Tag Archives: blogging

Familiarity Breeds Respect

Familiarity breeds respect
By Seth Godin

Reprinted with Permission

It’s nice to sign a letter, “sincerely yours,” but far more powerful, I think, to sign it, “with respect.” It says something compelling about the recipient, something earned.

I realized the other day that I’d been working with the trio of Megan, Corey and Gil at Squidoo for five years, since we founded the company. And that I’ve been with Anne, my trusted bookkeeper, for more than ten years, David at GTN for almost as long, and Lisa, my agent, for more than seventeen. In an amazing bit of time travel, I’ve been doing projects with my friend Red for more than thirty.

Over time, you don’t just come to trust valued colleagues like these, they also earn respect. Once you understand someone’s sensibilities and goals, it’s natural to see the world through their eyes and to embrace their motives and tactics. Once you’ve seen their work under pressure and in quieter moments, you get a sense for what they believe in. In a world of quick projects and short engagements, this sort of relationship is priceless.

It’s easier than ever to start relationships that can turn into ones like these. Just as hard as its ever been to make them last.

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Follow up Interview with Lesley Dewar over one year later – A Born Entrepreneur and “Retired” Financial Planner Launches Yet Another Business

Follow up Interview with Lesley Dewar over one year later – A Born Entrepreneur and “Retired” Financial Planner Launches Yet Another Business: http://storiesmynanatells.com
by Andrew R. Spriegel
December 5, 2010

It is hard to believe but it is almost 2011!  In June of 2009, I did a story on Lesley Dewar a retired financial planner and so much more.  At that time Leslie Lesley launched “Stories My Nana Tells” as a new online publishing service for parents and grandparents of 7 year old to 12 year old children.

Here is a follow up interview with Leslie to see how things are progressing:

When I first retired and had a great party, I was interviewed by Andrew Spriegel, a friend on LinkedIn.  He wrote a great blog post and now, after nearly eighteen months, has come back to see how we are progressing with our new venture Stories My Nana Tells

Andrew Spriegel: Is your business progressing as well as you had expected (ups and downs)?

Lesley Dewar: The business is going about as expected, but was slow to get started for reasons that will become clear.

_____________________________________________________________________

Andrew Spriegel: What have been the Ups and Downs?

Downs:  I had a frozen shoulder (left arm, am left handed) and could not touch a keyboard for almost five months in mid 2010 – so, I could not write my stories. I was in unbelievable pain, that totally prevented me from driving or working for weeks on end.

I had my arm in a sling for three months, tried hypnotherapy; acupuncture; steroid shot; it took ten months to regain full movement of my hand, arm and shoulder.

Followed by recurrent hernia that required surgery (bigger than expected) which kept me laid up for another two months. I was on crutches for a while. So, we are about twelve months behind on the business plan.
1. Ups: Built a following of 10,000+ on twitter while I was laid up – could tweet with one finger on right hand – spent hundreds of hours on line while not able to do anything else. My iPhone and Twitter saved my sanity, I am sure.
2. Ups: Found a great friend in Mike Haydon (http://twitter.com/mikehaydon ) who is also on LinkedIn. He supported me through all the pain, frustration and learning, until we could actually build the website and start putting up my stories.
3. Ups: Wrote an eBook entitled Networking To A Plan  for which Peter Taliangis has written a recommendation and Mike Haydon did the webpage. The eBook has been downloaded many times through the internet. It is so popular we had to give it its own domain.
4: Ups: Have set up the website for my new business Stories My Nana Tells at Stories My Nana Tells and we have excellent feedback on the stories.
5: Ups: Have a dedicated Facebook URL for Stories My Nana Tells and we got that up and running in less than three days.  It was a very quick process to get its own URL and that led to me writing the next book. Facebook Page: Stories My Nana Tells
6: Ups: The delay in getting the business online gave us time to change our business model and lengthen the expected client life (family as opposed to individual child) from 2.8 yrs to 4.2 yrs).
7: Ups: Have just written a new eBook on Facebook that has been submitted to them for vetting – because we have included a wide range of screen shots of my own pages. It has already been reviewed and received some good recommendations.
8: Ups: Have presented my first two speeches as a public speaker, after joining the National Speakers Association of Australia. Both were very well received and I have had some enquiries from interstate, too. Blogged about one at Surviving Death By Power Point
9: Ups: Fantastic LinkedIn Networking meetings, that have strengthened my brand and given me access to great resources. Particularly those organized by Peter Taliangis and Derek Ford
10: Ups: Have shot off on a couple of trips in Australia, to an art exhibition, to Darwin and to see Lake Eyre in flood, that have given me great material for writing my stories.
11: Ups: I am now writing for the new ABC Technology website once a month, as the “Silver Surfer” – lots of fun and good exposure. Love writing short techie articles with helpful hints for people to learn how to get more out of the web. This is one ABC Silver Surfer
12: Ups: I am alive and very well.  Every day above the ground is a good day and I have a great network both on line and in the social world.

________________________________________________________________
Andrew Spriegel: What have been your successes and failures so far?

Lesley Dewar: 

Successes: Getting started on public speaking; launching the Stories My Nana Tells website, getting a dedicated Facebook business URL and writing two books.  Getting excellent feedback on the stories I have written already; building a good online reputation; doing story reading in libraries; working with environmental groups on social issues; setting up a networking group on Ning called No Tall Poppies ( No Tall Poppies Network )  and continuing to write for a quality local Perth magazine.

Failures: None that come easily to mind, except that I probably don’t get enough sleep. The website was launched to meet a deadline and we need to fine tune it – didn’t have time to do much A/B testing. I don’t really regard that as a failure – Mike Haydon and I did awesome work in ten days to have the site ready to go.

________________________________________________________________
Andrew Spriegel: What have been Lessons learned?

Lesley Dewar: Be prepared for critics who fail to see or appreciate the time, effort and work done behind the scenes when success looks to have been achieved too easily. Don’t let online comments derail you from your purpose. The sign-up page on the website needs a more “streamlined” approach – more in line with traditional website landing pages and Mike Haydon will be doing that for us in the next week or so.

________________________________________________________________
Andrew Spriegel: Would you do it again?

Lesley Dewar: In a flash.

________________________________________________________________
Andrew Spriegel: Please tell me about your grandchildren.

Lesley Dewar: Mine are all grown up, so I mostly talk to other people’s grandkids. Have had a few ask me (on line) to be “their nana”. We are a great blended family though and I will see them all at Christmas and over the Holidays. I have several great Grandchildren and have attended a couple of 21st birthday parties for grandchildren – so, I am an “older” Nana.

________________________________________________________________
Andrew Spriegel: Do you have any other points of interest for my blog’s readership?

Lesley Dewar: If you intend to use online distribution for your product or service, make it your business to understand your medium. Know how it works, how to get the best advantage out of it. Have good resources (people and systems) to help your business grow. Follow sound business practices (opt-in mailing lists, no spam, quiet demeanour online, interact, support others, network well). Strongly recommend using LinkedIn groups online and offline. Be consistent in your business behaviour and patterns. Have a sound business profile, with different interests and activities. Share your knowledge. Learn the rules and obey them. Generally speaking, be a good corporate citizen.

Andrew, it is terrific to hear from you again. Try me again in six months. We will be knocking them dead!

If you would like to read the original story, you can link to it here What A Party!

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The inevitable decline due to clutter

The inevitable decline due to clutter
By Seth Godin

Digital media expands. It’s not like paper, it can get bigger.

As digital marketers seek to increase profits, they almost always make the same mistake. They continue to add more clutter, messaging and offers, because, hey, it’s free.

One more link, one more banner, one more side deal on the Groupon page.

Economics tells us that the right thing to do is run the factory until the last item produced is being sold at marginal cost. In other words, keep adding until it doesn’t work any more.

In fact, human behavior tells us that this is a more permanent effect than we realize. Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.

And it’s hard to go backward.

More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.

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The Power of Priorities

by Coach Ralph Berge
November 9, 2010

ActionCOACH of Akron/Canton is a business coaching firm in the Akron/Canton, Ohio region. Ralph Berge and Dennis Kelley coach business owners and executives to get real results in their business using proven systems applied in a customized way.

Priorities and time are always key issues. In my years of helping business owners to grow I’ve guided them to discover many things about themselves and their businesses. Here are two things that business people find very challenging: (1) thinking ahead and (2) doing things in order of importance.

Doing these two things makes the difference between success in business and just surviving.  And the same is true for all areas of our lives.

Leadership trainer and author John Maxwell says, “Thinking ahead and prioritizing responsibilities marks the major differences between a leader and a follower.”

Most people have heard of the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 Principle. Roughly stated this says that in most businesses 80% of your business comes from 20 % of your customers.

Here are other examples of the Pareto Principle:
Reading: 20 percent of the book contains 80 percent of the content.
Job: 20 percent of our work gives us 80 percent of our satisfaction.
Products: 20 percent of the products bring in 80 percent of the profits.
Picnic: 20 percent of the people will eat 80 percent of the food!

So… when it comes to your priorities, 20 percent of your priorities will give you 80 percent of your production… Ask yourself: “do I spend my time, energy, money and personnel on the top 20 percent of my priorities”?

When you focus on the top 20 percent, you are getting a 400% or fourfold return in productivity.  Think what this would mean in your business?

Every business person needs to understand the Pareto Principle as it applies to the areas of customers, team and leadership.

In the area of customers, it is vital to identify the 20 percent who account for 80 percent of your business. These are your “raving fans” and strategies must be put in place to care for them appropriately.

For your team, you must identify the top 20 percent producers. Spend 80 percent of your “people time” with these people to develop them to their full potential.

In leadership, take an honest look at the question, “What do I have to do that no one else can do?” Remember a leader can give up everything except final responsibility. You can decide whether you will be reactive or proactive when it comes to the use of your time. The question is not, “Will I be busy?” but “How will I invest my time?” It’s not “Will my calendar be full?” but “Who will fill my calendar?,” It’s not “Will I see people?,” but “Who will I see?”

Do this and watch your productivity and personal satisfaction rise to new heights!

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Ask the Experts

Andrew R. Spriegel interviewed by www.asktheexperts.org.uk 2010

The Invention of Trying
by Paul David Lucas

What drives people to become inventors? Perhaps Edison thought it would be an illuminating experience; maybe Watt thought it would be a good way of letting off steam. However, for Andrew Spriegel, it’s about making dreams become a reality.

Admittedly Mr Spriegel may not yet rank up there with the likes of Henry Ford, Wilbur Wright and George Stephenson, but his achievements should not be overlooked. He has already racked up dozens of patents to his name including products for the Invacare Corporation that dominates a $120 million a year market and has no competitor that has yet challenged the product for features and functions; and his first patent for a Laparoscopic Surgery device.

Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Mr Spriegel went on to work in lead electromechanical design engineering or management positions for companies such as GE Astro Space, GE Transportation Systems, GE-Lubrizol, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, Invacare, GOJO Industries, Kensey Nash Corporation and IBM, while also working on designs and projects involving NASA, International and US Air Force satellites, the Space Station, Locomotives, Off-highway vehicles, surgical devices and durable medical equipment.  It’s an impressive resume, but despite his personal achievements, Mr. Spriegel is not only focused on his own career – he’s also keen to help others reach the top.

At 48, he entered law school to study patent law and has since set up his own firm – Spriegel and Associates – to assist inventors and companies with the complicated world of patent law.“We take on inventors only if we believe they can commercialize their product,” he said.

“If we think the inventor won’t be successful, for example if their product is too complicated, they don’t have the necessary skills/drive, they believe it is a ‘get rich quick’ thing then we turn them away.  We want our firm to be known as a patent law firm with a high success rate in helping people commercialize products.”

Among the latest products Spriegel is helping to become a reality is the Portion PadL, which allows users to cut equal slices of pizza very quickly. It may seem straightforward enough but it solves a number of problems for food companies and fundraisers alike – because equal slices of pizza mean increased sales, reduced food waste and improved presentation.

“It actually does what it is supposed to do and that is to allow the user to cut equal slices of pizza very quickly,” commented Spriegel. “Greg Getzinger (the inventor) did a lot of research and experimentation to perfect the product. In addition, Greg is a pizza shop owner, very driven, a lot of fun and great at marketing the product.”Another of his hot products is the Nee-Z-eeZ a sleep aid device designed to ease the pain in your back, legs, hips and knees. Inventor Frank Fleischer, who initially developed the product for himself, earns high praise from Spriegel for the shrewdness of his invention and for capitalizing on a gap in the market.

“Frank Fleischer, the principal inventor, is 80 years old and can run circles around a lot of people much younger,” he said. “It amazed me how many people sleep with a pillow between their legs to align their hips. Frank owned a very large shoe business and they built specialized shoes. He knew there was a large population of people that needed the product.”

Of course it’s not just individuals to which Spriegel’s inventions hold appeal – he is also keen to push products with mass market potential for businesses, such as the MyTee golf business card which helps companies get their name out into the public domain by die stamping five foldable golf tees to a business card.

“We are selling the card both in the US and internationally,” said Spriegel. “The people/companies that have purchased it and distribute it love it.”

So with so many inventions under his belt, what advice would Spriegel offer to up and coming innovators?

“Commercialize products that are unique and very simple,” he said. “I tell them not to work on a product that they can’t get manufactured in small quantities and sell themselves – this can give you positive cash flow very quickly. Never start with a product that needs tooling or that you can’t fund yourself.”

He’s also keen to drive home the importance of trademarks and patents and that inventors should seek legal advice as early as possible.

“Many business people don’t realize that a business name/trademark can be the most valuable intellectual property that they develop,” he said. “They often use a common name that will have little or no value. For example, Coke is calculated to be worth approximately $67 billion, Intel $32.3 billion, IBM $56.2 billion. Companies spend a lot of money advertising their name every day, but if your name is Joe’s Pizza it is difficult to build that name into a brand, as opposed to Dominos, for example.”

He continued: “I would never commercialize a product unless I could patent it. I think an inventor should approach a patent attorney as soon as possible in the process. I also tell inventors that in commercializing a product that the patent/trademark fees in the end will only be a small part of the expenses.

“People say that inventors can write their own patents and it reminds me of the commercial where the guy is talking to his surgeon on the phone and the surgeon is telling the guy where to cut into himself to do the operation.”

The ability to try lies in all of us. The invention of trying is the technology behind the next phase of breakthrough and the next generation of inventors.

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10 Tips to Attract New Readers to Your Blog

By Suzanne Vara on April 5, 2010 Under General

(Andrew Spriegel) I am going to put Suzanne’s article to the test!  I am going to start out with No. 3 forums.  I don’t know a lot about forums so I am going to Google “forums” and add some random thoughts.  I searched Invention Forums and finally arrived on page 4 at www.inventionforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1

THIS IS GOING TO BE AN ONGOING POST/PROCESS: Here is my first post:

Here is my second forum post which is a repeat of the first post:

Blogging is a means of putting down your thoughts and ideas for others to read and take some sort of action. The reasons behind blogging are not really what matters much unless it is a chore or the feeling like you would rather go to the dentist and have four teeth pulled than write an article. What really matters is that you know why you are there, writing some really good content that drives people to do something, a call to action.

(Andrew Spriegel 06-25-10)  Great article about the “call to action” by By Mikkel Juhl On March 31, 2010 at http://daneblogger.com/write-great-call-action/.  So here is my call to action:

Invention Entreprenuers is a group that helps businesses and inventors by answering their questions and offering suggestions.  The link to the group is http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=1898974&trk=anet_ug_hm&goback=%2Egsm_1898974_1_*2_*2_*2_ltod_requests.  A great thing about the group is that advertising or self promotion isn’t allowed and the group is focused on offering very useful advice for people to be more successful!  If this call to action works I should see more requests to join the group.  (Right now it has 1,945 members at 7:24 pm on June 25, 2010).  I have to say so far that Suzanne’s advice is really good.

(Andrew Spriegel, 06-25-10) I received a comment which I appreciated from Mark Stevens “

“Excellent post, will bookmark as permanent favourite”

Typically in my hectic life I run through the day and fail to slow down, so based on Suzanne Vara’s article I clicked on Mark Stevens’ name and found out he is a really cool architect with a great blog: http://markstephensarchitects.com/ 

So I decided to “subscribe” to his blog and hit the subscribe button and up popped:

I didn’t know what to do with the screen and what to select, hopefully someone can explain to me what subscribe does and bookmark and RSS?

New bloggers struggle to get readership as much as intermediate or even long standing bloggers. Growth is a big part of your blog as lead generation and finding new people to do something not only pays the bills, it also intensifies your passion for blogging. I know that there are those out there that believe that they would have the same passion for blogging if they were not making a dime or of they were making millions. Ok, I trust you but if the readership is down, sales are down – ultimately the blog goes down. It is a cycle that we do not like to think about but encompassed in passion is drive and when there is no drive, the passion is lost and the preverbal wall is hit and little by little the blog articles decrease until one day you realize it has been a month and nothing has been posted.

Bloggers alike will agree that growing your blog never stops. Sure, you may be happy with your 200 or even 2000 or so readers each day as you have probably connected with each one of them in one way or another and built an online community around your blog. But what if you could reach 25 or 50 new readers each day and you can interact with them and then their friends and their friends. If you are a follow the numbers person this is music to your ears as watching the traffic numbers increase is really something pretty to look at. How do you grow your blog, isn’t just writing great content and pushing it out to your regulars enough?

10 Tips to Attract New Readers to Your Blog

1. Social Networking Sites

The ones that come to mind are Twitter and Facebook. You are more than likely already doing this. What about LinkedIn and industry niche platforms? LinkedIn is for job seekers right? Think again. It is a business platform where you connect and share information with others in groups and by answering questions. People will buy from people they know – and read blogs of people they know.

(Andrew Spriegel)  I have the maximum number of “friends” on Facebook and I interact with friends and occasionally post some business related information.  I also get a chance to see what my four children (Kate, Matt, Megan and Emily) are doing during the day.  Sometimes I would have prefered not to see what they are doing.  I like connecting with my friends, all the way back to the neighborhood I grew up.  I like meeting new people and seeing what my friends are doing now.

 

 

(Andrew Spriegel) I am on Twitter but I am not sure I get it.  I see a lot of posts about making money on the web and creating a following.  I wish that I could filter out the advertisers.  Still trying to figure out Twitter and how it works.

2. Webinars

Webinars that you tune into live almost always have a hashtag to follow on Twitter. You are exposed to others who share your interest of the webinar subject and can connect with new people by sharing thoughts about the webinar on Twitter. Connecting with people is exposing yourself to them and building a relationship.

3. Forums

Oh how I love Forums. American Express Open Forum, Third Tribe Marketing, LinkedIn Groups. Forums pack the most punch when it comes to meeting, engaging and helping others. Talking with people and helping them solve a problem is not only exposing your knowledge, willingness to help another but having your signature line have your company name, blog link and possibly an email address, is that inviting subtleness that lets them know that you have a blog and also that you are open to receive communication outside the forum.

4. Monitor Trends

Monitoring trends and getting your article up before everyone else is no easy task however, if you are on top of what is going on and keep a close eye the just when the trend starts or right after it peaks, you can get great exposure to the article and your blog. Follow Twitter trends directly from your twitter page or a freehandly tool is Trendistic. Remember, Google loves new, fresh content.

5. Read and Comment on Blogs

This is not just the a-listers. Find up and comers and read and and comment. They will be very appreciative and return the favor. They will relate to you well as you share a common thread – both up and comers and searching for ways to get new traffic. Friends read friends.

6. Read Other Commenter Blogs

Ever see the same person over and over commenting on a blog but you never really paid much mind to see if they have a blog? Find it! If they are loyal to the blog that you both are reading and commenting on, they very possibly will be loyal to those that read and comment on theirs.

7. Exceptional Content

Do you homework and write great content … content that targets keywords and also asks people do do something. The content can be the best in the world however if no -one is reading it then it is pointless especially if it does not drive it back to providing value for your business. Yes, it’s about the readers but giving them the information and them clicking off to go on to somewhere else is not providing any value to your business. Value is determined by your business strategy and what you want out of it. Are you solely looking to build your online community? Are you looking to attract new customers, new people to comment on the blog? Determine why you are blogging and then write with that in mind.

8. Interests

You have other other interests outside of work right? Well, so does everyone else. You never know who may meet that could become a customer from a shared love of futbol. It is always very easy to find fans of teams that we love and come together as one but yet when it comes to business, it seems as if we lose our ability to connect easily and freely.

9. Local Community

There is a world on the other side of the computer that is waiting for you to emerge. Going to meet-ups, networking events, sporting events is another way to meet new people and get exposure to your blog. People will be curious to see what this blog is all about especially if they are a blogger. Competition is high to see if your blog matches up to theirs.

10. Article Marketing

Ezines, GoArticles are two very popular sites that you post your articles to with the understanding that the articles may be and most likely will be republished. The articles are required to be republished “as is” with your bio paragraph as well copyright information.

There are many ways to grow your blog and increase readership. These have proven to be effective for me. The best advice to grow your blog is to first to identify why you want to grow your readership. While this may seem like it is obvious to increase sales or get new clients, the articles are not always written with this in mind. An article that is a list of how to or ways, etc. needs to have enough usable information for the reader to go and put it into motion. If it works for them, they become a loyalist. An article with an affiliate link needs to entice the reader enough that they have to click the link. Growing your blog is a long term strategy as it involves time and a whole lot of commitment. People want to connect with the author and learn more about them and know that they really care about their readers by interacting with them. We know that people love to share any mentions of themselves and who they are friends with. Be that person.

What have you done to grow your blog? What has worked and not worked for you?

Suzanne is the founder of Kherize5.com, an advertising and social media marketing agency for small businesses and publisher of a blog that provides advertising and marketing tips.

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Interview with Artist Extraordinaire Lynne Taetzsch that knows how to Market her Work

Many artists are not able to commercialize their products properly and therefore they are not able to get a fair price for their work.  Lynne Taetzsch is not only a well know and respected artist but she knows how to market her work.  What follows is and interview with Lynne:

Andrew Spriegel: Your website is very easy to navigate and you seem very computer savvy, why is that?

Lynne Taetzsch: I’ve had a website for 12 years, beginning with Netscape’s built-in web designer, moving on to HotDog, and then Dreamweaver, learning along the way.  I read books about good web design, subscribe to newsletters, and take constructive feedback seriously.  I look at other artists’ websites, too, noticing what I like and don’t like.

I also love working on the computer, so it’s fun for me to manage, update and promote my website on the Internet.  The first computer I owned was an IBM System 23, where I used a database management system to operate my direct-mail publishing business.

Andrew Spriegel: Who does your packaging for your art, the painting I received from you was the best packaging I had ever received?

Lynne Taetzsch: I order specially made boxes just the right size for my paintings.  They are packed at a local Pak-Mail in Ithaca, where the owner carefully protects the paintings with Styrofoam insulation to be sure they are safe. 

Andrew Spriegel: How much do you use social networking?

Lynne Taetzsch: I have just begun to use social networking over the past six months to a year, although I guess I’ve been a member of LinkedIn for a lot longer.  Several of my art collectors are on it, as well as other artists who exchange advice.

I have a Facebook Fan Page now, and my fans continually increase.  I post to it 5 or 6 days a week.  But my most active social activity is blogging.  I’ve been doing my abstract art blog for years, and try to post 5 days a week.  I talk about my latest artwork and post images as they are being made.  My blogs are automatically sent to Twitter now, also. 

I have videos on YouTube, one of which has received over 57,000 views.  In the blog I talk about the meaning of abstract art.

Andrew Spriegel: How do you do so much writing in between your painting?

Lynne Taetzsch: I’ve been a writer all my life, and have published 11 books.  I always loved both art and writing, though art is my first love.  The writing often helped me make a living, though.

I write fast (like I do everything), so it is not a problem for me to keep up with my art blog.  That material is then used again on Facebook, etc.  Or I will simply post an image with a description, which just takes a few minutes.

Continue reading

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