I received a couple of emails recently that pointed me to Guy Kawasaki's latest venture, Alltop.com. In particular, the messages were about me being on a list under the "egos" label. Two thoughts presented themselves:
- I'm on a list with wow blogs, some of which should be on my reading list.
- Hey, maybe some of those bloggers will notice my blog and add it to their list.
I take no offense to the term at all. In fact, I am with Rohit Bhargava when he says that ego is part of what marketing appeals to. Rohit's insight is that activities are mainly "criticized negatively by those who have bruised egos from not being included." Let's not get too focused on that for now.
The ego (from Latin), in Freudian terms, is the mediator between the id and the super-ego, trying to ensure that the needs of both the id and the super-ego are met.
It deals with the id and the super-ego; allowing them to express their desires, drives and morals in realistic and socially appropriate ways. It is said that the ego stands for reason and caution, developing with age.
Chance has it that my next book in the queue is The Art of the Start. In the book, Kawasaki focuses on what's real and addresses the frequently avoided questions (FAQs). This has everything to do with managing our ego. What is it that we should work on and do today, this moment, that can make a difference? The hardest thing of all to starting anything is the starting point itself, where the ego does battle with itself and finds many ways to avoid the hard questions. For a taste you may also read the Change This book manifesto.
The gist of the book is surprisingly close to the reasons why I continue to devote time and attention to blogging:
- Make meaning - to me it's about making the world a better place. What is your meaning of making meaning?
- Make mantra - talk can change our lives is a mantra. See the great examples of hypothetical mantras in the manifesto. Do you have a mantra?
- Get going - think possibility, different, test it as soon as possible. Blogs are ideal places to test ideas and thicken skin. How can you go to market with your idea more quickly?
- Define your business model - who is your audience? How are you going to get them to part with time and attention? Think of eBay's business model: It charges a listing fee plus a commission. End of story.
- Weave a mat (milestones, assumptions, and tasks) - Kawasaki lists seven milestones that apply to every business. When you start a blog (or any type of business), you (1) prove your concept; (2) complete design specs; (3) finish a prototype and show it around; (4) raise capital or how are you going to make money; (5) ship/show a testable version to customers; (6) ship/show the final version to customers; (7) achieve break-even. What are some of the assumptions and tasks you should consider?
To me a blog was another opportunity to test how to start and grow something by doing it. And yes, as CEO of my own blog (and the Conversation Agent brand associated with it), the hardest thing to manage is my own ego. I won't let it go to my head and temper it with my heart. Thank you for reading and for your support.