Episode 128 – Use Cheap (Audio/Video)Technology To Dazzle Your Customers

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Dallas is an NFL town. The Dallas Cowboys may no longer be America’s team (does America really have a team?), but they’re certainly a big deal around here. Recently, I was reading about how the Cowboys had incorporated new Apple technology – the iPad – as the method of giving each player the playbook.

NFL teams historically have given players a large 3-ring binder containing all the plays and formations of the team. Players are assigned these books and they’re very protected resources for each team. This year, the Cowboys (I suspect other teams will also do this) are no longer handing out a large 3-ring binder to players. Rather, they’re giving each player an Apple iPad with the playbook downloaded onto it.

It’s a practical, but dazzling way communication is happening today. Thanks to the relative inexpensive cost of technology. Come on! What’s an $800 device to an NFL team? It’s a cheap investment that likely accomplishes a few great things for the team. One, the players will spend more time with an iPad than they would a 3-ring binder. And if they’re spending more time with the device, the assumption is likely valid…they’ll spend more time in the playbook. Two, the players won’t likely leave it laying around, or forget it when they attend meetings. Three, the players can make their own notations during meetings. No need to bring another device into a meeting. Their team iPad is all the device they’ll ever need.

What about your small business? Are you using today’s inexpensive – CHEAP – audio and video technology (and PDF’s, etc.) to dazzle your customers? Staff members are your internal customers. The Cowboys’ players are the internal customers of the Dallas Cowboys organization. What about your paying customers?

Get creative. There are so many cool things we can to help serve our customers, and along the way, dazzle them! Make them say, “Wow!”

Some resources mentioned in today’s show:

Apogee Mic (a ridiculously good USB/iPhone/iPad condenser microphone)
Screeny (a super inexpensive Mac screen capture software)
Vimeo Plus

Do me a favor. Insert your email up there in the top right hand corner. That way you’ll be certain to always know what’s happening here in The Yellow Studio.

The 2012 Happy Birthday Show

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A shout out and “thank you” to the three reviewers of the podcast over at iTunes. Thank you! You guys are the first, and I’m pleased.

• building4life
• Edward Enzmann
• Bruce Brodeen of Pop Geek Heaven

Rather than wish me a happy birthday, do me a favor…go to iTunes and leave me your review. I would greatly appreciate it.

Have a great week,


Episode 126 – How Block Scheduling Can Help Your Small Business Reduce Anxiety, Get More Done And Make More Money

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photo by AdmissionsQuest via Flickr

Block scheduling is typically associated with education. This is what Wikipedia says:

Block scheduling is a type of academic scheduling in which each student has fewer classes per day (e.g. 4) but each class is scheduled for a longer period of time (e.g. 90 minutes). In one form of block scheduling, a single class will meet every day for a number of weeks, after which another class will take its place. In another form, daily classes rotate through a changing daily cycle.

Blocks offer more concentrated experiences of subjects, with fewer classes daily. There may be a less regular rhythm of homework for any given class.

Conversion to block scheduling became a relatively widespread trend in American middle schools and high schools in the 1990s. Prior to that, many schools scheduled classes such that a student saw every one of their teachers each day. Classes were approximately 40–60 minutes long, but under block scheduling, they became approximately 90 minutes long.

Years ago I began to implement block scheduling in business because it addressed a number of challenges I was facing at the time. Constant interruptions. Inability to spend focused time on specific issues. Conflicting schedules with team members. Allowing unimportant, but urgent issues to demand most of my attention.

Lifehacking hadn’t yet been invented. Neither had lifestyle design. I was just a young business guy searching for a way to fix my problems.

One evening I thought back to an early college class required of all incoming freshmen. It included a variety of helpful tips aimed at making us successful college students. How was I to know that some years later a seemingly well-intended, but worthless class (or so I thought at the time) would serve me as a business leader?

In this initiation class we were introduced to study habits that included setting aside blocks of time for specific tasks or classes. It was a bit of a reverse of what most of us had been taught about homework. All my life it had gone something like this, “Have you done your math homework?” Homework or study was always approached from the specific task required. The task demanded the time.

Business life was no different. Something would come up and we’d have to jump on it. Then something else would happen, and we’d have to stop that…and change directions. It was like doing homework based on solely on the deadline imposed. And it would drive students – and business people – crazy!

In 1975 when I sat in this college initiation classroom I hadn’t thought of devoting a specified time period to a specific pursuit. Sounds odd, huh? Well, it’s true. I had grown up working through homework by doing math, then another subject, then another subject…until I had completed everything. Along the way, there may have been some reading required, or writing, or problem-solving. It was a mixed bag of activity without much organization. The objective was to simply get through it.

Business didn’t seem much different. Just get through it. Here’s a problem. There’s a problem. Sort through them. Any way you can. But unlike school homework, in business you never seemed able to get ahead of the curve. No sooner did you solve one issue, then four more popped up. Maddening.

The instructor advised us to devote specific time to each class. For example, if you had a Biology 101 class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then decide when you’re going to devote time to your study for Biology 101. You could select an hour block of time on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7 to 8 or 8 to 9. Devote that time, and yourself, to that time slot for Biology 101. Don’t let the class work dictate your schedule. Instead, dictate your schedule to fit the class. It was a novel idea for me as a student. Through the years, I’ve found it’s a novel concept for most business people, too.

Today’s show is about how block scheduling can help you:

1. Reduce anxiety
2. Get more done
3. Make more money

If you’re uninterested in those benefits, then don’t listen to today’s show. 😉

Go over to iTunes and leave me a good review.



Episode 125 – Self-Talk, Mindset And How We Create The Life We Have Instead Of The Life We Want

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What do you say when you talk to yourself?

“I’m my own worst enemy,” she said.

“It seems everywhere I turn I sabotage my own success.”

Friends describe her as pessimistic. She thinks of herself as being a realist. Like most of us, she thinks she sees things as they really are. Sadly, she thinks things are really bad.

And she’s right.

Henry Ford is credited with the famous quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

So what do we do to help ourselves? What can we change to improve our self-talk and our mindset? Are we doomed to maintain an outlook on life – on our life – that sabotages our future success?

People can improve. We can change. We can learn.

Questions are worth asking…and perhaps more importantly, they’re worth answering. Let’s dive into them together to see if we can help ourselves.

Episode 124 – Distractions From Your Talent vs. Distractions For Your Talent

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Duke basketball fans are legendary. Just like Coach K and their years of fielding great teams. Speedo Guy was a student whose goal was to distract opposing players shooting free throws. His goal was to distract players away from their talent to successfully shoot free throws.

Universal wisdom tells us that distractions are counter productive. Focus, intensity and attention to detail. These are the tools of success. Distraction destroys these things. Don’t let yourself get distracted.

Well, universal wisdom isn’t true wisdom. It’s wrong! And we all know it.

Not all distractions are created equal. And they don’t all hinder us. Today, I’ll toss distractions into two categories and hopefully I’ll give you a few things to think about as you chase your dreams, try to solve your problems, build your business and try to simply live better.

Have you found a distraction that delivered high value to you?

Episode 123 – There’s A Light In My Attic

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Shel Silverstein is my kinda guy. He wrote the wildly successful book, A Light In The Attic.

There’s a light on in the attic.
Though the house is dark and shuttered,
I can see a flickerin’ flutter,
And I know what it’s about.
There’s a light on in the attic.
I can see it from the outside.
And I know you’re on the inside… lookin’ out.

Then there’s this…

Last night while I lay thinking here
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?…

I’ve loved going up into the attic since I was a kid. Dusting off boxes, opening them up to see what hidden treasures they contained was fascinating. I’d look at stuff and wonder about the past. Getting lost in thought and memory was fun. Dreaming about the future was equally fun. How can you not think of the future when you’re remembering the past?

For some weeks now I’ve been wanting to pull out the stairs to the attic here. Today I went up there, turned on the light, dusted off a few boxes and opened them up to see what I might find. My hope was to dig out a few memories, connect a few dots and think about the future. Attics have often helped me do that…so I figured it was time.


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