Monday, October 25, 2010

Custom made chairs, feel better on your bum.

Ever bought something "custom made"?  Measurements, colors, shapes, style, fit, finish, and polish... all to your bum's liking?  If you had to wait 3-months for that chair, dang... you may never try it.  Imagine if you could get custom-made stuff in about the same time as a normal chair... a few days or minutes... at the same price.    WHO WOULD BUY A NORMAL CHAIR?  (especially if the price were the same?)?

No, I don't sell chairs (Sorry).  Karmaback, though, is now offering custom made "Social Applications" with the speed of a custom chair (days not months).... at the same price as others charge for "normal white label apps" (e.g. non-custom).  Want us to build YOUR custom Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Web, iPhone, or iPad app (or any combination there-of)?    Shoot us an email:  and we'll reply with a Bid and an ETA within 24-hours.  (or call us for an instant bid: 1 (888) 406-5033 )

There are 2 key elements here that make this offer special (and so far REALLY successful):
1.) Time.  We make bids in 24-hours or less.  We build almost anything in just a few days (add a few more days for iPhone/iPad :) ).
2.) Price.  We do this at prices other folks charge for their standard cookie-cutter solutions.

So, if you have a business, and want to figure out how to increase sales: consider:
Try CUSTOM.  It works if you can deliver in SPEEDY times and at FAIR prices.

Who wouldn't want a comfortable butt?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Karmaback goes Free to Try!

Karmaback has now gone "Free to Try" for all of our powerful tools and services.

Why? Because we listen.  Our customers have told us that they LOVE using Karmaback for Sweepstakes, Coupons, or Feedback Applications, but would LIKE to try before they buy.  It's a simple request.  We know you'll like the results that Karmaback delivers so much, you'll come back again and use us at our very affordable pricing.

So, don't delay, try Karmaback Free today!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Your idea sucks... analytically speaking.

Does your idea suck or rock?  If you want to try something more than "my friends like my idea", "my teacher likes my idea", or "I know I would buy it"... consider an analytical approach to opportunity analysis.  Why not say, this idea is a 25.  Then you can compare that to what you are doing now (probably a 12).   Or compare it to another idea (wow, a 38!)...  If you ever wanted to know if your idea is good, from an analytical perspective... read on.

There are 2 Acronyms that Harvard MBAs (and UT MBAs) learn: POCD and SWAT.  They both boil down to "Pro and Con" type thinking... but they both also add something useful.

POCD = People, Opportunity, Context, and Deal.  
P - Are the people likely to be able to succeed (the right people)
O - Is the opportunity big... (how big is it)... (how much money might be made?)
C - What is happening in context of the world at large that is or MIGHT effect this opportunity?
D - How much money will it take to get to success, and what are the terms and risks?

I often use POCD to look at 2 different opportunities, I use a 1-10 scale to compare them... here is an example:
P - 9 (my team rocks)
O - 7 (its tough to make money in social right now)
C - 10 (Social is heating up and people are looking for our solution: how to make money with Social Marketing)
D - 8 (not a lot of funds needed)

--- vs. ---
Making my own social game (something I'd like to do someday)
P - 5 (I have no artistic talents)
O - 4 (hard to make money with just 1 game)
C - 7 (social games are hot)
D - 7 (not a lot of money needed to make a social game)
SCORE: 23 (better than I thought it would be)

SWOT is very similar, and does add a valuable concept (that POCD doesn't directly address)
SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

I don't directly use SWOT, but I do like the thought of "threats" as part of the "Context" in the POCD framework.

So, the next time you are asked, is this a good idea?

Give them a POCD score.  It's fun.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Painful/Scratchy Toilet Paper, Reduces Consumption.

I'm not trying to be vulgar, but consider: would you use MORE or LESS Toilet paper when it is painful/scratchy cheap kind vs. the nice soft good stuff?  Business owners, consider this a lesson: don't make it painful/scratchy/awkward!  If your sales-people/staff are not friendly, then its painful (less consumption).  If your product is ugly, unwieldy, or difficult, then it is painful (less consumption). If your food makes people sick, or your bathrooms are not clean: painful, less consumption.  And for goodness sakes, buy the soft TP!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Socratic Method in the Modern Age

What has changed since Socrates first developed the method of debate known as "The Socratic Method"?  Are we more or less patient as a society?  Are we more or less narcissistic?  Do we even talk face to face with each other at length?  Are people more or less willing to engage in debate?  Much has changed in 2,400 years, but the Socratic Method can still be an incredibly useful tool in business and in life.

Benjamin Franklin (my hero) first turned me on to the Socratic Method of debate, finding great joy in frustrating his friends with continually asking questions to almost any debate posed.  However, even in Ben Franklin's times, I believe people were more patient, less narcissistic, and engaged in Face-to-face debate far more often.

Here is Harlan's revised Socratic Method for 2010, based on real world examples:

  1. Find something worth debating.  -   This can be the hardest step.  Time is so precious in our narcissistic fast-paced society, and not everything should be debated.
  2. Find someone worth debating   -   If the participant is not willing to explore the topic in an open debate forum, and relegate the results to logics fine conclusion, then you are wasting your time.  NOTE: They do not have to be willing to engage in Socratic Method.  Only that they are open to debate and change.
  3. Set aside a preset time period (at least 30-minutes).   -   Unlike the days of Socrates, we cannot simply cavort on one topic for an entire day.  Our MTV minds are simply not accustomed to such concentration.  A preset time period is not so that you can stop when the time is up... it is a minimum for how long you should explore.  The temptation is to concede the point after the first hole in logic.  This would be a gross error on both parties, regardless of which side you are arguing.
  4. Begin with a statement  -  just like normal Socratic method, we must choose sides... pick a side and explore with questions... its that easy!
  5. Ask any question but "Why"  -  Why questions are an example of opinion questions.  In the Socratic method we must explore facts, logic, and assumptions (and foundations of all these in society, prejudice, culture, etc.).  Avoid Why type questions whenever possible.  It is OKAY if you are the only one asking questions.  If you are the only one asking questions, you must ask on behalf of BOTH SIDES of the debate.
  6. End with 2 statements  -   no-one likes to feel as though time was wasted.  When the time is up (or when you both agree to stop), both parties should make a summary statement to capture how far (or how close) both parties have come along the path to enlightenment and truth.

Here are some real-world examples I've recently engaged in:
  1. Sales Call.  I often have sales calls and sales meetings.. and based on one of my favorite sales books, I try hard to use questions to help sell.  The hardest part was "opening with a statement", and then being willing to be "moved from my own position".  Here is what worked:
    • Statement: "You need Karmaback to help your company grow."
    • Sample Questions: "Does your company want to grow?", "Do you know what Karmaback is?" "Do you believe Karmaback can do what it says?", etc.
    • Closing Statements:  "COMPANYX needs to grow, and Karmaback can help."  vs.  "COMPANYX needs to grow, and has bigger problems than what Karmaback can solve"
    • My openness...  In order for this debate to work, I (as the salesman) had to be open to change... I had to be open to the fact that maybe MY STATEMENT was false.
  2. Family Dispute. My kids are great test subjects.  They are active, willing, and can easily handle 30-minutes.... not.  (10-minutes was the best I could do.  More would have been better)

    • Statement: "You need to learn to throw the football like a pro."
    • Sample Questions: "Do you like football?" "Do you know what football is?" "Do you know what a pro is?" "Can one learn to throw a football?"  "Can one learn to throw like a pro?"  "Which pro?"  "What is a need?" 
    • Closing Statements:  "I want you to learn to throw a football so I can play with you and get some exercise."  vs.  "Papa wants me to learn to throw a football"
    • Kids: Sometimes, it's good enough to get to the "intention" of the idea... 

In almost every case I've used the Socratic method, it has been helpful.. it usually changes "me" more than "them".  And this is not a bad thing!  

The other magical thing.  Asking, and being open to being wrong, often wins business!

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