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Showing posts from October, 2016

Influencing: How Airbnb Organizes the Host Community

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Airbnb has been wildly successful in creating a multi-billion dollar business out of short term room rentals. The company has long been opposed by various lobbies. Traditional hospitality companies fear that it might encroach on their business and demand a more level playing field where everyone abides by the same rules (Internet Marketplaces, Is it Time to Level the Playing Field).  Local authorities see the company as costing them tax revenue and flouting regulations. Other bodies are concerned about the impact on the housing market.

Around the world local authorities are creating new rules for this kind of home rental. Home rental contracts are also being rewritten to limit or ban outright short term subrentals. Airbnb responds to these moves with traditional lobbying efforts, but what is much more interesting is how the company is preparing to mobilize the massive army of airbnb hosts to advocate for the business, too.

What airbnb has done is to create a network of "Homeshar…

Why Activity-Based Networking Beats Mingling

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The Secret of Networking in One Diagram

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One thing that I have learned in ten years of doing networking workshops is that most people worry about minor details of their professional networking, like how to start conversations, or how often to update their LinkedIn profile. But at the same time they are not clear about the reason we network in the first place, why it works and how to point your efforts in the right direction.

Luckily there is a simple Venn diagram that helps understand these concepts in just a few minutes, or even seconds.

First of all let's assume that you are in the typical position of being able to do something and you would like other people to ask you to do that thing. One trivial way to approach this would be to get to know many people, but that will not help you very much. Knowing other people means that you could, in theory, keep calling them to ask if they need you. Most of the time the answer is no. It also means that you are not considered in the common case when someone asks one of your conne…

Details are Everything: How Starlight Became Thriller

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When I heard that songwriter Rod Temperton had died at the end of September I was reminded of "The Invisible Man", a documentary made by BBC Radio 2 in 2007. In this Templeton revealed that when he wrote his most important hit ever -- Michael Jackson's Thriller -- that producer Quincy Jones and Jackson himself were unhappy with the title.

In the original demo recording the song was called Starlight and the hook was "Give me some Starlight, starlight sun". Apart from that the song was already remarkably close to the final version with the distinctive bass line played on two synthesizers.

But Michael Jackson wanted a title that would appeal more to young people so producer Quincy Jones sent Temperton away to rework it and he wrote two to three hundred titles before coming up with Midnight Man. But then the next day he woke up and just said one word. "Thriller". He could see it at the top of the Billboard charts. He could see it on merchandising.


Nobod…

The Secret to Writing a Speech is Not to Write It

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When I am coaching speakers one of the questions I am often asked is how to write a speech so that it sounds "natural" -- meaning that it doesn't sound like the recital of a written document.

Few people can, in fact, write a script that sounds like you are just having a conversation. There are people who can do this -- it's a routine job for professional speechwriters and screenwriters -- but the writing experience of most people is in creating written documents that were meant to be read, not heard.

Natural spoken conversations do not work as writing and generally writing doesn't work as spoken language. So how do you write a speech that sounds like the spoken word and not like an essay? Probably the easiest way is to avoid writing the speech in the first place. Instead of writing a speech and trying to read it -- which is hard and rarely effective -- it is simpler and more effective to speak the speech and then write what you spoke.

Concretely this method wor…