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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The Real Healthcare Test For Companies

There’s a lot of debate going on right now about the changing healthcare industry and its impact to organizations large and small.  Instead of going deep into the overall ramifications, here’s an easier method for evaluating healthcare costs based on a stat I heard recently.

The stat: Toyota pays $250 per car sold for the healthcare benefits of its employees, GM pays $1,500.

Now, besides making me think I’ll get a better deal to buy a Toyota, it was interesting to me that the entire healthcare revolution was being boiled down into these two stats. Whether or not $250 vs. $1500 is about which number is right, it was the first time I heard a company break down the costs on a per product basis.  I’ve seen countless companies talk about how much it costs per person, but not per person / per product.

Looking at costs in new ways could open your group up to new ways to improve them. Tying every cost at a company to what the company makes might make an interesting mindset shift too.

Matt Kane

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How To Test If Something Is Worth Your Time

I have an easy barometer for knowing just how excited I am to attend my next meeting or event.  Anytime I’m on my way or thinking about going somewhere I just use the traffic as a guide for whether or not I’m really excited for where I’m going.

Have you ever seen the traffic on the roads to the beach during the summertime?  Obviously, people love going to the beach because if they didn’t they wouldn’t spend all that time stuck behind other cars.  Mandatory obligations aside, compare that to driving towards your next mundane meeting and realizing you’re about to sit in an extra hour of traffic.  Do you turn around right away?  Do you eagerly find alternate routes and call ahead to make sure it’s known you’ll be there.

If you’re not willing to endure an extra hour in traffic, what about an extra 15 minutes?  Seems like an easy way to gauge whether or not you should be having that meeting or going to that event at all.

Matt Kane

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The Power Of Your Previous Work

Have you ever loved a book or an author so much that you anxiously awaited her or his next work?  When that new book came out, did you ever start reading it and come to realize a bit of the way in that it might not be as good as the previous work?

As I’ve found myself in this situation a few times, I noticed that in most cases I would continue reading anyway, expecting that it would get better. The power of the author’s previous work and the respect I had gained for the author from that experience was enough to make me keep going and trust that it would be worth it.

As I’ve come to acknowledge it, I realize this phenomenon shows up in more places that I expected. Whether it’s books, people, companies, restaurants, and just about anything else, the power of previous work definitely influences my desire to interact.

Matt Kane

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Looking At Things From All Angles

There are two brand new houses that have just completed the building phase around the corner and down the street from where I live.  As houses go, they are beautiful looking, huge and seem to be homes that almost anyone would love to call their own.

However, from the moment they started building them, everyone in the neighborhood I  talked to agreed that we had no idea why anyone would want to build a house on those two lots.  They’re right on the corner of an intersection that everyone in our neighborhood passes to get to our houses and they seem to be these two massive houses that will forever be plagued by the sounds of a major intersection since the main road is right on the side of the houses.   Why didn’t the prospective owners see what we had all been thinking about before they started building?

Then one day I made a wrong turn and ended up back tracking down this beautiful street that was lined with trees and passed the local school with open fields on the other side and it felt quiet and serene.

I was surprised when next thing I knew towards the end of that nice little road I was passing by the fronts of those two new houses.  I’ve never had to take that road before so in the 8 months I had been passing by that intersection wondering why they would build there, I now knew.  The experience of coming at the house location from a different perspective completely changed the impression I had.

If looking at a house from a different perspective can change a person’s thoughts on possibly buying it, what could the act of changing perspectives do for your current project, goals, friends, or next endeavor?

Matt Kane

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The Power Of The First Project

“People in new positions fail because they don’t have the network needed to do their new job”

During a recent social network analysis class (not the Facebook type of social network) we were breaking down how work actually gets done in organizations when the instructor stated the quote above.

The quote meant a lot for me because I had just started a new role and because I have led groups that had new people in it many times. Finding out why some people in new roles fail and others thrive seemed like it could be very powerful.

Relationships are key to being able to get work done in many organizations. A great way to set up success for someone starting in a new role then is to make sure that the first couple projects a person has to work on will increase the number of people they get to meet and start to build trust with in the new organization.

Maybe it’s not the most crucial project to the bottom line, but it could be the most crucial project to future success of the person you just hired, or yourself.

-Matt Kane

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The Danger of Hesitation

A couple months ago someone I respect in the digital marketing / entrepreneur world, Noah Kagan, created an opportunity to get to work with him and his mastermind group. It was to take place over a week, in a ridiculously awesome mansion in a beautiful location. It was a chance to take an idea or a business to an entire new level, while learning great new stuff in paradise.

All I had to do to participate was say yes and sign up.

For whatever reasons I told myself, I initially hesitated when presented with the opportunity. I figured I needed to think about it for a little bit just to make sure I could pull it off.

Really, I knew I could pull it off – it was only a week. If I’m being honest, it’s just that I was a bit intimidated by the opportunity and how I built it up in my head.

It was only a few hours from when I was given the opportunity to participate vs. when I went and tried to say yes that the opportunity had slipped away. In those few hours the last spots were taken.

Hearing from some of the people that went, it was an incredibly impactful experience. Had I not hesitated, I could have been there.

Now, I’m not saying you should jump at each and every opportunity or shiny new thing that comes along. But how many times did you know something was right, but you had something in your head that made you hesitate just a bit.

Learn to trust your intuition and reduce hesitation on what you know you should be doing.

I think this also relates to a quote I like that says “good leaders make decisions fast and change them slow.”

What’s a decision you’ve been hesitating on?

-Matt Kane

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