1/16/18

The Beauty of Art part 14: The answers

As promised, here are the answers to the Beauty of Art part 14:



The painting is called:
Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers
Many of you saw that  this was the work of a French impressionist, even though you  did not know which one.

The painter is...




Edgar Degas, born 1834 in Paris.


Degas (originally called De Gas) is considered one of the impressionists - even though he did not see his art that way.

The painting in this quiz is typical for the artist. Degas often painted dancers. He enjoyed showing motion in his pictures.

Apart from painting dancers, he was also known for painting his subjects from unusual angles, like in the painting Waiting:



Degas had yet another way of painting that made him special: he could crop the paintings in unusual ways, leaving out what many painters would have left in the painting. For example in L'orchestre de l'Opera where we only see the legs of the dancers.



Degas was without a doubt a gifted artist. From what I read about him, I am not sure he was a nice person to be with.
He believed that

"the artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown"

and he never married. He did not mind being seen as a misanthropic (someone who has a contempt for mankind) bachelor.


What you think about the painting:

It makes you exalted and gives a glimpse of how beautiful, good and wonderful life can be
It gives the same feeling as when looking at John Bauer paintings - with a kind troll.
It makes you curious. What play is this? Who is she?

I really like the painting myself, the motion in the picture, the colours, the feeling - and yes, since I love dancing I like the motif a lot :).

If you want to read more about Edgar Degas and see more of this art, take a look at:

Wikipedia and Artsy

Thanks for participating!

1/14/18

90booksin90days -35 books left to sell - 44 days left

In previous posts I have shared what actions I plan to take. I have started executing on the actions and I follow them up using a kanban board, detailing the actions I plan per week.



Do you ever take actions, yet you do not get any immediate results? At work or in any chosen challenge in life?

Most likely you do, from time to time. There are times when actions lead to immediate results and there are times - especially when you do something new - when you try out actions without seeing any results.

For my 90booksin90days challenges it is getting more and more exciting as the days to conclude the challenge are getting fewer while the amount of books to sell remain the same since X-mas. Despite the many actions I take.

At times like these, it is important to stick to the goal but be prepared to change approach. Prepared to do more or do something different from the original plan.

I have plenty of actions left to take, a lot of new ideas about what to do - some of them thanks to you, my lovely readers and listeners :) - and I have plenty of time left. 44 days to be exact.

How hard can it be?



Previous posts in this challenge:

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika
The problem statement
The first branches in the issue tree
Selling to existing customers
55 sold, 35 to go
Maybe you nee to get to know them?


1/10/18

90 books in 90 days - Are thoughts real?

Many ask me how I am doing with my goal 90booksin90days. Is it working, am I selling my books?

Yes, I have sold books, I am happy about every book I have sold, every new reader :). But I have no idea if I will be able to sell the remaining ones before the end of February.

I am used to uncertainty at work, that is part of working with Research and Development. We estimate, experiment, work, check where we are, adapt and work some more. But that is SW engineering and we are SW engineers. We know what we are doing even if we do not know exactly how  our current challenges will work out.

When it comes to markering and selling I have little or no experience, little or no historical data to rely on. When I told my coach that I feel unsure about achieving my goal, she interrupted me and asked:
"Are thoughts real?"

Le Penseur by Rodin. Wikimedia Commons

Well, no they are not. I know that. A thought is just a thought. Even though we often make them a lot more powerful than that.


"The only way you can find out if your activities will take you to the goal, is by doing them and see what happens."


Yes. I know that too. (Our talk made me think that the job of a coach or mentor is to tell you the things you already know but have somehow failed to fully understand.)

Will I make my goal? I don't know. But I know what actions I will take. I have described my actions related to selling to existing customers in previous posts. Here is the branch of the issue tree that describes my actions to sell to new customers.


As you can see I have one box, one branch of the tree, still open for "Great ideas yet to come".

Any ideas you may have that can fit into that box are very welcome :).

You can find the previous posts of my journey here:

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika
The problem statement
The first branches in the issue tree
Selling to existing customers
55 sold, 35 to go
Maybe you nee to get to know them?




1/9/18

The Beauty of Art - Part 14

Here it is - the first Beauty of Art quiz for 2018!

Who is the painter? 
What is the painting called?
How does it make you feel?

Let me know, either as comments in this blog or as messages to my annikaslol Facebook page !

The answers and a summary of your impressions of the painting will be published next week.



1/8/18

90 books in 90 days - Maybe you need to get to know them?

Thank you for the tips you have provided so far! About partnering up with others and about book signing opportunities. I will keep you up to date about my progress in these areas. :)

So far I have sold 55 books to existing customers and to new customers. Wonderful :).

However, I have not yet sold to persons who do not know me.

How do I sell my books to strangers?

When asking this question out loud when visiting my parents, my father said:

"Maybe you need to get to know them?"

Illustration by John Hain Pixabay 

Shortly after, I listened to one of the many podcasts on eofire (if you are or want to be an entrepreneur or a sidepreneur, I recommend these podcasts) and I learned the following:

"You need to turn strangers into friends, into customers into fans."

That makes a lot of sense.

"But how can I turn people I have not met, and may not meet in real life, into friends?"

Figuring that out is one of many challenges included in my 90booksin90days challenge...

Are you already skilled in this area? I could use your advice!

Are you, like me, challenging yourself? Let's do it together. Then we can support each other!

You can find the previous posts of my journey here:

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika
The problem statement
The first branches in the issue tree
Selling to existing customers
55 sold, 35 to go





1/5/18

90 books in 90 days - 55 sold, 35 to go!

Thank you all who have contributed to the current status in my challenge:

55 books sold, 35 to go before end of February!



Those of you who have followed my 90 books in 90 days challenge, know that I have challenged myself to sell 90 books in 90 days (in addition to the books sold via my publishers).

You can read about the journey so far in these posts:

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika
The problem statement
The first branches in the issue tree
Selling to existing customers

You may think that the rest of the journey should be simple, since I have sold more than half of the 90 books in a bit more than a third of the 90 days. Well, unfortunately I do not think these sales can be described by a linear function.

There are two reasons the first sales were easier than I expect the coming sales to be:
  1. I have sold primarily to existing customers, customers who already know they like my writing
  2. A lot of people have bought my books as Christmas presents
What I need to figure out next, is how to sell books to people who don't know me yet, and who are not looking for Christmas presents. 

Any tips you may have are very welcome!






1/4/18

90 books in 90 days - sell to existing customers

Welcome to the 90 books in 90 days challenge! Are you challenging yourself as well? Working towards a goal? Maybe we can learn from and support each other on the way!

Here are the links to the previous posts regarding this challenge.

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika
The problem statement
The first branches in the issue tree


Let's go higher in the branch about selling to existing customers. How can I sell more to my existing customers?

My existing customers already have one or more of my books, so my focus will be to sell them my latest two books. The first thing to do is to make sure my existing customers know I have released a new book. This is one branch of my issue tree. The second branch on this level will be to make it easy to buy the books.




These branches are Mutually Exclusive, there are no overlaps. But are they Collectively Exhaustive? Will spreading the word and making it easy to buy the books make me sell more to existing customers? Most likely, yes. Enough? That will depend on how well I handle the actions on the next level of the tree.

Spreading the word to existing customers means using the channels I have already. My distribution list, my facebook page, this blog - and of course direct contact with those I meet, or contact via others who meet my customers.



With some good actions in the leaves of this tree, my existing customers will know I have released another book. The next step is to make it easy for them to buy it.

They can of course buy the books on-line, on normal book selling sites like AdlibrisBokus and others. My publisher is taking care of that. The challenge I have started is for the books I sell myself, in addition to the ones sold via my publisher.

Making it easy to buy from me includes making the books available in my own web shop and to include a pick-up option. I can also bring the books when I meet my customers, for instance at work and I can have books brought via others who meet my customers.




There we are! A lot of actions defined. Time to execute!

Are you joining my journey with a journey of your own? I hope you do, then we can support each other and celebrate together when we have come all the way!






1/3/18

90 books in 90 days - the first branches in my issue tree

Welcome to the 90 books in 90 days challenge! Are you challenging yourself as well? Working towards a goal? Maybe we can learn from and support each other on the way!

Here are the links to the previous posts regarding this challenge.

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika
The problem statement

It is time for the M, in the Rapid Planning Method. M as in Massive action. Massive action without knowing what actions to take makes no sense. A lot of people are busy and do a lot of things all the time - without achieving results. They do not achieve results since they fail to connect their actions with what they want to achieve. We will not make that mistake.

To ensure I take the right kind of action, I will apply the approach I recently learned in the course Driving Strategic Impact: An issue tree. For more info on issue trees, check out The importance of pruning your issue tree.

The root of  an issue tree is the problem statement, so for my 90 books in 90 days challenge, the root is:
How can I sell 90 books in 90 days in an enjoyable way?

The intention with an issue tree is to create branches that together answer the question at the root. The branches should be MECE: Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive.

The two first branches are fairly straight forward and come from a basic rule in business:
You can sell more to existing customers and you can sell to new customers. 




These branches are Mutually Exclusive, meaning they do not overlap and they are Collectively Exhaustive meaning together they answer the question at the root.

To get to the massive actions, we will go higher in the tree, all the way to the leaves, in coming blog posts.
.

Are you joining my journey with a journey of your own? I hope you do, then we can celebrate together when we have come all the way!






1/2/18

90 books in 90 days - the problem statement

Welcome back to my 90 books in 90 days challenge!
If you are joining this challenge for the first time you can find the previous posts here:

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika

Charles Kettering once said:
"A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved"  
This is something I have found to be true, so I want to state my 90 books in 90 days problem well. To do that, I will use the Problem Statement tool. You can find a description of this aproach in  The power of a simple problem statement.

Photo by Jens Johnsson, Pexels

Phrase the problem as a question

It is easy to phrase my challenge as a question: 
How can I sell 90 books in 90 days?

Phrase the question so it guides action.

There are undoubtedly many ways to sell books. I have used a few different approaches over the years, as have my publishers. Some successful, some not. Some were fun, some were not.

I firmly believe that no-one can be really successful at something they do not like doing. Or - as a colleague once said - you can make me run, but you can´t make me run fast unless I want to. 
So to guide my actions I will add the importance of having fun into the problem statement:

How can I sell 90 books in 90 days in an enjoyable way?

The third guideline for a good problem statement is to

Use the right granularity

In this case the granularity is already there, since I decided to specify my challenge as 90 books in 90 days already from the beginning.

So here it is, a problem statement that has hopefully half-solved my challenge already.

How can I sell 90 books in 90 days in an enjoyable way?

I hope the problem statement approach can help you formulate whatever challenge, problem or goal you may have and I hope you will join my journey!