Ask For What You Need

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I’ve been working on marketing Pitching & Closing and am learning a lot in the process. I have never done any form of marketing before (other than perhaps my own personal brand) and it’s been an interesting experience understanding how to spread the word. Part of this marketing means asking people for various things: favors, purchases, introductions etc.

In this process, I have also had to learn very quickly how to ask for what you need, not what you think the other person wants to hear. This is a common need in sales and business development and is a very practical skill to have.

For example, Alex and I have been speaking with various universities and academic institutions about using the book in classrooms. Having to make the ask outright: is there any way a professor, teacher or department would consider adding it to the curriculum? Even if you think it isn’t entirely feasible for the other side to meet your exact needs, making the full ask makes it easier for the other side to meet you halfway.

It’s as simple as ripping off the bandaid and knowing very clearly what you need from the other side. Make your ask specific and detailed (like, I’d like you to consider using the book in this particular course for 1 semester as a trial-run), and the other side will be able to form its opinion – and hopefully say yes. The worst thing that happens is you get a “sorry, we can’t help you at this time.” But the clearer and more precise the ask, the more likely it is that you can find a compromise for both parties.

Ask For What You Need

Whom to Follow

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I ordinarily keep a Chinese wall up on here in posting about the platform on which I work, but lately I’ve been solicited for advice on whom to follow. My opinion is one of many, but since I am a frequent-user, I thought I would share my latest advice on some of my favorite accounts to follow on Twitter.

Everyone has his or her own follow philosophy. I am not a static follower but rather a rotator: I follow an account of a “trial run,” and if after 30 days or so (not scientific) I don’t find I derive much value, I usually unfollow or replace the follow. In addition, I find that certain accounts do it for me at certain stages of my business cycle/personal interests/macro interests and then stop being of use, and so I’m happy to unfollow and rotate the account. As a result, I’ve followed some interesting and far-ranging accounts, but I keep my feed clean and decluttered. Follower count right now? 420.

Disclaimer: I don’t personally know anyone on this list, so it’s just my genuine sentiments here and people I enjoy following (of late).

  1. Alyson Shontell (@ajs) – Alyson is a reporter for Business Insider, and I find she always has good insights on the tech markets in an actionable way. I learn a lot about cool, interesting products or the philosophies of important people in the tech space from her feed.
  2. Faces In Things (@facespics) – I’m not sure why I find this account so hilarious or entertaining, but it never disappoints. People submit images of things that looks like faces (but aren’t meant to).
  3. Rob Delaney (@robdelaney) – sharp and incredibly sardonic stand-up comedian who occasionally challenges Walmart and Lena Dunham. It’s basically a crime not to follow him.
  4. Marc Andreesen (@pmarca) – Marc is a prolific VC and has also become an incredibly active Tweeter since the start of 2014 (he’s racked up almost 24k Tweets in that time). He’s the father of the tweet rant and inventor of the “1/, 2/, 3/” syntax.
  5. Magic Pics (@magicpixx) – autoreplies to tweets of yours, at random, with a seemingly-related photo of your tweet. They often don’t match. Hilarity ensues.

Honorable mentions:

Saved you a click (@savedyouaclick)

Karl the fog (@karlthefog)

Who are some of your favorites? What’s your follow strategy? Tweet @ me.

Whom to Follow