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Inspiration Archives


April 15, 2008

More Less is More

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Inspiration

'Less is more' is kind of a mantra around here. We like simple products. And we're big on organizations narrowing their focus and doing what matters.

So here's a sampling of 'less is more' thinking:

Of course these all came from 37Signals, the less is more software company.

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February 28, 2008

The Future Is Free

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Inspiration

Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson has a book coming out next year titled FREE (Hyperion) and the sneak peek is fascinating. Anderson argues that the future of business is all about zero.

The rise of "freeconomics" is being driven by the underlying technologies that power the Web. Just as Moore's law dictates that a unit of processing power halves in price every 18 months, the price of bandwidth and storage is dropping even faster. Which is to say, the trend lines that determine the cost of doing business online all point the same way: to zero.

As much as we complain about how expensive things are getting, we're surrounded by forces that are making them cheaper. Forty years ago, the principal nutritional problem in America was hunger; now it's obesity, for which we have the Green Revolution to thank. Forty years ago, charity was dominated by clothing drives for the poor. Now you can get a T-shirt for less than the price of a cup of coffee, thanks to China and global sourcing. So too for toys, gadgets, and commodities of every sort. Even cocaine has pretty much never been cheaper (globalization works in mysterious ways).

Continue reading "The Future Is Free"

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October 24, 2007

Zappos Cares

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Inspiration

The blogosphere has been abuzz with the story of a woman who was on the receiving side of a caring gesture by someone at Zappos online shoe store.

She blogged about her experience and 155 people commented in agreement of how cool Zappos is for someone at the company going the extra mile and showing a little heart! That's 155 new fans and potentially 155 new customers just from being nice.

Isn't it amazing how often businesses overlook the simple things related to just treating people well in favor of complicated strategies for "reaching the public" and "expanding the market segment."

Remember, there isn't a person alive who doesn't love it when you're nice. Are you being good to others? If you're not, you may want to rethink your strategy. We can help.

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July 19, 2007

Doing Good isn't Always Easy: Starting a Library

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Inspiration

The Freakonomics blog has a nice little piece pondering a curious what if: What if libraries didn't exist today? Would a rich person like Bill Gates be able to start libraries all across the country much like Andrew Carnegie did (in 1919 there were 3,500 libraries in the U.S., nearly half of them funded by Carnegie)?

At first it seems like a silly question--who doesn't love libraries? Why would we stop such an act of charity and good will. But what would today's publishers say?

Given the current state of debate about intellectual property, can you imagine modern publishers being willing to sell one copy of a book and then have the owner let an unlimited number of strangers borrow it?

It seems if we did it all over again today, libraries might not happen. It's a good reminder that charity and generosity and life-changing ideas can be scary and dangerous and a lot easier to do today than tomorrow when the problems are worse and the resistance hardened. (You can help build libraries in developing countries by supporting Room to Read. Link via Good)

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June 29, 2007

Dean Kamen on Doing Well While Doing Good

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Inspiration

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, recently gave the commencement address at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He started by reminding the graduates that the world had big problems that need to be solved, and they're not going to be solved by the two-thirds of the world's people who live on less than $2 per day and are more worried about finding water that won't kill them than they are about solving global warming or racial injustice or whatever cause you want to champion.

So I would beg every educated person in this world to remember, every day when you get up, that you are an incredibly small minority of all humanity. And with all the privileges I understand it gives us, I think it gives us an enormous responsibility to be leaders that do the right things for the right reasons. And remember that you can be doing good while you are doing well. You'll all go out and get good jobs. But you'll make your living by what you do in those jobs. You'll make your life by what you give. Have a good life.

'Doing good while you are doing well'--sounds like cause marketing.

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May 4, 2007

Getting Paid to Think

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Inspiration

If you can get past the pompous posture of the author, Thinking for a Living by Joey Reiman is an excellent read. Although the book has been around for several years, it came at a particularly helpful time for Personality™ as we've been navigating our way through the development of several new processes that involve a whole lot of thinking.

"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it." -Henry Ford

Reiman is the founder of an ideation company that started after he launched and sold an advertising agency. He got out of the ad business because clients were paying for the execution of ideas, not the ideas themselves. I've talked before about this broken agency model.

"An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an invasion of ideas." -Victor Hugo

Some have said that we use only 10 percent of our brains to think. Reiman thinks this is too little of a space for big ideas, and suggests nine characteristics of thinkers that are using more than their 10 percent.

Continue reading "Getting Paid to Think"

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February 6, 2007

Sheer Force of Will

Posted by Brett Hutchinson | Filed under: Inspiration

There was a lot going on in the decade that Martin Luther King Jr. stepped forward and died to make his dream come true. On May 25, 1961, the American people decided to go to the moon and less than 9 years later--beep, beep, beep--we landed.

Like King, we didn't get there because we knew how to, we got there because we had the will to do it.

Want to win a Super Bowl? Who's stopping you? Want to rise above your circumstances and start a new life? The world is cheering you on. Are you a little afraid of the sneers and jeers of those with no courage to dream? Don't be. If you want to land on the moon, the real question is not, "can I do it?" It's, "Will I do it?"

We are inspired by the great achievements of humankind which soar above the normal and everyday and the people who change everything for the better and that challenge us to dream. During Black History month our hats go off to Tony Dungy and all those who refuse to give up. Who, by the force of their great will, accomplish great things. You inspire us.

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January 31, 2007

Whole Foods & CEO Pay

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Inspiration

In November of last year, upscale grocer Whole Foods CEO and co-founder John Mackey wrote a letter to all of his employees/team about compensation. He announced that Whole Foods was increasing its salary cap (from 14 times the average pay to 19 times the average pay) to allow for more competitive executive salaries. It's worth noting that the average CEO of a Fortune 500 company earned 431 times as much as their average employee.

The highlight of Mackey's letter was that effective January 1, 2007, his own salary was being reduced to $1. "I am now 53 years old and I have reached a place in my life where I no longer want to work for money, but simple for the joy of the work itself and to better answer the call to service that I feel so clearly in my own heart."

Furthermore, the Whole Foods board of directors chose to contribute $100,000 annually to a new "Global Team Member Emergency Fund" that will be distributed to team members based on need.

It's great to see examples of the head and heart working so well together!

Thanks to Fast Company for re-printing the letter in their February 2007 issue.

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January 15, 2007

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2007

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Personality News

Today in the United States, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Established in 1983, it is the newest addition to our annual holiday lineup, although it wasn't until 2000 that every state recognized it (thanks Utah!). Besides George Washington, Dr. King is the only other American honored with a national holiday.

Several months ago we were brainstorming as a team what to do for gifts this past Christmas for Personality™ clients and friends. Instead of sending something along with every other fruit basket and chocolate, we re-directed our efforts to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Last week we shipped hundreds of gift kits with an invitation to dream. Inspired by Dr. King, each kit is your chance to create some space and ask "What if?"

This holiday means a whole lot to us because it's about a cause. It's the day we recognize a man who wasn't just standing up for racial equality, he was fighting for justice.

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant ... I believe the wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered me have torn down, men other-centered can build up." -From his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech on December 10, 1964

We honor you, Dr. King. Thanks for showing us what it means to live and die for a cause bigger then ourselves. Thanks for showing us how to ask "What if?"


If you want one of the gift kits, we have a few left. Drop a line to Brett or Brian and we'll get one out to you right away (while supplies last).

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January 13, 2007

MLK Day On

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Inspiration

I had no idea how widespread the idea of using MLK day as a day of service was. Taking a day off to use for a day of service is brilliant, and in my opinion is the way Dr. King would have rather had it anyway. To think that his death resulted in just giving people a day off is actually a little insulting!

Thanks to the Congress of 1994 who enacted this day of service, ten years after establishing the holiday in the first place. Bravo!

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January 12, 2007

We Are Men of Action

Posted by Brian Zopf | Filed under: Inspiration

In one of the greatest films of all time (not open to debate), The Princess Bride, the "poor and perfect" farm-boy, Wesley, says at one point: "We are men of action. Lies do not become us." I love that line. It's one of my favorites.

I want to be a man of action.

Everyone has dreams. But why is it that so many are doomed to watch from the shoreline as they either fade or disappear altogether as years go by? Could it be because they're content to simply dream the dreams, rather than run after them?

I would rather run.

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