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I had an idea this week.

Each week, I read, watch, listen to and buy a ton of awesome stuff. I regularly ask others what they’re enjoying reading, watching, or listening to, so this is my way of answering that question on a weekly basis. I hope it will become something you look forward to every week and a way to introduce you to interesting/awesome stuff you wouldn’t otherwise find on your own. In return, I hope you’ll share some equally awesome things that you’re finding out there in the wild.

Once I have BarrettBrooks.com complete, this weekly article will become a newsletter, but for now I’m publishing it here to see what you think. I’d love your feedback and thoughts on it.

A couple things I plan to include in each edition:

  • An article or three
  • A podcast episode or two
  • A video or two
  • A book I’ve finished and enjoyed
  • A hip hop song or two that I’m enjoying (Fair Warning: I have what some would consider a terrible taste in music. Nearly everything I listen to has a parental advisory label on it, but hey, I grew up in a very diverse school system and I love hip hop.)
  • Physical products I’m using and loving
  • Apps or software that are positively affecting the way I work/live/play

So, here’s this week’s list. I would expect it to get prettier in newsletter form, but for now this is it.

Articles

Start with a Small, Intense Fire by Chase @ Fizzle

I joined the Fizzle Co team this week, and it’s been a blast. Chase, one of three cofounders of Fizzle, wrote an excellent post based on a Paul Graham quote. It’s all about what it takes to get a business started by focusing on an incredibly small number of customers.

Drip, drip, drip by Seth Godin (2008)

I came across this article this week and I couldn’t help but think that it aligns directly with my experience between shutting Living for Monday down and joining the Fizzle team. Seth makes the case that if you’ll be looking for a job in a year, that process actually starts now. Same for making a sale, etc.

Videos

Create the Minimum User Badass by Kathy Sierra at Business of Software

So often as entrepreneurs and marketers we think we want our customers / users to love us and to love our product. They should be raving fans of us! And yet what really make a customer promote us over time is when we focus on making them awesome at whatever they want to achieve. (Shared with me by Chase Reeves)

The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong by Dan Pallotta at TED

A good buddy of mine sent me this one and said it was the most well prepared, well delivered TED talk he had ever seen. The topic sounded compelling, the slides were beautiful, and, yes, the delivery was great. But the part that was so powerful was how resonant the message was. He makes a case for why we need to stop demonizing charity for overhead and starting thinking differently about our giving. And I thought he made a pretty darn compelling case. (Shared with me by Nick Toomey)

Books

Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone

A delightful and easy read from the cofounder of Twitter. He’s got a quirky, amusing writing style and shares so much of the Twitter history that we wouldn’t see from the street. I got through this one quick, and if you’re big on startups, I think you’ll enjoy this first person memoir.

Apps

Library Organizer by Delicious Monster

Incredible app. This app allowed me to catalogue, organize, and alphabetize my entire library of 300+ books in just one day. You download the app, it activates your computer camera, you hold your books’ bar codes to the camera, and it adds the book (and all its details) to your library in the app. (Shared with me by Josh Winkles via my friend Josh Long)

Physical Products

Organic deodorant by Soapwalla

If you’re big on organic foods and paying close attention to what you put in or on your body, then you’ll love this deodorant. most organic, all natural deodorants do a really poor job of being a good deodorant throughout the day. This one, however, smells good and lasts throughout the day.

Hip Hop Song of the Week

Collard Greens by Schoolboy Q

A strong beat that reminds me of old school Dr. Dre. Schoolboy Q has an interesting style that take a bit of getting used to, but if you’re a big hip hop fan, I think you’ll enjoy his stuff if you haven’t yet heard it. This one in particular features Kendrick Lamar, who is another of my favorite artists right now.

 

So that’s it, Things I Thought Were Awesome during the week of 4.14.14. Let me know what you think and if you’d like me to continue writing this each week. Oh, and if you’ve read, watched, listened to, or bought something interesting this week, share it in the comments.

Listen, bro. I like you. And I wouldn’t tell you this if I didn’t like you. But don’t do this. I’m miserable. I’m going to quit soon. You don’t want this to be your life. There’s nothing good for you here.

- The guy giving me a ride home from a corporate recruiting dinner during my senior year in college.

Imagine all of the thoughts going through my head at that point. This is a 25 year old guy I looked up to and was trying to impress so he would say good things about me to his bosses. This is the guy one rung up from where I would have started in the organization. This is a guy working for a world class professional services organization.

You might think, wow, so you took his advice right? But sadly the answer is no. I was turned off, I thought he was jaded, and I briefly considered telling the firm to take him off the recruiting team.

When I look back at that experience, I realize he was the one person who shot me straight out of the many recruiting processes of which I was a part. And this is the problem with the way many organizations recruit new talent. They put on their “recruiting face” and try their best to convince the best talent to join their team.

Along the way, they wine and dine, talk the talk, and suck up to the top recruits. But they forget one little detail. Those recruits actually show up to work some day. And when they show up, they see what’s going on around them just like everybody else. You can sell an incredible culture, great people, and exciting work… But if a talented person shows up on day one and realizes that everything you sold her was a load of crap, they’re not going to stick around very long.

I look at it like this. If you were a 5-star football recruit deciding which college you would like to play football for, would you decide to join the team that sucks and has a terrible coach? Or would you decide to join the team that already has all stars and has a coach who is a level five leader? And if you were sold a great team, a great coach, and a great culture of winning, but arrived and found something completely different, would you stay? Or would you transfer?

You can pour any number of resources into recruiting. You can pour an equal number of resources into marketing. You can create an image that is revered and respected. You might even be able to trick some really talented people into joining your organization.

But if you have even one person who feels the way the guy did who tried to warn me about what I was getting into, then you’d be better off fixing what’s wrong internally before going after top talent. Otherwise you’ll end up with a whole bunch of very talented people running around telling people not to go to work for you…

And nobody wins when that happens.

I had the great privilege of being asked to speak at TEDxUGA 2014. It was a full-circle experience for me, as I was a part of ODK on UGA’s campus just when it was getting involved with the early conversations around hosting a TEDx event on UGA’s campus. Then, in its inaugural year, I helped lead the TEDx student organization through a mission, vision, and values exercise, which was a blast.

This year, I got to deliver a talk that centered on the idea to which I have given my life over the past 2.5 years. I called it, “From TGIF to Living for Monday: A New Career Approach for a New Generation at Work.”

I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, I hope you’ll share it far and wide. My goal is to have this talk viewed 1,000,000 over its lifetime. As soon as it hits 100,000 views, I’ll get to work on Living for Monday the book.

 

If you’d like to offer feedback or words of encouragement, you can reach me at barrett@livingformonday.com.

Today I published a post called 50 Things I Learned from Starting, Running, and Quitting Living for Monday. Well, I got a lot of questions like, “What was Living for Monday?” So, this post is one we recently published as we geared up to launch the new Living for Monday before we realized we did not have the access to capital we believed we had to fuel the model.

I have not made any changes to the post from when it was published at Livingformonday.com.

What?! What happened to Livingformonday.com? Is this even the same company? I’m melting, I’m melting!

Welcome home, you community-craving, growth-seeking, impact-driven young professionals. We’ve finally built the thing you’ve been asking for.

I want to do a couple of things in this post:

  1. Give you a brief history of why Living for Monday exists and how we got to where we are today
  2. Tell you where the ideas for our training + community model came from
  3. Give you a tour around the new site
  4. Whet your appetite for what’s to come this week and in the next several months

 Living for Monday: A Brief History

  • August 2011: Barrett resigns from his position as a staff consultant in EY’s Performance Improvement practice. After becoming disenchanted with management consulting as a body of work and lifestyle, Barrett went in search of more meaning in his work.
  • September 2011: Barrett spends a month in the mountains with his dog, his bookshelf, and groceries. He uses the time for introspection, reading the entire Bible for the first time, and setting the initial vision for Living for Monday.
  • October 2011 – May 2012: Barrett creates an initial career search curriculum entitled Career Kickstarter. He tests the curriculum through one on one coaching with six college students.
  • May 2012 – December 2012: Barrett goes back to the drawing board after realizing that students needed much more than self-awareness and self-discovery training. He adds tactical information like resume building, cover letter writing, networking, interviewing, and negotiating to the Career Kickstarter written curriculum. He works with a team of interns to turn the curriculum into a 250 page ebook and 90-module video course with supplementary exercises and worksheets.
  • January 2013: We use $10,000 of friends and family money to fund the new Livingformonday.com, designed by Shatterboxx. We also launch CareerKickstarter.com, where we made the ebook and video course available for sale.
  • March 2013 – May 2013: Living for Monday partners with the University of Georgia Terry College of Business to run a Career Kickstarter pilot program with 50 students. 42 students sign up and 28 complete the 12 week career search program. Of those that finish, 90% landed jobs with which they were highly satisfied, beating the all-student average placement rate by 10%+.
  • May 2013, Pt. 1: We realize students are a bad target audience due to their lack of willingness and ability to pay for Career Kickstarter, even if they know and appreciate the value. Similarly, we find that university career centers are even worse customers. They are understaffed, underfunded, and stuck in the educational-industrial complex that serves their bottom line before serving students. We abandon Career Kickstarter as the core of our business model. Time to pivot.
  • May 2013, Pt. 2: It’s pivot or die time at Living for Monday. Barrett goes in search of a family and friends round of fundraising to fuel two years of base-level operating expenses for two full time employees (one of whom is me). Barrett successfully recruits Josh to join the Living for Monday team.
  • May 2013 – October 2013: The Living for Monday wilderness period. Funded, but lacking a vision for our next move, we fall back on Barrett’s consulting roots and Josh’s web development experience. Barrett becomes curator of Atlanta Global Shapers, travels to Portland and Geneva on business, and interns for Seth Godin. All of the experiences combine with the Career Kickstarter failure to form a new direction for the business.
  • October 2013 – March 2014: The new Living for Monday is born. Josh and Barrett create a shared vision for the future of the company. Starting with a broad vision that lacked focus, we eventually narrow to a focused, inspired, and creative training + community model for young professionals. Which brings us to today.

The New Living for Monday Model: Training + Community for Ambitious, Creative, and Generous Young Professionals

The new Living for Monday model reflects every experience I’ve had over the past three years.

Lesson #1: Businesses are doing a terrible job of investing in their young professionals, losing out on a massive opportunity to build great culture

At Ernst & Young, I learned what it’s like to do work that has little significance related to my personal beliefs, values, and interests. I was very good at management consulting and I could be making alot more money if I were still in the industry. But the work simply wasn’t important — to the extent I was motivated, it was entirely because of external factors like money, prestige, and appearances.

Further, I learned that businesses (on average) do a terrible job of investing in the development of their people — and EY is part of an industry that supposedly invests heavily in people. Businesses tend to invest most heavily in people who have been there for a long time, have proven that they are high performers and have reached a certain level of the organization (typically middle management). Because of this trend, young professionals receive very little training early in their careers, despite the fact that so much research shows that the first ten years at work make up the period in which we grow most as individuals and professionals.

Lesson #2: Universities, career centers, and therefore students are sometimes clueless about the world of work

In building Career Kickstarter and working with universities, I realized just how out of touch campus life can be from the world of work. Of course there are exceptions, but in general it seems like a lost cause. Students sit in class with out of touch professors teaching business lessons that were applicable 15 years ago. Students leave college, on average, with degrees that mean very little when it comes to their ability to deliver on their roles and responsibilities at work.

Students are exposed to relatively few opportunities in the world of work through the institutions where they learn. Big business makes big donations, and they get a disproportionate amount of attention from universities and their students. Every student in business school thinks they need to go to work for a Fortune 500, a big four accounting firm, an “A-list” agency, or a prestigious bank or consultancy. Some students thrive in those environments upon graduation, but most simply become disillusioned with what it means to work and feel duped by the system.

Lesson #3: Young Professionals in Their First 10 Years at Work are Optimistic, Inspired, Open-Minded, and Curious

The Atlanta Global Shapers have shown me a new world of possibility. The same goes for the Living for Monday contributors, the talented entrepreneurs at Atlanta Tech Village, and the inspiring people I’ve met at World Domination Summit. Despite the lack of practical training and personal development being delivered by business and educational institutions, young pros are remarkably resilient.

I’ve become intensely passionate about the potential of our first 10 years at work. Our first ten years represent the greatest years of change, salary growth, movement between jobs/organizations, and positioning for the legacy we will leave in our careers. The top 50% of Millennial young professionals realize this and they’re eager to build new skills and habits that will give them the freedom to pursue their goals. They’re also incredibly passionate about building communities of like-minded young pros who are ambitious, generous, and creative.

Lesson #4: Krypton, CreativeLive, Lynda, Fizzle, and Saddleback Church all provide valuable inputs to our new model

Working with Seth Godin and our talented team on the Krypton project was incredibly inspiring. Perhaps more importantly, it showed me the possibility of what we could build on the web. Much of the new Living for Monday design comes from our work on that project. Similarly, the idea of combining online learning with offline community comes directly from the Krypton model.

CreativeLive has shown me what is possible for making learning accessible to anyone while still building a profitable business model. Our free livestreaming of all of our content is inspired by CreativeLive. The same goes for the production quality and in-studio audience for all of our workshops, for which we’ve partnered up with the great team at Friendly Human.

We’ve learned a ton from Lynda.com. They have a massive library of valuable training content. On the one hand, their library is so large and lacks curation such that it makes the experience for a new learner incredibly intimidating and confusing. A 2013 Forbes article showed that the $100M company is moving towards more curated, in-house content over contracts with experts to produce new courses. Our monthly subscription model and our in-house content production is inspired by Lynda.

Fizzle.co has one of the most inspiring communities of which I’ve ever been a part. “Fizzlers” as we call each other, are incredibly passionate about helping each other succeed. They love spending time together and heavily invest in one another’s success. Our mastermind groups, community events, and online forums are all inspired by building a powerful community similar to Fizzle.

Finally, Rick Warren and Saddleback church provided inspiration for the way we want to grow our community. As a company, we want to provide the most inspiring and creative workshops for young professionals in the world. We want to be the most relevant and relatable source of un-training for young pros. While people will come to us for content, we know that our sustained growth as a community will rely on the people who make it up. We can only create content, structure, and branding that supports the kind of community we want. It will be up to you to build it, which is exactly why Warren made small groups the centerpiece of Saddleback church. People who don’t join a mastermind group will be asked to leave the Living for Monday community. We’d rather have great community than more money, plain and simple.

The Collective Lessons

Collectively, all of these lessons and experiences have added up to the model we’ve built for the new Living for Monday. We’ll share in more depth about different aspects of the model over the coming days, but that’s plenty for now.

 

A Tour of The New LivingforMonday.com

Our overall strategy for the new LivingforMonday.com was to cut it down to the absolute essentials. The old site was busy, old, not responsive, and built around the blog as the centerpiece. The new site is responsive, flat, elegant (we think), reflects the brand we want to build, and is focused on our workshops (the centerpiece of our new model).

The New Homepage

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 1.17.40 PM

I know I’m biased, but I love this homepage. It’s elegant, simple, and speaks to the core of what we do. We’re here to help you become great at what you do so you can make an impact through your work. We want to give you the freedom to pursue your career goals by giving you the tools to succeed.

The How it Works section is as simple as we could make the new model. Our livestreamed online workshops are free so that you can try us out without taking any risks or spending any money. Becoming a member means you become a true member of the community, including access to all of our live events plus the workshop archives. Reaping the rewards means we’re going to help you turn your training + community into the opportunities you dream of.

Underneath How it Works is an Upcoming Workshops section that shows you the next four upcoming workshops. You can click through to sign up and create an account for free.

Blog

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We completely redesigned the blog experience. The entire blog is built on a responsive card system focused on the reading experience. We wanted to give you access to the content you want most in a format that creates a delightful reading experience, regardless of device. This was a big step in the right direction.

We have 15+ contributing editors here in Atlanta who have been hard at work creating valuable content. We’re calling the blog: Pro: A weblog for young professionals by young professionals on what it takes to be great in your first ten years at work. We’ll be quickly expanding to include contributing editors in four other cities as soon as possible. If you’re interested, contact us.

Watch For Free

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This is the core of what we do. Inspiring and creative workshops to help you make an impact through your work. We’ll start off by producing two 90 minute workshops per month. The faster our community grows, the faster we’ll be able to hire course designers. My goal is to be producing one course per week as soon as possible.

Workshops are 90 minutes long, and we shoot them on location in the Friendly Human studio at Atlanta Tech Village. 20 Living for Monday members get to join us as members of the in-studio audience at no extra cost. Each course is livestreamed over the lunch hour (EST). You don’t have to leave the office and you can watch while you eat.

If you watch live, every course is free. If you want to access the course later, it will be available to our paid members in our workshop library.

Workshop Signup

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When you click on any workshop from the homepage, workshop calendar, or become a member page, you’ll be directed to the workshop sign up page. Each one has the workshop title, date and time we’ll be livestreaming, and a brief description of what you can expect from the workshop.

When you click on sign up, you’ll b asked to sign in or create an account. Creating an account is free, and it allows us to send you a reminder about the upcoming workshops. You’re also able to build a profile and view all of your upcoming workshops. When you become a paid member, your profile will become a training portfolio and you’ll be able to share it with your employer.

Become a Member

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This is where we make money. Once you’ve attended a live workshop or two, we want you to join the community. Becoming a member means you get access to the in-studio audience, monthly community events (Atlanta only at the moment), and every other week virtual office hours with the Living for Monday team.

Most importantly, becoming a member means you’ll get to join one of our mastermind groups. They consist of 8-10 Living for Monday members in the same city who share similar career interests or goals. They are your support group and your source of accountability for reaching your goals. Every group is supported by a Living for Monday community manager on our team.

Finally, members get sneak peeks at our growth plans. If you know me (or Josh), you know that we have much grander plans than what you can currently see at Living for Monday. Feedback from our members will determine which new offerings we create first.

Contact Us

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If you need us for anything, you can always reach us here. We also provide our real life emails in case you don’t want to use the form. If you have an idea for a course, are having trouble with the site, want to learn more about us, or just have a question you want to chat about, this is how you should get in touch.

Login

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When you sign up for an upcoming workshop, you’ll create an account. When you become a member, your free account will upgrade to a paid account, along with the accompanying benefits. Creating an account gives you one-click workshop sign up and you’ll be able to see all of your upcoming courses on your account page. If you’re a paid member, you’ll see your past courses, which will help you prove your training to a boss or potential employer.

What to Expect in the Next Few Months

The most important thing I want to communicate in this post is this: we’re all in on this thing.

We believe in the training and community model we’re building. The only thing we believe in more are the ambitious, creative, and generous young professionals who make up the community. Everything we do from here on out is to serve young pros in the first ten years of your career. Period. No questions asked.

We have enough funding to last us til the end of the year. By then, we need to have 1,000 members of our community to continue to operate. Once we hit that number, we’ll be off to the races together. I think we can do it within six months and we hope you’ll help us make it happen. We built the business model on two things:

  1. Having 1,000 true fans — 1,000 young pros who are all in on our mission of changing the way the world thinks about work. 1,000 people who believe in living for Monday and making an impact through our work.
  2. Building the most inspiring and creative un-training in the world at a cost that’s affordable to any young professional.

So that’s what we’re doing. We hope you’ll join us.

 

The next few posts will be a series to tell you more about the new Living for Monday. Here are the posts you can expect:

Next week (March 17 – 21, 2014), we’ll have the first articles from our Atlanta contributing editors. We’ll post an article a day and I think you’re going to be very pleased with what these talented people have to offer. Soon after, we’ll invite contributing editors from New York, Chicago, Austin, and Boulder-Denver to join our editorial team. If you’re in one of those cities and interested in writing for us, let me know.

We’ll livestream our first course on April 14th and one every two weeks after that. As our membership grows, we’ll grow our team in lockstep with a goal of producing one course per week by the start of 2015.

Here we go. It’s a whole new world at Living for Monday. We’re building it for you, the ambitious, generous, and creative young professional. We’re building it together. We’re all in. It might not work, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

 

So there it was. Here are a few links to posts I have republished here simply for context about what Living for Monday was:

Before or after you read this post, it might be helpful to read this one to get some context about what Living for Monday was.

On Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, I made the decision to shut down Living for Monday.

Why I made the decision does not matter, but know that many hours of careful thought and consideration went into it. We built an incredible vision for what Living for Monday could one day be, but in the end I believe Living for Monday might be better as an idea than a business.

A decision like shutting down a business can be tough for an entrepreneur. After all, the task at hand in getting a business to sustainability requires that you integrate your personal identity with the venture in many ways. Different people handle decisions like this in different ways.

This post could take many forms to announce the decision. I could go on an emotional journey, exploring all of the ways things could have been different. Or, I could blame everything on other people.

Instead, I choose to celebrate Living for Monday as a smashing success of a project that played out over the course of 2.5 years. I got to explore ideas, learn more than any institution could teach me in a classroom, work with incredible people, and understand what it takes to build a project from the ground up. Ultimately, I’m filing Living for Monday away as a great idea with powerful resonance that I explored to its fullest extent. A grand success.

Of course, in running a project over the course of 2+ years, it’s easy to learn alot. I figured I’d share as many of those lessons as possible with you and hope that you can benefit from them. It turned out that I came up with a round 50, for no particular reason than that I could think of no more lessons learned for now.

Here goes:

  1. Design matters.
  2. Content matters.
  3. Great design without great content lacks impact.
  4. Great content without great design loses part of its’ potential.
  5. The people you are surrounded by set the bar for what you expect to achieve.
  6. Being alone is not a permanent state of being. It is a temporary state that either beats us down or leads us to the sense of community we have been seeking all along.
  7. Servant leadership inspires others to serve as well.
  8. A great business does not a great idea make. Some ideas are better to remain as great ideas rather than be bastardized by turning them into business ventures.
  9. Leaving a great idea as an idea (in written, audio or video format) is sometimes, ironically, the best way for the idea to make money.
  10. Some of the best businesses are not brilliant ideas, but rather simple solutions to real problems as expressed by real people.
  11. Consistency builds trust, followership, and growth… Especially if you seek intentional growth through consistency.
  12. Any given project is just “one note in your song” as my friend Richard Boehmcke puts it. No one piece of work or art defines you. It is the body of work for which you will be remembered.
  13. You are not your work.
  14. Any person who evaluates your worth as a person should be shunned. There are too many people who will build you up to accept hurtful criticism from a person who himself is challenged with his own demons. Pray for him and move on.
  15. Any person who offers sincere and honest criticism of your work should be kept close.
  16. The number of people who are willing to offer sincere, honest, valuable criticism is small.
  17. Knowing when to quit is important.
  18. It’s easier to know when to quit by adequately defining a project to begin with. Establishing clear outcomes, timelines, and resources you’re willing to dedicate to a project will save much heartache.
  19. Decisions and deals made out of necessity are dangerous. Our immediate needs cloud our judgment, especially if those needs are financial.
  20. An investor is only valuable insomuch as she is aligned with the founder’s vision and complements the founder’s skills/knowledge/experience. A misaligned investor creates heartache, desperation, and disappointment. The corollary, of course, is that an aligned investor is an asset to be cherished and integrated into a project.
  21. Charisma and belief are necessary but not sufficient for execution. As a million people before have made clear, a great idea only matters in its execution.
  22. Metrics are meaningless unless they lead you closer to your vision and goals. A feel good metric is nothing but a distraction from the work at hand.
  23. If given the choice between recognition and doing more great work, do more great work. Whatever recognition that work deserves will come naturally. If you make the work the reward, you will be unstoppable.
  24. Earned media is more valuable than engineered media. The intersection of the two is best of all.
  25. The world (of business, of politics, of [insert anything here]) is unfair. The world is not a meritocracy. You can become cynical or you can learn the game. Learning the game can help you make your world more meritocratic.
  26. Nobody owes you anything. Not a sale, not a job, not anything. If you aren’t willing to work for the sale or deliver results in the job, you are expendable and should expect that you may find yourself without paying work at some point in life. This is harsh but true… But knowing the truth makes it actionable.
  27. People, even with big titles, often have no idea what they are doing. All people — people in the most important roles in the biggest organizations — are just trying to find their way just like you and I.
  28. Those same people are most concerned about the urgent tasks or activities that directly affect their selfish interests. Ask a business executive how they are thinking about population growth and its’ affects on our sustainable future and they will say population growth is good for business. Ask a scientist and they might disagree.
  29. Collective consciousness is a wonderful idea. I believe in it. I believe that community-driven decision making builds a sustainable future. I hope my generation will embrace that idea. But that idea does not drive decision making today.
  30. Nothing is a sure thing. Anyone who says they have a sure thing has simply not been exposed to the alternative possible outcomes. Confidence is key, but willful ignorance is dangerous.
  31. Reactionary decisions are often driven by poor reasoning. Starting a business because I was disillusioned with what I found in one small corner of corporate America does not make it a good decision to start a business.
  32. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is felt on an individual level, everyday. If basic financial needs are not met, our minds are mastered by that reality. Only once we reach a basic level of sustenance are we able to focus on higher levels of self actualization.
  33. Beyond our basic sustenance, money is not a powerful motivator. In fact, once our basic needs are met, money is only valuable in the impact it allows us to make on the things we care about, not as an end in and of itself. Money is a tool not an end.
  34. Money is not real. It is simply a means of exchanging value. Ultimately, it is not “yours” and you cannot take it with you when you die. Money helps you achieve outcomes that matter while you are here. It also help you to help others achieve outcomes while you are here.
  35. Owning a successful business does not mean you are good at doing everything that goes into operating a high performing team or organization. It means you have found a pain in the market that people were willing to pay to solve. The effectiveness of your organization is something entirely different.
  36. Shared organizational culture creates organizational effectiveness. Organizational effectiveness creates performance.
  37. Brand perception is a reflection of internal culture. A conceived or aspirational brand will crumble under poor internal culture.
  38. Every service, website, and product you use makes money, even if it is free to you. Google is not free, it is paid for by advertisers. This blog is not free, I am only able to write this blog because I make money elsewhere. Wikipedia is not free, it is supported by generous donors.
  39. Firing clients can sometimes be the quickest path to success.
  40. People will say they would buy what you’ve made because they don’t want to say no, or “call your baby ugly.” The best way to know whether you have created or are creating something of value is to ask real people to pay real money. If you ask for money before you’ve even built the thing, even better. It will save you time, money, and energy.
  41. The significance of our work is motivating. People who consistently perform at high levels draw their motivation from alignment with personal goals, alignment with personal beliefs, or inherent interest in the work itself. Any other motivators are false motivators and are not sustainable over time.
  42. Many people quit their work because of bad bosses, not because of the work itself. When we are not led, when we do not believe in our boss, when a boss is not willing to grow and learn herself, then we feel no loyalty.
  43. Our lives can be broken into seven categories of well being. 1) Spiritual. 2) Relationship. 3) Mental. 4) Physical. 5) Financial. 6) Career. 7) Adventure.
  44. Autonomy, connectdness, and growth greatly affect our sense of fulfillment in life and work. To feel a sense of autonomy in the choices we make everyday. To feel a sense of connectedness to a community. To feel an alignment between what we believe to be true about the world and the actions we take. These are the things we seek.
  45. I can hand you a specific set of directions, or I can hand you a map. I could give you directions based on my own experiences, which could have very little to do with your own experiences or starting point. The results you achieve by making use of that map depend entirely on the starting point. Your ability to understand your starting point and then apply the map to your situation will directly dictate your outcomes. Maps are more uncomfortable than directions but often more fulfilling.
  46. People would rather you do the work for them then show them how to do it themselves. Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime is true. However, teaching requires a willingness to learn. Many people do not have that willingness. Sometimes it is driven by fear, sometimes by past experience, sometimes by the combination of the two.
  47. Growth is scary. We reach our potential when we consistently make ourselves uncomfortable. Knowing this does not make it any easier to be uncomfortable, but rather it allows us to understand what we are feeling and its value to our future.
  48. Being in relationship with other people has implied risk. The value those people provide back into our lives is worth the risk, as long as we first apply the right filters to the people we allow to influence us.
  49. Much of the marketing, advertising, and messaging we see in the world is designed to build up a sense of fear and inadequacy within us. Fear drives us to make impulse decisions. Creating a filter for what messages we subject ourselves to allows us to create a more intentional reality for our lives.
  50. Avoiding the real work does not make failure any more or less likely, it just delays the inevitable. Do the real work first and fail or succeed early. Waiting to fail does not make failure less painful.

The inevitable response to a post like this is: “So, what’s next?” To be frank, I don’t know. I never gave myself the option of a Plan B while I was running Living for Monday, and I think that was the right move. Further, I put a requirement on myself that I would spend 4-5 days feeling the emotions of ending a project.

So, today I start looking for what’s next. I have many potential options in mind, and perhaps I will share some of the process on this blog. Ironically, I’ll be taking much of my own Living for Monday advice as I search for the next exciting opportunity on my path.

If you have ideas or want to have a conversation about opportunities to work together, please send me an email at Barrettallenbrooks@gmail.com

In the meantime, let me know what I can do for you.

 

If you’re plugged into the Atlanta startup community, then you’ve seen the lively conversation around Michael Tavani’s B2C startup efforts. I think it’s a noble movement and one that I hope to help succeed. If you want to get involved, sign up here.

Being aware of the conversation has had me thinking more deeply about WHY the conversation is happening and what is driving Tavani to take such quick action on the topic. So let’s explore some of the surrounding circumstances and potential motivations for B2C attention in Atlanta as a way of continuing the conversation.

  • The Scoutmob brand and positioning is now squarely centered on Shoppe as the core business model. The homepage is Shoppe, not local deals, and the transition will continue to take place as time goes on. A startup’s homepage is telling of their priorities because it is their main real estate.
  • Scoutmob just went through a round of layoffs — apparently of some key contributors that have helped build the brand into what it is today. That’s a shitty thing to go through for any company and no doubt it’s been a painful process internally for Scoutmob. The reality is that without an existing sustainable business model or enough funding to continue operations as they are, expenses have to be cut to continue operating. If the two options are death by failure or pain by layoffs, any responsible founder will choose the latter, even if it sucks to experience. This will give Scoutmob the chance to hit the reset button and continue building on their new model.
  • A maker space similar to Atlanta Tech Village, but for artists, makers, creators, and product pushers would help Scoutmob with it’s pivot towards their Shoppe business model. Successful establishment of this kind of space (most recent updates say in Ponce City Market) would mean a sort of vertical integration for Scoutmob. There is great value in vertical integration, if you can pull it off in a way that’s not offensive.
  • A bigger B2C startup movement in the city makes gains possible for everyone involved. As Lance recently pointed out, density, both on a micro and macro level across the city, creates momentum. Or, the more B2C startups there are in the city, the more likely each B2C startup is to gain traction… And the more likely they are to land investments. Just as Atlanta has to occupy space in the minds of VCs out west in order to start attracting investor interest, it makes sense to apply the same logic one level down the hierarchy. Atlanta as startup scene –> Atlanta as B2B Startup scene AND –> Atlanta as B2C startup scene.

So here’s the point I’m getting at… If you take each of these points above as independent pieces of information, they represent a hodge podge of happenings in the Atlanta startup scene with little significance on the macro level. If you take them as one orchestrated whole, being fueled by a single entrepreneur and the people surrounding him, you see a different picture.

Michael Tavani and Scoutmob are in a tough place right now. They’ve built a powerhouse brand, but lack a business model to match. They’ve made a pivot toward Shoppe that looks promising, but the jury is still out on whether it will be a sustainable model. They’ve tried to raise funds to support the move and I’m not sure how successful they’ve been.

Regardless of funding, they decided that the most prudent move is to lay off a portion of the team in order to keep the brand alive as they try to resuscitate the business model to support what will hopefully one day become a much larger, thriving team. Perhaps they’ll make a move similar to Claire in house of cards and decide to bring on fresh blood with new ideas and skills to drive the current pivot.

Shoppe relies on makers in order to make money. The Atlanta maker scene has no centralized identity  – you can look to events like Root City Market as great attempts to make it happen — so sourcing talent and goods is harder than it could be if there were a centralized place for makers and creatives to gather. Tavani wants to make that happen, whether at Ponce City Market or the Flatiron building or wherever else. Yes, location matters, but the bigger picture is about the strategic value to Scoutmob of a central maker station because that would mean Scoutmob could become Atlanta’s version of Shopify or Etsy for those makers. That will require local loyalty, which is much more likely to happen if Tavani is at the center of the movement to bring the makers together — much like David Cummings has built massive relationship capital by being at the center of the tech crowd coming together.

Finally, if Tavani can use his B2C gathering and anything else he can dream up to spur more B2C startups in the city, then he can increase the density of said startups, thereby increasing the B2C brand of Atlanta. A strong B2C brand is more likely to attract big B2C capital, which can only mean good things for Scoutmob… so long as they can stay in the game long enough to see the fruits of Tavani’s labor.

Lest I attract the trolls from the depths of the Atlanta internet and startup scene, let me be clear about something: Michael Tavani is a fellow Georgia Bulldawg and I love that he has built such a powerful brand. I want to do everything I can to support him as he makes big moves. Scoutmob is a brand I love and use regularly. I will continue to spend money with them if for no other reason than to root for their success. This article is simply a means for exploring the landscape of an interesting movement happening in Atlanta.

I would love nothing more than to continue the conversation in the comments.

The Living for Monday team is (and always will be) made up of life long learners. We know the value of consistent growth and progress in our personal and professional lives first hand. Whenever we have been a part of an online learning community, one of the most valuable aspects has been the ability to know what is coming down the pike.

The first eight workshops at Living for Monday are meant to build the foundations of soft skills that every young professional can benefit from. When we talk to business owners, executives, and HR managers, we consistently hear similar complaints about how their young professionals can improve. Similarly, when we talk to members of our community, we know that there are challenges both at work and at home that, if solved, would produce massive personal and professional growth.

So, these are the first eight workshops at Living for Monday. Beyond this roadmap, we’ll begin branching out into more specific skills related to PR, marketing, and advertising, as well as continuing to build our the core soft skills to help you build a meaningful, impactful, and fulfilling career.

Here are the first 8 workshops for young professionals at Living for Monday

 

1) To Do’s Reduce Stress, Get More Done, and Consistently Produce Result

Pain point: The challenges of email, meetings, boss expectations, and colleagues who need help make it difficult to consistently focus on the most important work. Add in the distractions of everything on the internet, open office plans, and coffee breaks and it can be downright impossible to focus on some days.

Summary: Let’s be honest with each other: we both know that you don’t get done as much as you could get done on most days. When you do, it’s often the urgent that gets done before the important. Let’s fix that, shall we? Priorities, productivity, and focus. Get the important things done in less time so your boss stays happy and you reach your goals.

Sign Up Now

2) How to Achieve Unreasonable Goals Through Reasonable Habits

Pain Point: The importance of goal setting has been hammered into us, and yet it doesn’t make the process any easier or more enjoyable. We’re encouraged to set lofty goals, and yet we find it difficult to act on those goals on a daily basis.

Summary: Whether in your head, on a crumpled piece of paper, or posted on your wall, we all have goals we want to achieve in life. Whether you want to be CEO or you want to have more muscle definition, every goal can be broken down into daily, weekly, and monthly habits. This workshop will give you the system to make it happen, cap’n.

Sign Up Now

3) How to Build a Mastermind Group

Pain Point: “How do I find more people like me now that I’m out of college?” is a question I get more often than I can count. Finding friends who will push you to reach your potential is very difficult — after all, would you walk up to a random dude or lady at a bar and ask, “Hey, wanna be my friend and hold me accountable for my goals?” Good luck with that ;).

Summary: The most powerful way to raise the bar and reach your potential is to consistently surround yourself with people who expect your best. Mastermind group members will call your bluffs, hold you accountable, and offer encouragement when you need it. This workshop will give you everything you need, soup to nuts, to put together your own group. It also incorporates well with our membership to fuel your MM group from day one.

Sign Up Now

4) The First 90 Days: What to Do When You Land a New Job

Pain Point: Starting a new job is exciting, but what happens after you take the offer? There is no roadmap for getting acclimated to your new organization. Even the best onboarding programs are not sufficient for setting you up for success.

Summary: Landing a new gig is a major accomplishment and we’re proud of you… But the real work starts when you show up for day one. Your first 90 days will set the pace for your trajectory at your new job. This workshop will help you make all the right moves to catapult your career by building crucial relationships, setting effective goals, and understanding the company’s strategy.

Sign Up Now

 

5) Personal Finance Habits: Building a Budget That Works

Pain Point: As if it weren’t enough to deal with building a successful career, the first 10 years at work are the most crucial for establishing the trajectory of our financial future. And yet where is the handbook for handling a salary, 401K, insurance, and every other “grown up” expense we get to deal with?

Summary: Generally speaking, the word budget is enough to make us gag. Thankfully, with the right tools, your budget can become a low key way to stay out of debt, save for retirement, and still have a daggum good time along the way. In this workshop, we’ll set you up with a simple, but powerful budget to track all of your exciting expenses, help you get out of debt (if you need to), and consistently track your progress using free tools to make it happen. You can thank us when you’re on a fully funded beach vacation. (You’re welcome.)

Sign Up Now

 

6) Negotiate for a Raise or Promotion at Work

Pain Point: Sometimes the only difference between staying in or leaving your current company is whether you’re feeling a sense of progress or making enough money to live the lifestyle you want. The conversations to help you land a raise or promotion are intimidating, especially if you haven’t done it before.

Summary: The fine art of negotiating for what you’re worth requires walking a fine line between confidence and entitlement. You’ll need political savvy, strategic thinking, and the ability to build a case for why you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread (or close to it). Get it right by attending this workshop, which will help you prove your value, build a business case, and have the tough conversations.

Sign Up Now

 

7) Take Control of Your Annual Performance Review

Pain Point: Your performance review is your chance to show your employer why you’re so valuable to them. Most companies lay out a poor format and glaze over many of your accomplishments. If you don’t track your goals and progress, you won’t be able to cash in on your hard work.

Summary: Once a year companies turn people into data. Your annual performance review is like a trial with a biased jury who determines whether you’re fired or promoted, receive a bonus, raise, or nothing at all, and establishes your place in the leadership pipeline. We’ll help you take charge to turn the process into a sexy competitive advantage. Yeah, we said it.

Sign Up Now

 

8) Build and Maintain Your Inner Circle

Pain Point:  Building relationships with great people after college becomes more and more difficult. The gap between meeting colleagues at work and meeting people at a bar is big, and yet it can be incredibly hard to meet fellow young pros any other way.

Summary: Our nerdy research tells us it’s because of the 50 person inner circle you surround yourself with has the greatest influence on what you achieve and how you spend your time. This workshop will give you a proactive way to build an inner circle that irreversibly changes your life for the better. (That was a bit dramatic, but hey, it got your attention.)

Sign Up Now

 

Take some time to sign up for one of our initial workshops by clicking on a link above.

As I described in an earlier post in this series, you can watch every workshop live online for free. Afterwards, you can purchase each workshop a la carte to download to the supplementary materials and templates, as well as having lifetime access to the workshop video modules. All of our members get access to our entire workshop library in addition to joining an LFM mastermind group plus many other benefits.

 

**Photo: Workshop Agenda by we collaborate on Flickr

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