Category Archives: Choices

Book Review: The Age of The Customer: Prepare For the Moment of Relevance by Jim Blasingame

AgeOfTheCustomer_4b-300x300I was prepared not to care much for Jim Blasingame …

I think to myself:  Here is another opinionated, contrarily-minded, “expert” who’s going to tell me how things have changed and are changing, and then sell me his approach to how to successfully navigate that change … like he knows all there is we need to know … just like all the other authors in the leadership and business genre.

Pleasant Surprises:  

Yes, Jim is opinionated … but he backs up his opinions and they become well-thought out positions.

Yes, Jim is contrary .. . but not really.  He IS independently minded and does not suffer fools, fads, or fiction easily.

Yes, he is an “expert”, but you can remove the quotation marks, because he truly knows what he is talking about.

In all honesty, I am still reading this book, but the general idea is that the focus (and the power) is shifting from the seller to the customer.  Our brave new world of technology and connection has leveled the playing field a bunch and we are no longer dominated by a few mega-corporations.

This is good news for the little and medium-sized guys … not so good news for those who labor in mega-corporations

He also talks about the “moment of relevance” and how a small business can prepare to take advantage of this critical point and he does so clearly and with solid thinking.

Being a little bit contrary myself, I read Chapter 17 first … the title of “Social Media: A Rose by Any Other Name” caught my attention, since I spend much time in the social media environment.    Several things about this chapter make it an important one and a good choice for your start:

1)  Jim devotes the first paragraph to a self-description which provides a context for understanding his comments much  better.

2)  Whether we are comfortable with the idea or not, social media is going to continue to play a significant role in our shared future.

3)  Jim displays a common-sense and balanced approach to how we use social media.  This is way beyond the “You need a Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, and a Facebook page” level of coaching that is the norm these days for social media usage.

Jim’s observations and suggestions for how you, as a small business,  approach your social media presence and use are solidly anchored in what makes good business sense. 

Read this book, follow Jim’s advice, and your small business will be ready for your moments of relevance.

Enjoying reading a book I thought I would not enjoy in the Heartland ….

John

Jim-Blasingame-Headshot-243x300

Jim Blasingame is one of the world’s foremost experts on small business and entrepreneurship, and was ranked as the #1 small business expert in the world by Google. President and founder of Small Business Network, Inc., Jim is the creator and award-winning host of The Small Business Advocate® Show, nationally syndicated since 1997. As a high-energy keynote speaker, Jim talks to small business audiences about how to compete in the 21st century global marketplace, and he talks with large companies about how to speak small business as a second language. A syndicated columnist and the author of three books, including Small Business Is Like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success, which have sold almost 100,000 copies combined; his third book, The Age of the CustomerTM, will be launching on January 27, 2014.

Disclaimer:  A copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes … and I am very happy that this happened, because I otherwise might not have been exposed to Jim and his thinking about how to move ahead.

Standing and Serving …

Lighthouse“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save. 

They just stand there shining.”

 

~ Anne Lamott

 

Just a thought in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, as we busily plan to conquer new worlds in the new year and search energetically for meaning in our lives … maybe we are trying too hard.

What might happen in our lives if we tried just standing still right where we are and shining like a beacon for others? 

We often talk about leading by example, learning by modeling, and so on … maybe we ought to just do it and see how things go.

Just a thought as we inch closer and closer to a brand new year.

Making like a well-designed lighthouse in the Heartland …

John

Why You’ll Never See My “Best of 2013″ List …

Best Ten ...

I do enjoy lists …

I am a certified junkie when it comes to such things as “10 Best Ways to Canoodle” or “50 Surefire Apps for Your Gadgetphone”.   The end of each year brings a veritable flood of such lists, with the bonus of also including looks ahead, like  “5 Absolutely Sure Bets for 2014″ or “3 Reasons My Book Will Be Your Best Investment for 2014″.

Have you noticed the sarcasm yet?

I really do like lists and I do read many of those published at this time of year.  However, I do so with a rather large grain of salt for the following reasons, which apply to both “Best of …” and “My Best …” listings:

My Best May Not Be Your Best …

One need look no further than any list titled as the “Best of the …” for proof of this.  No matter what book title, film, song, smart phone, tablet, new gadget, or application makes the list, someone’s favorite is left off.

“Best” indicates a value or quality which can be objectively identified and quantified.  I do not always see that happening and am not sure how to apply that to blog posts anyway.

My favorites tend NOT to be the titles that end up on “Best Of …” lists.  Does that lower their value to me?  I think not.

Traffic Does Not Necessarily Equal Value …

In many cases, I notice that the primary measures used to name the “best”, especially when it comes to blog posts, tweets, or other digital output, are repetition (retweets and so on) and  popularity (“Likes” and the like).  

My blog does not generate a large amount of traffic.   However, things I say sometimes seem of value to others.

Not that these are invalid, but is quantity always reflective of quality?

The Tendency to Sell Yourself Creeps in …

This may be a character flaw in me or at least a trait which rejects overt self-promotion.   I will not share the five or ten most popular posts from this blog simply because 1) you have already read them if a regular reader, or 2) I don’t believe in selling old wine.

My thinking and how I express my understanding of leadership, learning, and human behavior is still evolving, along with my ability to communicate in writing.   I would much rather hook you for the new year than belabor you with what I have already done.

BOTTOM LINE:

As I stated earlier, I do enjoy reading all the lists that are popping up.   I even read the “Best of Me” lists for those folks who I really respect and I truly enjoy seeing their well-known and favorite essays.

I just ain’t gonna do it myself …

So am I a clear-headed thinker or just engaging in sour grapes?

Awaiting responses as I polish off the last of the Christmas candy stash in the Heartland ….

John