Jan 12

A Random Day in China – 3

Raymond Lam  (not his real name) was one of the more colourful characters I met.  We agreed to meet in a coffee shop in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.  He was 45 minutes late.

“Ah Macro!  Sorry I late.  I was in bar.”

It was 10:15am.

Continue reading →

Jan 12

Monkey See, Monkey Do? How mimicking helps you close deals

Everybody feels that they are smarter than the next guy.  Everybody feels that they can sniff out a fake a mile away.

Sorry.  Statistics, probabilities and evolutionary genetics shows that you’ve been fooled more times than you think. Continue reading →

Jan 12

5 things all entrepreneurs know to be true

In the time I’ve been away from corporate, I’ve seen the absolute best in people and I’ve seen the absolute worst.  From being rescued from an imminent beat-down and kidnapping in Dongguan to having my shirt inexplicably burst wide-open while negotiating trade terms with a rather fetching trade commissioner in Hong Kong.  From working with entrepreneurs who mortgaged everything to create something, to enduring sycophants who talk a huge game but have never risked anything in their lives.  From being asked to join a company after a bar fight in Toronto to negotiating safe passage for an American tourist with a gang of 30 Chinese sanitation workers in Hong Kong who wanted to pummel him.

When you’re on your own, without rules or restrictions, you find yourself in situations most would never imagine.

Money becomes secondary to the things you experience and the lessons you learn. Continue reading →

Jan 12

You are only as smart as the questions you ask

Well,  that’s not entirely true.  You might be brilliant.  But you’re not going to look that way if you’re jamming solutions down my throat before you know what my problem is.  If you want me to buy something, it’s not about how great your product is.  It’s about how great your product is going to make me.  And if you had asked me before you started your pitch, I might have told you.

Sales guys, folks on job interviews and corporate presenters love hearing the sound of their own voices.  Somehow more information, whether desired by the listener or not, is going to seal the deal.

Throwing everything at the wall and hoping something will stick is bush league.  Do this instead… Continue reading →

Jan 12

The Danger of Dogma

A guy makes a statement and another guy calls him out for taking an opposing side a decade ago.  This is every political contest.  Poke holes.  Look for inconsistencies.  Attack changes in worldview and call it ‘flip-flopping’.  We’re told to place a premium on absolute consistency because if someone doesn’t restate the exact view they took a decade ago, they’re obviously lying, either now or then.  I’m assuming that if you have the intelligence of an average adult, you generally dismiss this as political theatre and soundbites for the press.  And yet, entire elections are won or lost based on who appears most inconsistent, not based on who has the best ideas.

You’d think we would put a premium on people who are best able to adapt their perspectives to the realities of their life experiences; or what you would call maturity.  But you’d be wrong.

Continue reading →

Jan 12

A Random Day in China – 2

I met Rogerson Tong (not his real name) for the first time in the lobby of the Grand Howard Hotel in Dongguan.  He was yelling in Mandarin into a cell phone, one of three on his hip.  His gut hung well over his belt.

“Ah.  Macro.  How you like China?  You speak Chinese?”

“Yes Mr. Tong.  But only Guangdonghua (Cantonese).  My Putonghua (Mandarin) is still poor but improving.”

“No matter.  My English excellent.”  He lit a cigarette the length of a Bic pen.  “Guangdonghua garbage.  Real Chinese speak real Chinese…Putonghua.  But I see you not garbage.” Continue reading →

Jan 12

A peek inside the buyer’s (your) brain

When you’re given an option between multiple choices, how are you making those decisions?

A good sales person knows how to frame her pitch; to give you options that are not really options but rather several pseudo-options that lead to the same thing – You buying something or adopting her idea.

Continue reading →

Jan 12

A Random Day in China – 1


I tried to get off the train in a town called Zhoumoutou.  When people say town,  you might think of a quiet community of twenty thousand.  I don’t know if the same definition applies in China but if Zhoumoutou was home to only twenty thousand people, they were all on the same train I was trying to disembark from.  A man behind me was pushing with great effort to propel me forward, not unlike what a half-back would do when playing for 4th and inches. Continue reading →

Jan 12

The meaning of life

The reason for all life is genetic continuity.  Whether it be a virus, which is nothing more than a strip of genes that may cause you to sneeze so it can find a new host or a fruit bursting full of seeds that falls from a tree to be consumed and pooped out by an animal in a field far away so a new tree can grow – the meaning of life is the propagation of life.  Whatever our belief systems are on how this all started, we cannot deny the genetic heritage we share with every single life form, from single-celled paramecium to a platypus, to a pineapple.

And if you understand that all animal behaviours are based on only a handful of basic drives, you can connect with anybody.  Successful sales people, political and cult leaders already exploit this.

Continue reading →

Jan 12

It’s their decision to jump, not yours

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” – English Proverb

Not that you should see your listener or customer as a horse, but that’s largely true of every pitch, presentation or sale. Continue reading →