Michael Jordan – How Important is Practice?

As a guy growing up in Chicago in the 90’s Michael Jordan was the guy you wanted to be like and the Bulls were the team to watch. It was a great decade for Chicago basketball so everyone knew of MJ and watched him closely.

My favorite quote is near the end when he mentions that you need to practice like it’s the real thing, so when the real thing happens you’re prepared. It’s a great philosophy and the reason why I wanted to share the video!

Psych! 5 Brain Tricks to Make Customers Buy

As an aside, if you’re not following the Inc page on facebook, twitter, or just regularly going there you’re missing a wealth of great business information.  With such an established magazine they report on a lot of great business topics (and really know how to write a headline, as shown above).

Below are the 5 points from their article of the same name, based on the book Brainfluence.

“Fact No. 1: People aren’t always rational thinkers. In truth, research shows that a huge amount of decision-making is actually based on subconscious factors.

In both his new book, Brainfluence, and in a recent interview, Dooley offered several ways to use “neuromarketing” to do a better job persuading consumers.

1. Clean Up Your Font


“Probably nine times out of 10 the simpler font is going to be the better choice,” Dooley says, “because the text will be more likely to be read, for one, and you’ll better convey information.”

Bottom line: Go easy on consumers’ eyes; use a clear, easy-to-read font such as Arial, for product and service descriptions as well as any instructions.

2. Don’t Show Them the Money

A restaurant currency study showed that patrons tended to be more price-conscious when dollar signs appeared alongside the prices on menus. If there was just a solo digit, by contrast—no dollar symbol, no decimal point—then spending went up.

Bottom line: If you’re a restaurateur, take dollar signs off the menu to increase your sales.

3. Remember the Senses

Look for environmental elements that you can control, like pleasant scents—even if your products don’t naturally have a smell. “You can create a scent environment that is pleasant, memorable, and distinctive that reinforces your branding,” Dooley says. “The scent will then trigger consumers’ senses and create a desire for that [the product or service].” Tests have shown that scents in shopping areas can increase sales.

Bottom line: Find creative ways to tempt customers’ senses.

4. Respond to Customers

Dooley cites one study that looked at people who complained via social media about a company or its products. When they got a prompt response—even if it wasn’t an actual apology—the majority of customers either removed their negative comment or revised it with a positive addendum. So take a minute to acknowledge what was said; it’s worth your time.

Bottom line: Keep your cool and respond to customers promptly.

5. Tell a Good Story

So whether you’re citing case studies or designing ads or other promotions, draw customers in by weaving facts and favorable information into a story format. A great story can engage customers on a deeper level; this also increases word-of-mouth marketing. “In general some of your information should be in a story format to keep your reader engaged,” Dooley says, “because if it’s all facts and all statistics, you’ll lose a lot of your audience.”

Bottom line: Turn percentages and figures into a good tale to capture—and keep—your customers’ attention.”

What Designing Over 10,000 UI Screens Taught This Veteran Creative

This article about design may not be as relevant to everyone, but as it’s dealing with a consistent and repeatable process the core nuggets are extremely valuable, whatever the service, process or widget that you offer. It’s posted on design taxi from a post he wrote on medium, and I’m writing down mostly the design taxi piece.  Go check out the other articles if you’d like to read everything he wrote, it’s linked multiple times throughout the piece below.

“Design isn’t something you can pick up from reading a textbook. It takes more than one try to build a masterpiece that you’ll be taken seriously for, and involves several rounds of trial-and-error.

Jon Moore, Co-Founder at UX Power Tools and Senior Design Partner at product agency Innovatemap, has worked on over 10,000 UI screens in the span of his career, and if there’s one takeaway from it, it’s that trends don’t have to be followed so fervently.

Check out five things Moore learned from his design career thus far and read his full article with five more points on Medium.

1. Prioritize your design criteria

Focus on the fundamental aspects of your project before working on to the frills. Moore says he swears by one analogy: “No one cares what color the stitching is on the leather seats of your fancy concept car if it doesn’t even have wheels yet.”

2. Animations aren’t key

Animations are undoubtedly cool, but they won’t make or break your projects. Moore points out that some of the best products in the world are scant of animations—think Google, Salesforce, and Medium.

First and foremost, work on building quality user experiences, “then you can spend all the time you want making a cute little menu button that morphs into a McDonald’s ‘Big Mac’,” Moore explains.

3. “Templatize” your projects

Moore says he successfully created 52 screens for a client, even developing a workable prototype, in just a week-and-a-half. The proposed system was fully customizable too, and could be tweaked according to the brand’s tone.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible if he hadn’t made templates out of his earlier work. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel—if a project of yours has succeeded before, it will likely work again.

4. Consistency isn’t just user-friendly, but also convenient

Consistency is a UX rule that allows platforms to be more understandable, and thus adoptable, for users. What many creatives might not know is that it’s time-saving.

If you create a button symbol and use it from start to end in a project, all your buttons will not only look consistent, but you’ll also pick up speed because you don’t have to make new ones from scratch.

5. User value isn’t just important, it’s just about everything * (*ed note: this might be the most relevant business advice there is in conveying your service to a potential client.)

Looks aren’t important when you bring value to your users. Case in point: Craigslist. You likely won’t applaud it for its aesthetics—and somehow, it has a value of US$3 billion.

All in all, user experience is a priority; user interfaces are afterthoughts. You can read Moore’s full post on Medium for five more tips.

Chicago Love Note – day time

This was a video filmed and edited by Michael Rataj on a trip downtown to Chicago.  It’s added to the homepage so it’s the first thing you see when you visit the site, but I wanted to make sure it gets seen via a blog! 🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  It’s been a project that’s been kicking around my head for quite a while and the time to do it presented itself recently.  There are a few more ideas to finish the whole project, but this is a start.

Music was by Check out HAKOBO :
– Soundcloud: @hakobomusic
– Instagram : www.instagram.com/theycallmehakobo/

19 Minutes That Can Change Your Life by Earl Nightingale (Full Transcript)

As entrepreneurs and business owners a positive attitude is basically how well our business does.  We must always be thinking positively otherwise we’d close the door if 2 people walk out and don’t buy anything.  Keeping the goal in mind as to why we started on this path can help keep our mind straight.  It’s easy to stray and that’s what these posts will attempt to help.

Although most of us are working 6 and 7 days a week, I’ll post the motivation stuff on the weekends so hopefully we can relax a little to think about our accomplishments and have a continued positive mental attitude towards the coming week.

This is a transcript of a YouTube video by Earl Nightingale.  The narration and whomever added the piano are wonderful.  If you find yourself beat down or struggling give this a listen and give it a read to help reenergize you to know why you got in your business in the first place.  Reassess and restate your goals and hopefully you’ll see success.

Transcript taken from here.

19 Minutes That Can Change Your Life by Earl Nightingale (Full Transcript)

Here’s number one. It’s the formula for getting rich. It also explains why you are in your present position whether you’re earning $6000 a year or $16,000 or $60,000 or $600,000. It applies to every adult whether he’s employed or unemployed. It applies to the richest man and to the poorest and every person in between. And here it is: Our rewards in my life will always be in exact proportion to our contribution, our service.That’s what the formula means as the first item on your checklist. Memorize it. Our rewards in life will always be in exact proportion to our contribution, our service. Listen to it. Think about it until you know it emotionally as well as intellectually. It might give you some slight feeling of superiority to realize that there’s probably not another man within a mile of where you live and knows it. You can add it as a question on your survey if you want a proof of that.

If you want it in another form, here it is as it applies to a man’s job. It’s the same thing really, the same thing applies but you can express it differently. The money you’re paid by the company you work for will always be in direct ratio to the need for what you do, your ability to do it and the degree of difficulty involved in replacing you.

Maybe you want to write the formula down in both of those forms and think about it until it’s as much a part of as your name. The reason that it’s spelled out on your checklist is because you might not want everyone to know what you’re up to. The checklist is valuable only to a person who knows what the words really indicate.

All right. You’ve got the formula. As you think about it, its meaning will become clearer to you. With the formula, there are two rules which must be applied to properly use it. This formula together with the two rules is your recipe or your roadmap to earning all the money you really want.

Now let’s take a look at item number two on your checklist, and I’m serious about your putting this checklist on your mirror. You will notice it’s pressure sensitive. I remember too, The Gold Mine. The Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Archibald MacLeish’s play, The Secret of Freedom Road, “The only thing about a man that is a man is his mind. Everything else you can find in a pig or a horse”. Strong words; aren’t they? But as long as you live, you’ll never hear a truer statement.

The key to every human being’s success lies in his mind. The gold mine between his ears, one idea can make you rich. A lot of good ideas can move you steadily upward in the work you do. And ideas are free. And just think. There’s nothing now being done commercially that will not be done that are much better in the years ahead. Next year’s homes and most of what’s in them will be better than this year’s. Next year’s cars will be better. Next year’s manufacturing, distributing, marketing and selling and advertising should be better. Nothing is now being done as well as it must be done in the future and every innovation, every new improvement will be somebody’s brainchild.

Now what’s your specialty? How many good ideas have you come up with during the past year? If you continue on as you have in the past, where would you be and what will you be earning, say, a year from now, five years from now? Every day of our lives, we walk or drive by more opportunity than we could develop in a lifetime in fifty lifetimes.

Back in the twenties, Sinclair Lewis wrote it, “You can kidnap a man, blind fold him, take him to any city in the country with a couple of notable exceptions. Put him in a chair in the downtown area, take-off his blindfold and he could sit there a week and not be able to tell you what town he is in.” The streets are all alike. The buildings were all alike. The businesses all looked alike. This is still largely true today. The reason for this being that most businessmen in this country are playing a game called Follow The Follower. If a man goes into business, no matter what line it happens to be, the first thing he does is make certain that his place of business outside and inside looks exactly like every other place of business of that type in the country. You know why? It’s because he’s been playing copycats since he was a year old and does it without thinking about it.

For the same reason, kids dress alike in school. He wants to be one of the gang. He doesn’t necessarily examine all the business establishments in his field and pattern his on the one outstanding example, the one that inspires and the one that he can really believe in. He just does what everybody else in his business is doing and by this simple process he guarantees his own mediocrity.

Whose drum are you marching to, if indeed you’re marching to anyone’s and why? Remember, whatever you now do for a living will be done differently, quite differently a few years from now. Never in the history of mankind have the opportunities for all of us been so great. But the great majority of people will be the beneficiaries of progress, not those who bring it about.

Which group are you going to belong to? If you want to be a contributor, not just a beneficiary, here is the first rule. It appears on your checklist as the gold mine. So think. Think deliberately and with the purpose. Use the goldmine between your ears. Begin by thinking of a special time every day.

Back during the Depression, a New York lumber dealer was growing rich while other lumber dealers were going broke. When asked how he did it, he said, “Every evening when I get home, I close myself up in a quiet room, sit in a comfortable chair and ask myself how will my business be conducted 10 years from now, then I try to do it now”. Instead of competing with every other lumber dealer, which is what they were doing, he was creating, he was doing the very thing man was designed to do, the very thing man does best. A company growing at the rate of 10% a year will double its size in less than eight years. But a man can improve his effectiveness 50% or 100% a year or more. The experts tell us that every one of us has within deep reservoirs of ability, even genius that he habitually fails to use. Well let’s begin now to reach into these deep rich areas of pure net profit and use more, more of our real abilities.

ALSO READ:   Ruth Chang on How to Make Hard Choices (Transcript)

Just think. Here’s the best way I have found to make yourself think. Start getting up a little earlier than you’re accustomed to. Right off the bed, this gives you extra time that 95% of the men in this country are not using at all. One hour earlier a day gives you six-and-a half extra 40-hour weeks a year. But at this time in the morning, take a refreshing shower, a dress, get yourself refreshed, hot cup of coffee if you are a coffee man, and then sit down to a clean sheet of paper.

At the top of the paper, write your financial goal. Now this is the amount of money per year you intend to earn soon. Incidentally you might like to keep this to yourself too. It’s nobody’s business but yours. And then start to think. Think about your goal and what will it mean to you and your family. Then see how many ideas you can come up with to help you reach that goal. Ideas to improve what you now do for a living. Ways of increasing your contribution to match your income goal.

You know, jobs don’t have futures, people do. No matter what line of work you may be in, there is within it more than enough opportunity to last a lifetime. You don’t have to think of brand new ideas or revolutionary new ways of doing things, although you well might come up with some. Think of ways of improving what is now being done. If you’re to increase your income by the amount you specified, you must find ways of increasing your contribution, your service. And the key to this is to be found in your mind, in that goldmine between your ears. Try for five ideas every morning and write them down and stay with those sheets of paper in a special idea file. Many, perhaps most of your ideas will be worthless but some of them will be very good. A few will be excellent and every once in a while you’ll come up with something really outstanding.

You see five ideas a day is 25 a week if you don’t think on weekends. Now that’s more than a thousand ideas a year. One idea can get you to that income you’re shooting for. The law of averages rings so far in your favor you just can’t miss. Try to develop a sense of expectancy, that is trying to hold the feeling that the goal you’re shooting for is a sure thing. And it is only a matter of time before it’s realized.

You know, Henry Ford didn’t start making cars until he was 45. A friend of mine started a new company at 65. He is still going strong and his new company has sales of better than $300 million a year. It’s almost never too late. Try not to think of things outside of your own line of work or whatever it is you’re most interested in. To think well and profitably, you must discipline you thinking. Keep it on course controlled. Keep it in one field specialized.

Now for the final item on your checklist. It appears as a word, and the word is attitude. Attitude has been called the most important word in the language. William James put it this way, he said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind”. Now this is something to think about — can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. It’s another way of saying we become what we think about.

Look at it this way. Your total environment, if you’ve been an adult for any appreciable period of time, your total environment is a reflection of you as a person, the house and the neighborhood in which you live, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the job you do, the people with whom you regularly associate. Your total environment is an exact and merciless mirror of you as a human being.

Now if you clear your environment can stand some improvement. You have only to improve your attitude and your world will gradually change to reflect the changing person.

Here is how to change your attitude. Beginning now, begin to act as would the person you most want to become. That is, if you were already in possession of the goal you’re shooting for, how would you conduct yourself in all of your affairs? Well do it now and tomorrow and the next day. Begin how to act the part of the person you most want to become and you will end by becoming that person. Subtly in little ways, in the way you dress, in the way you talk and the unfailing courtesy you show to every person with whom you come in contact, begin to act the part of the person who has already achieved that which you’re shooting for.

The German philosopher Goethe gave us the secret when he said, “Before you can do something, you must first be something.” When you behave like the person you most want to become, the things that person would have will tend to come to you. It’s simply cause and effect. Don’t be in too big a hurry. It takes longer to build a skyscraper than a chicken coop. Build slowly, steadily and well. Then when you make it, you’ll keep it. You will stay on top. Always be suspicious of the so-called get-rich-quick scheme or sudden success. Never forget that word: Attitude. It’s your attitude toward the people with whom you come in contact that will determine their attitudes toward you.

The person with a great attitude toward life and the world is the person other people call lucky. He’s not lucky; he’s just using our old friend cause-and-effect. His causes are excellent and his effects have to be just as good.

Well, that’s it. Three things to remember. Three things to practice every day. If you spend 16 hours a day, seven days a week practicing your golf swing, in a relatively short time you’d ever grew beautiful swing like the pros. So practice your new attitude every day, every waking hour. Practice thinking a few minutes every morning and you’ll find yourself thinking all day long.

Remember the formula: Our rewards in life will always be in exact proportion to our contribution, our service. Go with the ideas in this message every day until it’s as much a part of you as your name and your temporary address. You will notice that each time you listen, you’ll hear something new. You will get a new idea you failed to get before.

This is Earl Nightingale. And thank you.