360's Sales Incentives Technology Blog

The Power of Real Time Dashboards In Agile Development: Visualize & Attack

Posted by Mario Pareja on Nov 18, 2014 4:52:00 PM

I want to share a couple things that our team has learned along our journey into real-time production monitoring.  Mainly, it’s about the realizations we’ve had surrounding the importance of shortening the feedback cycle when it comes to designing dashboards during development.  

Much has been said and written about visualization of what your app does in production – I’m sure you get it by now.  I’m talking here about the importance of having the exact same view you would have in production at development time and what a powerful realization this has been for the team and I. 

Maybe the easiest way to start is with a metaphor.Was_This_Built_In_The_Dark

Imagine that you were a carpenter, building a wooden nightstand for someone.  You are handy with the tools, maybe even a master carpenter – you really know your stuff, development-wise.   Imagine though, that you are crafting each part to perfection – you have a great blueprint to work from and all the finest tools, but all your work is being done in a darkened box behind a curtain.  To shape and assemble the nightstand, you need to reach into the dark box and fumble with all the pieces and then keep assembling them and testing out the nightstand to make sure it seems to be working properly – that the drawers are opening, the top is on top, the bottom is on the bottom etc.

Doesn’t that sound...kind of stupid?

Why Dashboard?

But let’s bring it into the dev world now: pretend that we’ve built a cutting edge, successful training platform.  We’re “capital A” Agile Development, we’ve got a tight set of unit tests, an acceptance test.  We’ve also got some form of delivery pipeline and we’re somewhat regular delivering to production.  When suddenly it starts to hit us: Slide28beginning with a single email from Bob.

Bob says he has spent the entire week working through the 24 lessons, but at the end the app wouldn’t let him complete the course.  A few more emails come in with the same problem.  Then a few hundred more.   It turns out that we missed a cache-busting javascript file so people with cached versions couldn’t complete the lessons.  Hundreds of people putting in the time and effort to take the training and not finding out it wasn’t going to pay off until they had already completed the entire course. 

How could we have seen this coming? 

I say that the usual methods of contrived testing would not have revealed the problem and that’s because the problem didn’t come in the form of an error, it came in the form of an omission.  I’ve got this thought – mind you it isn’t fully formulated yet – that monitoring these types of metrics is akin to constantly running acceptance tests telling you that business value IS being delivered.

Slide30How Have We Done It?

We have been leaning on open source tools – they could be more mature but it has been working great for us, nonetheless.  We push our metrics to statsd, which aggregates and forwards them to Graphite.  Graphite efficiently stores time-series data, query and applies crazy interesting functions to it.  We then use Grafana to create graphs from Graphite data and put together entire dashboards to measure app activity.  Keeping an eye on trends uncovers issues and opportunities you would have otherwise not seen.  

The dashboards need to be managed like code and you want them consistent across environments.  For us, having new graphs show up in all environments is huge, so our dashboard nodes update on commit.  To be clear, all of this is a developer task – you are going to be using it, you are going to benefit from it.

Capturing log entries and metrics is dead simple.  It’s knowing what to capture that is difficult and we really don’t know if the data we’re capturing is going to be helpful until we visualize it.  We get it wrong all the time, of course, but that’s the point here; what makes sense when you’re typing away in your editor often makes zero sense at the user level.  Would you ship a new UI without ever looking at it? 

The fact is that you need to know in advance what will happen in production and the best way to do that is to have a production-evolved model to refer to while you’re building it.

Slide44Once you accept this idea, you also need to know how easy it is to shorten the feedback cycle by scripting a production-like world on your laptop.  When you realize the tiny investment to build this little world for yourself, you will never return to the old way of working. 

I want everyone to re-think how we look at this - make that production insight a first-class citizen right from the get go, day one of starting to write the code.

If you’d like to see another piece where I get into the weeds a bit more on this, let me know in the comments or ping me on Twitter and I’ll put something together.   Here's my deck from the talk I'm giving on this topic today:



Mario_Pareja_360incentivesMario leads the Software Platform Team at 360incentives. Amid raising three kids under the age of five, Mario finds time to hack on various projects and play Aussie Rules football. Connect with him on Twitter at @mario_pareja.

Topics: Agile Development

Incentive Program Cash vs. Rewards: Final Fight?

Posted by Jason Atkins on Oct 21, 2014 3:38:12 PM

It’s not that I expect this discussion will ever go away.  Or will it?

As technology continues to refine our ability to measure incentive programs inputs, outputs and effectiveness it is very likely that at some point there will be an ultimate victor in the ongoing debate about cash vs. other rewards. 

For now though, when people ask me for a definitive answer on this question, I have to answer a question with a question. 

rsz_different_people_have_different_preferencesWho Is Your Audience? 

An incentive program has a lot of moving parts and each incentive program is built with different goals in mind.   Perhaps you are trying to boil the ocean with a promo to gain market share in a new territory?   Maybe you are trying to win more shelf space at retail?   You might be trying to clear out the last of a discontinued SKU - the product is not significant here - what matters is the people.  Ultimately people will be the determining factor in the success or failure of your program, so you should really just ask them what they want. 

Case In Point

Many of our clients consider how they use our software to be a competitive advantage, and it puts us in a tight spot when we want to publish case studies that we think will help improve how our industry does business. 

Equally, there are many excellent, properly scientific academic studies publish on this topic.  Many use experimentation as well as foundations of psychology and neuroscience to successfully demonstrate to us every reason why non-cash rewards should be a more effective driver of behaviour than a simple cash incentive program. The thing is, we now have claim data from over 15 million claims and our results contradict that notion.

Before we ever wrote a line of code for this business, we interviewed hundreds of people who could be potential users of our software - CMOs, brand managers, field sales reps and retail sales associates.   Over 99% of them told us that cash is what always moves the needle for them.   To support the findings from our less-than-scientific study, over the last three years we have had a client transition from a points/rewards program to 100% cash-based rewards based solely on fulfillment from demand.

Here’s some anonymized data from a world leader in the appliance space. As I mentioned, they were running 100% points-based programs for their channel.   Salespeople would accumulate points and then order rewards out of a catalog - pretty standard, old school program.   It had always worked for them, so they wanted us to operate a points program for them.   It was my job to challenge them and ask, “Have you ever surveyed your people in the channel to ask what they want?”   Naturally, they had not because the program appeared to be working great.  

Survey_saysThey were so sure that the old way was the right way that before they moved to our technology, they surveyed their channel user base and said “we’re looking to make some changes, what do you want for your sales incentives?” And so, they launched a program with us where participants could choose to have their cash rewards loaded to an open, branded reloadable card or they could continue to participate in the points program.  After three years and millions of claims, the cash rewards count for over 95% of their redemptions. And their sales at retail continue to go up, not that correlation automatically equals causation, of course.

When you are planning your programs, it is important to remember: people have to be taxed at the same rate as if they were receiving actual cash, so the main lesson is to make sure they understand that and then give them the choice.   

points-vs-cashPeople continue to be surprised at the tax implication of receiving non-cash rewards and that tends to make them look at points programs more closely and often moves them to cash.

  1. If they are being taxed the same as if they had received cash, they will often prefer the choice that receiving cash gives them.
  2. Rewards catalogues often place a premium on day-to-day items.   The Internet has made this even easier to detect and made shopping incredibly quick and simple. If people feel that they are being forced to pay an unjustly high value for rewards goods, they will prefer the cash.
  3. Many people seem to like the idea of having a “secret” card to use as a slush fund.

If you want your programs to drive loyalty in the channel, it makes sense to make sure that people realize that the tax implications of both types of programs are so similar.   Finding out after the fact that they paid tax on a rubber dinghy with your company's logo on it at a higher rate than if you had paid them enough cash to go buy their own dinghy can put stress on that loyalty.  

As far as answering the question of cash vs. rewards goes, however: I say deploy a survey and let the people decide. Different people have different needs and the best types of programs will always honor the needs of the individual.

NOTE: This article was inspired by a question I received during a webinar I recently presented.  If you are interested to learn more, the video of the webinar is available HERE and the slide deck is available HERE.

jasonJason is the Founder/CEO of 360Incentives.com    Connect with Jason on Twitter @jayatkins or Google +.  

WEBCAST ALERT!  On October 28th, join Jason, along with Anthony Robinson, Solution Principal at SAP for a live webcast where they will discuss today’s big data challenges and opportunities.  They will share best practices on how to harness the secrets to driving positive customer engagement and here’s a hint – it all starts with data.

Rebate Program Breakage vs. Satisfaction

Posted by Jason Atkins on Oct 15, 2014 4:19:47 PM

Here’s a new mindset I’d like to introduce you to – a change of approach for how you market to consumers and the channel.

I want you to start thinking of budgeting for breakage in your rebate programs as an embarrassing relic from the past.  

David_Hasselhoff_Night_RockerFrame it in your mind like that David Hasselhoff poster you had on your wall as a kid – the one from when “The ‘Hof” was selling all those records in Germany.  Or think of it as that double denim acid wash outfit that you used to look so fine in.  Something that was cool at the time, and maybe even served a function in your business at some point, but is now outdated, useless and can even publicly discredit you and your company.

The same is true of building breakage into your rebates.  Let’s look at the new facts of life with some sample budget numbers:

If you’re running an incentive program that pays out anything above $25, the average breakage is currently in the single digits.   Redemption rates have actually been trending up for a few years now – remember that this is a good thing.

Angry_Rebate_CustomersAssume now that you are running a million dollar promotion; if you drive breakage by building it in to your program processes, figuring on an average rate of breakage, you may save yourself around $60K.  Building in breakage means using any of the following tactics:

  • Terms and conditions that are tough to read or understand.
  • Relying on 100% postal mail for claim entry and payment.
  • Offering only a P.O. box as the consumer’s point of contact.
  • Offering a toll-free number with attendants who are un-empowered and or unhelpful.
  • Offering claimants no visibility into the status of their claims.

(Click here for a quick look at how and why many companies are modernizing and digitizing their campaigns.)

In the old world, this would always work out fine.   It could be argued that maybe it was even worthwhile; you’re breaking a few eggs here and there, but overall the campaigns savings you realized were worth having to put out a few fires.   But let’s look at it in a more modern context.

timothy-ferriss-hat-headshot-four-hour-work-week-body-chefThe Tim Ferriss Effect

My friend Tim Ferriss is, among many other things, a best-selling author and podcaster with a very large social media following.  As I write this, he has over 685,100 followers on Twitter and likely about the same or more on Facebook.  His blog gets traffic from over 1.5 million unique visitors per month.   He has massive reach; it could be said that he is his own brand.

Cliff_Hodges_Bow_Hunting_In_CamoTwo years ago, Tim and I went for a survival weekend course run by our friend Cliff Hodges, who Tim mentions in his book The 4 Hour Chef.   Cliff is an incredible outdoorsman and I highly recommend his courses in wilderness survival, but his website really needed some help.  When I got back from the trip,  I worked with my marketing team and we built Cliff a new website.   As the site was nearing completion, I sent a link to Tim to check it out where it was running on our development server.  Tim liked the new site so much, that he tweeted about it to his followers and the resulting traffic overload immediately crashed our server! (Luckily it was just our development server!)

rsz_thumbs_downImagine if Tim had tweeted a negative experience that he had had with one of your products?

Prior to the ubiquity of Internet usage, dissatisfied consumers really had nowhere to turn for relief after a negative experience with a brand.  Even if they expended vast energy and personal resources, their voice was effectively the sound of one hand clapping and had little to no ability to alter public perception of the brand.   Brands have always been extremely adept at handling complaints and other PR challenges, mainly because of the consumer’s inability to make their voice heard.   The brand was the party who controlled the advertising and PR budget and whoever controlled the budget, controlled the message and so the public perception of the brand remained whatever the brand wanted it to be. 

social-reachAs is the case with Tim, each person with an Internet connection has the ability to become their own media brand, publishing content online in forms such as blogs, review sites, video sharing, podcasts and, of course, social networks.   There is no barrier to anyone growing their reach – high quality, interesting and novel content is reward by engagement much the way traditional media always worked.  This means that brands can quickly lose control of the public’s perception of their brand and, if handled incorrectly, the downward spiral of perception can even lead to a downturn in the company’s stock price.  (For more on this, refer to the Domino’s Pizza YouTube video scandal of 2009 where the company’s shares plummeted 10% within a week of a scandalous video being posted.)

So let’s now get back to your promotional spend – assuming that breakage lets you hold back $60K in your campaign. Is it worth the money if your company has to deal with PR challenges that can erode your brand equity and waste massive amounts of time and energy?   I would challenge you that it is not.   

Dominos-Brand-DisasterIt used to be as simple as losing a customer, maybe a customer for life and it used to be much easier for companies to understand what customer lifetime value (CLV) equated to for them. But now, you risk not just losing that customer but also every person who they are connected to. You have broken their trust, but they still have the trust of their friends, their families and those who follow them on these new media because we trust our networks and we trust those who we feel connected to.  

To wrap it up – if you have a million dollar promotional campaign and you really want to hold that $60K you might net from breakage, then I would challenge you to set your budget for $940,000.   In your planning, focus on how you can deliver the best possible customer/user experience at every touch of the campaign.  How can you make the rebate redemption process an exciting extension of your brand experience, instead of a necessary evil?   Believe me – those who have come before you have set the bar low. 

Embarassing_Trends_From_the_80sFocus on delivering the best possible experience to all those people who have trusted you by buying your products and are counting on you to deliver on the promise of your rebate offer. Drive true advocacy with your promotions.

Building in breakage used to be an informed business risk – experienced professionals knew how to account for it in their planning.   It’s not like that anymore – building in breakage is now like gambling with your brand equity. And it’s outdated - just like that double denim acid wash outfit.

NOTE: This article was inspired by a question I received during a webinar I presented last week.  If you are interested to learn more, the video of the webinar is available HERE and the slide deck is available HERE.

jasonJason is the Founder/CEO of 360Incentives.com    Connect with Jason on Twitter @jayatkins or Google +.

Topics: rebate programs, digital marketing

Malcolm Gladwell on Understanding The Importance Of All-New Everything

Posted by Jason King on Sep 18, 2014 10:30:00 PM

rsz_tire_business_or_safety_businessIf you work in marketing, occasional testing of what your brand is in the business of delivering is a useful and powerful exercise.   

Here’s what I mean: your company may well manufacture well-engineered tires, for example, but people may buy them because they believe that installing your tires on their cars will keep them and their families the safest out of all available tires.  To your customers, you are actually in the safety business.  Perhaps you build incredibly advanced laundry machinery but your customers love that your machines gently and effectively help to keep their clothes clean and beautiful, and so on.

Understanding what you ultimately deliver for people helps you to market to them more easily and builds a more meaningful connection between your brand and customers.  


Earlier this week I attended a keynote by Malcolm Gladwell who shared a compelling parable which illustrates the power of the above exercise while gently reinforcing the postulation of his latest book, David and Goliath.  It is the story of a truck driver named Malcom McLean.

rsz_malcolm_mclean_at_railing_port_newark_1957_7312751706Unless you happen to be in the intermodal freight business, there is almost no chance that you have reason to have heard of this fiery contrarian.  Nonetheless, it is fair to say that McLean’s vision for a complete re-framing of the shipping business has become the backbone for globalization of production and distribution of consumer goods.  You see, McLean was a hustler who grew impatient and hostile whenever any of his time was wasted.  One day as he sat in his truck for twenty four straight hours waiting to be offloaded at the Newark seaport, he channeled that frustration into a new way of thinking about the shipping business.

The idea of driving a trailer straight onto a ship and then dropping it right in the hold was not new, but all who had experimented with it in the past (most notably the US Army) had determined that for many reasons it was not viable.  McLean himself had experimented with dropping a trailer onto a ship bound for London UK in order to save time at port, only to realize that his company could not make sense of having their equipment off the road for so long while the steamship line could not make sense of having the extra weight aboard.

Disruption Of An Industry

But McLean knew he was on to something.  Another experiment, this time with 50 custom-purposed containers lifted off the backs of his fleet of trucks and placed straight into the hold of the cargo ship, sealed the deal.  On April 26, 1956, the SS Ideal-X set sail from the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal for the Port of Houston.  McLean flew to Houston in order to oversee the docking of the Ideal-X and as the ship put in to port, McLean found himself overcome by emotion; awestruck with the realization of the monumental amount of leverage he had discovered.

shs1221At the time, the longshoremen’s union charged $5.86/ton to offload cargo from trucks and load it onto ships by hand.  The process was also incredibly time intensive - a truck could wait twenty-four hours just to get unloaded and it might be a full month before the cargo was loaded onto the ship itself.  

Loading a container onto a ship, by contrast, could happen in less than eight hours and at a rate of just sixteen cents per ton.  Not only were the trucks back on the road sooner, but the ships were back on the water much faster too.  The new efficiencies were hugely significant and they were everywhere.   The challenge was that McLean was the only person who saw it this way.  He was David.  

Understand, McLean had no supporters - no other shipping companies wanted any part of it and the unions were violently opposed to this threat to their way of life.  Even his own sales force could not comprehend the magnitude of the change that McLean was willing to work through.  What McLean had was a powerful vision, a burning desire to make it happen quickly and boundless contempt for the word “impossible.”

rsz_port_of_singapore_keppel_terminalOf course, we know how the story ends: intermodal containerized freight is now the standard for shipping: it’s everywhere.  McLean overcame what must have seemed like insurmountable obstacles to make it happen - standardizing of all shipping containers, everywhere.   The manufacturing and installation of specialized cranes that could handle the shape and weight of this new mode.  But by far the biggest obstacle he had to overcome was that nobody could else could understand how McLean had completely re-framed every freight and shipping-related business.


The steamship captains wanted to keep being captains of the steamship business.  The trucking industry magnates wanted to keep being the kingpins of the trucking industry.   Likewise with the railroad people.  The entrenched industries were Goliath.  

McLean had come to realize that they were all now simply “in the stuff-moving business.”  That was their new work.  That was what they offered to their customers.

Gladwell says that if we look at a list of top-performing shipping companies in the early 1950’s versus now, there is no overlap at all.  Companies who were in love with their previous success and hubris which focused more on the mode than the actual outcome fell away with time as new McLean and his intermodal “stuff-moving” methods took to the roads, rails and sea.  They are all gone because they could not accept the re-frame. 

What assumptions about your space could you be testing today?  What giants could you slay?

Charity_Water_Water_Walk_at_Inbound_2014Jason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com and is in Boston this week for the #INBOUND14 conference.  Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  

Topics: Innovation

Guy Kawasaki & The Freeze On Innovation

Posted by Jason King on Sep 15, 2014 11:30:00 PM

guyGuy Kawasaki’s opening keynote at Hubspot’s #INBOUND14 conference today had the massive crowd cheering, laughing, hooting and blurting out answers; the very type of engaged reception you would expect for a polished pro who has been in the business of telling engaging stories for at least three decades now.  

His topic today was 10 Lessons I Learned From Steve Jobs.   As a former product evangelist with Apple going back to the days of establishing Apple’s original Macintosh team, Kawasaki was part of an elite group of engineers, product developers and visionaries who worked to conduct their boss’ soaring vision from the esoteric, to the tangible and finally into the physical worlds.   

Ad_apple_1984The boss was, of course, Steve Jobs and his vision was to challenge authority, sameness and dullness - in Kawasaki’s words, to “jump the curve.”

The thing that gives great innovators such a radical advantage in business is actually the fact that most of their ideas seem too lofty or maybe even impossible to others.   This advantage is bolstered by the incumbent market leaders who are doing so well, they don’t have time to hear about any new curve.   Tell them how to steepen the curve they’re on and they’re all ears, but this is the demarcation point between “current leader” and “greatest ever.”   

Henry Ford famously once said “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse.”   Today, Kawasaki used the evolution of refrigeration as the perfect parable to explain the importance of jumping the curve.

The_Top_Ice_Guys_Back_ThenIn the early days of household refrigeration, Ice Guys who lived in cold climates had it made.  The job was to go out onto a frozen lake, cut a huge piece of ice with your saw and then use sleighs and wagons to deliver blocks of ice to homes and stores so people could keep the items in their ice boxes nice and cool.  If you were a really rocking Ice Guy, steepening the curve for you might mean finding saw blades that stay sharper longer, or a sleigh that could hold more tonnage.  Perhaps it meant special feed for your horses so they could work longer and harder, but all innovation was geared toward doing the same things better.   

Then the curve got jumped.

Ice_Guy_SwaggerSomebody invented a machine where the blocks of ice could be made in factories.   No longer did you need to live in a cold place and no longer did you need a lake.   Now, the top Ice Guys just needed a supply of fresh water and their amazing machines could make ice blocks for delivery to all of their same customers.   You could have fresh, cold ice in the middle of Arizona - imagine!   Steepening the curve for these Ice Guys might mean machines that could freeze the water faster, new tools to lift the blocks more efficiently and maybe even trucks to make the deliveries.   Surely this was the height of refrigeration technology - what more could humans ask for?

A new curve came began when Frigidaire introduced the first self-contained electric refrigerator in 1923, evolving by the 1940s to a unit with a home freezer compartment.   Ice blocks, ice cubes, crushed ice could now be manufactured right in your own kitchen.  By now, the need for ice was off on the periphery anyway - the electric refrigerators pumped freon through their copper coils and created their own cold air, keeping food fresh without the need for large, unwieldy blocks of ice.  

It_needs_to_be_believed_to_be_seenHere’s the point woven through this exemplum of the ice business:   

The true leader, the genuine innovator - the Steve Jobs of Ice Guys as it were - would have been the person standing out on the lake with his saw, freezing in his boots yet staying warm by the internal fire of his own vision.  A vision for an incredible machine; a self-contained as-yet-undetermined something that would one day be in millions of homes, running off of some sort of power source and making ice on demand for everyone.  But it had to be believed before it could be seen.

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com and is in Boston this week for the #INBOUND14 conference.  Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  

Topics: Innovation

The Champion's Mindset For Business Leaders

Posted by Jason King on Sep 15, 2014 1:14:44 AM

Mikaela_Shiffrin_Olympic_Slalom_Champion"I've been here before in my head so many times. To everybody else it's my first Olympics, but to me it's my thousandth." - Mikaela Shiffrin, reigning Olympic slalom champion.

The more we learn about the human mind/body connection and its workings, the more we are able to cast aside the notion of natural talent as a key determining factor for what creates winners.  That is not to say that people aren’t born with natural advantages or disadvantages in particular areas of life.  Rather, it is becoming clear that human beings, by virtue of the ability to critically assess and measure our own thoughts and actions, are able to use our conscious mind to control and develop talent and acumen to elite levels, even in the apparent absence of natural skill.

Dr_Jim_AfremowEarlier this year, Dr. Jim Afremow released his book The Champion’s Mind - How Great Athletes Think, Train & Thrive, a book of useful mental skills and effective mental training tools that apply equally to those in competing in business as well as to those in sports.

“The mental demands of rigorous competition can be enormous,” says Dr. Afremow.  “(Those) who diligently train their minds play their best more consistently, experience greater enjoyment, and increase their odds of victory.”

Dr. Afremow emphasizes the importance of developing mental skills to drive excellence.  These skills include:

  • Supreme, unwavering confidence in your abilities.
  • The ability to keep a laser-like focus when surrounded by distractions.
  • The capacity to sustain a high-level of motivation.
  • The strength of will to conquer all anxiety, frustration and discouragement.
  • The power to bring your intensity to the next level when needed.

Take_It_To_ElevenWhile many people are able to recognize the need for these skills, too often this recognition doesn’t happen until right we are in the heat of the moment and could use a little something extra in our mental tank to keep us going.

To this end, Dr. Afremow offers the following set of effective mental training tools:

  • Clear and challenging short and long-term goals.
  • Visualization of making great plays and succeeding on the field. (Feel free to apply this to whatever endeavour you are working to develop excellence at.)
  • Positive, energetic language used to motivate yourself into a winning frame of mind.
  • A consistent breath during all moments of action.
  • Confident, upbeat body language to get the feeling of success in your body and mind.

“Your mentality will either hold you down or bring you up,” concludes Afremow.  “Strive to master your mind rather than being mastered by it. If you don’t, you risk losing every game before it even starts.”

Business leaders: how can you grow your work and leadership skills using Dr. Afremow's mental training tools?

To learn more about Dr. Afremow, his work or his book, visit his website GoldMedalMind.net.

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: Leadership

Mandatory Viewing: Top 7 TED Talks On Success

Posted by Jason King on Sep 4, 2014 11:30:00 AM

rsz_kevinkellysfLast week on his podcast, Tim Ferriss featured a 3-part discussion with Kevin Kelly.  If you aren't familiar with Kelly, it's tough to know where to begin giving you an easy descriptor.  You may know him as the founding editor of Wired or from his cogent essay 1000 True Fans.  Writer, photographer, polymath...maybe genius?  Whatever "slot" you place him in your mind, he is endlessly interesting and engaging, sharing a ton of real-life wisdom over the course of Ferriss' three episodes.

Ferris will very often ask his guests, "When you hear the word successful, who is the first person who comes to mind?"  So far, Kelly's answer with its simple wisdom holds the title for best answer to date.  

I'll get back to Kelly in a second.  First, the obvious - what is success?  The word has come to mean vastly different things, all flavoured by beliefs, culture and context.  Through these lenses every kind of person can find success in vastly different ways, unique to each of them.  Do you want to be a successful business person?  A successful monk?  Your results, of course, will vary.

So, if you're looking for thought-provoking quotes about success, here's Kelly: "Success is overrated.  Greatness is overrated.  Our image of success is so skewed by media, similar to the mainstream images of beauty."  

Success to Kelly is not about fitting into a "slot" of some else's determination, it's about "being the best you that you can possibly be."  We have heard this before, but Kelly assures us of it softly, easily and convincingly.  When Ferriss pushes him, asking "what slot do you fit in?" he answers perfectly:

"The Kevin Kelly slot."

Here are some more great thoughts on success, ranked by number of views.  They present a rich look at success, flavoured by their varying beliefs, cultures and contexts.   Enjoy.

7.  Eddie Obeng: Smart Failure For A Fast Changing World

The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize, says business educator Eddie Obeng — and creative output cannot keep up. In this spirited talk, he highlights three important changes we should understand for better productivity, and calls for a stronger culture of “smart failure."

6.   Tim Ferriss: Smash Fear, Learn Anything

Productivity guru Tim Ferriss' fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question — "What's the worst that could happen?" — is all you need to learn to do anything.

5.  Yves Morieux: As Work Gets More Complex, 6 Rules To Simplify   

Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today's businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit's warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for "smart simplicity." (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.)

4.  Richard St. John:  Success Is A Continuous Journey

In his typically candid style, Richard St. John reminds us that success is not a one-way street, but a constant journey. He uses the story of his business' rise and fall to illustrate a valuable lesson — when we stop trying, we fail.

3.  Arianna Huffington:  How To Succeed?  Get More Sleep

In this short talk, Arianna Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night's sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness — and smarter decision-making.

2.  Dan Ariely:  What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn't just money. But it's not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work.

1.  Andy Puddicombe:  All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

Got any TED talks that you consider mandatory viewing?   Please share them with us in the comments.

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: Success

Video Blog: Training Mission to #TeamHaiti Day 3

Posted by Isabelle Foley on Sep 2, 2014 12:54:00 PM

360incentives_Team_HaitiHere it is - the documentary of our final hours with Team Haiti on this trip.

Hugging_It_Out_In_HaitiOur experience here has been inspiring beyond my wildest expectations.  

You'll see in the video that I was able to capture (as best as I could with my phone!) the daily ritual that the team uses to get themselves energized for a great day at work.  It is totally unbelievable the energy and love that this team starts their day with and I am grateful that I continue to learn a lot from my friends there.

This video also includes a brief lesson in Creole and, at the very end, my personal challenge to YOU.

Thank you so much for following along - this has been great fun and I can't wait to do it again on my next trip to Haiti.

This post is part 3 of a 3 part series.  Find Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.



Isabelle Foley is a Client Success Manager at 360incentives.  A geek, a wife and a mother, Isabelle is in competition with her kids to see who can have the most fun each day.  Connect with her on Twitter at @IFoley360.

Topics: Haiti,

Video Blog: Training Mission to #TeamHaiti Day 2

Posted by Isabelle Foley on Aug 29, 2014 2:05:00 PM

church_in_port_au_princeA bit longer of a video for you today - I hope you like it.

I grabbed some photos so you can see how beautiful Port-Au-Prince is becoming again.  I've been here a few times now and the rebuilding is really coming along quickly; our team noticed a huge difference between this trip and last trip.

Also, I had the chance to interview Carolina from Samasource, one of our partners in Haiti.  She has travelled around the world and shares her reflections on what it has been like to travel to Port-Au-Prince for the first time.

I'm going to miss this place and my friends here.  We are leaving late tomorrow morning, but I will make sure you have another video from what's left of our time here.

Hope you enjoy.  (If you missed my post from yesterday, it's right HERE.)



Isabelle Foley is a Client Success Manager at 360incentives.  A geek, a wife and a mother, Isabelle is in competition with her kids to see who can have the most fun each day.  Connect with her on Twitter at @IFoley360.



Topics: Haiti,

Video Blog: Training Mission to #TeamHaiti Day 1

Posted by Isabelle Foley on Aug 28, 2014 2:58:00 PM

haitian-girlWhat is the first thought that pops into your mind when I mention the country of Haiti?  

If you are not terribly familiar with this beautiful country and its equally beautiful people, I would urge you to take a few minutes to read up on Haiti’s story.  Their story is one of courage, of egalitarianism, revolution and freedom.  

Haiti_becomes_independentThis is, of course, not the Haiti that many of us know of.  Today, many of us know only that Haiti is a gorgeous tropical island country with a storied and occasionally troubled history.  The country is well known for having overcome many, many challenges since declaring independence from France in January of 1804, a status finally recognized by the French in 1825.   Most notably in recent times of course, the country has had to rebuild from the devastating earthquake of 2010.  

The great news is that as the Haitians continue to rebuild their country (with beautiful smiles on their faces, I might add!), they are succeeding.  According the the World Bank, the annual growth of Haiti’s GDP is now tracking well above other developing Latin American and Caribbean countries.

It has been one of the great privileges of my life to have the opportunity to work with our team in Haiti.   Over the past eighteen months or so, I have become very close with all of them and have been looking forward to meeting my new “family members” on this visit.  

I prepared this video for you late last night in my hotel room in Port-Au-Prince.  I hope you enjoy it.  I will post a new video tomorrow.  (UPDATE: Day 2 post is RIGHT HERE)

FoleyIsabelle-1Isabelle Foley is a Client Success Manager at 360incentives.  A geek, a wife and a mother, Isabelle is in competition with her kids to see who can have the most fun each day.  Connect with her on Twitter at @IFoley360.

Topics: Haiti,

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