Smule, the awesome music iPhone/iPad app company, has just acquired Khush, the folks behind LaDiDa–you sing, it generates a beat–and Songify–you sing/talk/make noise and it turns the sound into a song.
I love these folks because they’re leading a social movement to bring the world closer together through social music. Everyone can share the gift and that’s why I’m a founding advisor and investor.
I recently got to chat with author and speaker Guy Kawasaki, whose most recent book,Enchantment, explores our need to be enchanted by people and organizations.
I asked him to tell me a few fundamentals we need to remember when it comes to making something happen:
1. You have to be likeable—you’re not very persuasive if people don’t like you!
2. You have to be trustworthy—because people can like you but not trust you for your advice.
3. You have to have a great product—enchant people with an exciting concept.
He also shared one of the most ironic things he’d learned in his career: you might assume that because you’re being innovative and creating a new and exciting product, people would see that and instantly get behind it.
“The more innovative you are, though,” he said, “the more you have to be enchanting.”
When people think about change, they get scared.
“But, one of the best ways to combat a fearful situation is to go with people you like and trust!” he pointed out.
If someone has enchanted you that you like and trust, it helps remove that fear of change and makes you more willing to go forward.
Guy also points out that it doesn’t just have be the CEO or figurehead of the company who enchants you—he used the great example of the Apple Genius Bar.
“If you walk into an Apple store, you’re not thinking Steve Jobs will be handling your appointment!” he laughed. “Instead you go to the Genius Bar, and you meet someone who’s really smart, really trustworthy and really likeable–and they solve your problem! For all intents and purposes, that person is Apple for you.”
“When I began to look at the last few years of my life, at the times when I’d failed, it was most often because I’d forgotten to tell the story or because I had the wrong story. When I was moved, I was moved by the right story, and when I paid it forward, I was often the winner even when I was advocating someone else’s story,” Peter told me. “And why is that? Because story telling is the way we see life. Everything that has a tradition has a narrative.”
That narrative is inside all of us: if you want people to join you, help them use the tool of telling their story.
“I went to the interior of New Guinea and spoke with Shamans who don’t use written language but use oral narrative.Then I went to the bowels of Ethiopia, one of the most remote places in the world, and they used the same method,” he emphasized. “These distant cultures and places depend on the story, it’s the way they move people.”
When you have a product, a brand, when you’re the leader, you have to know how to emotionally move people. And as Peter says, telling purposeful stories is the key to it all.
“My advice is do every job like you’re going to have it forever. At GE, I would always do anything asked of me with integrity,” he insisted. “I would try and do it in 80% of the time and then expand my horizon. I was constantly trying to stretch my boundaries. But it always started with meeting my responsibilities first: doing the job, doing it well and doing it with integrity.”
As Jeff says, one of the easiest ways to get derailed is to say, ‘This is beneath me, I can do more’ instead of showing how well you can do it!
“I had some jobs for one year, some for five, but I valued every step along the way and did them all like I’d have them forever.”
“In working with this new technology, there seems to be the ability to bring about a new kind of creative consciousness: with it, we can connect people around the world who didn’t know each other previously and may never have had the chance to know each other. Now they have the opportunity to connect through music and creativity.”
Ge believes firmly that the desire to create and express exists inside everyone: it’s about finding ways to draw it out.
“It just takes the right conditions to unlock people’s inherent creativity. I want people to feel that playing music is as easy as picking up the phone,” he said passionately.
The new social movement is not just about the here and now technology but rather about technology that’s connecting the world, Ge says. His work perfectly demonstrates that when you align your passion with a higher purpose, anything is possible.
Watch the video version of my interview with Ge Wang below–he demos both the Ocarina and the awesome Magic Piano iPad app!
Imagine that you were invited by Sir Richard Branson to be on the virgin flight of Virgin Airlines: the plane is loaded with dignitaries, government and business leaders and crowded with news media and reporters. Just as you’re taking off down the runway, there’s a huge explosion with black smoke and flames!
“Nobody likes to be on a plane when there’s a big bang,” Branson laughs now. “Especially when it’s an inspection!”
Because this plane had only just arrived from Boeing and the inspection couldn’t be completed, it wasn’t insured. So Virgin Airlines was minus a million dollars from repairing the exploded engine–breaking their overdraft limit in the bank.
“We had no idea whether we could make a go of it at all and nobody was expecting us to succeed,” Branson admits. “Yet I just felt that traveling on other people’s airlines was not a pleasant experience and that there had to be a way of doing it better.”
In the end, Sir Richard did indeed find a better way, but when the crisis first hit, he actually avoided solving the problem. Instead, he put all of his energy into trying to find blame. The problem with that strategy was that no matter how much he blamed the bank, or the explosion, or anything else, he still had to deal with the issue at hand. Finally, he realized that his biggest priority had to be finding a way to save the day.
The truth is, you can’t have control over everything: stuff happens sometimes! You do, however, have control over the choices you make: you can take control of your destiny. The difference between good and great isn’t perfection. Rather, it’s finding the best solution: putting together a great team and making great things happen. So stay focused on your dream, the dream you deserve–no matter what.
Check out the video version of my interview with Sir Richard:
What does happiness have to do with your success in life?
Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos.com, has been a serial entrepreneur for the entirety for his young career but sold his last company because he didn’t like doing it anymore!
He thought it was a great idea, but lost the desire to go into the office. He went on to found Zappos with a very different vision.
“What I think of as happiness has changed a lot over the years,” Tony admitted. “There’s a lot of talk about happiness coming from within—not from external factors. But most people go throughout life thinking it does come from the outside. I think it’s about being part of something bigger than yourself, something that has meaning.”
Happiness does indeed mean so many different things to so many different people, and our definition changes throughout our lives. But here are four ideas to consider when it comes to creating happiness:
1. Freedom of Choice
We all want to feel a sense of control in making choices in our lives and that we have the freedom to make them.
2. Making Progress
We want to feel we’re in a position of making progress and hitting the milestones and goals we’ve set for ourselves.
3. Deep Relationships
We want to feel connected to others—that we’ve established deep and meaningful relationships with genuine intimacy.
4. Doing what Matters
We have to feel like we’re doing something bigger than ourselves, that we’re pursuing our own passions and participating in something that’s going to have a larger impact on the world.
What I love most about Jeremy Gilley’sTED Talk, aside from the fact that it’s an incredible idea, is how relentless he’s been in Making it Happen! So many of us have great ideas, but the challenge is having the patience and drive to bring them to fruition. There’s no time frame, as Jeremy’s story proves. It can take years, often involving both big steps forward and leaps back.
Here are some valuable takeaways from his speech:
So, how did one person end up creating an international Day of Peace that garnered the attention of the Taliban?!
-First, Jeremy focused less on a specific outcome, and rather on the process of doing: his journey as a whole. Jeremy held onto the belief that no matter what the outcome, the journey was worth it and thus something beneficial would inevitably arise.
-Jeremy birthed an incredible idea: a day of peace, respected by all countries the world. A lofty goal, to say the least. But he started by using the resources he was most comfortable with and already a part of: the entertainment industry. Beginning with what you already know and where you have established connections is the foundation for growing any goal.
-As Jeremy details in his Talk, success is multi-tiered: you must have an idea, get constituents, raise both profits and awareness. But, the most important component? No one person can do it all alone! Jeremy birthed the idea of having a Day of Peace, but recognized that he would need the help of others to both accrue funds and garner greater attention. He was totally fearless in doing both. When he didn’t have money for a plane ticket to see the Dalai Lama, he asked! When he needed more publicity, he used his connections in the entertainment industry to bring Jude Law in to help. None of us can do it alone–but we all have the power to stop making excuses, use our resources, and ask for what we want.
-Jeremy’s incredible idea and work to have an international day of peace and non violence was about to finally fall into place–on September 11th, 2001. Obviously, forces far greater than him intervened and it didn’t happen. But instead of being deterred, which would have been so incredibly easy in light of what befell the world on that auspicious date, he chose to be empowered. He realized that 9/11 proved there was a greater need for his project than ever before.
Jeremy has remained steady on his path, garnering greater support and awareness since beginning his project and goal many years ago. This September 21st, Jeremy expects to finally hold the international Day of Peace he’s been working for. But as his story and TED Talk prove, no moment in between has been lost: they’ve all been part of enacting the change and vision that first sparked his amazing mission.
I was writing an article for the HuffPost the other day about Smule.com, a company that’s one of the top entertainment iPhone and iPad application developers, and it made me think about what Steve Jobs told me about creating great products for customers. It’s a secret that Steve shared with me ten years ago, when I did an interview with him for Schwab.com.
We were talking about the development of Pixar, which was a new company creating new technology at that time. They took the computer business and turned it into something people could personally relate to, and be intimately involved with–all because of their ability to tell stories. Steve basically said that the best thing you can do with technology is make it disappear.
“Pixar has invented a whole new medium of storytelling called computer animation. We’re the mecca for high end computer graphics,” Steve told me.
“However, one of the things that John Lasseter has said, who runs creative at Pixar and is an Academy Award winning director for the Toy Story films, is that no amount of technology can turn a bad story into a good story. Ultimately, what we want is for people to forget about the technology and judge our films based on our storytelling.
The combination of technical and creative brilliance is what makes Pixar so unique, and we hope make our films so unique.”