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How To Get A $10,000 Gold Apple Watch For Just $349

Why Apple Has The Best Business Strategy On The Planet – iPhone 6

Apple Introduces iPhone 5Let me start off by confessing that I’m an Apple fan, I’m part of the Apple tribe, I love what Apple does and how they do it. With that being said I always have some interesting debates with my Android and “Other Device” friends. It always ends with them talking about their improvements, their advancements, their sexy product commercials and how Apple is behind the times. My response is generally something like, “So what, your product really doesn’t matter and no one really cares.”

Don’t get me wrong as an Apple fan, at times I find myself intrigued by the other products. In my home I’ve even had my 11 and 15 year old sons see a Samsung commercial and say that they would like to have one. My response is always simple, “We do Apple in the Williams home… just wait, Apple will have something great.” Fortunately, dad has always been right.

That leads me to the point of this post and Why Apple Has The Best Business Strategy On The Planet. Apple does a great job of creating fans, a tribe, a group of loyalist that trusts their brand. When you trust a brand you don’t get caught up in what other brands are doing. You may look out of the corner of your eye and pay attention; however you never get caught up.

Case in point, I remember people being intrigued, excited and in awe of the LeBron James commercial and the Samsung watch and Big Screen Phone and yada yada yada. Since the launch those folks have been as quiet as a church mouse. Honestly, there has been way more talk about LeBron James taking his talents to Cleveland while everyone has forgotten about Samsung’s watch or big screen phone, because although they were first and new… they just didn’t matter.

Apple’s business strategy is about creating a tribe, a group that feels like they have something in common because they have the same device, the same iPad, the same computer and the same iPhone. More importantly they deliver time and time and time again.

Apple has done it again, they have delivered and both of my sons and millions upon millions of others are happy. As a matter of fact, more than 4 million pre-orders for the new iPhones were placed when they went on sale for pre-order this past Friday. Have you ever heard of anyone pre-ordering an Android device? let me answer that question for you… No you have not. The “Other” products business strategies are being 1st and not best. Tribes wait on the best, just ask the long lines at the best restaurants around the world. The discussion sounds something like, “We had to wait in line for a bit, but oh was it worth it.”

Another thing that was worth waiting for, was waiting for Tim Cook to step out of the shadows of Steve Jobs and take his place as Apple’s leader. Every leader has that moment where they seem to find their voice and their place, Tim Cook seems to have finally found that.

As a consumer, a loyalist, a member of the Apple tribe, and someone who is a strategist by trade, I look at Apple’s business strategy as the best on the planet. Their products, brand, look, feel and delivery methods simply work. Not only will Apple be delivering happiness to their fans with the iPhone 6’s this and Apple Pay this week, they created months of intrigue for the iWatch to be released in 2015.

These strategies work by simply keeping the tribe happy and they work at putting money in the bank. You can’t argue with any of Apple’s decisions and results. The minor inconveniences of waiting has customers ending with the same response of the awesome restaurant connoisseurs, “We had to wait in line for a bit, but oh was it worth it.”

Apple is seriously brilliant at waiting things out, letting competition exhaust money on incremental changes, creating desire, creating intrigue, learning from others, hiring the best people, creating questions and then delivering a stellar product that changes the game. Honestly I think Apple sums it up best in the video intro to their Keynote address from last week. This video didn’t have any audio; however the visuals and words on the screen spoke 1000 words. It read as follows:


“Here’s to those who have always seen things differently the ones who follow a vision and not a path

Where others perceive first as valuable, you value the first thing that actually matters. While others are distracted by the new, you focus on the significance as a whole new take.

Even before you could see how, you never doubted that we would change things and them we did together… Again and again and again and again.

Relentless optimism is what moves the world forward, so keep seeing things differently. Keep trusting there is always another way, a better way, a bigger way. One that breaks down barriers and heals the landscape.

You are the difference between the world as it was and the better place it will become and different is the one thing about us that will always be the same.”

What Leaders and Organizations Can Learn From The Fall Of Blackberry and The Rise Of Apple

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I have a friend who is somewhat of a BlackBerry fan. In his BlackBerry fandom he forwarded me the above tweet yesterday from the WallStreet Journal. Let me paraphrase what it says, “5 years ago BlackBerry accounted for half of the U.S. smartphones and today they account for none.”

I remember owning many different models of the BlackBerry with the old school track mouse roller ball thing. BlackBerry held onto the roller ball and the expensive data plans because they had an exclusive business crowd that wasn’t going to leave them no matter what. Well the iPhone had something to say about that and eventually the business folks left and BlackBerry is bankrupt, extinct and has some some really smart people in a room trying to come up with a BlackBerry rebound/comeback strategy.

I’m an Apple fan and although it’s hard for me to say, but if the Post Steve Jobs Apple company doesn’t adjust rapidly, they will find themselves in the same situation. I know the Apple fans are probably saying “no-way,” well that’s what my BlackBerry buddy who sent me the above tweet said to me about 5 years ago.

Here is the takeaway for organizations and leaders: Change, grow, adjust, stay hungry, surround yourself with the best, find fresh eyes, realize that you are not invincible, understand that success overshadows weaknesses, reinvent yourself when necessary and never ever ever take your customers and success for granted and stay ahead of the curve (BlackBerry Pun Intended).

PS: I guess the same thing can be said about your family and marriage… Never take either of them for granted.

Apple Introducing iOS 7 – Official Video

This makes me smile. 🙂 Cheers

A Day In The Life Of The Internet

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Do any of these stats stand out to you?

10 Reasons Why I Prefer The iPad Mini Over The iPad 2

Let me start this post off by saying, “I’ve had every version of iPad and iPhone that has ever existed.” My last iPad was the White iPad 2 which I rocked with a portfolio type Skinny Case. My iPad has always been my Technology Swiss Army Utility Knife of choice. I use it for web surfing, speaking, researching, reading books, music, videos…

Recently I left my iPad 2 in my rental car at Thrifty in Tampa, FL. (That’s crazy because I travel a lot and this has never happened.) Unfortunately it was not recovered and that’s an entirely different blog post. I’m still believing that it will be recovered, according to Find My iPhone it hasn’t been logged into wifi yet.

Prior to the incident of leaving my iPad in Tampa, I had purchased 5 iPad mini’s. Honestly, I was just a little excited that The Apple Store in #OKC happened to have them in stock while I was shopping. I thought they would make great Christmas gifts. 🙂

One of those 5 Mini’s ended up being an early Christmas gift to myself. Fortunately, I was able to restore my new iPad Mini from the last iCloud back up of my now “lost” iPad 2. I began browsing around my new little apple device before I headed out of town. My family and I were headed to Hawaii the day after I began using my iPad Mini. This trip is a combo speaking and vacationing trip. (I’m actually typing this post from my 19th floor balcony on Waikiki Beach.)

I have been using the Black iPad mini wifi only for a few days now and have come to the conclusion that I prefer it over the iPad 2. Below are 10 Reasons Why.

10 Reasons Why I Prefer The iPad Mini Over The iPad 2

  • 1. Size Matters : The iPad Mini is actually the perfect size for a device of its type. The challenge I would have with my iPad 2 is the size with the case wasn’t a great deal smaller than a 13 inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. I would find myself getting my computer out instead of using my iPad.
  • 2. The Palm Of My Hand : Being that I use my iPad Mini primarily for speaking and web browsing, I love the fact that I can grip it in my hand and easily walk around, read, maneuver and have total freedom without any fumbling, need for special hand grip cases or the need for two hands. I can easily grip the Mini with one hand.
  • 3. Screen Display : I’m not a super technical Apple snob and I’m not even totally sure of the exact difference in display size. From the eye test I’ll say that the Mini is stellar and you can widen the margins and increase the font just a bit for perfect viewing. That observation is from a near 40 year-old who wears glasses.
  • 4. The Look : The iPad Mini just looks great. The black one is super sleek and has a black matte back.
  • 5. The Case : For the 1st time, I don’t feel like I need a fully enclosed case. I got the dark grey Smart Cover and I must say for the 1st time I think this case really is smart. Not smart because it wakes up the iPad Mini when you open it, I’m saying that because of the practical nature of it. I have the smart cover on front and the matte Ghost Armor on the back. The iPad Mini keeps it’s original sleek look, with full protection.
  • 6. The Weight : The Mini feels like it doesn’t weigh much more than the iPhone 4s. The actual specs are (iPad Mini = 0.68 pounds and iPad 2 = 1.33 pounds). It basically weighs half as much. It’s so light that if you drop it, the damage will probably be minimal.
  • 7. My Pocket : My pocket, the 16gig wifi is only $329. That’s great for my pocket and your pocket.
  • 8. My Pocket Again : This is one of my favorite things about the mini. I can put it in my pack pocket. Yes, I’m serious it can go in my back pocket. Let me give the disclaimer that I don’t wear big pocket, old school, cargo, Fubu, South Pole, extra big pants. It can fit in my back pocket if I’m wearing a regular pair of skinny jeans, with the smart cover still on I might add. What’s key to this feature is having the smart cover and the Ghost Armor. You slide it in your back pocket with the smooth ghost armor side on your bottom and the smart cover facing outwards. I was able to walk on stage last night with my mini in my back pocket, pull it out, preach, put it back in my pocket and leave the stage. It’s not something that you are going to want to sit down on; however you can have it in your pocket until you get ready to sit down, prior to getting your car or whatever. If it can fit in my pocket I’m sure it can fit in the smallest of small lady’s purse. Did I mention, “I Love The Fact That The iPad Mini Can Fit In My Back Pocket.”
  • 9. The Cameras : The front and back cameras on the Mini are definitely superior to the iPad 2. The front or Facetime camera is now a 1.2 mp HD camera, additionally it has added face detection and backside illumination. The regular camera has added: face detection, backside illumination, five-elements lens, hybrid IR filter and ƒ/2.4 aperture. These additions have also made the video recording much better.
  • 10. Better and Smaller : The 1st reason was the fact that Size Matters… the bottom line is the iPad Mini is Smaller and it’s Better than the iPad 2. It’s distinctly the perfect size for a tablet device.

In no way am I saying I’m happy that I lost my iPad 2 in Tampa, FL.  I do feel a little better that losing it forced me to dive in to using my new favorite Apple device.

Have you bought one? Are you thinking about buying one? Share your thoughts, experiences, observations and comparisons of the iPad Mini.

Top 4 Productivity Tools

There are tons of tools to keep you and your small business productive. I’m always trying new apps and new things, but I seem to land on the same ones every time. Below are a some of my favorite productivity and organization tools for individuals, solopreneurs and small business owners. They are really for anyone that wants efficiency and organization in their daily operations.

I figured I’d just show the videos for Evernote and Neatdesk, as they can communicate the potential of these applications better than I can.

Evernote:

 

Evernote is universal and hands down one of the simplest tools out there. I am a fan of Evernote and the evernote clipper plugin tool for Google Chrome is awesome.

NeatDesk:

NeatDesk is by far the best real document organization tool ever. I don’t care whether you are organizing recipes, business cards, notes, statements, receipts… I had the original NeatReceipts and it was cool and it’s portable enough for me to carry with me. The NeatDesk for Mac takes it a whole nutha’ level… it’s ridiculous. I 100% guarantee you will appreciate it and Uncle Sam will as well.

CardMunch:

CardMunch is one of my favorite apps. It’s really simple, you take a business card, take a pic of it with your camera, submit it, it uploads all of the name, contact and title information along with a pic of the business cards to your contacts. Yes it’s that easy and yes it works. I have had this app for awhile, sometime last year LinkedIn bought it, so it’s now connected to LinkedIn. That doesn’t affect the usability of the app at all. I basically gather a bunch of cards, when I find a spare moment I scan them all in and throw them away. Easy, Breezy!

SoundNote:

I have had this SoundNote app for years, originally it was called SoundPaper; however SoundNote is probably a better descriptor. The short and skinny of this app is it allows you to take notes and record audio at the same time. Once you are finished taking notes, you can simply tap your notes and it will take you to that part of the audi recording. Great for meetings, conferences etc.

Share your thoughts and experiences with these products. What are some of your favorite productivity tools? 

Steve Jobs on Life, Courage & Wasting Time

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~Steve Jobs

Top 5 Travel Tools

Throughout my 38 years on this earth I’ve had a number of seasons where my travel schedule was, well let’s just say heavier than others.  Over the last few years that schedule has increased drastically and in the last year it’s super-crazy.  When you are a consultant and speaker, super-crazy is actually a good thing, so I’m definitely grateful.

I get to travel around and work with some of the most amazing churches, non-profits, organizations and brands in the country.  One thing I have come to recognize is this: If you are going to travel, you should always have some great travel tools and systems in your toolbox.  I have come up with a list of my Top 5 Travel Tools.

1. Tripit Pro – This is by far my favorite travel tool.  Tripit Pro is like having a personal assistant that has inside information from every aspect of the airlines and airport.  I will try to sum up this tool in a few sentences and I’ll share some key features.  You can get regular Tripit for FREE and Tripit Pro is $49.  (It’s worth every penny)

Tripit Pro – Scans my email and automatically adds any confirmation emails from airlines, hotels, rental cars etc. to my account.  I have my wife and my Executive Assistant added to my account so they can always be aware of my itinerary or changes to my itinerary.

A couple of key Things I like about Tripit Pro is the fact that it will text me just prior to 24hrs. before my flight and let me know it’s almost time to check-in.  The day of my flight I get a reminder text of my flight number, gate information and any applicable changes, delays and cancellations.  Speaking of changes, I’m not sure how they do it but Tripit Pro always notifies me of flight changes before the airlines.

As soon as I land, I receive connecting gate information via text, even if my flight is early. (No more checking terminal screens or listening to flight attendants talk about connecting gates).  Another feature that generally pays for the cost of Tripit Pro is the fare reduction notification feature.  If there is a drop in fares from your original purchase, Tripit will let you know.  You can simply call the airline and get a credit for the difference.

One last feature is a tracking mechanism for all of your travel accounts.  I have my entire airlines; hotel and car rental rewards accounts and point totals in one location.

I could go on and on, this is by far the #1 travel tool.

2. Waze Waze is the best iPhone GPS App on the market and it’s free. I would definitely pay for this app. I have used several awesome paid GPS apps; however I have really come to appreciate Waze.  Waze is a very easy to use voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation app. When you download Waze, you not only get a free traffic & navigation app, but also become part of the local driving community in your area, joining forces with other drivers nearby to outsmart traffic, save time, and improve your travel or daily commute.

After you enter your destination, as you are driving you can participate in the driving community with the touch of one button to notify the app and community of traffic jams, police speed traps, accidents, speed cameras, hazardous road issues, map issues and more.

3. Eagle Creek Packing Cubes – I use various sizes and types of the Eagle Creek Pouches.  I am able to maximize space by putting my t-shirts, underwear, socks, jeans, shirts etc. into these cubes.  I even use some of these pouches to pack up cords and other things.  I also use some of the travel sacs, no matter what you use, their packing and travel tools are all great additions to your travel repertoire.

4. iPad 2 –  I don’t really need to give a lot of detail to this tool because it speaks for itself.  I use my iPad to:

  • Speak from (embed my notes into pages)
  • Read books
  • Watch movies
  • Face-time over wifi with my family both with in-flight wifi and at the hotel
  • Capture thoughts
  • Write blogposts
  • Create keynote presentations
  • The list goes on and on like the Energizer Bunny

The iPad is a must have travel tool.

5. Beats By Dre StudioOutside of having some gum on hand to make sure your ears don’t clog up or pop while in the altitude, having some good headphones is a must.  I have several good in-ear headphones; however I have come to appreciate having the fully enclosed Beats By Dre Studio noise canceling headphones.  It cancels all of the noise from babies, jets, wind and overall airplane and airport noise.  Additionally you can listen to your favorite movie or favorite artists with unimpeded clarity.

I have a number of other travel tools that I will share in the future.  For now these are my Top 5.

What are your top travel tools?  Share your thoughts and experiences on any of these Top 5 Travel Tools.

Steve Jobs & Apple – Brilliant 60 Minutes Interview

This is a great 60 minutes interview with Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs autobiography.  There are some great nuggets from Steve Jobs’ life, family, style and some crazy cool twists and turns.  Then end of the interview focuses on how the iPad has changed the lives of families of and individuals living with autism. Really Good Stuff!

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