Lessons from the Mona Lisa

Dec 26, 2007

An interesting video on the Mona Lisa, and why she is famous. It’s a small painting, whose subject isn’t even a significant historical figure. So what makes the painting stand out so much? As the video shows, it’s about the small, but revolutionary changes in the painting.

Small details, done in a way that nobody had done before, is all you need to stand out.

The Best Way to Get Traffic

Dec 20, 2007

A new, free ebook by Seth Godin. You can download the ebook directly from here.

It’s a short ebook, that will only take you 5-10 minutes to read. But it has a good message. It’s about how to gain traffic to your website (or blog/podcast/whatever content you’re creating).

Yes, there are a lot of articles on search engine optimization, etc. But I agree with Seth, that the best way to get traffic and clicks “is to create content that is updated, unique and useful”.

I can’t say that I’ve mastered this yet (I’ve got less than 60 subscribers). But hopefully I improve with time.

Those of you who don’t create online content might be wondering what you have to gain from this ebook. Well, the principles apply in pretty much any field. No matter what your message might be, and where your field is, you’ll probably want to have people listening to what you’re saying. And Seth Godin here shows us the best way to achieve that.

Yes, you can try to game the system. You can come up with all sorts of strategies for marketing and advertising. But at the end of the day, if you don’t create a good remarkable product (whatever that product might be), all the marketing and advertising strategies in the world won’t create a lasting impact. The best (if not only) way of getting attention in the long run, is to create a product that is unique, useful and updated.

As they say, the cream always rises to the top.

How are you creating content that gets people’s attention?

Time Management

Nov 30, 2007

I recently listened to show #108 (yes I know it’s an old show) of The Engaging Brand Podcast: Thinking Outside the Clock.

In the show, Ann Rusnak talks about time management. A lot of time management articles have similar tips, such as only checking your email at scheduled times, turning off your phone at certain times, etc. Basically to remove yourself from distractions. And those were mentioned in this podcast as well. But what really struck me was how she said time management was about priorities, knowing what your priority is and living according to that (that’s a paraphrase, of course).

Thinking about it, that’s partly why I never managed to follow the standard “time management tips” that most places provide. They talk about cutting yourself from distractions. While this in itself, is a good point, very often, the distractions they mention come in the form of other people intruding when you’re doing something (email, IM, phone, etc). But personally, my phone is on (and with me) almost 24/7. I’m keep my email open as much as possible. I’m on IM as much as I can. I stay on Twitter whenever I’m online. And I let people know this. Why do I do this? Because my priority in life is relationships and the connections formed.

And that’s why I make myself available as much as possible. All the time, if possible. Especially to my friends, the people who matter to me. I want my life to be about the people I touch, the conversations I’ve been part of, the connections and friendships I’ve built. So I spend a lot of time making myself available for conversation and community-building. Things like phone calls and Twitter and IM aren’t distractions to me, they are what life is all about. Things like going traveling half an hour to buy lunch for a friend because she forgot her wallet, to me it isn’t that much a distraction or annoyance. It’s something I don’t mind doing, because it’s important.

What does this have to do with you? Well, I just wanted to show how there are no standard tips and suggestions for time management. It really all depends on your priorities. I admit that my priorities, and the extent to which I pursue them, might not be the same for everyone, but the most important point is to customize your schedule to your priorities. So don’t just blindly take the words of the experts (you shouldn’t ever do that, in any case), but think about how they apply to your life. If you’re struggling to manage your time, don’t just google “time management tips” and apply them (a tip from the first google result already suggests “For one week, for example, set a goal that you’re not going to take personal phone calls while you’re working.”). Think about what matters the most to you.

That’s the most effective form of time management. Priorities. And that’s very much a personalized thing.

Where do your priorities lie – and how much time are you putting into them?

Your Caricature

Nov 27, 2007

The Guardian reports a study which shows that police would be better off using caricatures of suspects rather than standard, more accurate sketches.

Caricatures emphasize the unique traits of the person, and thus make the drawing more memorable, in my opinion. And we should apply that to ourselves as well. As you develop your personal brand, keep in mind that you’re better off emphasizing what makes you unique.

37signals puts it quite well in their post. “A photorealistic sketch is an exercise in accuracy, but an exaggerated caricature is an exercise in identity.” And your identity is what you will be remembered for, it’s who you’ll be remembered as. People aren’t going to remember every little part of you. They’ll remember the significant, exceptional parts of who you are. And given that, I would think that it’s in your best interest to emphasize that.

What would your personal brand’s caricature be like? And how can you focus and build on that?

Link via Seth’s Blog: The caricature of your brand ; picture via Cindy’s Caricature on Flickr