Category Archives: team

Book Drips – I Love You More Than My Dog by Jeanne Bliss

dog-book-sm

What make companies like Zappos, The Container Store, Harley Davidson, Netflix, Rackspace, Umpqua Bank, LUSH, Threadless, USAA, Trader Joe’s, Apple, CD Baby, Southwest Airlines and many more so beloved by their passionate fans?

Jeanne Bliss’s new book explains exactly how.

In her new book, “I Love You More Than My Dog“, Jeanne reveals the five key decisions that beloved companies make to drive customer loyalty. The book isn’t even out until Thursday (you can download the first chapter and pre-order here) but in a moment, I will tell you how to get a copy FREE.

Jeanne devotes a chapter to each of the five decisions that companies make to become beloved by customers. She ends each chapter with an excellent summary of the necessary decision and challenges companies to analyze themselves on that axis, hitting on the questions below.

    1. Decide to BELIEVE.

    Do you believe:
    – In the good judgment of the people you hire?
    – That trust is reciprocated by customers?
    – In the truth of your customers’ words?
    – That trusted and prepared employees grow the business?
    – In more trust than rules? In more training than policies?
    – How would your customers describe your trust in them?
    – Would your employees say you honor them?

    2. Decide with CLARITY.

    Do you have clarity about:
    – The memories you want to deliver?
    – The type of people who belong in your company?
    – How to steer decision making?
    – The experience you are all working toward?
    – Are your decisions directed toward executing tasks or achieving a purpose?

    3. Decide to BE REAL.

    Do you:
    – Touch a cord with customers?
    – Encourage personality and creativity of employees?
    – Communicate personally, without the corporate veneer?
    – Make decisions by envisioning customers in their lives?
    – How would customers describe who you are as people?
    – How do employees describe your company personality?

    4. Decide to BE THERE.

    Are you there for your customers?
    – Do your customers’ lives inform and inspire the behavior, the actions, and the operation of your business?
    – Is your operating plan based on your priorities or customer priorities?
    – Can customers easily tell the story of the experience you deliver?

    5. Decide to SAY SORRY.

    When you apologize:
    – Are you genuine?
    – Do you restore confidence in being associated with you?
    – Do you honor those impacted and resolve their problem?
    – Do you deliver your apology swiftly and with humility?

I love examples, so I love that Jeanne fills each chapter with very specific, concise examples in one-page vignettes of how each company chose to decide using a consistent format that explains each company’s

    1. Decision Intent
    2. Motivation and
    3. Impact.

If you have customers, you need to read this book.

If you are a customer, Jeanne is your advocate.

Read more about Jeanne and watch videos of her on her website, CustomerBliss.com.

Jeanne was kind enough to give me three copies of her new book to give away. To get a chance at one, you must take the following two actions:

[full disclosure: I borrowed / stole this “comment + tweet” idea from my friend Michael Hyatt. If you don’t already read his blog, I highly recommend it.]

1. Leave a comment below. Tell me why you want this book. Be creative.

2. Tweet a link to this post. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can use Facebook.

On Thursday, October 15th, I will select three winners, whom I will email directly. If you don’t hear from me, you can assume you didn’t make the cut.

Question: Why do you want a copy of this book?

A life changed

Clay and Seth4

The phone call

It was December 1st, 2008. I was sleeping soundly, the cool San Diego breeze blowing through the screen door when the ringing of my cell phone woke me up. I rubbed my eyes and shook my head to dissolve the remaining fragments of my dream. I squinted at the clock and discerned it was 4:30am. I put my pillow over my head and let it go to voicemail.

It rang again. I reached over and checked the caller ID.

In the next 30 seconds, my exhausted frustration turned to excitement. My friend Paul had called to tell me that Seth Godin had blogged about an opportunity to change your life; an extremely selective six month MBA program in his office north of New York.

Suddenly, I was very awake.

The next two weeks were a blur. The process was (intentionally) very different than a traditional MBA. Applicants had to create a Squidoo lens answering some unique and open ended questions. Applications were due in only 14 days. I submitted my application a few days early and was thrilled when I learned that I had secured one of the 27 spots in what would be the only interview round. A flight to New York and a unique group interview later, my excitement had quadrupled. After the interview, I flew from New York to San Francisco and was still up at 3am when I found out that I was one of the ten selected into the program.

My corporate job consulting with Accenture had taken me from Minneapolis to Boston to Philadelphia and I was finally putting down some roots in San Diego. None of it mattered. I took a leave of absence from Accenture and headed to New York.

Inauguration
Merriam-Webster’s second definition of inaugurate is “to bring about the beginning of.” Our first day of class was, fittingly, a day of change. January 20th, 2009. It was Barack Obama’s inauguration. We didn’t know it at the time, but it was our inauguration too.

Nine best friends
Over the course of the six months, I learned as much from the my fellow students, now lifelong friends, as I did from Seth, my longtime business idol.

Abbey Road

Al
A mountain of a man with a heart to match, Al is as energetic as he is sincere. As evidenced by his daily early morning workouts at the health club in Grand Central Station, Al is extremely disciplined and always kept us on task. When we studied how to be a better salesperson, Al honed his already effective persuasion techniques and led by example for the rest of us. Al also crushed me in basketball and I might not sleep until I get a rematch.

Alex
The boy genius, Alex is the youngest of the SAMBA crew. Just out of Cornell, Alex brought a fresh perspective to the team. His edge never having been worn down by years of post-college accountability, Alex’s perspective was still razor sharp, and we needed that. Whatever Alex lacked in ‘real world’ experience, he more than made up for in raw intelligence. ‘Wicked smaaht’ doesn’t begin to describe the depths of Alex. Like a Spinal Tap amp, Alex’s brain goes to eleven. (That, and he’s seen everything on the Internet. You can test him.)

Allan
Always wheeling and dealing with big fish and big ideas, Allan was our resident connection to the world of venture capital and big finance. Having started a successful venture fund in college, Allan learned to write his own rules and taught us all that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. Occasionally, Allan would ‘miss’ class but soon we would learn of a huge meeting he orchestrated in the city or a big deal he was working on. Early in the program, I had a specific business idea and Allan challenged me that it wasn’t large-scale enough to be worthy of my talents, so I scrapped it and changed course. To this day, because of Allan, I always challenge myself to determine whether my ideas are big or worthy enough.

Becca
Always smiling, Becca would brighten the room just by showing up. If it’s possible to be too nice, Becca would toe the line. Always eager to help and to teach others, Becca brought a wealth of experience from the startup world and an energy that kept us on our toes. An absolute ‘connector’ in every sense of the word, it was natural for Becca to take the role of party planner, often connecting us with fun dinners and evenings in New York City. Wherever Becca went, fun was inevitable.

Emily
Our resident musician and chef, Emily could improvise a beautiful song as quickly as she could improvise a delicious lunch. Emily brought a creative perspective that was unique and invaluable. She challenged us and made us think, using a different lens to evaluate our ideas. Emily always came up with an angle we hadn’t thought of. Some of my favorite memories were sitting with Emily at night, drinking wine and helping her write the lyrics to a new song as she invented the melody on her Tacoma guitar. I secretly hope to be Emily’s roadie someday.

Ishita
I was fortuitous to get to partner with Ishita on a project for most of the program. Ishita is an amazing mix of compassion, insight and curiosity. Her sincere kindness and ability to listen and truly connect is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. She contstantly looks for the best in people and as a result, that’s exactly what she gets.

Jon
Having lived in England until age 12, Jon’s lightly British accent would occasionally appear when he said certain words. An inside joke quickly developed that Jon was ‘a little British’. Jon and I shared a sense of humor and a passion for social media. As a result, we bonded quickly over Flight of the Conchords clips and twitter and Ning best practices. Jon’s amazing mix of wisdom, generosity and drive continously set a bar I can only hope to achieve.

Susan
Known as the executioner, Susan “gets things done”. An interesting dichotomy, Susan preferred the rules to be well-defined, but even when they weren’t, she would flex her unparalled design chops to create a logo, brochure, e-book or website that puts the rest of the class to shame. Susan blend of experience, reliability and organization allowed her to overdeliver every time, often making me look woefully inadequate in the process.

One generous teacher, who became a friend.
Seth taught us more in six months than I thought it was possible to learn.

Early in the program, he took us skate skiing. The only way to propel yourself on skate skis is to lean forward. Then you pick up one ski and put it in front of the other. Pretty soon, you’re gliding faster and faster along the snow.

Lean in.

The metaphor was clear.

Skate Skiing2

Last Friday, Seth took us out on the Hudson river and taught us a completely different way to canoe, facing backward with the canoe tilted on its side. The amount of control and power gained using this technique was astonishing. Another lesson…

The obvious tactic is rarely the most effective.

Clay Omering

Those were the bookends. In between, Seth taught us about goal setting, sales, emergencies, game theory, pricing, shenpa, marketing, design, laywer eliminating contracts, the correct way to peel a banana, communication, cashflow, project management and countless other nuggets of business acumen.

Seth was the mayor of Nuggetville, population: us.

In addition to Seth’s own wisdom, he consistently brought in lots of his close personal friends and former colleagues.

One afternoon, Derek Sivers explained to us how he ‘accidentally’ started CD Baby, selling CD’s out of his backpack and later sold it for $22 million (which he turned around and donated to The Independent Musician’s Charitable Trust, which will fund music education long after he passes away.)

Talk about show & tell.

When Seth wasn’t teaching us, organizing educational field trips or cooking us delicious lunches, he pushed us to overcome our fears.

He showed us that the goal isn’t perfection, the goal is to ship.

He inspired me to blog everyday.

He taught us how to create our own business; and our destiny.

He gave us all the tools to change the world.

Now it’s up to us.

Chemistry…set

“Skills are cheap; chemistry is expensive.”
– Mal Pancoast

Teams that win don’t always have the most talented players. They always have great chemistry.



In the 1980 medal round game, the smaller, less experienced, less talented hockey USA hockey team upset the stronger, more talented Russian squad. The Americans were shorter on talent but had better chemistry. The American coach, Herb Brooks, had spent months selecting not the best collegiate players, but the team that work would best together. The excellent movie Miracle walks viewers through Brooks’ player selection process.


After years of dominating Olympic basketball, on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2004, during 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. U.S. basketball team lost 92-73.

To Puerto Rico.

The 2004 Olympic team went on to lose three games, more losses in a single year than the US Olympic teams had suffered in all previous Olympiads combined. The Americans were so used to dominating because of overwhelming talent, they forgot about the importance of chemistry. Piecing together NBA All-Stars at the last minute resulted in an excess of talent and a shortage of chemistry.

“I’m humiliated, not for the loss — I can always deal with wins and losses — but I’m disappointed because I had a job to do as a coach, to get us to understand how we’re supposed to play as a team and act as a team, and I don’t think we did that,” Larry Brown said.

When hiring employees or assembling a team, talent is important. But if you have chemistry, you’re set.