Cheaper Napkins

When people talk about software there’s a concept of total cost of ownership. This is the cost of the entire software; the implementation,  maintenance costs, staff time internally and training among other things that add up tot he real cost, not just the sticker price of software.  I feel the same way about napkins. To save cost, […]

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Approaching with a Fresh Set of Eyes

I thought I was done. At this point there are hundreds of documents in my process wiki that outline and explain every conceivable thing that could happen.  There is a staff who help each other and get things done so things happen without me knowing about it.  Then I had an unscheduled call with Max. […]

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The Value of Struggle

Each action we take builds on the experiences we have. I was speaking with Taki Moore about this a week or so ago. He considers himself the ‘chief wanter‘, meaning it’s his job to want, not to solve the problems or be in charge of producing the result. There is value in taking longer if […]

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If One Asks, One Gets

In first grade music class. I wanted the tall xylophone and was unhappy that being a larger kid, I was stuck with a small one. While lamenting that fact,  my grandmother told me ask for what I wanted, So I the teacher before the next class. So I approached the salt and pepper haired woman […]

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How Long Did That Take?

Picasso was once asked, how long did it take to draw a fairly simple drawing. The answer is simply, less than a minute and over 50 years gaining the experience and notoriety so the minute was worth that much. We all have the benefit and curse of experiences that have taught us how to and […]

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Learning from Everyone

The great thing about learning is that is can happen anywhere, with lessons taught by anyone, in some cases without a common language. The question is, do you have your eyes open and your mind open to learning and improving. People in the strangest and least likely places have taught me the most important lessons […]

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Show Your Work

Sometimes we want the end result, the perfectly prepared dish at a restaurant. The amazing experience, the plane just booked and taken care of. Other times we want to know how it happened and get more emotionally involved. If I tell you the opening offer was rejected and I’ve spent so much time and effort […]

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Don’t Believe the Hype

I was speaking to someone yesterday who was lamenting that they had read about XYZ person who had everything figured out. The view that is presented in magazine, is great… for the people in the magazines.   People can win popularity contests by cheating easily. All it often ends with is that person becoming more […]

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The Tradeoff

We all face a constant trade off between: Cheap Fast Good In any transaction, we can pick 2 not 3. If you feel like you are getting all 3, check again and understand which is being traded, because I have never found a time where one isn’t being traded. Here are a few examples of […]

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Focus: The Unfair Advantage

When I first started a company at 12, as a DJ, or as friends called me, baby DJ Matt Mandell, I did everything. Wrote what was a wholly inadequate contract, fixed any sound or lighting equipment that was broken, designed and made marketing materials and the list goes on and on. That was largely how […]

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Where’s November 8

The truth is, I wrote a post and was ready to publish, then a developer got in my way. They were doing work on the site and made an error on the DB so I couldn’t upload this post on time and that meant, I wrote one, but as I publish a post back dating […]

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Building an Enjoyable Process

I hear a lot of talk about processes these days, perhaps it is the machine learning algorithm we live in, or the circles in which I run, but a lot of process sucks. People (including myself) don’t want to feel like we are being processed. That said, when process works, it is the most amazing […]

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Growth or Efficiency

As the process / optimization / efficiency guy to many people, I am often asked, show we focus on growth or efficiency. I think this is something best made as a conscious decision. If it isn’t a conscious decision, it will be made anyway as not making a decision is making a decision. Inherently there […]

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Asymmetry of Importance

Recently, my son (under 4 years old)  got upset and I wasn’t sure why. I asked and his response was because I ripped a piece of a plastic bag. In that moment a ton of ideas became clear to me about what’s important, engagement and the world as a whole. From my perspective, I was […]

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Blog Challenge

I’ve been saying I will update this blog for years. Usually I think about it, draft posts and save them as drafts and then they usually get ignored. Here and there I have paid writers to clean up my work, in some cases enhancing and in some cases ruining my ideas. There has been a […]

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When Freemium Becomes Worthless

I have been a huge fan and supporter of Evernote since long before I met and was a co presenter with Evernote’s founder and former CEO, Phil Libin in Silicon Valley. Since then I’ve recommended to friends family and many others I interact with since I felt it was the best note taking app. I […]

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Cracking the Mystery of Sales

What makes a good salesperson? Charisma? Charm? An aptitude for reading other people? What about the ability to crunch data? Culturally, we’ve romanticized the idea of the gifted salesperson as a smooth talker who could charm just about anyone into buying just about anything. While there might be some benefit to having a talented talker […]

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