Archive for May 25th, 2006

Michael Wagner has another great post on his Own Your Brand blog today in which he uses Blu Dot (yes, the furniture company) to illustrate the first five steps you should consider taking if your goal is to create (and more importantly own) your own brand.

First: Stop dreaming and do. Co-founders Maurice Blanks, John Christakos and Charlie Lazor all quit paying jobs to start Blu Dot. Christakos, a Bain & Co. consultant, was the first to leave. He then waited for his two college buddies to say “adios” to their architecture firms. Brand ownership embraces uncertainty.

Second: Stop complaining and create. All three knew they were sick of “compartmentalizing their creativity while toiling at their day jobs”. Either bring your creativity to work every day and let the chips fall where they may or make your own place where you decide on how things are done. Brand ownership is about YOUR creative difference.

Third: Stop wishing for a solution and be the solution. Blu Dot is the solution for those who live in the land between budget-conscious IKEA and label-conscious Philippe Starck. Blu Dot supplies relevance on at least three levels: great design, great price, great simplicity. Brand ownership is relevance defined by the people you sell to.

Fourth: Stop hoping for more money and find your version of resourcefulness. These college buddies paid their logo designer with plans for a tree house and their web designer with tables. Christakos likes to say, “Furniture’s our favorite form of currency.” Brand ownership is about resourcefulness in an age of limited resources.

Fifth: Stop thinking you’re “all that” and be who you are gifted to be. Blu Dot founders learned to submit to each others gifts and abilities. Christokos is the business guru. Blanks, the operations/administration guy, and Lazor remains the designer. Brand ownership is seldom about the lone genius and more often about co-workers humbly finding their place on the team.


Read the entire thing here. (And Michael, welcome to my blogroll. It was way overdue.) 🙂

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At 99 degrees Centigrade, water is hot.

At 100 degrees Centigrade, water starts boiling and turns to steam.

Steam can power locomotives, factories and ships. Hot water can’t.

The difference between just being hot and being capable of moving a twenty ton hunk of metal is just 1%. That’s it. 1%.

The difference between winning a race, coming up with a better design or a stronger concept is in that 1%.

Plan 1% better. Prepare 1% harder. Work 1% longer. Think 1% further. Proofread 1% slower. Research 1% deeper.

Forget about the ridiculous notion of “giving 110%.” Forget about giving it an extra 20%. Or even 10%. Those numbers mean nothing. Even if they did, they would be unrealistic.

Focus on the 1%.

Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already hitting that 99% pretty much every day. If not, you come pretty damn close. (It’s okay, you can admit it.) The point is that you’re already doing 99% of what you need to do to be kind of successful. What’s 1% more?

1%. That’s where the magic happens. It’s the tipping point of design and ideas and insight. The difference between pretty good and great. The sliver that stands between running a 6:00-mile and a 5:57-minute mile. It’s what separates the top percentile from… well, everything else.

I’ts just 1%, folks. That’s all it is.

Choose to be great today.

Thanks to my good friend Frank Roth who used this analogy yesterday to explain to me how he went from being a decent age-group triathlete to being a top finisher in almost every race he enters… in just one season.

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