Kickstarter is Brilliant: Leebre

I wanted to highlight some of the great companies blooming at Kickstarter:

Leebre.org, independent online publishing needs $407 to get their project launched:
Leebre.org is a nonprofit that supplies book lovers with free alternative novels and short stories, and provides authors an independent way to find audiences and support the causes that they love.

From the Founder, Michael Bethencourt:

We need your help to get Leebre off the ground. Check out the Leebre Kickstarter page for more information on Leebre, and a video that showcases a few of Leebre’s coolest features.We only have 4 days left to reach our Kickstarter goal. We’ve almost reached our goal, but we also don’t have much time left, so these last 4 days are crucial to the project. Please keep on spreading the word!
We’re counting on you guys. The most important aspect in getting a
community project off the ground is, well, the community. The most
important aspect of getting the word out is simply building a
community of readers and writers, so it’ll be an active website even
during the initial beta.

Kickstarter: http://kck.st/tVio5Q
Twitter: @LeebreTeam
Project blog: http://leebre.blogspot.com/

Second, the Leebre Beta. Do you want an exact date? I’d give you one,
but there’s a chance I’d be wrong. Instead, I’ll answer: very soon! If
the Kickstarter is successful, the private beta will launch in
February, as promised, and you’ll get to play around with the first
version of the site within a month.

The One for One Movement

I’ve started a discussion group on LinkedIn around a topic near to my passions- The early One for One movement. I believe we owe the birth of this idea to TOMS shoes but since then I’ve seen several other companies rise to the occasion in all different categories.

Come on over to the LinkedIn group and share your thoughts!

One for One Philanthropy

Who Wins When Marketing Strategy Conflicts With Sales Goals?

One hint- rhymes with whales. But if we were to turn that answer to Marketing, it would be because those marketing mavens have found a way to turn short term sales into lifetime customers. We may not remember when we started thinking of our customers as acquisitions but it’s time we stopped. We have the tools now to hear consumers individually and broadly- partner with them, create a two way conversation, apply their feedback, understand their current needs, solve their future needs.

The initial abrasion of changing strategies is a challenge and might cause you to miss some KPIs. Now, if you’re a public company and you miss your short term goals (earnings), like Apple did this week, you’ll drop $22 points and have the worst few weeks of your life. If you’re not public, the turbulence is easier braved if you’ve recruited stakeholders to see and implement your vision. You’ll be everyone’s favorite leader again when revenues catch up and build quarter after quarter.

Overcoming the short term reactions and revising goals is all part of change and course correction. It starts with a well-formed focal point on the horizon, followed by specific and tangible goals. And if you don’t want to be the only one headed toward that goal, devising a multi-pronged internal communications plan is key.

Lifetime customers are a win for Marketing and Sales, of course. It’s also a win for the customer.

The Tall Poppy

Being different. In some countries it’s undesirable. I use to work for an Australian company and we’d hear mention of Tall Poppy Syndrome. Australia has changed greatly over the last decade but Tall Poppy use to be part of the culture. I had to ask when I first heard it too. The term originated with Aristotle, that’s how old it is. The idea is that a uniform field of poppies is ideal and the ones that are taller than the rest should be pulled. The official term is actually intended to be pejorative.

I feel like this Tall Poppy sometimes- at least I hope I am. Is that odd?

So how is it relevant in this day and age?

I see this in corporate contexts. I’m a passionate person – passionate about my industry and my work ethic. I thrive on making educated leaps, being a first mover, and persistence. I believe that if you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried hard enough. (You just don’t want to fail too badly). And because of this, I stick out. In an environment that favors diplomacy and subtlety, you don’t do well being celebratory, insistent, disappointed, or proud. Some would say that until you reach a certain level you’re best to just tone it down. (It’s the opposite in the start-up environment. The more personally invested you are, the better.)

I’ve worked with my share of battle-worn colleagues who have been put in one box on the org chart and then moved to another branch and the next year, back again. And with the economic downturn these are the lucky ones to have survived numerous waves of lay offs. It can’t be blamed on the culture of tan cubicles and layers of management, though I would like to because cubicles are no fun. The reason is – large companies are like ships and they must keep their eye on the horizon. Their direction is long distance and long term.

My field of Internet Marketing is constantly reinventing itself and it excites me to no end! So being housed inside of a 40k person company has been such a juxtaposition of large and nimble. Working in the corporate environment has made me a better professional and employee. I don’t want to lose the Tall Poppy in me, that entrepreneur. I’m not going to change the way corporations work but I’ve come to understand the perspective. Corporations are built for slow, steady progression. But even though we invest ourselves in our work, sometimes at our own personal expense, corporations manage in thousands not by individuals. The loyalty and passion you invest has to be rewarding to you, the employee.

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Love What You Do

If you love what you do, you’re passion propels you forward. You find yourself so engrossed in the work that 1pm comes and goes and you finally remember that you forgot to eat lunch.

The pathways in your brain are firing and if you took a minute to listen to your body you’d feel your heart rate dancing the samba. And success follows.

So how do we get to that nirvana? First, you should realize that not everyday will be like this. There’s going to be one day you have to be the heavy and lay down the law with someone, and another day that is filled with frustrating tasks that have to get done. And yes, there may even be a day where you thought you were going in the right direction and you have to back track.

It’s important to love your everyday. But it’s more important to love the direction you are going in. You can make the most meticulous plans but keep some flexibility in there for diversions, for research, for instincts. Eye the horizon and not your feet.

(Get out the crackers, I’m about to lay on some cheese…) And as Terry the yoga teacher in Daytona Beach quoted, “It’s the journey y’all”. So love your journey and success will come.