How Much Space Do You Really Need?

I live in the Tea Fire burn area of Santa Barbara.  In November 2008, a devastating wildfire burned more than 200 homes to the ground.  While the cause of the fire is undetermined, many residents have begun the rebuilding process.  The house that I rent miraculously survived, giving me a front row seat of reconstruction. 

What shocks me most is the rather ambitious size of the homes being rebuilt.  Our neighborhood was a quaint middle class neighborhood with decent size houses and middle class character.  However, the homes being rebuilt are of upper middle class character and are estimated to be 1.5 times greater in size.   I am utterly shocked at the “mansions” my neighbors are building. 

Building such large homes seems counter productive to the environmental image that Santa Barbara believes it has.  Here are just a few of the concepts that I struggle with.

  1. Large homes, occupy a larger footprint than smaller homes, meaning there is less “open” space around the home.
  2. Less open space means less room for environmentally clensing plants and/or gardening.
  3. Such large houses require a large amount of material to be gathered and assembled in one place.  A high material to person ratio for a house can’t be environmentally positive.
  4. The larger the house, the more HVAC and resources it takes to maintain it.  Granted HVAC systems are highly efficient these days, but seriously, heating large spaces are more environmentally unfriendly than heating smaller spaces. 

How much space do you really need?

Maybe it is just me and my view of what housing should be.  For me, a small, well designed house of sufficient size for the family on a large plot of land surrounded by nature and sustainable, edible gardens are the future of a sustainable America.   Sure this is highly unlikely to ever materialize given our global, corporate driven, profit and image means everything society.  

So, putting emotions aside, how much space do you really need to live each day?  Is that 7,000 square foot house for you and the partner really needed?   Just asking… 

Customers HATE Jumping Hurdles

Hudles are great when placed around a track.  They provide a challenge to runners to get over them repeatedly as they run toward the finish.  Hurdles provide the challenge.

Challenging hurdles lose their value when they leave the track.  When your customer is running the track that your product provides and they come across a hurdle, they swear, they stop, they become angry, and they start to look at the track next door that doesn’t have any hurdles.  Your customers HATE jumping over hurdles to:

1) Use your product (poorly designed interface)

2) Interact with your company (not providing a direct telephone number on your Contact Us page)

3) Claim rewards (remember those annoying mail-in rebates that require the reciept in triplicate and a form with BLUE ink only?)

4) Get rid of your product (not allowing your customer to cancel easily is a red-flag)

Hurdles can be seen in your data.  Whether you track conversion rates on your website or survey customers regularly, hurdles are patterns that stand out.

Do you look at data? Do you talk to your customers?

How many hurdles does your product have? 

Do you even know if your product has hurdles on its track? 

If you don’t know, found out immediately!

Picture: A Productive, Inviting Work Environment

This post isn’t going to tell you how to setup the ideal, productive work environment.  The truth is, we are all different and what makes each of productive varies.

What you will get from this post is the pic of a very cool, warm, inviting and productive looking desk. 

Samsungdesk

There is so much you can read into while looking at this picture.  The cups, the books, the wood, the window and the two vintage lamps all force the mind to drift off into a fantasy land. But wouldn’t it be so cool to have this workspace?  I think so.

Cheers!

(note, a friend sent me the picture so I don’t know who took it.  If it is yours, let me know and I will gladly give credit)

One Shovel Load at a Time

Successful companies don’t appear overnight.

Dreams are not reality simply by getting out of bed in the morning.

Losing weight does not happen overnight. 

One thing we need to remind ourselves of constantly is that big, hairy audacious goals (bHAG) are the fruition of many small actions (MSA).   If we focus our attention on the baby steps that lead to the bHAG, dreams are a reality. 

When I took the attached photo, I thought, “my gosh, that guy is going to be there for a long time!”  I was going to post it on Twitter with some crazy, humorous caption.  But then I realized what it represented.

Fxcam_1280945808197

Sure the guy has a bHAG of loading the sand into the truck with just a tiny shovel.  But each shovel full tossed into that truck is an action (MSA) toward the bHAG.  Life is about taking one shovel load at a time and tossing it into the truck.  Enjoy each toss, because that goal gets closer and the pile smaller with each one; enjoy it while it lasts. 

What are your bHAGs? Are you aware of each MSA that you need to achieve them?  

LogiXML – Redefining Reporting and Business Intelligence

http://www.logixml.com/flash/logixml_hp2009.swf

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a demo of LogiXML today and must say that I am quite impressed. Super simple to use and integration is superb using .NET or Java. I downloaded the trial, so I will post some screenshots after I have to play! 😉