What Do You Do For A Living?

Matt Ruby over at Sand Paper Suit shares a great video of David Mamet discussing why you shouldn’t ask someone what they do for a living.In a lot of circles, I know that this is taboo for all of the reasons that he says, but I really disagree.First, I guess I’ve always assumed that I have less money and am not nearly as smart as most people out there, so I’m not too concerned about putting people in the buckets like Mamet explains.Second, living in Silicon Valley, I’m fascinated by people that aren’t in the technology industry.  Especially here, but generally wherever I go, I tend to find really interesting people that want nothing to do with this industry.When I meet people that live in the SF Bay Area that aren’t in the tech industry or something that supports it, I fall off my block a bit.  My neighbor runs a company that makes decorative concrete castings. It is an insanely successful business and has nothing to do with technology. I find that really cool.A lot can be gleaned outside of someones social status by what they do.  This is something that a person spends 8 – 10 hours a day doing, they must have a passion for it, why not learn as much as possible about why they are in that industry?I find that the question comes up a lot on the golf course. You’re pretty much stuck with someone for 4 – 5 hours, it is the first way, once small informalities are out of the way, to establish a common bond with this person and potentially form a friendship.Don’t be afraid of asking someone what they do for a living. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about a person.Am I really off my block?  Should I not be discussing these things?  Tell me in the comments.

Michael Jordan’s Rules (Adapted for Sales) – Don’t Think About the Prize

This is the 3rd in a series of rules outlined in Golf Digest by Michael Jordan on how to be more competitive in golf.  I’ve been working on how to adapt them to be more successful in your sales career.  I suppose, that at the end of it all, I’ll a

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Image by Getty Images via Daylife

dd a bunch of links and compile everything.Rule #3 – Don’t Think About the Prize, Think About the WorkAdmit it, that hint of the big commission check comes into your head when you get your comp plan. You’ve already spent the money, haven’t you.That spiff that your VP rolled out this quarter? You’re already on the beach.Put it out of your head.  Don’t even think about, because when you’re thinking about sipping mai-tais in Maui, you’re not thinking about doing the work that is required to get there.You’re not thinking about the cold calls you’ll need to make, the meetings you’ll need to go to, the follow up letters you’ll need to send.You certainly won’t be thinking about the work that will need to go into strategically moving your deals forward.One of my prizes from last quarter was a trip to Pebble Beach.  I didn’t even realize that I was close to it until after the quarter was over.  Had I known I was getting close, it would have been really hard not to picture myself standing on the #7 green (where I knocked it stiff, of course).  And that leads to not doing the work involved to get there.Little things add up to big things.  Make the calls, do the follow up, focus on the things that will take to get to your number. Don’t focus on what happens after you get there.

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Michael Jordan’s Rules (Adapted for Sales) – Have Total Confidence

This is the second in a series of 10 posts based on the Golf Digest article in which Michael Jordan discusses how to be more competitive.His second rule is ‘Have Total Confidence In What You Can Do’.A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I was totally convinced that if a company didn’t use our software that they would be out of business in 3-months (of course I can’t find it, but here is the RT). I recognize that this isn’t true, but I go into every deal with the conviction that this is the case.I’m so convinced that my product is the best thing for my customers.  I’m convinced that I’ll win every deal that I go into. I’m convinced that companies that don’t choose our software will be toast.This conviction carries over in your voice, your mannerisms and your decisions that you make for your customers. It’s easy to say that you have their best interest in mind, but do you really?  When you are totally and utterly convinced that you have the right thing for your customers, that will come out and you’ll win more deals.On the flip side, be honest with yourself and your customers.   If you work for a company with a shit product, leave. If you work for a company that is unethical, get out of there. If you don’t believe you have a good fit, walk away from the deal and recommend a competitor that would be a better fit (believe me, nothing builds future credibility like this).If you don’t believe, who is going to believe for you?

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Michael Jordan’s Rules (Adapted for Sales) – Focus on the Little Things

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Image via Wikipedia

This month, Golf Digest has a great Top 10 things suggested my Michael Jordan to improve your golf game.  Of course, like any hyper-competitive scenario, these suggestions can also be applied to sales.  While I don’t exactly watch a lot of professional sports, I think that there are a lot of similarities.Over the next few days, I’ll document each 10 of MJ’s tips and how they carry from the golf course to your overall sales activities.1.) Focus on the Little ThingsThis is crucial to success in sales and there are a million little things that need to get done.  Daily cold calls, follow up emails, scheduling properly, calling when you say you will.All of these little things add up to a lot.  Are you doing them?Everyone knows that to make sales, you have to make cold calls.  Focus on the basics, do the work each day and it adds up to you making your number.As a manager, are you asking / helping your team focus on what is important? Do they know what is important and what the little things are to drive success in your business?  If not, maybe it’s time to have a refresher course for your team.Tomorrow – Have Total Confidence

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Why @bubbawatson Had Such A Cool Tweet

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Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Last night, PGA Tour Player Bubba Watson, tweeted a link to a video of him teaching how to hit a flop shot over a bunker.  I retweeted the link saying (from my golf site) that I thought that it was cool for a bunch of different reasons.  Like most RT’s, I half expected it to go into the ether never to be heard from again.A few hours later, I got this response:

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Wow, that is cool, but probably a response worthy of more than 140 characters. Here is what my immediate reaction was.1.) Adoption – A few days ago, I noticed this tweet from Stewart Cink:

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So less than a week ago, Bubba Watson was new to Twitter and now he is sharing video.  As someone who lives and breathes by adoption rates of my product, this is awesome to see.  Bubba Watson may be my new case study on adoption. Within a week, he recognized the power of social media, built a huge base of followers and regularly adds value using text, photos and video. What if a percentage of your employees did the same thing?
2.) Actual pro’s sharing video – Sharing video on Twitter isn’t new. Giving lessons to people via links in Twitter isn’t new either, but usually golf lessons are delivered via @dorfongolf and you have to take them with a grain of salt.  Seeing a tour pro give a lesson offers a much different level of credibility and, like watching any professional athlete, it is a little magical too.  Usually playing lessons are reserved for high quality, Golf Channel, fancy production things.  This was just Bubba out for a casual round and making a quick video.  I’ll take 30-minutes of this any day.
3.) Response time – Bubba Watson interacts with his fans a lot on Twitter.  Probably more than anyone else on the PGA and most people on LPGA.  Not since Shaq have I seen an athlete truly converse with their fans in this manner.  I shouldn’t be surprised by the response rate, but it was still pretty cool.
4.) The video is pretty good too:
I’ve always dug Bubba Watson as a player. He has a sweet swing and hits the ball a million miles. But in the last 12-hours I’ve gone from average fan to huge fan all due to a simple video and a quick response.

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BayAreaGolf Twitter Bot – Instructions

We’ve all been there.  You book a tee time for 4 people and either a.) someone backs out and you can’t find anyone or b.) you think that you can fill the slots and they don’t materialize.  Either way, it sort of sucks.In comes the BayAreaGolf Twitter bot that I mentioned in the previous post.  The bot is designed to help people with an opening or two in their booking.Setting up the BayAreaGolf bot is easy.1.) If you don’t have a Twitter account, go get one.2.) In your status field, type ‘follow bayareagolf’3.) When you have an opening in your group, send a message to @bayareagolf – Include the course, number of openings, date and timeFor example:@bayareagolf Cinnabar Hills, 1 slot, 4/26, 7:204.) When you see something that works for you, send a direct message to the original sender.Once an hour, the bot will compile all of the messages sent in and send them out.What is the Bay Area?  Great question.  I kind of assumed that it would be San Francisco Bay but that is a bit vague.  Pre-kids, I was willing to drive pretty far for golf.  If I’m in San Jose, I’d drive to San Francisco to play at Presidio or to Monterrey to play any of those courses.  I drive to Livermore and Pleasanton now, so I guess it should be anywhere in that triangle, but I don’t want to exclude Marin, which has some great courses too.  I suppose if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are willing to drive to a course, it is in the Bay Area.

BayAreaGolf Twitter Bot

A few weeks ago, Fred Wilson announced that he was working on a reply bot for Twitter that would let users send @  replies to @lotd (lyric of the day).  The bot was simple and would compile all of the messages and send them out on a regular basis.  It is fun because usually I have no ida what the songs are, but once in a while an old punk rock song or really old country song (Hank Williams, early Johnny Cash) comes across, I see it in Twhirl and smile.Coincidentally, the same weekend that Fred launched @lotd, I had booked a tee time for 4, but only had me and a buddy.  Wouldn’t it be cool if I could send a tweet to a group of subscribers (not necessarily my followers) to let them know that I have a tee time at a particular course and they could direct message me to join the group.  I figured that courses could use this too to announce last minute specials to fill open slots.  I set up @bayareagolf.Not being a programmer, I was hosed.  I couldn’t write a Twitter script if my life depended on it, I had a cool idea, but no way to implement it.  In one of his posts, Fred credited Whitney McNamara as the person who wrote the @lotd script.  I reached out to Whit and he graciously shared the script with me.  Apparently it was pretty simple to implement providing you understand PERL.  For me, it was like trying to read the Dead Sea Scrolls.In another instance of coincidence, Socialtext, my company, hosted a Super Happy Dev House this past Saturday.  I knew that I could probably find someone to at least get me pointed in the right direction to get this script going.  Enter Brandon Noard.Brandon is one of the many really smart people that I work with and he also happens to be a PERL guru.  He was able to quickly understand what it is that I wanted to do and look at the script and make the appropriate modifications.  Within about an hour, we had something working.When a user sends an @ message to @bayareagolf, the script compiles all of the entries and once an hour sends out an update.  Find openings with cool, Twitter minded people.The only real hurdle that we had was figuring out how to host a PERL script on GoDaddy, who does my hosting.  Brandon is being super cool about hosting this script on his personal server while I try to figure this out.  I’d love to duplicate this for other locations, but don’t want to take advantage of Brandon.  If anyone knows how to add this, LMK.The bot is cool.  I recognize that the market for , golfers, who live in the Bay Area, who are on twitter, is pretty small, but if it helps me fill a spot or two, rockin.  I’m all for things that put real world social into social networking.  I’ll post instructions soon.

BayAreaGolf Twitter Bot – Instructions

We’ve all been there.  You book a tee time for 4 people and either a.) someone backs out and you can’t find anyone or b.) you think that you can fill the slots and they don’t materialize.  Either way, it sort of sucks.

In comes the BayAreaGolf Twitter bot that I mentioned in the previous post.  The bot is designed to help people with an opening or two in their booking.

Setting up the BayAreaGolf bot is easy.
1.) If you don’t have a Twitter account, go get one.
2.) In your status field, type ‘follow bayareagolf
3.) When you have an opening in your group, send a message to @bayareagolf – Include the course, number of openings, date and time
For example:
@bayareagolf Cinnabar Hills, 1 slot, 4/26, 7:20
4.) When you see something that works for you, send a direct message to the original sender.

Once an hour, the bot will compile all of the messages sent in and send them out.

What is the Bay Area?  Great question.  I kind of assumed that it would be San Francisco Bay but that is a bit vague.  Pre-kids, I was willing to drive pretty far for golf.  If I’m in San Jose, I’d drive to San Francisco to play at Presidio or to Monterrey to play any of those courses.  I drive to Livermore and Pleasanton now, so I guess it should be anywhere in that triangle, but I don’t want to exclude Marin, which has some great courses too.  I suppose if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are willing to drive to a course, it is in the Bay Area.