Short essays by Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., the author of TING AND I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published in September 2011 by Outskirts Press (Parker, CO, USA), available from outskirtspress.com/tingandi, Barnes and Noble [bn.com], and Amazon [amazon.com], in paperback or ebook formats. Please visit us at tingandi.com for more information.
just read that 60% of Americans hope to own their own business, but only 10%
do. Women world-wide and over 60 may be similar.
A successful European businessman,
Patrick Gruhn, recently published a fine book, Good Business, written primarily for
his daughter. Though she is not likely now over 60, his ideas apply to would-be
entrepreneurs of all ages.
Gruhn favors cooperation versus competition in
business. Believing that
women tend toward
nurture, men toward battle, he wants more women in entrepreneurial positions. Written daily over a
period of 500 days, his book seems to have over a thousand good ideas. We’ll
explore some here.
Generate Value for Others
and for Yourself
Fundamentally, business is the exchange of value for value.
"Ultimately, by creating value for others, you will create wealth for
yourself." To do so, you need to have a vision. You should have a passion
for your work. Look for the area of overlap between their needs and your
Gruhn quotes Steve Jobs, “It’s really clear that
the most precious resource we all have is time.” Jobs’s premature death only
underlines this. Allocate your time to what matters most. Pace yourself. Life’s
a marathon, not a sprint.
Playing the Long Game
“Play your life like a game of chess.” Plan
ahead. To thrive in the long run, reduce friction. Minimize unnecessary
conflict. Avoid micromanagement of others.
We are advised to hedge our bets, not put all
our eggs in one basket. However, having too many irons in the fire means none
gets really hot.
You’ll often hear, “Don’t throw good money after
bad.” Not your investment, but what your prospects are, really counts. The same
goes for your “investment” in personal relationships.
Be Prepared for the
The late U.S. President
John F. Kennedy noted, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” At high tide, it is hard to distinguish the
true winners from the others. “It is only when the tide goes out that you can
see who’s been swimming without shorts.”
Stick to it. Be
reliable in speed, quality, and outcome of your efforts. Say what you’ll do and
do what you say.
King Canute is said to have demonstrated to his fawning courtiers that even he
could not control the tides.
Heed the maxim, “This, too, will pass.” No trend
lasts forever. Stay lean. Minimize debt to reduce the risk of going broke.
Much of our limits are due to hypnosis. Clear
your mind. “When the student is ready, the master will appear, and when the
master is ready, the student will appear,” Gruhn quotes. Readiness is key.
Gruhn urges you to
stand out: “They laughed at me because I was different. I laughed at them
because they were all the same.” He advises his readers to accept advice only
from those who have truly succeeded.
Your Management Style: Hard or Soft?
Perhaps a woman will usually be more comfortable
with being relatively non-confrontational, although if you are naturally tough,
you can go with that style. However, a softer approach has its strengths and is
less wearing on its practitioner and its recipients.
Gruhn writes, “…effective leadership hinges on
your ability to make people choose to follow you.” Else, you have to rely on
command, a subset of force. With orders, you get at best what is ordered,
neither more nor less.
Work: Be Effective! Be Efficient!
Effective is getting it done. Efficient is
getting it done economically. Ideally, you’d be efficiently effective. The
adage “haste makes waste” alerts us to the tension between speed and quality.
Dig for the Words You Need to Hear
People will give compliments freely. They rarely
give criticism, especially to those above them or those from whom they hope to
get favors. Dig for the diamonds of truth. Collect information and opinions,
but weigh opinions carefully, considering the motives of those who offer them.
Building a successful business will require
making connections that are not immediately apparent. “Think of making a deal
like having a dance. Someone is going to lead and the other is going to follow,
and you better make sure that it is you who leads and be very careful not to
step on anyone's toes when you do it. The reputation of the bad dancer usually
spreads quickly, and you might find yourself standing in the corner alone with
nobody to dance with."
Sinatra Sang, “Luck, Be a Lady”
Luck plays a role in success, sometimes a big
role. But to become you’ve got to be playing in the game, “you’ve got to be in
it to win it,” as the New York State Lottery slogan goes. An unknown source
wrote, “The harder I work, the luckier I become.”
Prospered, Give Appropriately
Once you’ve got enough, be generous! Avoid the
takers, embrace the makers, doers, earners and sharers. As for your own friends
and loved ones, empower growth, don’t enable dependency.
“The paradox is that we work towards having the
good life, but then we get too busy to enjoy it,” Gruhn warns. You have to work
out the right balance for yourself.
“Life is not all about business. It’s not all about work and it’s not all
about money.” Though money is nice,
“achievement is its own reward.” Seek to be proud of the person you see in the
Questions: What business have you considered
running? What have you done to get started? Please join in the conversation.
Douglas Winslow Cooper,
Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps
others write and publish their books via his http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com. His life's central
theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, quadriplegic for over a decade due
to multiple sclerosis, now receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, care discussed
at their website here.
have written your book, gotten it published, obtained some favorable reviews,
given a few talks here and there, and gotten some press. Despite that, you have
sold a hundred or fewer copies, just like the overwhelming majority of
non-celebrity, first-time authors.
Where did you
go wrong? Like me, you thought, build it
and they will come, write it and they will buy it. As recently successful
author, program developer, marketer Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing explains:
one must build one’s audience first.
actually. Celebrities have successful memoirs because they already have big
audiences, and unless the book is a dud, they are going to sell myriads, or at
least a whole lot.
Iny’s book is
THE AUDIENCE REVOLUTION: The Smarter Way to Build a Business, Make a
Difference, and Change the World. It
lives up to its title. Well, maybe “change the world” is a bit premature.
Iny has a
great line: “failure is only failure if
it happens in the last chapter. Otherwise, it’s a plot twist.” This 2015
Easter morning, minister Joel Osteen spoke about one of the messages of Easter:
it’s not over just because it seems to be a failure; something better beckons.
A sage is said to have remarked, when asked what is universally true, “This,
too, will pass.” We must persevere.
Those of us who have not yet built an
audience can still do so. In the next chapter of our lives, we should take
Iny’s advice: examine our passions, find what others have asked of us already,
and look for the intersection of these that marks our best choice for making a
contribution others will value.
This book offers a
link for a site with a video and worksheets to help in this exploration. ### Excerpted from my Write Your Book with Me, available from amazon.com and other online booksellers as well as from Outskirts Press, its publisher.
"The Holy Grail of data analytics, at least
with respect to sales, is to increase the effectiveness of the individual. When
individuals are more productive, motivated, engaged, and happy, the
organization will be more successful. The real power comes when big data gets
personal." Thus does Jenny Dearborn, Senior Vice President and Chief
Learning Officer for software giant SAP, describe the value of what she covers here.
I requested a copy of this book from a friend who
was involved in its preparation. I have long had an interest in statistical
analysis, and my recent venture into entrepreneurship, through my small
business, WriteYourBookWithMe.com, made me curious about what such analysis
could do for marketing and sales.
When I previewed the book, by examining the ratings
it got on Amazon reviews, I was a bit surprised to see not only a series of
five-star ratings each with typically a couple of reader endorsements of the
value of the enthusiastic review, but also one two-star rating, with nearly a
dozen statements of the value that the readers had obtained from that rather
negative review. This strong difference of opinion grabbed my attention, and I
sat down to read the book, which took about four hours. I'll summarize what the
author has done, and then I'll tell you why I think there were such divergent
The book is a well written combination of story and
analysis, handsomely presented by the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., with
numerous graphs, charts, and tables and a comprehensive index at the end.
The story starts with our heroine, Pam Sharp, in
her new position as Chief Sales Officer of the mythical Trajectory Systems,
meeting with a subset of the relevant individuals she manages, to discuss how
to overcome the deficiencies that have caused a disappointing sales year. Each
department head has a story that clears that department from responsibility for
the disappointing results.
Clearly, Pam has got to find a way to analyze what
has gone wrong, to convince her subordinates of her analysis, and then to
determine and implement the policies, strategies, and tactics needed to turn
Dearborn provides non-technical explanations and fictional examples of four
uses of data analytics:
1.Describing quantitatively what happened
2.Diagnosing what went wrong
3.Predicting what lies ahead
4.Prescribing what to do.
Describing can be
done with familiar statistical and graphical techniques.
Diagnostic analytics involves trying to determine
why something has happened, typically relying on methods of showing
relationships between variables, such as outputs versus inputs. Very often
correlations are highlighted, but only some of these reflect causation. Others
are coincidental or are products of being influenced by a common third factor.
analytics answer the question, "What could happen?" Dearborn points
out this analysis may include "statistics, modeling, machine learning, and
data mining." For technical details, she directs the reader to books such
as Siegel and Davenport’s Predictive
Analytics. Here and elsewhere she does not require the reader to understand
mathematical equations, but she does give appropriate references.
analytics involves using mathematical models to determine the optimal choice
among various options, and can be as simple as using multiple linear regressions
or as complex as the kind of machine learning that is sometimes used for email
programs to distinguish spam from desired communication.
As the story
progresses, Pam and her group overcome some organizational and personal
obstacles to implement, and then demonstrate the value of, data analytics.
One of the
early challenges is to obtain the appropriate data. Dearborn lists the
·"Cast a wide net."
·"Be sensitive to the sensitivities (and
·"Marshall the right human
·"Communicate your needs."
The team's mythical mathematician consultant,
Henry, describes the various pitfalls that erroneous data or hasty
generalization can create.
The rest of the book
shows improvement in sales revenue and the use of these techniques to help the
sales representatives upgrade their own performances. While not technical in
nature, the description does explain in detail how to implement the results of
data analysis to further the goals of the company, the departments within the
company, and the individuals.
The book will not in
fact help small businessmen such as myself, because we lack the data that make
data mining and analysis worthwhile. Somewhat larger organizations might well
benefit from hiring a consultant to set up such a system and to implement it.
Larger organizations still might find this book useful to introduce members of
the affected groups to the possibilities and methodology of analytics and a proposed
data analytics system. Even major corporations may have use for this book, depending
on their current state of awareness regarding data mining and analytics.
So, the objection
that this book does not show how to do data analytics is valid, but this was
not the goal of the author. Nor does it give a real-life demonstration of the
value of these methods. Rather, the book will serve to help convince a certain
class of readers of the value of such techniques and perhaps induce them to
obtain the expertise to apply them to their own situation, to become “data
Internet provides unprecedented opportunities for Jorge Olson’s Three Cs:
Communicate, Collaborate, Commercialize. Get known, liked, trusted. Form
partnerships. Give value for value.
The key: be generous, unselfish in your self-promotion, as Olson (2009)
notion of promoting yourself by being unselfish is very powerful, and you will
be an expert by the time you are done reading this book.… Being unselfish is
nothing new in business or politics, especially among seasoned salespeople. In
sales, you place the customer first. This is an example of unselfish promotion.
help others, you have to understand their needs and wants. They
will then appreciate what you do for them, because what you choose to do will be
suitable, appropriate to their wants and needs. Unlike most people, you will be
spending somewhat less time thinking about yourself and somewhat more time
thinking about them.
writing, you establish a link, a connection with people that lasts at least as
long as it takes them to read what you have written, and which may stay in
their minds much longer. You have usually given them something of value, which
may make them want to reciprocate.
Writing helps you add to your
promotional toolbox, which includes Internet marketing, articles, social
networking, public speaking, business cards (some people use several different
types), books, press releases, videos, webinars….
key is that you give before you get.
business owners, Olson (2009) posits Internet Marketing Rule #1: Don’t build a
self-indulgent website. Writers can profitably heed this, as well:
promote your book or books on your website, but give the visitors something
more: excerpts, deals, related information on the books’ topics, colorful and
interesting graphics, information about writing or the book industry. Give
value to get eyeballs.
Olson’sInternet Marketing Rule #2 --- Build Value:
“you have to provide what people look for, information, entertainment,
collaboration, or commerce.” Build the website for the visitors’ benefit. They
say, “Content is king.” Valuable content, that is.
As an author, you will likely
have an author website, which is your main website, and websites for each of
the books you have written. Give stuff away. Collect email addresses. Make sure
they know how to reach you.
For more details on unselfish
self-promotion see Olson (2009).
Do you want to live to be 98? My mother lived
that long. She enjoyed almost all but her last year. Do you think you’d still
enjoy life into your 90s?
I just took a very brief MetLife insurance Company
test on the Internet, and based on that, I’ve got a 50% chance of reaching 93
and 25% chance of 98. Surprise! How about you? Here’s the link to the MetLife Life Expectancy Calculator.
Interestingly, the test does not ask about
health status directly, but it requests blood pressure, height, weight, gender,
marital status, drinking, smoking, and exercise. Nothing about familial
longevity. The test just gives estimates, averages. Its goal is to alert the
user to how much longer he or she will live, and how much longer retirement
funds need to last.
the Average Woman in Her 60s Will Live a Couple More Decades
If you don’t want to take that little test,
you can note the numbers provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Their tables indicate that
white women 60 to 70 years old now can expect on average to live to 85 to
86…and you’re above average, no? You are if you’ve been paying attention to
your health, avoiding obesity, limiting alcohol consumption, exercising, and
not smoking. These factors raised my own life expectancy from 86 for the
average white male my age (73) into my 90s. Healthful practices could do the
same for you.
Women tend to live longer than men. Race
plays a role. Asian-Americans have longer life expectancies, African-Americans
shorter. Family genetics also plays a role, as will your current health status.
Rather than its being “later than you think,”
you probably will live longer than you expect. It’s time to consider these
elements of a successful extended retirement: health, wealth, relationships,
The elements of the life expectancy
calculator give you a heads-up on what’s important for preserving your health: weight,
blood pressure, exercise, alcohol, and smoking. Nothing you can do about your genes.
Make sure to get medical check-ups regularly and heed the advice of medical
professionals. In addition, make changes to your home and habits to reduce the
likelihood of falls. Improve your nutrition. Walk more.
If you live in the U.S., you’ll probably be
getting Medicare after 65 [some with low incomes will have Medicaid] and you will
likely add an insurance supplement. Note that “affordable” medical plans have
significant deductibles, charges that you will pay before the insurance coverage
kicks in, and there often are co-pays. Research this or get some professional
advice or do both.
Run out of Money
You’ll want to supplement your Social
Security and other retirement funds. Part-time work might be suitable. Work can
make your week more varied and interesting.
Investments usually include savings, home
ownership, stocks, and bonds. [I prefer Exchange-Traded Funds, ETFs, index
funds that just move with market averages and have minimal management costs.] Diversification
is key, as is getting advice from someone knowledgeable but who does not have a
conflict of interest. Don’t invest in anything you don’t understand.
Withdrawing funds from a tax-deferred
retirement account? The U.S. government requires its citizens to calculate the
minimum yearly withdrawal based on a life expectancy of 100. Withdrawing more
will have you run out sooner.
and Enhance Personal Relationships
Tend to your friendships and family ties.
Perhaps there are little disagreements or slights you can decide to ignore. Sometimes
I meet with friends and family by driving to a restaurant midway between our
homes. I’ve just started to make “telephone dates” with too-distant friends and
family members, setting mutually convenient times to chat. I wish I’d started
Your Free Time
Your free time can be a blessing or a curse. With
health and wealth, your options will be many. Without both, you’ll need to be
more resourceful. Poor health can be very limiting, but not having much money
needn’t be. Inexpensive activities include volunteering, local travel, and most
It Time to Hit the Road?
Traveling often requires both health and wealth,
especially the farther and longer the trips. You may want to find a partner to
share these trips with.
Freeing up some of your money and reducing
your home-maintenance time by moving to smaller quarters can make good sense.
Keep in mind whether you are likely to need extra room for visitors or aides.
The good news: you may well live longer than
you expect. You should heed the title of Robert Frost’s poem, “Provide,
Provide.” Take steps now to enhance your health, wealth and personal
relationships to enjoy these after-60 decades.
is your life expectancy now? How are you planning to have enough free time,
money, and health to enjoy it? Please join the conversation.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former
Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and
publish their books via his http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com. His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic
for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at
home, as discussed at their website here.
Steve Harrison of Bradley
Communications Corporation gave a web seminar, a webinar, having this title. I
listened raptly as he presented over an hour of useful information for free,
followed by a twenty-minute pitch for services his company offers.
Harrison started out in
journalism, having majored in English in college. He soon joined his brother
Bill Harrison in publishing the Radio and TV Interview Report, started
in 1987, and the Harrisons and their Bradley Communications Corporation have by
now coached over 12,000 authors and speakers, helping them to obtain successful
promotion of their books and presentations.
The company’s mission is
simple: to help you achieve your mission. Among the successful authors that
they have helped obtain widespread dissemination of their works are Jack
Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, whose Chicken Soup… line of books have
sold over 500 million copies. Another author they helped to succeed is Dr. John
Gray, whose Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus relationships book
and associated activities have made him a millionaire many times over. They
also coached Robert Kiyosaki, whose Rich Dad, Poor Dad book also
rocketed into a highly successful worldwide publishing orbit.
is better than advertising because it is free, more credible, and tends to
multiply, as media coverage leads to more media coverage. It’s almost viral.
makes you an expert. This then increases traffic to your website,
word-of-mouth recommendations, distribution, social media buzz, buyers for your
product, and makes you sought out for speaking engagements and interviews,
giving you the opportunity to raise your fees and product prices and generate
even more publicity. You establish a virtuous circle, where success leads to
more success. “The rich get richer.” Well, less poor anyway, as most books lose
It surprised me to learn that every day over 100,000 media outlets are
seeking guests of one sort or another, interviewees who are in some sense
experts, due to education, training, or experience. Despite this, most
authors and speakers fail to promote themselves successfully, remaining
relatively unknown. Jack Canfield has commented that not promoting one’s book is much like giving birth to a baby and then
leaving it on someone else’s doorstep. If you have something worth
communicating, then self-promotion also serves others.
described seven different ways in which famous authors and speakers differ from
those who remain unknown.
the unknowns have tended to talk about their products, whereas the famous have
understood that they must direct attention to good ideas. The famous understand
the need for a “hook.” A hook is an attention-grabber, a teaser,
the kind of headline you see on the cover of popular magazines. On radio or TV
a hook might be prefaced with the words “coming up….” What follows can usefully
be a statement of how to do something, the countering of a myth, presentation
of a prediction, or the proposing of a question, such as, “Is your house making
you sick?” (I would add that journalists have a favored set of question
starters: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?)
famous authors and speakers give reasons why they need to be covered NOW. They
have a timely hook: a season,
anniversary, holiday, news event---sudden or predictable.
the famous authors and speakers have not relied on a single hook but have
developed multiple, good hooks. Harrison gave as an example a
hypothetical book, Nutrition 101. Certainly, one would approach media
outlets that are centered on fitness and health, but Harrison gave examples of
tailoring the message for those outlets interested in consumer affairs,
personal finance, personal relationships, and self-improvement. An example from
his talk would be for the author of Nutrition 101 to offer to speak
about “five ways to trim your grocery bill” or “how your beloved may be
sabotaging your diet.”
Speaking about multiple hooks,
Harrison presented the following list of media interest groupings:
business and entrepreneurial advice
Age and spiritual
No doubt there
are more, and each of these could be further sub-divided into narrower niches.
the famous utilize many different media types to maximize their exposure:
will become the new Oprah Winfrey? Bloggers may deserve this title. For
example, the blog babble.com is
the 276th most popular website, receiving over 4 million visitors per month. To get your message on such a blog, you
can offer a guest post, offer to be interviewed, present a book to be reviewed,
give away some chapters of your book, and offer your book as a prize. To be
successful doing this, however, you must research the blog, to make sure that
what you’re offering is appropriate.
the famous have had publicity plans, knowing WHO is their core audience, WHAT
they read or watch, and WHEN various topics will seem timely to them.
the famous often prepare the ground for their publications and presentations by
getting publicity before the book is completed. One
good way to do this is through the creation of short, few-minute videos, placed
on YouTube, which has become one of the top search engines on the Internet. In
3 minutes one might cover a topic such as listing “the top reasons men are
afraid of commitment.” Be sure to include links to Facebook, Twitter, and
Seventh, the successful have learned that
they cannot do this all on their own. There is a lot of work
involved, with special skills, data bases, and experience needed. They need the
help of professionals, such as the Harrisons and their Bradley Communications
Corporation. For $2500, the Harrison’s
will give you an in-depth consultation with one of their consultants, at least
four valuable publicity hooks, three half-page ads in their Radio and TV
Interview Report, four ads in their publication Experts4Interviews,
a 90% discount on attending Steve Harrison’s multiple-day $2000 publicity
workshop, and they will shoot, edit, and upload five videos for you. They
placed the value of this package at over $5000. Those who are interested in
learning more about their program should go to the website