Friday, September 28, 2012

'Merica's rough past.

In the last quarter of the seventeenth century, a series of crises rocked the European colonies of North America. This would become the first time Apple outsold themselves, as there was an issue with one of their factories and it rapidly became apparent that while there were enough iSextants, the glass manufacturer was not able to keep up with the demand. Also, there were hundreds of rich v. poor, free v. slave, and settler v. Indian conflicts that began to erupt as people in the New World, or "Brooklyn" tried to learn how to get along.
The bloodiest and most bitter conflict occurred in southern New England, where in 1675 an Indian alliance launched attacks on farms and settlements that were encroaching Indian lands, all the while yelling incomprehensible gibberish about "unfair wages" and "3 cents an hour with 3 cents an hour tax isn't fair."
New Englanders described the Wampanoag (named after the snow monster from planet Hoth in Starwars who makes "lemonade" snow cones) leader "Metacom" (predecessor to Kim Dotcom) as the uprising's mastermind. This proved to be false, as the Indians operated under no leadership for this attack. This was the second misconstrued idea in the New World. For the first, Google: Half-Way Covenant on your iSextant.
The attacks continued, and soon the Indians had attack nearly half of the New Englander's settlements. A year and a half later the tide finally turned when the Indians bent down to tie their shoes all at the same time, and the New England settlers gained the upper hand immediately.
Needless to say, Metacom was captured and executed, or maybe executed then captured, no one really knows.
No longer welcome, the Indians were forced to move from their homes and board ships to become servants in the West Indies "it's really fun there, we promise", and the New England colonists walked around feigning surprise at all the property and crops that were now at their disposal.


The restoration of the English monarchy when Charles II (or Charles the Two Eyes as he was more commonly referred to as) assumed the throne in 1660 sparked a new period of colonial expansion.
This was done through new trading ventures, such as the chartering of the Royal African Company (they had to do with Africa) and giving them monopoly of the slave trade. Or giving the slaves Monopoly games to trade, no one really knows.
Within a generation, the number of English colonies in North America doubled. The first area to come under English control was "New Netherlands," seized in 1664 during an Anglo-Dutch war that also saw England (or the Anglos) gain control of Dutch trading posts in Africa.
This took place during a several hundred-year world-wide event not mentioned in the textbook called a "Seizing Party" wherein every nation on the planet worked on seizing as much land, resources, trade or mercantilism as possible. Originally there was a planet-wide agreement that this party was "not for keeps" but as is always the case with "not for keeps" it was in fact, for keeps.
King Charles the Two Eyes awarded New Netherlands colony to his brother James the Duke of York after an embarrassingly short arm wrestling match, conceding to him that he could have the region "and make all the rules he wants to." This is actual history. He really told his brother that. Hence the colony became "James the Duke of York", a name every "James the Duke of Yorker" loathed, so they promptly shortened the name to just New York, but haven't stopped being bitter about everything since.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Someone asked me what I did for work at school the other day. Curious as to their reaction, I answered "I'm in sales."
The person I was talking with got up, packed his books, walked out of the classroom and dropped out of college.

People loathe individuals in sales because pretty much everyone has had a crappy experience from a bad sales guy.
It probably looked something like this:

"Do you carry any [insert need]?"
"No but we have this. This is better. This is more expensive. You don't know it but you actually need this. You're stupid for not knowing you need this. If you don't buy this right now you run the risk of being very very stupid."
"Oh, okay. How much is it? I only have six dollars."
"I can run a credit report and we'll get you on an easy payment plan today this very second don't delay because you don't want to climb the stupid ladder. Get in my office. Sign all this paper work. Get a 9th credit card because ours is better. It has worse rates. No one cares about the APR anymore, that doesn't matter. You need this. I can see you getting stupider by the second."
"Alright. When will I get this [insert thing needed]."
"Three weeks. Any other questions?"
"No, I'm just sad about everything that happened here today."
"There's free popcorn over there if you want some."

Want to avoid being the bad guy in sales?

The Key To Closing The Deal Every Time (or TKTCTDET)

1. Ask them what they're looking for. This is important because if you don't ask them, you probably won't find out. Plus it gets them to talk more, which gives you +5% in hit points because everyone likes the sound of their own voice more than yours. By extension that means the more they talk, the more they like you.

2. Listen to them tell you what you're looking for. This is important because if you don't listen to them while they're speaking, you won't know what they're saying. Unfortunately some people share urban myths or suggested methods around this when in fact, there are none. This gives you +5% hit points as well.

3. Say something to make them laugh. If you don't do this, they run the danger of feeling like a customer. This gives you +6 hit points.

4. Say these exact words: "Good news, we have exactly what you're looking for." Often times this step is avoided for the reason that the sales person is mildly dumb or alcoholically incapacitated at some level. Why is this so imperative? Because if you don't say the words "we have exactly what you're looking for" it leaves the customer wondering "do they have exactly what I'm looking for?" This gives you +4% health.

5. Tell them as few details about the product that best fits their needs. Why not tell them more? Let me put this as simply as I can: THEY DON'T CARE. They already explained in great detail what they needed from you, and if you followed step 2, then you both know that what you're giving them will meet those needs. This gives you +8% experience.

6. Tell them the price. If you don't tell them the price, they won't know. While this may be complicated, it's still vitally important. Continuing on to step 7 without them knowing the price can cause much bruising of feelings, which should be avoided at all costs. This gives you +5% hit points.

7. If the customer disagrees with the price, agree with them. I like to call this the "defense game." The person who is on defense automatically loses and after the phone call/interaction is over, must punch themselves in the face thirty times. If the customer doesn't like the price and wants to haggle, take the product away from them and move to a cheaper product. Tell them that this less expensive product was created with them in mind, and that the first, best product is now out of their reach.
They can't have it.
You can tell them this any way you choose. I suggest something like this:
"I agree. That is a lot of money. Great news though (everyone likes to hear great news all the time) we do have this product. It's less expensive and will suit your needs just peachy. We've altered these aspects to make it cost less, which seems to be exactly what you're looking for. This gives you +10% special powers.

8. Close the deal. Some suggested ways of making this happen are as follows.
"May I go ahead and get your order? I'll need your credit card information or you can send me a check."
"How would you like to pay for this?"
"Would you like me to send you an invoice? We'll need half upfront to start work on this for you."
"Unless you have any other questions, I'd like to go ahead and get the payment process started."
If you walk away from the sale with a promise of purchase or another appointment, you have lost and should punch yourself in the face thirty times. +5% experience points.

9. Accept their credit card information for the first, more expensive product you showed them. Everyone only wants what they can't have. For instance, I have literally never stopped wanting a dinosaur. Why? Because I know I can't have one. If by some miracle I was given a dinosaur, I'd want a comet. This would be fine with me, as it would probably kill the dinosaur so I could go back to wanting one again. +100 gold coins.

Once you've leveled up you can move on to more advanced equipment and training in things like:

Avoiding the Awkward Pauses.
How to Meet Anyone
Dealing With People Who Have Already Decided They Hate You
Fixing Your Mistakes
Connecting With Weird People
The 5am Phone Call Sale
Someone Who Just Wants To Email Forever
The Sale Under Pressure or: Talking While Holding Explosive Diarrhea In

*Quick Fact: it was also the worst film in universe history.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Businessy Things.

Now that I have been in business for approximately 30 (minutes) I would consider it an honor to bestow much wisdoms upon your brains and tell you some of what I've learned.
Hopefully you'll be able to take what I know and apply it to your self and your business selves, and those business elves can go and make you many more monies.  This is a time-honored tradition that the corporate world loves to reserve for events like "Rotary" "Executives Association" "Entrepreneurial Alliance" and the "Men's Restroom."

The Business Lunch.
The reason this specific (and delightful couple) of terms is capitalized in such a way is because Business Lunches are the absolute pinnacle of achievement; the top triangle of the pyramid; the uppermost animal carving on the totem pole... you get the point.
Every entrepreneur's first goal: to learn how to spell "entrepreneur." Note: with the advent of personal computers and consequently, spell check, this goal has become almost obsolete. Almost.
The next goal an entrepreneur has is to set up a business lunch. With someone. Anyone. The words "I'm sorry, I have a business lunch, can I meet with you on a different day?" mean that said person is at least somewhat successful. If they actually have a business lunch. Some slimy folk (usually the competitors) have been known to make up lunch events just to seem important. This usually signifies a "C" or lower in their local Community College "Business Ethics" class.

Business Lunches usually take place when there are either a.) two parties and/or b.) they have something to talk about.
Most of us have seen someone on a Business Lunch with their self before, and while this is strange, it's not entirely dis-honest and if put in essay form would still earn a deserved "A" at a Business Ethics class, because as long as there is a phone-piece present, it can still count as a Business Lunch. *See: Tax-write off.

"I'd like to take them to lunch" or "Let me take you to lunch" are two power-house phrases I would suggest you use in the workplace to get these sorts of things off and rolling. Once seated with food present, even if one party deals in socks and the other multi-grain cereal or a specific non-gravity based solar shield for a space ship, if they're strong enough entrepreneurs, the Business Lunch will not only go better than crappy, but they may meet once or twice more in a year together, just on the basis of mere creative stimulus.

Important to note. (From now on, wherever you see these three words in bold you'll know that what follows is important to note.)
When someone who has a potential future with either a.) you and/or b.) your company, and the first words out of their mouth is "I'm a family man" you know one of two things. a.) they are not a family man, and/or b.) they probably don't even really like their family.
Real family men will sit down with you and say nothing. Why? Because real family men don't have to justify to you that they're family men. They don't care if you know or not. You should be able to tell that just by the fact that they a.) look tired and haggard with bags under their eyes, and/or b.) order anything with and/or without caffeine. If they order something with caffeine you know they've had five entirely sleepless nights in a row with at least four infants. If they order something without caffeine you know it's because they don't let their kids have caffeine.
What does this have to do with the Business Lunch you ask?
Because everything.

Example: A man sits down after saying "I'm a family man" asks the waitress "is this really hot? What's really hot on the menu?" Orders a beer to start, then tells you three personal stories in a row that bore you to death.
What should this tell you?
The bid he is going to ask you to make for his eleven thousand tract homes will net you approximately seven dollars and take the next six years of your life away entirely.
Because he'll think that's what it takes for you to really get the work and after all, he deserves it. And he'd like to talk about it every day on the phone with you, conferencing you in to his twelve board members who live in Northern California. He'll have you believe that there is literally no one else doing business on the planet except him, and he is the big breakthrough you've been working your entire life to reach.
What should you do based solely off this hunch and what he ordered?
Order a beer as well to make him comfortable, but only drink half because it's 11:30am and your stomach is churning at the thought. Then let him know the bid you gave him is exactly what you can do the work for because you are the best option for that job the local market has to offer and watch him squirm. As he yells into his cajun chicken that came with twelve chili peppers next to the name on the menu, smile and nod like you understand him, but reiterate your thoughts, all the while thinking of other business things that will net you more money. This can be anything that will net you a value of more than seven dollars.

Should it matter what you eat at a Business Lunch? Not at all. The food is secondary. Why is the food there, you ask? Well a.) because OBVIOUSLY if it was called the "Business" instead of "Business Lunch"... well, that wouldn't make very much sense now, would it? and/or b.) just in case the person becomes an inanimate object or the whole world blows up and there's just the two of you at the table, at least there's still the food to talk about.
The food should be secondary, the drinks should be secondary (with the obvious exception if everyone is getting together for "Drinks" in which case it may matter .07% what you order) and the initial conversation should be secondary. That's the point. Everything about a Business Lunch should be secondary, just as it's written.
"Business" then "Lunch."

The First Rule.
The first rule is to never call yourself a "Start-Up."
The only people who call their companies "Start-Ups" are young hipster recent college-grads who want to short-cut everyone and everything to make lots of money with no work. Who likes anyone who cuts in line? And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the word "Start-Up" in any combination (Start-up, startup, start-Up) look like a great branding for toddler diapers?
Anyone who calls their company a "Start-Up" has just presented you with a kaleidoscope vision of their future. No matter how you turn it, things will always look amazing and pretty and bright, but it'll drop away into nothing when it reaches six inches from your face.
"I've helped launch a bunch of Start-Ups" says every young entrepreneur.
"Oh yeah, well how many have you seen through into successful companies with things like a "payroll" and "happy investors" or even "a franchise"?" says every old guy.

Go forth now, un-Start-Up-ify thyself, and order many hot things on the menu!