February 12, 2010

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principles of contribution Watch "principles of contribution" on Vimeo Transcript: In our last post we promised a follow up for making your contribution social media ready. We have a few basic principles that if followed can help your content avoid being ignored and capture the attention of your second and third circles. The first of these principles is to lead with passion. Find something you are passionate about and pursue it. We see so many people using social media just for the sake of using the technology or for shameless self promotion. If you aren't passionate about your work it will show in the quality. If you want your contribution to capture attention, put your heart and time into it, there are no shortcuts. The next principle is possibly the most important. Find a niche, become the expert, and dominate that niche. Stop trying to contribute content, products, or services that attempt to meet everyone's needs while sacrificing what makes you unique. We see so many round pegs trying to fit in triangle, star, and square, holes instead of embracing the fact that their passion, experience, and knowledge makes them the expert to dominate a specific niche no matter how small or eccentric. Fill your niche and rock out! The next of these principles is to make sure your contribution is rooted in story. Story is the essence of the human condition and it is the best way to process, package, and get your audience to remember information. This goes for everything from your blog posts, instructional videos, presentations, and even your resume. The bottom line is that people are suckers for a story. If your contribution has an amazing story, it will travel and it will be remembered. The last principle is important, especially in the social media context. So many social media groupies fall into the "expert's trap" where they are really excited to show off their knowledge of a particular subject on go on to ad nauseum. Don't fall into this trap! Keep it short! We have found that when people view content online their attention span hardly last more than 5 minutes. We have also found that our 2 - 4 minute video posts receive the greatest attention and have the most potential in capturing the audience's attention through out the whole piece. That's it! Now that you know the principles, get out there and start contributing. Thank you for watching and we look forward to your feedback.
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relativity and immediate gratification watch "relativity and immediate gratification" on vimeo note: Ever since I started mondaydots my friend, Professor Doolittle, has encouraged me to read Back of the Napkin. I finally did this past week and I can easily say it is one my favorite books. I used the SQVID process from his book to refine some of the ideas in this post. If you are interested in the drawings, you can find them here Transcript Most people believe that the inherent need to satisfy immediate gratification stems from greed, a lack of self control, or the ability to sacrifice a smaller short term gain for a greater long term gain. While I agree, I also think that some of our short sighted decisions stem from the natural way we compare alternatives in the decision making process. In fact I think the real cause of immediate gratification can be found in this picture from Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational". Which of the darker dots is larger? In this illusion it looks as though the dot on the left is larger. If we do a quick measure, we can easily see that the dots are in fact the same size. Even with this newly minted knowledge if we loose the ruler, our eyes go back to seeing the dot on the left as being larger. The problem is relativity. As Ariely states, "our natural tendency is to compare things that are easily comparable-- and avoid comparing things are not easily compared." So how does this apply to immediate gratification? Just as our eyes can be tricked by visual illusions, our mind can be tricked by cognitive illusions. A great example of a cognitive illusion is my slightly modified example from "Predictably Irrational". It is an illusion I have fallen for many times before. Suppose you are standing in line at the market getting ready to check out with your fancy $15 toothbrush when the person in front of you turns around and tells you that across town, the same toothbrush is on sale for $7. You get out of line, hop in your car, and drive 20 minutes across town to get your toothbrush on sale for $7. The next week you are at the suit store. You are standing in line ready to check out with your $500 suit when the person in front of you tells you that across town they have the same suit on sale for $492. You think to yourself $8 off a $500 suit that's not worth the 20 minute drive, so you stay in line and buy your suit. Aha! You have fallen for the cognitive illusion! How come you were willing to drive 20 minutes to save $8 off a toothbrush but not a suit? Before I explain, let me show you how this same type of cognitive illusion can cause you to fall into the immediate gratification trap. The example comes from the book "Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices" by Paul Lawrence and Nitin...

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