Sunday, 28 September 2014

SuperSalmond Episode 4: Achieving the Impossible

I have been blogging extensively about some ideas I have about #The45Plus community and thought I would detail my motivation for this. I sincerely hope that Scotland's politicians, business owners, students and sales people read this. I believe that it could assist with productivity.

If that's not enough of an incentive will you read it if I tell that it includes information as to why I would advise that, based on Technology sales and roll out principles, Labour and the Conservatives should just pack up and go now, and why a second referendum appears to be inevitable.

Great Organisations
I also hope that my experiences might encourage others to get on Social Media, open a blog and have some BIG AUDACIOUS GOALS!

Jim Collins Hedgehog Concept
I enjoy reading about startups and the culture and priorities that top performing organisations have. Regardless of who you read about, whether MIT, Google, Stanford, Apple, Geoffrey Moore or others, you get the same answers.
  • Recruitment matters
  • Product Market Fit Matters
  • Focus Matters
  • Culture Matters
  • How you organise Space Matters
  • You should do what you Love; and love what you do
Be the best in the world!
Find you're vertical! Find the one thing that you can do better than anyone else. Stay focused, don't be sales let. Work in a niche and stay in that niche until you've become the market leader. These are other universal recommendations.

However, while I read about these issues and my Silicon Valley and Boston EdTech contacts do to... I've not met many Scots who have read these books, so I hope this post helps politicians/independence advocates and businesses (BTW Not an easy mix to appeal to in a single post).

It is my belief that the #YesAlliance is an example of this. The UK Government promise a "Vow" but can't deliver something for 5 million people because they have got another 71 million people to appease. And the 5 million are VERY different to the others. Then there is keeping the vow together with 3 opposing camps.It's always going to be very difficult to be the best party in Scotland when you want English votes too. This is the same reason for the UKIP defections. 

I went through the process of asking, if I applied myself, is there anything I might have a shot at being the best at? I decided to go for being one of the best sales people in Further Education. According to start up gurus FE has some ideal attributes but, like a Westminster MP based in Scotland, I failed. 

Being in a Bad Market
In January I published my New Years Resolution: 100% College Roll Out, a few weeks ago I abandoned this project, for the time being at least (For more details see Leaving FE). Through helping a would-be-competitor out I realised that I was in a "Bad Market," the quickest and simplest way to define a "Bad market" to #The45Plus group is maybe 

"It's like being a Labour or a Tory MP in Scotland at the moment" 

The conditions just are not right, they cannot reach their audience because their is a supplier who has a better product and who is on the way to become the "Market Leader," Labour and Conservatives, I'm sorry to say this but, as far as the tech world literature goes... you may want to just pack up now. Your task now is like Yahoo Vs Google, My Space Vs Facebook... ie you had your chance and you blew it. 

See Page 19 to see why the Yes Alliance will be forgiven for any errors or transgressions... which is also why I wouldn't moan about them if I were you, they have the people on their side. Collaborating is your best chance now. Referendum or bust. But if you collaborate and/or agree you'll get kicked out. You're choices are: A slow death, or a quick one. Them's the choices. 

This is what happens when you're up against the Steve Jobs of Politics, this is why I am writing all this stuff. People like this CHANGE THE WORLD. Get behind them or get out of the way. Not easy to hear I know. Been there got the T-shirt. Had to abandon 4 years of hard graft just because, like you, I found the conditions were not in my favour.

If you want to get Alex Salmond style popularity, stop off and Newcastle and declare the North East free from Westminster and you'll be the peoples' champion too

Ahead of the Game... Not The "My Space of Politics"
Although I hasten to add... my problem, apparently, is that my ideas were "Ahead of their time," yours is that like Yahoo, who saw search as a small insignificant part of the operation. Google focused every single resource on search. Guess who won.

The problem I faced in FE was that you're toxic Westminster culture seeped into education and you killed innovation in FE. People were either so scared that making a poor decision will get them sacked or they are over worked as 30%+ of of their colleagues have left the sector. So innovation has been frozen and, in the same way you are facing this in Scotland, this may lead to the sector fading into insignificance, as Starbucks enter this space. I'm not kidding! What's happening with this Scottish Startup politics may be a good time to re-raise the alarm and help with your current situation too;

If you know anyone who might want to pick up where I left off in FE, here's a lot of my research (Although please do wish them luck, they'll need it!):

What's My Motivation
Personally I find it easier to work with people when I know what motivates them, and I am wondering if my new Scottish readers and friends are wondering why I'm either spending a lot of time blogging and/or giving a lot of hard earned research away.

I would like to draw everyone's attention to the "What's My Motivation" section of "The Fox of EdTech" post above. Read it? OK. Good. 8-10 months ago people laughed at some of these "Crazy ideas" (Especially Competitor Collaboration, Giving Movement, Question Perceptions about Sales) because of the impossibility of the task in hand. 

I'd be keen to hear from #The45Plus group to see if these ideas seem so laughable and impossible today, once you've read this post.

Get Rid of Psychopathic Leaders
Get rid of the "Takers" and "Fakers" in leadership roles and replace them with Adam Grant's "Givers" and Dave Logans "Stage 5" teams... the ones that take other people with them, and create value for all, not just themselves.

My plans for SuperSalmond have not been revealed yet, but I hope that my work with this makes it extremely difficult for "Takers" to operate in any area of Scottish Society.

These ideas would need to be read and acted upon but I can't influence that too much... The best I can do is focus on the areas I can affect, publish my thoughts/ideas, and try to do so in as compelling a way as possible.

Sales Matters: 400% Guarenteed
Get Educators to see sales differently, to get employers to adopt "Social Selling" and co-create with their clients, to create content and add value and not generate spam and waste people's time talking about "my company, my product/service" etc. We're not even talking about telling customers about how the service will benefit them...

It's having EVIDENCE of how the service has added value to your early customers. Again this is a MASSIVE culture shift and will be near impossible. However, to not even try means that sales people will continue to be seen with suspicion. This is unproductive, inefficient, ineffective... and unfair! The problem is (Surprise, surprise) CULTURAL See

All of this is about replicating Apple, Google and IBM's techniques. MIT says that in order for people to switch to a new method you need a X10 improvement (Which may be why SNP didn't win, they didn't articulate how life would be 10 times better to the 55%).

But issues of a X10 improvement is not the problem with social selling as there are case studies with a 400% increase in sales, so

What is: Unwelcome calls and spam that takes up a lot of time for both seller and buyer, products perhaps could be better (How many Scottish cos have 100% repeat business ratio and/or are best in the world at what they do?), anyone with Traditional sales skills may well find employment harder to find in the next few years.

What could be: Better products, Less rejection for sales people So - "Doing good (Not annoying people as much) While Having Fun (Not in tears at the end of every call. Lol). Improved products for the same reasons as Startup Politics will have - Co-Creating with clients and improved customer relations. There there is increased revenue for companies and economy.(See Appendix 2: What Would Google Do?)

What's not to like? Change is tough! Even when the benefits are obvious! Then Scotland... Get a move on! SNP Tell business to get into this, there could be massive improvements to the economy to be had here.

As a nation, if we were to have resskilled sales people we could become a specialist in Social Selling and Community Management, you just might find businesses leaving London for Scotland with i'ts very efficient and effective sales network!

For any sales people out there and you're boss insists on cold calling, get in touch with @scotsayyes this is his bread and butter. If you don't, you're an idiot! Here's why;

Dude Cold Calling is for Losers

Shape Yourself to a New Mark...

So I wanted to work on connecting educators up in FE. However, through helping a competitor I realised it was not happening, the conditions were not right

For the last few months I've been liaising with US educators, but it does upset me that I am not working in the UK. I am not because I just can't make it happen.

I noticed the potential in what Alex Salmond was achieving on the 9th Sept. I have been shouting about how great this opportunity was just because "I could" I felt I could help... so I have done. Today helping #The45Plus just might have repaid in buckets. I helped Brave Many with the SuperSalmond idea.

I know that Brave Many is keen to see a SuperSalmond Comic, so I wrote SuperSalmond Episode 1: A New Hope...Opportunities

If this happens this just might help get Scottish educators connected. So my collaborating with a competitor and helping #The45Plus out "Just because I can" has given me a New Hope and alternative opportunities to keep a set of goal I had been working towards alive..

Crazy and Impossible Goals?
So guys, what do you think? The moral of the story? Do your homework, research your market, understand when the conditions just are not right, collaborate, always show your friendship first, think differently and dream big... ask yourself 


If you can't do this for yourself, then [it may sound like a cat poster] do it for your country. There are only 5 million of us, if you want to have a fair and just society then follow the example of the person that has made 3 things that were all but impossible a year ago a lot more tangible... Thank You Mr Salmond, I have renewed Hope regarding some of these opportunities.

The implementation of these goals will depend on people actually reading and acting on my ramblings, I'm doing all I can to be heard, and that's what matters doing what you can. I'll do what I've always done and follow Nightingales advice when trying to make a success of these plans;

"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal." Earl Nightingale

If nothing else #The45Plus community seems a good cause to help out in any way I can, as I continue to work towards achieving these goals. I appreciate that I might never get there. Regardless, I'm in good company. It's the journey that matters, the company you keep and how many people you take with you. I'd rather take as many people as would like an adventure... whether from Scotland, VoteYes, Vote No or from Sparta... than go it alone.   

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