Friday, February 19, 2010

Getting started in understanding the Gospel

Was recently chatting with a good friend of mine who was interested in reading the Bible but had no idea how to get started. I recently came across the following titled Bible Readings for New Christians and frankly I think it's a great way to get started.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A really cool desk top

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eight Great Questions to Ask About yourself about your Sales Team

The following is a nice write up by Melissa Raffoni re: things every sales manager should ask themselves in Q1.

"If you and your team are assessing your organization's sales effectiveness, here are eight common questions that I hear CEOs ask each other in peer groups:

1. "Ok, tell us again, what's your value proposition? Why should customers choose you over the competitors?" It's so basic, isn't it? Yet, I continue to be amazed at how difficult it is to answer this question well. With the constantly changing competitive landscapes and customer needs, every company should take a second look at what they are pitching and why it still resonates today. I'm sure, for most, the value proposition needs a facelift.

2. "What is your sales process and how does your organizational structure map to it?"

3. "Do you think your overall cost of sales is where it should be? What makes you think that? Are you comparing to an industry standard or mapping to a projected financial model?"

4. What key measures are you using to track sales effectiveness? Do you have a sales dashboard?" Is it cost of sales as a percentage of revenue, close ratio, sales person productivity? Something else? You can't really optimize if you don't know which lever you want to move.

5. "If you believe there are two ways to drive sales--increase the funnel and/or increase the close ratio--what are you doing to achieve those increases?

6. "Is sales compensation driving the right behaviors?" Is there enough of a variable compensation compenent to make a difference?

7. "It's a new world, how are you taking advantage of it?" Partners are willing to talk, new talent is on the street, customers are looking for high ROI offerings, social media is changing how people communicate. Are you experimenting?

8. Do you have the right people?

9. Have you built fairly predictable and repeatable sales process? If so, what would happen if you simply put more resources against it--will you yield a greater result? If not, why? If so, why not do that? Other common questions center around the model and what works--hunters, farmers, key account reps, independent reps---does your model still make sense in this economy? Do you need to be more aggressive or take a different tact? Is there a model that will yeild a better result given the cost?

Monday, February 8, 2010

My favorite SuperBowl Ad

<a href="" target="_new" title="Google: Search On">Video: Google: Search On</a>

Sunday, February 7, 2010

10 great tips for writing a screen play

Great list of ten tips from Pete Daly, contributing editor to the Screenwriter's Handbook.

1. Watch and learn

It is essential to view as many films as possible, good and bad. The classics are not top of the best-ever lists for nothing, and it is difficult to be original when you don’t know what went before. Working out the structural kink in say Memento or the emotional punch of something like It’s a Wonderful Life cannot fail to inspire your own thought process.

2. Don’t show off

European writers in particular try to make their work look complex and clever. The major skill in screenwriting is making the multifaceted seem simple and accessible. Look at Shrek.

3. Structure

Every script has to have a beginning, middle and an end. Once you remember this you can play with it (see Pulp Fiction, where Tarantino started in the middle, went to the end and then back to the start).

4. The story must have a point

Like it or not, the story has to be about something, with a goal at the end, or it lacks interest (Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky looked great, but had no real premise). If you can’t describe your story by saying “once upon a time . . .” then maybe there’s no story. A conventional plot will follow someone who has had their status quo interrupted; the drama comes from that person trying to redress the balance.

5. If it’s not 90 minutes then there must be a good reason

Generally speaking, one page of screenplay will take a minute of on-screen time. A movie should be 90 minutes. If your script is over 100 pages there had better be a good reason for it (Ghandi was deserving of three hours; many others are not). Commercially, if you go much above 100 minutes the cinemas will lose one showing a day.

6.Choose your protagonist

Movies should have a protagonist. This can be more than one person (Crash), or even an inanimate object or a place (Fargo). They do not always have to be sympathetic, but they do have to be intriguing.

7. Make an impression

There has to be some suspension of disbelief for a film to work. This is easier for some stories than others but if in doubt, think of Groundhog Day. This was a truly preposterous premise, but logical at every step.

8. Avoid being linear

Movies benefit from having at least two contributory subplots to help vary tone and pace.

9. Be original

These are general guidelines. But you must be true to yourself and your vision. Don’t simply copy others. Good movies stand out because they dare to be different, whether it be the tongue in cheek tone of The Big Lebowski or the reimagining of the Brit gangster flick in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

10. You’ve either got it or you haven’t

Talent that is. All the courses and screenwriting gurus in the world will not help you if you don’t have aptitude. There is a knack to writing dialogue that doesn’t feel wooden when spoken. So, happy writing!