Simply practical, practically simple.

My favorite purchases are usually the simply practical and the practically simple.

Consider the water bottle I bought this summer.

  • It holds 750 milliliters of water: great for on-the-go and in-the-office.
  • The bottom of the bottle is stable, yet slim: perfect for tables and cup-holders.
  • The lid is one piece, with a solid cover over the mouthpiece: easy to wash, hard to ruin.
  • The mouthpiece is incredibly well designed: ideal water-flow for post-run gulps, without any spillage.
  • Durable plastic: I dropped this water bottle driving my scooter, and it only has minor scratches.

The key is simplicity and practicality.

None of this took special technology. What it did take is product development that understood its end user exceptionally well.

The only way I can foresee this water bottle failing me is if it got itself stolen or lost, in which case I would just buy a new one. I’m honestly sold for life on this water bottle.

Well done, Rubbermaid.

The virtues of ignorance.

I listened to a podcast today on my walk with Elliot from Stanford University’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series. It was a talk given by a woman named Liz Wiseman, who is an expert in leadership and the author of the book Multipliers.

In the talk, Wiseman stressed the virtues of not knowing.

According to Wiseman, leaders who have an unassuming, humble approach to work are more likely to bring the best out of their coworkers and employees. Since they do not act as if they know it all, they tend to lean on the talents and knowledge of those around them. These leaders who have embraced the power of not knowing are able to innovate in their work, as they do not solely rely on experience and traditions.

I agree with most of what Wiseman has to say in her lecture. She noted that people should not find jobs in which they are qualified in, which I feel is a bit over the top. However, I agree with her message of the need to challenge ourselves to be in positions in which we may not be comfortable, in order to tap into the power of not knowing.

Nonetheless, it is an interesting lecture, and if you have an hour to spare — you should definitely check it out.

You can see the video here,

or you can download or stream the audio version here.

Sound business advice, for free.

It’s astounding how much free, valuable information is out there for the taking.

With Wikipedia, YouTube, and Google, you can learn pretty much anything you can think of. I listen to podcasts, read marketing blogs, and watch YouTube videos on a daily basis to study business.

One guy who I currently have a business man-crush on is Gary Vaynerchuk.

This guy is something else. He has a powerful blend of talent, wisdom, authenticity and ego.

I read his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook* earlier this year, and it was great. The book is a “how-to” guide for businesses trying to get social. Vaynerchuk showcases many examples of how businesses use social media, analyzing what works and what doesn’t. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a smart, quick read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Vaynerchuk is a genius when it comes to identifying current marketing trends and being ahead of the curve. He navigates through his social channels masterfully, and there is a lot for me to learn.

He started a Youtube video series named #AskGaryVee two months ago. The show runs on a simple concept: people ask Vaynerchuk a question, and he answers them. Most of the questions are business-related, and his answers are always insightful. He clearly knows how to work the limelight, and shines bright through the lens.

There are 33 episodes at the time of writing, and I’ve seen every one. He answers about five questions per episode, and I enjoy his animated, unfiltered, honest advice.

Here’s the newest episode of the #AskGaryVee show (may be some explicit language):

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You can also subscribe to his iTunes podcast through this link.

He’s got some sound business advice, and his #AskGaryVee show is absolutely free!

Check it out.

*Full Disclosure: If you buy anything from Amazon through the Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook link above, I’ll get a little commission from Amazon, at absolutely no extra cost to you. I want to be open and authentic here. I won’t try to be sneaky to make a couple extra bucks.