Robert Schneider

I'm an Entrepreneur, Marketing, and Technology Fanatic

I need more friends!

Posted by Robert Schneider on November 10, 2010

Okay, so I don’t normally whore myself out like this. Like ‘this’ anyway. But there is something extremely cool on the very near horizon and I need to artificially inflate my social media friend count to make it happen.

Don’t worry, I am not selling anything, asking you to join my Farmville (gag), or anything else manipulative. (I only manipulate in person)  I can’t share any details as of yet. Mostly, because I don’t want to be harassed if things don’t go my way–because it’s all my “friend’s” fault if I fail. That’s right, success in this endeavor is completely in YOUR sexy hands.

But this is NOT all about me. In fact, should YOU pull yourself together and tell all YOUR friends to friend ME, there is a great chance that YOU can get a little chunk of fame all to yourself.

So here’s what to do…
Post on your wall, tweet to your list, shout from the rooftops…to ALL your friends to friend me, follow me, and otherwise, make me feel artificially better about my social life.

I only have a teeny-weeny window to make this happen. At that point we all become famous, or I de-friend everyone. Either way we’ll have a bit of fun. Thanks!!

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8 Intelligence Categories

Posted by Robert Schneider on April 6, 2010

I read this article a while ago but want to save and share it.  Original source was Lifehack – January 28, 2010 and I read it on Dr Mercola’s excellent website. Think about what this means to how you spend your intellectual energy, not just your child’s…

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Is your child struggling in school? There is a little secret that you need to know in order to change this.

The traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. There are eight different intelligences that account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.

  1. Linguistic intelligence (word smart) involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals.
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence (number/reasoning smart) consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically.
  3. Musical intelligence (music smart) involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns.
  4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (body smart) entails the potential of using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems.
  5. Spatial intelligence (picture smart) involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas.
  6. Interpersonal intelligence (people smart) is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people.
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence (self smart) entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations.
  8. Naturalist intelligence (nature smart) enables human beings to recognize, categorize and draw upon certain features of the environment.

Schools focus most of their attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. Many children who are gifted in other ways don’t receive much reinforcement for them in school.

Many of these kids, in fact, end up being labeled “learning disabled,” “ADD,” or simply underachievers, when their unique ways of thinking and learning aren’t addressed by a heavily linguistic or logical-mathematical classroom.

So, if your child’s school does not teach based on these principles, how can you as the parent use them to help your child be successful in school and in life?

The first step is to go to the Birmingham Grid for Learning, and have your child take the test that determines their intelligence.

Then describe all eight intelligences to them, in language appropriate to their age of course, so that they will have a clearer understanding of each one. Once your child is clear about how they learn and how this is innately what they enjoy, then the next step is to show them how they can use this with their schoolwork.

When an assignment or project comes home tell them to put the topic of whatever the project is in the center of a blank sheet of paper, and draw eight straight lines or “spokes” radiating out from this topic. Label each line with a different intelligence. Then start brainstorming ideas for learning or showing that topic and write down ideas next to each intelligence.

They might just want to do the assignment in a way that aligns with their intelligence, but it’s important for them to know that everyone has a little of each intelligence so they can mix and match too.

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Clarity of Focus (or, Don’t be a Jack)

Posted by Robert Schneider on October 8, 2009

Over the last few weeks I’ve been pursuing new clients and partners.  It’s a pretty common thing that most would agree is essential to building a business.  (Tongue in cheek)  Yet, last week I went to a networking mixer and realized how pathetic most people are at doing it!  Some people exist to serve as a bad example to others.

Now, I don’t blame those individuals completely.  Getting new clients and forming solid relationships in business is something few are taught. Schools don’t. Most parents don’t.  The few that excel in this skill usually learn by messing up a lot and learning from the experience. Of course there’s no excuse for staying bad…

There were two kinds of people at the mixer. They can quickly be identified with two simple questions:

1) What do you do?
2) Who do you target?

After asking these two questions, I am convinced that the “bad” economy is not due to rising prices, economic cycles, or secret government agendas.  Nope, it’s simply because most people have no idea how to focus.  The second question shows it. Roughly 60% of the people I asked said, “I’ll work with anyone.”  Or something similar.  Duh, of course you will!  You’re broke and desperate (because of the economy).  Need to feed the family!

Hang on; before you get mad at me for being so mean to people in that situation…I am too!  I’m scraping by trying to build a company from scratch. I don’t have a trust fund, I don’t have investment (yet).  I need cash to live as much as the next guy.  But I also don’t say, “I’ll do anything.”  Here’s why: Without clarity of focus, no one else can ever send business my way.  Buyers want experts. They want a specialist.  Period.

The other types of people I met at the mixer gave a specific description of WHAT they do and WHO they target. This helps me to think of people I know to send their way. Three of them already got referrals from me because I knew precisely who to refer. The other guys?  They are probably printing more business cards to hand out at the next mixer.

If you are “selling yourself” in the marketplace, (This is important for owners and employees) then you need to know specifically WHAT your strengths are and specifically WHO those strengths can help. Don’t be a Jack-of-all-Trades.

Vision Pipeline is a CRM that anybody can use. But it’s built solely for independent sales people. Period. If a massive company wants to use it, tough. My new mobile branding service is intended for medium to large companies looking to use the iPhone and other devices as an additional marketing channel.  Wanna build an app and get rich?  Tough. That’s not what I do.

So after the mixer, I took a closer look at my pitch and my focus.  Tightened the screws a bit. But I gotta say, there’s no question about my focus and my market. And I’ve had 6 different companies express interest in working with me in the last few weeks.  All companies I WANT to work with.  Now I just need to get a check from them… Maybe my next post.

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Ownership = Options

Posted by Robert Schneider on September 21, 2009

I’m writing this post from a cute little B&B in San Luis Obispo. Carolina and I are on the way to San Francisco.  Who gives a rip?

Well, that’s kind of the point!  It’s Monday and we aren’t “working.”  But my clients, partners, etc, don’t care. In fact they don’t even know.  Well, until they read this.

For the most part my business is built so I can ‘leave’ without causing harm. I remember when I was employed and would go on vacation.  When I came back there was twice as much work.  It wasn’t a vacation from the work, it was simply a delay!  The problem was someone else pulling my strings.

One of the great joys of being an owner is options. Do I work more than the average person? Certainly.  Do I spend my Saturdays in front of a computer? Often.  Am I working right now on vacation?  Yes. Do I have to ask for time off to do things I want or need to do? No!

This morning I’ve responded to a couple dozen emails and have a few calls scheduled from the road.  But we also had a relaxing breakfast and a wonderful walk around town this morning.  If this sounds like bragging, it’s not!

I think everyone should strive to integrate their work with life. To enjoy the work you do, and enjoy life alongside.  Emphasis on either leads to burnout or failure.  If you have a shred of ambition to build your own business, I encourage you to consider your desired lifestyle first.  Then look at your business and engineer it to help you live THAT lifestyle.

Many people are trapped in jobs and businesses that force them to work in ways the hate. That sucks.  Sure, it may be necessary for a time. But don’t get trapped. Constantly evaluate your level of satisfaction and adjust your methods, habits, and attitudes to move you closer to the lifestyle you really desire, whatever it is.

HINT: Even if you don’t want to own a business, taking ownership of what you do, still makes work more satisfying.

UPCOMING: This week should be good. I have a lot of great meetings lined up with tech partners, potential investors, and a few influencers. I’ll give some updates as events unfold!

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Stuck in a rut? Pick up the phone

Posted by Robert Schneider on September 16, 2009

Last post was a bit heavy. I’ll give you something a bit more positive today.

Been head to the grindstone launching and marketing Vision. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in the daily details and let important things slip!  One of my biggest needs right now is industry relationships.  Some of the technical and financial elements moving forward are beyond me and my team. So, I need to bring in partners to shore up where we are weak.

But how do you get these relationships? Small chance I’ll meet the perfect contact over cocktails on Friday night. Nope. Can’t wait for that to happen. Gotta make it happen!

So, I found a half dozen companies I want to work with. Sent some emails, made some calls, logged everything in Vision of course!  And guess what?  Booked a couple excellent meetings in San Francisco next week! Awesome.

So many people right now are sitting around waiting for something happen. Waiting for that perfect job to magically reappear, or for the economy to turn around. Forget it.

Sometimes picking up the phone and making a connection is all that’s needed. I think I’ll do some more tomorrow.

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A Difficult Business Lesson Revisited…

Posted by Robert Schneider on September 14, 2009

Before you get all hot and bothered about my seemingly negative post, stop. Take a deep breath. There’s a valuable lesson here. And it’s not as negative as you may think.

First, I was raised with a healthy viewpoint that people mostly want to do good. I don’t think that most people intend harm. It’s just a bi-product of selfish decisions.

Second, this is one of the most valuable and difficult lessons I’ve learned in business so far. I “discovered” it first a few years back and was reminded just a few days ago during a phone conversation with a potential partner.

I had a phone call with a gentleman that came as a referral from a friend. He is doing some cool things in his industry and wants to expand into my specialties. He was proposing we work together. He claims to have relationships that will make the new venture soar. But he needs my brain and body to make it work. Sounds good. And sounds all too familiar.

The lesson is: don’t trust a bloody soul…

…until a person proves to you personally that they can be trusted. And even then, keep a sharp eye out. Does that mean you should live your entire life suspicious? Yes, if you want to protect your family and fortune.  Isn’t that a stressful and lonely life?  Maybe.  But having your fortune sucked away from you because you trusted someone who didn’t (or couldn’t) fulfill a promise… That is guaranteed stressful!

I have had several important people in my life at various times promise great things to me. And in my ignorance and naivety, I believed them. Two particularly stand out. Both meant good.  No doubt in my mind. They promised me the world because they wanted to see me succeed. Then in one situation, the circumstances changed and the person made a decision to protect personal interests over mine. In the other case, the person was incapable (or unwilling) to do what it took to fulfill the promises.  Both left me with years “lost” and not much to show for it.

I am not resentful of either. Sad and a bit hurt at the time. Maybe still a little. But they did not intend harm.  And I was immature. I don’t trust people anymore.  Oh, I give them the benefit of the doubt. I let them try. I urge them. Encourage them. Even invest in them. But I refuse to stake my own family and fortune on someone else fulfilling a promise. They will almost always be too slow, too sloppy, or too selfish. If I base my success on them, I lose. Every time.

The bigger lesson is: everyone acts out of self-interest, not you-interest…no matter what they say

Many people dream bigger than their capabilities (good) and don’t control their tongue (bad). Promises are easily made and more easily broken. My phone call this week was wrought with promises and claims of grandeur. My response was, “Okay, sounds good. What’s your next step?”  If he is a man that lives up to his word, then he will respond.  And we’ll move to the next step. Until then, I’m not banking on this “new and exciting project” to do anything for me.  It’s his move. I know who I am and what I have–you prove yourself to me.

I can only control what I do. So while other people make bold claims and empty promises, I will be quietly moving myself forward.  Making claims and promises only when I know I can meet them.  Building fences and walls to protect what I’ve built.  If others help, excellent. But if not, I must continue to build with my own two hands.

This post may scare you from ever working with me, or even talking to me! Don’t let it. I’m one of the best people you can work with. I don’t make promises I can’t keep (okay, I may slip up occasionally when I get excited), I work hard to meet commitments I do make, I push you to meet your promises, and I cautiously enter new relationships to protect myself and those close, and I am a man of action, not just words.  I’m not a pessimist, I’m an optimist with experience.

Final thought. I’m in the throes of building a business plan for investors. This lesson is invaluable during the process. I’m trying to maintain the balance between bragging about how awesome the product is and realistic expectations.  Investors don’t want hype and promises; they want money. They want tangible, practical projections and a company (and leader) they can’t count on. I’m hoping the hard lessons from the past help solidify the future.

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My first bleary-eyed observation

Posted by Robert Schneider on September 9, 2009

Here’s my first missive on the entrepreneurial experience. Note the time of this posting–1:55am. I didn’t write and then schedule. I’m actually up at this ungodly hour working. And I’m not even 22 anymore!  Had to check off the final tasks (and address a couple “urgent” matters)

More ridiculous is that I have to get up and swim first thing in the morning. If I don’t I will be ridiculed, mocked, and scorned by my swim partner. He’s ruthless.

This is what it takes sometimes. Late nights, early mornings, working vacations. But at the same time, I guess I can take a nap in the middle of the day. Probably won’t. But it’s nice to have the option.

I can’t count the number of all-nighters or at least late-nighters I’ve pulled over the last few weeks. At least I’m working while Carolina’s asleep so I can spend time with her when she’s still awake.  She’s incredibly supportive and doesn’t gripe about me working late. She knows the vision and is fully behind me.

I’m grateful for the support but it doesn’t replace a good strong cup of coffee.

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I’m Inspired! New Business Building Insight

Posted by Robert Schneider on September 8, 2009

I just read about an entrepreneur who journaled his experience of building his company. He built a fledgling company from nothing to something.  Kinda like I’m doing. (see Vision Pipeline)  I thought that was brilliant.  So, I’m inspired!

I’m going to use this blog to tell you, my reader, about my experience creating something from nothing. Hopefully something I learn will give you an edge in your business.

I won’t promise to write every day because that’s a lot. Besides, I’ve already learned in building a company that not everyday is very exciting. In fact, many days are dreary, monotonous, and boring.  I just spent the last week creating a business plan and projections–yeah, head buried deep in a spreadsheet crunching numbers.  Not thrilling, until it was done!

I do promise to be honest about my experiences.  I may shroud specifics in secrecy for a time and be vague in details, but I’ll be sure to reveal the emotions and lessons learned.

Here are some upcoming experiences:

  • Getting investment money from complete strangers
  • Building relationships with key influencers in the industry
  • Having to bring on employees (eek)
  • Outsourcing work to contractors (domestic and abroad)
  • Taking a good product to industry-leading

If any of these things intrigue you, subscribe to my feed and read!

Also, if you have any specific aspects of building a product and business that you’d like perspective on, just comment on this post and I’ll make sure to include it in my missives.

Enjoy the journey!

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The Ultimate Solution To Global Warming… Cottage Cheese

Posted by Robert Schneider on August 25, 2009

Everyone’s griping about rising temperatures, melting ice caps, and carbon dioxide. One of the solutions is to pump CO2 deep underground (fancy term: sequestering) where the earth traps it and stores it for thousands or years, to then kill our great, great, great, great-grandchildren. Stupid.

I was having a snack this afternoon and it struck me.  All these “brilliant” scientists have got nothing on me. Though I can’t take all the credit. But this blog post will certainly get the fire burning…

So, Fresh & Easy, one of my favorite markets, nailed it. Look closely at the second line of ingredients, right after Locust Bean Gum…

Look carefully at the second line of ingredients

Look carefully at the second line of ingredients

Two birds, one stone.  Cottage Cheese Carbon Dioxide Sequestration (C3DS).  Global cooling plus fresher cottage cheese. No more ozone hole, no more rotten cottage cheese. Win-win. Alfred Nobel, eat your heart out. Seriously, eat up. There’s a lot of cottage cheese to be had.

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Check out my new “promo” video, kind fun!

Posted by Robert Schneider on August 13, 2009

Hey everyone,

Just posted this on the Vision blog as well as the Vision website.  Trying to spice it up Billy Mays style!  Love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Click here to get a free account

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