5 Killer Content Marketing Case studies (& what you can learn from them)

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

Good Content Marketing = Big Advantage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does your startup or business do content marketing? Have you ever wondered what successful businesses using content marketing are doing well? Well, look no further.

This article examines 5 of the most successful content marketing case studies. Regardless of the size of your business, you’ll discover great ideas that will help you take your content marketing to the next level.

Each of the below 5 businesses use unique content marketing approaches to great success – no mean feat considering the competition on the web at the moment.

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Instead check out what others are doing and tweak these strategies to make them your own -whether it be for your blog, startup or business.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a form of marketing that involves publishing useful content, for free on blogs, books, videos or podcasts. By helping prospects and customers solve their basic problems at no cost, you gain their trust and they look to you for leadership. Also, they’ll often buy your stuff. This is good.

It pulls people to you rather than you pushing your marketing message at them. This is Seth Godin marketing.

hubspot content marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hubspot

Where do I begin?

Since its launch in 2006, Hubspot has grown to 200 employees, received $33 million in VC funding and is on track to sell $20 million in services in 2011 (a 350% growth from 2010).

They’ve done it all through content marketing.

Hubspot is one of the leaders in the areas of content marketing. Think blog, videos, webinars (one had over 13,000 registrants), viral tools – they pretty much do them all. Fantastically. As a result they generate 25,000 leads per month for its 60 person sales team. One hundred percent of its leads come from its content marketing efforts.

Not bad.

What content to expect?

kissmetrics content marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kissmetrics

Probably my favourite business blog out there, Kissmetrics have built a blog that received over 1 million unique visitors in 10 months without paid traffic. How did they do it?

They achieved it by publishing some of the best how to content that you will find anywhere on the web.

It’s really that simple. Each blog post teaches its typical user (entrepreneurs, marketing managers in small businesses) how to overcome the problems their experiencing. Their content is always very visual (infographics) and well researched. With this they built a huge amount of trust and loyalty.

I haven’t bought anything from Kissmetrics yet – but I look forward to the day I will.

What content to expect?

Man of the house content marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man of the House (Proctor & Gamble)

Man of the House is an online magazine (blog) that Proctor & Gamle helped create.

P&G’s Man of the House site covers topics guys care about, while subtly placing ads for company products off to the side. The site drew more than 500,000 people each month to the blog (albe-it some of them may have been paid traffic) – when it was just 6 months old. That’s pretty sensational by any standards.

Why would P&G want to get involved in blogging?

We saw this need among guys, in particular dads, whose lives had changed, and their roles in the family, was very different than [the one] their dads typically played – explained Jeannie Tharrington, a P& G spokeswoman

What content to expect?

mint content marketing

 

 

 

 

 

Mint.com

Mint was up against some big competition when it launched in 2006. However it became market leader in the areas of personal finance and three years after launch was sold to Intuit for $170 million.

Mint built its strategy around a core strategy of personal finance focussed tips posts, link roundups, slideshows, videos and (most famously) infographics. Mint were the first company to really push infographics and experience great success (I share some of these infographics below).

This combination of great content helped convert readers into buyers of its actual product.

Infographics are 40 – 50 times more likely to be shared than written content. Mint are the Dons of the infographic.

What content to expect?

american express content marketing

 

 

 

American Express

 A credit card company turned Media Company? A credit card company actually doing something useful? Yep, I haven’t been Guinness tasting all morning – American Express are doing just that, and doing a damn fine job of it too with Openforum.

Openforum has two main elements: Ideahub which is essentially a blog driven by user generated content (‘guest bloggers’ to you or I) and Connectodex which is a private social network for Amex user entrepreneurs (they help each other out and provide leads for each other).

They hit 1 millions unique visitors back in 2010 and continues to grow.

By combining great content and great people, Amex attracts people to the site with the hope that they will signup for an Amex card.

What content to expect?

What can I learn from all this?

We’ve seen examples of 5 case studies of companies kicking ass with content marketing. With Content marketing you can by pass your competitors and become a market leader. But it does take commitment and its certainly not a short cut.

Take note of all the content marketing strategies used by these 5 companies and see how you can incorporate them into your next startup or marketing plan.

What did you find useful in this article? Please share in the comments below. 

10 Productivity Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Entrepreneur productivity
Entrepreneur productivity

We all need a watch like this. Photo by sleepyjeanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How productive are you?

A holy grail for entrepreneurs, yet what is easy in theory it is very difficult in practice. Primarily because most of us have some form of entrepreneurial A.D.D. (I know I have) and the internet is built to be the world’s most effective distraction.

Here’s 9 productivity tips that have increased my productivity enormously:

1.  Zero Inbox

There’s nothing that stresses me out more than knowing I’ve 100+ emails waiting for me. Infact when I look back on times that I felt stressed about my workload, it usually correlates with my inbox being fuller than a German at Oktoberfest.

The only way to take control of your inbox (and your life) is to operate a zero inbox. That means having an empty inbox everyday.

Yep EMPTY

It’s possible, and when you do it, prepare yourself for a feeling of control you probably haven’t felt in years.

Time to accomplish: 2 hours

Want to know more: Check out my post: 5 Steps to a Zero Inbox 

2.  Working out

Ever heard the story about Sharpening the Saw? Hop on my knee and let me tell you…

A man was struggling in the woods to saw down a tree. An old farmer came by, watched for a while, then quietly said, “What are you doing?”

“Can’t you see?” the man impatiently replied, “I’m sawing down this tree.”

“You look exhausted,” said the farmer. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours, and I’m beat,” replied the man. “This is hard work.”

“That saw looks pretty blunt,” said the farmer. “Why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen it? I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”

“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”

Working out is the best saw sharpener I know. But don’t take my word for it:

A conversation between Richard Branson and Tim Ferris:

Tim: “How do you become more productive?”

Sir Richard Branson leaned back and thought for a moment before answering.

“Work out.”

He went on to elaborate that working out gave him at least four additional hours of productive time every day.

If you were to get one takeaway from this list to make you more effective, it’d be to work out. When I work out in the morning I get more done without fail.

Time to accomplish: 40 mins a day

Want to know more? You know what to do

 3.  Get it out of your head

Ever suffer from idea paralysis or things to do overwhelm? Hell I know I do – these days it’s not a case of lack of opportunities – but knowing what the next most important thing to do is

There are 2 major problems when we’ve got 50 ideas/things to do swimming around our head

-          We forget some of them (yes, my girlfriend will agree with this one)

-          Our brain is clogged up with stuff, this stifles our ability to think creatively

Solution: Write it down! Have a place you write down all your ideas and things to do as they come into your head (I use a mix of one of these and the notepad on my iphone). You’ll feel better

However that’s only half the solution as this only works if you review your ‘idea places’ regularly (say, every Sunday), otherwise your notebooks become a virtual filing cabinet that never gets looked at.

Time to accomplish: 1 hour initially, then 30 minutes once a week to review your notes

Want to know more? Read David Allen’s Getting Things Done for the world’s best ‘get it out of your head’ exercise

4.  Roboform

How many passwords do you have? Ever forget any? How much time every year do you think you lose by just by trying to type in correct passwords and remember passwords?

If it was anything like me it was a lot. And time is money.

So I use this great little piece of software called Roboform  – it stores all my passwords and just logs me into any site I want to visit. Nice.

 Check this video of me using Roboform:

Time to accomplish: 10 minutes setup

Want to know more? Try the free trial first.  Click here to get Roboform (affiliate link)

 5.  Focused Pompodoros

A few years back I got addicted to To-do lists. The feeling of accomplishment when you strike off each task is seriously rewarding. But as we get more stuff to do and begin juggling multiple projects, standard To-Do lists just don’t cut it anymore.

After trying many different attempts of improving this I’ve recently found a system that is rocking my To-Do list world. It’s from the Pompodoro technique and involves listing the items you need to achieve in the day and working through them in uninterrupted, uber-focussed 25 minute segments.

The benefits – you get more done, you know what you’ve achieved and you get better at predicting the length of work.

Time to accomplish: 5 mins setup each morning

Want to know more?   Check out the Pomodoro Technique Free EBook here

(Thanks to Gary from Paperbag for tipping me off to this one)

6.  Focused Recovery

Top athletes now that the rest period in-between work outs are as important as the work outs themselves.

This means both taking time off (at least 1 day a week) from work and getting recovery breaks during the day (I try to take 5 mins every 25 mins, when working with the Pompodoro Technique (see number 5 above)

Sports psychologists Jim Loehr, Ed.D., and Tony Schwartz say:

“Managing energy, not time, is the key to enduring high performance as well as to health, happiness, and life balance…We must learn to live our lives as a series of sprints – fully engaged for periods of time – and then fully disengaged and seeking renewal…”

Time to accomplish: 10 minutes every hour

Want to know more?    Check out the book The Power of Full Engagement 

7.  Mindmaps

I began using mindmaps approx 1 year ago after reading Bill Liao’s inspiring book Stone Soup

Now I’m hooked.

I use mindmaps to plan out every sizeable piece of work I do before I begin. It not only allows you to think of better ideas but also gives you a structure to follow when completing the work. The few minutes it takes to plans out your mindmap is returned x10 in total time saved for writing the article, and the quality is always better.

It’s another example of ‘Sharpening the Saw’ (see above)

Time to accomplish: 10 minutes before you begin a sizeable piece of work

Want to know more?  I use Mindmeister (affiliate link) – it’s great.

 8.  Leverage your time

Leverage your time by hiring a virtual assistant (VA). You can hire great VA’s starting from $1.50 an hour and they can do everything from web design, SEO and social media to design, web research and data entry stuff. If it’s in anyway repetitive, you really should have a VA doing it.

Leaves you more time to focus on other things

Time to accomplish: Depends on the task, but it’s always a timesaver

Want to know more?  Watch this space for a post on hiring a VA

 9.  Leverage your reach

Most of us have multiple profiles across different web 2.0 sites (blogs, video sites, social networks). To take advantage of these you really should be posting to all of them. Ah but this takes time.

Unless of course you can post to one site, and it automatically posts to all your other profiles for you.

Sites that do this include:

  • Ping.fm (social media)
  • Tubemogul (Video)

Time to accomplish: 1 hour setup for each

Want to know more?  Will follow this post with video examples of how I use both of these sites for leverage – stay tuned!

Any productivity tips you’d like to add? I’d love to hear them – please add them to the comments below

Thought DJs: Why Blogging is the New Clubbing

Thought DJ
Thought DJ

What you might call a 'knees up'

Remember the last time you walked into a large nightclub? The crowd was heaving, people smiling, dancing – all facing the person controlling the mood in the room – the DJ.

Most of us know what a good DJ can do – and how a good DJ can move a crowd and gain a big following.

Ever since I began this blog – everything I’ve done reminds me of what it is to be a DJ.

In fact, I soon realised that Bloggers are just Thought DJs – and blogging is the new clubbing.  Do you want to be a DJ or a clubber? The choice is yours.

 Are You a DJ?

Something you probably don’t know about me: I used to be a house music DJ and have played clubs and radio stations everywhere from Miami to Ibiza. I’ve put an old mix of mine from 2005 at the bottom of this post you can bop to while reading this :)

Since beginning this blog, I have realised that many of the principles to success that apply to DJing also apply to blogging. In fact, that’s probably why I like it so much.

In this post I’ll share with you the commonalities, and most importantly, the ways DJs succeed so you can apply them to your blog.

Why a Thought DJ?

I remember DJing every weekend in Dublin. I’d spend hours searching for the best records to play in the club or on the radio that night. That’s essentially what a DJ does, finds the best records and plays them in a unique order, putting his own unique spin on things.

Bloggers do the same; they listen, filter, and put their own spin on things – they are Thought DJs.

The barriers to entry for a DJ are low, especially since mp3s (cheap and plentiful) replaced vinyl (expensive and rare). There is skill involved, of course but that can be learned.

The smart DJs, however, know that you need to stand out from the crowd to make it. These smart DJs can do this by:

  • Running popular events/club nights can get you an instant audience – although this takes hard work and isn’t easy.
  • Having a radio show – great if you’re comfortable on the radio.
  • Interviews – Many DJs know that interviewing other better-known DJs is great as it taps you into their crowd of followers and gets you known by the larger DJs.
  • Being the best-connected person in town can get you far – as nightclub owners will usually look to people they know if they are looking for a DJ. There’s only a few people who can really pull this off.

It’s very difficult to break through the crowd by playing great music alone – in fact, playing good music is really just the price of entry. If a DJ doesn’t play great music, you won’t listen to him, and there’s plenty DJs waiting to entertain your ear.

How to move past the crowd

All the above differentiators work, but they take graft, time, and commitment to break through the pack and get known – for example, one radio show or club night won’t make you famous, but doing it consistently over two years might!

However, there is a way that you can skip all of this and instantly break through the pack and become as well-known as the top DJs:

Produce a great record.

Think of all the big DJs – Tiesto, Sasha, Bob Sinclair, Kerri Chandler. Sure they all DJ, but they only became world famous when they released a great record that became a hit.

When I was a DJ, I was great at differentiating myself: I had a prime time radio show and ran events for a number of years. However, I never broke through to the next level because I never spent the time to produce and release original records.

So how does all this apply to Blogging?

As you’ve been reading this you may have seen some similarities between DJing and bloggers (and what makes bloggers Thought DJs)

Thought DJs: Read widely and are passionate about their subject. People look to them to filter through the information they think is good and then put their own spin on it. They’re good writers, but like with DJing, this is really just the price of entry. Many Thought DJs differentiate themselves by:

  • Running events (see: Ryan Carson, Loic Lemur).
  • Being a club owner (see: Kevin Rose).
  • Having a radio show/Podcast (see: Pat Flynn, Gary Verynerchuck).
  • Interviewing others (see: Andrew Warner, me).
  • Being the best-connected blogger in town: (see: Peter Cashmore, Perez Hilton).

But one ‘big hit’ can instantly propel a Thought DJ past the sea of mediocrity and into the ‘A’ list– usually a book or product of some kind.

See: Tim Ferris, Seth Godin

So how can this help me?

First: Get your headphones on and become a Thought DJ – it’s really that simple. Read widely and give your own spin on things in a blog. Your content doesn’t need to be completely unique; it just needs to have your own spin on it.

 Second: Differentiate yourself by one of the methods suggested above – try podcasting, video blogging, or running a few meetups.

 Third: Go for the big hit – spend the time to produce that hit record. You might not get to number 1 straight away – but if you keep releasing records, you’ll grow a bigger following and you might just hit that jackpot. I know I’m going to.

 Special Bonus: Summer mix by yours truly (press the play button below):

Howard K – Summer Soul Mix 2005 by Howard Kingston

Props to my friend Sinead from Crafty Fox market – who says Crafting is the new clubbing. Although I naturally disagree, it did help give me the inspiration for this post. Check out her site here

8 Startup Lessons Learnt from Successful Entrepreneurs

Startup lessons learnt
Startup lessons learnt

Still learning. Photo by occhiovivo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you like tips how to be successful, from people who have achieved what you want to achieve? Would this make you succeed faster? If there’s one thing I’ve learned about entrepreneurship in the past decade or so, it’s this: Get advice from people who have done it – not people who talk about it (the latter include most folks that lecture in universities btw).

Following my own advice, I reached out to some of the most influential and successful entrepreneurial bloggers out there to ask them one of my favourite questions I like to ask successful folks:

Question: If you could go back in time and speak to a young you just before you started – what one piece of advice that you now know would you give yourself?  

toilet paper entre

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Michalowicz -  Author of the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur Blog and book

Check his site for: Great practical entrepreneurship advice

Answer: I would probably tell my younger self that it isn’t always a smooth road.  I would explain that failure, as painful as it is, gives more clarity in direction and purpose.  And I would probably slap myself in my own face and say – SPEND LESS TIME WORKING and MORE TIME WITH FAMILY.

Maren Zirtual

 

 

 

 

 

Maren Kate -  Founder at Zirtual and Escaping the 9 to 5 blog

Check her site for: Inspiring tips on getting out of that dead end job, with some cameos from her cat

Answer: Focus on one thing at a time. Be insanely persistent towards my one end goal. Change rapidly in order to reach that end goal.

chris-guillebeau

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Guilleabeau – Author of The Art of Non-Conformity Blog and book

Check out his site for: How to do blogging really well.

Answer: Stop waiting and get started.

Corbett

 

 

 

 

 

Corbett Barr – Founder of Think Traffic & Corbettbarr.com

Check his site for: Great traffic & blogging advice. The first online course I ever bought was one Corbett made. Thanks, Corbett :)

Answer: It might sound simple, but as a startup you have to focus on how you’re going to earn money, and work hard to get good at bringing money in the door. Without cash, you’re really not a business, and you won’t last very long.

lawrence alexander

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Lawrence - Founder of The Entrepreneur Blog

Check his site for: Great entrepreneurship advice!

Answer: Risk more but do less.  In other words, try not to do so many things, but instead, pick a few less ideas/businesses/etc and double down on those.

Viperchill

 

 

 

 

 

Glen Allsopp – Founder Viperchill

Check his site for: Great blogging, SEO, and online marketing advice

Answer: Stop following every idea you hear that can make you money. Stick to one project until it makes at least some money before you move on to the next big thing.

bill dass

 

 

 

 

 

Bill D’Alessandro - Founder of Ready Fire Aim blog

Check his site for: Cutting-edge advice on technology and entrepreneurship

Answer: Make tiny progress every day. When you go to bed at night, you should be able to point at one thing you accomplished, however small that might be. Even if it seems inconsequential at the time, after a few weeks those inconsequential things add up and you’ll have made real progress.

tawheed

 

 

 

 

Tawheed Kader – Founder Toutapp and TawhedKader.com

Check his site for: Lean startup insights and web entrepreneurship

Answer: Stay calm and carry on. When I was younger, I was much more fixated on completion rather than the journey. As I grew older, I’ve started to enjoy the journey a lot more, which helps me enjoy the completion/outcome a lot more. Life is better this way.

What piece of advice would you give yourself? Share it in the comments below.

How do you lead your Tribe? Interview with Clay Hebert

Clay hebert Tribes

Clay hebert Tribes

Who are your tribe? Why are they important? And how can you be the leader of your tribe? I recently caught up with Clay Hebert, founder of Tribeswin.com – a NY-based consultancy that teaches brands how they can lead their tribe. Clay is also founder of new startup Spindows.com and blogs at  Dailysense.com.

Clay is a graduate of the Seth Godin MBA (check out the bonus video below to see Seth speak about Tribes). In this interview we speak about practical steps to leading your tribe, lean startups, and what it was like being in the Seth Godin MBA.

Check it out:

Clays Links:

http://tribeswin.com/

http://spindows.com/

http://www.dailysense.com/

Clay’s Twitter

Clay on Linkedin

Links discussed in video:

Bonus video: Seth Godin’s Ted Talk on Tribes:

Do you have a tribe, or are you part of one? Tell us in the comments below.

Million Dollar Update 1: Ireland

Startup lift off
Startup lift off

We have lift off

Here’s where I report on how I’m progressing towards my goals of making $1 million in 999 days.

Each month I report on exactly how much I made, what things I’ve learned, what I’ve achieved, and of course, all the mistakes I’ve done (oh yes – I’m NEVER short on material for that section!). Expect my report the first week of each new month.

My goal is to be completely transparent to you – you’ll see what’s working for me, what’s not, and what my strategies are. That way when you decide to go it alone, whether it be for $1, $1 million, $1 billion, or just for fun – you won’t have to make all the mistakes I did. Hey, wouldn’t that make it so much easier?

Report 1

  • Moved back from Australia to London (well, just outside London).
  • I relaunched my blog (yep, the one you’re reading) and began blogging regularly – YES!
  • Started doing video interviews again here on this blog – something I knew I really enjoyed from my days as a DJ.
  • Got 2x great mentors who advise me regularly.
  • Reached 2,000 followers on Twitter – yes, you might say followers mean nothing, but I struggled to get over 100 followers for the first year of using Twitter! So now I feel a little cooler (here’s how I grew my following).
  • Started working in something similar to a ‘job’ for the first time in five years.
  • Drew up a short list of my upcoming startup projects and began working on my favourite two.

The Stats

1.      Income in past month: £3K

2.      Blog visitors in past month:

3.      Overall net worth -£3,000 (remaining student loan & credit card)

Main things I learnt

  • Different countries can have very different market conditions (Picking up web design/marketing business in Oz is relatively easy and well-paid; London is less so).
  • Working for someone when your goal is to be an entrepreneur can be a positive thing, even recommended.
  • Having a strong digital footprint (blog, Linkedin, Twitter) is the modern way of getting past the velvet rope at the digital Studio 54.
  • I’m loving learning and spending time on my current projects – a great full circle from a year ago when I wasn’t happy in my career choice.
  • Even in this digital world – you can’t beat making real-life contacts. This takes time, but it’s much more fulfilling.

Plans for next month

  • Big goal will be to pay off remaining student loan (€3K) – that WILL feel good. :)
  • Earning goal: £4K p.m. (employment or other)
  • Apply to Founders Institute.
  • Join/create a high-quality Masterminds & one more experienced mentor.
  • Validate and move forward 2x entrepreneurial projects I’m getting off the ground and VERY excited about.
  • Blog targets
  • Increase my SEO – been pretty weak on this to date, and my organic search analytics proves this. Need to focus on this area this month.
  • Target 1,500 unique visitors.
  • Write an ebook or core piece of content.
  • 12 more blog posts (three per week) minimum.

What I need help with

  • White hot programmer who might want to work on some cool projects together. Know someone?  Please get in touch.
  • Million dollar mentor – ideally someone who has founded, launched, and exited their own major startup. Would ask one hour of their time every fortnight/month to discuss my plans.
  • Kick-ass marketing positions – know anyone looking for marketing help? I’m keen to help and always looking for a great marketing position with a world-beating company (startup much preferred) – know any? Here’s my lowdown (sorry, can only look at paid positions at the moment).

Any ideas or feedback? Please leave them below.

Million Dollar Update 1: Ireland

Howard: Hi everyone! Howard from startupremarkable.com here and this is the first of my monthly reports on my quest to make a million dollars in 999days. And I’m gonna do each one of my reports somewhere completely different that I’m either visiting or I spend a lot of time in and this no better place to start than in Ireland.

And I’m standing where one of the first places St. Patrick came to when he came to Ireland. Its right beside my home so I figured it would be a really nice place to do this first report and I’ll show you around a little bit once I’ve just given you a quick update.

So I had an awesome month. I just got back from Australia [kinda] maybe two or three months ago. And I’ve been living in London and I think I’ve made a lot of progress since I’ve got back. One of the biggest things is really starting up the blog that I’v done in the last kinda month or so. And I got to meet a lot of you guys through it so that’s really cool. Thanks for everybody that has been emailing me and stuff. I’ve copy a few of them and the report for the third time. Some cool people I got in contact with me so I’m really [really] I love to hear from you so that’s great. And yeah just have a look at the report these are things that I’ve been doing over the month.

But I suppose the biggest things I can look at next month for me to make progress towards my big goal that is I think I need to kinda connect with a few more really experienced, successful entrepreneurs because that’s how I want to make my million. I really need to feed off them to see exactly what they do and throw what they do to get to where they are and also throw my ideas, two very particular ideas, that I’m running with at the moment that I hope will be my million dollar ideas. And I definitely as I go through them I’m kinda be documenting them in the blog here as well. So if you know anybody that you think I should talk to please get in touch or indeed if you’re one of those types of people I’m talking about who’d like to give me a hand I’d love to learn from you and I think we would have a bit of fun along the way as well.

So here I am in Ireland anyway that’s enough talking for now give you a little bit of a show around the place. We are here at St. Patrick’s well in County Wicklow, Ireland. [And] this one of the first places that St. Patrick came over when he took the boat from England to come to Ireland to spread Christianity. [And] one of the things he did when he was over here is drove all the snakes out of Ireland. We have no snakes here in Ireland because of St. Patrick and that is true so they say. So anyway, I’ll show you in St. Patrick’s well.

Myself and my dad and a few other helpers actually [you know] helped rebuild this about a year or two ago. So somewhere I’m really [really] proud of. Just give you a quick look. Here we are. That’s St. Patrick’s well and that’s the well itself. Supposedly, if you’ve any kinda ails or _____ that water will cure you but we don’t know about that but it’s a lovely view.

So if any of you are in Ireland or coming over to Ireland at any time make sure you let me know and I’ll make sure we’ll have a Guinness. I’ll see you next month.

 

Google Please Hire Me, Interview with Mathew Epstein

google please hire me

What do you do when you want a job really really bad?

Why not do something like what Mathew Epstein did and make the ultimate online CV with his kick-ass site and video www.googlepleasehire.me (I highly recommend you see it – it’s great).

I found Mathew’s site when everyone started tweeting about it last week and I thought – I gotta chat to this guy! In the interview we chat about why he made the video, how he made it, how his site has got over 300,000 hits in under 1 week and, if Google are going to hire him. check it out:

Links: 

www.googlepleasehire.me

Mathew’s personal Blog 

Mathew on Twitter

Any thoughts on Mathew’s idea? Share them in the comments below

 

Zero to Blogging – Startup Your Blog

ron burgundy entrepreneur
ron burgundy entrepreneur

I'm Kind of a big deal!

 

What’s the 1 thing you that will take you less than one hour to create that can instantly make you stand out from the crowd; helping you get that job/client/business partner? (Hint: it’s not a Lemon meringue pie – although that could help too)

It’s your very own ‘I’m kind of a big deal’ blog

So, you’re here and reading this so I’m not going to insult your intelligence giving you the reasons why you need a blog (if you’re insure, read any of Seth Godin’s books) – instead I’m just going to tell you how to build one.

But not build one in an old fashioned, slow, difficult way, no no no – that would suck.

I’m going to tell you how to build your own blog, from zero to hero – in less than 1 hour.

If you don’t think it’s worth an hour of your time to move one step closer to awesomeness, we won’t be talking much more.

If you’ve any doubts in your mind if you can build your own blog – chill. Believe me, you have no need to worry, building websites and blogs is just so easy now, at least the kind we need.

We got a deal? OK – so hold tight, just follow these easy steps.

Step 1 – Buy your domain and get it hosted

First off, I’m taking it you already have a name for your blog. If not, decide one (put in the comments below if you’re having trouble with what you want to name your blog).

So – first off just follow these instructions:

Links: Dreamhost hosting (affiliate link)

I’ve organised a special Promo code for you to use that gets you $50 off – nice!

Use code: STARTUPREMARK 

Step 2 – Put lipstick on your piglet!

Right now it’s time to put on the party decorations

Follow these instructions:

Once you’ve done this, you’d want to tweak a few things:

  • Go to Permalinks on your Dashboard Settings. Type in /%postname%/ to Custom Structure then Save.
  • Add some plugins – see video

 

 

  • Get some graphics/pictures

Step 3 – Add your posts

So Shakespeare – you’ve got a blog, time to get writing.

Here’s how to add your content to your blog:

Step 4 – Get it ranking on Google

Now – you’ve a bonafide website! Time to tap Google on the shoulder and tell him you’ve home.

I already wrote a tasty little beginners guide to Search Engine Optimisation a few weeks ago so I recommend you go check it out

Hope that’s been useful for you – please tell me how you get on and send me a link to your finished site

Oh – and spread the word :)

Are you an Innovator? Interview with Hal Gregersen, The Innovator’s DNA

Hal Twitter

Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezo’s, Richard Branson, all innovators, but what do they do differently than everyone else? And what things can we do to become more like them? I speak to Hal Gregersen, co-author of The Innovator’s DNA – Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators about Questionstorming, the Medici effect and, of course, how we can become more innovative. Check it out!

Get it here: Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators (affiliate link)

See also: www.innovatorsdna.com (book co-authored by: Hal Gregersen, Jeff Dyer & Clayton M. Christensen)

Hals Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/HalGregersen

innovators DNA

Check out the book!

 

Are you an Innovator? Interview with Hal Gregersen, The Innovator’s DNA

Howard: Hi everyone, it’s Howard from Startup Remarkable here. [And] today I have the great honor of having Hal Gregerson, author of new book The Innovator’s DNA recently I Amazoned on that. [And] it’s a great pleasure to have you here, Hal.

Hal: It’s great to be with you. Thank you.

Howard: Great! [Today we’re just gonna] after reading the book I really wanted to just have a quick chat about what is it that makes us an innovator? What really kinda practical steps can entrepreneurs like ourselves take to be more innovative?

Hal: You know, entrepreneurs do what I’m going to describe naturally and for many of us maybe who aren’t naturally innovative we can become the same way. And so what it comes down to as we’ve often hear of the tune or the notion think differently. What we discovered with this research looking incredibly destructive innovators was that they think differently because they act differently. And if you were to walk in their everyday world and be able to watch what they do they engage in behaviors that help them get creative ideas and so they’re always provoking the world with this questions that just really upset people sometimes but they’re trying to get underneath the surface of what’s going on here to figure out how might we do things differently.

What if we did it this way? Why not that way? Now they observe. They put their eyes on where they’re observing like anthropologist and they basically they [you know] pay really careful attention to the world and they talk to a lot of different people. We call it networking for ideas. Now it’s talking to people who, not only look like us, but who think differently than we do to provoke new ideas. And finally, now they’re really they have this experimental approach to the world. It might be experimenting with food, it might be trying something different, going to a new place on a vacation, and it might also be a willingness to just try something different at work to be able to figure out a better way. So they really act differently to think differently.

Howard: Great! And reading the book I tell you it was a great fun book to write because your studying some really [really] exciting people. And at what point do you think this is something you know you talk about Jeff Bezos a lot and Steve Jobs a lot and is this something that they always did or did they learn it or…

Hal: [Laugh] I think it’s a fun question which is [you know in] a fun way to answer this question is to remember that Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and other incredibly well known founders of this innovative companies they were ones four year olds. And when I walk around the world wherever I go, whatever country I’m in, four year olds act like four year olds. I don’t care if they’re famous or not. Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs were not famous when they were four year olds. But they did what you and I did you know. They asked the four year old kinds of questions. Why not, why this, why that, they observe carefully. They talk to different people. They try all kinds of new things. They think laterally or associationally connecting the unconnected. We did it all when we were four years old.

And so what’s unique about many of these innovators is that when they were growing up from four years old to twenty four years old, they had adults in their world either in schooling systems or at home or their community. They said, “Guess what. Don’t let go of those skills, keep them running, make them go.” And so some of it is the world we live in is, not just some, it’s really about 60 or 70 percent of anybodies innovation capability does not come from their DNA. It comes from practice. It comes from doing certain things about 30% of it does. But that’s the small portion. The big portion is just doing things differently.

Howard: Great, and that as well leads us on nicely to the next question which [I suppose] one of the things I thought was great about the book is that it has a lot of practical tips and you see I have them marked here. The book is a great read and so [I suppose] you kinda outline five core areas how we can become more innovative in the book. And maybe, could you just briefly bring us through them? Maybe give us one of your [I suppose] one of the practical kinda tips how we might be able to implement them.

Hal: The logical way of thinking through them is, most innovation starts with a question. So it’s essentially you know I’ve got to get a new question and generate a better way of thinking about things by asking provocative questions. That’s the first piece. The second piece becomes [you know] I don’t just sit in my chair inside of my office asking clever questions. And what we know from the research is that if I do that, I might not gonna get great ideas that actually create value. In other words they generate something that somebody else wants.

So, if I start asking productive questions and then get out of my office and either go make observations of actual people to see [you know] what are their needs, what are the jobs to be done, what can we do here that could be done differently, or it might be that I literally talk to a lot of different people in a systematic way. Or I go at night and I experiment with the world and I try different things to see how it might help me get some new ideas. When I do that stuffs, that’s how I generate the new ideas.

So, when Mark Benioff got the idea for salesforce.com he didn’t just sit in his office. He worked for 20 years at Cisco figuring out enterprise software systems. And then he sold a lot of them to small medium enterprises plus size enterprises but it really didn’t work great and they weren’t doing a fantastic job selling it to them. So he takes a sabbatical. He experiments by going off to India and he talks with this incredibly spiritual people about the world and he explores that place. And he also talks to a real wide variety of interesting entrepreneurs. People who see the world differently, and technology people. And then he gives himself time to put this all together and then at some point his swimming in the ocean, the Pacific Ocean, with the dolphins. And it all comes together, he connects the unconnected. What if we sold enterprise level software like Amazon sells books? It’s like putting this two things together and that creates cloud computing. And we know the story but that’s how we do it you know. We literally engage in those actions in order to get the new ideas.

Howard: Yeah, I remember, that was a great story. I really enjoyed it swimming with dolphins part especially. One of the things you mentioned there about asking the right questions. One of the tips you talked about is question storming. Now, I’d never heard of it before and I was like, “That’s such a good idea.” You kinda flip on brainstorming asking the questions instead of trying to come up with all the answers. Do you have any examples of people that have used that and I supposed opened up the answers to the questions that are relevant?

Hal: Absolutely. And so I watch people use this individually and we work with executive teams doing it as [you know] as a team. And essentially, when we get to the point that we’re stuck trying to figure out a solution to a problem and all of us, whether be personal or professional, we have some sort of a problem that we don’t have a solution to. It might be a relationship issue or it might be a professional technical kind of issue but we don’t have a solution. We thought about it, we wrestled with it, we’re trying to figure it out, but it’s just we’re not getting anywhere. You know those moments, right? When we hit that moment, that’s the point of which this question storming can be powerful.

And so, It might be that I’m trying to figure out a better way of selling something and what I would do individually would be, get a journal. Paper based journal, electronic journal, Ipad, whatever. And everyday keep a journal. And for five minutes, write down questions, nothing but questions about the problem. And if we do that day after day it’s inevitable that within 7-10 days we’ll start asking very different questions. And that’s the key _____ point because I can’t get any solution if I don’t ask a different question. It just goes with the territory. And so that’s how this folks do it. They literally brainstorm questions at an individual level by asking the questions along the way.

I was working with one company that was trying to get a more positive brand image up there in the world. And what we literally did with the group of senior executives was figuring out… We get a question storming where the group of people asks nothing but questions. You get a big white board. You get some markers. You tell everybody shut up if you don’t have a question to ask. And let’s just ask nothing but questions. And you demand at least 50 questions about the problem before you let go. So, its question question question question. You write them down. You look at the question. You think about it. What could be different here, how could I see this differently. And what happens is, when we question storm, what I notice is sometimes people who don’t say anything actually have the best questions. And their provocative and they generate new perspectives. So what we did, by the time we got down to question 73 in that question storming exercise no. 1, people are a little bit tired because they’re not used to thinking in questions. And it’s like a muscle that never gets used. They said, “You know, this is just exhausting at one level.” But they realize when they went back and look at those questions, they were asking the wrong question in order to get a better brand image. And that lead them down to an entirely different path on what they are doing.

Howard: Ok and so using that example than, they will go through all that questions, look to answer them, but they would see, as going through that process, which are [I supposed] the questions that they should be asking.

Hal: Well, if you go through that individually or as a group and you’ve got this long list of questions then at that point it’s ok. Which of these are worth pursuing? And one of the questions about the questions might be again which one is surprising. Which one is surprising enough that it’s like, “Wow! I never quite thought of that. And if we had an answer to that it might give us the solution here.”

So, the question then becomes the foundation from which I go out and do something with the question. I go out and make some observations in a different industry or in a different country about that particular issue. I go out and I talk to five different people and these things are five practical things just like question storming you know. It’s literally putting on my agenda or schedule. It’s putting three different lunches, one per week, for a series of three weeks with somebody in a completely different industry or a completely different country of origin or completely different technically professional background than I have and talking with them about the problem we have.

One organization, TBWA, when they do advertising campaigns, they haul in boxes of hats and shirts from innovative companies. So, I might be working for IMB and I’m bringing in a bunch of hats and t-shirts from Apple and from Virgin and from Amazon and from Google. And they, literally, put on the hat of that company and they say, “Ok, if I work for Apple, how would I look at this problem?” And that’s what AT networking is doing. It’s getting me in the perspective of somebody else and how they look at this problem. It’s a great way to get new ideas.

Howard: Fantastic! That’s great, Hal. [Countless of time I] there’s a lot of areas I’d like to speak to you about and I supposed the Medici effect that you talk about with AT networking. I supposed, it’s the first time cause one of this things about networking, we all know what we should be doing, but it’s the first time I’d really heard it articulated why it should be, why [it is such] it actually is important advantage. Could you just explain the Medici effect to us very briefly?

Hal: Well, first, there has been a great book called The Medici Effect. And it’s essentially you get new ideas when you live in the intersection. And I leave in near Paris and it’s faster to drive in the Arc de Triomphe. It’s got 12 major streets coming into that circular road around the arc. And when you go into that intersection, it’s a given, if you get into an accident it’s both parties fault. [It’s just] it goes with the intersection. You’re gonna bump into each other. And what innovators do when they network for ideas or when they try to generate new ideas they intentionally go into the intersection where their gonna bump into new perspectives and bump into new ideas and bump into day to day they have never seen before. And it’s in that bumping in the intersection that we create this Medici effect which that word comes from the renaissance period in Italy.

Where the Medici family brings together people from all over the world, different professional backgrounds, different interests for _____ this part of Italy. And the family literally supports this explosion of new ideas. So that’s what we can do not just you know out there but we can do it in here. We create that intersection, that Medici effect, in our heads by going out discovering new things, experiencing new things, talking to different people. And then we’re pushed into a corner and we got to create a new idea. We have all this stuff that we bumped into that can give us a new idea.

Howard: Fantastic, great advice. Well, just ask you one more question, Hal. And before we finish up, if you were then, knowing everything that you know now, about what makes a good innovator. What kinda one piece of advice really kinda practical piece of advice somebody could put into action today would you give to [say] a young entrepreneur just starting up a new business?

Hal: Go with your strengths when it comes to these innovations skills. Some people love to watch the world – they’re observers, other people love to talk to people – they’re idea networkers, others they tinker, they experiment, they just try new different things. 1) Know what your strength is, what do you love to do, and what are you good at. 2) Make sure that you spend time, even when you’re starting a new business and you don’t have time to do it, to keep that skill alive. Do it. Force yourself to do it. Because you’ll never quite know what person you’re gonna talk to, what situation you’re going to pay attention to for your observations that might be critical at the next stage of your business. So it’s, [you know] know who you are.

We got this really great assessment that you can potentially use that gives people data around [you know] who are you in terms of these skills. It’s the innovatorsdna.com. But basically, it helps us know who we are. Leverage those skills and if we do them regularly it’s just short amounts of time 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes. It compiles, it compounds, at some point leads us to something really good.

Howard: Fantastic, great advice. Well thanks very much, Hal.

Hal: You’re welcome.

Howard: And everybody The Innovators DNA is available on Amazon and also the website innovatorsdna.com.

Hal: That’s it. Yeah.

Howard: Fantastic and I highly recommend there’s some great stuff so thanks for joining us, Hal.

Hal: Howard, thank you very much.

Howard: Thank you very much.

Hal: You’re welcome. Bye bye.

 

How to run a portfolio business? Timothy Bosworth, Think Big Be Big

Tim bosworth

How do you startup a successful dating site, consultancy, blog and create a series of children’s books? Impossible right?

In this interview with Timothy Bosworth from Think Big Be Big, we discuss what it takes to have a portfolio career; how to act on your entrepreneurial impulses and Tim shares the methodologies he uses to get so much done.

Links:
http://twitter.com/tbbbe
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/timothybosworth
http://thinkbigbebiggroup.com/
http://www.thinkbigbebigentrepreneurs.com/