Be the Water!

I know what I want to be “when I grow up”.

I want to be the water.

Before you click away, let me explain.  This isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

A bit more than a year ago, I wrote a speech for my colleagues based on the “Great Flood” of the Okavango Delta in the Kalahari Desert.

It’s a bit hard to explain without seeing it, but basically the rain falls almost 900 miles away and then flows towards the Kalahari Desert on a mission.   It arrives just in time to rescue the animals that were exhausted, in despair, and near death.

It was inspiring.

At the same time, I felt both sympathy for the struggling animals (see the video below) and inspiration to be the water.  I think this great event offers a teachable point of view regarding the difference leaders can be in this world.  They can be the hot sun, or the fresh water.

As the fresh water flows into the desert, it forms little fingers that race across the thirsty sands, bringing life to everything they touch.

It stirs dormant animals to life.

It sustains the weary.

It’s exactly what I want to do with my life.  Stir people to action.  Sustain the weary. Be the difference!

The fresh water saves lives.

Be the water!

Aaron@Biebert

PS.  Need some water?  Don’t forget to drink it when it’s offered!

The Rain is Coming!

Right now my wife and I are watching the DVD of  “Nature’s Most Amazing Events” (I highly recommend it) and we just finished the section about the annual Pacific Salmon run.  It makes for an interesting allegory for the current business environment.

Here it is:

Salmon are drawn by instinct to swim against the current, jump huge waterfalls, and avoid massive bears, just to achieve their mission.  Only four out of every thousand salmon make the round trip from their birth place to the ocean and back again.

It’s the challenge of a lifetime! (Sound like your life?)

However, as if that wasn’t hard enough, sometimes the water levels are too low for the fish to even get to the bears, waterfalls, or heavy currents.  They get stuck before the battle even begins.

Then the rain comes.

Just as many of the fish are starting to lose energy (and hope?), the rainy season begins and allows the fish to resume their life’s struggle against all odds.  They can finally begin the fight they were designed for.

Sound familiar?

Many of my fellow 8pm Warriors are on their way to following their dreams.  We all signed up for the challenges of developing new products and services, avoiding competitors, and challenging the status quo and swimming against the current.

What we didn’t sign up for was the lack of water.

This economy has dried up many opportunities, and left many 8pm Warriors wondering, hurting, and weak.  Today I urge you to hold on.

The Rain is Coming!

The challenges we seek will be here soon enough and the days of funding issues and weak demand will be replaced with the challenges of finding the right people, products, and strategies.

Keep your chin up.

Aaron@Biebert

The Last Blog: “It’s time to go!”

It’s official.  I’m dying.

In some ways I’m still in denial and don’t talk about it nearly enough.  I’ve known for a while, but like many 8pm Warriors, I’ve been too busy chasing dreams to stop and share the important stuff before I leave this world.  Too busy to share what I was really about…what makes me tick.

I want to share the deep stuff.

Today was potentially my last birthday and this blog may be my last, so now is a good time to open up.  For those seeking a community of 8pm Warriors, you may relate to this post.

It’s time to go!

My first memory ever was playing with plastic Native American figures and green Army guys in the front seat of the U-Haul my father was driving from Milwaukee to Livingston, Montana.

My mother and sister were in the Subaru wagon behind us, and the only thing I remember besides the toys was the feeling of excitement.

We were going somewhere!

If today was my last day and I only had a few words left, I would urge my children, friends, and family members to please go somewhere!

Do something.  Act on your beliefs.  Don’t just wait, hope, or wonder.  Follow your dreams!

It’s time.

For me “going somewhere” is my first memory and hopefully it will be my last one too.  There’s something special about going somewhere.

Where should you go?

Start at the beginning.

For me, little did I know that those plastic warriors would stay with me the rest of my life.  My father later gave me the nickname “Warrior” and I played college football for the Warriors too.

I was definitely a warrior.

My closest friends, family, and colleagues know that my warrior passion is not usually directed at someone or something, but rather for someone or something that I believe in.  I love strategy.  I love motivation.  I love my fellow warriors.

“In the spring…the time when kings go off to war”

– 1 Chronicles 20:1

Spring is my favorite season.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed the stories of ancient leaders and heroes who led teams of people against evil.  Fiction or non, there was something inspiring about working together to do something truly amazing or unlikely.

Those stories continue to inspire me.

Naturally, leadership was the direction I pursued and if I couldn’t find the right team or organization to lead, I started a new one.  I now spend my time in marketing or executive leadership positions, using that love of storytelling and inspiration to rally my team members to accomplish feats they never thought possible.

It’s been a wonderful career and so today I ask you to consider your inspirations.

Where do you want to go?

I’m running out of time, and so are you.  We’re all dying.

Seize the day.

Have a moving night,

Aaron@Biebert

__________________________
Like my blog? Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email.

Note:  I’m not aware of any specific terminal illness I may have, just that we are all dying.  Instead, I wanted to try a blogging twist on the traditional “Last Lecture” idea (academia).  Consider writing your “Last Blog”, it’s liberating.  A couple years back, I read the book “The Last Lecture” and determined that one should seize the day and share now, rather than when it’s too late.

Here’s more about that book:

http://www.thelastlecture.com/aboutbk.htm

Warrior of the Week: Robert Caruso

Meet Robert Caruso, a social media thought leader and the Founder/CEO of Social Resolve LLC and BundlePost.com.

He is a frequent blogger and social media consultant to numerous agencies and companies.  With three patents on internet technologies and another recently filed, Robert is a startup veteran and a true 8pm Warrior.

Over the time I’ve known Robert, I’ve been amazed at his knowledge and passionate pursuit of his goals.  With the launch of his latest venture at the end of the month, I asked Robert to be this week’s 8pm Warrior of the Week.  When we talked, I asked him to share his goals, his action plan, ways our community can help, and any advice he has for other 8pm Warriors.

Here’s what he said:

Aspirations:

I am passionate about internet related technology and how it connects with social media.  Like most of us who risk everything to create something great, I do appreciate the potential rewards that go with it.  However, my ultimate goals are to inspire and lead the social media movement and use my success to help care for orphans and widows all over the world.

When I am not working 18 hr days on my latest startup venture, my time is consumed with my children.  I look forward to more world travel with them and being the best dad I can be.

Action Plan:

Right now, I have a single focus, BundlePost.  As a serial entrepreneur, this is not my first barbeque. The tech world has change a great deal since the 90’s and having a solid business model, defendable technology, a huge market (and potential revenue) is the norm, not the exception anymore.  So I’m putting a lot of time and effort into the front, and it is paying off.

On February 28, we will be launching Bundle Post technology to the world.  The system was designed to dramatically reduce the human resource back office requirements of managing social media programs.  The technology not only allows users to database thousands of social media content posts (either theirs or their clients), but also automates the searching, reviewing, scheduling and posting of content that is interesting to your audience.

We created Bundle Post due to a gap in technology that exists between management technology (like HootSuite) and back-office functions like content management and preparation.  Most are spending 80% of their time doing non-social functions and only 20% engaging and building relationships.  If social media is to move ahead, I believe that this has to change!

I think Bundle Post will lead that change.

Ways to Help Robert:

Right now, we are very fortunate to be at the place where investment, development and operations are well in hand.  However, the biggest thing we could use help with is publicity.  Your tweets, Facebook posts, or reblogs about this game changing technology we are bringing to market would be highly appreciated.

Advice:

Here are some tips I would give to other 8pm Warriors working on startups:

  • Do one thing and do it very well.
  • Find holes in the market that need filling and find a way to fill them.
  • Don’t chase investment money with an unproven idea.  Prove it first and get revenue flowing quickly.
  • Control the vision and the company early on by keeping your team small.
  • Don’t take advice from people who haven’t done it.
  • Do whatever it takes to make it happen!

If you have any questions for Robert, post them as a comment here on the blog or on the 8pm Warriors Facebook Forum.

______________________

We’ll be featuring his material all week on the 8pm Warrior twitter feed and facebook forum.  However, here are some other ways to connect with Robert:

Twitter:  @fondalo and @BundlePost

About.me:  About.me/robertcaruso

Blog:  BundlePost.Wordpress.com

Company:  BundlePost.com

Achieving the Bare Minimum

I wonder if Yoda the business leader might say, “Achieve or achieve not, there is no do“.

This might seem discouraging, but I want to remind people that “working hard”, “doing your best”, or “getting things done” don’t really matter for 8pm Warriors.  They are the bare minimum.

You’ve got to achieve.

Achieveverb

  1. to bring to a successful conclusion; accomplish; attain
  2. to gain as by hard work or effort: to achieve success

No successful leader I’ve ever met got there by “doing”.  You have to actually find a way to make a difference…to make it rain.  To achieve.

If it’s not raining, you haven’t achieved anything…yet.

Make it rain tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

8pm Warriors of the Week: Green Bay Packers

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers on their Super Bowl victory.  They lost 15 starters to the injured reserves this season, defied all odds, and came back to win it all.

Their story is truly an inspiration for all talented 8pm Warriors who push themselves hard every day to beat the odds and chase their dreams.

Also, congrats to Volkswagen for winning the 2011 AdBowl.  Check out some of the best commercials here.

Everyone Wants to Win

But not everyone does.

Why is that?

There are only two main reasons:

1)  They never start

OR

2) They start, but never finish

I assume you’re reading this because you’ve started something that you haven’t finished.  (People who don’t start things generally don’t care to work past 5pm, and people who’ve finished them don’t need to work past 5pm)

But don’t pat yourself on the back yet.  If you haven’t finished, you’re really no different than those who didn’t start, except that you might be wasting your time while their out relaxing, drinking, or sleeping.

Gut check time.

If you want to win, you need to finish.  Luckily, in the modern world there are many ways to do that.  However, most of them take determination, bravery, and creativity.

Finish strong.  Win.

I’ll be right here with you.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

Is Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) a Good Opportunity for 8pm Warriors?

“I’ve got a business opportunity to talk to you about.”

I’ve learned to hate that phrase…

Years ago I promised myself that I would always listen to anyone who wanted to discuss a business opportunity, without exception.  There had been several times when leaders ignored an opportunity I brought to them, and one time I started a successful business to take advantage of the idea myself.  They missed out.

I don’t want to make the same mistake myself some day.

And so I find myself regularly approached by eager 8pm Warriors looking to tell me about their “big opportunity”.  Unfortunately, it’s usually Muli-Level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing like Amway, Quixstar, or Market America.

I still respectfully listen to the pitch for a while, but I usually end up stopping them with a earnest plea to do something profitable with their passion.  After all, they just wasted their gas, money on samples, marketing materials, and time.

Today, when I read Robert Vander Roest’s blog post “Is MLM a Scam?”, I felt compelled to share my thoughts with more than just the poor guy who came to visit.  Here they are…

Because I deeply understand and appreciate the motivations for finding a way to make dreams come true, I’m going to offer some respectful, but pointed advice for people looking to be successful through MLM:

Don’t do it.

You can make more money with your time.  99% of people who try MLM’s lose money.

There are people with billions of dollars to invest, and you can watch them to see what sort of business is a wise investment. However, I’ve never seen a successful entrepreneur decide to join an MLM, and they have larger reputations and more resources to make it work.

Why?  Because, recruiting recruiters to recruit more recruiters isn’t a real business, and neither is buying product from yourself to make money.

Hear me out.

If any part of your “opportunity” includes buying from yourself while recruiting distributors to recruit distributors, and you don’t work for a recruiting firm or HR department of a wildly successful startup, you need to be skeptical.  Think about what it means to recruit just four levels of 18 people recruiting 18 people…etc.

You —> an eager, talented 8pm Warrior

18 —–>  your closest friends who believed in you

324 —–>   their closest friends who heard you were an 8pm Warrior

5,832

104,976 —–>   more people than the population of Green Bay, Boulder, or Berkeley

If you are talented and passionate enough to be the patriarch of an organization the size of a mid sized American city (without losing anyone along the way), I’d like to personally introduce you to some very wealthy investors that would make your dreams come true for accomplishing a similar task with a real business model.

Need more facts?  Check out Dr. Jon Taylor’s research on the topic

The bottom line is that you can find similar “products” online somewhere for cheaper.  Save your money and find a way to use your 8pm Warrior passion to sell something that people want…leaving you with your money, your pride, and most importantly, your relationships.

Don’t just be passionate, be proud of what you do!

Have a proud night,

Aaron@Biebert