save room for the thin mints; it’s girl scout cookie time again. however, it seems strange to me that in all the years since the mid-1990s, it’s not only the box designs that haven’t changed about girl scout cookies but also their business practices.
the mom of some scouts explained to me that part of what cookie sales are supposed to achieve is to get the girls out into the community, teach them how to count change, and how to handle money. it all seems very reasonable, except it begs the question: so what?
i’m not so sure that counting change and handling money will be valuable skills in the next 20 years. there was once a time when balancing a checkbook was a skill, but every online bank already does that for you. what will be valuable skills in the next 20 years? e-commerce and mobile technologies, marketing and sales.
why not teach our girl scouts how to use square for accepting purchases, or develop mobile apps for tracking orders and distribution, or create online storefronts? why not have them develop a marketing approach and manage sales in their neighborhoods? don’t tell me they’re too young; that’s a cheap excuse. they’re modern skills for a modern world.
maybe it’s time we start teaching lessons that matter.
today’s students. the workers of tomorrow.
there is a whole generation of students who are growing up exclusively on apple computers. they have macbooks in college and imacs at home. a few years ago it was strange to consider that you’d come across anyone who had never used a windows PC before, but times have changed.
as an organization, do you really think you can continue to supply your employees with only windows machines?
[EDIT: i know that there are windows-only software packages. however, with tools like virtual box (free from oracle) and vmware, you can easily virtualize a windows environment on the mac OS. stop making excuses.]
image by scootie, flickr artist
i like trance music. a lot. in fact i’d say that i truly love it. the reasons why are many, but aside from being good music it’s the trance community surrounding it which makes it so special to me.
in a musical genre categorized by well defined characteristics, the level of innovation and collaboration is off the charts. to use such common musical elements and structures as other artists andÂ rearrangeÂ them to form entirely new tracks takes a great deal of creativity. add to your original mix countless mashups and remixes from other artists and your EP is â€” the vast majority of the time â€” largely filled with someone else’s work.
what i love so much about trance is that these artists not only create their music but they actively invite people to take it and make it better â€” to put their own spin on it (sorry for the pun).
the business world could use a little trance influence.
you never see the giants of industry partnering together to create something special. when was the last time you saw facebook and google working hand-in-hand on anything? or microsoft and apple? or sony and samsung? for that matter, sometimes we even have trouble getting our own internal teams to collaborate together â€” like information security and the end users.
we were always taught that competition makes everyone better, and there may be some truth to that. business has no doubt followed in that tradition ever since history can remember. but what if we took the time to collaborate a little more? what if we partnered more between business and charity for instance? what kind of mashups and remixes could we make?
that would be some kind of beautiful music.
the best energy is free energy
i was walking around town center during ‘why not wednesday?’ when i passed a monster energy drink branded pickup truck giving out free samples (and by sample, i mean an entire 550ml can of monster import). i’ve been known to dabble in energy drinks, so i was pleased as punch to be getting myself a free can.
but to monster, it’s not just a sample; it’s more than that. it’s ‘free’ marketing.
it’s people like me who called up their friends who also live in the area to let them know there was free monster to be had. it’s people like me who posted an update about it on facebook. and now it’s even people like me who wrote a blog post talking about it. that’s monster’s name getting out there.. a lot.
smart brands don’t just see free samples as a way to convert people and sway their interest, but they see free samples as a way of getting free marketing as well. 10 years ago this wasn’t the case, but the social internet is changing things.
perhaps giving away something for nothing isn’t that bad of a business practice.
i was recently listening to a podcast on itunes u called the design thinking: a new type of leadership. the speaker for the event is a man by the name of banny banerjee, an associate professor at stanford’s institute of design (or d.school). in his talk, he mentioned something that really resonated with me, and it was about risk.
“risk aversion is actually very risky behavior because with every moment that you’re looking at risk averseness you are also throwing away a lot of seemingly improbable ideas, but those are the ones that might allow you to make a leap rather than just make an incremental advancement.”
image by steve.grosbois, flickr artist
you work for 32 hours from monday through thursday. Â you wake up on friday morning with an extra spring in your step,Â looking forward to the upcoming weekend. Â but today isn’t your ‘normal’ friday; today is different.
instead of working on client deliverables, or manning the grill at a local restaurant, or waiting tables down at the pub, you get 8 hours to do whatever you’d like to do.
what would you do with it?
would you start work on that big idea you’ve always had? Â would you enroll in a culinary course in your area? Â would you learn how to brew your own beer? … or would you play farmville on facebook? Â or sleep in until noon? Â or drink some free cold ones that your friends bring you out back behind the bar?
if you’re an employer, why not give your employees 8 hours a week and see what they do with it? Â trust me, you’ll recognize the ones who are worthwhile and the ones who aren’t very quickly.
then, invest heavily in the ones that are because they’re going to take your organization places. Â they’re natural born world-shakers.
micro-blogging site, twitter.com
they say the best things in life are free. a smile from a loved one. an email from an old friend. the sunrise in the morning, sunset in the evening. a grand waterfall, and the simple sounds of a flowing creek. i’d venture to say that the best things in business are (sometimes) free as well.
i have a friend who is standing up a business in our old college town [ok, so it's a bar â€” and i get to drink for free when i go back for football games]. Â he asked me about setting up a website for the place and about some of the things he wanted on the site for people to be able to follow; namely, he was looking for a place to keep pictures, and to post events and drink/food specials. Â his needs (and my limited web development skills) got me to thinking, “how can i accomplish that without messing it up!” and then it dawned on me… the features he was asking for, you can already get for free online.