Thomas Edison & Highly Successful People

This article is based on Michael Michalko’s research into the creative thinking exemplified by Thomas Edison. Mr. Michalko is one of the world's foremost experts on creative thinking.

Try, Try Again . . .
Would you be willing to try something thousands of times to make your web site or business successful?
If Thomas Edison was still around today he wouldn’t flinch at making that many mistakes with his business, event, or online endeavors. If you want to be successful online, focus on being tenacious and determined. Where you start and where you end up are usually worlds apart . . .

"Thomas Edison, while pondering how to make a carbon filament, was mindlessly toying with a piece of putty, turning and twisting it in his fingers, when he looked down at his hands, the answer hit him between the eyes: twist the carbon like rope.

B.F. Skinner summarized a first principle of scientific methodologists: when you find something interesting, drop everything else and study it. Too many fail to answer opportunity's knock at the door because they have to finish some preconceived plan. Creative geniuses do not wait for the gifts of chance; instead, they actively seek the accidental discovery."

Michalko, p 228, Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius

Far From Perfect
Edison was considered a genius, hence most people don’t think they’re capable of the same level of thinking.  In fact, Thomas Edison never had a true formal education (didn't go to university), most likely had ADD, and was almost completely deaf in one ear.  What separated Edison form other people was his creativity, tenacity, and approach to problem solving. You don't need to be a genius to try something multiple times.

Young Thomas Edison The Edisonian Methodology
Thomas Edison’s methodology falls directly inline with the biggest  internet success fundamentals.  Try as many times as it takes until you achieve your online goal. If you don’t succeed analyze the failure and try it another way.  Most people respond with “I won’t waste my time trying to figure this out” or the classic, “I don’t have the time.” Those simple statements separate the successful people from the unsuccessful online and elsewhere.

You can try many things with your web site that don’t cost you any additional money, just time. Take a lesson from Edison's methodology: “You can only fail at something so many times before you are successful.” There aren't mistakes, only lessons to be learned.

My personal friends, who are doing amazingly well online didn’t get it right the first time or after the hundredth time. They stuck at it - Focus on being tenacious and determined.  One friend gets over 40,000 visitors a day to his web site. On his best day he’ll pull 60,000 visitors.  Another successful friend sells t-shirts online and converts leads at a rate of over 30%.  The t-shirt business is a highly competitive online market. Their success didn't come overnight. It took years to get both their web sites where they are today.

Be tenacious and determined with everything you do in life!

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Missed Opportunity and Online Strategy

Most companies with a web presence never realize their full online potential. My personal belief is that a company’s web site is one of their best marketing tools. Regardless of this belief, you still need some of your marketing rooted in traditional offline advertising.  Two significant miscalculations that most companies make online are the inability to learn from their online mistakes and the refusal to try something new.

Here is an example of refusing to learn from the past.  One perspective client wasn’t keen on trying PPC advertising again.  They tried it before and it “didn’t work.”  I’m reasonably certain had the company tried another PCC campaign with conversion tracking, thoroughly researched keywords, and a new strategy, they would have been successful in the PPC arena.  They had a negative experience, but refused to take the lessons learned and try again.

Many companies refuse to try something new online.  On the net the adage of “if it is not broke, don’t try to fix it” is a terrible policy.  I know plenty of business owners who live by this motto in regards to their web site.   They refuse to change any aspect of their site.  In many cases a small change can bring great rewards.  Consider reworking your homepage or try new search keywords.  There are so many possibilities for your web site. You might discover additional revenue streams without having to spend a dime.

Another example of trying something new comes in the search arena.  Several companies ignore any type of organic search engine strategy.  They don’t have the time to build links or refuse to hire someone to create new relevant content for their site.  No matter how hard you try to sell the benefits of organic search, most companies won’t make the time or investment.  Investing in organic search can bring you traffic for your particular niche market.  The web sites that generate the most revenue are usually at the top of the search engines for certain keywords.

There are a number of companies that are perfectly positioned on the Internet to increase revenue via their web site. Doing something different online requires ideas and patience.  You don’t always need to spend additional money to learn new lessons.  Follow the path of people who have become successful online.  They all write books about it!

I encourage any company to take “baby steps” online.  Formulate a strategy and stay the course until the strategy works. If you do make a mistake or miscalculate, turn into a learning opportunity.  On the web, change is good.  If an idea doesn’t work, you can always change it back.  Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference on the online world.

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Your Company Logo Online

Have you ever tried to track down another company’s logo for a project? 

Such a scenario is created when companies are trying to cross promote brands, advertise, or are involved with sponsorships.  Perhaps you are on a tight schedule and you needed another company's logo hours ago

Having been through the experience of tracking down logos on numerous occasions "painful" is the first memory that comes to my mind.  The real fun begins when you are forced to redraw another company's logo because you can't find an acceptable version online.  You can spend hours doing something that should only take minutes or isn't even your responsibility.

Most people try to get another company’s logo via the web. Unfortunately the web is not an acceptable place to acquire a high quality version of another company's logo. My reference to "logo quality" specifically pertains to the resolution of a company's digital logo.  Low resolution logos look sloppy and unprofessional.  Many people try to pull logos directly off another company's web site.  Doing this is not good business practice.  Web graphics are rarely more than 72 dpi.  This might be suitable for very low quality printing, but not for brochures or high quality marketing packets.  Don't use a low quality version of another company's logo.  It diminishes the quality of that company's brand.

Online Media Section
Currently, most companies don't provide any way to easily access their logo online.  Your company web site should have an online media section.  As a security precaution, consider having the media section password protected.  You don’t want everyone on the web having access to your company logos or branding pieces. At a minimum have high quality versions of your logo in various formats available online for downloading. Formats should include:

  • Vector images .eps, .ai, or .pdf. 
  • Bitmap images .gif .jpg. or .tif.

Here is a link for more information on Bitmap versus Vector images

You should include at least one version of your logo in vector and bitmap formats.  Provide a version of your logo with a transparent background. This is useful for web purposes. For printing purposes be sure you include black and white versions of your logo.  Some companies include style and usage guides on proper use of their logo. Make sure you adhere to their recommendations. 

Save yourself and other companies countless hours of frustration by having a high quality version of your company logo online.  It saves times and money for all parties involved.

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Why do you have a web site?

Have you ever asked a small business owner why they have a web site?  Based on their response, I can quickly tell if a company is knowledgeable about the online world.  There are far too many companies that have a web site for all the wrong reasons.

My web site philosophy is centered on B2B and B2C web sites.  I don't hold personal web sites to this standard.  I encourage everyone to have fun with their personal web site.  But don't forget to balance your fun with usability and design standards.

B2B and B2C web sites need to be held to a much higher standard.  Personal web sites usually don't have to worry about a bottom line.  Whenever I ask a business owner, "Why do you have a web site?"  I usually get the following answers:

  1. "We have a web site because someone inside the company thought it would be a good idea."
  2. "Our competition has a web site, so we need a site."

The above justifications are probably two of the worst reasons to have a web site.  Yet, most small business owners and companies respond with similar justifications.

Your company web site should be based on fundamental business practices.  My core beliefs about a company web site follow these key objectives:

  1. "My web site saves our company time"
  2. "My web site saves our company money"
  3. "My web site increases our company's revenue and profitability"

They key objectives listed above are what I encourage every business owner to accomplish with their web site.  In tandem with these key objective, the smartest companies can outline a set of online strategies and goals.

In 3G Marketing on the Internet by Sweeney, MacLellan, and Dorey, you can find their recommended  "Formula for e-Business Success."  It looks like this: "The Right e-Business model + The right Web site + The right Web site traffic (and lots of it) = e-Business Success."

Are you accomplishing your key online objectives?  If not, it might be time to rethink your online strategy.  The information presented above is only the "tip of the iceberg."

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