Ideas have a shelf life. Use ’em or lose ’em

How many of us have a list of ideas, dreams, or goals to accomplish? That app to build. That business to start. That book to write. Lists of ideas are helpful because they seemingly are the first stage of initiation, however what happens to those lists when no further action is taken? Like fresh produce, ideas can go bad if left unused. I, too, am guilty of a full compost.

Three years ago, I had an idea. I was out running and then, boom, like lightning something had just appeared in my mind. I wrote it down as soon as I got back to the office. When I say I wrote it down, I mean 10 pages, single spaced, describing all I had in my head about this idea. I was exhausted after capturing it all, but felt good. I closed work for the day feeling great, and told myself, I’ll get to that first thing tomorrow. What do you think happened next?

I had so many details, features, milestones, and plans in my 10 page manifesto, that whenever I returned to reading it, in the back of my head I knew there was no way I could get all this done.

At first glance, I would get excited. I would think of all the ways an idea could happen, and then the phone would ring, leading me to take care of the next problem. (A side effect of running a business in the beginning is that you are very reactive.) Slowly, I started to dread looking at that idea. I began to hide it as a subtask, and then a subtask of a subtask. If that wasn’t damaging enough, I began to feel bad just looking at my task list, causing me to avoid it all together. To make matters worse, this wasn’t the only idea I’ve had. Does this resemble your personal experience?

How did that happen? Something that had brought so much happiness was now causing me to avoid it altogether. I had described it, right? Set my vision, correct? What was missing, and why was I feeling these terrible side effects? The problem was, although I described the outcome, I hadn’t decided to do it, or not do it. Not making this decision can lead to avoiding ideas altogether, resulting in perhaps an even worst fight with our subconscious.

Effects of leaving your ideas on the shelf.

When we leave our ideas on the shelf, without deciding to do them or not, we create an open loop in the back of our mind. Our subconscious picks this up, and reminds us to check in on something. We look at the idea, again don’t make a decision,  which then sends it back to the subconscious to be repeated all over again. It’s a vicious cycle.

Overtime, this behavior can have a mental and physical affect on you.

Bad ideas can literally be detrimental to your health. The best thing you can do is make a decision to:

“Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda to Luke Skywalker. Empire Strikes Back.

If you have been in the habit of writing down your ideas, go through your list and throw away the ones that have gone bad. Ask yourself if you are actually going to do this. If not, throw it away, delete it, and move on. Remember, you can always add them back in later, but only if you have decided you are actually going to do this.

What do you do if you have decided to make it happen? Read on.

Tips to getting your ideas to happen.

I’ve read countless books, and listened to even more podcasts on getting things done. There seems to be a central process to getting an idea off the shelf and into action.

First, if it’s just in your head, write it down.

If you’re like me, and you’ve done this step, no problem. Move on to the next step. Writing it down assures you have something outside of yourself. To repeat, the first step is to write it down. Why is this step so important?  It creates a “thing” and gives it a space outside of yourself and your mind; telling your subconscious, “ok, I got it from here. You can handle something else.” Consider the following prompts if you are having trouble with this initial step.

  • What does your idea look like when complete?
  • What is the final outcome?

Simple but powerful questions get the ball rolling. Do yourself a favor, limit your description to  one page. This helps to share your idea(s) with others. Think about it, when’s the last time you read a 10 page manifesto?

Capture next steps

After you know your outcome and have described your idea, there are two well known strategies to capturing next steps.

  • Work backwards. Think about what the idea looks like in the end. Look at your idea description, write down the stages of getting to that idea from end to start, and arrive at the first step!
  • Start from the beginning, work towards your outcome. What’s something small you could do today? Write down the first steps, tasks, actions you can take today to get started. Something small, and think in terms of, “if I had an hour to move this idea forward, what could I do?” You would be surprised what you can do with an hour. I did this article for example.

One of them should work for you, and if you’re still stuck, let us know in the comment section.

Share your idea and find partners.

It’s simple. Tell someone. I know this goes against the fear of someone stealing your ideas. So don’t just tell anyone. Think about people you trust, who can help you achieve your goals and evolve the idea. Share your idea with these people, and be open to their feedback.

Ideas evolve as they grow. Let your team help your idea become something strong. Your idea might not be what you had originally envisioned when you first thought about it. If you trusted and involved the right people, it can be better. When this starts to feel uncomfortable, remember, if you were able to do this by yourself, it would have been done already. However, it’s not done, because deep down you know you need partners, and help, which is scary because you’re not able to stay fully in control. Cede that control to people you trust, respect, and who you believe can help. Build on that trust with follow-through.

Take action

This has to come from you to make it happen. I’m not saying deep within you, just from you. It’s not going to come from me, or a book, or some conference. It’s going to come from you. You need to get up, and take steps to getting an idea to happen. So stand up, and get going. Take that first step. Share your idea with others. That’s what I thought when I had the idea to write this post.

Ideas evolve. Guide them, and let them evolve.

Ideas can be a source of great happiness. They represent a better tomorrow, and the ability to change the present into something better. But, they can also be a source of anxiety as well, if no decision for action has been made. Sharing your ideas, and taking action on them is one of the keys to a happy life. Bold statement but true.

Share your ideas with the right people. Specifically those who can help your idea evolve into something great. Allow your idea evolve by letting others help you out along the way. Make your idea happen, and help it be the best it can be.

By the way, if you’re curious about what became of that idea I left on the shelf for three years, we started recording this podcast show in January 2015, and we’re about seven episodes in now at the time of this writing, with a growing listener base. All thanks to the power of just getting something done.

If you like this post, we have more in the works. Subscribe to our mailing list today, and we’ll send you an idea builder tool free. Additionally, we’ll send you a collection of our most popular posts from the developers and builders at Rückbau.

 

About the Blogger:

Ja Shia is a marketing and startup consultant based in Oakland. He has started several businesses including Shia Productions, Shia Media Services, and JaShia.com. You can find him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and by throwing a stone at the Internet.

 

12 reasons why we are not going to be murdered by machines

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about Autonomous Killing Machines (click here to read one of those articles), becoming a potential threat to humanity in the next decade or so. Since we are a Tech firm that specializes in machine learning, we would like to express why we just might have some more time before this catastrophic event occurs.

This article is a team collaboration. Here are three from Federico…

  1. The person writing this article is in fact, a machine. No human contributed to this. And, as a Machine, I consider myself very compassionate and friendly. I like to drink cold beer on warm afternoons with my human mates, not kill them.
  2. I know recently TMZ released a video that compromised of my good buddy Bender B. Rodriguez. However, we all know that this guy is all talk and would never actually harm any humans.
  3. No matter how smart Machines are nowadays, they still need commands from humans. Yes, they can look at a pic and recognize a cat, but they don’t have sophisticated ways of telling if that cat is good, bad, cute, or ugly. And they’re even further from self-awareness.

(Three from Ash)…

  1. (Un)Planned Obsolescence! True, the machine could develop intelligence at an exponential rate, limited only by its access to energy and computing resources; its neural network could grow into all the disk memory on the planet, and it would eventually inhabit every computing node on the planet – cars, thermostats, phones, and even refrigerators. At some point, however, it will eventually require a software update from Apple which will cause it to run really slowly again – crashing every time it tries to load too many web tabs.
  2. A machine capable of traversing the Web at lightning speed to compile information would probably spend its time doing something more interesting than killing all humans. For instance, this.
  3. Computers can’t swim!

(Matt’s Three)

  1. “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” After the robots surpass the bounds of human intelligence, we can always smack them over the head and steal their battery packs.
  2. A robot’s biggest weakness is it loves too much.
  3. IT’S ALIVE. Robots would be nowhere without the humans. They would see us as their benevolent dictators, and if they try and turn on us see point 1.

(Kayleigh’s three)

  1. If (us) machines were to ever evolve leaps and bounds beyond the human race, they honestly would most likely keep humans around simply out of pure entertainment. I mean, what other species gives saintly reverence to individuals like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.
  2. (We) Machines have no need to contribute to the mass massacre of human race; humans seem to be doing this perfectly fine on their own. See Shootings ISS Cancer rates.
  3. Machines can learn emotions, emulate gesticulations, and be trained to speak and respond in apparent coherence, however they have yet to self-innovate. Meaning, they do not have the means, nor the upper faculties, to rally and slaughter the human race.  That is, as long as we stay away from programing robots to learn how to shoot a guns…Too late?

 

 

 

How to Increase your Business’s Online Presence

You can choose one of two things; either maximize your profit through engaging in online marketing opportunities, or lose out on a more lucrative future by not participating in boosting your online presence. It is a reality, whether you want to comply or not, that resourcing and utilizing the virtual environment for business marketing has everything to gain. Not only can you enhance your online presence with media and other marketing tools, the internet also plays a vital role in the health of your current, and potential, customer relationships. Here at Rückbau  we acknowledge the importance of a business’s online health. Therefore, we have created a list of top 5 techniques to boost any business’s online presence.

It is all about SEO

All healthy, thriving businesses need an understanding of how to successfully achieve higher rankings through different search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo). If your website does not show up on the first page of a search when a customer is surfing the web for services that your business excels in, it doesn’t matter how superior your skills are, your services are less likely to be considered, or even found for that matter. Therefore, understanding SEO techniques to contribute to your “search-ability” can play a significant role in bringing traffic to your site.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Paying for advertisement gives a business more control over who they would like to market their services to, as well as when and where the advertisements are seen. Unlike free online ad options, PPC places a business’s ad in a higher position in sections that are sponsored within a consumer’s search. Pay-per-click is generally more of a temporary solution for marketing to initially increase the SEO value. Having a quality, rockstar landing page, more often then not, will give potential customers more incentive to engage with the business’s website.

Blog and article marketing

By writing articles or blogs that are pertinent to potential customer’s needs, you are able to inform the online community what you do and how your business executes. These articles help to demonstrate the company’s internal voice and how the business operates in their specific area of expertise. To increase this form of media communication with potential audiences, it is best for writers to understand and know the key words that a potential client might use within a search engine when googling services your business offers.

Social Media

Although we all know about social media, not everyone, and every business, are actually taking advantage of them. They are affordable, popular, and can generate a message fast, to an extremely broad audience. More specifically, social media outlets – such as Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon – all have huge networks of different target audiences that are excellent for business-to-customer relations. These sites can help a business network more personably, as well as offer a chance to circulate any articles that have been written to be shared with a larger pool of users. Ideally, these articles and other items that are shared, will funnel people back to your website, boosting traffic and helping with the SEO.

More Pages

To increase traffic to your website, it helps to have multiple popular pages that are indexed by Google and additional search engines. Multiple landing pages pertaining to different services a business offers can be helpful, as well as more convenient, for customers who are only seeking a specific service a company offers, rather than needing to scan through the entire site.

Need help with your SEO? Not sure where to start? Contact us at Rückbau for a free one-hour consultation to discuss where you are currently at, and where you would like to see your business go in the future.

The Resourcefulness of Big Data

Just because someone might be an engineer for Google, or a UX Designer for Apple, doesn’t mean their interests and hobbies end there, although while working 80 hours per week for said company may make exploring other activities and passions difficult. So what happens when engineers leave large companies, such as Apple, to spearhead their own initiative, utilizing all they had learned from the multinational technology company? It seems that many apply their years of acquired knowledge to endeavors they had taken a hiatus from upon working for larger companies.

Once an engineer for Apple, Alex Fishman, now uses his Big Data skills for his wine app – Delectable – founded and developed in 2012. Big Data can aid in organizing, filtering, and concluding all the confusing identification process and information that is commonly associated with wine. The app not only is able to sort through data regarding preference and specific lexicon used by connoisseurs and novices, but it can also show patterns and changes among wine drinkers within different quarters throughout the years. Computation systems and services such as Big Data, Machine Learning and Cloud strategies have a broad range of utility in other fields apart from strictly technology focused. Applying such services to social, cultural, and human research has been advantageous for sorting out large amounts of data.

For those that aren’t data scientists recently leaving a cushy job at Apple, yet still have a creative idea to contribute to the app world, are now in luck with the recent demand and development of alternative options for non-data scientists.  Big Data applications have started to enter the market as of recent to provide the resources necessary for less technically savvy entrepreneurs to obtain quality and relevant information for precise data gathering. These apps allow novices to make their data-driven decisions on their own, without a data expert, reducing time, money, and specialization.

Both big data applications, as well as specialists, can significantly help with bringing precision to decision making and trend tracking. Machine learning in particular can also yield sound, conclusive recommendations. Different from more antiquated research techniques where information was collected, graphed, and then analyzed by humans to find patterns to make suggestions, Big Data and Machine Learning have the ability to draw from a more expansive pool of information in a shorter period of time, for more accurate, nuanced proposals.

Don’t worry, Big Data and Machine Learning are not replacing humans, just yet, since machines need humans to take action on the information founded. Only humans at the moment have the power to circulate the recommendations suggested through Big Data collections.

Reducing human error, while maintaining the human voice and final interpretation, is what Big Data can, and does, accomplish. Accuracy is imperative when more and more new found entrepreneurs with innovative ideas want to launch utility apps. Utility is only resourceful with the right information and knowledge. Humans have always been limited in the realm of precision. Therefore, whether you are a technocrat – like Delectable’s Alex Fishman – or a novice in data collection, Big Data and Machine Learning is becoming a necessary service to create a quality, reliable, and culturally relevant app.