Mint.com

Mint.com changed my life

Images
I might be completely late to this party but in the past week since signing up for mint.com – a free financial management tool, my ability to manage this part of my life has improved enormously. Log in and connect your accounts to Mint. Then let the magic happen. A quick check today shows a cheque for rent has just cleared, that Amex just slugged me a fee and an offer for a 0% credit card if I'd like to replace Amex.

The killer app though is its' ability to look at my financial statements, categorize each transaction and then analyze if I am better or worse than my budget. That process used to take me forever.

It really is very cool.

Seth Godin

When you’re ready to start something, ask these questions…

With thanks to Seth Godin.

  1. Who are you trying to please?
  2. Are you trying to make a living, make a difference, or leave a
    legacy?
  3. How will the world be different when you've succeeded?
  4. Is it more important to add new customers or to increase your
    interactions with existing ones?
  5. Do you want a team? How big? (I know, that's two questions)
  6. Would you rather have an open-ended project that's never done, or
    one where you hit natural end points? (How high is high enough?)
  7. Are you prepared to actively sell your stuff, or are you expecting
    that buyers will walk in the door and ask for it?
  8. Which: to invent a category or to be just like Bob/Sue, but better?
  9. If you take someone else's investment, are you prepared to sell out
    to pay it back?
  10. Are you done personally growing, or is this project going to force
    you to change and develop yourself?
  11. Choose: teach and lead and challenge your customers, or do what they
    ask…
  12. How long can you wait before it feels as though you're succeeding?
  13. Is perfect important? (Do you feel the need to fail privately, not
    in public?)
  14. Do you want your customers to know each other (a tribe) or is it
    better they be anonymous and separate?
  15. How close to failure, wipe out and humiliation are you willing to
    fly? (And while we're on the topic, how open to criticism are you
    willing to be?)
  16. What does busy look like?

In my experience, people skip all of these questions and ask instead:
"What can I do that will be sure to work?" The problem, of course, is
that there is no sure, and even worse, that you and I have no
agreement at all on what it means for something to work.

Board Meetings

An iPad-powered Board Meeting

As I get my head around our upcoming Board Meeting, this idea (below)  from Seth Godin looks the goods. Can someone go build it before June 15?

Images 

Here's an app that pays for 12 iPads the very first time you use
it. Buy one iPad for every single chair in your meeting room… like the
projector and the table, it's part of the room.

I recently sat
through a 17 hour meeting with 40 people in it (there were actually 40
people, but it only felt like 17 hours.). That's a huge waste of
attention and resources.

Here's what the app does (I hope someone
will build it): (I know some of these features require a lot of work,
and some might require preparation before the meeting. Great! Perhaps
then the only meetings we have will be meetings worth having, meetings
with an intent to produce an outcome). I can dream…

1. There's
an agenda, distributed by the host, visible to everyone, with time of
start and stop, and it updates as the meeting progresses.

2.
There's a timer, keeping things moving because it sits next to the
agenda.

3. The host or presenter can push an image or spreadsheet
to each device whenever she chooses.

4. There's an internal back
channel that the host can turn on, permitting people in the room to chat
privately with each other. (And the whole thing works on internal wifi,
so no internet surfing to distract!)

5. There's a big red 'bored'
button that each attendee can push anonymously. The presenter can see
how many red lights are lighting up at any give time.

6. There's a
bigger green 'GO!' button that each attendee can push anonymously. It
lets the host or presenter see areas where more depth is wanted.

7.
There's a queue for asking questions, so they just don't go to the
loudest, bravest or most powerful.

8. There's a voting mechanism.

9.
There's a whiteboard so anyone can draw an idea and push it to the
group.

10. There's a written record of all activity created, so at
the end, everyone who attended can get an email digest of what just
occurred. Hey, it could even include who participated the most, who
asked questions that others thought were useful, who got the most
'boring' button presses while speaking…

11. There's even a way
the host can see who isn't using it actively.

Can you
imagine how an hour flies by when everyone has one of these in a
meeting? How focused and exhausting it would all be?

$500 each,
you'll sell 50,000…

PS no one built the
first one
yet. Sigh.

Random Neuron Firing

Playing in New York City

So after a long week of work in NYC and juggling the kids with our dear friend and "Manny" Jared (Aussie actor living in NY who I taught at High School in Sydney) we hit two museums: The Guggenheim and The Met. The boys really got into the Armour / Shields display…anything that caused damage millennia ago appeared to appeal!

DSC_0225
Jared the Manny, only lost the boys once.

DSC_0239

DSC_0250
At the Gugg. (Is that a new gBag prototype bottom left???)

DSC_0257

DSC_0294
At the Met.

Random Neuron Firing

The Business of Being Born & Choices in Childbirth

DSC_0220

On our last day of work in NYC, we met with Lisa & Elan of Choices in Childbirth, a group that advocates just that! Kim and I are really passionate about the issue. My Mum was an ObGyn but Kim and I had the choice and chose to use a midwife and had two home births in the water. I am not advocating a midwife / homebirth / waterbirth, simply that parents know all the options going in so they can make an informed decision.

Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, the producers of the terrific Tribeca finalist documentary, The Business of Being were also there. They too are big supporters of giving parents choice.

DSC_0223

Ricki was good enough to lend the boys her iPad while we met. Needless to say we had an issue returning it at the end! 

All up a very productive week of work in New York City!