Everybody should write. Everybody. Whether through fiction, non-fiction, a blog about your thrilling hobbies, or a run-of-the-mill journal, expressing oneself is key to a person's mental and emotional health. And, in my opinion, the written word the easiest way to give one's thoughts and experiences physical form (think about it: would you rather write "I saw a pretty sunset" or have to paint an accurate watercolor of it?). You may think me biased, what with my being a profes
If you search online for information about a “skills gap” in the US workforce, you will find ample evidence, such as an article last year from Fortune. It is easy to conclude that jobs and the very nature of work are changing much faster than the way we educate children to take on those 21st century jobs.
Search further for solutions to close that skills gap, and you will probably come to the conclusion – as I have – that the primary problem is not money. The federal, state
How many times a week do you find yourself saying, jokingly or otherwise, “I need to get out more”?
For me, there are weeks where it’s daily. This week, for a variety of reasons, it’s nearly constant. From reuniting with old friends to planning hikes to diving in oceans and climbing mountains, it always feels like there isn’t enough time in the day (or the week, or the year) to both do work you hopefully love to do as well as everything else there is to see and do in the wo
If you read this blog, chances are that you're a business-minded go-getter like my fellow contributors. You probably also have a decent-sized creative streak. Not me. I'm nearly all creative streak and not so much about the business sense. But I'm lucky enough to work for Present Tense whenever they need a researcher, editor, or niche blog post because they can see the opportunities to add a unique element to their clients’ projects. And while I usually believe that the work
Switching careers – especially if you start your own business mid-career – will leave you short on so many resources: time, money, backup support, and in some cases even energy and hope. You will have only one thing in almost infinite surplus: advice. With the goal of cutting through that clutter instead of adding to it, I’d like to highlight the four books which helped me the most when I left a lucrative consulting job in late 2013 and co-founded Present Tense LLC. The books
The classic “make-or-buy” decision often neglects one important aspect: what the end-user wants. That became clear to me as my team and I started analyzing the first waves of feedback on Pathfinder, an online portal which helps veterans find appropriate services through user reviews. While the findings come from the non-profit world, I see strong parallels in how companies in the for-profit sector should best decide on whether to build up a competency in house, outsource that
This is the latest in a series of blogs on what we at Present Tense LLC call a “Master Story”. In this installment, Frank Luby looks at the role the Master Story plays in helping professionals use storytelling to establish their name and reputation. Read the first part of the series, on why you need a Master Story, here. The next time you have a few minutes to fill, start a list. Write down a few things you wish your customers knew about you. Don’t sort it yet, and don’t over
Here’s a simple business question for you. Let’s say you had 100 customers and charged $10 per month for your service. You decide to raise your prices by 60% – yes 6-0 – and when the dust settles you still have 97 customers. In every month after that, your customer base grows. Would you make that deal? To save you the arithmetic: your revenue after the price increase is $1,552, vs. $1,000 prior to your move. Assuming your costs are constant, your profits have also increased s
Let’s talk numbers. Say a specialty drink at your favorite coffee shop costs $5. If you gave up two of those drinks per month, you would have enough money to pay for a standard $9.99 per month subscription to a music streaming service such as Spotify or Apple. I used that example recently in a talk at the New Music Seminar and have seen people make similar comparisons on social media. It is convenient and it also gets people’s attention. Both coffee and music are very familia
As a founding member of Race2Rebuild, a charity racing team raising money for disaster recovery projects, I’ve been lucky enough to help plan and attend ‘build days’. These are large events where hundreds of people from all walks of life come together to do good for a day by working to rebuild communities destroyed after natural disasters. Individuals and other charity organizations are part of the mix, but there are always teams of company employees that turn up for the day
A simple Internet search will tell you that the average amount of time it takes a person to learn to play the violin properly (which I assume means well enough that the instrument rarely makes the ear-piercing shriek of a misplayed string) is two to three years. I can't speak to the accuracy of that yet, but I hope to be able to confirm it in roughly 20 to 32 months. Having taught myself to play the guitar some years ago, I recently decided to do the same with an even more co
We’ve talked about this before: music has value. Potentially, a lot of value. And now, Apple is seizing their share. But Apple and its music industry partners have done far more this week than enable the launch of a new music streaming service. They offered the world some common-sense lessons on what strategic pricing means, how to do it without Big Data razzle dazzle, and how to explain it in basic jargon-free language. In doing so, they also went against a lot of convention