Advertising Business

This post is about a company named Demand Media. They are paying film makers around $200 a day to record short clips on topics the company likes. There are a bunch of weird subjects. This company, in turn, is the number 1 supplier of YouTube videos. And they are all original.

The business is not a small one. Demand Media is on track to making $200M in revenue this year. Their company is valued at $1B. The work they give out is steady. These guys normally do not cover the news. They focus more on timeless information.

Demand Media is not just into videos. They also pay for writers. The going rate is around fifteen bucks for an article of a couple hundred words. The payments are made via PayPal.

The company uses freelancers for its work. Google is their partner. Online content is general is not worth a lot of money. However this is one company that is cleaning up with advertising. I am in the wrong business.

Delivering a Good Message

This time I wrap up discussing the wisdom I gained by reading The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. My topic today is that of effective messages. In other words, how to you give a good speech?

You presentation must be simple. It is difficult to deliver complex ideas in a speech. Remember to KISS. However the information you present must be concrete. Don't have a lot of intangible theory in there.

It helps if you through in a few unexpected items. This will help keep the audience engaged and guessing. Another technique to keep interest high is to be emotional.

You need to be able to come across as credible. There is so much information out there from many sources. People do not trust what they hear in general. Finally, the best speeches tell a great story. Do so, and you will be on the road to success.

Source of Ideas

How do you get good ideas for your own business? You can brainstorm. Figure on spending an hour to generate upwards of 100 ideas. I have heard two sides to the best ideas. One camp says that daydreaming produces the best ideas. Another states that meeting customers with problems is king.

If you think your idea is unique, it probably is not. Therefore you need an idea that is totally unheard of if you are basing your success on something new. Remember this. Don't be afraid. You should also avoid being practical or following the rules.

What you should do to think outside the box is to be playful, ambiguous, and foolish with your initial ideas. Forget about getting an MBA. Get a Master of Fine Arts instead. They say this is the new cool thing.

Next time I will wrap up the knowledge I have received from The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. I will cover how to get a great message across to your audience.

Shorter is Better

You often need to pitch an idea or business quickly. The best presentation has 10 slides and lasts just 20 minutes. Any other numbers or durations are non-optimal. You should be able to cut to the core concept in 7 words or less.

There are over 1 million start up companies in the USA. This is amazing given the fact that there are only a few hundred million citizens total.

How can you succeed at business? Be a customer. This may sound funny, but you cannot learn business from a book. There is no easy formula to come up with a good idea for a business. However you should go do something. Prototyping is a great method to figure out success or failure quickly.

Next time I will go over some other neat idea generators.

On Employees

What can business books teach us about coaching employees? First you need to realize that research shows great managers help employees be more of themselves. In other words you should build on your strengths instead of trying to patch up your weaknesses.

Other tips include letting teams develop on their own. This has historically worked for HP. It is also the method used to excel at Google. Empower employees to make decisions. Then get out of the way.

I will cover all kinds of topics next time like presentations, customers, and brainstorming.

Legend of Deming

I am sure most people have heard about Deming. He had ideas on how to improve quality. When he went to Japan, they listened to him intently. Toyota used his methods to eliminate waste and become the number 1 automotive company in America. Dang.

Here is a question to ask yourself. Do you have a best friend at work? I know I do. Now this may not have any bearing on my success in business. But at least I have somebody to talk to and go to lunch with. Some business books say that will actually have a positive affect on me.

Next time I am going to go over some advice to empower employees to do their best. Tune in.

On Customers and Employees

What do you call an employee that brings in revenue? No, this is not a trick question. They are the rainmakers. I am not talking about somebody who does a job that nets the company some cash. I am talking about the business development folks who bring in new business.

Here is a tip for almost any business situation. Be the best dressed person you will meet today. So unless you show up the CEO, you will be looked up to.

What should be the goal of a business? It should create a customer. All else stems from this act. And what should be the role of employees? It is a singular goal. Perform. Do this in a responsible manner and you will have served your purpose.

Next time I will start with Deming and his message to the Japanese.

Customer Service and Selling

Here is a saying worth remembering: customer service wins the day. There are more where that came from. Action is paramount to success. Stretch past your comfort zone. And "do something right because it is the right thing to do".

Let's get back to customer service. Strangely enough, researchers have found that customers remember the beginning and end of an encounter. You got to provide a strong delivery at both ends of the transaction. Otherwise you may lose business.

There is a bunch of psychology involved with selling. Therefore you must choose your words carefully when advertising. Words that help sell are proven, health, easy, and discover. Conversely, some words that prevent sales are deal, pay, contract, and sign.

Next time I will start off with branding and introduce you to the Rainmaker.

On Being a Leader

This time I continue outlining the traits of great leadership. Storytelling is the best way to motivate people. At my last company, the top guy in the building could tell gripping stories to an auditorium full of people. You felt like he was talking directly to you. He was not some stuffy VP. He was a regular, likable guy.

I did not know this superstar personally. But I did know an up and coming guy who wanted to be a VP. In a similar way, he would make he speeches into stories all the time. This happened even when he was talking to two or three people. That's a leader.

Communication and motivation are the keys to changing people and ultimately the company. You got to spread the ambition of the leader to all employees in the company to get traction on a grand scale. It is the faith of the people, not facts, that enables workers in the trenches to move mountains.

Next time I will get more concrete and discuss customer service strategies to grow the business.


Today I continue with things I have learned reading a book on the 100 best business books. I will be talking about leadership. A good leader makes people feel important. The leader is not afraid to step out of their comfort zone.

Leadership is one of those skills that cannot be easily taught. You can sum up leadership as doing the right thing. Here are some traits of a great leader: honest, forward looking, inspiring, and competent.

A leader needs to put theory into practice. Strangely enough, a leader must make decisions that are not fashionable. A leader has to get a company into a business where it can thrive.

Next time I will continue this track on describing what a leader ought to be.

What To Do

Succeeding at business requires you to choose the right things to do. You don't want to waste time on things that just don't need to be done. A good founder needs to learn how to delegate well. You should also not do things that cause other employees to do unnecessary work.

Optimal work styles have you do one thing at once. Don't multitask. You should also solve a problem just once. There are often org charts at work. However there is also another "real" organizational chart which reflects the reality.

What traits does a star at work posses? They are smarter than others. They are also better problem solvers. Stars are more driven and outgoing. Surprisingly they also take greater risks.

Next time I will go further into what makes a great leader at work. TTFN.

100 Best Business Books

I read a monster book called The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. This was quite a read. I felt like I was in an MBA program. If I had a lot of time on my hands, I would read these 100 best books themselves. There were references to a lot more must read business books. Let me share some insights I learned in this book.

In 2007, there were 11,000 business books published. Ouch. Who has time to read all those books? The authors review books for a living. They sorted through the good and the bad. They ranked the books on factors like quality and applicability.

Note that most gems from these books are actually from the books they chose. To success at business you must feel that your skill set is enough to solve the challenges you will encounter. You need clarity on what actually needs to get done. That is better than spending a lot of time on needless worries.

This is just the tip of the iceberg from this book. I plan to blog more about the gems I found in this reading. Next time I will talk about "doing the right things". See you then.