Start The Work And Everything You Need Will Appear

Last year I was offered the honor to speak at an event and I almost missed out because I kept putting off the process of sitting down and figuring out what I wanted to say. I felt like I had a great opening, but didn’t have the full story of what I wanted to get across.

I procrastinated for far too long and then finally got going.  Then, things I never expected started to happen.

The more I thought about it, the more potential content I was able to gather. The more I talked to more people about it, the more they provided some insights that took me on amazing new paths.  One day I was even walking around outside and there were new signs in our parking lot that completely related to my topic. A week later, after a quick mention that I was working on it, a colleague sent me something that he saw months earlier in Canada that became critical to the story.

Once I started working, everything I needed started to appear. All I had to do was start.

Matt Kane

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Experience Design With A Side Of Buffalo Wild Wings

I was on the tail leg of a two and a half hour road trip to the shore with two screaming kids in the back of the car.  We had been sitting in traffic for an extra hour, it now was past dinner time and the emergency snacks had run out long ago.  I was doomed.

I saw a Buffalo Wild Wings right off the next exit and told the kids we were going out to dinner.  To this point they had never been to one, and they just wanted to get to the shore. They didn’t want any part of eating out. Somehow, I got them through the door.

That’s when everything changed.

Immediately upon asking for a table the hostess offered each of the kids their own game tablet.  On the twenty foot walk to the tables we grabbed some of the funny hats and some crayons and activity sheets from the bin up front.  By the time we sat down and the hostess powered up the tablet my kids were in heaven.

We had one of the funnest meals we’ve ever had at a restaurant.

As an experience designer I couldn’t help but have one of those light shining down from the sky moments when I saw the hostess offer the kids those tablets.  Why hadn’t any other restaurant done that yet?  Why isn’t this standard practice anywhere that kids (or adults) may have to wait for something?

I’m not recommending that kids always plant their face in tablets, as my kids’ technology policies are quite restrictive, but isn’t it great that there was an option at a place where everyone knows that kids (and parents) might benefit.  That extra little bit of thought and offering creates raving fans.

What else could be added to the experiences your guests are having?

Matt Kane

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The Easiest Way To Identify A Failed Project Before It Starts

“But we have a logo.”   If you hear those five words from a project, company or team leader at the beginning of a new endeavor – run away.

Too often people get excited about the ‘pretty’ aspects of new things and don’t focus on the important.   What’s your mission, why are you doing this, who is going to do it with you, and who is it for are all much better items to detail out and document before worrying about what font and icon you think looks good.

Yes, logos can be powerful, if you first work at making important work that they represent.

Matt Kane

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A List of Great Podcasts

I’ve always tried to make better use of the commuting time I spend in my car.  What started as listening to books or instructional and motivational speeches on cassette tape has now morphed into listening in to podcasts.

Here’s a list of some of my current favorites (can find them all on iTunes):

  • Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series - a classic where amazing people come to share in a class at Stanford.
  • Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas – love the ‘standard’ format so you get different answers to the same questions as well as the range of folks John has on and its quick/high level of energy nature.
  • Ask Altucher - James Altucher’s daily question/answer podcast. Starting to throw in a part 2 that is great too.
  • The James Altucher Show – Jame’s longer form weekly podcast interview series.  Great!
  • The My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast - great stories about the beginnings of online businesses, inspiring to hear about different people ‘starting.’
  • The #AskGaryVee Show – Gary Vaynerchuk just started a daily question/answer show, always love Gary’s stuff and this has a great range of digital info. and business insight in general.
  • The Tim Ferriss Show – a little on the longer form side but Tim always comes at things from an interesting perspective.  Plus, just hearing Tim reminds me to think/do his other teachings.
  • Mad Marketing by Marcus Sheridan – the Sales Lion is one of my favorite ‘newer’ finds in that he has absolutely amazing digital / business related content yet isn’t one of the more ‘brand names’ in the field so it is even more real.
  • Accidental Creative – always great stuff about creativity, digital, etc..
  • Bigger Pockets Podcast – all about real estate investing.  I thought I knew about real estate and this is inspiring me in completely new ways in regards to real estate investing.

Those are the latest ones that are top of mind. If you listen to any of them, let’s discuss.  What are your favorite podcasts?

Matt Kane

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10 Years Ago Today…

Ten years ago today I made my last revision on a life goals list that I had been developing for four years.

The only reason I realized this phenomenon was that a couple days ago I was randomly exploring the hard drive of an old computer and found my old “goals” folder then looked at the last revised date of my life goals list.

Going through a list of my life goals from ten years ago was interesting to say the least.  Immediate emotions of pride as I realized how long I have been doing things like formal goal setting were quickly replaced by laughing and slight embarrassment as I looked at the types of things that were on the list.

Taking count of things that had been completed, things still in progress and even things that I have absolutely no desire to have on a goals list anymore reminded me more and more of what I had been thinking ten years ago.

Comparing that list to my more current lists (40 under 40 – more info. to come) gave me a chance to analyze the progression of what is and what I think will be important to me in the future.

This ten year old time capsule flooded me with thoughts, inspiration, emotions and energy like few things could.  It also reminded me to document current thoughts and goals even more diligently so I could again have that feeling in ten more years.

The most important things I made note of from my ten year old list were the things I believe would not have happened had I not written them down ten years ago.  Making it even more important to write more things down today.

What will you write down?

Matt Kane

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Developing Great Teams With Small Investments

Recently I was at a meeting where they brought in various teams from around our Company to showcase the work that they were performing.

Unexpectedly, I recognized someone, who I hadn’t worked with or seen in 13 years, running one of the booths.

We immediately fell back into an old level of comfort with each other, hugged hello and started laughing while talking about past stories, what we’re doing currently and what’s happened over the last few years.

After processing that encounter for a while I found myself wondering why is it that I seemed to have a better and more authentic connection with a person I hadn’t seen in 13 years and only worked with for a shorter time compared to many others I have worked with for longer periods of time or more recently.

There are lots of factors that play into what makes groups work together well and build connections, but looking at the traditional factors didn’t seem to uncover the answer. There had to be more. I really wanted to be able to find the answer so I could try and use that to continue to build great relationships with the teams I work on and people I work with.

That’s when I realized the difference between the strong bonds that had been formed over 13 years ago versus some of the more tenuous bonds today.

When we were working together years ago, there had been many more offsite and not-directly-work-related interactions. Our teams and colleagues would spend more time doing things out of the office together and we had more support for little things like team lunches and offsite dinners.

Great relationships build great teams and great teams accomplish great things easier.

Since that’s the case, why is it that when budget cuts come around some of the first things to go are those very things, like off sites and team meals, that can help build great teams?

The next time you hear about a startup or some other smaller company having happy hours or buying everyone lunch realize that it’s not only a nice perk, it’s a strategic investment in accomplishing great things. The next time someone asks you for budget for what may seem like fun vs. work related activities, realize it will pay off much more in terms of the work.

Matt Kane

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Breaking The Product Expectation Barrier

Until Roger Bannister ran his four minute mile, no one thought it could be done.

Until Bunch O Balloons figured out how to fill and tie 100 water balloons in one minute, no one thought it could be done.

The first time I watched the video on the Bunch O Balloons Kickstarter page, my jaw dropped. It immediately created that feeling within my body that I had to have that product right away.  Until seeing that video, I didn’t realize I had a major water balloon filling problem.  Sure, I knew it took long to fill them up, but I never realized there could be a much better of a way to fill water balloons.

As evidenced by the success of the Kickstarter campaign, lots of people now have a water balloon filling up speed problem and need it solved.

After calming down from my initial excitement though, I got excited again.  Not only is the Bunch O Balloons product great, it’s a whole new expectation and reality.  Just like Roger Bannister’s sub four minute mile went on to inspire other runners to do the same, this is the breaking of a product expectation barrier that will inspire hundreds of new (and probably copycats) approaches. The future products in this category will never be the same.

How did Bunch O Balloons break break the barrier: inspiration from an outsider.

The creator, Josh Malone, of Bunch O Balloons was not someone who worked in the industry or spent time in the pre-existing process of water balloon accessory manufacturing.  Instead, it was a fresh approach and not being bound by current conditions.  Also, it was a big problem the creator had, so put his focus (and family) to work to solve it.

What barriers can you break for your next product introduction or problem you’re having?

Matt Kane

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