Friday, October 26, 2012

Clark's Reality Show

There has always been a gap between what people sell and what the product or service ends up being. Things are pictured differently. Salesmen have the bad habit of only advertising the positive side and advantages of things, leaving purposely behind any flaw or downside. Like a couple who just started dating...

This may cause problems when making life changing decisions, specially for college. You may think you know everything about it. You know the ranking, diversity, prestige, and professors of certain school... but is it enough? Sometimes even by touring around, you miss stuff.

One in three students transfer every year in the U.S. 60$ billion dollars are going down the toilet with all the extra 8-month tuition parents usually pay when their children change schools.

What a waste of time and money!

Schools like BU, and MIT started a trend of using technology and social medias to illustrate life in campus. Students started to describe and show their experiences. The idea was to give schools a more real vibe, leaving academics for later. With blogs, videos and posts, prospective students learn about the school from a different perspective compared to the official college books version. I have no idea if this approach has affected the one-of-three stats, but it is a smart way to use technology, not only to spread information, but to show people's lives.

Clark University has a "Explore Life at Clark" section in its website. It basically has everything the other schools have. New additions to campus like "The New Bistro is here", or student club life "come and see our CHOICES club!"

However I feel something is still missing. Yes these initiatives are very informative and helpful for prospective families... but schools are overlooking most of the social life (the important part). College is 30% school work and 70% friends ( I just made that up but you get my point). What about the parties, night life, get togethers, humans vs. zombies. They are all here, aren't they?

I know, I know, they are not the best diplomatic or legal activities to show on an official website, but I bet most of the people who transfer, transfer precisely because their social life didn't go quite as they've expected. Because they didn't fit in. I think a most honest approach to college life will definitely help out the pockets of many parents with transfer kids.

I like the idea of a Clarkie reality show.. or something like that.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Steve Carnegie, Dale Jobs.

Steve Jobs devoted his life to surprise people with innovative gadgets. 

Dale Carnegie devoted his to winning friends and influencing people.* 

Even though they are very different, one is an innovator, the other one a salesmanship expert, I  want to highlight something they both have in common: their way of approaching others. 

Dale Carnegie, explains how in order to influence people you have to think as they think. He said: "I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn't bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish." Weird example, but incredibly truthful.

Your opinion doesn't count when trying to persuade others. Any product for the people has to agree with what people desire, want, and admire. 

Steve Jobs embraced this principle every time he presented one of Apple's revolutionary designs. So simply, so enthusiastically. Jobs knew that if he didn't show us how his new bold products work, nobody would understand what the heck he was talking about. Nobody would think it possible. Steve Jobs never overloaded people with technical information, as he knew most wouldn't keep up. 

Apple dedicates its designs not just to make them look good, but to make them user-friendly. They make their designs based on human intuition.  Dale Carnegie emphasized the importance of putting yourself in the consumers' feet, and by making designs based on people and not technology experts, Jobs did. Steve Jobs was a good listener and observer, he talked about what people wanted to hear, thought from people's points of view, and all with smile in his face! All assets encouraged by our good salesmanship prof. Jobs dramatized his ideas by mesmerizing people. <-- Canergie's recommendation right there. 

Personally, I lack Steve Jobs selling ability. Sometimes I forget how people wont necessarily follow my trail of thoughts. I expect people to understand me, instead of trying to be understood. Big mistake. Simplifying ideas in my head by using "user-friendly" explanations will definitely help me sale whatever is that I want to sale. 

Jobs and Canergie teach us how being a salesman is not about selling, but about understanding people.
* Dale Canergie's most famous book is called How to Win Friends and Influence People. It's almost a hundred years old and still keeps its best-seller status. It must be good, right?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ilac Love

I've always believed that the poorest don't need help. They need power: power to judge, power to make a living by themselves, and most importantly power to decide.

And power can only originate from education and knowledge, not money.

Giving the poor aid doesn't solve their problem, it only prolongs it. Aid makes people dependent and economically inferior, as they have to pay back later down the road. And even if it's free, people become passive and apathetic towards their own lives, as they sit down and wait for something to happen.

People need the education and tools to improve their standards of living, they don't need help from outsiders.

That is why I love Ilac Diaz's social approach in the Philippines. He teaches simple, sustainable  technologies to the people in need and then he allows them to implement these ideas into their own lives.

Take for example the Solar Water Bottle Bulb... Such a BASIC, but mind-blowing invention.

Taking advantage of the free solar light and by reusing the millions and millions of plastic water bottles put to waist, it is possible to build your a bulb. Add water, a little bit of bleach, make a hole in the roof.. and BOOM.

Instant, free light for 10 years!

Thanks to social innovator Illac Diaz, more than 1 million poor houses in the Philippines are out of the darkness, and soon 4 million more will around the world.

Empower the people, let them grow out of the dark.

I like that philosophy.