by Matt Basso | February 2015

SnapChat, Fast Company, and Lists of Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Whether you’re an entrepreneur running your business already, or an entrepreneur in training you need to pay attention to everything…And I mean everything. Tech, social media, design, web development, music, written publications, world issues, the stock market, oil, climate, health care… I could go on but I think you get the point.

The reasoning here is simple. You need to learn to anticipate movement and trends. If you can gain that skill you can learn to predict (within reason) where things are headed. This gives you and your business a chance at success. It’s impossible to predict the future but at least you can make educated guesses. As a business owner you’ll have to innovate and grow anyway. Taking risks is a part of the game. You might as well acquire as much information as possible and educate yourself so you can make your next move with confidence.

I’d also like to remind you that you’re a designer. Yes that’s right, as an entrepreneur, you’re a designer. You may not have gone to the college for design or photoshop, but you're still a designer. The very act of thinking of an idea (product or service) makes you a designer. Then you have to take that intellectual property from your brain and make it real. It doesn’t matter if you employ a team or a person to “draw” it, “photoshop it”, or “power point it”, at the end of the day you are giving the OK to go ahead and release that version.

I need to remind people that they are designers all the time because it’s easy to feel that because you lack a technical skill, like using photoshop to make a logo for example, you aren’t a designer.

You can learn that skill with some time and effort. (prob less time than you think)
You finding someone to do it for you is “designing your way through a challenge”
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the thought of all the “stuff” you have to do to launch your product and service - Website, pictures, copy, etc etc


Yes it’s challenging to pay attention to everything going on around you. That’s why it’s important to pick useful tools to aid you and spend time reading, watching, and learning from quality resources.

You need to be creative to problem solve well. You are creative if you’ve figured out a business that adds value to peoples lives. You are creative if you’ve found a way to make your life more enjoyable, healthy,, and prosperous.

This is what I’m paying attention to right now-

Snapchat

Snapchat. Yes I wrote Snapchat. Believe me the last thing I want to do is get caught up in a another worm hole of a social network but they’re doing some awesome things. It’s hard to ignore Snapchat right now.

They just recently released a section within the app that is dedicated to content from companies like National Geographic (Natgeo), Vice, ESPN, CNN, Daily Mail, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Food Network, People, Yahoo news, and Warner Music. Look at those brands. I mean who doesn’t love Natgeo. I can watch National Geographic all day.

As far as I understand the content is unique and exclusive for Snapchat. Meaning those carefully curated articles and videos aren’t found anywhere else. If major brands like ESPN, National Geographic or Natgeo, and CNN are populating Snapchat with content, it’s safe to assume it’s not just a tween app anymore. The user base has grown into functioning members of society. That means they’re consumers now.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…

I’m a fan of utilizing technology, especially when it comes to communication. Therefor I like using FaceTime. Here’s the thing, you can basically FaceTime within Snapchat AND IT WORKS BETTER. Even when connected to WeeFee (Wifi) sometimes my FaceTime quality is just bad. On Snapchat you can send funny pics, that you can write and draw on BTW, but you can also use a function to engage in a “real time” conversation. It’s super cool.

One more awesome thing about Snapchat. It allows you to have a public story that you make by populating your profile with your “Snaps” or your pics that you send to whomever. You don’t have to add them to your story but the option is there and that’s awesome because it allows you to share more…In a story form.  This is important because…

IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR OR YOU ALREADY ARE ONE, YOU NEED TO BE A GREAT STORY TELLER.

That’s how people get to know you.

The next thing that I’m paying attention to is Fast Company.

Fast Company is an all around awesome publication. I could spend an entire day reading articles on the Fast Company website. I like the magazine too, I just tend to consume more information on the interwebz.

The writing is stellar and the topics that Fast Company covers are not only varied, but curated so well. It doesn’t really matter if you have a business or not, you can gain insight from reading the articles from a personal perspective as well.

However, if you are approaching life as an entrepreneur Fast Company is one of those “tools” you can use to keep your eyes and ears open to things that can help you. Take this article about color and marketing  If you’re about to launch a website for your new idea, this can help you. It doesn’t matter if you’re paying someone to program and design the site. You’re the final OKer, remember? It’s up to you to say “No, the button should be this color because it gets better results”.

Or how about this Fast Company article about proposals that work  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a design business. The lessons found in this piece can be projected on to how you sell your product or service.

My last example is this article on marketing in 2015  Because I mentioned forecasting earlier it’s a great example. Anyone with a business does needs marketing at some point. People need to know you exist and even if you think you aren’t engaging in marketing you are. How you speak, to whom you speak, what you wear…This all contributes to either your business or your personal brand. So if you have an opinion at all, you’re marketing. And if you’re going to contribute you might as well be informed (as I said earlier) and make an informed statement.

Take away is READ FAST COMPANY. I don’t care if you buy Fast Company magazine, go to the Fast Company website, follow @fastcompany on instagram or follow  @fastcompany on twitter, or do all of the above. JUST DO IT.

And finally I pay attention to lists.

People like lists in general. I know this because when I write for Huffington Post if my article is based on some kind of list, it performs well. Not all list are created equal but sometimes a list of tools, behaviors, tactics, or exercises that can have immediate value pop up. You’re only going to find these lists if you consume information and/or communicate with like minded individuals who read similar content and enjoy learning too.

Here’s one quick example: Tools to help you be successful -  a list of things that can help you with your business, or simply your life. It also keeps you informed of whats happening around you. Innovation!

If you make time to PAY ATTENTION and use your time wisely it’s possible to learn instead of losing time in a worm hole of interwebz waste.

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Filed under: Entrepreneurship