My most ambitious undertaking yet: #nlgs18 starts TODAY

Perfection is the enemy of done.

In the last month, I’ve bought an LMS, finalized a list of 50 summer activities, expanded it to almost 60, installed a forum, connected that forum to the LMS, spent a full week troubleshooting login/permissions issues, and lost track of everything I’ve done regarding email list segmentation.

And I just sent an email to… to… shit. I don’t even know how many people have signed up to play as I type this just before midnight last night. Guess we’ll find out.

If you’re a gearhead like us, I think you’ll enjoy this game. It’s the most ambitious thing I’ve ever done online. It’s going to run all summer long—three months—and it starts today.

Join us –>

Parallel to the corner office

If you work in Corporate America, you’ve probably seen this happen a few times.

New VP or such joins the company, then promptly calls up all his or her old vendor buddies to sell tech, training, and more into the new organization. Policy, process, product, and tech changes almost overnight—seldom with any feedback from the front lines.

Needles move. Results come in. Raises and bonuses are paid. (Not to frontline staff, of course. There’s no budget for raises this year.) And a couple years later, the new VP moves on to lather, rinse, and repeat at the next company.

If you picked up a bit of snark, there, you’re not wrong. It’s always bugged me.

But you know what, it’s supposed to work that way.

Here’s why.

Everyone—at every level—of every business—has problems to solve. That’s why we have jobs. We are paid to solve problems. What’s more, WE pay others to solve problems for us.

Credit and manufacturing be damned. The global economy is built around solving problems.

This has come up several times in The Gearhead Project. If you can solve a problem better, faster, or more affordably, you have a business opportunity.

Better mousetrap, anyone?

It (probably) doesn’t matter if there are 100 other people out there already in the business. If you can do it better, faster, or more affordably, you could potentially disrupt the entire industry and corner the market. Because you’ve got the experience and skills and tools at your disposal to make it happen.

Which is why I wanted to share this one with you today.

That VP or whatever that comes in and changes everything? Sure, there’s an element of guy-with-hammer-sees-every-problem-as-nail there, but the reality is he or she is able to come in, implement change, and generate either cost savings or additional revenue for the company well above and beyond what the company spent on compensation and tech.

At least, when it’s done right, anyway.

Which is why, should a friend ask you for help with a business venture (not MLM/Amway/shit), I think it’s worth you taking a few minutes to hear them out.

You might not want to start a business, but they wouldn’t be asking if you didn’t obviously have the skills to help them solve a problem better, faster, or more affordably than the competition.

In the short-term, you might get performance parts at cost for helping build out the catalog. But down the road, could end up being in charge of Product for the company.

Today you might know enough about servers and programming to help keep a small website up, running, secure and growing. Tomorrow you could be Chief Technical Officer.

Here’s the real beauty in that sort of stuff—even if the plucky little startup doesn’t scale, you’ll get the experience and skills to solve problems for others. And everyone’s got problems to solve.

You’ve got a toolbox. Start filling it with serious tools to solve big problems.

Keeping the competition up at night

Making it personal.

I’ve been enjoying Geoffrey Colon’s stuff on LinkedIn lately. He shared this one earlier in the week.

“I’m all for deep subject matter experts and deep learning but I’m also a huge fan of generalists and hybrids that can learn, pivot, relearn. This was the whole theme of the book Disruptive Marketing no matter if you’re in sales, education, media planning, health, creative, you name it.

Employers say they want workers who are creative and unconventional until the lack of standardization causes them to freak out and rush for safe harbor.

The next five years are going to be the most boring ever until the cookie cutter approach is seen as a disadvantage in what essentially is becoming a creative economy where uniqueness/agility will possibly compete with bulky and big lookalike/soundalike solutions.”

Sadly, I lost my stayed-up-even-later-to-leave-a-comment-on-this-one comment, but here’s the gist of it:

There’s a big difference between the pivoting generalist and the agile explorer. Both learn, pivot, and re-learn in the face of external stimuli—but one does so because the business requires it while the other personally cares about the outcome.

I’ve heard it said the whole world stands aside for the person who knows where he or she is going. Can you imagine an entire company made up of people who genuinely believe in the mission and are united in their personal desire to achieve it? I bet that would keep a LOT of people up at night.