What one thing could you do today, this week, this month, this year that would have the more impact on yourself, your company, your organization?
“One of the most empowering moments of my life came when I realized that life is a question and how we live it is our answer.” So states the theme of The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller with Jay Papasan.
Jim Truchard, known as Dr. T within National Instruments the company he cofounded, recommended this book last May when I was down in Austin at the company’s conference.
The journey toward the ONE Thing begins with a question. Keller says, “Voltaire once wrote, ‘Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.’ Sir Francis Bacon added, ‘A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.’ Indira Gandhi concluded that ‘the power to question is the basis of all human progress.’ Great questions are clearly the quickest path to great answers.”
Keller calls this the focusing question. What are you trying to solve? Where do you want to go in life? What sort of person do you wish to be?
Find your question.
Understand and believe it
The first step is to understand the concept of the ONE Thing, then to believe that it can make a difference in your life. If you don’t understand and believe, you won’t take action.
Use it. Ask yourself the Focusing Question. Start each day by asking, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do today for [whatever you want] such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary?” When you do this, your direction will become clear. Your work will be more productive and your personal life more rewarding.
Make it a habit. When you make asking the Focusing Question a habit, you fully engage its power to get the extraordinary results you want. It’s a difference maker. Research says this will take about 66 days. Whether it takes you a few weeks or a few months, stick with it until it becomes your routine. If you’re not serious about learning the Success Habit, you’re not serious about getting extraordinary results.
Keller talked about habits, something I’ve discussed regarding Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit. Or as Keller puts it, “People don’t decide their futures. They decide on their habits. Their habits determine their future.”
What one big thing will double my sales next year?
What one big thing will stabilize financing for my nonprofit?
What one big thing will be the service that defines our organization?
Are we too old to be creative? I don’t even know you, but I know the answer.
When I reached 30, I was really bummed. Over the hill. No great mathematician, so they said, ever had a significant discovery after age 30.
But then, I was no mathematician. But still, was life over?
Actually I have never been more creative and productive than over the past 20 years. And I’m way past 30, now. And The New York Times this month ran an article with some proof that creativity does not necessarily end at 30. It leads with a 94-year-old inventor.
It states, “There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that late blooming is no anomaly. A 2016 Information Technology and Innovation Foundation study found that inventors peak in their late 40s and tend to be highly productive in the last half of their careers. Similarly, professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Hitotsubashi University in Japan, who studied data about patent holders, found that, in the United States, the average inventor sends in his or her application to the patent office at age 47, and that the highest-value patents often come from the oldest inventors — those over the age of 55.
Keep reading. Try new things. Learn a different language. Go for new experiences. Ask questions.
Speaking of geniuses. Did you hear about the TV advertisement that instructed your Google Home (OK Google) to search for ingredients of its sandwich? There is another reason not to have one of those devices that is always listening to you. The other being Amazon Echo (Alexa, buy a book…). I do not have one installed. There is one disconnected in my closet. Here’s a New York Times article on the ad and one from TechCrunch.
The question is how obnoxious do you need to be to be an effective marketer?
I hate, Hate, I say, those pop-ups on Websites. And all the other tricks I see to get you to click. Ever seen those things at the bottom of the WeatherBug app? Even the marketers know that most clicks are due to error. People are frantically trying to click the vanishing X that makes the ugly thing go away. Then they click the ad and get carried off to some place they don’t want to go.
But Website owners need money. Marketers will pay well even for obnoxious, accidental click ads. The poor users, well, we just get a degraded experience. No wonder we don’t go to the Web like we once did.
Can HMI/SCADA Software Be the On Ramp to the IIoT Digital Thread?
Craig Resnick, vp at ARC Advisory Group wrote a provocative article on the role of HMI/SCADA and the IioT.
These are interesting comments about the state of manufacturing software, “The Digital Thread often combines manufacturing software that provides real-time, role-based HMI dashboards with Ethernet networking technology, using Big Data, HMI/SCADA and analytics software, sensors, controllers, and robotics to help optimize industrial asset performance and availability in an edge to cloud world. This enables end users and OEMs to collect and analyze asset performance and operational data in the network, often from connecting disparate systems, from the factory floor to ERP, providing an ‘industrial-strength’ data analytics solution that combines role-based manufacturing HMI dashboards with real-time manufacturing KPIs for decision support.”
“The Digital Thread has, for example, driven the convergence of HMI/SCADA and MES platforms. Increasingly, these converged HMI/SCADA and MES platforms help users visualize both key automation and business metrics and KPIs, such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and energy savings, to help maximize the productivity and profitability of their businesses.”
This idea of things converging around MES is intriguing. There are so many applications gaining traction, along with interesting standards for data transfer, databases, analytics, visualization. All this, and I’m not sure where the money-making places are right now. Maybe writing smaller communication apps and mobile apps that can be sold to big companies?
Media interests me. Magazines, Web, notifications, alerts, and maybe even TV (although to a much lesser degree). Much of the news I consume comes via email, a newsreader (RSS), a few magazines (for longer range thinking), and maybe a couple of apps.
Jason Calacanis, now an angel investor and inveterate self-promoter, made his initial money as a pioneer in Web-based media. He sold his blog-based “empire” to AOL, then started several other businesses. Recently he tried a news app and email newsletter. I really like the email newsletter–I like things delivered not where I have to go search.
Well, yesterday’s newsletter proclaimed that it’s time to know when to throw in the towel:
I’ve been beating my head against a wall for the last two years trying to make a news app experience work, and despite great reviews, I’ve failed.
So, we’re giving up on the Inside.com App and focusing 100% of our efforts on a medium that’s resulting in much better engagement — email!
WHY NEWS APPS FAILED
Very few people seem to want a dedicated news app, and while my team poured their heart and soul into building what I think was one of the two or three best news app experiences ever, we couldn’t get traction.
We got exceptional reviews, great press, featured by Apple, and tons of glorious feedback from users — but we didn’t have breakout success.
In this space, Automation World tried an app while I was still there. Don’t think it ever took off. Automation.com has a great app, but they never update it. So does ISA. And Profibus/Profinet US. But none seem to be going anywhere.
One problem is app saturation. It was such a good market to begin with, but people quickly grew tired of accumulating so many apps. I have five screens worth, and most people have far more. How do you keep up with them all?
I get blogs by feed reader or email. I don’t go searching much. I even failed to renew my Wall Street Journal subscription because it was all on the app, and I never go there. The NY Times sends me an email and its stories appear in my feed reader. Much friendlier.
Your Media Habit
So what is your media habit (aside from reading my site–or do you just read from the email)?
Do you spend much time with control and automation magazines?
What would you really like to serve you news you want?
Following yesterday’s news about support for start-ups doing crowd funding, today we have news of an accelerator for start-ups in the Internet of Things space. Only a couple are specifically industrial, but there are interesting ideas.
These technology accelerators were big in Silicon Valley, of course, but then there’s Beta Works in New York City. This one I have written about before settled in Colorado. The business accelerator is TechrIoT (pronounced “Tech Riot” ). Colorado’s first Internet of Things (IoT) entrepreneurial collaborative, announced the 11 finalists for its inaugural IoT‐focused business accelerator called TechrIoT XLR8 (pronounced “Tech Riot Accelerate” ).
The 11 companies were selected from more than 100 applicants by TechrIoT’s advisory board comprised of technology industry veterans, entrepreneurial visionaries and Colorado business leaders.
Internet of Things Era
“The IoT era will reshape the way technology is integrated into our daily lives,” explained Suzy Gutierrez, Co‐Founder, TechrIoT. “The inaugural XLR8 cohort of 11 companies is front and center in that revolution and will have the TechrIoT advisory network behind them as they take the next steps in their business development.”
Five Colorado companies will be part of XLR8’s inaugural contingency: GoFire LLC , LockState, Place Global, QB Labs, and U Grok It . “As a leading IoT smart lock provider to the vacation rental and Airbnb markets, LockState is excited to be partnering with Arrow, Denver South EDP, and Innovation Pavilion as part of this TechrIoT program to pioneer and promote new disruptive IoT applications” said Nolan Mondrow, CEO of LockState.
Companies participating outside of Colorado include: Envivo Systems (Calgary, Alberta,Canada) Knocki (Houston, TX), MyOrbii (Houston, TX), Ombitron (Kansas City, MO), Smart Office Energy Solutions (Chapel Hill, NC), Tailio (San Diego, CA).
Check out all of them, but pay especial attention to Ombitron. It is the one specific industrial startup. It provides Business Intelligence for the Industrial Internet of Things enabling business intelligence for the real world in real time. The Ombitron Intelligence Engine Platform enables operational efficiency applications that were heretofore cost and complexity prohibitive. Knocki also has an interesting concept.
Internationally recognized IoT pioneer, Matthew Bailey adds, “TechRiot XLR8 is a bleeding edge
IoT innovation framework that helps IoT businesses to optimise their proposition for success and activate their leadership to the fullest potential. XLR8 levers best in class strengths from the Colorado tech eco‐systems which combined with its visionary IoT innovation framework makes it a world‐class initiative.”
XLR8 applicant organizations submitted business plans that were reviewed by a team of judges who rated their inventive business solutions through an online scoring rubric. Executive advisors then selected the finalist XLR8 companies based on a set of criteria addressing market validation, hardware design and groundbreaking IoT innovation.
Jennifer Maskrey, Co‐Founder at QB Labs, “We are thrilled to be a part of this IoT accelerator and look forward to polishing our company’s vision and products over the next few months”.
XLR8 companies will collaborate in a fast‐paced, business accelerator‐type environment without the usual fees, investor equity expectations or relocation restrictions. “As a start‐up, being included in such a prestigious program with validation and assistance from businesses and experts will be invaluable to our success.” Alan Johnson, CEO Place Global.
Each company will receive supply chain financing from Arrow Electronics and introductions to anchor customers and channel partners. The IoT accelerator will culminate with two investor pitch opportunities, one in Denver and one in Silicon Valley in late Summer 2016.
TechrIoT is a community of Internet of Things (IoT) entrepreneurs, executives, manufacturers, investors, engineers, suppliers and academics that aims to accelerate the adoption and growth of the IoT economy in Colorado‐‐establishing Colorado as a global hub for innovation in one of the fastest growing segments of the technology industry.
Launched in June 2015 by Innovation Pavilion, Arrow Electronics and the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, the TechrIoT community includes more than 1,500 members from the Denver Metro area and across the U.S. TechrIoT is based in the Innovation Pavilion in Centennial, CO.
Let’s take a look at a product development process today. My pool of things to write about has shrunk recently. I’m stretching out a little.
I will be at the ARC Forum next week. If any of you are going, look me up. Or stop me in the hallway to chat.
Have you ever participated in one of the crowd-sourcing investment projects? I invested in a Kickstarter project one time. Got the product eventually. Don’t use it now. But that’s OK. Have you ever thought about funding a new project through Kickstarter or something? These companies are proliferating.
A notice recently came through about a service for people crowdfunding. Krowdster is a big data powered web app for crowdfunding campaign optimization and promotion. It recently announced the addition of two new features to make it easier for crowdfunders to find targeted influencers and trending content in their industries.
In the past, crowdfunders may have hired expensive marketing or PR firms to do the job for them, but thanks to technology and big data, there are now tools that do the heavy lifting for you and make information accessible that has previously been impossible to access.
Influencer Search is a keyword search to discover influencers, journalists and bloggers in any niche, who have a following and who can help to get exposure for your crowdfunding campaign.
Trending Content is an easy way to discover blogs and news sites with trending content in any crowdfunding niche. Input search terms relevant to your campaign and discover content that is going viral on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google. This information can be used to build targeted media lists of the blogs and news sites that are writing about similar topics.
Both of the new tools work for all donations or rewards crowdfunding campaigns as well as the newly approved equity crowdfunding types “Regulation A+” and “Title III” of the JOBS Act.
Optimize & promote crowdfunding product development
- Find Backers and Super Backers on Kickstarter and Indiegogo
- Build a highly targeted and engaged following on Twitter
- Get a professional Press Release written and distributed
- Reach influencers, journalists, and bloggers in your niche
- Discover viral content in your niche
- Optimize your campaign page setup
One of my new favorite tech news sites is The Information. It’s a subscription email newsletter/Website founded by Jessica Lessin. (Interestingly my other favorite is Pando, also founded by a woman–Sarah Lacy.)
Jessica’s husband, Sam, wrote a post with a provocative thought this week, The Good Enough Stuff Revolution.
He asks, “Are Harry’s or Dollar Shave Club razors better than Gillette? What about Honest Co. soap versus Dial soap? I have no idea, and I don’t have any interest in figuring it out. They are good enough and generally easier to buy, and so they win.
“There is, in my mind, a major revolution underway in most consumer hard and soft goods which I call the Good Enough Stuff revolution. As a result, most traditional brands sold through traditional retail avenues are going to struggle to find a foothold in this new world.”
This leads to the provocative idea, “The thing to understand is that Good Enough products aren’t purely commodities racing to the bottom. They are a class of products where the end-to-end experience of selection, purchasing and customer service is more important than the product itself.”
Good enough Industrial Products?
What do you buy? Of course there are many classes of industrial products. Large assets, smaller assets, control components, MRO.
Which of these do you buy because of the end-to-end customer experience rather than diligently searching out best-in-class or merely price?
There are lots of PLCs available, for instance. You could get a smaller one and buy on price. You could go to AutomationDirect and buy direct over the Web (not unlike Amazon). You could buy where there is a strong distributor relationship. You could go with the “new kid on the block”–Bedrock Automation–and go for the added feature of built-in security.
Have you changed buying habits over the past 10 years or so? Do you think you could change buying habits? Where would you draw the line on size of equipment??
More important, perhaps, would be the question–should I be considering how I purchase and re-evaluate the entire process.