Monthly Archives: August 2011
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this site recently, and my personal ambitions when it comes to business building and social media. I just finished a great week with Ryan Opaz of Vrazon.com (Ryan is one of the top wine bloggers in the world and knows more about social media than almost anybody I’ve met), presenting ideas to local wine shops and restaurants on how to build their social media presence. He also spent quite a bit of time with me talking about my personal site (this one) and various ideas around it. “You have good stuff there, Jason, but you’re not doing anything with it. It’s just sitting there, static.” It was a reality slap that I needed.
I’ve become, in the last couple of years, a great waster of time. But I didn’t see the extent of it until Ryan’s quip hit me in the gut.
For example, in the last two weeks I’ve had a tsunami of ideas on a new business (yet another one) that would package up for individuals and small businesses a social media ‘toolbox’ and help them discover the world of Social in the right way. A solid idea, done by many. So what’s the first thing I did? Instead of working hard on how my program would be different, I wasted about four hours brainstorming names for the business, checking and re-checking URL availability, twitter names, competitor’s names, and more. When I found one that fit, I wasted another four hours dreaming up logos and business card designs and more. Then I wasted another day trashing my previous day’s work, and starting over and re-doing the whole process.
You know I could have been doing instead? I could have been building a deliverable that would actually do what I wanted it to do, in addition to getting my name and ideas into the world instead of living on my self-created island.
Wasting time is a slippery slope, and one of the biggest takeaways from Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit in June was listening to Jonathan Fields preview the ideas in his forthcoming book, Uncertainty. He said things that scared me, pissed me off, and intrigued me all at the same time (that’s a grand trifecta of emotions, and when you feel something like that, take notice!). Mainly, when you feel the push back, or you see the quick escape route, or hear the threat, or the dark forces, or whatever you want to call it, it’s your internal fear trying to keep you safe, even when being safe will mean the same old status quo for the rest of your life. He used the analogy of hearing the roar coming from a dark cave — our lizard brains, our old caveman ancestor, learned to avoid the cave to stay alive. Instead we need to learn to go into the cave. Scary shit, but it works.
My personal form of ‘avoiding the cave’ is endless thinking and busy work around new ideas, rather than rolling up my sleeves, pouring a cup of coffee, and getting to work on something tangible. So starting now things have to change for me, and that is my goal for the next six weeks. To be specific:
- Define what jasonkallsen.com is and is not. Actually, scratch that. That’s busy work. It will define itself!
- Produce a comprehensive ‘toolbox’ that will help individuals and small businesses understand Social Media
- Use myself as the test market for this toolbox, along with a half dozen volunteers that I’ll find (let me know if you’re interested)
- Present some local programs, for free, to people that want to learn these tools (in other words, get me out of the house)
- Start commenting more often on the sites that I follow and love, hopefully bringing some of that mojo back to this page
If you have wasted time in the past, avoiding the hard work of making the tangible item, then welcome to my club. I’m curious — who else is willing to admit and share a story?
One of the many reasons people get exhausted at ‘real jobs’, especially in a corporate environment, is the amount of ‘one-off’ work that is done. In other words, work that is used for one purpose, one moment in time, and never used again.
This is endemic in the corporate world, where the idea that filling a nine hour day with work is defined as doing good work. It would be so nice if more employers worked on project completion and re-use metrics rather than hours worked. Only basing ‘productivity’ on hours worked enforces the idea of wasting time.
So here’s a potential new way to look at all work and projects you do: can you get nine lives out of it? Call it the nine lives theory.
Can you take the effort and creativity and energy you put into a deliverable, and reuse that work nine times with minimal or no re-tooling?
The beautiful thing is this: going into the project, you don’t need to know what those nine uses are going to be. The key is to keep the life expectancy of the work in mind during the creation of it. This will help ensure that your efforts and energy are not disposable but rather scalable.