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Yeah, But … Shut Up

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Tell a Friend

Look who’s back … back again … Dalton’s back … tell a friend …

And he even brought his self-conversation device back with him. (Which will teach people not to tell me that they enjoyed it … my business card reads “beating literary devices to death since 1988.”)

Wow

There was an article on RE/MAX’s Main Street a couple of days ago profiling an agent who sells $30-odd million of real estate annually without advertising, instead “wowing her clients” and living on referrals.

It took little time for the first naysayer to appear. I can’t find the exact quote but it was something along the lines of “yeah, but she works in Toronto and the market’s better there and the houses are more expensive and somebody stole my binky … waaaaaaaaaaaaah”

How often have you listened to a speaker at your franchise’s convention or listened to a speaker or even gazed askew at one of your office’s top sellers and thought, “yeah, they’re doing well but … (insert excuse for their incredible success compared to yours here.)”

I’ve done it. And you know what? It was both pointless and silly.

Yeah, But..

So’s the photograph of Tobey, dude. Couldn’t you find a photo of someone with a pacifier.

Yeah, but … shut up.

Just stop. It’s often easier to tear down those more successful than we are than to try and figure out how to translate what they do into our business. It takes far more innovation to invent something new than to pick apart how it never will succeed. (And where’s the analysis when we’re proven wrong?)

Oh No, I’m Not

When I’ve spoken in my offices past and present about websites and blogging, the inevitable reaction is “yeah, but you’re a tech guy.” Actually, I’m not. Yes, I tried with minimal success to write programs on my Texas Instruments computer in 1985 – you know the one, with the 16K memory and the external cassette drive and the voice modulator. Yeah, baby.

Yeah, I can take care of some basic stuff in my WordPress themes and on my website (a talent borne out of the desire not to have to pay someone else to do it for me.)

But a full-on tech guy? Not really …

Playing with Bionicles

Give it up, dude. You’re one step away from playing with Bionicles.

The point is, you don’t need to be a tech guy to build a web presence. If you can’t do it yourself, spend a little bit of money … but the key is to spend it wisely. In other words, don’t drop $30 a month on some templated website that’s identical to three dozen other sites in town. Find a niche and offer value to the person stopping by. That’s what creates stickiness and keeps them around.

Jay Thompson, Candace Robinson and I were at the Arizona Regional MLS Tech Fair last week on an invite from the folks at Diverse Solutions. It was a never-ending train of “yeah, but …” every time we started to explain how the Internet can be leveraged.

Yippee, You Get It!

At least, until we ran into someone who got it. Who wasn’t a tech person, per se. Who had a rough idea of what they wanted from their site and was willing to invest 15 minutes to learn how they can leverage the available technologies to create a site that perfectly serves a certain niche.

All at a fairly minimal cost. All at a relatively low monetary investment, at least compared to what many agents spend in the fruitless pursuit of business.

What did this person do? They shut up before they got to yeah, but. And “yeah, but” became “oh yeah.”

Oh yeah as in “oh yeah, I can do this.”

It’s Universal

It doesn’t need to be for technology only. It can be any aspect of your business.

Forget the reasons why you can’t do what others do to succeed. Find the ways in which you can take pieces of their success and make them work for you.

And no, the picture doesn’t have anything to do with the post. Just in case you were wondering.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Jayson

    August 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Great post – I find myself making excuses sometimes only to remember the famous quote “Excuses are like a%^holes, everyone’s got one!

    You’re 100% right – shut up and figure out what’s going to work for you considering your skills, budget, motivation, expectations etc..

  2. Chris Shouse

    August 28, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I feel some of these peoples pain at my age I am learning something new everyday and have built a small presence on the web. I ask questions I learn from articles, my friend feed and twitter. It is exhausting sometimes. When I can not do something or don’t have time I have paid someone to do it for me. Great post Jonathan

  3. ines

    August 28, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Wooo Hoooo! I love this! Did you take your “go get them pill” this morning or what!! I totally agree, excuses are for loosers. Look around, you can do it – only if you put your mind and heart into it. I am the least techie person you will meet and I have busted my behind in the last 2 years to learn this blogging/social networking/web2.0 thing and you know what? now my hubbie thinks I am a geek and we are seeing results.

    It applies to everything in life – it’s easier to make an excuse than to actually try – whether it is to sop smoking, stop eating or having a web presence (far fetched I know but it’s true)

  4. Laura Cannon

    August 28, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Yeah, but this is hardly an original perspective or even a new twist on an established one.

  5. Russell Shaw

    August 28, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    It doesn’t have to be “original” to be wonderful. If a post like this were to show up about once a week (each time, of course, disguised as a “brand new post” it would be a *very* good thing. Just like this post was.

  6. Jim Duncan

    August 29, 2008 at 6:31 am

    Next time, a link to Bionicles would be helpful. 🙂

    It’s not them that impedes our progress, success or innovation, it’s us. This is a simple, yet poignant observation that is worth remembering time and again. Thanks.

  7. Laura Cannon

    August 29, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Russell -my point is this: if you’re going to ask others to strive for excellence and innovation, then you need to strive for excellence and innovation yourself. It is easier to accept a message that is critical of others when that message is itself inspiring. In other words, before you harangue others for their complacency, make sure you’re operating/writing/blogging/speaking at a level that is beyond complacency yourself.

    No offense was intended. And, I know that the comment sounds a little harsh.

  8. Kris Berg

    August 29, 2008 at 7:27 am

    JD, Ab-fab post, dude. The title alone in my feed reader told me it was yours. 🙂 Thank you for starting my morning off on the right track. Excellent message, too.

  9. Jonathan Dalton

    August 29, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Jayson – my tendency to make excuses was the reason for the post. Sometimes it seems easier to talk to others as I talk to myself in case they’re thinking the same thing.

    Chris – the exhaustion seems to be paying off as you’re doing quite well

    Ines – if it’s any comfort, I also think you’re a geek. (We’re now even for the Twitter threat)

    Laura – my apologies for not meeting your expectations (please see the customer assistance counter for a full refund of your investment in my advice) and thanks for reminding me why I left full-time journalism.

    Russell – when are you buying me lunch?

    Kris – my reputation apparently proceeds me. Now I’ll go read your blog to be reminded of how you’re a better writer than I am.

  10. ines

    August 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Jonathan…..just remember THE WAX (that’s all I have to say to that)

  11. Vance Shutes

    August 29, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Jonathan,

    Yeah, but…those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those already getting it done..

    Thanks for the friendly reminder to watch the tone of our own replies.

  12. Missy Caulk

    August 31, 2008 at 7:51 am

    The “yea buts” I know haven’t tried. Blogging………..”Missy, you like to write, but I don’t…. ” blah, blah, blah. Many times, (not all) it is just an excuse. My mama told me, you never know if you will like green peas if you don’t try them. yuck, now I love them.

  13. Vicki Moore

    September 1, 2008 at 1:32 am

    I am a yeah butter. Every time I do I try to bite my tounge, but sometimes it slips out. Thanks for the reminder.

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Opinion Editorials

20 bullsh*t buzzwords that should be banned from tech forever

(OPINION) As the language of tech ebbs and flows, there are linguistic potholes so over-used, so annoying, they make you want to scream. Here’s 20 of the worst offenders.

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There’s specific lingo in any industry. Buzzwords, if you will. Get a group of friends who work together for beers after clocking out, and chances are you’ll get lost quickly once they start trading war stories – outsiders beware.

But, there’s one community who puts even nurses (marry a nurse, and you’ll learn what prophylaxis means) to shame with insider speak and bullshit buzzwords: the tech community.

Tech folks are like business and marketing people but mutated. There’s so much free-flowing jargon that goes unchecked and evolves a la Origin of The Species within days. The words and phrases become gospel and, before you know it, people are sharing these nonsense phrases that become the industry norm, leaving anyone on the outside scratching their heads, trying to decipher the tech code.

But, as the language of tech ebbs and flows, there are linguistic potholes so over-used, so annoying, they make you want to scream. There are words used so out of context that make you want to turn them into a snarky meme and pass it around the office because you’re a jerk like that. (Well, I’m at least a jerk like that.)

These are some of those words.

The words that need to die a horrible, 24 hour, “what does it all mean” death.

Words that should be locked away in a prison so vile Charles Manson would be like, “Nah, bro. I’m good.”

Please don’t use these words in your marketing, pitch meetings, or just ever. They suck.Click To Tweet

Strap in and lock it down, here we go:

1. Sync
Can’t we just say “everyone knows what’s going on” instead of sync? This is one of those metaphors alluding to tech as melded with the products and culture, serving as interchangeable. We’re people, not iPhones to be plugged into our laptops. We don’t need to sync. We can meet up.

2. Robust
Robust is coffee, a strong tea you imported from India. It’s not a tech software experience. A can of Folgers can claim to be robust, your project tool cannot share this claim.

3. Pain point
Are we still using this one? A pain point is an elbow that’s got an owie, not what a customer thinks sucks.

4. Delight
I’m delighted to eat an excellent meal or get an unexpected call from an old friend. I’m delighted to leave work early to have drinks. I’m not delighted to use enterprise software. Sure, it makes my day easier. Does it offer a view of heaven when I can use self-service? I think not.

5. Disrupt
One of the godzillas of Jargon Mountain. I get that this worked in context a few years ago. But, now? You’re not “the Uber of…” and you’re not “disrupting” anything.

You built a parking app, Pat. You didn’t change the world.

If you dethrone Facebook, you’ve disrupted the world. ‘Til then, keep your pants on. Your algorithm for the best pizza place in town ain’t changing the block, let alone the face of communication.

6. Game changer & Change agent
Does anyone buy into this one? Was the game changed? This goes in the bin with “Disrupt.”

7. Bleeding Edge
Some jerk in some office decided “the cutting edge” wasn’t enough. It wasn’t hyper progressive enough, so they labeled their work the “bleeding edge”.

If this phrase were any more douchey, it would have a neck beard and a fedora and argue the tenants of socialism on IRC with strangers while sipping Mountain Dew.

8. Dog food
Who came up with this? When did a beta test get labeled as “dog food” I’m still lost on how this one became the industry standard. “We’re eating our own dog food.” This doesn’t even make a lick of sense, people. Just say we’re testing something. It’s a lot easier.

9. Alignment
What happened to just saying you agree? I thought alignment was for tires, not for working. I’ll give you parallel, but alignment? Not buying it.

10. Pivot
Pivot is just a fancy, non-finger point-y way of saying change. And typically, that change is reacting to something not going the company’s way. “Pivoting” means reacting to bad news or undesired outcome and making everyone involved feel smarter about the process.

11. Revolutionary
Unless you’ve built software that cures cancer, does something better than Elon Musk, or gets you laid faster than Tinder, you’re not revolutionary. You’re an element of evolution in a steadily progressing world.

12. Internet of Things
I still don’t even know what the hell this means. Really. It’s one of those phrases people use and pretend to know but really don’t.

13. Bandwidth
I thought bandwidth was Internet stuff, not how busy you are at work. Can’t we say, “if you’re not too busy,” instead of, “if you have the bandwidth,”..?? These are people, not routers.

14. Low-hanging fruit
You mean the easy work? “Easy win” even applies here. But the whole gardening metaphor is tired. It’s ok to say, “Do the easy work first” in a meeting. Hiding behind a metaphorical phrase doesn’t make the work any less important.

15. Deliverables
Do we need to break everything down into words to make the process more complicated? Aren’t deliverables, just work? It’s an adjective to describe what work you’re completing… so… it’s just work. Throw in a “key, ” and you’re jargon-y as all get out.

16. Circle Back
Translation: I don’t want to continue talking about this right now, so I’m going to schedule more pointless meetings to discuss this thing I don’t understand and don’t want to talk about in a few days. Likely, scheduled on your lunch break.

17. Action item
What happened to the good ole’ “to do List”? Instead, we’ve got “action item”. You come out of a meeting with a sore ass. The boss pounds on your for the stuff you need to do. You’re up to your ears in homework, yet, it’s not work you need to do – it’s “action items, to be delivered upon.” WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MEAN?

18. Take it offline
If there was ever painful corporate-speak, this one is a granddaddy. Instead of burning minutes in a meeting, someone will announce, “let’s take it offline.” Always happens. What about, “let’s talk about this face to face,” or “I’ll swing by your desk”, or “let’s figure this out.”

We appreciate you not annoying the rest of us with your A+B problem, but we’re not all living in the matrix. Or, at least we think we’re not.

19. Buy-in
Committing to something – a culture, an idea, a feeling. We’re equating life to a poker game and expecting everyone to get the idea, too. So lame.

20. Rockstar – Ninja – Wizard – whatever descriptive verb
This one. Holy horse crap. Can we PLEASE STOP with trying to slap a descriptive label on good work? I get it. You want to exclaim your person is a badass, and they’ve got chops. But this labeling of people in fantastical ways just sucks. When did the craft of a ninja, or the fantastical abilities of a wizard relate to code? And the rockstar thing?

Dudes, you’re not Keith Richards, you wear a startup hoodie and complain when you’re not getting free lunch at work.

Also, these names suck because they imply some male-dominance-cum-brogrammer mentality. They’re shadowy ciphers that are such machismo, it’ll barf up a steak. When a woman gets labeled a “ninja” it’s in an entirely different context, and that’s not cool. Writers have to get creative and use terms like “acrobat” or “juggler” to give off a sentiment of equal playing field, and it’s obnoxious. Just stop with these lame titles.

And there you have it. 20 bullshit buzzwords that should be banned forever and ever. Comment away, and add the jargon you loathe in the comments section. If it goes well, maybe they’ll ask me to write a part two, and we’ll make even more people mad.

This editorial was first published here in 2017.

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Opinion Editorials

Study says women need to be seen as “warm” to be considered confident

(EDITORIAL) A new study reveals that despite progress, women are still successful when they fall into a stereotype. Let’s discuss.

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About 15 years ago, I took a part-time job in a mental health clinic handling bookkeeping and billing. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I attacked the job with what I felt was confidence. For the first few days, I simply felt as if I was an imposter. I kept asking questions and pushing forward, even though I didn’t make much progress. Within just a few days, I felt the hostility of the office manager.

It got progressively worse, and I couldn’t figure out what the heck I’d done to make her so confrontational with me. I thought I was pleasant and respectful of her position, and I was getting along with the other employees. When I talked to our boss, I was told that I intimidated the office manager. HUH? Me? Intimidating? I was a complete mess at the time. I could barely put together a business casual wardrobe. My emotional health was so fragile that I rarely went anywhere new. And she found me intimidating?

Researchers have been studying how people judge others. Susan Fiske, researcher out of Princeton, found that competence and warmth are two of the dimensions used to judge others. Based on that research, Laura Guillén, Margarita Mayo, and Natalia Karelaia studied the competence and warmth at a software company with 236 engineers.  Guillén and her team collected data at two separate times about these engineers and their confidence and influence within the organization.

They found that “men are seen as confident if they are seen as competent, but women are seen as confident only if they come across as both competent and warm.

Women must be seen as warm in order to capitalize on their competence and be seen as confident and influential at work; competent men are seen as confident and influential whether they are warm or not.”

We encourage women to be confident, but based on current research, it may not be enough to close the gender gap in the workplace. A woman must be seen as helpful and dedicated to others to have the same influence as a man. As a woman, it’s easy to be seen as the #bossbitch when you have to make tough decisions. Those same decisions, when made by a man might be considered just “business as normal.”

I guess the lesson is that women still have to work twice as hard as men just to be seen as equals. I know that I have to work on empathy when I’m in an office environment. That office manager isn’t the only person who has thought I’m intimidating. I’ve heard it from it others, but you know what? As a self-employed writer, I’d rather be seen as undeterred and daunting than submissive and meek.

This editorial first appeared here in 2016.

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Opinion Editorials

Don’t avoid starting a business just because you’re broke

(EDITORIAL) If money isn’t always a prerequisite to entrepreneurship, how can you start something from nothing?

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starting a business

Breaking into the business world can be an intimidating venture, especially if you don’t have the money or experience to back up your ambitions. Experience, however, can be earned – or at least approached through a “fake it until you make it” style approach. But what can you do if you dream of launching a business but you don’t have the cash? Is money a prerequisite to entrepreneurship?

Money helps but isn’t a requirement for those hoping to start their own business – you simply need to get creative. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few things to consider.

One of the best ways to build your confidence around the topic of entrepreneurship is to refocus your attention towards those who also started from nothing, but have since made it big.

Steve Jobs started out tinkering in his garage as a teenager and went on to found the tech giant Apple, while multimillionaire consultant Sam Ovens publically discusses his finances – he was broke just a few years ago but had made over $10 million dollars by the time he turned 26.

Such stories attest to the fact that anyone can ascend to great heights.

Even though many people think money is the most important part of any business endeavor, successful people will tell you that true self-understanding far outranks cash on the list of necessities. Take some time to reflect on your goals and on how you view yourself as you pursue them.

If you think you can’t achieve your goals, then you won’t be able to. The mind is a very powerful thing.

If introspection reveals that you’re low on self-esteem, work on improving your view of yourself and begin developing a more positive perspective. You may find it helpful to write down what you think and then revise this description, working all the time to internalize this improved view of yourself. Though it may seem like a pointless process at first, you’re actually participating in your own transformation.

Another key determinant of success that far surpasses money is passion.

People succeed when they pursue goals that matter to them on a deeper level.

Typically this is the case because passion leads you to accumulate expertise on your chosen topic, and this will draw people to you.

One incredible example of the transformation of passion into profit is 17-year-old Jonah, who makes thousands of dollars a month selling watches online. Jonah comes from a family of jewelers, so he had ready access to the necessary knowledge and cultivated an outstanding selection of timepieces on his site, but it was his ability to combine his material knowledge with real understanding of his customers that made his business successful.

At the end of the day, he wanted his customers to have the perfect watch, and he brought his own passion for the field to bear on creating that experience.

Finally, if you hope to start a business but don’t have any cash resources, the best thing you can do is learn your field and network with those in it – without bringing them on board as professional partners.

It helps to have contacts, but you can’t grow a fledgling business by paying others to do the hard work.

Hunker down and work from home, working at night if you have to keep your current job, and start from the position of humble aspirant. If you show you’re committed to the real work of starting a business, you’ll find that others support you.

If you hope to start a business, but don’t have the money, don’t despair – but also don’t put your dream on hold. The only way to build the foundation you need to live that dream is by doing the hard work in the here and now.

Lots of people started just where you are, but the true successes are the ones who had the courage to push past the barriers without worrying about the financial details. You already have what you need, and that’s the passion for innovation.

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