Educate Without Bias

I won’t believe what you’ll “market” to me.

I won’t believe what your other clients say about you in their video testimonials that I see on your website.

But I will believe if my close friend recommends you.

I will believe if I “tell” myself that you’re great.

How would you let my friend recommend your product? How would you let me believe that you’re great?

Friendship is based on trust. No trust = no friendship.

Why should I trust you? Why should I believe that you do not have any wasted interest in “educating” me about a subject around your product?

In connection economy, every smart business would educate the mass about how their product is great at solving problems. Nothing hip about it.

The thing called “education” loses its impact if it is done with a bias.  Education is not a sales technique but still we do that. Consider the following:

  • 21 SureFire Ways to Bring Your WebSite on Top – Guaranteed!
  • Why You Should Hire a Full Time PHP Developer in India for Your Next Web App Project?
  • If You Are Not Using XYZ App, Then You Are Not Using Mobile (Really!)
  • Why ABC Political Party is Clean and How Other Party is Ruining the Country … ?

I’m sure you would have read hundreds of such headlines … in blogs, in videos, in almost every imaginable media out there.

Education has to be neutral. It cannot be biased and recommend your own product inside body of the content. If it does, people get it. And they don’t believe in what you say.

If you want to educate people, educate without any wasted interest. Educate them because you want share what you know. Educate them because they need to get what you know. Educate them because they want to listen to what you have to say.

That builds the trust and people will give you permission to sell your products, service and ideas. To them, with a positive bias. Not easy to earn.

Easier said than done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Mirror is a Powerful Tool

When did you last look at yourself through mirror?

“Funny question,” you might think. “I look at mirror everyday!”

Not so simple. Read on …

You look at mirror to be aware about how you look like.

  • If you haven’t combed your hair, you will comb it.
  • If you have put on some weight, then you will join a personal fitness program.
  • If the color of your shirt does not look good on you, you will change it.
  • If you are aware about how you look, you will do something about it.

Awareness.

With higher level of awareness, you can make choices that matter to you.

You look at the mirror everyday to be aware about your external look. I get it. What if you look at the mirror and be aware about your internal being?

What if you look at the mirror everyday to Know Thyself Better.

Looking at mirror is a form of reflection. Reflection about who we are. Reflection about how we look. Reflection about what’s good for us and what’s not …

Reflection.

With right amount of reflection, we make our lives better.

So today, why not look at the mirror and ask:

  • Am I happy?
  • Am I spending good time with people who matter to me?
  • Am I in the right profession?
  • Have I married with the right man (or woman)?
  • Have I spent my recent $5000 on the things that matter to me the most?
  • Am I living my most purposeful life?

You will get your very own answers to all such questions. Some answers might make you happy. Some answers might make you think.

If you feel happy with the answers, it’s pretty cool, enjoy the life’s joyride.

If you feel unhappy with the answers, this is the right time to do something about it.

Oh these questions. Oh these whys and whats and all similar sorts …

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Life can be all about HOW but if its foundation is in the right WHY, it will be an experience worth having.

Your mirror is a powerful tool (If you make it!).

The New Phenomenal

I have built a great app, it works on iOS8!

And you have to eat at this restaurant, they serve you within just 15 minutes and they serve tasty food. And, their restaurant staff is polite too.

Nothing is phenomenal about above examples.

We live in the age where it is expected for an app to work on latest version of the OS that is just announced.

And it is the most basic expectation from a restaurant to serve you tasty food in timely manner, with very good customer service.

Means of experiences are so easily accessible (Tweet This!) that it is redefining what is phenomenal.

Decades ago, in factory world, it used to work what you “say.”

Now, in connection economy, it is no longer what you just say; it is what you do.

It. Is. What. You. Do.

If you connect with them personally and delight them by doing something unexpectedly well for them, it is phenomenal.

Old phenomenal is new normal.

And, new phenomenal is the real phenomenal!

How to Become the Master of Knack?

I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this…

App Development is a knack!

Just like Ikebana is a knack.

Just like Knitting is a knack.

Just like Public Speaking is a knack.

Knack = There are certain principles to follow and master. When you implement those principles, you get predictable results.

“Open your speech with this statement, communicate these 3 points swiftly, make people think about X point and Boom! your speech is loved.”

The same works in App Development.

“Get Agile, create a prototype, then develop an MVP, then test it in a niche group, if it is accepted, make it better and release v1.0, if it doesn’t work, pivot.”

What is the opposite of knack?

Spray and Pray.

Sure, there are masters of knack, people who make App Development look like an art. Just like there are people who make Public Speaking look like an art.

But you don’t have to be an artist to see results. You just have to learn the knack.

How do you learn the knack?

By experimenting.

By practicing.

By saying no to 1000 things.

…and saying yes to what enables you to learn the knack of App Development.

“But I’ve developed 30+ apps and none on them has worked well,” you might be wondering, “I haven’t cracked the code yet …”

It’s okay.

Practice. Find out what works. And what doesn’t. Reflect. Learn the lessons. Develop one more.

It is scary.

It is frustrating.

30+ apps. None has been super-successful yet.

It. Is. Frustrating. For sure.

Keep working on your next one. You already know 30 ideas that don’t work well. Only a few people know that.

Persevere.

Success is nearer than what it was when you were developing your first app.

Sooner than later, your knack will look like an art. And you, an artist!

Master the knack, and you master your trajectory (aka your ability to accomplish your dreams).

App Development is a metaphor. The same logic applies to marketing. Or writing. Or cooking. Or singing. Or learning Spanish. Or any other skill-acquisition.

And once you start-in on this particular learning journey… your life will never be the same again.

Impatient Opportunist

Impatient opportunist only cares about what’s “trending” today.

He impatiently reads the startup news, studies the technology trends, bookmarks the stories of startups who have made it to Techcrunch or Mashable this week and talks about these examples everywhere he goes.

His tone is typical, “They won, we lost and why the ‘hell’ we can’t think of such innovations” kind.

For him, today’s hot trends are the thing to focus. Or even what he thinks of tomorrow’s things could be.

He’ll intrude long-term strategy talks and speak urgently about what’s the trend today.

He only has surface level knowledge about his area of work which is obtained from surface level reading of stories trending in the leading media.

He gets his energy from the news media or the startup meet-ups he attends.

He often changes what he believes in because his suns of his energies (Read: Newstraders) are in that kind of business.

When he learns that he was wrong, he does not have time to reflect on, inspect and adapt because he is busy reading one more trending article on his iPad or talking about what we all have missed by not knowing what’s trending.

Alas!

Being in motion is good but all motion is not progress. Patience is a virtue but not everyone has that.

Enforcement Vs. Choice

When a Business Leader says, “I have so many expectations to fulfill, and so little time available.” It actually means that he’s not able to see.

  • He’s not able to see the business priorities.
  • He’s not able to see the important projects and tasks that need to get done.
  • He is not able to see the opportunity to lead and take his career (and life at large) to the next level.

The same Business Leader has time to go out to watch movies, spending hours on Facebook, attending funeral of neighbor’s mother-in-law or attend a professional skills development seminar.

He’ll figure out the time because he wants to do those things out of a kind of enforcement.

Fear of looking bad in the eyes of spouse and neighbor or enforcement from the employer in terms of missed KPIs.

Alas!

Alas! Many Business Leaders operate out of enforcement.

If they’re not pushed, they don’t lead. It’s not that they don’t know how to lead, they just an external force to act.

“I have so little time available …” is a great excuse because it looks like the reality.

It’s not.

  • The reality is that you have made promises that you know you cannot keep.
  • The reality is that you don’t know how to say “No” to unimportant things so that you can say “yes” to the important things.
  • The reality is that you are a poor self-organizer.

The reality is that you don’t really know the power of choice.

If you are in a leadership role, all you do is lead. Any expression that keeps you away from action is a waste. Oh thy excuses, are you listening?

Choose to lead yourself despite the constraints of time.

Choose to continuously figure out what’s important and what’s not for your goals to advance.

Choose to lead yourself on the face of an uncertain next.

Choice has a habit of turning itself into a weapon when you own it. Sure, an excuse is also a weapon but it is owned and operated by your biggest enemy – resistance.

Who do you want to win? You or your enemy?

Reading Books Vs. Collecting Books

I used to do it wrong.

I was investing my energy in collecting books rather than in making something remarkable out of reading them.

It was so dumb.

And, I thought I was smart: I knew how to acquire the gems from which I’ll learn one day.

The thought of “Learning One Day…” was fascinating but not very helpful.

Better thought, as it turned out, was to pick one good book, read it till you get the crux of it, apply what you have learned from it in your life and let the book go.

Once the right thought picked my attention, I immediately aligned myself and altered my book collection habit.

Any guess what would have happened?

I saved over 300 hours last year from merely skimming through and collecting books.

I invested those hours and learning from select few books. And applying them.

Collecting more books is a bad goal to have. Making something remarkable out of one that you own (or even don’t own) is good!

Same logic applies to bookmarking blog posts, saving videos for later views, or buying more shirts than we really need.

If we invest our energy in collecting, we’ll end up being a good collector. But, if we invest our energy in applying our learned knowledge in the day-to-day challenges we are dealing with, we end up being a good executor.

I made a choice between being a better collector vs. being a better executor.

What about you? Better late than never.

Truth of App Development

How would you deal if you discover the truth of App Development?

“Dear Stakeholder, the code I’m going to produce will take your App to a level you have never thought of.

The code is not commented. I haven’t yet thought about making the code reusable. I have copy/pasted some code from Stackoverflow. Well, Only a few functions.

But I’m going to delete all unnecessary code soon from the codebase.

The App delivery is going to be delayed. Coding is done.

Yes, coding is done, Optimization is pending. And some fixes. Good thing? Most bugs are not visible in major devices.

But what if we release the app anyways? We’ll be able to meet the deadline.”

Stakeholder (founder): “Remarkable Apps are not created that way. They take guts, fire in the belly and some on-ground skills to get the sh*t done. Thanks anyway!”

Return On UX

You’ve heard about Return on Investment, I know. But have you heard about Return on User Experience or RoUX as I call it?

Or, if you’ve heard, have your attentively thought about it?

ROI is easy to measure. You invest your dollars, measure the metrics, optimize and win (or lose).

But RoUX?

It takes sense, guts, resourcing, intention to serve the humanity and more important, willingness to act on face of criticism … all these and what do you get in return?

It’s easy to hire the most expensive UX expert. It’s not that difficult to train a junior who has guts. But it’s not easy to observe the benefits of better UX in terms of returns.

The objective you are chasing will drive your decisions.

As a retail store owner, if your objective is to make maximum possible profit from every footprint you get, you won’t get much worried about the feelings they carry while waiting on Cash Counter for 20 mins to pay for their $5000 purchase.

But, if, for you, the people who visit your store are more than “footprints”, then you might figure out a way where select salespersons go to the customer, talk to them humanly and ensure that their billing is done without they standing in a long billing queue.

What would be the RoUX in such case?

Reduced marketing costs? More on-target sales force? The feel good factor in your staff? More sale?

All of these are actually by-product of better UX. Better UX, as I see it, ensures that the person at receiving end, is treated a living being, his worldview is respected and he’s rewarded for shopping in the particular shoppe.

What would you do if you were that customer? Would you hesitate recommending that retail store to everyone you know?

No chance.

The real RoUX will be the delighted users who will become your raving fans.

And good thing about fans is they want to buy your products without being asked. I wanted to buy iPhone before it was launched. I want to buy iPhone6 which is not yet officially announced!

Apple is doing something right. It has kept my eagerness alive about what they have to offer next. They don’t need to spend on PPC or mobile advertisements to “sell” their upcoming iPhone.

That’s the REAL Return on UX!

Better UX eliminates the need of investing time to figure out marketing gimmicks to win the competition. Better UX is more than better engineering, it is better way of living a better life …

I am afraid that I will fail

But I am afraid of failure …

This is a sad thinking.

Sad because it prevents you from taking actions.

If you are “thinking” that you’ll fail, it is most likely that you will.

Better thought is, “What will I learn if I fail? Is the cost this learning worth?”

Failure is not the enemy. Inaction is.