Just a few days ago, I finished a book called Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. All in all, it was a great book for thinking about how you would get people to remember your product, message, etc. It described how things go viral and why one thing may where another may not. Jonah Berger honed in on some key things that all humans care about and how they lead to contagious products/services/etc.:
Social Currency – This is all about seeming cool in some shape or form. By sharing something awesome, you get social currency because people now view you as knowledgeable, cool, etc.
Triggers – This is all about getting someone to think about your product/idea/etc. through external triggers. People like to be led, of course, so this makes sense.
Emotion – This was about how we use emotion during a common day and how it influences us in what we share, talk about, etc. Think about those really sad SPCA commercials and how they make you feel down, so you want to donate…
Public – The more something is public, the more likely you are to follow and tell your friends to follow. Think about how you picked out a restaurant before Yelp…
Practical Value – Providing information or methods so that others can use and benefit their lives. Life hacks are the most common ones that I have experienced and they get shared quickly!
Stories – People love to tell stories, but what people really like to do is tell you the HIGH points of a story. Those high points are what will catch on and are usually why people tell them the way they do. This leads to Social Currency…
My takeaway from this was really about practical value and social currency. As Richard and I continue build JobBindr, we continue to think about how we will get people to talk about and use our product. With JobBindr, we are looking to get people THE job that they have their heart set on. We are looking to educate them on how to job search, provide them with an organizational tool, and notify them as they go through their job search. From this, we are looking to provide practical value. As well, we want people to talk about JobBindr and this is a hard one. The only time you hear about someone job searching is when they are complaining about it. Figuring out a way to ask “how is your job search coming along?” and to get something like, “great! I use JobBindr, so it makes job searching pretty easy” is obviously the goal. The question is, how can we get someone to say this… to be determined.
At times, I ask myself why in the heck am I doing all of these things. These things meaning: Working so hard at my actual job, trying so hard to start this side business, getting myself out of my comfort zone and networking with as many people as I can, focusing on my health and fitness, filling up my weekends for the next few months, etc. I ask myself why I am doing these things because the more I do them, the more I realize that they are extremely exhausting. On long days, I will start at 5am and end at midnight and in the duration of the time, I had zero “fun.” Why? No one else I know is doing this, so why in the hell would I.
On the good days, I have to continuously remind myself why. It’s because I can. Reflecting back on my days of wanting to lose weight so I no longer got made fun of, setting high goals for swimming to become the top of my team, wanting to add 50 lbs of bodyweight to my frame because I was now reminded of how skinny I was, to wanting to get my CMA designation, I always set the bar really high because I believed that I could do it and in the end, I did do it. So why fill up the last years of my 20’s with nothing but hard work? What it boils down to is that no one else is going do to it for me. No one. Not my fiancee, not my family, not my friends. No one will be able to bring the success that I want to achieve in my life unless I do it. So during these tough times where I am drained and I literally, want to give up, I have to remind myself that the reason why I am doing these things is because I know I can.
As we continue to scramble to find a developer to build our web application for JobBindr, it has been extremely important and valuable for us to build on relationships. While at times we think that we can do everything ourselves, we simply are not experts in every field. This is where building relationships come into play and save the day. For example, we have been evaluating overseas development teams and have had to lean on some old relationships that we had to recently rekindle. Why? We have no clue what kind of STACK to use to best build JobBindr. We don’t have an idea of how long this really could take. We don’t know what should be included in version 1 or version 5. The list can really go on here. Conveying to some old contacts that we need help and that we are recognizing that they are the expert has been a very powerful thing for us (and for them too!). What we have learned from this is that: it’s true, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And we know, as time goes on and we continue to network and build these relationships, we are going to have some of the best connections that will get us beyond JobBindr, and that is what we are beginning to realize is most important. From our end, we now know that we need to sustain any and every relationship that we have because you never know who’s help you’re going to need next!
On Christmas day of 2000, my parents got me my first skateboard. On that Christmas day while trying out my new skateboard, I met 3 kids my age who I would keep in contact with for a very long time: Dante (1 year older), Cathy (same age), and Charlene (2 years younger). We met because they, too, got new presents–scooters! But this is not what the story is about…
Cathy is now a successful hair stylist who does hair for rich people like Gwen Stefani (seriously) and many others. Cathy and I grew up together in South San Francisco, we both moved to Millbrae in our early 20’s, and eventually moved to Los Angeles to take our careers further (believe it or not, us moving to the same cities was not planned at all!).
Cathy is a thriving and successful entrepreneur constantly looking for the next opportunity to make money to feed and clothe her daughter. She has a very respectable boyfriend, who is also an aspiring entrepreneur. On occasion, we like to get together to catch up, talk about our businesses and have some good laughs. In doing so, her boyfriend, Arthur, and I got to talking about books one night and he told me to read “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. He highly recommended that I read it to help with my communication skills, so I did.
Without going into detail about the book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” is essentially a list of principles to live by when wanting to effectively communicate with people, win them as life-long friends or colleagues, and become an effective influencer of your beliefs. One thing that helped me tremendously after reading this book was: Become genuinely interested in other people. Before, I always wanted to convey what my position was first. By looking at my communication with people under a new lens, I am able to build better relationships more effectively by really caring about the other person and what they are interested in. Why is this important? My neighbor Cathy did not go to some prestigious school like Harvard or Princeton, but she is still extremely successful. Why? Cathy has built her success by perfecting her expertise and focusing on the building and sustaining of her relationships. She treats her clients with so much compassion and interest and will buy their child (or even them!) a gift for their birthday, even though she may not know the child that well.
The key take away from both “How to Win Friends & Influence People” and my close friend Cathy is to focus on building and maintaining relationships, and be genuinely interested. We all know you can’t get anywhere in this world by yourself…
Having poured nearly all my time into my regular job, learning (books, articles, ebooks, podcasts, network meetups), JobBindr, health, and friends & family, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed. In fact, at times, it feels as though I am failing at everything.
At the beginning of this year, my mentor paid for me to go to an entrepreneur event in Utah and not only was I overwhelmed by how junior I was compared to everyone, my brain was completely fried and near the end, I could hardly think. I made a comment to him about how “fried” i was and his response: “Drink deep.”
What I am learning is that I just need to keep pushing. No matter how hard things get, I can keep pushing and can try harder. Why? Because no one else is going to do it for me…
7 Months ago, Richard and I came up with the idea to pursue what we now called JobBindr. Having completed the market research, competitor research, surveys, wire framing, user testing, the business plan, financial model, and marketing plan, at times, it is still unsatisfying. For as much progress as it seems that we have made, it is very easy for Richard and I to get frustrated because we want to succeed so badly. After a long discussion yesterday, we agreed that one thing we need to work on is: patience.
No great thing is going to come easy and if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. We are doing all of the right things and learning a lot. At this time, all we can ask of ourselves is to be patient and trust the process.
A few months ago, I picked up a book called “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice” by Clayton M. Christensen and I dove right in.
One particular study in this book caught my eye. It explained what Christensen called the ‘job to be done’ perspective. A study was conducted at a small milk shake business in which the goal was to determine customer peak times and why they came? The peak times turned out to be around 9am and 5pm. The reason why? These customers were coming in at 9am to buy a milkshake for breakfast. But why not eat something at home? Because during a long and boring commute, it’s awkward to eat a bagel and cream cheese or any other breakfast alternative, so they came to get a Milkshake–which comes in a cup that will conveniently fit in their cup holder and is thick enough to last nearly their whole commute and until lunch!
From this book, it made Richard and I really focus on the problem of why job seekers don’t go out and get the exact job that they want? What goes wrong? Why do they settle for another miserable job? This book helped put ourselves in the mind and shoes of the common job seeker and ask the right questions in order to build JobBindr to their exact specifications!
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was given to me by an extremely rich, older man back when I was in college. He gave me the book and said “this book changed my life and gave me everything you see here.” (He was referencing the mansion and all of the expensive things that surrounded us while we talked) I sat on the book for years (literally). I came across another successful entrepreneur at the gym a few months ago and we got to talking. I had mentioned our business venture (JobBindr) and he said nearly the same thing as the rich man once said years ago–“The one book that changed my life and that I recommend to all of my clients is ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill.” I mentioned I owned it and he replied, “Ah, but it doesn’t sound like you’ve read it.”
At this point, I HAD to read the book. I began reading it a few weeks ago and had told my mentor and boss that I had started reading this book. He told me that he had read this book as well back in his 20’s. This really interested me now.
Well, I have finished the book and boy was it motivating. The book essentially gives you principles to live by to be successful like those of the past. One thing that caught my eye and stuck was one word: Persistence. While I continue to go through the highs and lows of trying to start our business venture, I am beginning to realize that what has separated all of the successful people in this world from the rest is their persistence on wanting to be successful. With this in mind, we will reach the financial freedom that we are so passionately seeking.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success” – Napoleon Hill
As we continue to make decisions in order to progress JobBindr, we constantly realize that you will never have all of the facts to make a decision. It seems that nine times out of ten, we are making decisions with 65% certainty. Coming from finance and civil engineering backgrounds, you want to mitigate risk as much as possible and have as much certainty as you possibly can before making a decision. This has been one of the most difficult lessons to be learned–We will never have all the facts.
As Mark Zuckerberg once said, “Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”
Each day, we are given the opportunity to take control of our lives, however, some of us don’t because of work issues, family issues, relationship issues, etc.
It has been extremely important for me to acknowledge and take control of my life because no one else is going to do it for me. That being said, I’ve learned a few things:
Routine/Habit – these are extremely important. More important than how smart, talented, or nice you are. Habits and routine have given me the ability to continue leveling up to the better version of myself. The hard part, though, is to pick up the good routines and habits. So it’s very important to be observant of what these are and how they contribute to the better version of myself.
Continuing Education – while I never was a fan of reading or learning, I’ve found that without it, you grow stagnant quickly. It has been important to learn at least one new thing a day. Whether that be a life hack, something from work, a book, article, or advice from a mentor/friend/family member.