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Spartans and Soviets

I have been working a lot lately, but also rapidly studying historical eras. It is refreshing to realize that I do not have to do any one thing myself; in fact, is is ineffective. On our staff, I'm the most knowledgeable and effective historian, strategist, recruiter, trainer, marketer, and project manager. I'm also adequate-to-good in dozens of other roles, but I'm dispatching with almost all of them - and now, I'm starting to dispatch with project management (my first professional love) and marketing (my most recent professional love).

We have better legal, financial, sales, administration, management, and creative people than me. That's nice.

My time will be largely spent doing grand strategy, recruiting, training, and studying. I will mix in a little statistics and analysis, but this will be the bulk of my role going forwards. I do not need to laundry, I simply need to find someone competent to do it, and pay them well. There is something like a 1000x gap between successfully defining strategy with all the relevant contingencies, constructing completely workable models in identified big opportunities, and staffing those and training/compensating the staff well - and washing socks. The socks? I will not be doing that, because it would mean less time studying history, identifying opportunities, and finding/training/compensating very good people.

Thought of the day: Sparta and the Soviet Union both excelled at military arts by concentrating immense amounts of their society's total creative, intellectual, and productive output into military. This led them to be fierce warrior societies immediately after their rise, but with a gradual decline as they were out-paced by societies with a smaller military concentration and faster growth.

"Flex" societies that can gear up and gear down on war production can maintain a larger credible military presence with less resource drain. "War concentrated" societies show stronger than flex at first, but must win quickly or be defeated. Time is their enemy. Of course, pacifist societies are quickly conquered if they do not have allies, and thus do not enter the discussion.

NFTE Dare to Dream Gala + Mobile Genius

On DROdio

I just got back from the annual NFTE "Dare to Dream" gala, an event put on by the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship, my favorite non-profit, as it consistently produces tangible results by teaching kids how to run profitable businesses.  Here's the trailer to a recent movie about NFTE kids.

NFTE did something so simple at this event with a mobile giving campaign, it's absolutely genius.  I don't think most people in attendance caught it, or the significance of what NFTE did.

As anyone who's ever tried to run a mobile giving campaign and secure a short code knows, setting up a "text to give" program can be difficult, lengthy and costly, to say the least.  There are some platforms out there like Mobile Commons that make it easier, but still, it's a process to set a mobile giving system up, which makes it prohibitive to do for a single event.  One has to really commit to the process and treat it like a campaign.

But NFTE figured out how to do it for $0 cost, and it can be set up literally in under an hour.  Want to know how?

I just got back from the annual NFTE "Dare to Dream" gala, an event put on by the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship, my favorite non-profit, as it consistently produces tangible results by teaching kids how to run profitable businesses.  Here's the trailer to a recent movie about NFTE kids. NFTE did something so simple at this event with a mobile giving campaign, it's absolutely genius.  I don't think most people in attendance caught it, or the significance of what NFTE did. As anyone who's ever tried to run a mobile giving campaign and secure a short code knows, setting up a "text to give" program can be difficult, lengthy and costly, to say the least.  There are some platforms out there like Mobile Commons that make it easier, but still, it's a process to set a mobile giving system up, which makes it prohibitive to do for a single event.  One has to really commit to the process and treat it like a campaign. But NFTE figured out how to do it for $0 cost, and it can be set up literally in under an hour.  Want to know how? You can see from the screenshot at left that they put a mobile phone number up on a big screen to receive pledges.  The first thing you'll notice is that this is not a short code, i.e., "2653" for "Coke" or "62262" for "Obama".  Instead, it's aregular phone number. What NFTE did is so simple, it's genius.  They just used a regular phone number and asked people to text in pledges to that number.  You could even use your own cell phone number to set this up.  Then, they transcribed those text messages to the big screen (manually is my guess; maybe they copied & pasted). This way, NFTE had an immediate way to recognize the people who were texting in donations, in real-time, thereby driving a cycle of giving among the audience. So, then, how does NFTE actually get the pledge?  My guess is they simply call the phone number the next day that sent the text message and ask for it! Yes, it's that easy!  Just have one or two volunteers call everyone who texted that number and say "we'd like to collect your pledge from last night.  Can you please give me a credit card number?" or similar.  This part is just speculation; maybe someone from NFTE will comment below to confirm or clarify. It's so easy, it's embarrassing.   In the industry, we've all been trying to figure out how to make the short code process simpler & cheaper, and NFTE came in with an elegant, simple solution.  In fairness to the short code industry, this approach doesn't scale.  I.e., it would be very hard to do a nationwide "Donate to HAITI relief" type campaign this way.  But then again, who knows?  And it's a great way to test mobile giving in a real-time environment without having to set up any infrastructure, which I love.  Plus, you can do this at any event! By the way, I just donated $50 to the cause.  Will you match or beat it? Please show your support for NFTE, even if it's just $5 by texting your pledge to them at 202-390-5921.  Then tweet about this; let's see how much money we can help them raise to support such a great cause.  Leave a comment with your donation amount below to encourage others to join in. Lastly, here is a video of Cynthia, the NFTE host MC'ing this donations segment the night of the event.  Hats off to NFTE for a great, simple & elegant execution of what's typically a hard & expensive thing to pull off.  Go ahead, text them a donation to show your support, like I did.

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