The Day Tan Naked Died

So here is what happened. We, Fat Atom, did a Facebook fan page for one of our clients. The site took off like a rocket, hit almost 50,000 fans, and then we wake up one day to find Facebook had taken the page down. They sent no warning, had already validated our page, and offered no explanation later. We sent support requests to Facebook for almost 2 weeks, everyday, afterward, and they have yet to get back with us. Thousands of dollars were spent on this campaign, and now it was gone.. .all with no warning, cause or comment.

We think it is very irresponsible of Facebook, who is still young in the professional world, to treat paying customers like this. Facebook is a great place to grow your business online, but behavior like this is downright terrifying. Business need to have confidence that they are safe investing money in Facebook. Another reason why you have to consider growing a fan base on someone else’s network/platform.

Sex Sells, or Does It?

Logic tells me sex does sell, or why else would advertisers use it? Focus groups can’t be wrong, can they? I believe viewers of advertising, at their core, want to be entertained, to be made to laugh. I think marketers know this so they make humorous advertisements. They also must know that men love sex… and love looking at attractive women (when was the last time you saw unattractive or overweight people in a commercial?) Advertisers are selling the ideal, the fantasy, not reality!

That brings me to beer. A lot of people purchase it and companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get people to buy more of it. So, does sex help them sell more beer? Specifically, do sexy women in the ads help them sell more beer? I recently saw this commercial on YouTube. What stuck out most to me was how tastefully done it was… see for yourself:

Corona Ad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQoRmy9G864

The Corona campaign does not have half naked models running around in it. Granted the people are far from unattractive, but they aren’t selling sex. I think Corona did a great job of selling relationships, time together, travel and relaxing, all while sipping on a beer. Hats off to them!

But then I saw this ad:

What Brand Ad? – https://youtu.be/uhQehbmgNmc

Yeah, that took a long time to get to the end. What was the beer brand? Exactly, you don’t remember, neither did I. So does it really help them sell more beer? I would have to say no. Probably a lot of 15 year old boys watching that video though, wanting their parents to take them to the beach next summer.

And lastly, I bring you this NSFW spot from Guinness, that shows you they must know exactly who drinks their beer. Watch only if you are not offended easily, and watch through to the end.

Guinness Ad  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25NQqK4E5vk

Wow. That was brave. I wonder if the marketing executive still has his job after that one. Did you read the comments under the video… some people were really offended. What does that do to their brand… do they even care?

So the question lingers… does sex sell? My conclusion, I don’t know, but I will keep researching to find out.

11 Confessions Of An Entrepreneur

In the mist of another hectic week, I found a little time to do that one thing I believe we all should do more of… read. While surfing my RSS feeds, I came across a short article written by Jeff Haden. Jeff is a ghostwriter for some of the smartest business leaders in the country, and he wrote a great top ten list that expresses the thoughts I have accumulated since opening my first business in 1999. After reading his list, I sat in awe, reflecting that other business owners might have the same thoughts I do… I’m not alone! Below is my personal take on his list To see Jeff’s article in its entirety, click here – http://bit.ly/zF8rtg

11 Things I Wish My Employees Knew
1. I care about whether you like me. It’s hard for me to be “one of the guys,” but I really want to. I’m sure most people don’t want to “hang out” with their boss after hours, but I would like to… I count you as my friends.

2. I don’t think I know everything. Far from it. As a matter of fact, I love hiring smart people. Not only does it make my job as a business owner easier, I really like to be around people who are “thinkers” and can talk about more than the latest gossip.

3. I think it’s great when you’re having fun. Don’t stop on my account. I love to see people laughing, goofing off and having a fun time at work. It makes me feel like I have employees who are more than robots and feel comfortable being themselves.

4. I want to pay you more. I know you work hard and I want to reward you for it. As the business grows, please understand that I will pay you more… in benefits and salary. My goal isn’t to be uber rich and I want to have all my employees share in the success of the business… I’m not greedy.

5. I want you to work here forever. It’s unrealistic I know, but I do. When people leave, it hurts me. I have tried to create a “family” and when a person leaves I take it personally… even though I might not show it.

6. When you leave, it’s ok. Having said what I did above, you don’t owe me anything. Yes it hurts, but in the hurt kinda way when your daughter gets married or your son leaves for college. You are proud that they are moving on and sad, all at the same time.

7. Selling isn’t easy. When I sell a client, we don’t always know what we are getting into. Sometimes our clients suck… please understand that I know that. Other times we land clients that I know are going to be bad; I don’t say it aloud, but I’m taking them on to make payroll and keep the lights on. Thank you for doing your best with the good and the bad ones.

8. I love it when you take control. I have better things to do than your job and to worry about if you are doing a good job. I hire people to do the job they can do for the company, not to fulfill a job description written on a piece of paper. I want you to own your position and make it better.

9. I notice when others aren’t pulling their weight. I’m not blind; I can see when members of the team are not doing their jobs. And it’s not that I am not doing anything about it… I’m just not broadcasting it to everyone. I believe in giving everyone many chances to do their best… Someday you may need that same empathy.

10. There are some things I just can’t tell you. I hate the old fatherly adage, “because I said so,” but sometimes I either can’t or don’t have time to explain all my actions. When that happens, don’t think it is because I don’t trust you, just know that I believe I am doing what I think is best for you and the company.

11. I worry all the time. I love the fact that my employees can leave work and forget about it… but I can’t and don’t. I want everyone on staff outside of work time to forget about deadlines, meetings and their to do list… use non work time to recharge your battery and have a life… and leave the worrying to me.

Live In Glory

If you live in a cave and haven’t heard, Alexander Rossi, a rookie, won the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Not only is that a good story in and of itself, but it’s how he won that got me thinking.

With only 3 laps to go, the leaders of the race, Munoz and Newgarden, who had been battling back and forth for 10 laps or so, decided they needed fuel to complete the race. Rossi’s team decided he didn’t. Now, he did go into turn four at under 180mph and seemingly coasted across the victory bricks… but he did it before Munoz could catch him.

Rossi, who at one time in the race was in position 33, had to have this type of conversation with his crew chief.

Rossi – “I’m getting low on fuel, I don’t think I can finish without pitting.”

Crew Chief – “The leaders just pitted, if you come in, you have NO chance at all of winning. If you stay out, you have a chance… What do you want to do?”

Rossi – “Screw it, let’s win this thing!”

The rest they say is history. Just after crossing the finish line, Rossi’s car died in the back stretch and the first time winner had to be towed to victory lane. Anything can happen in professional sports!

If he would have pitted, he had NO chance to win. None. If he stays out on the track, it can go one of three ways.

  1. He could run out of fuel. No matter, he wasn’t going to win anyway.
  2. He could come in a place other than first.
  3. He could win the race.

With that being said, why not stay out? You have to wonder, why did Munoz and Newgarden pit? If either one of them stays on the track, they might have been drinking milk and cashing a huge check… living in glory as the winner of the greatest spectacle in sports racing. But they did pit, and they did lose.

Here was my epiphany watching those events unfold on Sunday. Playing it safe isn’t always the best choice. If your situation is bleak, like Rossi’s was, the only way to win was to take a chance. Sure, it might backfire and you flame out, but what happens if it works? What happens if by some improbable chance you succeed… well, this happens.

Want to read what Munoz was thinking after the race, click here: http://bit.ly/20VCiTa

Want to see a video recap of the race? Fellow SAE brother, Curt Cavin gives you the scoop here: http://indy.st/1WtaZkG

And… You’re Fired

“Pick yourself. Don’t wait for someone to pick you. The shift is that it doesn’t matter if you own a company. You can make an impact if you want to.” Seth Godin, from his book Linchpin

Hey, business owner, yeah you. Got a second? I just need to talk… just between us, doesn’t having employees suck? Babysitting a bunch of teenagers is was it feels like. They sit, staring at the clock, waiting for 5pm to come. Needing to take yet another personal day… for what? Annual raises and employee reviews, I could go on and on… what a pain in the ass. Ya see, that’s why I wanted to talk to you. I’m done. That’s right, done. I am going to let you in on a little secret. At a company meeting in the not to distant future, I am going to fire all my employees. Yep, I’m going to stand up and let them all go at the same time… going to rip the band-aid off with one pull. Goodbye, so long, go riddance.

You say I can’t have a business without them? You ask how will all the work get done? Great questions. After I fire all my employees, I’m going to hire any back who want to come to work with me as a stakeholder. Yes, I said stakeholder. You may say it is all semantics, but I say it isn’t. I have decided I want to only work with stakeholders from now on. What is a stakeholder you ask? Let me tell you:

First stakeholders are adults. They don’t need someone to babysit them and instruct them each step of their workday. They ask questions like “Why?” Most importantly, they don’t expect the company or other adults to take care of them.

Secondly they are owners. While they are not the same as stockholders, as they don’t physically own any of the company, they do at a minimum, own their work and the results it creates. They will own profit sharing, and may even go on to own stock or a piece of the company someday. They own their tasks, process and jobs, and they own how they work within the system.

Thirdly, stakeholders require leadership, not adult supervision. Stakeholders don’t need management. They need someone to give them a vision, the tools and training they need and then point them in the right direction.

There are many more characteristics of what a stakeholder is, but you get the picture, right? Did I come up with all this? No, I wish I was that smart. But it has been at my core as a business owner, and the culture we created has attracted mostly stakeholders to Fat Atom. Want to get excited about firing your employees and hiring stakeholders? Read, “Why Employees Are Always A Bad Idea” by Blakeman. If you let it, this book will change your business for the better.

10 Habits For 10 Years

While at a conference the other day, the speaker, CJ McClanahan, was discussing habits. We all have them, some good, some bad and some we don’t even know we have. It was a good talk, so I thought I would share my notes… hope they make sense to you.

1- Begin with the end in mind, the VERY end. Make decisions based on that and that alone. What do you want people to say about you at your funeral? Are your actions everyday leading up to that?

2 – Prioritize. Have you read “The One Thing” by Keller? If everything is important, then nothing is. There are five levels of commitment… did you know that? Level 1 – NO, Level 2 – Want to, Level 3 – Try (when you say this, you are saying “no”), Level 4 – I’m totally committed, unless something else comes up, Level 5 – 100% all in.

3. Take 100% responsibility. Don’t blame others… for anything, even if it is their fault. Don’t blame your staff, the economy or your “situation.”

4. Live in the moment. Spend no more than 4% of your time living in the past, 11% of your time living in the future. For you math majors, that leaves 85% of your time living in the NOW.

5. Constantly improve. Remember that nothing stays the same, it either gets better or worse. What are you doing on a daily basis go improve? What are you reading? Who are you meeting with?

6. Behave. If you wait until you feel in the mood, you will never do it. Successful people behave when they don’t feel like doing it. Boom goes the dynamite.

7. Exceed expectations. In business, you should set expectations and not allow your clients to set them. If you don’t set expectations, apologize profusely. Expectations and trust are built a little bit each day, set and exceed them.

8. Measure everything. Simply, you cannot improve what you don’t measure… you just can’t.

9. Re-think your thoughts. The average person has, drum roll, 30,000 thoughts a day. Put a rubber band on your wrist and when you begin to have negative thoughts, based on false beliefs, snap yourself (warning, this could be awkward).

10. Lastly, move on. You are going to make a mistake… maybe even two. Don’t dwell on them, there is NO value in dwelling. When you make a mistake, reflect on why/how it was made, learn from it, then move along… there will be more made.