Why did I stop taking feedback or critique from ANYONE for my personal projects?

And I found a better way to ask.. Keep reading.

When I ask people for feedback, they weirdly go in a ‘problem finding’ mode. I generally have zero respect for people’s opinions. The purest form of feedback for me is people’s reaction to my work. Not their opinion. They can love it, hate it or be bored by it. That’s good feedback.

When you ask for feedback, people feel obliged to give you one. Even if they have no idea what they are talking about.

Creators generally ask for feedback so they can improve their work, but quite often it either ends up confusing or discouraging the creator. Creativity is a vulnerable place to be.

Here is a better way to ask. What I rather started doing is ask for ideas & suggestions. Worked like magic.

It forced people to think deeper and not just blabber opinions reactively. Plus you will start understanding who has some good quality suggestions and who doesn’t. Good way to filter out people whose opinions don’t matter.

Just wanted to share since I get asked a lot by creator friends to give feedback about their work. There’s always a better way.

How to RAPIDLY Create High Quality Content?

Here’s a simple step-by-step process to RAPIDLY create good content & take advantage of your judgemental/critical self.

1. Create an UGLY FIRST DRAFT, don’t judge just yet.

2. Go back to your ugly draft & you’ll see a number of mistakes. Now start judging.

3. Refine your ugly draft with the help of your judgy self.

4. When it is good enough, post it immediately. Slap your judgemental self if it tells you not to.

5. Note down all the things you wish you did right before posting. Give yourself a facepalm. Dust your self.

6. And REPEAT the process

A short, sweet guide that #WorksEverySingleTime

When information is cheap, attention becomes expensive

…and the power of constraints.

When I was in my 10th, I spent all my pocket money on internet cafes. And my weekly pocket money would not be more than 15–20 rupees. That means not more than 1 hour of internet access every week.

I wanted to learn animation and a lot of other stuff. That left me with only 4 hours in a month to learn something I was passionate about. We got a new computer at home but no internet connection. And that was a good thing.

Every week I went to the internet cafe for one hour with notes of questions I had in mind and I asked Google. I learned the basics of animation that way within 10 hours spread across 2 months of internet cafe visits.

This trained my brain to learn at rapid speeds. Because the constraint of time for me was very real.

Photo Credit: Brad Wilson at www.bradwilson.com

 

The excerpts from the book The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick is interesting in which he says,

When information is cheap, attention becomes expensive.

Though I haven’t read the book yet, this phrase stuck in my head. We have unlimited access to information all the time, everywhere. No constraints.

My mentor once told me,

“If you don’t work with constraints, you can’t be an entrepreneur? That’s what entrepreneurship is all about. All buggers with a lot of money would have built startups. They can’t.”

And that’s the point.

For me, the day access to information became cheap and easy I got lost in it and my ability to be intuitive was clouded, until recently, when my illusion was shattered by the reality. My creativity went down, I couldn’t make quick decisions and my faith in myself started to get weak, which is rare for me. This pushed me to introspect deeply. And all that I needed to do is bring back my constraints and focus on things that matter.

Being a filmmaker in the early part of my career, I reflected on the meaning of being creative in practice and one thing that has always worked for me is creating & imposing constraints. You can’t be creative without having constraints to work around.

Every great disruption and invention happened around constraints. Einstein had self-imposed one constraint around which he built his entire Theory of Relativity. That constraint was the speed of light. He was able to throw out all other presumptions out of the window because he could hold on to one solid constraint.

In fact, our DNA is one of the greatest examples of constraint at work. The child of a human will never be a bird. Constraints are at the core of great systems. Systems that work well all the time.

All great creations have a constraint at their core. The reason we can recognize great artists is because of their consistent styles. They stuck with certain constraints at the core of what they did, so they can have their freedom with everything else.

Today, the most real of all constraints is ‘time’.

If at all, for some weird reason you don’t feel pressed for time, use the ‘Pomodoro technique’. Google it if you don’t know about it.

And make the most of your time here on earth.

So even when information has become cheap, if we are aware, we can invest our attention wisely.

That’s the difference between ‘knowing’ everything versus truly ‘understanding’ everything. Or at least trying to understand it.

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Building products is not about ONLY solving problems

The problem is never the problem.

I started as a graphic designer before slipping into the profession of being a filmmaker. But at the very core, I realized, I was doing the same thing. Telling stories.

Being a designer helped me a big deal in understanding the language of visuals to tell stories and telling stories improved my design sense.

When it comes to the business of film making, I realized a very important distinction between our industry and every other industry. We sell stories, while other industries sell products.

There is a reason the film or gaming industries have ‘fans’ and other industries have ‘customers’.

My latest fascination has been product design and innovations that would impact people’s lives in a meaningful way. And a product is only used as much as it’s users engage with it. But is interaction enough? What differentiates a good product from a great one?

All great stories have one thing in common.

Absolute engagement, in mind, body & spirit from the audience.

And so is the case with every great product. Great products tell stories, they don’t JUST solve problems.

Let’s look at the meaning of ‘problem’? The meaning on Google says,

a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.

When you ‘perceive’ a certain situation or solution as unpleasant, it becomes a problem. It is all about the perception.

As Rory Sutherland tells a story in this TED talk about how Eurostar spent six million pounds to reduce the journey time between Paris and London by about 40 minutes.

The genius solution from this ad-man? Give free WiFi for 0.01 percent of that cost and make the journey more enjoyable. Or maybe, at 10% of the cost “ you could have paid all of the world’s top male and female supermodels to walk up and down the train handing out free Chateau Petrus to all the passengers. You’d still have five [million] pounds in change, and people would ask for the trains to be slowed down.”

When Henry Ford created cars, he knew people wanted faster horses and not cars. Not having a car was never a problem in people’s “perception”.

But owning the car did tell a story about the person who owned it. And that gave Ford the early adopters he needed.

Owning an iPhone tells a story about that person. When was the last time owning an Android phone made you feel special? People buy an iPhone, even when Android gives you greater control.

And Apple knows this well,

If you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone.

Telling stories is simply an art of selling an “idea” to an audience’s deepest desires and aspirations and they will pay you back with their emotional and psychological investment. And money is only a part of it. The point is, is your idea worth telling a story about?

Just like products & startups, we have tens of thousands of movies coming out every year. The ones that you hear about don’t even amount to 0.01% of all the movies that come out every year. In 2014, Sundance Film Festival received 12,218 films in one year alone. Out of these, 98.5% of films got rejected! And this is only in one festival.

The point is, is your ‘idea’ worth telling a story about?

As James Altucher mentions brilliantly in this blog,

Ideas are the currency of the 21st century, and their value is inflating, not deflating. I don’t care about the dollar or gold or health care. Any movement in those will just create opportunities for people who know when to take advantage of them. The key is to become an idea machine.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had the idea of making affordable electric cars available to the mass market but Tesla’s first car was not even close to solving that problem. The Tesla Roadster was made as a luxury car for the elite class, who could afford to buy a not so perfect luxury car that would tell a story about themselves. And that’s the whole point.

Sometimes, our initial products/prototypes might not solve the big problems or fulfil our grand visions. But if you look at it as a story and not as a solution, the unrelated essentials become a part of the process.

Like all good writers know, the first drafts are always the shittiest, but that’s the only way to arrive at a great story. It’s part of telling the story.

Like any storyteller, you have all the right to expect your audience to be absolutely engaged in mind, body & spirit with your story. The point is, is your ‘idea’ worth telling a story about?

Telling stories is hard work, selling products is not.

It involves telling stories with your product, your design, your technology, your processes, your customer support, employees & your decisions. Telling stories is not a thing, it is deeply rooted in your culture and the way you think & take decisions.

It forces you to bring context to your product and brand in a way that could connect with the people. It is not about being different or catchy or witty, it is connecting with people and letting them know that you understand.

As entrepreneurs & creators, we have to face our deepest fears and vulnerabilities to tell a story that is truly worthy. Because a story demands you of the depth and dedication that could possess you & intoxicate you.

And if telling stories drives you, a great product is just around the corner.

What’s your story?

Originally reproduced from Medium.

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The Psychology Of Funnel Building

Here is the most important thing businesses miss about online lead generation or selling anything online: Building Funnels.

It is more psychological than you imagine. Both building funnels and having a funnel mindset.

With every passing day, new technologies come by, be it AI, social media, search engine, chatbots, email marketing or even good old newspaper ads. The fundamentals have never changed.

The only difference is, technology has made the funnel building process scalable and measurable.

But the way a lot of businesses have been using marketing technology for lead generation or selling online is not giving them enough results they deserve.

And here’s why!

Think of the last time you clicked on a sales ad or watched a complete sales video because someone pushed it in front of you with paid ads. Don’t get me wrong. Paid Ads are awesome! And so are other digital marketing strategies. I bet 90% of us scroll away when someone starts selling right off the bat. It just doesn’t work.

But do you remember clicking and reading posts or videos that gave you value? Something that helped or entertained you, without asking for anything in return.

And then you start clicking the next one & then next until you reach a sales pitch for which, unknowingly, you give your attention, forgetting about what got you there in the first place.

This is building great funnels!

We use these psychological techniques in filmmaking & storytelling to make our audience feel what we want them to feel & take them inside the story. If done right, these techniques become invisible and the story takes them in.

Businesses that know how to build funnels with this approach are printing money, winning elections, making impact & others are wondering if digital channels are ever going to work for them.

The good news is, funnels work for everyone!

It all comes down to the value you are giving at your first touch point & then the second and then the third and so on until they are ready to commit to you.

In the online world, we cannot replace the most important element of trust building that we humans are so hard-wired for, “physical presence”. But we can get funnels to do the work of trust building for us.

And the way to do this is to get your prospective customers (I like the word ‘audience’) to give you micro-commitments: One click, one video view, one scroll or one download at a time.

First, we want them to commit their attention to you, then their engagement and then their actions. And to do this through a funnel, you need to deliver value first and ask after.

The more you think in terms of the funnel, the better you will start understanding it’s power.

If you want to learn how to build high converting funnels, read “DotCom Secrets” by Russell Brunson.

This is what a good funnel brings you,

  • Predictable Lead Flow
  • High Sales Conversion Rate
  • Shorter Sales Cycle Time
  • Low Cost Of Acquisition
  • Measurable Results
  • A Measurable, Scalable & Repeatable System

If you want our team of funnel builders & funnel hackers to do the heavy lifting for you, message me or leave an email at [email protected]

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