Can Your Company Bend Time?

Wait time is the single most important factor in customer satisfaction.

And yet, it seems no matter how fast we work, how hard we
try, how much we promise, how big we smile, how friendly we act and far we
reach, customers always find ways to complain about how long it’s taking.

So if we can’t make more time, why not try to bend

We can change the customer experience of time so that its
passage is more enjoyable. We can keep customers happy by keeping them company.
And we can employ a few artistic measures to influence the mood, modify the
energy, enhance the environment and up the vibe, thereby changing the dismal
experience of waiting into something more interesting.

if you commissioned local cartoonists to create work for your walls that
started conversations, offered hope and delivered inspiration?

What if you hired a team of local magicians to work the room
and entertain so guests lose track of time while they wait for their table?

if you projected on a screen that aggregated a stream of pictures, tweets,
reviews and other mobile updates from customers who used branded hashtags?

What if you had live cigar rolling demonstrations to
authenticate the evening and leave patrons with an artifact they could keep

What if you stationed a glass blower in the lobby to create
small sculptures on demand for people while they stood in line?

That way, people won’t look at their watch, they’ll forget
that they’re wearing one.

It’s Time For Men To Woman Up

The universal archetype of mainstream masculinity is over.

And it’s time for men to woman up.

After all, we live in a post industrial, high touch, high
context, service economy that rewards openness, intimacy, emotional
intelligence, communication, focus, patience, listening and relationship

And considering women do all of those things better than
men, I think it’s time men finally got over themselves and crossed a few gender

No operations necessary, just a willingness to adopt
behaviors typically reserved for the gentler sex.

Transactions Are Becoming Social Objects

A receipt is a written acknowledgment that money has been collected for the purchase of goods or service.

originally, the function of the receipt was largely managerial. After a sale
was made, the receipt established time of customer arrival, kept record of the
inventory, enhanced fraud protection, helped reconciled financial statements
and stopped employees from pilfering company profits.

But that was over a hundred years ago.

Now, the receipt is less of a static record and more of a
sharing device.

When our favorite band releases a new album, we don’t just go
to iTunes, pay our ten bucks, download the files, stick our ear buds in and
start rocking out.

We share.

And the receipt, the record of that purchase – a picture, a
link, a tweet, a status update, a wall post or a check in – becomes the social
object that tells our relevant network, hey everybody, I’m listening to this
music right now and I want to share it with you so we can experience this
moment together.

The receipt becomes, as Brian Solis suggests, a platform for
extending experiences.

Paying is just the beginning. Transactions are becoming
social objects.

It won’t work for every product. And it won’t work for every
customer. But for the brands that dare to expand their definition of what a
receipt can become, look out.

What Motivates Me

The secret to creating value is answering one question, honestly and deeply.

Why do I do what I do?

Once we know that, anything is possible. Once we dig down
through the many levels of why and find a way to activate our own internal
generators, there’s no reason we can’t make a contribution wherever we go.

As human beings, each of us is motivated by a small collection
of intrinsic means. 

Recently, I sat down and fleshed out the drivers that
motivate me. I hope this list inspires you to create your own.

A blank canvas. Making things has always been the most
natural way for me to engage with the world. When I get up in the morning,
there’s a mechanism inside me that asks what I’m supposed to make next. I am motivated
by the freedom to express myself.

A personal ritual.
I can motivate myself to do just about anything, as long as there’s a ritual
attached to it. Ritual is an
intentional, purposeful experience I layer on top of an activity to make it
more worthwhile. And I have one for everything I do. I am motivated by a
repeatable process.

A captive audience. I believe human
interaction is a divine transaction. Engaging with people, even for a moment at
a time, fuels me more than anything. And every time I go out of my way to earn
people’s attention, I reward them for giving it to me. I am motivated by a
chance to perform.

A challenging situation.
Creativity is my gift. As a lifelong thinker, the moment something activates
the problem solving impetus of my brain, my body has a physical reaction. I
start obsessing, imagining and zealously deconstructing everything in my path
until the internal monologue stops. I am motivated by solving problems.

A meaningful
genetically wired for hard work. It’s just my nature. I’m happier when I’m
being productive and prolific. And there is a place in me that starves
if I go more than a few days without nudging
the world in a positive direction. I am motivated by the chance to work.

Why do you do what you do?

High Concept, High Context, High Content, High Contact

Ideas don’t sell themselves.

If you’re lucky enough to get a meeting with someone who can
say yes to you, be ready to present more than just another high concept pitch.

After all, single assets in isolation don’t have much value.
But when you come through the door with an arsenal of weapons, your ideas will
be very hard to resist.

Try a few of these.

Research is the
new black
. Smart people do their homework, but a genius works over an idea like
a train hobo with a chicken bone. Don’t feel compelled to present every thread
of your research, but make sure people know you put in a hell of a lot of work
when nobody was watching.

Give your idea a handle. Labels make it easier to
classify and comprehend what’s going on around us. By putting
something into words, you give people the ability to choose. Don’t be afraid to
name your ideas. If you do so correctly, people will comprehend them correctly.

Bring props. Instead of building a hype
engine around your idea, physically make one. Build a prototype of your
idea and have the dummy
ready to go. Then, when the time is right, slap it down on the table. And instead
of talking, you’ll have something to do the talking for you. You’ll be
interesting before you open your mouth.

That’s the secret of selling ideas.

High concept, high context, high content and high contact.

Our Hearts Don’t Understand Settling

Entrepreneurs secretly want to lose it all.

To burn
everything down, salt the earth and see if we can do it again. To throw a curveball and test
how much faith we have in ourselves. To start from scratch, letting go of
everything we’ve tried and built and accomplished, except for the person we’ve
become, recognize that we are the only thing we have to offer, and reinvest
that into something brand new.

sucks to be wired this way.

for entrepreneurs, not unlike gamblers, the thrill is in the bet. We’re
addicted to the rush. If we can’t get in trouble, it’s not an adventure. And if
it’s not an adventure, we’re not fulfilling our whole capacity for living.

hearts simply don’t understand settling.

Love is the Ultimate Delete Button

It happens to all of us.

We meet someone, hear something, go somewhere, buy
something, use something, find something or join something, and after a short while,
after falling madly in love with this new thing or person or place, that we
can’t imagine living without, we start to forget what life was like before.

Love affects the head, not just the heart.

It’s the ultimate delete button.

Because it is the response
to what represents our highest values, and because
it is the song that reminds us what we most cherish in life, when it hits us, when
love casts its magic spell, it does this spooky thing where it erases the
memory of the past.

What did I do
before I had ________?

And so the goal, either organizationally or personally,
either digitally or physically, is to fill in that blank. To deliver so much
value through our work that, once people have been bitten by our bug, once the
venom of our value starts coursing through their veins, there’s no turning

Even if they did turn back, they wouldn’t remember the past

Customers Don’t Want To Hear From You

The last place customers go when they have questions is to the
actual company.

Instead of wading through the pages of some boring, bloated,
antiquated, vain, salesy, marginally helpful corporate website, they’re clicking

Since they’re accustomed to instant informational gratification,
they’re off to the message boards, online forums, review sites, search engines,
video tutorials, social media platforms and user blogs, to answer all their
burning questions, right now, for free. They’re using their own devices to help each another with or without
the help of the business.

In fact, customers would talk to each other all day long if
they could.

They just don’t want to hear from you.

Because more often than not, those kinds of interactions
involve too many inane hoops, too many repetitive interactions and too many
unhelpful responses, the sum of which destroys customer value.

Can you blame them?

Digital Narcissism At Its Finest

Achievement used to mean something.

You wrote something worth reading. You built something worth
noticing. You shipped something worth buying. You solved a problem that saved
money. You discovered a compound that extended people’s lives. You invented a
gadget that overturned an entre industry.

All because you had the guts to risk, the willingness to
fail and the desire to change the world for the better.

That’s achievement.

But now, all you have to do is attract attention.

Simply accumulate the most hits, views, friends, followers, shares,
likes or downloads, and you’ve reached the pinnacle of human achievement. You’ve
ascended to the heights of greatness.

He who dies with the most eyeballs, wins.

That’s not achievement, it’s digital narcissism.

Pressing The Refresh Button On Our Beliefs

We press the refresh button dozens of times a day.

From smartphones to tablets to laptops to personal
computers, the purpose of the refresh button is to dump the old page, clean out
junk files, trigger a metadata update and access the most current information,
reflecting any recent changes.

It’s how we stay up to date with the digital world.

And yet, when it comes to our beliefs, we fiercely refuse to press the

Even when we place our faith in something that fails us,
even when we outgrow some of our beliefs, even when we discover overwhelming evidence to the contrary,
we still choose not to rebuild our understanding.

Because that would mean changing, and changing means
admitting we were wrong.

As I get older, I seem to be pressing the mental refresh
button more and more. What once felt like a necessity has become a nicety. What
once defined me has started to derail me. And what once got me high now gets me

But despite my internal kicking and screaming, every time I
refresh, it provides vigor and energy. It breathes new life into my world. And
it opens doors I didn’t even know there were keys for.

I am
one constant rebeginning.

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