Wednesday Links: Survival Edition 5-29-13

I have been less inclined to read this week as I've mostly been glued to the TV, obsessively watching The Walking Dead. So I thought we'd change it up a bit this week and get our learn on visually. Right now, it's all about surviving.

Survival of the Start-up Business        Survival of Women-Owned Business in the Recession

I had a lot more fun making this little infographic collage than expected. I didn't even know my blogger could do this. Who knew?

Procrastination Tip - The Set-up

Dr. Seuss -

I am one of those people who hates finishing a task in one sitting. Despite the fact that this is the best use of my time and it gets a project out of my hair so I don't have to deal with it anymore, I almost feel incapable of doing it all at once. If I could brush my teeth in increments over the day, I'd do it. Alas, most things need to be done at least in a reasonable time frame.

That's why I created "the set-up". Most people are familiar with breaking down a large project into manageable chunks. However, it's okay for the most unmotivated of us to break it down into nano-bites that make people look at you funny. It still gets done. By breaking down tasks into such small pieces, every time I walk by them it's like tripping into the next stage or feeling like it's lame if you couldn't finish that tiny bit.

Let's take a real-world example that would be embarrassing if I hadn't been doing this for so long it feels normal now.

The Set-Up

Some people would look at a kitchen and say, "I'm gross; I need to clean the kitchen", then proceed to clean the kitchen. They are normal and they don't need this technique.

1. I look at a kitchen and analyze the problem. The dishes are so backed up that it's spread to everything and I can't function in the space anymore. Target locked. This would be enough for people to say, "let's wash some dishes." Hold up there, Speedy! No no no, that's not how we roll. Make sure you have all the stuff to wash them first, then have a sandwich. You'll need your strength.

2. Then sort out the dishes you really need to use out of the ones that are easiest to clean - path of least stenchiness. Then go watch a movie. It's okay - you did good, kid.

3. Once your movie is over and you want to make some tea, put on your kettle. You've got maybe 3 minutes before it's whistling dixie which is the appropriate amount of time to either load the dishwasher or hand-wash a drying rack full of dishes. As long as those dishes don't need a blow-torch, you're well on your way. Now grab your tea and go read.

4. When you're finished with your tea and the cup is dirty, head back to the kitchen to make another cup and put away dry dishes. Rinse. Repeat.

Procrastination Tip -

What "Normal" People Think Doesn't Make it Normal for You

For most people, this would be an exhausting process. Just get it done already! But if you apply this to the tasks that you hate so much you never accomplish them, then you're actually making a lot more headway than you might without it. This has worked on many a phone call to relatives, litterbox cleaning, and massive damage-control situations for me. It also stops you from hating yourself. I can get several things done at the same time with this as opposed to feeling like a bum by not doing it all at one time like everyone else seems to. Try it the next tax season and see how you feel after using this for a week instead of ripping through the paperwork and a bottle of wine. It can make a difference.

This is Your Takeaway

All in all, the real message is that life must go on. Whether you are adding special projects that you feel you can't accomplish or trying to maintain your daily life, find something that works for you and do it. If you get the results you want, it can't be wrong.

Wednesday Links 5-22-13

You've probably heard a lot that to sell a business or a product, you have to tell a story. A large part of business is just connecting with people. Maybe they don't need you today, but you need to stay in their minds for whenever they do need you. However, storytelling is starting to become a lost art. So let's unwind a bit with someone who enjoys telling them and have a little hump day laugh.

  • Continuing with telling a good story, try writing something that people are compelled to read and share to increase your blog views and market presence. In other words, write epic shit.
  • So much of how we judge not only companies, but also what to buy, relates to slightly superficial elements. We're shallow, people, we're shallow. So play to that and look at these 70+ Wordpress Themes for Business.
  • More importantly, tailor your story to your clients. To do this effectively, get inside their heads. Analyze these 4 Personality Types to see which best fits your client or group and see if you can give a more compelling argument as to why they need you. 

Tuesday Trivia

And it's already time for another Tuesday Trivia. I can't believe it's not just May, but nearly the end of it already! I'm wrapping up the final details on my registration for grad school! In honor of me getting a higher education, let's go academic on this session. 


1. The first MBA program was said to have started in 1881 at what school? Extra tip, this school was the country's (and supposedly world's) first business school.

2. What was the average total tuition for a top-20 business school in the 2011-2012 academic year?

3. How much student loan debt did the average grad student have in 2012?

Tuesday Trivia -

How good of a student were you? 


1. The Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

2. $102,355

3. $43,524

So now that I've depressed the hell out of myself with those numbers, I'll go look at my savings account for a while. 

Sources:, Forbes, Wall Street Journal

Amy's Baking Company - A Study of the id

According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, the id is the personality component made up of unconscious psychic energy that works to satisfy basic urges, needs, and desires. The id operates based on the pleasure principle, which demands immediate gratification of needs. When we are unable to immediately satisfy a need, tension results. The id relies on the primary process to temporarily relieve the tension ... creating a mental image either through daydreaming, fantasizing, hallucinating, or some other process. Source

Robert Oxton Bolt Quote re: Amy's Baking Company:

I am a firm believer that we all need our fantasies. They protect us and give us something to focus on when real life is too painful. But there is a natural stopping point to where this becomes destructive. I think that line may be hazy and different for everyone, but you will reach it nonetheless. Or you will plunge over that line into batshit crazy.

I am NEVER in the loop with things, but I happened to catch the edge of something viral on a blog that I frequent. If you haven't heard of the horrific Amy's Baking Company episode of Kitchen Nightmares then click here. For your own safety, I recommend only watching the first 8 minutes or so. I was emotionally stressed out while watching, but couldn't look away. Once I was finally done with the episode, I literally had to take a walk to calm down. Naturally, I ended up digging for more dirt because, you know, Americans do that.

The things I found were awful. Some people are just awful.

Now, this particular delusion had a good starting point. The restaurant was clean and attractive with a good-looking signage. But there was terror hidden in the wings. While I admire Samy's extreme devotion to his wife, some bitches be crazy. And while we have all deluded ourselves at some point - I'm still not sure life in general is not a delusion - some things are beyond the pale.

I wish that I had enough knowledge of psychology to give a good theory on why this happened (case in point, 90% of what I know about the id is from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), or give management or business tips that weren't obvious. Instead, I want to use this as a yard stick. On those days where the world really seems to be against you, when you feel like the worst version of yourself, when one of your fantasies comes crashing into your reality, just remember this: if you are not these people, you are still okay.

Humans are not all good or all evil. We are not all sane or insane. We are a muddy mess of all these things. But if you can rise above ABC Bakery levels of crazy, then your day is already better than you think.

Winks: Wednesday Links to help you grow - 5-15-13

I've been tearing through the True Facts videos on ZeFrank1's Youtube page recently. They are hilarious, but I reached the end and wanted more. So I dug around his videos and found this gem. I really wasn't expecting good advice, but hell, I've gotten good advice in weirder places before. I'm also a fan of good advice + humor from people who don't take themselves too seriously. So watch the video already. Also, here's some good reading for later.

And while we're on the subject of social media, how do you use Twitter? I post articles that I find interesting every day and I've found many of those articles following other Twitter users. How do you use it and do you have anyone you recommend following? Let me know in the comments. 

Tuesday Trivia

I'm having fun with these, so let's do another round. Fair warning: this might become a thing.

Test your money mettle.

1. If the top 25 billionaires in the US pitched in, they could pay off what percentage of the US national debt?

2. It is not legal for U.S. currency to bear the portrait of someone who is a what?
3. What are the ridges on the sides of coins are called?
4. To deter counterfeiting on newfangled, high-tech copiers, which security measure was added to $50 and $100 bills in 1990?
5. Coins and paper which must be accepted as payment for debts are known as legal:

Trivia Tuesday -

And now for the learning part - answers!

1. 50%
2. A known philanderer
3. Spilts or stokes.
4. Microprinting
5. Recourse.

Do you feel any smarter? No, I don't either. I think trivia is really interesting, but feel a bit dumber after I couldn't answer anything and won't remember it. But it's still fun!

Like a boss! Are you a boss or a leader?

I'm the boss!

I wanted to write an article centered around the difference between a boss and a leader. So often these two terms are confused, but the person most likely to confuse them is your boss! Sifting through led me to several well written articles already out there. So maybe the focus shouldn't be how to spot the difference in the world, but how to spot the difference in yourself. 

It's difficult to be objective about your own personality. The way you deal with people is rarely to be talked about in front of you, but your interactions with those who work for you are tantamount to your success and theirs. So in the absence of being able to candidly talk with your employees and short of doing a survey, here are a few ways to identify what their behavior says about you.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

The points below are indicative of being a boss instead of a leader. Check to see if you're that guy in the office.

People talk negatively about you in public. 

  • Ever have someone say that an employee gave you accolades at an event or to a client? When people speak about you and the good work you're doing unprompted, chances are they look at you as a leader. Obviously, negative speech would suggest that they view you as a boss, but saying nothing can just as likely mean the same thing. If no one is talking about you, maybe you're not doing anything worthy enough to be talked about.

They don't bring new ideas to the table.

  • Many times people will not speak up when they feel oppressed. This is especially true of those people who used to speak out and perform well, but settled into only asking for directions instead of brainstorming with you. When people are afraid to speak, it probably says you're too busy talking to listen or do what you want regardless as a default. When you have no one else to offer great ideas, then you've bull-dozed your greatest chance for success - innovative and invested employees. 

They don't silence the squeaky wheel.

  • Most offices will have at least one person who is complaining on a consistent basis. Are other people complaining about that person? Probably. But are they also disagreeing? If they complain about the attitude of that person, but agree with their arguments, then there's a problem. Also, if the only one negating them the guy kissing your ass, then you don't have a reliable source. 

Ask not what your employees can do for you...

  • You ask what your team can do for you instead of asking what you can do for them. When is the last time you went out of your way to help an employee or asked what you can do to make their job easier? If it's more likely that you only ask for results from them and nothing else, your not holding up your end of the deal.

Everyone is your secretary.

  • Employees spend more time doing what you don't want to or don't have the time to do instead of their own jobs. If you are the person in the office always asking others to make copies, schedule phone calls, or asking last minute favors, then you're the boss. You're no longer working for the good of the company as a whole and instead just having them work for you.

Thanks giving is just a holiday. 

  • You're probably smart enough to know that taking credit for someone else's work or idea is bad form. But if your good ideas are yours and someone else's becomes "the company's", then it's still the same thing. Letting people know both privately and publicly how much you value their work is something a leader does to encourage growth, team building, and goodwill. 

You're only accountable to your superiors.

  • Whether your superiors are your own boss or your board members if you're not answering to your employees or your community, then your not thinking about their needs. Like a boss. Leaders realize they're not the only fish in the pond and work to upgrade the whole ecosystem, not just pimp out an aquarium. 

Get a clue!

There are numerous ways to work towards becoming more of a leader if that's important to you. It could include management counseling, courses, or training, or just digging through a lot of good reading. Let me recommend starting with a few below.

So what are the other differences in a boss and a leader? What have I missed?

Winks 5-8-13

Winks are Wednesday link round-ups of all my favorite reading over the last week to get you over your mid-week slump. Check out the links below for some great reading about improving yourself and your business.

Recently, I've been delving into the world of InDesign at work, trying to figure out how it works and make mini how-to's to get the marketing department up to speed quickly. As I was shuffling through the beginning pages of an old manual, I realized that this would be a great skill for a resume.

In fact, upon review I had several systems under my belt that I had been using for years - things that I have seen employers ask for specifically on job applications. It reminded me that I needed to update my resume by removing irrelevant items and replacing it with a skills section. Not only does my resume look better and more accuratley show my knowledge base, but I also reminded myself that I am more than capable of learning new programs quickly to benefit myself and my co-workers. What are you doing that shows your skills in a new light?

Trivia Tuesday

Let's play another Trivia Tuesday, shall we? 

Test your money mettle.

1. When economists use the term ''debasement,'' they refer to what?
2. All paper money has imprinted on its face an initial and a letter that indicates its ''birthplace.'' Which historic city can claim bragging rights to number ''1,'' letter ''A''?
3. Most of the currency, or currency-related paper, in circulation in the United States is in the form of what?
4. If you have what's colloquially referred to as a ''C-note,'' you sing for your ____. 
5. Who makes the final decision as to whose portrait appears on our currency?

Trivia Tuesday -

And now for the answers. Again, I didn't come close on any of these. Maybe you can lord over me with your giant brain. If not, come join me at the kid's table!

1. The reduction in coins' precious metals.
2. Boston
3. Federal Reserve notes
4. Supper
5. The Vice President 

Did you get any right? I sure as hell didn't, but maybe I'll remember these for the next party where I have to impress people.


Using Eventbrite for Professional Development

Sometimes it's the light bulb moments that make you think you're a rock-star that really just let you know how dumb you normally are. We get so stuck in our routines that it's hard to see past the self-imposed rules we've created around a ritual. Especially for those tools you use at work, it's easy to see why many people can't translate that into using them at home for themselves.

Eventbrite Homepage -

Take Eventbrite. This is an online tool that almost any event planner has used at one time or another. Once you create an account, you are just a couple steps away from planning the arrangement, selecting the number of tickets, and tracking sign-ups all in the same space. Plus, if your event is free, then so is the service. It's a great way to streamline your process.

I'm so used to being on the back end and arranging events that I couldn't see the focus of why this was a good tool. The way many people use it is this: once your event is planned, e-mail this link to your database and use that as your event hub central. Do you know what Eventbrite thinks it's selling point is? "If it's happening out there you'll find it here. Browse 1000s of events. Or create your own events and sell tickets right here." Yep. First and foremost, it is a tool to find cultural and professional activities wherever you go.

Instead of immediately logging in to create an event, all I had to do was spend 5 seconds on the front page and read the tagline. "Hey, self! Let's browse my area!" I found library events, books signings, networking events, women's groups, and training courses - more than I would have imagined - all in my area. All of them had instructions on who was allowed to sign up, if the event was free, addresses, and contact information if you needed to ask further questions. Not sure if you can join in? Just ask.

For all the times I have looked for trainings in my area, I never thought to go to the most obvious place. Funny thing is, neither did anyone else I asked. Sometimes you just have to open your eyes in a new light. What else have you been using that can benefit you if you use it in a different way?

Winks 5-4-13

Winks are Wednesday link round-ups for relevant reading to get you over your mid-week slump. Check out the links below for some great reading about improving yourself and your business.

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