The StickMonkey flings poop at Gwyneth’s GOOP

Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns, CC BY 4.0.
Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns, CC BY 4.0.

Full disclosure: I personally do not have a vagina and therefore am not qualified to offer an expert’s opinion on its care and maintenance. Still, I suspect that Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation on her GOOP website that women should steam their vaginas is something that should be ignored.

I say this mainly because again – although my vagina knowledge is limited – I can easily recall enough of my high school science class regarding the human body to ascertain that the distance between the vagina to the uterus is…more than just a little bit, shall we say? Plus, isn’t steam generally around the temperature of boiling water, which is approximately 212 degrees Fahrenheit?

Nevertheless, Gwyneth Paltrow claims that this vagina steaming actually makes it all the way up there and “cleanses your uterus, et al.”

Vagina-owners might want to Google such a claim to establish veracity.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

Half the World is Not Enough

Photo by Andrew Magill, CC BY 4.0.
Photo by Andrew Magill, CC BY 4.0.

It probably doesn’t matter if you agree that Pinterest is just for women. The resounding belief out there is that the image-based online scrapbook really is only a woman’s thing.

What’s wrong with that?

Apparently, half the world is not enough. Recent articles have highlighted Pinterest’s efforts to interest male users to equalize the gender imbalance.

Why?

The obvious answer is revenue. Currently valued at $5 billion because of its potential as an advertising platform, the only way Pinterest can increase its value is to increase its user base. Because apparently, appealing to only 3.42 billion women planet-wide and 156 million women in the United States just isn’t enough. The annual $7 trillion in the U.S. and global $20 trillion of female consumer spending power isn’t enough.

Someone – either investors or Pinterest – is pressuring for more.

Which begs the question: should a company be built for its potential, or for its customers?

Someone is coming…look busy!

Photo by David Ramos, CC BY 4.0.
Photo by David Ramos, CC BY 4.0.

In his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, author Greg McKeown asks this question:

What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?

We wear our busy-ness as a badge of honor. If we’re not as busy as we believe the people around us to be (and it’s likely they’re not as busy as they claim but want you to think to the contrary), we start to feel guilty, as if someone will catch us not being pushed to distraction and issue a reprimand.

The irony is that what we all need is the contrary: we need to be pushed to focus.

One way that can be achieved, according to McKeown is to travel the “way of the Essentialist,” which he sums up as the “relentless pursuit of less but better…it isn’t about setting New Year’s resolutions to say “no” more, or about pruning your in-box, or about mastering some new strategy in time management. It is about pausing constantly to ask, “Am I investing in the right activities?” There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital.”

As a startup, we at Changelane are constantly introduced to opportunities which we simply do not have the time or resources in which to invest. We’ve learned from experience what can happen if we become distracted by stuff that makes us busy.

If you eat too much, you get indigestion. Eat less.

If you take on too much, you get busy. Choose to do less.

Talk to people at a truly successful enterprise – whether it’s a startup or a mature business. They won’t tell you they’re suffering from being too busy. They might, though, ask you to wait for just one moment while they enjoy the passion of focus.

The two states might appear to look quite similar. Try them both. One is far more productive.

Priority

Photo by Anne Petersen, CC BY 4.0.
Photo by Anne Petersen, CC BY 4.0.

The word “priority” came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular.

At that time, “priority” meant the very first or prior thing.

“Priority” stayed singular for the next five hundred years. It wasn’t until the 1900s that we began to pluralize the term and introduce the concept of “priorities.”

Could it be that we were never meant to have priorities? After all, if something is first, how can it have an equal?

Pick one thing. Make it your priority. Distorting the word will not change reality. If you want to be true to its origin, only one thing can be first. What is your priority?

Agents of Change

Photo by Jonathan McIntosh, CC BY 4.0.
Photo by Jonathan McIntosh, CC BY 4.0.

“We’ll judge you most on whether you care enough to change things,” observes Seth Godin in a recent post about how social media has allowed us as a society to move away from the top-down regime approach to how popular culture is shaped.

We no longer wait for others to tell us what’s cool or what’s better. We can form our own opinions, thank you. It starts with being curious about things we don’t know, and then freely sharing that process of discovery.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily all about physically creating a startup. It has more to do with the process of cultivating an idea which resonates so strongly that we are compelled to share it.

It will be contrary to the incumbent gatekeepers of current thinking. The challenge for those of us with new ideas is to disregard the frustration that we are blowing against the wind – because as Seth points out, “The things we share and don’t share determine what happens next…It takes guts to say, ‘I read this and you should too.’ The guts to care enough about our culture (and your friends) to move it forward and to stand for something.”

At Changelane we believe that as long as you strive to think and care to share, you are an entrepreneur.

The StickMonkey hands a banana to another wacky commercial

I was wondering what product would be featured during the entire time – and based on so many other commercials from Japan, I realized I probably would guess incorrectly.

Take a guess before you watch the video.

I did guess incorrectly, but I’m still thoroughly entertained. I’m not the decision-maker in my family for the featured product. Even so, I think I’d recommend it.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

Transition to Transparency

Photo by Magalie L'Abbé, CC BY 4.0.
Photo by Magalie L’Abbé, CC BY 4.0.

Social media has made it nearly impossible for a company to be evade being called out on the carpet for practices that don’t sit well with its customers, which is why you now hear so many CEOs jumping on the transparency train.

If it wasn’t an original part of an organization’s DNA, the transition to transparency is going to be difficult. That’s an observation, not an aspersion. All behavior can be un-learned or replaced by a new set of values. So it’s definitely possible but it’s likely going to be a lot of hard work – much more effort than announcing you are going to become more transparent.

If you’re a startup – or any new company – you can nail it from the beginning. Take Kind Snacks, for example. This young snack bar maker has for the past three years been one of the best-performing small companies in its category, with revenue growing from $100 million to $1 billion during that period. Kind Snacks has five of the top 10 bars in a category crowded by a couple thousand competitors, and the company has a lot of people scratching their heads wondering how they’re doing it.

It’s no mystery. Kind Snacks owns transparency – both literally in its packaging, and in its underlying company philosophy. The snack bar wrappers are clear, so you can see what you’re buying. The company’s mission statement is “Do the KIND Thing – for your body, your taste buds, & the world!”

When transparency is the way you start out in the world, you can’t help but be as close and as clear as possible. We’ve taken that to heart, as well. It’s why as we designed a way to make routine automotive service a deliverable product, we knew our solution would need to allow customers to see exactly what we were doing to their vehicles.

Kind Snacks had an easier time getting to product transparency. All they had to do was apply clear cellophane. We’ll be using a material far more durable and protective, but we’ll still make our commitment to delivering convenience perfectly clear.