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Deeper Weekend 2014

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Innovation

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  • Adrian Simmons
    Adrian Simmons
  • Bryan Coleman
    Bryan Coleman
  • Greg Kyte
    Greg Kyte
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  • Jason Blumer
    Jason Blumer
  • Jennifer Blumer
    Jennifer Blumer
  • Scott Kregel
    Scott Kregel

Jason BlumerI’m a Peter Thiel fan. He is a contrarian, and there is power in contrarian thinking. In his book Zero to One, Thiel talks about Secrets in Chapter 8. It’s one of my favorite chapters.

 

secrets

 

In his book, Thiel contrasts secrets between conventions and mysteries. He contends that conventions within business are easy to uncover (like, you should use a CRM to manage your client’s information), and that mysteries are impossible to uncover (like, you will make a lot of money if you can predict what the stock market will do tomorrow). He makes a point that secrets are not easy to discover, yet they are not impossible. You will not stumble into secrets – if they are to be found, then you must search for them.

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Category:
CPA firm, Customer Experience, Innovation
Comments:
2

Greg Kyte 2Moe Szyslak is a crappy entrepreneur. He’s crappy at lots of things, but he’s a really crappy entrepreneur. The only reason his tavern hasn’t gone out of business in the past 26 years is because it’s not real. That being said, sometimes he comes close to not sucking.

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 10.14.59 AM

 

In the middle of Season 3, Moe says to Homer, “Business is slow. People today are healthier and drinking less. … If it wasn’t for the junior high school next door, no one would even use the cigarette machine. … Increased job satisfaction and family togetherness are poison for a purveyor of mind-numbing intoxicants like myself” (“Flaming Moe’s”). However, people’s aversion of rats, cockroaches, and Hepatitis B are also poison for Moe’s business. His bar is a dump, but he pins the problem on the business environment. It’s easy to blame business troubles on external forces: competition, stupid consumers, changing regulation, etc. Read more

Category:
Innovation
Comments:
3
Jason BlumerI’m reading Peter Thiel‘s new book, Zero to One. Wow. He is truly a contrarian as most of his ideas fly in the face of doing business in any type of traditional way. Some would even say his ideas are scary. One overarching idea I’m noticing in the book is about his focus on building the future. He is dead set on investing in things now that have far reaching future-focused results. I’m glad he has made this his focus. This sums up the struggle in our profession – we do things for immediate results instead of investing in the future. Truly, creating a future-focused firm is hard for a number of reasons:

 

-You have to commit to a future that you think you can create. The future is not here yet. Peter Thiel believes the future will be here when we create it. Many people avoid thinking about the future, as it brings uncertainty and fear. What if we don’t like the future that we create?

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Category:
Book Review, Business, Innovation
Comments:
0
Jason BlumerI am very interested in changing the profession of public accounting. This task will probably mark the rest of my life’s work, in some form or other. How do we take on the big task of changing the profession of public accounting? 3 simple steps.

First, we have to transform how public accounting does its work. This is a big picture goal, but one that is being accomplished by many Thriveal firms across the planet. Firm owners are now believing that they run a strategic business, that they can have the kind of firm they want, and are starting the hard work of building the kind of company that can transform their customers. Public accounting firm owners are pricing for value, making mistakes, serving a niche, taking daily risks, pivoting their business models, operating as virtual firms, traveling while they serve their clients, working in their pajamas, saying no more often, coaching and consulting with their clients, fighting commoditization, leveraging technology, and enjoying the lives that their firms afford them. Firm owners are now acting like entrepreneurs.

How are public accountants transforming their work? Through communities! Communities are the 21st century’s platform to alignment and transformation with their strategic enterprises. Communities like Thriveal, Rootworks, The Boomer Technology Circles, RAN OneBMRG Advisory Group, and Sleeter (and others) are all making headway into creating communities where like-minded people can affect change in bigger ways. Communities bring mass power, and this mass power can be leveraged for greater (and faster) change.
Category:
Innovation, Leadership, Other Thoughts
Comments:
21

Greg Kyte 2All joking aside, I’m scared, I’m insecure, and I’m worried that I’m making the stupidest decision of my life.

 

My mom sold drugs for 20 years on a street corner in Seattle because that’s what pharmacists do. She had a decent job, working part time at a drug store on the intersection of 56th and 232nd. To me as a kid, the job seemed like it gave her just enough money and just enough time to be a pretty damn good single mom.

 

Shortly after I got into middle school, she and two of her co-workers¹ decided to open their own pharmacy. I thought that was really cool, only partly because I figured the kid whose mom owned the drug store got candy for free.² Read more

REFM -  Adrian Photo Square - CATOBAs a small business owner, you have one foot in the future and one foot in the the present: building your firm for the future, while serving the needs of the present. The difference between the two worlds is the gap: the space between where you are and where you’ll be. If you let that gap grow too big while your feet are straddling it…well, I think you get the picture. ;)

In some ways, that gap is what defines an entrepreneur. They see the difference between the world how it is and how it can be. It’s an internal cognitive dissonance, a type of itch, that they reach out to scratch.

What can happen nowadays, though, is that so much innovation comes at us, that the volume of cognitive dissonance grows too loud (anyone out there felt it?). There’s a difference between a music level that’s motivating, and a music level that’s inhibiting, or even downright crushing.

That’s why I’d like to suggest that the way to drink from the proverbial firehose is to not: the truth is, we can only drink from a stream. We either choose our stream, or we get pummeled and disoriented by the firehose.

The key is honing in on the signal within the noise, adjusting our tuners. Before, we were limited by the amount of data we could gather — data was the limiting constraint. But nowadays we’re limited by our attention capacity — data is abundant, and attention is the limiting constraint. As a result, we begin to discover the fallacy of the principle that more data will produce a better decision. In reality, there’s a point after which more data, is just more data.

The signal we’re looking to hone in on is the one related to the next step we’re trying to take. And just like drinking from a firehose, the reality of taking steps, is that you can only take one at a time. We’re gonna have to accept that — you don’t get to take two steps at a time, just one.

So identify that step, gather data, stop gathering data, take that step, and here’s the important part: ignore everything else. Everything else will stop you from taking that step. Everything else will flood your brain and paralyze it. Everything else will zap your attention so none is left for the step. Everything else is just noise and not signal, excess cognitive dissonance and not flow — choose flow.

Flow comes from creating small gaps, then closing them. Be aware of your cognitive dissonance, and use it to your advantage, and not disadvantage: let it surround one step at a time, and no more.

Adrian G. Simmons is a CPA innovating ways to put money in its place. After working as an auditor out of college for KPMG, he joined his father in public practice in 2002, and now acts as the Chief Creative Designer there. With the team, he looks for ways to help their customers become financially strong, so that they can focus on what truly matters in life. Adrian likes tech, uses a fountain pen, successfully attempted a half-marathon (and may try another), and prefers dark over milk chocolate.