EP 68 - Steve Simonson - Part II Steve's 11 Axioms to Help You Win More in Business and Life




Awesomers Insights  - Steve and from time to time other "insiders" will share their knowledge about specific topics to help the listeners improve their knowledge on a subject. We considered calling these episodes noesis shows, but we didn't know how to pronounce the word. By the way, Noesis means: The psychological of perception and learning and reasoning. We would choose this word because we want to help leaders develop into decision machines vs. always looking for an external solution.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Part II Steve’s 11 Axioms to Help You Win More in Business and Life

Axioms are very important in conducting business and serve as guardrails in our personal and professional lives.


On this Insights episode, Steve talks about the second part of his personal axioms. Here, he discusses his axioms one by one, provides examples and life situations on each and also encourages Awesomers to apply them in their lives. Here are more awesome takeaways on this episode:

  • Axioms 12 to 22 and a detailed explanation for each.

  • Why starting with something is better than starting with nothing.

  • Boomerang delegations and how it can be avoided.


So, sit back and learn how you too can apply Steve’s personal axioms in your daily lives.


01:15 (Steve talks about today’s episode - a continuation of Episode 58 where he talked about his personal axioms.)

03:04 (Steve talks about the importance in putting all your best in everything you do.)

12:13 (Steve wants to stress out that before doing anything, you need to check first if the juice is worth the squeeze.)

18:39 (Steve talks about how to avoid boomerang delegation.)

27:07 (Steve links his axiom 17 to the Golden Rule.)

31:34 (Starting with something is better than starting with nothing.)

36:52 (Steve talks about proper setting of expectations.)

45: 40 (Steve talks about the law of parsimony as a close component of Occam's razor.)

Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.


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You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

01:15 (Steve talks about today’s episode - a continuation of episode 58 where he talked about his personal axioms.)


Steve: Everybody, Steve Simonson back again with another episode of the Awesomers.com podcast series, and you may be surprised to know, but this is Episode Number 68. So, all you have to do is go to Awesomers com/68 and you'll see all the magic behind the scenes, show notes, and details. Sometimes we even throw in a transcript in there for you, which makes it easy to search and maybe easy to copy and paste for your own usage. Now today is an Awesomers insights episode and this is Steve's axioms part two. So, in Episode Number 58 of the Awesomers series, I gave my first half of my axioms and today I'm going to give you part two of those axioms as well. I want to call your attention to the idea that insights episodes are where an expert or at least me proclaiming myself as an expert comes on and share some of the insights and some of the tips and hints, and this is one of those types of episodes. So, in our first part of this series by the way, this particular episode, we talked about the first 11 axioms that I've shared, and I think those are very, very important. So, if you're listening to this, it's not that you won't be able to get anything out of this episode if you haven’t heard the first one, you certainly will. You'll count from 12 to 22, which means it may seem a little out of sequence to you. So, if you want to get the full context of this episode, be sure you listen to Awesomers.com/58 first, and then this number 68 will line up and sync up just fine. Now if you don’t, carry on. No problem. You'll still get I think just as much out of this episode, just understanding why we're starting at the number 12.

03:04 (Steve talks about the importance in putting all your best in everything you do.)

So, number 12 without further ado is I put my name on it, and what does this mean? So this is part of a cultural thing that I try to instill and certainly something I believe. When I say I put my name on something, I mean that on just about every action that I do, and it really should be every action. So, if I'm making a phone call to someone, I put my name on that call. If I'm making an email to somebody, I'm putting my name on that email. And I mean this both figuratively and literally, but mostly figuratively in this case. So, sure when I'm putting an email, I clearly put my name on it. I'll sign it or whatever. I've got my little footer bit that you know you paste in and what do they call that? Anyway, the little piece at the end of the email. And the reality is I don't . . . that's less important to me than the spirit of what I'm trying to get across. So, if I'm doing something whether it's interacting with a colleague, with a vendor, with a customer, it doesn’t matter where the interaction is coming from or how the interaction is being managed right. The mechanics of in person or email or Slack or messenger chat or phone call, none of that is relevant. What matters is you know when I put my name on it, then I should be proud of that interaction in the best way that I can be. So again, to dive in just a little bit on this, what does this mean? When you think about this concept of putting your name on it, this means that when somebody comes back to you and says, “Hey look at this video of you.” You know just pretend that you know some satellite somewhere, I'm sure the NSA has satellites following you every day. They got this interaction with you, and let's just say you were rude to a waiter. Let's say that you're mean to one of your team members or let's say you lost your temper with you know a vendor or someone. That's you putting your name on something and if you're not going to be proud of that interaction, I think you really should take a step back and think about why. You know in my view of the world, the way we behave is a very important thing because it's the foundation of how you want other people to treat you, right? The good old Golden Rule, treat others as you want to be treated or you know do unto others as you would have them do unto you I think is the more appropriate quote. But the point is if you really want that Golden Rule to be in place, then you better treat people right, and you should also do your level best effort. I'll give you a quick story. So I had an executive worked for me and he's a very smart guy, very bright guy, but when I asked him for a particular report, he would just kind of call it in. He didn't even half-ass it. He quarter assed it. It was a real pain. And so I would coach him and I would say, “Hey, listen you know the purpose of this report is you know bah bah bah, and this is why it's so important to the organization and you know, so I'm trying to do my part in explaining the purpose and the nature and the logic behind it. This is not just busy work that I decided to you know put somebody on. I don't have somebody go dig a ditch and then fill it in and take another ditch. It's you know there should be a purpose to what we're dealing with there and so, but he just wasn't getting better. So, the next time he turned in the report, I just looked at him and I said, “Hey, is this your best effort? Did you put your name on it?” And he's like, “You know let me just take another look.” And again, this is a talented smart guy that I respect and I like genuinely, but I just asked him in that same way you know, is this your best work and did you put your name on it? He’s like, “Yes. Let me go see if I can tune it up a little bit.” So he comes back after some you know short period of time elapsed. He’s like, “Okay you know. Here you go.” And I'm like, “Is this your best work and did you put your name on it?” Just exactly the same question. I haven't even read it. And by the way, he emailed it to me. He's asking for feedback and I had not read it yet and I just asked him kind of in a leading way, “Is this your best work? Did you put your name on it?” And so he's like, “You know let me just take one more look.” And so he went back in. He emailed it again. He came and he kind of a little bit exasperated. He came back to me, and he's like, “All right. You know that's as good as it's going to get. That's it.” And then I let him know, “Okay. Well, now that you've said you've done your best work. Now I will read it.” More or less, I had implied that I had read it before, but I hadn't. Now, I've never said I read it, but the point was I told him, I said, “This is when you submit your work to me, when it's your best work and when you put your name on it. Don't waste the time for either of us sending in anything that is less, you know second-best or not your level best work.” And it was an important teachable moment because you know I shouldn't have to push anybody in my organization and they shouldn't have to push me or push each other to put our name on, to do our best right off the bat. And I want you to really think about you doing your best right off the bat. Don't hesitate. Don't delay for a moment that effort you put your name on it from the very beginning. So, I hope that is instructive. I really do believe in it and I highly encourage this to be a part of your culture because if everybody is proud of what they do like it could be an interaction with a customer. When you look back at the chat transcript or the email and your team member, your colleague, your partner, whoever is reading that, if they see it and they're like, “Oh, I could have done a little better,” then they you know they have some responsibility, accountability to you. And by ingraining this idea of I put my name on it every time, every interaction, it's a better way of living, and it's a better way of cooperating with each other, and it's a way to hold each other to the same standard. If you in fact put your name on it, you should be able to hold your colleagues, your boss, your partner, whoever to the same standard that you expect to be held to by putting your name on it and doing your best work. All right, I hope that makes sense.

Now as we look over to axiom number lucky 13, this is axiom 13. It's very simple to say and maybe a little more subtle in practice, so I'll tell it to you right now. Avoid the opposite of good, right. So a little wordplay there. But too often we get ourselves in situations that we don't like, and I call them the opposite of good. You know when you find yourself and you know maybe the marketing budget was overspent, that's the opposite of good. When you find yourself in a situation where you know you have to let somebody go or somebody quit unexpectedly, that's the opposite of good. When you find yourself you know the you know pressure of a financial decision, maybe you overextended yourself on inventory or you know you run short on payroll, all of that's the opposite of good. And we get ourselves focused on you know this is negative or this is bad or we find it's so easy to you know start blaming and start worrying and just really wringing of hands. And to me, if we just start out with the premise that we want to avoid the opposite of good, right, so that's we don't want to avoid the bad, that means by default, we want the good, right. The old transitive property helps us out there. So, if we're trying to avoid the opposite of good, we have to avoid the bad and take that out. So that means, any of those decisions that are going to lead us down the bad path or any procrastination that would result in the opposite of good or any decisions that may be questionable, maybe you're trying to rush through a new hire process, maybe you're trying to just you know try something, and again you're not doing quite enough to make something adequate or ideally good. It's more likely to turn out as bad. So, you want to avoid the opposite of good, and again this is not a breakthrough area right where I say, “Hey, don't do bad stuff or you know avoid bad outcomes.” This is . . . it seems like it's pretty obvious. But when we twist it to say avoid the opposite of good, it really does put us in focus of “Oh well, if I don't want the opposite of good, I better focus on getting the good.” And again, this pervades every part of your thought process, your organization, etc.

12:13 (Steve wants to stress out that before doing anything, you need to check first if the juice is worth the squeeze.)

All right, so axiom number 14 is . . . oh, it starts with the word is as well. Axiom number 14, is the juice worth the squeeze? And so this is a . . . it's a fun little way to say you know, “Is this effort worthwhile?” If you're going to have to burn a ton of calories to launch this new ad campaign, can that ad campaign rationalize and justify the amount of time you have to put into the effort, the work? And this is especially important to quantify and evaluate different times of different resources as having different values. So what do I mean by that? If you're the you know the key decision-maker in a particular subject, maybe you’re the business owner, maybe you're just the leader of marketing or just the leader of the operations, and by the way, I don't say just to diminish it, I'm saying if you're responsible for that individual area, that sole area, then you're going to be focused on making good marketing choices or operations choices. Whereas if you own the whole business, you got to make sure that you're measuring the juice and the resource time across the entire organization. So as an example, if you own the business, your time is probably more valuable than somebody who's making graphics. And again, graphics need done, it's a talent, but it's widely available talent, right? And so if you're going to spend your time making the graphics for the company, that's probably not a great utilization or allocation of that resource. That resource in this case is your time. The same goes if you are the you know director of operations, and you're running and you're filling out shipping manifest yourself, right? There's probably somebody else, whether it's on a gig-basis or a full-time basis or even a part-time basis, that somebody else could do that work. If you spend your time on bookkeeping or on making graphics or you know making videos or doing social posts and that's not your core job, that's not your core competency, I think you're misallocating the resources. So that's number one. Make sure the resource that is assigned to the task is the right resource, right? So that helps you ensure that the juice in fact is worth the squeeze. The other thing just from a very strategic levels you have to ask yourself if this idea, whatever harebrained scheme you've got cooking up, if this really works, is it going to be a big enough payoff to justify the time and the energy, maybe money that it requires, to pursue this particular idea? So as an example, I talked to a lot of entrepreneurs, they’re like, “Hey, I've got one brand going. I sell it online, Amazon, eBay, whatever, and they get excited because they're like, “Well, this was pretty good, pretty easy. I got some things going. I'm selling whatever it is, a million a year, 5 million or 10 million a year.” They're excited, and they're doing well and then they immediately say, “Well you know what, I should just make more brands.” And you really have to ask yourself if you're going to try to follow the same formula and you have to do all the work, is that juice worth the squeeze of that new brand? What's the likelihood that new brand will be as successful as the prior brand if you're just purely splitting your time between the places? And what's the chance that your lack of attention on the first brand will cause it to decline in some way? Chances are probably good. So I want you to think about “is the juice worth the squeeze” in a very strategic sense. Don't lose track of the fact that there are so many times where entrepreneurs just think that we have to do the work ourselves, we're obligated or perhaps it's just because you know we have to do it at that moment because we don't have somebody else to help us with it. It's probably worth spending the time to solve that long-term problem versus just continuing to do your own bookkeeping for example. By the way, it's a pet peeve of mine. People who are wasting their time doing their own bookkeeping when there are so many valuable and viable resources for a relatively low amount of money and you know too often people go, “Oh, but if I could save 200 a month or 400 a month you know whatever, then you know that's all money in my pocket.” And I tell you that is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Your financial house getting that in order is so, so important, and you know I've talked about it on the past if you're a regular listener. So don't waste time on that stuff. The juice is not worth the squeeze for you to do your own bookkeeping. You should review monthly or perhaps more often if it's available your financial statements, cashflow, P&L, things like that. That is worth the squeeze. That's where you can look at it and see the results of the business and then you can say, “Well, you know we've got to raise our price, our margin is getting squeezed” or “We've got to squeeze out this you know Amazon costs for storage you know and move some stuff into a 3PL.” That's where the money, and that's where the strategic resource is so important versus you just worrying about getting the next bookkeeping you know entry in, and you're like going, “Oh, I'm going to get the . . . I'll download from Amazon, and I'll use you know some of the plug-ins that you can use to grab it.” You're still wasting a bunch of time on that I suspect or things like that. Even if you're not doing your own bookkeeping, there's some examples, something you're doing right now probably that the juice is not worth the squeeze. And I'll be honest with you, I've looked at some of the things that I've got in my bag of tricks so to speak, and we're going to just dial some of those down because I just, I'm too busy to do them at all and even as I hire people to help, it's still you know as I said in the first episode every upgrade is a downgrade at first, and I you know it's too much to do at one time. So even myself you know I get a little ahead of the curve, and then I got to dial it back and make sure that I don’t - I’m not going to drive myself nuts and make sure that we can fulfill the vision of some of the things, some of the core needs that we're working on.

18:39 (Steve talks about how to avoid this boomerang delegation.)

Okay. One of my favorites, beware of boomerang delegation. All right, have you ever delegated something to somebody only to have it rear its ugly head back to you a few days later and more or less where you have to the job? And I swear, this has happened to me many, many times. And some of the boomerang delegations are because I didn't set up the original delegation and the task management properly, and some of them are lack of organizational sophistication or resources, and those are you know that's kind of my responsibility, no dissing my people. But sometimes it's just like people are passing the hot potato from one to another until it bounces back to you. I know I'm mixing metaphors here. But imagine this delegation. It's a big boomerang, and you've thrown it, and I'll give you an example. So I don't remember the exact thing. I think I said I needed some sort of financial data or financial input, and so I talked to a key executive, and he said, “Yes. You know we'll get on that. We'll get it back to you.” And then he delegated it to you know his next in line, who would be the logical you know kind of owner of that particular responsibility, and then that person found one of the people on his team and assigned that person the responsibility to get this financial detail done. Now that person who's three away from me then called me up and said, “Hey, how do I do this financial thing? I got this assignment from so-and-so.” That is the ultimate boomerang delegation, and I should have been wearing a helmet because that one smacked me so hard. The fundamental part of this puzzle is by establishing a proper resource and a proper accountability for each task, you can avoid some of these boomerang delegations. If you've ever had a boomerang delegation, I know that you are chuckling if not rubbing the back of your head a little bit going, “Oh yes. That hurt. That hurt bad.” So remember that you know boomerang delegations happen to any of us and your mission should be to avoid these things and beware of them by setting up the task management or the accountability in advance. And when you set it up, you should basically ask questions like, “Do you have all the resources or the skills necessary to accomplish this goal?” If they say no, then say, “What are you missing? What skills or resources are you lacking?” And if they say, “Well, I just don't know what you're talking about, so I'm going to have to go ask people.” That's a problem. That's a leadership problem, not a you know delegate problem, right? The person you're delegating to is not responsible for not having the skills or resources. That's you as the leader or whomever is asking for this delegation to happen. So, I hope that makes sense. You know when they, when the resources and the skills are in place, when there's appropriate accountability, those boomerang should not swing back at you. And I hope that you can avoid some boomerangs in your future as a result of knowing about this axiom 15, beware of boomerang delegation. Now we're going to take a quick break, and when we come back, we're going to talk a little about, a little bit more of my favorite axioms, then these things really should guide you towards making your business better, faster and smarter. We'll be right back after this.


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Steve: Okay, we're back everybody. I am, here we are on the Awesomers podcast Episode Number 68. As always, just go to Awesomers.com/68 to see the nitty-gritty behind the episode details here. Now we're on the axiom number 16. And again, this was one of those that may sound simple, but it's got so many layers, and this one says, “If it was easy, anybody could do it, right?” If it's easy, anyone could do it, so believe it or not, as trite as that may sound, I often remind myself of that and my team. I remind my team of that, and they remind me of that as well, right? As we're struggling with things that are very, very difficult, often we call them impossible problems, then we say, you know what if it's easy, anybody could do it. Let's just take a deep breath and remember you know this is not just a slam dunk or a layup or whatever you know a simple analogy would be. Truly, if you're doing something that again we often use the terminology an impossible problem, then it's going to take a little bit of time to figure it out. So some of the impossible problems that we solve in the past or things that literally everybody we would go to external resources or industry experts, and they would say, “That's impossible. That will never happen.” And we're like, “Yes, but we think it could happen.” And they're like, “Impossible. Not going to happen.” And we're like, “All right. Thanks for not helping.” And then we just said about trying to figure out how to solve these impossible problems, and honestly, you know every problem probably has a solution. On some level, every problem does have a solution, and so we have to really think about that, and we have to give ourselves a permission to not get too hooked up into a lather and too stressed out because really if it was easy, then anybody could do it. And so you know, it doesn't matter what business you're in. If you're in the service business and you're struggling with scheduling or hiring or whatever, just know that you know the better you get at it, the more of a moat that you build around your business, the more defensible that business is. if you are an E-commerce person or an Amazon seller and you're selling products on Amazon, and then you're struggling to get reviews or you're struggling to get the product to launch, maybe you got some supply chain issues, you worried about tariffs, all the you know the sky is falling kind of stuff that happens. If you read Facebook message boards, the people who will not succeed are the ones who are constant . . . constantly Chicken Little. They just honestly, they don't have what it takes. If their number one response to every change in business is “Oh my gosh, this is too hard,” “Oh, you used to be easier, the good old days,” and by the way, most people who talk about the good old days weren't even around during the good old days. They just heard tale about the good old days. And I could tell you from deep, deep experience, every time we look back, it's easy to say, “Oh yes. That was the good old days,” but during that time, it was tough, it was brutal, it was hand-to-hand combat, it was just like any other time. But looking back, we kind of glanced over that we forget about some of the blood sweat and tears that were in that moment, and that's I think that's just human nature, right? We kind of gloss over those things. The point I'm trying to get to is that you know if we remember that when we're in the moment, it's not supposed to be easy, and that truly if it was easy, anybody could do it, therefore, what value do we add? And I talked about this general analogy. If you just go to China and you said you got to be a private-label seller and you've just find a you know a some poorly made product, some just cheap tchotchke and you decided to stick your own label on it and you think that's going to make you millions of dollars while you sit you know on the couch or in the pool and you're just not being realistic. It truly is not ever going to be that easy. And anybody who tells you otherwise, well, I'll just tell you, they don't know what they're talking about or they're trying to sell you something. If it was easy, anybody could do it. It's not easy that's the point.

27:07 (Steve links his axiom 17 to the Golden Rule.)

All right, let's talk about axiom number 17. This one was provided to me by my daughter when she was in kindergarten, which was a long time ago. And it says, “You get what you get and you don't throw a fit.” Now I want to just, even though that is literally from, that's what her kindergarten teachers told her, and that's what she told me. I don't remember what the issue was, but more or less, she just said, “Dad, you get what you get, and you don't throw a fit.” And I said, “You know how, what sage wisdom from a five-year-old.” And this is a pretty good reminder that you know everything that we do, we should put our name on it, we should do our level best, and we should expect no less from those around us. And if everybody's doing their thing, then we shouldn’t lose our temper, and this again, this is somewhat about a behavior. If you lose your temper and you know yell at somebody, you swear at them, goodness sakes, if you call them a name or something like that. Talking about lack of professionalism. That's insanity to me. I can't imagine. I think you should you know part of putting your name on it is behaving in a way that is appropriate and reasonable. I'm certainly professional, and so when I say you get what you get, you don't throw a fit, when you go into a meeting or you go into a situation and maybe you get some unwelcome surprise, that doesn't give you permission to act like a jerk. It doesn't give you permission to turn into an a-hole. I do not like dealing with a-holes. When I find that you know, if I go on a date and the woman is mean to the waiter, that is the end of that. It's inappropriate. Even if I'm dissatisfied with the waiter service, I'll remain cordial. I may ask them for whatever would remedy the situation, but I'm not going to be mean to them. It's just you know, as humans, we should expect that Golden Rule to really pervade all things that we do, and I think that fully includes a business including if you own the business. If you are a jerk, if you are mean in any capacity, it doesn't matter if you own the business or you work within a business, if you are mean to your colleagues, you're not going to get good responsiveness from them. You're not going to get good cooperation from them. If you're mean to your vendor, why would they want to collaborate with you? Why would they want to help you? You know if you're mean to anybody, you should not be surprised when they don't jump out of their seat to try to help you when you need it most by the way. So this idea of you get what you get, you don't throw a fit, it means take the inputs, take whatever the situation is, maintain you know a calm and professional demeanor and then figure out what to do from there. If the result was unsatisfactory, fine. Size it up, rationalize the situation with, not rationalize it, but break down the situation on how it could be improved or you know if this is the best it's going to be, then forget about it. But you don't react to it, in my opinion, in a negative or unprofessional way. You certainly shouldn't lose your patience, and you shouldn't treat people in any other way than you should expect them to treat you. That Golden Rule is you know pervasive in all axioms I think. So again, my daughter's advice from kindergarten still holds true today. You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit. And if you find yourself throwing fits or being grumpy or just being a jerk to people, then you need to take a step back, and you need to do some self-reflection and introspection because you need to fix that behavior. And if you're not going to fix it, then you've joined the basics. You're no Awesomer, right? Awesomers are you know people who want to break the paradigm of normal. They want to be better. Normies are like, “Status quo is fine. We're just along for the ride.” And basics are the ones who are jerks and a-holes to everybody. Don't fall into that camp. You don't want to be in that group. It's not an esteemed group to be hanging out in, believe me. Geez, now I say believe me, I sound like that crazy politician. Whether you like him or not, you’ve got to admit, there's some craziness there.

31:34 (Starting with something is better than starting with nothing.)

Okay, so axiom number 18, something is better than nothing. Now this sounds again almost trite, right? Almost trite. And what I mean is when you find yourself developing an idea or a concept, if you're trying to articulate it, putting something down on a piece of paper is better than nothing. Starting with something is better than starting with nothing. If you are trying to make a new product, doing some product research is obviously better than doing no product research. When you're trying to launch the product, doing some kind of marketing is better than doing no marketing even if it's not perfect. And this again, we talked about in the first half of this particular episode, the part one at Awesomers.com/58 that you know we don't want to have perfect being the enemy of good, and something truly is better than nothing when you are trying to iterate and make your business better, and we're going to talk more about that in a minute. So deliver something. Start with something. Don't try to skip to the end. That's usually not going to work out very well. Deliver something. Ask your team to deliver anything, and start with that even if it is not at the optimal level. And that takes us really right into number 19.

Iteration is the key to progress. So when you think about this concept of iteration, I want you to think very carefully about you know what we just talked about that something is better than nothing. When you start with something, all you have to do is incrementally make that better. So if it's a product, maybe the first version is not perfect, but incrementally, you just make it a little better, just a little better. If it is a process or procedure you're writing, start with something, right? Something's better nothing and then iterate so that you make some progress.. In my humble opinion, thinking in terms of versions and you know you could say, “Hey, version 0.5. It was just a swag. It was our best guess. We just started with version point five, and then you know, we got a little better, point seven, point nine, and you know but all right, 1.0. This is pretty good. Whether it's a product or a piece of software or a process, it doesn't matter. Once you're kind of that you know, you've done a couple iterations, it's better. And at version one, you're probably, “Hey, this is all right. I'm satisfied. This will work.” But by the time you iterate a few more times and then you hit version two, you'll look back at version 1 and go, “Whoo, that's kind of embarrassing.” And I'll be honest with you, you'll be able to do that with this podcast. I suspect, this being episode 68, we're more a little more than a third of the way through, I suspect the next third will be better than the first third, and the final third will be better than the second third. That's just the nature of humans. That's the nature of experience, and that's the nature of iteration. An axiom 19 is . . . it's happening right in front of you, right? Again this podcast was not designed to be some giant professional production, although the guys do a great job with the audio engineering, and you know they do a video version as well. They're working really hard to make it as good as we can, but absolutely, we're going to get better and smarter as we go. Iteration truly is the key to progress, and I want you to think along that line that just every little thing you do, just one little increment, one little dial, one notch extra will give you that opportunity to make a lot of progress over time. I think a lot of people struggle with this idea of taking a giant leap because it looks so far away, but if you just take little small steps, you're going to get there anyway. And by the way, the time is going to pass anyway. You know we're all impatient or many of a certain patient, and we're like, “I just want it now.” Immediate gratification. Instant gratification, sometimes they call it. I just would tell you, the time is going to pass either way, and you'll be a lot more sane if you just think about it and how to take these small incremental iterative steps forward. So we're going to take another quick break. I want you to pay close attention to this sponsorship ad and maybe even go check out the site. These are important, it's important that our sponsors get your support to keep this thing, this pirate ship floating as they say, and that we'll be right back after this.


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36:52 (Steve talks about proper setting of expectations.)

Steve: Okay, here we are back again, Steve Simonson on the Awesomers.com podcast Episode Number 68 and just pop on over to Awesomers.com/68 if you want to see the bits and pieces of this particular episode. Now, axiom number 20 is something again I learned a long time ago and the axiom says, “It will never work the first time.” Now this is a close relative to axiom 21, which we'll talk about in a minute. But it will never work the first time. So, I learned this in probably seventh or eighth grade, when I took my first computer programming class. Now, although I'm going to date myself, this is probably in the early 80s . . . 1981 . . . 1982 . . . I took a computer programming class because my little brain at the time said, “I think computers are going to be big in the future.” And you know that's one call I got right. So as a kid in junior high, also called middle school I think in some places, the teacher, one of the first things he told us, I forget his name, but he's a brilliant teacher and taught me an awful lot, and he said you know to his students, “Hey, just so you know, it will never work the first time when you're making a computer program.” He just told us it will never work the first time, trying to set our expectations, trying to help us understand that you know part of programming computers is to expect errors and expect it to break and expect it not to work. And I swear that from the moment he said that to right up until about ten minutes ago, I've tried to break that rule every single time, that axiom of it will never work the first time. I've tried to prove him wrong, it might have been Mr. Taylor, I don't remember, but I've tried to prove Mr. Taylor, if that was his name, wrong for decades, and he's still right. And so what does this mean to you? If you can really understand that will never work the first time, that gives you a little bit of permission to relax and to be patient. So what do I mean by it'll never work the first time? If you're not programmed computers, you might say, “Oh that's irrelevant to me.” But I would submit that your first product probably won't be some giant home run. Well, if you're developing your own brand you're launching a first product, probably won't be just a walk off home run on your first time at bat. Unlikely, that's going to happen. Other examples and anecdotes where it's happened, yes, there's a couple out there, but by large, it's never going to work the first time. And I suspect, even in those stories of where somebody launched a product and we now know them to be successful and have a robust business, there's probably some iterations inside of that product or that launch that did not in fact work the very first time that took all of that little incremental and iterative change to make the progress that I've described in the prior axioms. What's my point? From the outside, we may look at stuff and we go, “Gosh, man that person, they are so smart. She knocked it out of the ballpark and I just wish I could be like her.” And I'll tell you, no matter how successful somebody is, there's so much more to what went into their success than what we can see on the outside. I can guarantee you, you know the first time you run a Facebook ad, it's not going to work. The first time you try to put a website together, it's not going to work. The first time you make a webinar funnel, it's not going to work, right? And just fill in the blank, it will never work the first time. Now somebody could say to you now, “Gosh. I made an email just yesterday, and it did greatall my metrics, all my performance. It was just wonderful.” And it's like, “All right, fine. Was that your first email?” “Well, no, no. I do an email you know every week or everyday or whatever.” It's like, “All right. Well, that wasn't your first one thengive me a break.” The point is when you're embarking on something new, don't expect it'll work the first time. Why would you? It's a little arrogant to assume that in one hand, but worse than the ego factor is the patience and the impatience and the frustration that goes along with it. There's anxiety that can happen if you set your expectations improperly. So just trust me. It'll never work the first time. All right, and as I said a close cousin to axiom number 20 is axiom number 21 which says, “It will always cost more and take longer.” And I could tell you, this one needs to be said again and again. So whether you're developing software, whether you're developing a new product, whether you are making a systems of procedures document, whether you're trying to hire somebody, it's almost always going to cost you more than you expected and take longer than you expected. And I could tell you, even after years of experience, in my case decades of experience, we still often will kind of under budget what's something what an effort will take and how fast it will get traction. It's not because we're stupid or incompetent, although I wouldn't rule that out. It's just because when we first see the problem and when we first tread into that new pool of opportunity, we don't know where all you know, we don't know how deep it is, we don't know where all the sharks are. And so it's only as we wait farther and farther into that pool do we start to understand, “Oh, I didn't know this. I didn't anticipate this.” And now it's going to cost a little bit more time and a little bit more money. And you know we can't anticipate everything. We literally do not know what we do not know, and when you embark upon some new project or mission or product or business, just expect it's going to take more time, and it's going to cost you more money. So don't put all your eggs right on the first you know basket. A lot of people are surprised after they take a training course and learn how to sell on Amazon, that you know that was an investment, and that was a good investment if you got a you know the right kind of course. There's a plenty of slimeball sellers out there, but there's definitely some great sellers out there. Wonderful courses to help you on Amazon, other places as well. If you get a good one, that investment’s worth it. Your time will be greatly rewarded from it, but it's still going to cost you more or take longer because you've got to go find some inventory. You've got to go you know figure out how to solve the supply chain problem and shipping and you know how do I get a UPC code. All of those little tiny details that you may not have contemplated when you first bought the training course. And that's okay. That's my point. It's okay. And if you again set your own expectations that things will almost always, in my case I say very clearly, it will always cost more and take longer, and I stand by that. If you know that going in, that no matter what budget you put, no matter what effort you expect, it probably is going to be a little variance from that, then I think your happiness factor and your I don't know, your own tolerance of incremental progress will be easier to swallow you know. You'll respect and understand the people that are working with you because you know that it's going to be you know cost more and take longer. That doesn't mean by the way that I take the sense of urgency people should have, and I say, “Oh, don't have any urgency because it's always going to cost more and take longer.” Axiom 21 is a cautionary tale, not a permission to just be you know lackadaisical about how you approach stuff. If you know it's going to cost more and take longer, you'll be a little more patient, but you probably should increase your urgency and really increase your attention to whatever that initiative may be. So it may seem again subtle some of the differences between these, but believe me, each of these to me have their own place and their own reason why they live.

45: 40 (Steve talks about the law of parsimony as a close component of Occam's razor.)

Okay, axiom number 22. And this is a very important one. It says, “Embrace the law of parsimony.” Now, a lot of people don't know what parsimony means, and I kind of hacked my own definition of it, but parsimony is a close relative or a component of what's known also as Occam's razor. And the quickest general definition of it is the most obvious solution or the most simple solution is probably the right solution. So what does this tell us? If we look at Occam's razor or the law of parsimony, we should assume that when we're trying to solve a problem, the most simple explanation okay without requiring a whole bunch of you know if then statements, the simplest explanation is probably the correct explanation. And what that helps us do is stop trying to look for crazy coincidences or weird complexity where it doesn't really exist. Just go with the simple answer. And this often follows where your gut instinct goes. When you are trying to solve a problem, if you have to look at a hundred different things but really your gut is telling you and the obvious answer is right in front of you it just seems too simple, that's still probably the right answer. That law of parsimony, which by the way I tweaked it to also mean doing more with less, that's another component of that, and that's a different axiom—doing more with less. In this case, it's all about trying to define what the simplest answer is, right? And assume or prove that it's the correct answer instead of overcomplicating it and try to come up with a bunch of dependencies and a bunch of reasons why well this person did that and then that happened and then this other thing happened, and that's why we are where we are. It's like if your product isn’t selling, start with the most obvious. Is it a good product? “Okay, great.” It's a great product. You've tested it. You feel good about it. Are you getting any impressions on the website or on Amazon or wherever you're selling it? “No, I'm not getting any impressions.” All right. Well, how about some marketing? That obvious answer is you're not doing anything to generate awareness. Let's say you got a bunch of awareness—good product, a bunch of impressions on that product page, wherever it may be, but you're not getting sales. So then you have to ask yourself you know, Why isn't it converting? Do I have good copy? Do I have good photos? Right? You just go through all those basic things. And again, I want to warn you against the danger of assuming that these axioms are just . . . “They're too obvious. I could just ignore these” or “They're trite. Everybody knows the simple answers the correct answer.” The law of parsimony and Occam's Razor for that matter are very, very important concepts, not just in business but in science and in many other areas of life. When your kids don't come home on time and they have all these reasons why you know a barrel of monkeys you know was delaying them and they have all these complicated reasons, the reason is much more simple than that. Any parent would know this. If you have a staff member who is showing up late and they give you a whole you know series of different reasons why they have a problem, the answer is you know they're probably just not that into the job. I had a person who I really trusted, and she had worked for me before, and this was a couple years back, but you know she would just disappear for long periods of time. And every time there's a whole big rigmarole that went with the absence and you know after a number of these absences because I was very patient because I never expected this behavior from her, I finally just said, “Gosh, it's you know it sure worked in the past and I still love you and respect you, but I have to say, it's not working now. So that's it for us.” And that was after you know clear communication and warnings and so forth. But the answer truly was the most obvious answer. She just wasn't into the job. And when we made it easy enough for her to just not show up and accomplish our objectives without real repercussions or consequences, she just kept doing it. And you know that's just you know, I was probably being a little too accepting or a little too forgiving, and you know that probably shouldn't cut off earlier. So the most obvious answer, the most easy answer is probably the right answer. So don't overthink stuff. Just embrace that law of parsimony and dig right into what Occam's Razor really means, and you guys can go google these things—the law of parsimony or Occam's Razor—same basic premise and something that I think is really, really important for you.

Okay, gang. This has been again Awesomers.com Episode Number 68, and all you have to do is go to Awesomers.com/68. And this is actually part two of the series, and despite what it may show on your screen, this is part two. And I hope that these axioms are instructive for you. I hope they are valuable to you. They definitely helped mold kind of my philosophies in my career and businesses. And if we do get some feedback on these, we can probably break some of these, if not all of these, into deeper dive and share some stories on how each of them have manifested themselves in our careers or businesses and what we did about those problems. And sometimes the stories are even more easy to identify with than just kind of my broad explanation. So I hope this was instructive. As always we appreciate you listening and sharing this with somebody you care about and reviewing us as well. So we're going to go to a quick break, and then we'll be right back after this.


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Steve: Well, we've done it again, everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team, and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.