My Return to Agency Life

For those of you that have been followers for a while, you’ll remember how much I enjoy maintaining a diversified portfolio of work. While I usually focus on one project at a time, I typically continue mentoring entrepreneurs and investing in startups on the side.

As of today, I wanted to formalize my latest focus and explain why I’m especially excited about it.

As most of you know, I started my career in the agency world. I founded what became a full-service marketing agency while I was still in college. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, but after several years growing the business, I thought it was time to move on. At the time, I was right. What I didn’t anticipate is that the world would pull me back in years later.

Marketing, in general, means so much to me. It’s been my livelihood throughout my entire career. I love building brands, identifying target customers, and establishing emotional connections between the two. I’ve thrived doing this in the digital world, but have hesitated to expand outside of the online realm.

My latest venture combines my love and experience for all things digital with the old school traditional media buying practices that have never ceased to move the needle for many businesses across the globe.

As of today, I’ll be working on streamlining the media buying process.

I’ll be doing so as part of the Executive team at a proven marketing agency we’re calling Order Media.

Our tag line suggests that we’re “Making Sense of Marketing Chaos.” This means much more than just understanding your marketing strategy. My ultimate goal is to make traditional marketing more approachable. I hope to build tools that will help businesses realize their ROI on all spend, and measure their acquisition costs in ways they’ve never been able to before.

I invite you to share this journey with me. Over the next few months, we’ll be building upon our own strategy and helping our clients pilot our proprietary technologies.

Then in early 2019, we expect to open the doors to all types of franchises, multi-national brands, and small businesses alike. If you’re interested in hearing more about what that could mean for your company, reach out to me via email and we’ll discuss.

Thanks to everyone for the continued support. I promise to keep you updated on all developments surrounding this venture as we continue making progress.

Godspeed.

How It Seams

It’s impossible to see the finer details after only a quick glance. Great work isn’t designed to be viewed; it serves to be analyzed.

On the other hand, mediocre work passes the smoke test more often than not when those observing it don’t allocate the time necessary to understand it.

So there we sit - stuck in the middle between quality and quantity.

Me? I choose to slow down and take the time to assess the seams. Someone put a lot of hard work into the quality that I prefer. I’ve consciously decided to never take that for granted.

The Tree Rings of Competition

I’m fascinating by the evolution of mature markets and how competitors engage in said market to obtain mind share.

Many people question why Founders choose to enter certain markets. Onlookers tend to see juggernauts and feel as if the space is off limits. In my experience, the opposite is true. It’s very rewarding to carve out a niche inside a much larger market than it is to be the high-pressured innovator that is forced to make things up as they go. For one, the market has been validated by someone else, and you may have an advantage having observed what hasn’t worked for those that came before you.

Competition is healthy. And according to a recent article I read about market shifts over the past two decades, it’s the brands that come in later on that end up taking over the market. As proof, consider this list of market shifts from one leader to another juggernaut:

  • Coca Cola (1886) - Pepsi (1893)

  • Yahoo Mail (1997) - Gmail (2004)

  • MSN Messenger (1999) - Skype (2003)

  • Basecamp (1999) - Asana (2008)

  • Myspace (2003) - Facebook (2004)

  • Todoist (2007) - Wunderlist (2011)

  • GitHub (2008) - GitLab (2011)

  • HipChat (2009) - Slack (2013)

The lesson here is don’t be afraid to enter a market to compete for your own subset of customers inside a saturated vertical. Sometimes that’s where the best businesses change the world.

Ben Horowitz on Blockchain

As most people continue to obsess over the term “crypto” representing the financial instruments, Ben Horowitz thinks of it as the latest form of computing.

In the below clip from a recent interview, he very eloquently describes its importance in a way I have not been able to verbalize myself.

I especially love the piece about innovative technologies “being worse at first but with better features.” That’s a common trend we’ve seen with all startups and technologies over the past few decades.

Stimuless

Habits are comfortable. Change is painful.

The trick is to ease yourself into progress. Doing too much at once...

  • increases stress
  • lowers success rates
  • eliminates learning opportunities
  • establishes unbalanced patterns of change rates

The key factor in this equation is sensitivity. 

How much can you handle at once? 

For sanity's sake, the answer should always be "less." 

The Honest Clock

A broken clock doesn't communicate much. While it may be correct twice per day, it's inability to move into the future puts a halt on its progress. 

Despite this, a broken clock is always more valuable than an inaccurate one. 

I'd rather be told the truth quickly and move on. 

September 2018

I thought about changing the format of these monthly posts - mostly because I'm so busy that the calendars themselves have continued to diminish. We can blame my son being born this year or we can simply say I'm hiding in the weeds doing so pretty exciting work. 

In addition to doing some traveling (not listed), the most notable event is my upcoming birthday. It goes without mentioning that September is one of my favorite months of the year. Here are a few more reasons why:

  • September 4th: My Birthday!
  • September 18th: Borns and Twin Shadow at Revolution
  • September 27th: Thrice at Revolution
  • September 29th: David Byrne at the Fillmore Miami

I look forward to celebrating my birthday and continuing to work on some pretty fun projects. 

What about you?

What do you have planned in September?

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August 2018

I have to keep a few events close to the vest this month. I have a few private projects picking up momentum, but I am yet to be able to share information about them. 

That said, here is what is shareable for the month of August:

  • August 11th: Monster Jam at BBT Center
  • August 17th: Umphrey's McGee at Fillmore Miami
  • August 18th: Lindsey Stirling at Coral Sky Ampitheater
  • August 26th: Braves at Marlins

Since I just got back from a lengthy vacation, I look forward to staying home and lounging for the first few weeks. 

What about you?

What do you have planned in August?

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UNdriving Your Focus

While driving your car, you have a single purpose...

To get to where you're going safely. 

While walking on a sidewalk, you also have a single purpose...

To get to where you're going safely. 

Your mind is the difference. Your focus is what changes everything. 

Outside your car, you are exposed to more of the world. More importantly, you have the freedom and capacity to let your mind wander. 

Healthiness aside, choose to slowly follow your mind's inspiration. 

The Country With Clean Air

When asked what they liked most about the United States, a group of Chinese tourists looked at each other as if they had already discussed the topic. 

The spokesperson looked up into the sky, opened her arms, and took a deep breath. 

"The Clean Air!," she said. 

This notion should impact you in some way for a multitude of reasons. 

The Smartest Guise in the Room

In this moment, there isn't a need to test IQ's. Instead, there's this sudden urge to survey body language and sense the honesty in the air. 

If we're all so great on our own, why are we even in this room together? 

The brainstorm session is often the biggest culprit. Ideas don't have to be loud to stand out. 

Whisper your truth if you have to. 

July 2018

This month, there will be a little bit of travel. For the most part, though, I'll be head down working on a handful of secret projects. Shhhh...

Here is what I have on my calendar for the month of July:

  • July 4th: 4th of July!
  • July 6th: Coheed and Cambria at Bayfront Park
  • July 10th: 3 Doors Down at Mizner Park
  • July 14th: Sam Smith at American Airlines Arena
  • July 19th: The Rocket Summer at Culture Room
  • July 23rd: Braves at Marlins
  • July 24th: Smashing Pumpkins at American Airlines Arena
  • July 25th: Glass Animals at Fillmore Miami
  • July 31st: Lauryn Hill at Bayfront Park

There are a lot of exciting events to look forward to this month. I'll try my best to stay out in the sun too long. 

What are you going to be up to?

What do you have planned in July?

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The Write Time

A busy writer's biggest dilemma is when output transforms into quantity over quality when tasked with too much. How can a writer keep up with the demands of writing for business, clients, news, books, blogs, and for herself?

It's not easy to prioritize how much creativity goes into which outlet. And after a while, nonstop writing starts to feed into each other through repetitive word usage and involuntary theming. 

My point here is that even when external obligations keep a writer away from their source of inspiration, a writer should still write. 

You may not be able to find the writing today, but it's out of their mind and in the world somewhere. It could be on a computer, written on a piece of paper, or waiting in a queue ready to be published. 

Thanks for your patience with writers. There will be a lot more great content to read soon.  

The Future of Genetic Engineering

In most ways, I'm late to the party on this. But in others, it's still super early. 

Thanks to my friend, Austin, for bringing this craziness to my attention last week. I've since gone down the rat hole. 

 

 

 

100 Episodes of Ask Logan Lenz

This week, I published the 100th issue of my Q&A series on LinkedIn. 

What started a few years ago as an experimental way to assist others on their ventures has turned into something much more. 

Who knows how long I will continue doing this format, but for now, I'm receiving great feedback and far too many questions to want to stop. 

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If you have any questions that you would want published in a future issue, you can either email me directly or reach out to me on any of my social profiles. 

Thanks for being a part of the journey! 

June 2018

It's summer already. That usually means a lot of travel and outside events for me. The Florida sunshine can be brutal, but it's the rain that keeps us from lounging outside by the pool all day. 

Here is what I have on my calendar for the month of June:

  • June 6th: Tesla Shareholder Meeting
  • June 6th: Netflix Shareholder Meeting
  • June 8th: David Blaine at Adrienne Arsht Center
  • June 15th: Allen Stone at Revolution
  • June 17th: Father's Day
  • June 22nd: Weezer at Coral Sky
  • June 29th: 30 Seconds to Mars at Coral Sky

There are a lot of great events scheduled for this month. I look forward to enjoying a great mix of music, sports, and performance entertainment this month. 

What about you?

What do you have planned in June?

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Ray Dalio's Principles.com

Here are three reasons why Ray Dalio's new Principles.com series of videos is fantastic and worth checking out right now:

  • Visual learning
  • Short and sweet (30 minutes)
  • Not a single element of greed

Seriously, go check them out now. Here's a taste:

“By engaging them in thoughtful disagreement, I’d be able to understand their reasoning and have them stress-test mine. That way, we can all raise our probability of being right.”

GDPR is Here

I'm sure you're feeling pretty annoyed by now. Your inbox has probably received dozens, if not hundreds, of GDPR-related opt-in or "Privacy Policy" update emails. 

As you can probably tell from that flood of emails, the GDPR updates should not be taken lightly. 

With so many security concerns and privacy-related issues in the world right now, I see GDPR as the first step toward a more harmonious way for data to be gathered and for honest transactions to ensue online. 

If you are a consumer, you can use this opportunity to opt-out of any of the email newsletters you don't actually want to receive anymore. You could also strengthen your privacy settings in your browser or move over to the amazing Brave browser. 

If you're a company, it's already a bit too late to start doing something. By now, hopefully you're mostly prepared. Technically companies have until tomorrow, May 25th, to get into compliance with GDPR.

If you have customers or users in Europe, you must comply with GDPR. Many smart forward-thinking companies, though, are taking the approach that they will be GDPR compliant with ALL of their customers, regardless of their geography.

This is in line with the "only do it once strategically" for when these rules apply to everyone on the web eventually. 

My hope is that the US and other countries copy some of the better parts of GDPR, but disregard some of the heavier unnecessary elements of it.

Don't expect your email or inbound marketing revenue to be up for the next few quarters. Customers will have to opt back in and startups everywhere will be sending far fewer promotional emails out. 

In my opinion, that’s a justifiable price to pay for a giant step toward better user rights. Now, let's keep moving in that same direction. 

Raising More Funding Than You're Worth

I've come across a handful of ambitious entrepreneurs that are still in the idea or vision stage of their startup. Even if they're the only ones in the "company," they tell me they're taking meetings with investors to try to raise 1 million dollars (or more). 

To those that are in that boat, here is a recent response I shared via email:

Lowering the implied valuation and/or elevating the amount of equity you are offering is what will make the opportunity more compelling to an investor.

Think of it all as just a simple math problem. 

The amount you're asking for + the perceived business opportunity = current valuation

With the above formula, the amount you ask for is your future working capital, which you use to build (more) value into the company. But since you don't have any products or revenue yet, the amount you ask for is much more expensive than it would be if it were a post-revenue or post-user raise. 

For example, in order for an investor to get interested in something this early, they'd want at least 51% equity. That way, at least they'll have control of your great idea. For that, though, they won't even know how to evaluate your company without any financials, so they'll round up to some relatively low whole number like $50,000 and call it a day.  

Therefore, if you need $1 million, you better be worth at least that already. Otherwise, you either won't find an investor, or if you do, they'll be treating it more like a controlling acquisition of your idea/opportunity. 

If you are unwilling to accept such a low number, you need to PROVE how and why you're currently worth more than that. It's virtually impossible to raise any sum of money when you haven't built anything yet. No savvy investor will put more money into something than the entire company is worth. It would be considered a gift at that point. 

So my advice has always been to go out and create that value yourself. Now. 

  • Embody the brand you want to build everywhere you go.
  • Acquire a customer by forging a personal relationship with them. Repeat.
  • Learn to code (or build the product yourself).

Ultimately, there are plenty of better things to do today than to passively ask for capital.