Anyone Can Take a Reservation

One thing I keep hearing from programmers and product owners is that the most important thing (or the hardest thing) is marketing and sales of their product. And to that I say, you have to have a product to market and that’s the hardest part is figuring out what people want, making it, and getting feedback on it. I guess you need both.

When I worked at banks, one of the things I heard over and over was that “Retail can’t work without Operations and Operations can’t work without Retail.” They both needed each other. Can your lungs say to your heart, “I’m better than you.” It could, but it still needs the heart. While the brain thinks it knows everything, it can’t get around without the rest of it’s body.

Clearing the Cruft

I’m continually amazed by how little you have to do “right” to be successful in business. You do have to do some things right, but you can still do so much wrong and still succeed. This creates a filter for me, one that highlights what actually matters, not just what I think matters. Here’s what matters: giving people what they want, making sure those people can find it, and charging them for it.

I sent this as a text message to a couple of people and got a couple of different responses:

Spoken like a man who has seen the last domino in his master plan be set up – ready to fall.

The key word is do. You have to do it. Yes you may stumble several times, but if you keep on the road it works out.

The latter one echoes thoughts I’ve had in the past about work. Anyone can take a reservation, it’s the holding that’s most important.

Presentation Secrets from Amish Shah

“Some people have the uncanny ability to make more in a week than most will earn over a lifetime. What’s better, they do it all the time. Amish Shah is one of those people.” Below is a screenshot of his presentation secrets, which I have outlined below. Click the image to watch the full video from Mindvalley Insights.

Presentation Secrets

Presentation Secrets

  • You are not the hero, the audience is.
  • It’s not about just you. It should be a shared belief.
  • Tell Stories because it conveys meaning.
  • Facts don’t sell. Emotions do.
  • Stand out.
  • Be human and stay connected.
  • Talk to the audience personally.
  • You are the mentor.
  • Help the audience get “unstuck”.
  • Come from a place of humility and be selfless.
  • Combine two things: Facts and Stories.
    • Stories provide an experience.
    • Facts provide information.
  • First create the desire in the audience and then fill it.
  • Formula
    • Intro and unfulfilled desire – Relatable Hero
    • Presents dramatic actions held together by confrontation. Obstacle for the character – Roadblocks
    • Resolution – Transformation
  • Audience needs to change internally and follow you.

This is similar to the advice Mimi Henderlong of Threadless gives about “telling a story about someone who works at your company and make your customer the hero.” In the following video Amish explains the basics behind his record-breaking launches, his tried and tested theory on how to humanize your work, and how to overcome the single biggest hurdle that all affiliate marketers face – credibility.

Balls of Steel

In response to marketing and distribution device about product development:

Sometimes you just have to write something, make a decision, just do something before the true answer will come to you. That’s how it is with me at least. A lot of times I won’t know what to do so I’ll just choose something and then it’s like the fog lifts and everything becomes clear. A lot of the time my first choice is wrong, but if I didn’t make it I wouldn’t have been able to know the right choice. In a small way that’s what happened after I emailed you last. I almost immediatly knew how I wanted to help you.

I’m starting an online store for coffee and tea accessories called and would like to sell your steel balls as an accessory for making non-diluted ice coffee. I wouldn’t call it Balls of Steel though. I’d have to call it something else like “liquid metal” or “iced beans”. I’d see if your mom could buy like ten sets of them from you for me to sell in my store and that would be a good market test and potential new distribution channel for you. What I’d encourage you to do is to find ways to sell the same product as many different ways as you can.

Think about the movie The Hudsucker Proxy and how the circle is used first as a hoola hoop and then as a straw. If you haven’t seen it then Coca Cola is a better example. They sell you the same coke in a bottle, can, and by fountain drink. Mmmm. I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it. For your product I can see it being sold as ying yang balls, stress balls, desk toys, marble run accessories, a game of some sort, a drinking game, as a way to move large furniture, or as a way to shatter large panes of glass.

If you really want to sell a lot of these you’ll need to both have market demand and either large barriers between you and your competition or a huge head start. If you haven’t read how Warren Buffet picks companies, it’s very similar. He would want to know how hard it is for someone to make what you have or do what you do. He would want to see patents and large capital costs that make a virtual moat around your product protecting its business model for years to come. I guess I don’t see that with your product.

Have you considered getting into ecommerce or affiliate marketing instead of manufacturing? You know what ecommerce is, but you may not know about affiliate marketing so here’s a brief primer. Using as an example, anything I link to at Amazon with my code I get a percentage of if someone buys it. Percents range from 6-8% on average. With ecommerce the margins are higher, but so is the risk when inventory is involved. Some of that risk can be mitigated with drop shipping services, but the margins are lower.

I know I want to get into ecommerce and so I am leveraging my background and experience in affiliate marketing, SEO, and web design to learn ecommerce and make a go of it. I’d be happy to share with you what I’m learning and catch up with you in December when you’re in town. Your mom says you’re making a lot of money waiting tables down there and that you’re doing good in school. I know she’s really proud of you and wants to see you succeed and I do too.