thought-leadership

Trends Lab Weekly: Your Best Content Strategy is Thought Leadership

Trends Lab Weekly: Your Best Content Strategy is Thought Leadership

By Geoffrey Colon, Vice President, Social@Ogilvy / @djgeoffe / futuristlab.tumblr.com

So many people I have spoken to as of late complain about the term “thought leadership.” They are always asking, “what does it really mean and where does it get you?” B2B companies have known about this terminology for almost two decades and it has led to a lot of their content creation. In the B2B space, companies don’t make on-the-fly purchase decisions. You just can’t when you’re looking to overhaul your server systems at $4 million a pop. So you read up on what experts have to say on the subject. Maybe watch them give a speech or follow their Twitter feed to see what they are curating. These experts have been given names including influencers, champions, advocates, guru or even what I call myself, Subject Matter Expert or SME for short.

Why should your business be doing thought leadership? And who should do it? Well, to say it in short, everyone. Because thought leaders should be your entire organization. Not simply those at the top of the company. The best way for your company to transform is to crowdsource and collaborate as much as possible. Make everyone a part of the process in the new way of thinking about business. The other reason is thought leadership is your best content strategy. People want to feel like a company is larger than simply selling software or soda. They want to identify with it as a transformer of culture or the world at large. So here are five reasons on how to turn thought leadership into content. Have any ideas of your own? Feel free to join the conversation. After all, thought leadership means little if there isn’t a larger conversation around the subject.

1.     There is a lack of thought leadership in the world. Only 30% of companies use it now. That’s a small figure. And of those an even smaller percentage use social to amplify this thinking. So if you write it or video record it, amplify it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, etc. People enjoy this thinking and want to share it.

The largest return that a company can generate comes from not just displaying expertise but having superior services that help your clients. Thought leadership is that inroad to a potential or current client saying, “This is exactly what we want. Thinkers who can also act on that thinking and execute it for us into a meaningful solution.“ But they can’t get turned onto this thinking unless they actually see it. And where they see it is on your social channel.

People are drawn into thought leadership because it’s editorial made for sharing. Content comes in all sizes and shapes but if it’s a passive piece of content will it reverberate within your community? Thought leadership looks to get a rise out of people. If it doesn’t it’s not leadership. The reason being is thought leadership is innovative, ahead of the curve and sets a bold new path where no one has gone before. That meets resistance from systems that don’t want to bend to change. And with that resistance comes conversation around the topic. And from conversation, sharing. And from sharing, invitations extending to more people to discuss your POV on the issue, subject, category, product, initiative, etc.

Thought leadership comes in many shapes and sizes. Many think it’s still a boring white paper. But the best is now video sermons, Tweetchats, Q&As, infographics and more. The way you serve up your thought leadership is packaged as content. It’s not simply words on a paper.

You become the conversation piece. Thought leaders don’t simply publish then sit back and move onto the next piece of content creation. Nor do those who consume such content not have an opinion. Content should be engaging. Thought leadership has this built-in so it instigates people to react. It’s a modern day futbol match. There are always two sides. One side may react in many ways generating additional reactive content that keeps your brand or company as the focal centerpiece around the topic. And when people are talking about the topic that you generated within a social environment, you’re creating a level of engagement that equates to a possible advocate and an advocate that equates to a potential lead.

Geoffrey Colon is Vice President of Social@Ogilvy and editor of the Futurist Lab on Tumblr. He also tweets @djgeoffe

atlantablackstar.com
Is Africa's Economy Under the Threat of Recolonization? - Atlanta Black Star

Freeing the economies of Africa from dependence on commodity exports remains a serious challenge. This present crop of African leaders emerging from democratic struggles have attempted to better manage their economies in a macroeconomic sense.

For example, in the recent global economic crisis, African economies grew positively and were less hit by the global financial crisis. During the crisis, the performance of macroeconomic fundamentals such as growth, inflation and unemployment were relatively satisfactory. Of course, most of the African economies do not have sophisticated financial systems, hence their partial insulation from the global crisis.

All recent forecasts show that economies of Africa are experiencing macroeconomic stability, reflecting moderate inflation and robust growth. Ethiopia has a growth rate of 7.2 per cent, Nigeria 6.5 per cent with single digit inflation, and South Africa about 5 per cent. Sub-Sahara Africa was projected to grow by about 5.2 per cent in 2013 and 5.8 per cent in 2014. SSA economies are now the destination for new investors, especially in infrastructure.

A few years ago, the World Bank published: Can Africa Claim the 21st Century? Several scholars and those interested in Africa’s development have argued that Africa would be the next continent to leapfrog into sustained development. The austerity in the economies of Europe has resulted in the search for new markets and Africa is the continent to explore and exploit. Even the Portuguese who destroyed the economies of their former colonies, have returned to Angola, Mozambique and others to invest and search for employment.

The new entrants from Asia, particularly China, have massive investments in Africa. Are they properly engaged by our leaders and policymakers? African leaders, policy-makers and technocrats must negotiate with these new investors bearing in mind that despite the macroeconomic stability and satisfactory growth, the African economy is suffering from very high rate of unemployment (25 percent),especially among the youths, extreme poverty and widening inequality – unprecedented in the last 20 years.

These ”new” investors are not charity organizations, but are interested in not just earning high returns for their investments but also in growing their austerity-stricken economies in Europe. Today’s African leaders must work aggressively towards economic emancipation so that 25 years from today, Africa would be a developed, modern and knowledge-based continent with poverty at its barest minimum.

By Akpan- H. Ekpo a Professor of Economics, is Director-General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management

Entrepreneurs should start with a hypothesis and then go out and get feedback on their idea. “Don’t stop or get paralyzed when you get your first ‘no,’ but listen to the underlying reasons,” advises CEO of executive talent agency Well-Connected Leader Denise Brosseau (MBA ’93). http://stnfd.biz/la2zx

In this video, Brosseau also shares tips on how to become a thought leader: http://stnfd.biz/la2BT

allafrica.com
Africa: Speaking Truth to Power Not Easy for African Think Tanks

Analysis

At the opening of the first African Regional Think Tanks Summit in Irene, Pretoria earlier this week, renowned Cameroonian-born scholar Achille Mbembe described Africa as ‘the epicentre of global change.’

He added, however, that this is not fully acknowledged because of the way the continent is portrayed.

‘This [Africa] is where the most defining challenges of our times are being played out - sometimes with potentially global consequences and signification, and with increasing urgency,’ said Mbembe, a member of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand. Stereotypes continue to plague thinking about Africa.

‘African problems are persistently seen as problems that are happening elsewhere, from a place that is lagging behind,’ said Mbembe, who is known, among others, for his 2001 book On the Postcolony.

He proposes a ‘fundamental change of perspective,’ saying that researchers in Africa should not only focus on problem-solving, but also deliver critical analysis and interpretation that will be relevant to those most affected by policies. He describes this as, ‘Producing the kind of knowledge that gives a voice to the voiceless.’

So, who should produce this knowledge?

And to what extent can such knowledge be truly Africa-centred if donors from outside the continent fund so many African research institutions and think tanks?

On a continent rife with authoritarian regimes, the strengthening of think tanks - similar to the creation of independent media - is a high-stakes and highly political issue.

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by David Ning, personal finance blogger

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David Ning is an entrepreneur who built a business helping people achieve financial freedom through his website MoneyNing.com. And is a regular contributor to the American Express Tumblr community. 

Leading By Thought Leadership

Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear Bill Taylor speak. Taylor is the founding editor of Fast Company and the author of Practically Radical. He said something that crystalized a great deal of thinking I have been doing about thought leadership. He said, along with a great many other smart things, the following:

The only sustainable leadership is thought leadership.

Thought leadership is generally construed as an element of marketing, and I believe that is a mistake. Instead, thought leadership should be approached as an aspect of innovation and culture, and not as a means to generate leads or to burnish brands.

As a consequence, most of what we read about thought leadership is wrong. While there are some who realize that thought leadership needs to be strategic ( see The Truth About Thought Leadership), most conflate thought leadership with content marketing. But the latter is a hollowed-out shell, one that puts an end result – publishing posts, articles, or reports – ahead of the work that must precede the writing.

We need to put the thinking back into thought leadership.

We need to put the thinking back into thought leadership.

Instead of marketing folks operating like editors at Buzzfeed, hoping for catchy headlines that lead to clicks, companies need to create initiatives that explore the far boundaries of their industries, to research and examine new methods, designs, and theories that will impact their products and services, and most importantly, the impact that those innovations will have on customers.

Rather than some slapdash, second rate journalism, companies need to invest in thinking about the near future, constructing hypotheses derived from a hybrid of research and directed innovation.

I think of this as an applied futurism. Not science fiction, but winnowing out possible futures and working through their implications. 

This deep thought leadership – when undertaken in this fashion, as opposed to the shallow content marketing sort of thought leadership – leads inexorably to new products, services, and new applications for existing ones, when the company culture is committed to following those leads.

And the leadership in the market, and the world at large,  comes when others – partners, customers, and competitors – are exposed to the actions that the company takes, with communication being one necessary aspect of that.

Taylor was a keynote at Dassault Systemes’ North American 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM this week, and I attended to learn more about the company and its products. But I came away with a different appreciation, perhaps framed by Taylor’s remarks, which were prescient. Because it revealed a company that I knew only from afar that is clearly involved in this sort of deep thought leadership.

Dassault Systemes has a long history, starting with 3D modeling for aerospace, and through many iterations, the company became a leader in product lifecycle management, and advanced 3D modeling of the world’s most complex designed objects, like jet aircraft, assembly lines, mining, and myriad other industries.

But the company has reimagined itself as an advocate for simulating and modeling the most complex systems imaginable, which are not objects like satellites, swiss watches, or drones, but living things. 

Dassault Systemes has been working for some time on the Living Heart project, a simulation of the human heart. The heart is completely modeled in 3D with Dassault’s many tools, including the fine-grained modeling of the physical properties of the muscles, valves, and electrical activation.

the Living Heart simulation

The company announced a major research agreement with the FDA:

Dassault Systèmes has signed a five-year collaborative research agreement with the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which will initially target the development of testing paradigms for the insertion, placement and performance of pacemaker leads and other cardiovascular devices used to treat heart disease.

Using a technology crowdsourcing model that protects the intellectual property of each member, yet enables all to share the outcome, the “Living Heart Project” is being developed closely with leading cardiologists, medical device companies and academic researchers who participate in the evaluation of the simulated heart model’s use in testing medical devices, improving clinical diagnosis and guiding pre-surgical planning.

The 30 contributing member organizations, which include more than 100 cardiovascular specialists from across research, industry and medicine, have access to the heart simulator for testing, enabling the acceleration of the program via crowdsourcing. The researchers have teamed with the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) with the goal of accelerating the approval process of medical devices while spurring innovation, improving patient reliability and reducing costs. The Project has already been used to validate the efficacy of a novel valve assist device prior to insertion in a real patient and understand the progression of heart disease.

This is thought leadership at the leading edge of innovation in medical research, and innovative in several ways. First, in the application of advanced simulation and 3D visualization technology in the biomedical arena, and in the crowdsourcing approach being used, to allow for the participants to share progress while retaining intellectual property rights to their contributions.

My friend Daniel Rasmus once wrote

Thought leadership should be an entry point to a relationship. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.

Dassault Systemes’ Living Heart project has created a broad platform for creating relationships between the company and the many participants involved, like the FDA. And the possibilities that are indicated are certainly inspiring. 

Ask yourself if your approach to thought leadership gets out ahead of the near future like Living Heart does. There is no other sustainable leadership than this, and your company may have to be realigned around that powerful insight.

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Jessamyn Rodriguez started Hot Bread Kitchen out of her home kitchen to address workforce inequity in the food industry.

As the only food incubator in NYC that priorities minority applicants, Hot Bread Kitchen is fostering a new vision for our city’s diverse food culture.

In this month’s Thinking Ahead, Jessamyn shares more about the edifying impact food can have. Read it here

Join the conversation! Let us know on Twitter how your favorite food business reflects NYC’s diversity; tag your response with #ThinkingAheadNYC.

Watch on takingoff.delta.com

Presenting Innovation Class

By: Taking Off

Welcome to Innovation Class, our mentoring program at 35K feet! We’re using time up in the air to connect an innovator of today with a leader of tomorrow. Could YOU be next to sit beside a great mind and mentor? Click here for more details!

youtube

Solid genre parody of TED talks.

“Let’s look at a picture of the planet for no reason.”

When the Time Comes to Innovate…Don’t Use EVALUATION Approaches for EXPLORATION Needs

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”  His point was - if you want to create new ideas, you can’t solely rely on those conventional and predictable sources for inspiration and stimuli, such as your customers.

Unfortunately, when the time comes to innovate, many brands and companies have been so brainwashed by the ridiculous notion that “the target audience and core consumer know all,” they forget all about Mr. Ford’s quote (and the lesson behind it) and they end up enlisting those (predictable) sources to not only evaluate new ideas, but to explore for them as well.

As you kick-off your innovation process, stop and remind yourself that exploration and evaluation are two completely separate innovation objectives that require different sources. 

When you are EXPLORING for new ideas, go beyond your target audience and core customers and adopt an open innovation/co-creation model that enables the input of lots of diverse perspectives. In other words, tap into unexpected, unconventional and unorthodox individuals from well beyond your target customer base. Their input will open up a universe of creativity, new ideas and potential for your brand or project. 

Once you’ve created the ideas, then go and enlist your target audience and core customers to help you EVALUATE them (if you really feel you need their “stamp of approval”).

Money talk

The role of money in our day-to-day lives has changed with far reaching impacts for both individuals and businesses.

A proliferation of new customer-centric services, business models and systems – enabled by new technologies – are changing the way we think about money and creating new forms of value.

How might these changes affect the role and character of brands in the financial sector and beyond?

We are conducting a series of global initiatives to understand what these changes mean. We’re inviting leaders from established financial institutions, disruptive start-ups, economists and other thought leaders  to build a shared picture of the Future of Money. 

Join us in San Francisco on 22 July, or in London on 18 September

If you can’t join us watch out for our report, which will share the findings from each region, creating a global picture of the shifts and opportunities that changes in money presents.

We are pleased to introduce Thinking Ahead, a digital consortium of thought leadership posts from city leaders and influencers across key sectors and neighborhoods to foster dialogue around the issues impacting our city.

What does the future of New York City hold? What issues are important to you? Let us know! We’ll share our first post on Thursday. In the meantime, read more here.

The value of personal brand building

Photo: A St. Party’s Day interview. Get out there. It’s worth your time.

Personal brand building is time consuming, and it can be expensive. As any business owner knows, time is money, and this is a non-revenue-generating exercise. 

But I continue to invest in it. Why? For six reasons:

1. It can give you instant credibility in the market. If you have good ideas and you can express them well, you can establish yourself online as a thought leader in your industry in fairly short order. It also enables you to fight age discrimination. If you’re a Gen Y entrepreneur and you manage to leverage your brand to gain media exposure, it’s a stamp of approval for older generations.

2. I’ve been fortunate to have achieved success as a business owner, and I like to give back to students and the entrepreneurial community. Exposure from personal branding can lead to speaking gigs, which are a great way to connect with up-and-comers.

3. I’ve talked a lot in the past about the value of networking. Being “out there” not just in person but online keeps you top of mind with your network.

4. Regular personal branding efforts introduces you to potential new contacts, who can come from anywhere around the world.

5. Personal branding gives you a leg up on the competition when you apply for awards. And every time you win, or even when you crack a list of finalists, it gains you valuable attention (not to mention it improves your elevator pitch along the way).

6. Once you have a reputation as a thought leader, it’s easier to stimulate change at all levels.

Do you hear a voice in your head saying “I don’t have time for this?” Give that head a shake and reconsider. 

UX Is More Than Tricks and Meetings

If you have been following this blog for a while, you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting as many links as I used to. There are two reasons for that.


The first reason: I have been working on my book with O’Reilly. UX for Beginners. For the last six months I have used a lot more of my free time to write and edit, rather than reading and posting what other people have written and edited.

The final book should be available in a few weeks.

But that’s not the point of this article. 

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The Second Reason: I just haven’t found as many good articles about UX design lately.

One of the “rules” I have for myself on this blog, is that I want it to be more useful than philosophical, but also that you should learn how to think about UX design when you read a post here.

Not just little tips and tricks.

Not big rants about the importance of UX in the universe (it’s #3, after solar radiation and Justin Bieber).

Not how you’re a bad person if you don’t do UX.

And not about the challenges that every professional faces in a big company (”3 things you should ask yourself after every meeting…”).

But lately that is almost everything I have found.

Or just complete bullshit, like most of the articles on Creative Bloq.

What about people that just want to know more about actually designing stuff?

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These are the UX topics I can see on Twitter right now:

How to build a UX team for a re-design.

How to manage client expectations about delivering on time.

How to get people to offer you jobs.

How to design your portfolio for a manager.

And so many “10 ways to…” lists that it’s hard to keep up.

Considering how much we talk about empathy, you would think there would be more focus on what designers need to know to design, rather than UX-related opinion columns.

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Thought leaders are like power users: they are the minority & the majority.

There are WAY more junior designers and beginners than senior designers and managers. Way, way, way more. That’s why I write for them so much.

Junior designers and beginners also need to know a lot more, because they don’t have much experience. And everybody can use a refresher sometimes!

But the majority of articles are written by thought-leader types (or thought-leader wannabes, like on Creative Bloq). Just like the majority of content on a site will be produced by the power users.

It’s totally fine if thought leaders write articles, of course, they have more to say, and bigger audiences. The problem is that they are writing articles for other senior people.

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Influential UXers: Teach more design.

I am sure someone is going to jump in here and say “learning to build consensus with stakeholders IS part of design!”

Fuck that. I’m calling bullshit. And swearing a lot for emphasis.

I dare all the senior designers to talk about how they design things, rather than how they sell design in their company.

Any time influential thought-leaders start talking about practical design skills, it becomes a trend. Mobile-first design. Content-first design. Responsive design. Data-driven design. Peanut-butter-first design. Even UX itself was originally “user-centered design” — a new idea that caught on and became an industry.

We need more of that.

Act Like an Architect, Think Like an Artist: Lessons for Female Entrepreneurs Part 3

“An effort made for the happiness of others lifts above ourselves.”

- Lydia Child

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

- Colin Powell

Part 3: Put in Effort to Prepare, Show Results Effortlessly

In this series of blogposts I’m writing this month,  I’ve been exploring the different aspects and character traits of successful, meaningful entrepreneurship from two seemingly opposing viewpoints; architecture and artistry. The NICE Initiative/NICE Reboot book I wrote,  IS all about taking diametrically opposite perspectives and concepts, and redefining them in a more holistic and balanced manner. It is a call to arms for women thinking there is a “right time” to be an entrepreneur! That’s a myth!

It's a GREAT time to become an entrepreneur, either right away when finished school, or by pursuing a second revenue stream! Women in particular are unknowingly or knowingly positioning themselves to be linchpins, based on our contributions to the changing current economic/political/social climates (think of the bipartisan female senators who ended the government shutdown:)  and the unique skill set and mindset we “bring to the table”. Isolationist innovation is out, and collaborative synergy is in; something women intuitively understand and hone. 

It would help if we were collectively more tech savvy. I wrote about that in my upcoming book and in my last post here on Tumblr. It would certainly help if we had more government support re: venture capital and healthcare insurance options that were actually viable. I wrote about that in my latest article for The Huffington Post, as a “political wish list” for female entrepreneurs. You can read it here. There are many paths to successful female entrepreneurship, no matter which arena you are in.

Success is predicated on many things, but especially on the effort one puts into achieving it. But the perception of success hinges on one thing; attitude. The attitude and persona a person presents to the world, when showing that he/she “pulled it off”. Being human requires oxymoronic behavior; the acceptance of the yin/yang, push/pull of our mind/heart and body/soul. Being human, and a self-actualized individual for that matter, requires having attitude (in a good way:). One that’s based on our Theory of Mind, actions, learned skills, and impressions of the world around us.

Part of that attitude is having self confidence and simultaneous hubris. Part of that is attitude’s a result of decisive decision making protocols and simultaneous flexibility. Part of that attitude is demonstrated by successfully balancing the display of our inner gears at work, in all its mess, with the presentation of the finished product, in all its glory. 

It would definitely help professionally, if we women would truly know when to really put in the effort and show it, and when to show results effortlessly.

What makes up the DNA of the attitude of a successful female entrepreneur? After careful observation, as both a speech therapist/human behaviorist and an entrepreneur, I would like to provide 3 answers and two stories…….

1. Good decision making skills. Architects plot a course of action and stick to the plan….until it stops working for them. On Wednesday evening 11/6/13, I attended a cool Manhattan networking event by excellent motivational speaker/coach/fellow female entrepreneur Jeanne Stafford. it was my first one, and I was very impressed! Different, interesting, hard working, and intelligent people from different walks of life came together to learn, share, and be inspired. Amongst us was a real estate/mortgage broker who lives on a sailboat at the marina, a book publisher, a female television producer for either a news or sports channel (I forget), an emergency room nurse, a lawyer for the entertainment industry, a former public relations consultant for the Coca Cola Company who also practiced politics, a former security expert for the UN and current security consultant named Mike McCann, and Dan McSweeney, the managing director for the SS United States Redevelopment Project. His decision, to join a nonprofit group attempting to turn an old ocean liner into a historic site and hotel in NY, is a great example of the entrepreneurial architecture/artistry attitude and balance I am writing about here on Tumblr. 

We all converged inside the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, which houses the Society of Illustrators. Jeanne Stafford, the host,  spoke about the power of taking action, and the power of having a better decision making process. She then cleverly asked people to introduce themselves while rating their own decision making ability, and sharing a decision that changed their professional lives. You can download the PDF of her Decision Making Tips, stored in my website’s *FREE* PDF bin, here

2. Good communication skills. Artists convey their inner landscape through their actions, while giving others opportunities to add layers and “join the dance”. What also impressed me at that gathering was the delicate balance between socializing and networking that everyone engaged in. Networking is an art, and a skill that CAN be honed, like dancing, like pottery, like writing. Networking involves unleashing your inner creativity and harnessing your outer curiosity. How? Communication! Tap into your memory banks and inner landscape i.e. Theory of Mind! Recall places and ideas you experienced or read about!  Use humor to “share a moment”! Find common ground! Ask interesting questions! This recent article from Entrepreneur on networking techniques can help. 

3. Good public speaking skills. Architects and artists both put in lots of effort to turn their ideas into reality, but one is focused on details, and one is focused on creative flow. A successful speaker is focused on both. Thought leadership is conveyed to people through the written word in books, blogs, papers, and social technology forums, and in keynote speeches delivered at events, conferences, and trade shows. I’m sure Jeanne spent countless hours preparing for her event, going over details, her opening/closing remarks and speech, and writing that deceptively simple, eloquent handout she provided. But she made it look effortless.

Her speech was a ballet of personal details and practical takeaways. She imbued both architecture and artistry in her event and speech, from which we can all learn. You CAN improve your public speaking skills. You CAN more effortlessly highlight your agenda/platform, which you put SO much effort into creating and executing. Brian Halligan, CEO and cofounder of Hubspot, and co-author of the seminal book Inbound Marketing, recently wrote about giving great speeches.  Denise Brosseau, author of the upcoming book “Ready to Be a Thought Leader?” also shared  practical tips that can help. I have read the “Hubspot bible” and included it in my book’s reading list. I have added Brosseau’s soon to be published book to my Amazon Wish List and Amazon Collection of current books on my radar, that I plan on getting to. I’ll hopefully blog about it one day too.

I still remember being intrigued when “accidentally” finding a fantastic book about business strategy in 2000, and reading in detail about the potential of intellectual property rights as a source of revenue. I am referring to Rich Dad Poor Dad, by guru Robert Kiyosaki. He wrote this ground breaking book before the iPod and iTunes Store launched. Before the Apple™ App Store became the behemoth it is. Before the tech revolution intersected with the entrepreneur revolution. Before the movement to grow female entrepreneurship fully started.

It wasn’t until my best friend and mentor was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, and we both heard Kiyosaki speak in 2010, hearing his “creative flow” and how he views the Big Picture re: business trends, that something inside me “clicked” and I felt compelled to start my own company. I decided to take my copious notes (before the days of iCloud, Evernote, Pocket, and Google Drive:) and write a manuscript. About how to teach social skills to young children with Autism/special needs,  in a more holistic, sequential, and developmental fashion. I then took that manuscript, copyrighted it,  trademarked my technique, and created my Socially Speaking™ Program and educational seminars. I took it on the road and have been lecturing about it around North America for the past 3 years. You can learn more about it here.  

Kiyosaki’s book and speech also motivated me to develop and sell my customizable, developmental, user-friendly behavioral screener assessment Socially Speaking™ iPad App in iTunes. That made me a bona fide ed-tech entrepreneur, and a fan and student of the lean startup movement and paradigm made popular by the likes of Steve Blank , author of the game changing Four Steps to the Epiphany, and Eric Reis, author of The Lean Startup. I highly recommend that bootstrapping entrepreneurs familiarize themselves with both books and the overall  approach, especially the concept of a Minimally Viable Product (MVP). That’s what my App really is! 

Architecture and artistry are synthesized when an entrepreneur provides both thought leadership and disruptive innovation. To do so, one needs to be a visionary, in both thought and deed. To read what I wrote about that, access my latest post for my Wordpress blog. Generating powerful speeches that add value, and visionary ideas that foster them in others, takes effort and attitude. Producing an MVP, whether tangible like my App, or intangible like my speaking services, both of which provides creative solutions to a problem, are byproducts of one’s attitude and effort.

Jeanne Stafford knows this. I have learned this. So can you. It begins with being/becoming a more authentic version of yourself and presenting it to the world in a genuine, creative, and helpful manner. Through speeches at public venues. Through social technology platforms such as blogs. Through workplaces and spaces, and professional networking forums.  This article by Laurie Erdman entitled Let Your Freak Flag Fly-At Work? really resonated with me. It continues with engaging in specific behaviors that change your thought patterns and change your perceptions of reality and how you interact with others around you. This video on the power of awe, really resonated with me too. 

At the end of the day, one needs to devote time and effort to accrue experience, tech savvy, and hone skills in a chosen field of study. But it the balancing act with our humanity, our ability to project our inner landscape, change our attitude, and combine both architecture and artistry in our daily routines and workflows, that really matters. 

I hope your endeavors and collective efforts lead to the happiness of others, and to the ongoing redefinition of your own inner and outer attitudes and artistry. 

Best,

Penina