I had all sorts of trouble getting into Austin on Friday, so the only thing I could do was make the Blogher meetup.
Last night, I hung out with John Moore of Brand Autopsy. We talking blogging and business books. You might have seen allusions to his upcoming book Tribal Knowledge and I am sure see his many reviews.
After dinner, he took me to some great spots. Whichwich is a really interesting sandwich place. John wanted to make sure I saw this place. You can read his post on why he thinks they are so cool. I agree wholeheartedly with his conclusions. My only addition would be that this is designed to scale.
Our next stop was BookPeople. It is an outstanding independent bookstore here in Austin. I really enjoyed the experience. The story of store owner Steve Bercu and his campaign to Keep Austin Weird is a great story. It has been told a number of places, most recently in Starting From Scratch. Bercu managed to expose and rally the community here against a $2 million economic package that was being given to a developer. The development included a Borders bookstore. You can read Bercu’s letter to the editor at Publisher’s Weekly. It might scare you to know that we stood in the business book section for about an hour talking about titles.
We then walked over to Amy’s Ice Cream. This is another Austin original. Each store has it’s own culture and the employees are themselves. Each person behind the counter was wearing a different hat and all of them were spending time with customers. There was a line out the down and employees didn’t start hurrying people through. Notice that the last thing I am telling you about is the product—the ice cream was good. Again, I will give you another book reference if you are interested in finding out more. You can check out Donna Fenn’s Alpha Dogs.
The last stop was Gingerman. It has a great atmosphere and an amazing selection of beers.
Thanks John for hosting!
I remember hearing about Rollyo when it first launched and I couldn’t think of a way it could be useful. Walt Mossenberg reviewed it this week in WSJ and it got me thinking again.
At 800ceoread, we are always looking for good material on business books. If you do a general search, you get a couple of good hits, but I know we are missing alot of good things. So, I decided to create a Rollyo search to see if I could do better.
In my searchroll, I have all the major business publications, some good business blogs and the 800ceoread family of sites.
The short answer is that I think there is something to limiting the number of sites that are searched. I looked up “alpha dogs”, a new book from Donna Fenn. Check out the google results and the rollyo results. The Rollyo results are so much more relevant, such as finding the Inc. video interview with Fenn.
Others of you out there might similar needs, so I thought I would point you to this cool tool.
I sold my last copy of Kaospilots A-Z and the folks in Denmark are also sold out.
Thanks for all who support that little project.
This year has been great and so much has happpened.
When I started the year, I was working with my father. A month later, I decided that I needed to do something else. That something else started with staying home with my one year old.
That gave me some time to do things with this blog. The Business Blog Book Tour started in February. I held Brand Week and Finetuning later in the year. I also tried wikis with the BizBlog Directory Wiki.
I tried my hand my hand at distribution with the Kaospilots A-Z book. Fast Company reviewed the book and I stepped in to provide US distribution. I sold 40 copies of the $50 book. It was not a runaway success, but it was a great learning experience. What was better was getting the chance to visit Uffe and the school in September.
The BBBT led to an introduction with Jack Covert and 800-CEO-READ. We hit it off and started a blog to see what would happen. That led to another blog to run book excerpts. And that led to starting a podcast about business books.
On a sadder note, I lost my grandfather after a year of poor health.
We were able to travel quite a bit this year. We spent five weeks in Europe on two different trips. I spent a weekend in San Francisco after BlogOn. This last week I have been able to enjoy the beauty of the Colorado Rockies.
Finally, I have met so many wonderful people this year. I would not even know where to start in listing everyone here. I think you all know who you are.
At the beginning of last year, I could have never predicted where I would be now. Some might say I didn’t plan very well. I don’t see it like that at all. I think I am going the right direction. I think it will be interesting how opportunity presents itself in 2005.
To an even better 2005!!!
Seth has a new book coming out in May – All Marketers Are Liars. Here is my post from the 800-CEO-READ Blog.
Uffe Elbaek, KaosPilots Principal and author of KaosPilot A-Z, is interviewed at NextD.
The interview is outstanding. It give you another great look at the thought behind the Danish business school.
Read the interview, get inspired, and come back to get a copy of KaosPilot A-Z to find out more about this amazing place.
Scattered among the pages are essays by various friends of the school. Some of the authors you will recognize, but what’s better is that many of them you won’t.
Here’s a partial list of what you’ll find:
- “Sharing Makes Us Bigger” – Ketan Lakahani, South Africa
- “F$@# Heirarchy, Give Me The Gestalt” – Richard Stanley, Finland
- “The Corporate Chaplain” – Steen Hindebrandt, Denmark
- “Willing To Be Disturbed” – Margaret Wheatley, USA
- “Time And Again I Asked” – Dee Hock, USA
- “The Grassroots Entreprenuer” – Anita Roddick, UK
- “Dr. Michael Copass and The Four Square Mode”l – Andy Stefanovich, USA
- “Black Box” – Wy Wong, Hong Kong
I wanted to quote this passage from Andy Stefanovich, founder and director of Richmond, VA- based Play. I think this captures one aspect of what making blogging so wonderful. He tell the story of Dr. Michael Copass and Medic One, the country’s first medical emergency response system:
The Medic One story now serves as a point of inspiration for other people who may not have known about this development to create new ideas. The very fact that you have read this paragraph and have been affected by the story make you part of the collective consciousness. And the process will continue.
I found this article in the June/July 1996 issue of Fast Company. This is a great background piece on the school.
I want to tell you more about KaosPilots. I first heard about the Danish business school in this month’s (April 2004) issue of Fast Company. Heath Row wrote a one page article about the school and their book KaosPilot A-Z. The book was published in Danish a couple of years ago, and recently translated into English.
I got intrigued with the school and contacted them to see where I could get the book in the U.S. The school principal Uffe Elbaek and I had some conversations. We decided to start selling the book here at A Penny For… I figured I had an audience that likes unique content.
I really liked the book. It is a great combination of innovative business thought and wonderful photos. I share with you some of those thoughts over the next couple of days.
There is an article in the WSJ today about business books and the difficult run they have had [sub. needed].
One bright point is Mr. Trump’s new book called ‘Trump: How to Get Rich’. It is being released tomorrow and right now, it is #25 at Amazon.
Here are the other hopefuls for 2004:
From WSJ 3/22/04; Sources: Barnes & Noble, publishing companies
If a business book sells 10,000 copies, it is considered a success. It is very rare for a business book to have blockbuster success like a Da Vinci Code or the latest Harry Potter. One exception is Good to Great by Jim Collins having sold over 1,000,000 copies.
I found that out recently and it really surprised me. I am not sure why. I guess I looked at my bookshelf and saw an awful lot of business books.
I have decided that Rob, Jon, and I are single-handedly supporting business book publishing in America.
Today, Warren Buffett released the Berkshire Hathway’s annual letter to the shareholders.
The buzz today is that he recommends some books to read:
- Bull! by Maggie Mahar
- The Smartest Guys in The Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
- In an Uncertain World by Robert Rubin
He gives a nod to Jason Zwieg’s revising of The Intelligent Investor, originally written by Benjamin Graham.
There is one other book reference in the letter and you have probably heard this story. Every year, Buffet does a session with finance students from the University of Tennessee. Last year, the students gave him a copy of Jim Clayton’s autobiography, First A Dream. Clayton is the founder of Clayton Homes, a powerhouse in the manufactured homes business. One thing lead to another and Buffet ended up buying Clayton homes last year. As a thank-you for the tip, each student got one share of Class B stock . Today’s value is $3,136.
Two of these titles are already on Amazon’s Top 25
P.S. Fast Company also had a take on the Clayton Homes acquisition in their Jan. 2004 issue.
I had 30 minutes to kill this afternoon, so I stopped into the local Barnes and Noble. I always make a beeline for the business section to see what is new. The first book that caught my attention was Trump: Art of the Deal. The book was orginally written in 1987 and has obviously been resurrected with the popularity of The Apprentice. The cover is fabulous.
Barry Moltz spoke to the Milwaukee Company of Friends Chapter last night.
I’ll post a summary over the weekend.
I find this interesting. Barry said the number of books he sells at his speaking engagements is roughly equal to 1/3 of the event’s attendance. Last night, we had 15 people and he sold 5 books.
Todd’s decision to leave his family’s business even after he tried unsuccessfully to grow it is a wonderfully complex life decision.
I always hated the expression that my father told me (I think he was quoting Vince Lombardi) that “Quitters Never Win and Winners never Quit”. What a bunch of hogwash! Winners know when to quit. Winners know when to move on to something else. There is no shame in business surrender.
Sometimes when you quit your current adventure it can be rejuvenating. Closing one door can open up the possibility of others opening. My friend Beth Finke, who wrote the book, “Long Time No See” talks how when she finally lost her sight after 20 years of diabetes and countless surgeries, she was relieved. She had been previously living between the seeing world and the blind world. When there was no possiblity of her seeing again, she could begin her life as a blind person.
In my book, I talk about when I was running my own businesses, there are many days I wanted to stop the world and get off. We all know if can get rough. How do you know when to quit and move on? Remember what Gene Autry said “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging”. Evaluate where you are and the passion you have for your current endeavor.
Consolidating your gains or minimizing your losses can be the best course for you to take. Decide what you can learn from this decision. Next Path…
But the path that Todd has selected to take would be a hard one for me. I always thought that I had the easier job of going to work everyday and not staying home with our infants. At least at work, people pretended to listen to me.