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What 10X Winners Do to Keep Their Chance of Winning High

What 10X Winners Do to Keep Their Chance of Winning High

In 1985, Coca-Cola made the decision to switch their formula, creating essentially a different-tasting soda product. They called it New Coke. The sweeter version was arrived at after 190,000 nationwide taste tests that cost roughly $4 million. The result was not positive. Coca-Cola drinkers didn’t like the new taste — 39% or so were extremely loyal to the original — and Pepsi, their biggest rival, was able to say “The other guy blinked.” (That means Coke had reformulated to taste more like Pepsi.) The entire experiment lasted all of 79 days before Coke switched back to the original formula, which it now was calling Coke Classic.

    Coca-Cola is a very successful company, but in this specific case, they failed badly. Why?

    Fire bullets, then cannonballs

    Coca-cola was confident about their new product so they invested a lot in it and threw this “cannonball” to the market. When customers didn’t like this new product, it means the cannonball missed the target. This brought Coca-cola a great loss at the end.

    If Coca-Cola tested their product carefully, launched the new product in only selective places, like shooting out bullets, they might not fail tremendously like that.

    This idea of “fire bullets, then cannonballs” was developed by Jim Collins in his book Great by Choice.

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    The basic principle is this: during trying times, oftentimes people look for big solutions and giant leaps. They want to show dramatic success to emerge from the failure. But that’s actually the wrong approach.

      Successful people take small steps before making big leaps.

      This isn’t just work. Think about dating, for example, you don’t often just go approach someone and ask to be super serious or get engaged. You try to start to talk to them first, then go on a few dates, and include them when you hang out with friends.

      Or think about when you’re buying a car. Very few people walk into a car dealership with no research done and spend $35,000. They visit several. They talk to friends. They do research.

      In this model, bullets are small steps to test the idea first. Cannonballs are giant leaps to make a great impact.

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      You deal with bullets first, taking small steps to test an idea first e.g. prototype, test, redesign, and test again; when you’ve got enough experience to know this idea works or is welcome by customers, shoot.

      The cannonballs stage is about scaling the idea up, publicly launching it in a wide scale, and making it loud.

      By carefully testing something before you try to make it big, you can prevent big idea failure.

      How to fire bullets

      A bullet is a small empirical test that should meet these criteria:

      • low cost
      • low risk, meaning minimum consequence
      • low distraction, meaning not having great impact on the overall

        A bullet might be a piece of research you find, or a small focus group. They come in different forms.

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        Once you’ve fired bullets and see some results, you enter into this process:

        • Assess: Did your bullets hit anything? What can you learn from the failed bullets to improve other bullets?
        • Consider: Can any of the successful bullets worth turning into a cannonball? Do you need to fire another bullet to make sure it?
        • Convert: When confirmed the success of bullets, concentrate resources and fire a cannonball
        • Terminate: The bullets that show no evidence of eventual success.

          The process of reviewing the bullets is more important than the bullets themselves. Let’s say a student gets an “A” on a test, but he cheated. The “A” might be seen as the cannonball-esque result, but the process is highly flawed and could encourage more negative behavior. Reviewing your process is crucial.

          Now let’s think of all this in terms of the New Coke marketing blunder. Before those 190,000 nationwide taste tests at a cost of $4 million, and before they launched their New Coke, they could have try out bullets e.g. market New Coke as freebies in small size and distributed to only a few shops, use different ways to test out its popularity in different regions first; before they muster all the effort to a big launch of it and had to return to use the original formula of Coke.

          Bullets first, and only then should you fire the big launch cannonball.

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            How can you do this in your life?

            Think of it along these lines:

            Step 1: Find your bullets

            • What small things can you do to test out your ideas?
            • Are they at low cost, low risk and low distraction?
            • Are there any existing ways that you can take reference of/learn from?

            Step 2: Fire your bullets and review them

            • Hit any target? if not, why?
            • What can you learn from the failed bullets?
            • For the successful bullets that hit the target, when is it time to use cannonball to hit the target?

            Again, this is about more than ideas at work. If you’re courting a relationship, bullets might involve learning about the person from their friends, setting up coffee, and sending small trinkets. The “cannonball” would be the relationship itself, but you can’t jump immediately to that. There needs to be some bullets fired first — and some might miss.

            You can learn more in Great by Choice, which argues that while we can’t predict the future, we can shape it through dedicated actions such as bullets before cannonballs.

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            Leon Ho

            Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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            Last Updated on May 22, 2019

            50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

            50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

            LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

            Job Search Experts

            You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

            1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

            2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

            3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

            4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

            5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

            Management Experts

            They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

            6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

            7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

            8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

            9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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            Productivity Experts

            By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

            10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

            11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

            12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

            13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

            Marketing Experts

            14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

            15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

            16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

            17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

            18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

            19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

            20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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            21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

            22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

            23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

            24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

            25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

            26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

            Personal Branding Experts

            Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

            Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

            27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

            28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

            Other Notable Experts to Follow

            29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

            30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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            31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

            32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

            33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

            34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

            35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

            36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

            37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

            38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

            39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

            40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

            41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

            42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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            43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

            44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

            45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

            46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

            47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

            48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

            49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

            50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

            These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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            Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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