider is an attentive servant, always trying to anticipate the elephant’s next move. If the elephant leans even slightly to the left, as though preparing to take a step, the rider looks to the left and starts preparing to assist the elephant on its imminent leftward journey. The rider loses interest in everything off to the right.

2. SOCIAL AND POLITICAL JUDGMENTS ARE PARTICULARLY INTUITIVE

The bottom line is that human minds, like animal minds, are constantly reacting intuitively to everything they perceive, and basing their responses on those reactions. Within the first second of seeing, hearing, or meeting another person, the elephant has already begun to lean toward or away, and that lean influences what you think and do next. Intuitions come first.

3. OUR BODIES GUIDE OUR JUDGMENTS

Immorality makes us feel physically dirty, and cleansing ourselves can sometimes make us more concerned about guarding our moral purity.

4. PSYCHOPATHS REASON BUT DON’T FEEL

They feel no compassion, guilt, shame, or even embarrassment, which makes it easy for them to lie, and to hurt family, friends, and animals.

Psychopaths seem to live in a world of objects, some of which happen to walk around on two legs.

Psychopaths learn to say whatever gets them what they want.

It’s a genetically heritable condition that creates brains that are unmoved by the needs, suffering, or dignity of others.

5. BABIES FEEL BUT DON’T REASON

Psychologists discovered that infants are born with some knowledge of physics and mechanics: they expect that objects will move according to Newton’s laws of motion, and they get startled when psychologists show them scenes that should be physically impossible (such as a toy car seeming to pass through a solid object). Psychologists know this because infants stare longer at impossible scenes than at similar but less magical scenes (seeing the toy car pass just behind the solid object).

It makes sense that infants can easily learn who is nice to them. Puppies can do that too. But these findings suggest that by six months of age, infants are watching how people behave toward other people, and they are developing a preference for those who are nice rather than those who are mean.

6. AFFECTIVE REACTIONS ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME IN THE BRAIN

FOUR. Vote for Me (Here’s Why)

I’ll show that Glaucon was right: “people care a great deal more about appearance and reputation than about reality.”

The most important principle for designing an ethical society is to make sure that everyone’s reputation is on the line all the time, so that bad behavior will always bring bad consequences.

Human beings are the world champions of cooperation beyond kinship, and we do it in large part by creating systems of formal and informal accountability.

In Tetlock’s research, subjects are asked to solve problems and make decisions. For example, they’re given information about a legal case and then asked to infer guilt or innocence. Some subjects are told that they’ll have to explain their decisions to someone else. Other subjects know that they won’t be held accountable by anyone. Tetlock found that when left to their own devices, people show the usual catalogue of errors, laziness, and reliance on gut feelings that has been documented in so much decision-making research. But when people know in advance that they’ll have to explain themselves, they think more systematically and self-critically. They are less likely to jump to premature conclusions and more likely to revise their beliefs in response to evidence.

Exploratory thought is an “evenhanded consideration of alternative points of view.” Confirmatory thought is “a one-sided attempt to rationalize a particular point of view.”

Accountability increases exploratory thought only when three conditions apply:

  1. decision makers learn before forming any opinion that they will be accountable to an audience,
  2. the audience’s views are unknown, and
  3. they believe the audience is well informed and interested in accuracy.

When all three conditions apply, people do their darnedest to figure out the truth, because that’s what the audience wants to hear. But the rest of the time—which is almost all of the time—accountability pressures simply increase confirmatory thought. People are trying harder to look right than to be right.

Tetlock concludes that conscious reasoning is carried out largely for the purpose of persuasion, rather than discovery.

Our moral thinking is much more like a politician searching for votes than a scientist searching for truth.

1. WE ARE OBSESSED WITH POLLS

Appearing concerned about other people’s opinions makes us look weak, we (like politicians), often deny that we care about public opinion polls. But the fact is that we care a lot about what others think of us.

2. OUR IN-HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY AUTOMATICALLY JUSTIFIES EVERYTHING

Wason called this phenomenon “confirmation bias”, the tendency to seek out and interpret new evidence in ways that confirm what you already think. People are quite good at challenging statements made by other people, but if it’s your belief, then it’s your possession—your child, almost—and you want to protect it, not challenge it and risk losing it.

3. WE LIE, CHEAT, AND JUSTIFY SO WELL THAT WE HONESTLY BELIEVE WE ARE HONEST

Many psychologists have studied the effects of having “plausible deniability.”

Ariely summarizes his findings from many variations of the paradigm like this: “When given the opportunity, many honest people will cheat. In fact, rather than finding that a few bad apples weighted the averages, we discovered that the majority of people cheated, and that they cheated just a little bit.”

People didn’t try to get away with as much as they could. Rather, when Ariely gave them anything like the invisibility of the ring of Gyges, they cheated only up to the point where they themselves could no longer find a justification that would preserve their belief in their own honesty.

The bottom line is that in lab experiments that give people invisibility combined with plausible deniability, most people cheat.

4. REASONING (AND GOOGLE) CAN TAKE YOU WHEREVER YOU WANT TO GO

The social psychologist Tom Gilovich studies the cognitive mechanisms of strange beliefs. His simple formulation is that when we want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe it?” Then (as Kuhn and Perkins found), we search for supporting evidence, and if we find even a single piece of pseudo-evidence, we can stop thinking. We now have permission to believe. We have a justification, in case anyone asks.

In contrast, when we don’t want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Must I believe it?” Then we search for contrary evidence, and if we find a single reason to doubt the claim, we can dismiss it. You only need one key to unlock the handcuffs of must.

Now that we all have access to search engines on our cell phones, we can call up a team of supportive scientists for almost any conclusion twenty-four hours a day.

5. WE CAN BELIEVE ALMOST ANYTHING THAT SUPPORTS OUR TEAM

Many political scientists used to assume that people vote selfishly, choosing the candidate or policy that will benefit them the most. But decades of research on public opinion have led to the conclusion that self-interest is a weak predictor of policy preferences.

Rather, people care about their groups, whether those be racial, regional, religious, or political. The political scientist Don Kinder summarizes the findings like this: “In matters of public opinion, citizens seem to be asking themselves not ‘What’s in it for me?’ but rather ‘What’s in it for my group?’

Extreme partisans are so stubborn, closed-minded, and committed to beliefs that often seem bizarre or paranoid. Like rats that cannot stop pressing a button, partisans may be simply unable to stop believing weird things. The partisan brain has been reinforced so many times for performing mental contortions that free it from unwanted beliefs. Extreme partisanship may be literally addictive.

THE RATIONALIST DELUSION

Most of the bizarre and depressing research findings make perfect sense once you see reasoning as having evolved not to help us find truth but to help us engage in arguments, persuasion, and manipulation in the context of discussions with other people.

Each individual reasoner is really good at one thing: finding evidence to support the position he or she already holds, usually for intuitive reasons. We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play. But if you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others, and all individuals feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system.

Nobody is ever going to invent an ethics class that makes people behave ethically after they step out of the classroom. Classes are for riders, and riders are just going to use their new knowledge to serve their elephants more effectively.

FIVE. Beyond WEIRD Morality

Shweder found three major clusters of moral themes, which they called the ethics of autonomy, community, and divinity. Each one is based on a different idea about what a person really is.

  1. The ethic of autonomy is based on the idea that people are, first and foremost, autonomous individuals with wants, needs, and preferences.
  2. The ethic of community is based on the idea that people are, first and foremost, members of larger entities such as families, teams, armies, companies, tribes, and nations.
    • In such societies, the Western insistence that people should design their own lives and pursue their own goals seems selfish and dangerous—a sure way to weaken the social fabric and destroy the institutions and collective entities upon which everyone depends.
  3. The ethic of divinity is based on the idea that people are, first and foremost, temporary vessels within which a divine soul has been implanted.
    • In this world, equality and personal autonomy were not sacred values. Honoring elders, gods, and guests, protecting subordinates, and fulfilling one’s role-based duties were more important.

I had escaped from my prior partisan mind-set (reject first, ask rhetorical questions later) and began to think about liberal and conservative policies as manifestations of deeply conflicting but equally heartfelt visions of the good society.

SIX. Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind

According to one of the leading autism researchers, Simon Baron-Cohen, there are in fact two spectra, two dimensions on which we can place each person: empathizing and systemizing.

Baron-Cohen has shown that autism is what you get when genes and prenatal factors combine to produce a brain that is exceptionally low on empathizing and exceptionally high on systemizing.

SEVEN. The Moral Foundations of Politics

Marcus’s analogy leads to the best definition of innateness I have ever seen: “Nature provides a first draft, which experience then revises. … “Built-in” does not mean unmalleable; it means “organized in advance of experience.””

1. THE CARE/HARM FOUNDATION

It is just not conceivable that the chapter on mothering in the book of human nature is entirely blank, leaving it for mothers to learn everything by cultural instruction or trial and error.

2. THE FAIRNESS/CHEATING FOUNDATION

Altruism toward kin is not a puzzle at all. Altruism toward non-kin, on the other hand, has presented one of the longest-running puzzles in the history of evolutionary thinking.

We feel pleasure, liking, and friendship when people show signs that they can be trusted to reciprocate. We feel anger, contempt, and even sometimes disgust when people try to cheat us or take advantage of us.

Everyone cares about fairness, but there are two major kinds. On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality—people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes.

3. THE LOYALTY/BETRAYAL FOUNDATION

4. THE AUTHORITY/SUBVERSION FOUNDATION

The failure to detect signs of dominance and then to respond accordingly often results in a beating.

But authority should not be confused with power.

When I began graduate school I subscribed to the common liberal belief that hierarchy = power = exploitation = evil. But when I began to work with Alan Fiske, I discovered that I was wrong.

5. THE SANCTITY/DEGRADATION FOUNDATION

Omnivores therefore go through life with two competing motives: neophilia (an attraction to new things) and neophobia (a fear of new things). People vary in terms of which motive is stronger, and this variation will come back to help us in later chapters: Liberals score higher on measures of neophilia (also known as “openness to experience”), not just for new foods but also for new people, music, and ideas. Conservatives are higher on neophobia; they prefer to stick with what’s tried and true, and they care a lot more about guarding borders, boundaries, and traditions.

Plagues, epidemics, and new diseases are usually brought in by foreigners—as are many new ideas, goods, and technologies—so societies face an analogue of the omnivore’s dilemma, balancing xenophobia and xenophilia.

Whatever its origins, the psychology of sacredness helps bind individuals into moral communities.42 When someone in a moral community desecrates one of the sacred pillars supporting the community, the reaction is sure to be swift, emotional, collective, and punitive.

In Sum

  1. The Care/harm foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of caring for vulnerable children. It makes us sensitive to signs of suffering and need; it makes us despise cruelty and want to care for those who are suffering.
  2. The Fairness/cheating foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of reaping the rewards of cooperation without getting exploited. It makes us sensitive to indications that another person is likely to be a good (or bad) partner for collaboration and reciprocal altruism. It makes us want to shun or punish cheaters.
  3. The Loyalty/betrayal foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of forming and maintaining coalitions. It makes us sensitive to signs that another person is (or is not) a team player. It makes us trust and reward such people, and it makes us want to hurt, ostracize, or even kill those who betray us or our group.
  4. The Authority/subversion foundation evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of forging relationships that will benefit us within social hierarchies. It makes us sensitive to signs of rank or status, and to signs that other people are (or are not) behaving properly, given their position.
  5. The Sanctity/degradation foundation evolved initially in response to the adaptive challenge of the omnivore’s dilemma, and then to the broader challenge of living in a world of pathogens and parasites. It includes the behavioral immune system, which can make us wary of a diverse array of symbolic objects and threats. It makes it possible for people to invest objects with irrational and extreme values—both positive and negative—which are important for binding groups together.

EIGHT. The Conservative Advantage

Republicans understand moral psychology. Democrats don’t. Republicans have long understood that the elephant is in charge of political behavior, not the rider, and they know how elephants work.

Republicans don’t just aim to cause fear, as some Democrats charge. They trigger the full range of intuitions described by Moral Foundations Theory.

Republicans since Nixon have had a near-monopoly on appeals to loyalty (particularly patriotism and military virtues) and authority (including respect for parents, teachers, elders, and the police, as well as for traditions).

The Democrats offered just sugar (Care) and salt (Fairness as equality), whereas Republican morality appealed to all five taste receptors.

We’ve made many improvements since Jesse’s first simple survey, but we always find the same basic pattern that he found in 2006. The lines for Care and Fairness slant downward; the lines for Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity slant upward. Liberals value Care and Fairness far more than the other three foundations; conservatives endorse all five foundations more or less equally.

THE LIBERTY/OPPRESSION FOUNDATION

Anything that suggests the aggressive, controlling behavior of an alpha male (or female) can trigger this form of righteous anger, which is sometimes called reactance. (That’s the feeling you get when an authority tells you you can’t do something and you feel yourself wanting to do it even more strongly.)

Punishing bad behavior promotes virtue and benefits the group. And just as Glaucon argued in his ring of Gyges example, when the threat of punishment is removed, people behave selfishly.

Why did most players pay to punish? In part, because it felt good to do so.47 We hate to see people take without giving. We want to see cheaters and slackers “get what’s coming to them.” We want the law of karma to run its course, and we’re willing to help enforce it.

When people work together on a task, they generally want to see the hardest workers get the largest gains.

When a few members of a group contributed far more than the others—or, even more powerfully, when a few contributed nothing—most adults do not want to see the benefits distributed equally.

THREE VERSUS SIX

People don’t crave equality for its own sake; they fight for equality when they perceive that they are being bullied or dominated,

Liberals have a three-foundation morality, whereas conservatives use all six.

NINE. Why Are We So Groupish?

Yes, people are often selfish,

But it’s also true that people are groupish. We love to join teams, clubs, leagues, and fraternities.

I will suggest that human nature is mostly selfish, but with a groupish overlay that resulted from the fact that natural selection works at multiple levels simultaneously.

Real armies, like most effective groups, have many ways of suppressing selfishness.

Whenever a way is found to suppress free riding so that individual units can cooperate, work as a team, and divide labor, selection at the lower level becomes less important, selection at the higher level becomes more powerful, and that higher-level selection favors the most cohesive superorganisms.

Bees construct hives out of wax and wood fibers, which they then fight, kill, and die to defend. Humans construct moral communities out of shared norms, institutions, and gods that, even in the twenty-first century, they fight, kill, and die to defend.

TEN. The Hive Switch

People are happy to follow when they see that their group needs to get something done, and when the person who emerges as the leader doesn’t activate their hypersensitive oppression detectors.

Exploit synchrony.

  • People who move together are saying, “We are one, we are a team; just look how perfectly we are able to do that Tomasello shared-intention thing.” Japanese corporations such as Toyota begin their days with synchronous companywide exercises.
  • Groups prepare for battle—in war and sports—with group chants and ritualized movements. (If you want to see an impressive one in rugby, Google “All Blacks Haka.”)
  • If you ask people to sing a song together, or to march in step, or just to tap out some beats together on a table, it makes them trust each other more and be more willing to help each other out, in part because it makes people feel more similar to each other.

Create healthy competition among teams, not individuals.

  • Pitting individuals against each other in a competition for scarce resources (such as bonuses) will destroy hivishness, trust, and morale.

Transactional leadership appeals to followers’ self-interest, but transformational leadership changes the way followers see themselves—from isolated individuals to members of a larger group. Transformational leaders do this by modeling collective commitment (e.g., through self-sacrifice and the use of “we” rather than “I”), emphasizing the similarity of group members, and reinforcing collective goals, shared values, and common interests.

ELEVEN. Religion Is a Team Sport

If you think about religion as a set of beliefs about supernatural agents, you’re bound to misunderstand it. You’ll see those beliefs as foolish delusions, perhaps even as parasites that exploit our brains for their own benefit. But if you take a Durkheimian approach to religion (focusing on belonging) and a Darwinian approach to morality (involving multilevel selection), you get a very different picture. You see that religious practices have been binding our ancestors into groups for tens of thousands of years. That binding usually involves some blinding—once any person, book, or principle is declared sacred, then devotees can no longer question it or think clearly about it.

Our ability to believe in supernatural agents may well have begun as an accidental by-product of a hypersensitive agency detection device, but once early humans began believing in such agents, the groups that used them to construct moral communities were the ones that lasted and prospered.

We humans have an extraordinary ability to care about things beyond ourselves, to circle around those things with other people, and in the process to bind ourselves into teams that can pursue larger projects. That’s what religion is all about. And with a few adjustments, it’s what politics is about too.

TWELVE. Can’t We All Disagree More Constructively?

Here’s a simple definition of ideology: “A set of beliefs about the proper order of society and how it can be achieved.”8 And here’s the most basic of all ideological questions: Preserve the present order, or change it?

Whether you end up on the right or the left of the political spectrum turns out to be just as heritable as most other traits: genetics explains between a third and a half of the variability among people on their political attitudes.14 Being raised in a liberal or conservative household accounts for much less.

Innate does not mean unmalleable; it means organized in advance of experience.

Step 1: Genes Make Brains

Step 2: Traits Guide Children Along Different Paths

Step 3: People Construct Life Narratives

Being small, isolated, or morally homogeneous are examples of environmental conditions that increase the moral capital of a community. That doesn’t mean that small islands and small towns are better places to live overall—the diversity and crowding of big cities makes them more creative and interesting places for many people—but that’s the trade-off. (Whether you’d trade away some moral capital to gain some diversity and creativity will depend in part on your brain’s settings on traits such as openness to experience and threat sensitivity, and this is part of the reason why cities are usually so much more liberal than the countryside.)

John Stuart Mill said that liberals and conservatives are like this: “A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.”

“From 600 BC to the present day, philosophers have been divided into those who wished to tighten social bonds and those who wished to relax them.”

Point #1: Governments Can And Should Restrain Corporate Superorganisms

Corporations are superorganisms. They’re not like superorganisms; they are actual superorganisms. So, if the past is any guide, corporations will grow ever more powerful as they evolve, and as they change the legal and political systems of their host countries to become ever more hospitable. The only force left on Earth that can stand up to the largest corporations are national governments, some of which still maintain the power to tax, regulate, and divide corporations into smaller pieces when they get too powerful.

Economists speak of “externalities”—the costs (or benefits) incurred by third parties who did not agree to the transaction causing the cost (or benefit). For example, if a farmer begins using a new kind of fertilizer that increases his yield but causes more damaging runoff into nearby rivers, he keeps the profit but the costs of his decision are borne by others.

When corporations operate in full view of the public, with a free press that is willing and able to report on the externalities being foisted on the public, they are likely to behave well, as most corporations do. But many corporations operate with a high degree of secrecy and public invisibility

Point #2: Some Problems Really Can Be Solved by Regulation

The chemical industry had been able to block all efforts to ban lead additives from gasoline for decades.

This one regulation saved vast quantities of lives, IQ points, money, and moral capital all at the same time.

Rather than building more prisons, the cheapest (and most humane) way to fight crime may be to give more money and authority to the Environmental Protection Agency.

When conservatives object that liberal efforts to intervene in markets or engage in “social engineering” always have unintended consequences, they should note that sometimes those consequences are positive. When conservatives say that markets offer better solutions than do regulations, let them step forward and explain their plan to eliminate the dangerous and unfair externalities generated by many markets.

YANG #1: LIBERTARIAN WISDOM

People with libertarian ideals have generally supported the Republican Party since the 1930s because libertarians and Republicans have a common enemy: the liberal welfare society that they believe is destroying America’s liberty (for libertarians) and moral fiber (for social conservatives).

Counterpoint #1: Markets Are Miraculous

Only a working market can bring supply, demand, and ingenuity together to provide health care at the lowest possible price. For example, there is an open market for LASIK surgery.

Competition and innovation have driven down the price of the surgery by nearly 80 percent since it was first introduced.

YANG #2: SOCIAL CONSERVATIVE WISDOM

Counterpoint #2: You Can’t Help the Bees by Destroying the Hive

Putman examined the level of social capital in hundreds of American communities and discovered that high levels of immigration and ethnic diversity seem to cause a reduction in social capital.

The urge to help Hispanic immigrants in the 1980s led to multicultural education programs that emphasized the differences among Americans rather than their shared values and identity. Emphasizing differences makes many people more racist, not less.

Morality binds and blinds. This is not just something that happens to people on the other side. We all get sucked into tribal moral communities. We circle around sacred values and then share post hoc arguments about why we are so right and they are so wrong. We think the other side is blind to truth, reason, science, and common sense, but in fact everyone goes blind when talking about their sacred objects.

Your Thoughts?

Have your say in the comments below.

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Google Maps: 4 Ways To Increase Your New Business Enquiries From Google Maps

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Does your business already appear on Google Maps? If not, it’s easy to do. Here’s how to add your business to Google Maps. If so, great start, but you’re not finished yet! As a general rule, the more quality content you can provide Google with (in the form of text, images and videos), the more […]

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Simple Advice For Co-Working Spaces: Have Lunch Together

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Want To Make More Money? How To Maximise The Worker, The Seller, The Investor, In All Of Us

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Start, Stop, Steal, Stick: What I’ve Learnt From 6 StartUp Weekends

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Thumbnail image for Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek’s TED talks. (In fact, I watched the rehearsal for his latest one live on stage in Vancouver in March of this year). I was surprised to find that this book was about drugs. Not the ones that might come to mind when I use that word, but the […]

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Thumbnail image for Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier by Ari Meisel

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Facebook Basics Workshop (Tauranga): Fri 26th September 1pm – 3pm

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Top TV Advertising Tips For Better TV Ads

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Having a list of email address of people who want to hear from you is gold. The secret to effective email newsletters is to mimic a one-to-one email conversation as closely as possible. Any elements that make the recipient suspect that your message is one-to-many will reduce the impact of your message. There are 6 […]

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Cold Calling: 3 Tips To Generate New Business With A Cold Call

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Thumbnail image for Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

Here are my notes on the book “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos, which is now wholly owned by Amazon and sells a wide range of items online, but made it’s start selling shoes online. It’s the classic start-up story many of […]

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Billboard Advertising Tips: 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Your First Billboard Ad

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Could An Infomercial Make You Serious Money? How To Create One For Your Business

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In-Movie Product Placement: Could Your Brand Be Used Popular Movie Characters?

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Need a Better Radio Ad? 4 Tips To Improve Your Radio Advertising

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TEDxAuckland 2014: 18 Hours of Awesomeness

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I made my annual trip to TEDxAuckland on Saturday, and for the last 2 years I have captured my experience here on MarketingFirst.co.nz, but this time I’ve written my report on the TEDxTauranga website. Read it now: TEDxAuckland 2014: 18 Hours of Awesomeness

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Miniature Billboard Advertising: Give It A Try With These 4 Tips

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Whilst driving downtown yesterday I spotted tiny billboards strapped to street light polls and road signage opposite a High School. 4 Lessons You Can Learn From These Guerilla Miniature Billboards What can you learn from this clever “guerilla” method of advertising? Could you replicate this strategy for your business? 1. Do it cheap. They are […]

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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

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Here are my notes on “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life” by Scott Adams Scott Adams is the author of the world famous Dilbert comic strip that make fun of life in an office cubicle. Like his comic strip, this book is certainly amusing. He […]

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk

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Here are my notes on the book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” by Gary Vaynerchuk For me, I got 3 things out of this book: I got a simple introduction into the major social media platforms all in one place I got a simple explanation of […]

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Thumbnail image for The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life by Leo Babauta

I’m no stranger to productivity books, this is about the 7th one I’ve read over the last 5 years. It’s amazing how the little tips and changes you pick-up from books like this one, become so important and valuable, but just slip away over time, one by one. So this was a fantastic refresher. Here, […]

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Time To Threaten Debt Collection or Court Action?

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January 23, 2014
Thumbnail image for Value-Based Fees: How to Charge, and Get, What You’re Worth by Alan Weiss

This book has changed the way I do business. It’s that good. I also know much more about value-based pricing and I am able to provide advice to friends/clients/acquaintences who still stuck in the work-for-an-hour-get-paid-for-an-hour trap. Here, I’ve recorded the parts of the book that were particularly useful to me. I encourage you to read […]

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Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

December 19, 2013
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From this book I’ve just pulled out sections that were of particular interest to me. I don’t have a huge amount of notes because I worked from home for 3.5 years and in a co-working space for the last 14 months so I’m very much aware of the pros and cons of not working in a […]

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Tauranga City: The First Truly Digital City of New Zealand?

December 9, 2013
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What does digital mean to you? What does a digital city look and feel like? Do we want this for Tauranga? Why? Is a digital city attractive to work, live and play in? What is the councils role? What is the citizens role? These are some of the questions that a small group of passionate […]

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Marketing Ebooks: All 4 Of My Marketing Ebooks Are Now Free

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Should You Threaten To Charge Interest On Overdue Invoices?

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Who do you think you are? A bank? Leave the interest charging game to the banks. Charging interest on overdue invoices gives your clients 2 choices: Pay the invoice Not pay the invoice (and start accumulating interest which they are pretty sure they can weasel out of with a phone call I they can be […]

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Automated Payment Reminders: Useful For Getting Late Invoices Paid?

November 12, 2013

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Own An Overdue Stamp? Throw It Away Today You Silly Goose

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The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

November 5, 2013
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This book is very old now: 1994, but much of the advice is still pretty good. It’s a very easy read – each of the 22 chapters are only a couple of pages each. It’s not available on Kindle which is annoying but there are a few pdf versions floating around. I found the notes of […]

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Overdue Invoices? Simple Tips To Ensure Your Clients Pay On Time, Every Time. No More Overdue Invoices

November 5, 2013

Did you know that poor cashflow is the #1 killer of small businesses world-wide? Do you have clients with overdue invoices right now? Do you grit your teeth when you check your bank account on the 20th of the month and find the deposits you were expecting, missing? Are your customers/clients slow to pay? Are […]

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Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

November 4, 2013
Thumbnail image for Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

This book was pretty darn amazing. I’m already a pretty optimistic guy but this book backed up that optimism with facts and reasoning. Fantastic stuff. My favourite quote was “In today’s hyperlinked world, solving problems anywhere, solves problems everywhere.” Let’s start with the table of contents because you might spot areas that interest you that you […]

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Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff

October 23, 2013
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My notes on Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff. Chapter 1: The Method The process using the acronym STRONG: Setting the frame Telling the story Revealing the intrigue Offering the prize Nailing the hookpoint Getting a decision

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Advertising: “But What Advertising Methods Will Work For MY Business?”

September 25, 2013
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You might have read my list of 62 ways to advertise, but are these 2 questions on your mind right now?: Am I wasting money on the advertising I’m doing now? Which advertising methods will work for my business? The advice you get when you ask this question will change depending on the incentives of […]

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Google Calendar: How To Duplicate An Appointment

September 5, 2013
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I’ve been using Google Calendar for many years, but I only recently found this function, and now I couldn’t live without it. How to duplicate an appointment in Google Calendar Go into the details of the appointment you want to copy Along the top buttons there is a dropdown labelled “More Actions” Choose “Duplicate Event” from […]

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Google Calendar: How To Silently Rip An Appointment From An Invited Guests Calendar

September 4, 2013
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I’m a huge fan of Google Calendar. I even switched my reluctant wife over to it rather than her diary book, and now she loves it too. If you use Google Calendar and you use it to invite people to appointments and events, you need to occasionally cancel appointments, right? Well, you’ll know that you […]

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My Transition From Employee To Home Based Business To Co-Working

August 12, 2013

This is a short video on how I made the transition from employee, to home based business, to leading a co-working space in central Tauranga, New Zealand. Watch this video on Vimeo Thanks to Jono from EmergeFilm for all his work on this story (we work together at Studio64 co-working space).

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TEDx Auckland 2013: 17 Hours of Awesomeness

August 5, 2013

TEDxAuckland ran from 10am to 5.30pm on 3 Aug 2013: 7.5 hours of awesomeness. But my day started at 6am because I drove up from Tauranga for it, and got back home at 11pm. I’m still counting the 8.5 hours of waiting and driving because those were all awesome too. I was either talking to […]

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Only Prospects In Pain Will Buy: 6 Questions To Ask To Uncover Your Prospects Pain

July 17, 2013
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Did you know that only a prospect in pain will buy a solution from you? It’s true. The more pain they feel, the higher the price they will pay, and the more they crave your solution if you can show them that you understand their pain. If you have a warehouse full of widgets to […]

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Your New Website Says “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon”? 3 Reasons That’s A Disaster

May 22, 2013
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I love purchasing a new website address, don’t you? (A website address is also known as a “domain name”, or a “url”) I’ve purchased about 60 website addresses over the last few years. For clients, friends, and for myself. I get the same rush of adrenaline every time I do it. It’s so exciting because it’s much […]

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9 Companies, 90 Days, Worth $9 Million

May 20, 2013

Last week I went down to Wellington to the Lightning Labs demo day. Lightning Labs is New Zealands first (and only) business accelerator. For a bit of background, read my article about Lighting Labs that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. 90 days ago these 9 companies were worth zip, nada, nothing. And now […]

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How to Create Start Up Companies Worth A Million Dollars Each In Just 90 Days

May 3, 2013

Did you meet Laura Rietel (and Nick Churchouse from Lightning Labs) on Thursday 2 May 2013? If not, you missed a great night! Laura shared her experience with Business Accelerators. I loved her presentation style. No slides. Just a few notes, lots of stories, and lots of questions. Casual and friendly, it felt less like a seminar […]

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Worried Someone Will Steal Your Awesome Idea? 7 Possible Reactions When You Share Your Idea

May 1, 2013
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New ideas are exciting! Sometimes great ideas wake you in the middle of the night (and at the time you are sure you’ll remember them so you don’t bother writing them down… oops). Sometimes great ideas happen to you when you are alone (like in the shower, or in the car), and it’s so annoying […]

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Startup Communities – Building An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City by Brad Feld

April 18, 2013
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My notes on “Startup Communities – Building An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City” by Brad Feld Give Before You Get Boulder is an incredibly inclusive community. Although there is some competition between companies, especially over talent, the community is defined by a strong sense of collaboration and philosophy of “giving before you get.” If you […]

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9 Questions To Get You Started When You’ve Got An Idea For A StartUp Business

April 16, 2013
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Heard of “a business plan”? It’s how you plan your business, right? Well, the bad news is that “business plans never survive first contact with customers” – Steve Blank. This means that you can plan all you like, but real customers with real money in their pockets will buy what they want to, not what […]

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“Tauranga University Enrolls First 99 Students, 4 Years Ahead Of Schedule” – Proposed Headline for BOP Times, Fri 26 July 2013

April 15, 2013

Dear universe, I would like the following headline appear in the Bay of Plenty Times on Fri 26 July 2013: “Tauranga University Enrolls First 99 Students, 4 Years Ahead Of Schedule”. Impossible? No. Not impossible. I’m going to tell you how. You can probably think of at least 5 reasons why a university here would be great […]

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The Future of “Work”: Are You A Cog In a Machine Or A Nanobot In A Swarm?

April 4, 2013

I had the honour of spending 60 seconds with John Key this morning. I was 1 of 10 young professionals invited to tell him about what we’re up to here in Tauranga, the city I love. Here’s my 60 second speech: Hi, I’m Sheldon Nesdale and I’m helping to build a eco-system of entrepreneurship and […]

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Testimonials: Tips About How You Can Get Powerful Testimonials For Your Website

March 27, 2013
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Firstly, Sean D’Souza in his book “The Brain Audit”, has this to say about Testimonials: — Why We Are All Sceptical About Testimonials Testimonials are like resumes; they’re not entirely believable.  Which is why most customers tend to view testimonials sceptically. Even if we don’t say it out loud, we view testimonials as one-sided. It’s the […]

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A Collection of 7 Bob Clarkson Thoughts

March 4, 2013
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Bob Clarkson (72 years old) invited me into his home on the weekend. For 90 minutes he told me his story. I can summarise it in 3 words: He loves building. We talked about many of his building projects. Past (those still standing today), Present (what he’s working on right now), and Future (those that […]

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What To Say When You Are Asked “What’s Your Hourly Rate?”

February 28, 2013
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Do you get asked the question “What’s Your Hourly Rate?” by potential clients? How do you respond? Do you just throw in one of these number into your response?: $10/hour $20/hour $50/hour $100/hour $200/hour $500/hour Potential clients often respond in one of these ways: “That’s too cheap!” “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my […]

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Should I Renew My Yellow Pages Listing For My Small Business?

February 18, 2013
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Is that a questions you are struggling with right now? Have you been advertising in the Yellow Pages hardcopy and/or online for years but now you’re thinking of cancelling? Do you suspect you are wasting your money, but you are shit-scared that your business will completely dry up if you stop paying them thousands of dollars […]

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Is Your Blog Stale? How Not Updating Your Blog Can Damage Your Business

February 11, 2013
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“When I look at your blog I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling through…” Are visitors to your website thinking that? If you have a blog section on your website, at some point you thought it was a good idea to get one. You might call it your “news section” or your “article section”, they […]

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Job Hunting? Clever, But Simple Marketing Advice For Job Hunters

February 8, 2013

Looking for a new job? Does your job hunting plan look like this? Trawl through job ads on Seek, TradeMe Jobs and a couple of other sites Find jobs that look interesting and throw your CV at them Wait And wait some more And apply for some more (on the assumption that it takes 100 applications […]

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5 Co-Working Spaces in Auckland, The 6 Lessons I Learnt

January 29, 2013

Last week I visited all 5 of the co-working spaces in Auckland: Movers & Shakers, Auckland Central, Dion Bettjeman Loft503, Auckland Central, Matt Knight  Generator, Auckland Central, Ryan Wilson The Kitchen, Grey Lynn, Auckland, Murray Sheard Bizdojo, Auckland Central, Nick Shewring I am honoured that every single one of the founders/owners made time for me and my questions. I […]

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How Many Co-working Spaces in Hamilton?

January 25, 2013

Good news for you if you can answer “YES!” to these 3 questions: Are you are freelancer in Hamilton? Do you work from a home office? Do you want to move into a co-working space in Hamilton city? Up until now you would have had no option but to start your own space (which has […]

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Will You Join the 2013 Marketing Bootcamp in Tauranga?

January 8, 2013

The 2013 Marketing Bootcamp is a series of 12 workshops (one per month) which will improve both you and your business. Is the “2013 Marketing Bootcamp” for you? YES! If you own a Tauranga-based Small Business and you are either a solo operator, a husband-and-wife team or have a business partner YES! If last year went […]

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Selling services? Find out how to set your prices, and if you should put them on your website

December 17, 2012

Are you selling services? Are you quoting your hourly rate or using “value based pricing”? Should you put these prices on your website or not? Find out the answer to these questions with this short 2.5 minute discussion with Sheldon Nesdale from www.MarketingFirst.co.nz and Dan Necklen from www.Likeable.co.nz

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15 Reasons Why Co-Working In The City Centre Is Awesome

December 13, 2012
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This article is for those of you who are working from home right now, and it’s purpose is to show you what you could gain from moving out of home into a co-working space in the city centre. This is part 2 of 2. Read part one: 5 Reasons Why Working From Home Sucks I worked […]

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5 Reasons Why Working From Home Sucks

December 13, 2012
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This article is for those of you who are working from home right now, and it’s purpose is to show you what you could gain from moving out of home into a co-working space in the city centre. This is part 1 of 2. Read part two: 15 Reasons Why Co-Working In The City Centre Is […]

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Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

November 20, 2012

My notes on Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Lots of interesting stories in this book, but I’m just going to talk about 2 that really struck a chord with me. The Cost To Avoid Guilt? Just $3 Economists in an Israeli study in day care centres started imposing a fine of $3 if any parent […]

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In the retail business? Waiting for the world to change back to the way it was?

November 13, 2012

Can you answer yes to any of these questions?: Are you in the retail business? Are you waiting for the good-old-days to come back in terms of the economy and retail sales? Do you want the world to change back to the way it was before the recession? If so, I have good news. The […]

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Own A Cafe, Restaurant, Bar But Have No Website? Get One Before 2013

November 5, 2012

If you don’t have a website for your Cafe, Restaurant or Bar, then take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Did you know that only about one third (to one half) of New Zealand’s Cafe’s, Restaurant’s and Bar’s have a website? The 5 Most Common Objections I Hear From Owners: When […]

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7 Simple TradeMe Tips: Turn Your Trash Into Treasure

November 1, 2012

Ahh TradeMe, we all love it 🙂 (And the recent copy-cat auction sites are hilarious. They have no chance!) You’ve heard the phrase “one mans trash is another mans treasure”? On TradeMe, that old saying is certainly true. Do you want to squeeze every last dollar out of each TradeMe sale? You are about to […]

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Interview with Cheryl Reynolds, CEO of SODA Inc, Hamilton’s Business Incubator and Accelerator

October 31, 2012

I’m on a mission to establish a Business Incubator in Tauranga next year. Part 1 of this mission is to learn from people who have already succeeded. So last week I spent an amazing, inspiring, uplifting 3 hours with Cheryl Reynolds the CEO of SODA Inc and Rachel Wark, the Communications Manager (thanks for making […]

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Business Facebook Pages: 6 Simple Tips For Your Business Page on Facebook

October 29, 2012

Are you just about to set up a Business Page on Facebook? Or have you set one up already but it’s just not generating business for you? Then this short list of tips will save you some time and help you generate some results. #1. Don’t sign up for a new Facebook Personal Profile just for […]

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Customer Survey Package

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I’m about to show you that with your next customer survey, it is possible to generate satisfaction rather than just measure satisfaction. Let’s consider the customer’s perspective first. Do any of the following 3 scenario’s sound familiar? 1. Imagine you have just started dinner and the phone rings… You pick up and it’s someone asking you to […]

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Market Research Package

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Do you have your eye on a target market and want to find out what those customers want? Do you want to find out more about the competition (if any) in that space? Do you want to evaluate the risk and determine your chance of success? Then consider this Market Research Package. Q: “Is this […]

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Tauranga 2013: A Business Incubator, A Business Accelerator, And 3 Co-Working Spaces

October 15, 2012

Have I shared with you my plan for 2013? I want to establish a business incubator/accelerator/co-working space here in Tauranga. Tauranga’s first co-working space starts this week in the Priority One building, hooray! I’ll be doing my best to help them succeed. But that is only the beginning. Imagine there was one business incubator, one […]

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The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

October 15, 2012

My notes on “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries I’ve only made notes on the sections I found most interesting, so to get the full benefit of this book I urge you to read a copy for yourself

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Have A Great Idea For A Start-Up Company But Worried Someone Will Steal It?

October 12, 2012

On Monday you’ll see my notes on the book by Eric Ries called “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses”. Amaaaaazing book. But I couldn’t wait until then to share this with you. There is one section in there that talks about how many of us have ideas that we think are […]

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Quickguide to LinkedIn Part 2: How To Milk LinkedIn – The 8 Most Important Cows

October 11, 2012

(Missed part 1? Read it first) Firstly, it’s important to note that “100% completion” is your starting point. That’s right, spend a few hours and just get all the basics done and out of the way until you score 100% completion. Then come back here and read the rest of this article. The 8 Most Important Components […]

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Quickguide to LinkedIn Part 1: What Types of People Are Looking At Your LinkedIn Profile Today?

October 10, 2012

Think you should be doing more with your LinkedIn profile? First let’s consider your audience. Who’s actually going to look at your profile? The 5 types of people looking at your LinkedIn profile today: 1. People you meet who are curious about you You might hunt them down first, or they might find you first. […]

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TEDx Auckland 2012: 16 Hours of Awesomeness

October 9, 2012

TEDx Auckland ran from 10am to 5.30pm on 6 Oct 2012: 7.5 hours of awesomeness. But my day started at 6am because I drove up from Tauranga for it, and got back home at 10pm. I’m still counting the 8.5 hours of waiting and driving because those were all awesome too. I was either talking […]

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“I Think It’s Too Long, Can You Make It Shorter?” A Phrase I Dread

October 4, 2012

I do quite a bit of copywriting: email proposals email newsletters sales pages on websites blog articles direct response letters and the occasional fax (I’m joking about the fax, it’s not the nineties anymore) The pieces of work I create are as long as they need to be and often include all of the following components: Headline: […]

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5 Questions For Small Business Owners to Think About Today

August 8, 2012

Compete against yourself Pretend there is a brand new competitor opening next door to you, what product and service bundles should he start selling? To who? Don’t wait for this to happen, create those bundles and target those customers yourself today Why you? What are the top 3 reasons customers should choose you? Put those […]

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Small Business Website: Do It Yourself For Only $141.50

August 7, 2012

If you don’t have a website for your small business, then take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Did you know that only about one third (to one half) of New Zealand businesses have a website? The 5 Most Common Objections I Hear From Owners: When asked why they don’t have a website, […]

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Email Marketing: 7 Reasons Why It’s Cool, 3 Reasons It Sucks, 7 Tips To Make It Work

August 6, 2012

Why are you attracted to the idea of “email marketing”? 7 Reasons Why Email Marketing Seems Cool Because sending emails is cheap (or free). It’s a cheap way to keep in contact with your customers It’s scalable – if you double or triple the number of customers on your email database there is no extra […]

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The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz

August 3, 2012

My notes on “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” by Mike Michalowicz This book had excellent structure, but I’ve only made notes on the sections I found most interesting, so you might find these notes jump around a bit. Launching Businesses I loved entrepreneurialism. I could talk about business all day, read every magazine, attend every seminar, and […]

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Business Cards: Don’t Waste Money Printing Business Cards

July 5, 2012
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When people first start their own business, the first thing they do is get 1000 business cards printed. Don’t bother! Don’t print business cards because only people who want to sell you something (that you don’t need) will take them from you and use them. Do people that you need something from ever take your business card […]

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Twitter: You Suspect It Would Waste Your Time, Are You Right?

July 1, 2012
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What is it? Twitter is a micro-blogging platform which enables 160 character text messages (called “Tweets”) to be broadcast to “Followers”. From a business perspective, Twitter can be useful in 2 ways: For introducing your brand to a new, tech-savvy segment of the population When you “Follow” someone they are notified via email (unless they […]

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Rework by Jason Fried

June 20, 2012

My notes on “Rework” by Jason Fried TAKEDOWNS Ignore the real world “That would never work in the real world”. Dont’ believe them. That world may be real for them, but it doesn’t mean you will live in it

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In What Type Of Business Is The CEO Also The Receptionist?

June 11, 2012
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You’ve probably noticed that there are often 2 types of receptionists in 9-5pm business offices: The first type I’ll call Wendy Winter and the second I’ll call Susan Summer. Wendy Winter Wendy doesn’t really want to be there She’ll be on Facebook most of the time if it hasn’t been blocked, and txt msg friends […]

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9 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your Sales Role Would be a Disaster

May 7, 2012
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Can you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions?: Is your business a one-man-band or husband-and-wife type of business? Are you a bit shy and find the prospect of networking and meeting people face to face a bit daunting? Are you thinking about outsourcing the sales role to a sales rep, either hiring […]

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The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza

May 2, 2012

My notes on The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza The following is just a copy/paste of the summary’s at the end of every chapter. I couldn’t do better myself because they are so well written. The most interesting parts for me was “how to construct a testimonial” and “how to determine what is unique about […]

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Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

April 30, 2012

My notes on “Made to Stick” by Chip & Dan Heath S.U.C.C.E.S.s: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible Stories Simplicity Not dumbed down or sound bites Find the core fo the idea “The curse of knowledge” if you say 3 things you say nothing Simple = core + compact, forced prioritisation To make a profund idea compact […]

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Should You Quit Your Job And Start A Home Based Business? 8 Pros and 12 Cons To Help You Decide

April 27, 2012

Yesterday I was reading through one of my old journals from 3 years ago when I faced exactly this decision. In the journal I found my list of Pros and Cons that I had written to help me decide. Maybe they could help you to? PROS I’m ready. I’ve had my 3 years of experience. […]

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Getting Things Done by David Allen

April 23, 2012

My notes on “Getting Things Done” by David Allen [Borrowed heavily from Josh Kaufmans notes] 1. Define what being “done” looks like Most of the tasks people keep on their to-do lists are “amorphous blobs of undoability” – commitments without any clear vision of what being “done” looks like What does the end point look like?

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How To Make Millions With Your Ideas by Dan S. Kennedy

April 16, 2012

My notes on “How To Make Millions With Your Ideas” by Dan S. Kennedy To win with premium prices, clobber competitors with service Call every customer after the job is completed to verify satisfaction Offer strong guarantees Get crazy publicity & word of mouth with free product to local companies (works if you own a cafe anyway) Stake […]

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The Unwritten Laws of Business by J. King and James G. Skakoon

April 9, 2012

My notes on “The Unwritten Laws of Business” by J. King & James G. Skakoon. 2007 Good advice for employees who want to get the most out of their current role. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts Demonstrate the ability to get things done Show Initiative. Start […]

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How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

April 2, 2012

My notes on “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie 3 Fundamental Techniques in Handling People Don’t crisicise, condemn or complain Instead, try to understand them, why they do what they do The most important human desire: A feeling of importance Give honest and sincere appreciation Find out their good points Try […]

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Purple Cow by Seth Godin

March 26, 2012

My notes on “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product. If it isn’t remarkable, its invisible The Advertising Age Before: Word-of-Mouth During: Ever increasing consumer prosperity, and endless consumer desire. Simple formula: Advertise on TV & mass media = increased sales After: Word-of-Mouth with new networks at rocket speed Being first […]

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Confession: I Only Have 4 Skills

March 14, 2012

It’s true. My confession to you today is that I only have 4 skills. Skill #1: I Can Read Being able to read is my first skill. I read a speed reading book 4 years ago and it changed my life: 10 Days to Faster Reading by Abby Marks Beale It increased my comprehension from […]

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The Award For The Worst Toll Free Number Goes To 0800 MELANOMA

March 12, 2012

There’s an ad playing on the radio at the moment about a local skin cancer specialist. I have a problem with their choice of phone number: 0800 MELANOMA To me, this is a classic case of being unable to consider the customers perspective, who is looking into the business from the outside. The business owner […]

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A Facebook Page For Your Business? Should You Bother?

March 5, 2012
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Word of Mouth is how a business dies, survives or thrives, right? Well, social media platforms such as Facebook are Word-of-Mouth with a megaphone. Traditional, mass-media, or “broadcast” forms of advertising are becoming less effective because they are based on interruption. Media is continuing to fragment (more websites, more TV channels, more magazines) so it […]

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How To Handle Negative Reviews About Your Business

February 21, 2012

Have you ever looked up your own business online and found a negative review somewhere? Maybe you own a restaurant and you’ve just found a negative review on a restaurant directory written by someone who was grumpy that night and they have lashed out at you? Maybe you own a motel and you’ve just found […]

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The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

February 17, 2012

My notes on “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki Complete This Sentence If your organisation never existed, the world would be worse off because… Take Notes To Impress When you are doing a pitch to an investor and they speak, take notes. The visible act of taking notes says: I think you’re smart […]

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Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

January 20, 2012

My notes on “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers My personal philosophy’s Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design […]

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How Are You Going To Change Your World in 2012?

December 9, 2011

Notice how I said “your world” rather than “the world”. Can one person change the world? Well, I do think one person can change 10 people. And those people can change 10 people each. And so on. And perhaps, in that fashion, you can change the world. But I’m talking about “your world”. Your world could be: […]

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Game-based Marketing by Gabe Zichermann

December 1, 2011

My notes on “Game-based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges and Contests” by Gabe Zichermann & Joselin Linder. Games are all around us “The Subway Game” is passive – most people don’t realise there is a game on, the players stand close to the train doors, block other players with their body language and compete […]

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Real- Meerman ScottTime Marketing and PR by David

October 20, 2011

My notes on “Real-Time Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott. “How to instantly engage your market, connect with customers and create products that grow your business now.” What’s Expected In The Corporate World: Wait, to make certain Work from checklists dictated by one-year and even five-year business plans Measure results quarterly Execute based on a […]

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I Earn 540 Dollars Per Month From A Blog About Hot Pools, Could You Do The Same With A Topic You Are Passionate About?

September 22, 2011

Almost 2 years ago I wrote an article called “Should You Sell Space On Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising?” in which I suggested you shouldn’t. 2 years later I haven’t change my mind. If it’s your core business then your website should focused on attracting new customers, and making sales, not earning a few dollars […]

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Hit The Ground Running: A Manual For New Leaders by Jason Jennings

September 16, 2011

My notes on “Hit The Ground Running: A Manual For New Leaders” by Jason Jennings  The number one cause of business failure isn’t poor cash-flow or pricing it’s copying a competitors strategy Shareholders are best served by looking after consumers, retailers, employees, suppliers and community first. A different perspective from what you’d hear from Wall […]

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Why Now Is The Time To Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

August 4, 2011

My notes on “Why Now Is The Time To Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk Gary’s checklist for creating your personal brand:

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In New Zealand Is Facebook Just For Kids? No.

July 28, 2011

I thought it would be interesting to combine age group data from Facebook with age group data from Statistics New Zealand to see what proportion of each age group is using Facebook. In particular, I was interested in answers to questions like: Is Facebook mainly for teenagers? Are people over 50 using Facebook? Are people […]

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Poke The Box by Seth Godin

July 12, 2011

My notes on “Poke The Box” by Seth Godin Kinds of capital What can you invest? What can your company invest? Financial capital – Money in the bank that can be put to work on a project or investment Network capital – People you know, connections you can make, retailers and systems you can plug […]

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Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

July 4, 2011

My notes on “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” by Sally Hogshead Fascination Scale Avoidance You’ll take steps to avoid TV commercials Disinterest You might leave the room during a commercial break to grab a bite Neutrality You don’t really care if you watch the commercial or not. You’re not going to take […]

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Overdue Invoices: 4 Simple Tips To Ensure Your Clients Pay On Time, Every Time. No More Overdue Invoices

June 3, 2011

Did you know that poor cashflow is the #1 killer of small New Zealand businesses? Do you have clients with overdue invoices right now? Do you grit your teeth when you check your bank account on the 20th of the month and find the deposits you were expecting, missing? Are your customers/clients slow to pay? […]

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Money Back Guarantees: Should You Offer None, 30 Days, or 30 Years?

May 23, 2011
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You may have heard that money-back guarantees are a good idea but you are not sure if they are right for your business? Perhaps you are holding back because you are worried it’s going to cost you money handing out dozens of refunds, right? Offering any kind of money back guarantee is better than offering […]

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The No-Bullshit Way To Make Money Online: Slow Cook, Not Get-Rich-Quick

January 24, 2011
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Over the last few years I have tried several ways of making money online. I wanted to get rich quick. Don’t we all? I fell for the hype and got out my credit card, but I’m not ashamed. I’m human, and the sales copy was brilliantly written and tapped into my psyche and convinced me. […]

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2 Vital Elements The “About Us” Page on Your Website May Be Missing

December 21, 2010

If you pay any attention to your webstats, you may have noticed that your About Us page is one of the least visited webpages on your website. This doesn’t mean it is unimportant. It is vitally important. The low traffic means that each prospective customer will visit it only once, so you’ve got one chance […]

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Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman

December 6, 2010

My notes on “Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business” by Erik Qualman The story about bacon salt Bacon Salt was an idea that was born out of the minds of two Seattle buddies, Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, who over a few beers jokingly posed the question – “Wouldn’t […]

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Online Advertising In NZ: A Crash Course On How You Can Get Started Advertising Your Business Online in New Zealand

November 17, 2010

Have you noticed how much publicity the growth of online advertising has been getting lately? If you are wondering: “Am I missing out because I haven’t tried online advertising yet?” and “How can I dip my toe in the water to see if online advertising is right for my business?”, then this crash course on […]

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The Squeaky Window Gets The Lube

November 10, 2010

For about a week I have noticed an extremely squeaky rear electric window in my car. It is like 5 teenagers scratching on a chalk board – a really horrendous sound. I hadn’t thought too deeply about what I should do about it when I heard a radio ad this afternoon “Free electric window lube […]

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Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan

November 5, 2010

My notes on “Social Media 101” by Chris Brogan In this book Chris talks about how he doesn’t use the word “expert” but uses the word “advisor” instead. So I extracted 4 pieces of advice from what I read. Here they are: (Should you read the book yourself you are sure to extract different advice […]

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Social Media Marketing for Dummies by Shiv Singh

November 5, 2010

My notes on “Social Media Marketing for Dummies” by Shiv Singh. My additions are in italics. Can sponsored conversations in social media be authentic? Yes, the trick is to be completely transparent that they are sponsored Disney partnered with SavvyAuntie, an online community focused on aunts without kids. Melanie Notkin, who runs SavvyAuntie, tweeted about […]

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The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani

November 2, 2010

My notes on “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Hyder Kabani Facebook Facebook is like a coffee shop. Everyone is there for his or her own reasons, but it is a great place to strike up a conversation. People from all walks of life use Facebook. They aren’t there to buy stuff. They […]

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Expired Domains: Picking Fruit From A Graveyard Of Failed Ideas?

September 7, 2010

Occasionally, just for fun, I spend a few minutes browsing www.ExpiredDomains.co.nz. Expired Domains lists all .nz domain names which have expired and are in the .nz registry’s official 90 day pending release period. But what I find most interesting about this list is that at first glance, many of them look like really good names! […]

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7 Ways To Get Your Website Working Harder For You

August 23, 2010

Is your website search engine friendly? Find out with a free review Is your website listed in the best, free NZ directories? Check the list Have you completed the 8 essential steps for getting a website working for you? Have you tried advertising using Google Adwords? Here’s how its done Have you got a copy […]

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Twitter/Facebook: How To Update Your Business Facebook Page Wall With Twitter

August 13, 2010

I am assuming you already have the following: Business Twitter Account Business Facebook Page (If you don’t, I can help you set up Twitter and Facebook for your business) You may be already aware how easy it is to update your personal Facebook Wall from Twitter.  But you don’t really want your tweets about your […]

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Business Facebook Pages: Simple Tips For Your Business Page on Facebook

August 12, 2010

See updated version: October 2012 If you are just about to set up a Business Page on Facebook this short list of tips will save you some time. #1. How to set a Facebook Business Page up You need a personal Facebook account before you can set up a business page. If you’re an employee, […]

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Move Out of the Way Little Kitten So I Can See The Brand Name!

July 13, 2010

If you run an icecream shop, you MUST copy this idea. Will it work for any other business? Probably not. You should have at least some sort of business connection otherwise all you’re doing is slapping scantily clad women on your ad for no good reason.

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Should I Give My Ebook Away For Free Or Require An Email Address?

June 14, 2010

I faced this decision 4 months ago over on my www.SearchEngineGuide.co.nz website (where I focus on SEO and Google Adwords). I had just decided to give away the 2009 version of my ebook “How To Optimise Your New Zealand Website For Search Engines” for free. My choices were to: Ask for a name and email […]

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5 Ways Your Potential Clients May Be Reacting To Your Contact Form (And What You Can Do About It)

June 3, 2010

Do you use a contact form on the “Contact Us” page on your website? If so, check this list of common mistakes to see if you are making your prospective clients angry or just turning them away. 5 Ways Your Potential Clients May Be Reacting To Your Contact Form (And What You Can Do About […]

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Is The Contact Form On Your Website Making Your Prospective Clients Angry?

June 3, 2010

Do you use a contact form on the “Contact Us” page on your website? If so, check this list of common mistakes to see if you are making your prospective clients angry or just turning them away. 5 Ways Your Potential Clients May Be Reacting To Your Contact Form (And What You Can Do About […]

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Got A NZ Business But Using A .com Website Address?

May 18, 2010

20% of google searchers see your .com result & think “how did that American website get into my search results? Google must have screwed up. Oh well, I’ll click on the next one”. Use a .co.nz website address if you have a NZ business. Even if your target customers are overseas, being a .co.nz adds […]

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What Are You Offering Your Clients? Junk, Rip-off, Bargain, Boring, or Quality?

May 18, 2010

Choose one (and only one) from the following list: Low Price + Low Service = Junk High Price + Low Service = Rip-off Low Price + High Service = Bargain Medium Price + Medium Service = Boring as hell High Price + High Service = Quality It’s time to get real and decide what you […]

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Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager

May 14, 2010

My notes on “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days” by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager What is your competitive advantage? Is it enough? Write down every reason you can think of to do business with your company. Now do the same for your top competitors. Scratch off the common ones. Are the remaining reasons good […]

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If advertising didn’t exist and there was only Word of Mouth, what would you do differently?

May 10, 2010

Would you change the way you serve your customers? Would you change the way you trained your staff? Would you change the products and services you offer? Would you quit your job and work for a different company? What else? Add to the comments below.

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How To Modify Your Advertising Depending On The Customers Usage Level And Loyalty

April 28, 2010

The next time you are writing an advertisement, or an article, or updating your website, choose your audience along the following grid of “usage” vs “loyalty”. Choose just one and ask yourself “how can I modify my message to speak just to them?”. Let’s look at each sector in more detail: 1. High/Med/Low User + […]

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Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future By Seth Godin

April 27, 2010

My notes on “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future” by Seth Godin The law of the Mechanical Turk The law: “Any project, if broken down into sufficiently small, predictable parts, can be accomplished for awfully close to free.” Eg Jimmy Wales led the tiny team at Wikipedia […]

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B2B Marketing Plans: How To Create A One Page Marketing Plan – Just Answer These 7 Questions

April 26, 2010

Does your marketing plan need to be 10 pages? 20 pages? 200 pages? No. 1 page is fine. And all you need is the answers to these 7 questions. 7 Essential Questions For Your Business-to-Business Marketing Plan 1. What is your objective? Do you want to retire young? Do you want a million dollars? Do […]

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What Email Address Does The IRD Student Loan Newsletter Come From? MajorDomo@ird.govt.nz Of Course!

April 23, 2010

That is so weird. IRD has just stopped publishing their Student Loan info newsletter.  I got the last ever hard-copy today. From now on, if you want to know what’s going on with your student loan you have to sign up to the e-newsletter. So that’s what I did. And I just got an automated […]

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Marketing Without Money – How 20 Top Australian Entrepreneurs Crack Markets With Their Minds by John C Lyons and Edward de Bono

April 19, 2010

My notes on “Marketing Without Money – How 20 Top Australian Entrepreneurs Crack Markets With Their Minds” by John C Lyons and Edward de Bono: How narrow is your product offering? “Don’t try to be all things. Be famous for just one thing. We are doing a very simple thing. We are facilitator only, taking […]

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Tauranga Website Design: List of ALL The Tauranga Website Designers

April 13, 2010

I heard a rumour that Tauranga has a disproportionately high number of web designers. It turns out that this rumour may be true. List of ALL Tauranga Website Designers www.Firstbyte.co.nz [Portfolio | Pricing] www.GoodWebsites.co.nz www.WebsiteResults.co.nz www.Totali.co.nz www.Cohesion.co.nz www.ReserveGroup.co.nz www.BoldHorizon.co.nz www.CucumberSoftware.com www.IconAdvertising.co.nz www.Xeno.co.nz www.Markos.co.nz www.InboxDesign.co.nz www.VoltMedia.co.nz www.Moca.co.nz www.Reverb.co.nz www.aDesignWeb.co.nz www.DigitalEffects.co.nz www.e-Koncept.co.nz www.Enform.co.nz www.iLook.co.nz www.1stWeb.co.nz www.TaurangaWeb.co.nz www.DataDog.co.nz […]

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Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths For Winning At Business Without Losing Your Self by Alan M. Webber

March 31, 2010

My notes on “Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths For Winning At Business Without Losing Your Self” – by Alan M. Webber. What business are you in? If you’re a journalist and you think you’re in the news business, chances are good you’re going to go out of business. News today is a commodity. But there’s […]

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The Knack – How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn To Handle Whatever Comes Up by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham

March 25, 2010

My notes on “The Knack – How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn To Handle Whatever Comes Up” by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham Why are you better off starting a business from scratch rather than buying one? It’s harder to learn a business if you haven’t been with it from the start You miss out on all […]

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Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application by 37Signals

March 22, 2010

My notes on “Getting Real – The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application” by 37Signals

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Crowdsourcing: How the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe

March 18, 2010

My notes on “Crowdsourcing: How the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business” by Jeff Howe 8 Very Successful Crowdsourcing Examples 1. Threadless Threadless receives thousands of designs each week The Threadless community of millions votes The company selects nine from the top hundred to print Each design sells out Hardly surprising […]

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Demographic Segmentation: Are You Still Segmenting Your Customers With Demographics Like Age, Gender, Address Etc? Stop.

March 16, 2010

If you’ve looking into buying mailing lists you’ll know that those lists are all about demographics. Typical demographic are: Age Gender Address Job Title Income Education Do you like being put in these boxes and having assumptions made about you regarding your buying preferences? No? Neither do I. Let’s pretend for a moment that you […]

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Who Owns The Tauranga Domain Names?

March 15, 2010

I love lists. (And Google loves lists – there’s a free SEO tip for you!) So here is my list of Tauranga domain names, who owns them, and which ones are still for sale: New Zealand (.nz) Domain Names www.Tauranga.govt.nz – Official website of Tauranga City Council www.Tauranga.org.nz – Official website of Tauranga Chamber of […]

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More People Play Farmville Than Are On Twitter? The Future of Gaming

March 15, 2010

Did you know the video game industry pulls in US$14 BILLION a year? It’s huge. And it will get bigger. Questions addressed in this video: Why are corny games like Farmville & Mafia Wars  so popular? How do games like that generate millions of dollars in revenue when it’s free to play? Does technology converge […]

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The First 4 Questions You Must Always Ask When Planning A New Website

March 10, 2010

Who are the audience groups? What information do they want? What action do we want each audience group to take? How do we arrange the main navigation to give them access to that information and to take that action? (this is where we plan the sitemap) Need More Help To Plan Your Website? The task […]

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What Do You Do When You Need A Businesses Phone Number?

March 9, 2010

When I need a businesses phone number I go to Google Maps, and search for the business name there. 95% of the time the business appears with their phone number. What method do you use? Hardcopy white pages? Google Search? Google Maps? Finda.co.nz? Yellow.co.nz? Add your method to the comments below.

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1001 Ways To Make More Money As A Speaker, Consultant or Trainer by Lilly Walters

March 7, 2010

My notes on “1001 Ways To Make More Money As A Speaker, Consultant or Trainer” by Lilly Walters: Have business cards sized versions of flyers. They are easier for prospects to keep (flyers get binned) Goals are dreams with a deadline. Set goals with deadlines today. Freebies: Add to the bottom of articles, a freebie […]

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List of Rental Cars Needing Relocation – How You Can Hire A Rental For Free

February 16, 2010

Rental Car companies are always needing to move their vehicles between branches around the country. You can return one of these rental cars for them for free (sometimes the rental is free and you pay petrol, sometimes they give you 50% off the rental, sometimes it’s totally free) If I’ve missed any on the following […]

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How To Succeed As An Independent Consultant by Timothy R V Foster

February 15, 2010

My notes for “How To Succeed As An Independent Consultant” by Timothy R V Foster: How Do You Write An Elevator Speech? Imagine stepping into an elevator and the guy in the suit asks you “so, what do you do?”. You’ve got 30 seconds before you reach your floor, what do you say?

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The 80 Best Guerrilla Marketing Ideas I’ve Ever Seen

February 5, 2010

Here is the first in this list: I didn’t get it at first – but the “fleas” are people walking accross the foyer of an office building or mall, so this is the view for people looking down from the 3rd or 4th floor. Pretty clever huh? Here are 79 more: The 80 Best Guerrilla […]

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Have You Tried Guerilla Miniature Billboard Advertising?

January 29, 2010

Whilst driving to Mount Maunganui yesterday I spotted these tiny billboards strapped to street light polls and road signage opposite Mount Maunganui High School: 4 Lessons You Can Learn From These Guerilla Miniature Billboards What can you learn from this clever “guerilla” method of advertising? Could you replicate this strategy for your business? 1. Do […]

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64 Ways to Advertise: Advertising You Can Try Next

January 27, 2010

Just need a list of advertising to try for your business? Cinema Advertising 1. Pre-movie Advertisements 2. In-Movie Product Placement TV Advertising 3. 15/30 second Television Advertisements 4. Infomercials 5. TV Programme Sponsorship 6. Television Interviews Newspaper Advertising 7. Regional Community Newspaper – freely distributed 8. Regional Daily Newspaper 9. National Daily Newspaper Radio Advertising 10. 15/30 second […]

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New Features From FeedMyInbox – More Than Just Converting RSS (News Feeds) Into Emails

January 22, 2010

Do any of the following apply to you? Have you heard about RSS but can’t really be bothered with it? Do you have a few favourite blogs or news sites, but it’s up to you to remember to check them for new content? Do you have a News Feed (RSS) Reader like Google Reader but […]

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Email Newsletters: 10 Tips For Designing & Building Your Email Newsletters

January 21, 2010

Great advice from Smashing Magazine about how to design and build your email newsletters: Respect your reader. Don’t waste their time or attention. Ask nicely first. Focus on relevance. Design with a goal in mind, so that you’ll know if it worked. Make unsubscribing easy. Code like it’s 1999 (literally) and use inline CSS. Always […]

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Is PayPal The Easiest, Cheapest Way For Your Non-NZ Customers To Pay You Into Your New Zealand Bank Account?

January 15, 2010

I’m hoping that this article will save you the 45 minutes of research I just had to do. Do you have clients or customers based outside of New Zealand? Do you want to know the easiest, cheapest way for those non-NZ customers to pay you into your New Zealand bank account? That’s exactly what I […]

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Difference Between Unique Visitors, Visitors, Visits, Page Views, Hits. And Why You Should Care

January 11, 2010

First, the definitions: Unique Visitors – The number of individuals who have visited your website. But, if a person on a dial-up connection disconnects and reconnects, they will be assigned a different IP address and therefore be counted as another unique visitor if they return to your website. Visits or Visitors – The number of […]

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Has Telecom New Zealand Finally Got Their Shit Together? Perhaps So.

January 8, 2010

Everyone likes to beat-up the big brands. They are an easy target. There is always something to complain about. And its comforting that your complaint is just one of many because you know there are hundreds or thousands of customers who feel the same way you do. You don’t expect to get an official response. […]

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A Successful Business Owner Told Me “No I Don’t Have A Website, In Fact I Don’t Do Any Advertising”

January 1, 2010

Earlier this week I needed to find a catery for my cat because we are going away for a few days in January.  A friend of mine is a vet and she recommended both Te Puna Cat Resort, and Top Katz Boarding Cattery (also in Te Puna). I searched Google for each, and both times […]

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Want Free Media Exposure? What The News Media Values & How You Can Get Your Business In The News

December 24, 2009

Yes, you can buy air time for your TV ads or radio ads. Yes, you can buy space for your newspaper ads. But you can also get mentioned in all of these media for free if you can create a newsworthy story. The first step is to ask the question “What do news editors look […]

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Contacting a WebSite Owner Via Email? An Easy Way to Get Your Email Message Noticed

December 23, 2009

I’ve just made a discovery that I’d like to share with you. Firstly, I’m a big fan of email. 5 Reasons Why Email is my Preferred Method of Communication: It provides me with a permanent record of what was said to who and when It’s more reliable than my memory for recording facts It doesn’t […]

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How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

December 14, 2009

My notes on “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer: Which of the following 2 sentences of praise encourages kids to challenge themselves? “You must be smart at this” (intelligence) “You must have worked really hard” (effort) The research revealed that the kids praised for their intelligence chose a puzzle of equal difficulty. Of the kids […]

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Generating Revenue By Subscription – Free To Start With And Then Start Charging? Does It Work?

December 14, 2009

Are you tempted to start charging for access to your website? Maybe it’s a blog, maybe it’s news, maybe its whitepapers in your area of expertise. If the revenue model for your website is by subscription you have 3 primary choices: Free content You ask for email addresses, but you don’t demand them for access […]

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Meet Your Local Cybersquatter: Dave Burghardt Who Owns TaurangaAirport.co.nz and Tauranga-Airport.co.nz

December 11, 2009

I was looking for flights from Tauranga to Dunedin yesterday, I searched for “Tauranga Airport” and came across www.TaurangaAirport.co.nz. It is a hideous 1 page website that talked about car rental. Not what I was expecting at all! I was suspicious so dug a little deeper using a “whois lookup” to find out who the […]

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The Most Direct Direct Mail I’ve Ever Directed

December 1, 2009

The Story The client owns a website that lists all the 100+ thermal hot pools around New Zealand. They wanted to upgrade the 36 commercial hot pools from the free listing (every hot pools was entitled to one of these), to the Premium listing which provided greater detail and made the hot pool more attractive […]

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Old News is Bad News – Is The “Latest News” On Your Website Ancient?

November 23, 2009

Have you ever heard this from a web developer? “You need a news page so you can keep your content fresh.  Google and users love fresh content!” “You need a blog, because Google loves blogs and you’ll look professional to users too!” “You need to get on Twitter, Facebook and Linked-In, because social media is […]

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Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson

November 18, 2009

My Notes on “Ready, Fire, Aim” by Michael Masterson: When Launching A New Business, What Should Consume Your Time? In launching new businesses, many entrepreneurs do the opposite of spending 80% of their time of their time on selling. They spend most of their time, attention, energy and capital on things such as setting up […]

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If The Business Model Works, Clone It

November 16, 2009

The single most visited webpage on this blog is my article about “One Day Sale” Websites. It gets 700 unique visitors a day (growing by 5% every week) and is #2 on Google.co.nz for the search for “one day deal“. Why is the webpage so popular? For 3 reasons: Because people are getting tired of […]

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Essential Steps for Building a Website That Generates Business For You

November 14, 2009

8 Essential Steps: Define the most important action that you want the audience to take. Is it filling in an enquiry form? Call your toll free number? Download an information pack? Make it dead easy for them to take that action. 1 click or 2 clicks. Not 5 clicks Make your forms super short. Ask […]

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How To Write For The Web

November 14, 2009

Writing for the web is pretty simple on the surface, but the switch from writing for print to writing for the web is a difficult one for many people. Here are some writing-for-the-web techniques to get you started: 1. Use long descriptive headlines, sub headings and sub-sub headings People commonly skim read web content very […]

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“Everyone is Clueless” – Article by Seth Godin

November 7, 2009

Particularly enjoyed this blog article by Seth Godin entitled “Everyone is clueless“: The problem with “everyone” is that in order to reach everyone or teach everyone or sell to everyone, you need to so water down what you’ve got you end up with almost nothing. Everyone doesn’t go to the chiropractor, everyone doesn’t give to […]

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How I Almost Got Fired Because My Direct Mail Worked Too Well

November 1, 2009

The Story A recruitment company I was working for wanted to reach out to Human Resources managers to tell them about their online recruitment solution. We had purchased a list of 560 HR manager names and addresses from Veda Advantage, and needed a letter that would “cut through the clutter”, because this would be the […]

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Why Is Harvey Norman Stuck In The 1990’s?

October 31, 2009

Yes, yes, Harvey Norman does sell the latest technology: Plasma TVs, Laptops, Macbooks, Printers, Digital Cameras etc (at awesome prices), but why oh why do they contradict this image with the following: Dot matrix printers for printing out your receipt A 1990’s website With a “splash” page (the home page just has a big photo […]

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The Sad, Sad Story Of The Man With The Worthless US$50 Million Music Collection

October 30, 2009

Have you heard about this guy, Paul Mawhinney? He owns The Worlds Greatest Music Collection. 3 Million Records 300,000 Compact Discs More Than 6 Million Song Titles It’s a sad story (with no happy ending… yet). He’s trying to sell his collection so he can retire. But no-one will buy it. What is Paul Mawhinney […]

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Dear Universe: Thank You For All The Free Software I Use Daily

October 29, 2009

It is time I thanked the universe for all the software I use everyday for free. I make money out of using these tools (because they help me do my job) and it doesn’t cost me anything. So here’s a list of my top 6 (in order of “most thankful”): 1. Gmail What is it? […]

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Evidence That The Whole Vegemite “iSnack 2.0” Fiasco Was A Genuine Mistake

October 16, 2009

The old way of launching a new FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Good) product: Marketing team comes up with alternative names (using focus groups, brainstorming etc) Present the shortlist of their favourites to management for them to choose The product is launched with the new name with a huge amount of expensive mass advertising The new […]

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Is Your Target Market Small to Medium Sized NZ Businesses? How to Choose Advertising That Reaches Them

October 12, 2009

This article answers 2 questions: Where can you find stats about your target market (if you are B2B)? How effective is your advertising at reaching this target market? 1. Where can you find stats about your target market (if you are B2B)? The ministry of Economic Development released the following report in July 09: Small […]

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Should You Sell Space On Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising?

October 5, 2009

You might be thinking “hey, we’ve got quite a bit of traffic to our website these days, we could earn easy money by selling space for banner advertisements!” STOP you silly goose! Here’s why: 5 Reasons NOT To Sell Space on Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising: 1. Because you don’t really want to send […]

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How I Completely Redeveloped an Education Brands Marketing to Increase Enrolment and Drive Down Student Acquisition Cost

October 1, 2009

The Story The client was offering a high quality education product but didn’t have the resources in-house to market and package it well. Problem areas identified included: A single webpage about the product hosted on an unrelated website Confusing brand name, logo, and other imagery Poorly formated promotional material Unattractive, hard-to-navigate, error-ridden intranet for enrolled […]

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Radio Advertising Is Mostly A Waste Of Money, But Here’s 4 Tips To Give You A Chance At Making A Radio Ad That Works

September 24, 2009

Very soon I will share with you 4 tips on how to write a radio ad that actually works. But first, I want you to think about radio advertising from your point of view as a member of the audience. Q: Why do you listen to the radio? Music? Witty Commentary? Advertising? Because you like […]

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8 Tips For Getting Better-Than-Average Results From Your First Tradeshow or Expo in New Zealand

September 22, 2009

1. All the best booths gone? Only a few right at the back to choose from? Fine! Don’t worry too much about your location. You instinctively think that a high traffic area would be better, but don’t make that assumption (most people assume that a #1 position using google Adwords is the best, but you […]

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How To Feature Your Business In Any Major NZ Magazine For $2.57

September 19, 2009

In 3 Easy Steps Step #1: Contact the publisher/distributor and get a special deal for about 50/100 copies of the next issue.  Tell them this is their chance to expand their subscriber base and you want them for free. Step #2: Announce to prospective clients (like at a trade show, conference, expo, chamber of commerce, […]

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Viral Video – How Do You Create a Viral Video For Your Business?

September 9, 2009

Have you wondered how to create a YouTube video that “goes viral” and creates a torrent of new clients for your business? Here are 3 essential components for a viral video that can generate business for you: It must be entertaining/hilarious/amazing It must have a business objective, a reason for being A mechanism so that […]

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10 Reasons Why the Marketing Association of New Zealand’s Website Sucks

September 4, 2009

1. The search is crap To demonstrate, here is the results for my search for “marketing”: Can you detect a complex search algorithm at work here? Me neither. They can take some comfort in the fact that very few websites have a decent search engine, but the rule is “if it doesn’t work like Google […]

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How We Created a Highly Targeted and Inexpensive Direct Mail Campaign and Achieved a Response Rate of 5.3%

September 1, 2009

The Story The client was about to build a new pier that would contain space for 2 restaurants/bars/cafes. We decided early on that the best bet would be to advertise locally because we knew that many of the owners of these restaurants/bars/cafe’s own several establishments and may have intentions to add to their portfolio or […]

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Is Honesty Really The Best Policy? Honest Marketing Even When The Truth Hurts – A Case Study

September 1, 2009

I just helped put together a “customer satisfaction survey” for a client. (P.S. I used Open Source survey software – Lime Survey.  I use open source, free software whenever I can to save money for my clients.  But I don’t put up with crap. If it’s free and good quality, then I’ll use it. If […]

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Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful by Bill Glazer

August 26, 2009

My Notes on “Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful” by Bill Glazer: Recipe for a 5 Page Sales Letter Page 1: Tell your story, the reason why you’re doing this, and why buyers should buy Page 2: The details, what’s for sale, who you are, how much they’ll save Page 3: Offer free gift “premium”. A […]

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What? You’re Still Not Text Message Marketing To Your Customers? No Excuse, Because Now It’s Free From Vodafone’s Website

August 21, 2009

In a moment I’ll tell you how to start Mobile Marketing (with txt msg’s) to your customers from Vodafone for free, but first… In my opinion, not enough businesses use Text Messaging (SMS or Txt Msg) to communicate with their customers. Do you get txt reminders from your mechanic when your WOF or your next […]

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What’s Your Excuse For Having a Crap Website Or Not Having One At All?

August 20, 2009

There is no excuse. If you spend anytime on the internet (and if you’re reading this, you do), then you will come across hideous websites all the time. Here are 2 I came across in the last 10 minutes: 1. www.AllAboutSports.co.nz 3 Reasons why this website sucks: Broken/lost images It was built with Microsoft Word […]

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Call Your Cat Bob And See If It Still Wants Dinner – Do Your Customers Care About Your Name?

August 18, 2009

One of my favourite Gary Larson cartoons is “What we say to dogs, and what they hear. What we say to cats, and what they hear”. (Shown on right. Click to enlarge). I thought my cat was smarter than that. I was convinced that she responds to her name. But as an experiment I started […]

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If You Don’t Like The Movie, Can You Get a Refund?

August 13, 2009

I get very nervous when I go to the movie theatre. Not about the chance of soiling my pants with explosive diarrhea after eating too much from the all-you-can-eat Chinese smorgasbord from next door. Not about the possibility of dropping my frozen coke onto my lap and leaving the theatre looking like I pissed my […]

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Do You Make Your Most Loyal Customers Furious?

August 11, 2009

I have been with Genesis Energy for 12 years. I’ve spent about $20,000 – $25,000 with them in that time. 6 months ago they did something that made me furious, and this morning they did something else. That’s twice in 6 months! Will they get the next $20,000 that I am likely to spend on […]

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Bed and Breakfast Marketing – Ideas for Marketing Your New Zealand B&B

August 7, 2009

A client of mine runs a Bed and Breakfast in Papamoa.  I built the website for her in June 2009, and we’ve been disappointed with the web traffic to date so she asked me look into Bed and Breakfast Marketing for her. Do you need help with the marketing and advertising of your Bed and […]

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How an author creates mystery, buzz, anticipation, and a community of die hard fans that do his marketing for him

August 5, 2009

Quite by accident I came accross the first book in a trilogy (my mother-in-law got it for $1 from a book fair). In fact, I didn’t realise it was a trilogy until I got to the end of the book.  It was a very interesting story (read about it on Wikipedia), and I enjoyed the […]

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How I Launched a Small Online Business for $29 Which Several Newspapers Including the NZ Herald Interviewed Me About So They Could Run Stories On It

August 1, 2009

The Story You have probably heard that a good way to learn is to read, but the best way to learn is to do. I agree. And so in June 2005, I decided to put together everything I had been learning at university about marketing, advertising, public relations, graphic design, and programming. So I built […]

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Real Estate Agents Are Annoying But They Sure Know How to Network

July 31, 2009

Do you get business cards or flyers in your letterbox from Real Estate Agents in your area? I’m sure you do. Everyone does. (I’d put a “No Circulars” sign on our letterbox but my wife loves to sift through the junk mail for a bargain). One of the most common is the postcard with a […]

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How can you turn the evil that-is-the-Readers-Digest-Sweepstakes into good?

July 29, 2009

If you are human and you have a letterbox (or even a pile of bricks at the start of your driveway that someone could stick a letter into), then chances are, you have received one of these Readers Digest Sweepstakes letters. If you haven’t, then I am amazed. So, what can we learn from Readers […]

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Could bayofplentynz.com do better than a billboard that says “Nothing to do in Tauranga?”?

July 29, 2009

I came across these billboards on Maunganui road today. Could bayofplentynz.com do better than “Nothing to do in Tauranga?”? Yes, I think so. That’s a terrible headline. It’s negative. How about “What to do in Tauranga?” for example? And what are the billboards doing in Tauranga anyway? I assume the target audience is tourists already […]

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The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley and William D Danko

July 24, 2009

What can we learn from this book published in 1996? Quite a lot actually. Can You Answer “Yes” to the Next 7 Questions? If not, you have little chance of becoming a Millionaire: Do live below your means? Do you allocate time, energy, and money efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth? Do you believe […]

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Toughen Up by Michael Hill – Book Review

July 17, 2009

I liked it. The secret to his success is setting goals, and then taking bold steps to achieve them. He’s a very goal oriented man. Goal 1: 7 stores in 7 years. Achieved. Goal 2: 70 stores in the next 7 years. Achieved. Goal 3: 1000 stores by 2024. I think he’ll achieve it. He’s […]

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Under New Management – We’ve Fixed All the Things the Last Guy Broke, Please Come Back

July 16, 2009

When you see the sign “Under New Management” plastered all over a businesses signage what do you think? Do you think: “Good! The last guy that managed the place was a real bastard, I’m glad he’s gone, I will go back there now!” Do you think: “Damn! Jack and Jill were awesome, I will miss […]

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Accepting Credit Card Payments Online – List of NZ Providers

July 15, 2009

Do you want to sell your products online? Do you want to be able to accept credit card payments? Want to avoid spending the big bucks on getting your website redesigned with ecommerce functionality? Just want to provide a simple “Buy Now” button for your customers? If so, you’re in luck, because today I have […]

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How to Turn Your Junk To Gold – 6 Simple Tips for Selling on TradeMe

July 14, 2009

Read the updated version of this article: Nov 2012 Ahh TradeMe, we all love it 🙂 Don’t you think it’s amazing how much gold people will pay for your junk? Do you want to squeeze every last dollar out of each TradeMe sale? You are about to find out how. Think of the process of […]

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How Many Things Can A Restaurant Do Wrong and Still Stay In Business?

July 5, 2009

It must be 9 because last night the Jasmine Thai Restaurant in Tauranga made 8 screw ups: The outside signage was so dark and small that half of our party couldn’t find the restaurant when they drove past The jugs of water that were served when we arrived were at room temperature. No ice. No […]

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What is the second tap on a water cooler for? I don’t understand

June 22, 2009

Have you come across a water cooler like the one shown in this photo? (see photo on right) And like me, have you wondered which tap to use? Sometimes one tap is colour-coded red to indicate hot water.  Sometimes one is white, the other is blue to indicate cool water and cold water (which is […]

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Pay What You Want

June 18, 2009

You’ve heard about the restaurants in Auckland where you can pay whatever you feel is right for your meal after you’ve eaten it? Well how about paying what you want for a night for two in a deluxe suite? It’s only US$19 a night… bed not included. That’s in San Diego’s at the Rancho Bernardo […]

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Permission Marketing by Seth Godin – Have your customers given YOU permission?

June 15, 2009

My Notes on “Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin: My Summary: Rather than write an advertisement in a feeble attempt to get people to buy (when they have never even heard of you before), simply ask them for permission to send them more information (a free report, a free sample, a list of “common mistakes” in […]

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How To Write For The Web

June 10, 2009

Writing for the web is pretty simple on the surface, but the switch from writing for print to writing for the web is a difficult one for many people. Here are some writing-for-the-web techniques to get you started: 1. Use long descriptive headlines, sub headings and sub-sub headings People commonly skim read web content very […]

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Does your webpage content need to be “above the fold”? The Myth Exposed

June 10, 2009

In the 90’s that was a good rule of thumb: If the content for your webpage fills more than the browser window and forces people to scroll down to read it, split it up on to multiple pages. That is no longer the case, for 3 reasons: People are used to scrolling down the page […]

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Do you make the mistake of putting your brand and logo at the top of your print ads?

June 5, 2009

If so, you are not alone. But even so, STOP IT! Here is an example in this weeks edition of the Bay News for Metal Man Recyclers, Koromiko Street, Tauranga. This approach is classic, and very common…  But still wrong! The problem is there are 3 audiences: The business/advertiser (who is paying for the ads) […]

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How many reward cards do you have in your wallet?

June 3, 2009

I’ve got a truckload. I’m pretty good a throwing receipts away, but I’m a sucker for a bargain so keep many rewards cards. The most common type is “buy 9 cups of coffee, get your 10th cup free”. From VTNZ Hewlets Road I’ve got “get 2 WOF’s, get $5 off the third, get 2 more […]

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Is Georgie Pie coming back? Why did Georgie Pie fail last time? Who owns GeorgiePie.co.nz?

May 22, 2009

So you’ve probably heard about how the “Bring Georgie Pie back” campaign on Facebook has over 21,000 members (and climbing fast). And that McDonalds owns the brand and they haven’t decided if it will consider bringing it back yet. I have 2 questions: Why did Georgie Pie fail last time? Who owns GeorgiePie.co.nz? Q1: Why […]

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Can you tell me what you want?

May 17, 2009

Just watched a Malcolm Gladwell presentation about the work of experimental psychologist Howard Moskowitz. He talked about how people don’t know what they really want. They have trouble articulating it.  “The mind knows not what the tongue wants”. One example he used is; ask people how they like their coffee, they will reply “a dark […]

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How to receive News Feeds (RSS) via email

May 16, 2009

In one of my all time favourite books – Tim Ferris, The 4 Hour Workweek (in fact I quit my day job because of this book), he talks about productivity (you certainly have to be very productive to only work for 4 hours a week). One way to increase productivity is to limit distractions. But […]

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Are Unhappy Customers Damaging Your Brand Online? What Can You Do About It?

May 15, 2009

Anybody can write anything, at anytime about your brand online. Sometimes they will have good things to say and you benefit from positive word-of-mouth. Yay! 🙂 Sometimes they will have bad things to say, and these comments can damage your brand. Boooo! 🙁 What can you do to minimise the damage to your brand? There […]

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Example of how new packaging can give boring products new life

May 15, 2009

Check out these fun and funky first aid kits Are you selling a product or service that’s a little bit boring? How can you funk it up with new packaging?

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The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

May 14, 2009

My Notes on “The Myths of Innovation” by Scott Berkun: Myth #1: The Myth of the Epiphany An epiphany only comes when you’ve put in all the hard work. It’s just the final piece in a 1000 piece puzzle When inventors are asked how they came up with their idea they say “it just came […]

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The Principle of Scarcity at Work at a new Hamilton Restaurant

May 12, 2009

Went to Smith and McKenzie Chop House on the weekend. Quite an experience. Seth Godin (my #1 favourite marketer in the world), says that you have to tell a story to have any chance of selling what you are selling. Smith and McKenzie tells a story. As soon as you walk in you notice the […]

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Reasons Why Websites Are My Favourite Marketing and Advertising Medium

May 12, 2009

7 Reasons: Websites operate 24 hours a day, every day (I love the idea that you can make money or achieve your goals while you sleep!) Accessible from anywhere in the world Well written content is like having a team of non-pushy sales people simply providing the information and answering questions that potential customers are […]

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Essential Steps for Building a Website That Generates Business For You

May 12, 2009

8 Essential Steps: Define the most important action that you want the audience to take. Is it filling in an enquiry form? Call your toll free number? Download an information pack? Make it dead easy for them to take that action. 1 click or 2 clicks. Not 5 clicks Make your forms super short. Ask […]

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How To Build A Website That Wins You Business

May 12, 2009

7 Steps for Building a Business-Winning Website Define the most important action that you want the audience to take. Is it filling in an enquiry form? Call your toll free number? Download an information pack? Make it dead easy for them to take that action Ensure your code is search engine friendly: Clean urls like […]

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Making Things Happen – Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun

May 7, 2009

My Notes on “Making Things Happen – Mastering Project Management” by Scott Berkun: The Five States Of Communication 1. Transmitted When you send an email or leave a voice mail, you are transmitting a piece of information to someone.  This doesn’t mean she has read or heard it, it just means the message has left […]

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Driven – How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices by Paul R. Lawrence & Nitin Nohria

April 21, 2009

My Notes on “Driven – How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices” by Paul R. Lawrence & Nitin Nohria: There are four innate drives: The drive to acquire The drive to bond The drive to learn The drive to defend

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The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organisation by Peter F. Drucker, Jim Collins, Phillip Kotler

April 13, 2009

My Notes on “The five most important questions you will ever ask about your organisation” by Peter F. Drucker, Jim Collins, Phillip Kotler: Every truly great organisation demonstrates the characteristic of preserving the core but stimulating progress. Peter Drucker told us over 40 years ago “The purpose of a company is to create a customer… […]

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First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham

April 13, 2009

My Notes on “First, Break All The Rules” by Marcus Buckingham: Help employees become more of who they already are.  Treat each person differently. Make employees close friends. Accept that you can’t change people, all you can do is facilitate.

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Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

April 13, 2009

My Notes on “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W.Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne: Creating Blue Oceans Rather than compete with Ringling Bros, Cirque du Solei created uncontested new market space that made the competition irrelevant. Imagine a market universe composed of two sorts of oceans: red oceans and blue oceans. Red oceans represent all the industries […]

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Brain Rules by John Medina

April 8, 2009

My Notes on “Brain Rules” by John Medinaby: Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power Our brains were built for walking 20km a day To improve your thinking skills, move Exercise gets blood to your brain, brining it glucose for energy and oxygen to soak up the toxic electrons that are left over. It also stimulates […]

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Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin

April 6, 2009

My Notes on “Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us” by Seth Godin: The best synonym for leadership is management. That used to fit, but perhaps no longer. Movements have leaders and movements make things happen. Leaders have followers. Managers have employees.  Managers make widgets. Leaders make change. It takes only two things to […]

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The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg

March 17, 2009

My Notes on “The Secrets of Consulting” by Gerald M. Weinberg: The first law of consulting: In spite of what your client may tell you, theirs is always a problem. The second law of consulting: No matter how it looks at first, it’s always a people problem Never promise more than 10% improvement (so the […]

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All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin

March 12, 2009

My Notes on “All Marketers are Liars” by Seth Godin:

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Getting Started in Consulting by Alan Weiss

March 5, 2009

My Notes on “Getting Started in Consulting” by Alan Weiss:

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SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

February 26, 2009

My Notes on “SPIN Selling” by Neil Rackham: The difference between small and large sales Define Small Sale: Is a sale which can normally be completed in a single call and which involves a low dollar value. In selling consumer goods product knowledge makes all the difference.  But in large sales it can prevent success […]

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The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

February 25, 2009

My Notes on “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes: You can profoundly improve your company if you absolutely commit one hour a week in which you do nothing else than work on making the business much more effective. We all get good ideas t seminars and from books and business-building gurus. The problem is […]

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The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch

February 17, 2009

My Notes on “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less” by Richard Koch: Conventional wisdom is not to put all your eggs in one basket.  80/20 wisdom is to choose a basket carefully, load all your eggs into it, and then watch it like a hawk. Celebrate exceptional productivity, rather than raise […]

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The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

February 13, 2009

My Notes on “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris: Different is better when it is more effective or more fun.  If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are sub-par, this is the time to ask, What if I did the opposite. Don’t follow a model that doesn’t […]

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The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

February 11, 2009

My Notes on “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber: In a business that depends on you, on your style, on your personality, on your presence, on your talent and willingness to do the work, if you’re not there customers would go someplace else. In this case, customers aren’t buying your businesses ability to give […]

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Indispensable by Joe Calloway

February 8, 2009

My Notes on “Indispensable” by Joe Calloway:

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The Sales Bible – The Ultimate Sales Resource by Jeffrey Gitomer

February 4, 2009

My Notes on “The Sales Bible – The Ultimate Sales Resource” by Jeffrey Gitomer:

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The Complete Idiots Guide to Consulting by Robert Bascal

January 28, 2009

My Notes on “The Complete Idiots Guide to Consulting” by Robert Bascal: Why do people hire consultants? Objectivity Fresh viewpoint Lack of in-house expertise Cost-effectiveness Completely lost Expert credibility

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Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham

January 24, 2009

My Notes on “Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got” by Jay Abraham: Only 3 Ways to increase income: Increase the number of clients Increase the size of the sale per client Increase the number of times that client buys from you Difference between a customer and a client A customer is someone […]

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12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter

January 6, 2009

My Notes on “12: The Elements of Great Managing” by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter: 1. I know what is expected of me at work Like a Jazz band or the team on an aircraft carrier, or a NBA basketball team.  More than knowing their tasks, they have been working as a team for […]

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Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

December 24, 2008

My Notes on “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini:

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What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

December 20, 2008

My Notes on “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith:

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Crucial Conversations, Tools For Talking When The Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson

December 15, 2008

My Notes: Focus on what you really want. What do I want for myself? For others? For the relationship? How would I behave if this were what I really wanted? Contrast to fix misunderstanding: Start with what you don’t intend or mean, then explain what you do intend or mean. Don’t be tempted to water […]

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Bargaining for Advantage by G. Richard Shell

December 7, 2008

So How Do You Ensure You Have The Advantage When Negotiating? My Notes: Prepare thoroughly in advance Locate the decision maker Built rapport Discover the other party’s goals – ask questions, obtain information on interests, issues and perceptions. Test for understanding, summarise, probe first then disclose, signal regarding your leverage If you open then you […]

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Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin

November 24, 2008

Like all of Seth Godins books, this book was simple, to the point and easy to digest. 14 Trends Facing Us Today: Direct communication between producers and consumers Amplification of the voice of the consumer and independent authorities Stories spread, not facts (need for an authentic story as the number of sources increase. saying one […]

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10 Days To Faster Reading by Abby Marks-Beale

October 13, 2008

This is the single most important book of my life. It doubled my reading speed from 300wpm (which I thought was already pretty good) to 600wpm with the same or better comprehension. If only I had read it when I was 10 I could have learnt so much more in my life so far! I […]

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