Thursday, June 26, 2014


If you had told me just a few weeks ago that Spain, Italy, Portugal and England would be out of the World Cup while Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States would advance to the knockout round, I would have simply smiled and wondered to myself if the elevator went to the top floor for you.

And yet here we are with that scenario in place. Again, the prognosticators will look back and tell us the reason why this all happened but you will not be able to find any "expert" that predicted this ahead of time.

I am sure there are lessons here for us entrepreneurs, marketers, and others. However, for today, just celebrate what is.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of all today is that sometimes a loss can be a win.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ruts and tire tracks

The ruts that are most difficult to spot are those that appear to be tire tracks.

It may seem smooth but eventually you find out you are still stuck.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Needs or Wants

The answer is both really. You provide for their wants and solve their needs.

While needs can be emotional, wants are very seldom intellectual.

Wants typically go deeper than what the customer says. Discover that playground within your customers, and live there. Then, you just might do something that matters, and is worth sharing.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mission Statements of Virtual Schools

Peruse many Mission Statements from companies and organizations, and it does not take long to understand why morale is low, turnover is high and results are tepid.

At K¹², our mission has remained steadfast: To provide any child access to exceptional curriculum and tools that enable him or her to maximize his or her success in life, regardless of geographic, financial, or demographic circumstance.

The mission of Connections Academy is to help each student maximize his or her potential and meet the highest performance standards through a uniquely individualized learning program. 

According to an article from, a Mission Statement is the "essence of your business's goals and the philosophies underlying them." The article (from 2003) provides some nice tips on developing a Mission Statement for your company, organization, or even school. It does so by providing some questions for you to answer to help identify key aspects to share within the statement.

One question missing though is "Does your Mission Statement inspire anyone?" If it does not inspire those who work for you, how do you expect your employees to do inspirational work? And, if your employees are not inspired, how do you expect them to inspire your customers?

Employees want to know that the work they are doing is making a difference, that they are part of something larger than themselves. If they are there only for the paycheck, then perhaps you need to look for other employees. But, before you do, make sure it is their lack of inspiration rather than you not giving them something to be inspired by.

Virtual schools carry with them the promise of so much more than "providing any child access" or "maximizing potential" (whatever that means). Virtual schools have the opportunity to change the world of education. Why not make that your mission?

Why not be a school "dedicated, even obsessed with nurturing the passion within each child to never stop learning, growing, and developing a life of significance."

Inspire us with your mission and support it by your actions. Then, watch it spread.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Changing education paradigms

If you have not seen this TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson, I would encourage you to watch it. If you have seen it already, it bears watching again. The RSA Animate gives it a unique perspective.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Do you want to build a snowman?

Disney's Frozen is now the highest grossing animated film of all time (for now that is). That begs the question -- Why?

Do a quick Google search of "Why is Disney's Frozen so popular?" and you will find a plethora of answers, explanations and thoughts in answer to that question. All, mind you, are after the fact.

The real question in my mind is did anyone predict ahead of time it would be so popular? Do a search for that and the results are absent in direct answer to that question.

During the early scripting and development of Disney's The Lion King, most of the Disney animators did not want to work on it. Instead they chose to be part of Disney's other production in progress, Pocahontas, one that Jeffrey Katzenberg, Disney's Creative Director at the time stated would be wildly successful. The few that were part of it initially were either placed there because they were junior animators, or they wanted a little more creative freedom. Twenty years later and people still celebrate and revere The Lion King while very few remember Pocahontas.

How does this apply to you as a CEO, or business owner? You do want to try and build the best snowman you can, but you also want to be nimble enough to take advantage when the snowball starts rolling down hill and gaining momentum. Perhaps that is what Disney is best at doing after all.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The "meconomy"

We live in a world today that allows companies to talk to each customer individually, and tailor messages related to their individual needs.

More importantly, today's customer now expects this type of relationship more and more. It's what I call the "me economy" or "meconomy." Programmatic or transaction emails are fine as long as they are not emails but memails. Customers want the relationship to feel like it is a one-on-one interaction yet know they are part of a larger tribe too.

It takes energy, effort, and even thinking differently but companies need to understand the meconomy is here, and it is here to stay.