Start Making Decisions

Fantastic post by Seth about something that every entrepreneur needs to be reminded of from time to time.

the farmer who grows corn has no illusions about what his job is. He doesn’t avoid planting corn or dissemble or procrastinate about harvesting corn. And he certainly doesn’t try to get his neighbor to
grow his corn for him. Make more decisions. That’s the only way to get better at it.

via Seth’s Blog What do you make?

9-Step Checklist For New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions Checklist
© Guido Vrola –

This year I’m determined to set better and more effective goals than ever before. To do that, I first sat down and went through the mistakes I made in 2012. This resulted in the 9-step checklist that follows. You are  holding me accountable this year, so hopefully you’ll see for yourself how effective this is.

#1: My Resolutions Must Resonate With My Core Values

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve finally been able to compose a list of the 6 values that are the most important to me. This list will be used to filter all candidate goal for this year’s resolutions. Most of the problems that arose during last year were rooted with miss-alignment between my core and the goals that I’ve set.

Implementation: I did not filter anything out while I was mind-mapping, outlining, and writing my resolutions. Everything was allowed on paper. Only when I started editing, I filtered out more and more goals, making some tough decisions along the way, removing stuff that’s not ‘me’.

Does it mean that something that was removed from the list won’t get done in 2013? Not necessarily. But it does place it at the bottom of my priorities when compared to stuff that did make it into the list.

#2: I Must Be Held Accountable

Anyone that I’ve interviewed for the magazine this passing year, talked about accountability. It’s pretty basic, and I’m heavily counting on you guys on this one 🙂

Implementation: This blog post.

#3: The List Must Be Balanced

My 2012 resolutions where completely biased to business. This year at least 30% of the resolutions must resolve personal growth and pleasure.

Implementation: Remove low priority business goals.

#4: I Must Let The Universe Know

No one can help me reach my goals if I don’t share them. I strongly believe that when you declare your goals in a clear and concise way, both your brain and the universe help you achieve them. Whether it’s by giving you the right ideas, bringing you the right people or offering the needed opportunities. It’s like tuning in to the perfect radio station.

Implementation: This blog post.

#5: Goals Must Be Clear

This one is pretty obvious. Nothing vague ever gets done.

Implementation: I will use Google’s “Objective, Key Results (OKR)” method. I’ll explain in-depth after the checklist.

#6: Goals Must Be Measurable.

This one is also obvious. If something’s not measurable, it’s not manageable.

Implementation: OKR.

#7: Goals Must Be Time-bound.

There must be an urgency to a complete goal. See Parkinson’s Law to learn why.

Implementation: This is a tricky one, as most of my goals are based on an ongoing effort. This has to be broken down. For instance, going from 100 to 20,000 paid magazine subscribers within a year requires a monthly growth rate of 59%. But a 59% growth rate can be measured and worked towards every single month, instead of a yearly basis.

This will prevent me from waking up cold-sweated one morning in June, trying to figure out if I’m on track.

#8: Goals Must Be Actionable

Goals need to have a clear definition of what has to be done in order to achieve them.

Implementation: Action plan made for quarterly and monthly OKRs.

#9: Goals Must Be Described In Present-Progressive Tense

Goals must focus on the positive and be written in present-progressive tense. This is a tip I picked up last week from my good friend Farnoosh, on her episode 73 of her podcast: How Not to Make New Year Resolutions.

Implementation: Instead of saying, “I will make the magazine a success”, I shall say, “I’m making the magazine an even bigger success”. Tell the brain it’s already doing it, and be positive about it.

© Andy Dean -
© Andy Dean –

OKR? What The Eff?!

OKR Stands for Objective, Key Results. It’s a system originating from Intel, the chip manufacturer, but was made famous by a small company called BackRub, although you might also know them as Google (honest to god, Google was originally named BackRub).

Here’s how it works (dead simple):

  1. You set an objective that inspires you and gets your juices flowing. The objective has to be time bound.
  2. You define 3-4 key results. Each key result is measurable and clear. These results will serve for focusing, planning and measurement; They must pose a serious challenge.
  3. You will try your best to achieve the key results. As you set very challenging ones, if you hit the 70% line your good. If you hit 85%… You aimed too low to begin with! Gotta keep that brain of yours inspired with great challenges!

Here’s an example OKR:

Objective: I’m making the Inspiring Innovation magazine an even bigger success in 2013. (Notice the positivity + present progressive tense.)

Key Results:

  1. Grow my subscribers base to 30,000 (65% monthly growth rate).
  2. Interview all top 20 leaders of the solo-preneurship world.
  3. Get listed in Apple’s top #5 Business & Investment magazines ranking of the US Store (see how detailed that is?).
  4. Get 2-3 sponsorship deals summing to $100,000.

From the yearly OKR you derive your quarterly OKRs. Some people go as far as deriving weekly and even daily OKRs — I don’t think I’ll go that far, but I’m planning on going monthly.

So there you have it! This is my checklist for creating this year’s resolutions, and I’m almost done. I plan to post it tomorrow, so make sure you come back and check it out — some cool projects going on.

What are your tips for creating valuable new year’s resolutions? Let me know in the comment section below. If you likes what you’ve read, please LIKE this post or click on the Tweet button. I’ll really appreciate it!

Talk soon,


Why Journalism Is Far From Becoming Obsolete

Did driving become obsolete? © Vibe Images -
Did driving become obsolete?

Wow, what a day it’s been, with all the Instagram hurrah. Who would have believed they’ll cave so quickly, or at all? Any way, if you’ve been following the blog for a while, you would’ve seen this coming (that’s a 7 months old post).

The whole issue of the amount of control that these media outlets and social networks have on our lives has spurred an interesting debate online, and I want to share with you my take on this.

If you’re short on time, make sure you at least read the bottom line of this post. 

A good friend of mine, Natti Bar On, wrote yesterday:

…On one hand, media companies and newspapers are breaking down. Many people are affected by this change – writers, editors, photographers, journalists, advertisers […] These are people who dedicated themselves to become masters of their craft, a craft that is slowly becoming obsolete with the introduction of new technologies and applications

On the other hand, the new media companies are abusing our trust, down slippery slopes and treacherous roads, trying to cut us up into profitable pieces…

Here’s my reply, and my take on this issue:

Natti, I personally think it’s the most exciting time to be alive in human history.

I believe that much like any change that has happened to the human race, those who adapt, will survive and come out on the other end with flying colors. Many of these titans are seeing their WELL DESERVED fall, however sad it might be for those working for them (being an ex-broadcaster for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, I personally know plenty of those).

I just interviewed someone yesterday who’s making a living from selling Kindle books for 99 cents a piece. Could he have done that while fighting traditional publishing at its prime? No way. Could I, or any one of my colleagues, have published a magazine and compete against Oprah or Harvard Business Review even a year ago? Not a chance.

The internet is democratizing and denationalizing the world, and with borders erased — much of the “old world” goes away with it. People are finally providing value to other human beings regardless of their location, religion, skin color or dialect.

One thing hasn’t changed in the world.

People still exchange money for value. But the venues, the accessibility, and OUR expectations have changed. We expect to get more value for our dime and our time. We expect to get it at the time and place that’s comfortable for us, wherever and whenever that may be.

Titans have abused our trust, money, talent, access and knowledge since forever. At least now we have a choice: We can opt to leave Facebook, Instagram, and (dear god) even stop using Google if we want to. It’s our choice.

I didn’t use Facebook until 2 months ago, and it had no negative implications over my life.

I disagree that the journalist or photographer crafts are becoming obsolete. But these crafts are EVOLVING, and so should these professionals too. With technology becoming affordable, easier to use and more available, having 10,000 experience hours under the belt just doesn’t pull as much weight anymore. They need to find a way to once again provide VALUE using their SKILLS, that’s the harsh truth.

Farmers had to do that, wagoners had to do that, and you know – programmers have already been doing that since the ascend of the PC era, with technologies and practices changing every single minute.

As Chris Guillebau framed it – “Value is created when a person makes something useful and shares it with the world”. We should all seek for every opportunity to help others and make something useful, instead of junk. I strongly believe that those who will provide value shall prevail.

Body Language And Facial Expressions In Business: How To Mingle Like A Pro

Mingling like the pros!
Mingling (“BigOmaha11_12827.jpg” by Big Omaha/Malone & Company. Shared under CC BY license).

You can’t mingle like a pro if you make any of these 10 mistakes that Farnoosh highlights on her podcast:

Podcast: Prolific Living Media: The Daily Interaction
Episode: Episode 64: How to Mingle Like a Pro

Find out more about the podcast at:

What mistakes have you made in your earlier days, or still make today?

I often forget to work the room after I hook up with the first round of people who I click with. On the brighter side, I can definitely vouch for the amazing effect that maintaining a good posture has on mingling and creating new relationships and friendships.

The most effective of all 10 tips in this podcast episode (and the easiest one to achieve IMO) is radiating a welcoming and open body language. Julie always laughs about my tendency of striking heart to heart conversations with strangers wherever we go – whether it’s a trip on the train or a transatlantic flight to the USA, openness and genuine enthusiasm are THE REAL secret sauce for making strangers into friends.

What’s your secret sauce?

Don’t Screw Your Customers

importance of customer service

MyThoughts for mac (mind mapping software) – Scam

Wow, this annoyed me! I’ve been trying out MyThoughts for mac (mind mapping software) for a week or so. It’s pretty good and has an option to export files to iThoughts, which is what I use on my iPad. I decided to upgrade from the two weeks trial and paid them the $50 – which is NOT cheap for a mindmapping software.

It came as a big surprise that the FULL version, does NOT have the option of exporting to other file formats. So I sent their support a request for a refund. I have nothing to do with a program that cannot share formats with my iPad.

Their reply just arrived, telling me that they “never have supported such functionality” and thus, deemed my request as solved (and rejected my request for a refund).This amazes me for a company that sells via the Apple store, as my next action will be forwarding the entire correspondence to Apple Mac Store team.How can a company that wants to be in business tell their customers that they’re idiots?