Emails to a Young Entrepreneur: Apply Flipping Perspective

Day 118 of Self Quarantine             Covid 19 Deaths in U.S.:  133,000

Applying Flipping Perspective

As “human doings” we quickly move our day to day actions to habits or tacit behaviors. Habits are those things we do without thinking about them. Getting good at flipping perspective is the primary way for developing your discovering and inquiring mindset.

With Applying Conceiving, we used the habits of everyday life to flip our perspective.

With Applying Flipping Perspective, we shift our focus to observing your potential audience and customers. Like Kim Erwin did for her class project, where are the similar environments in the physical world that you can observe potential customers. Each day for seven days find ways to observe (not interview – not interviewing is the fundamental flip for this chapter).

As you search for environments to observe customers, also look for places where you might volunteer and perform participatory observation. When I was doing research for a wine ecommerce site, I realized that I didn’t understand how normal consumers went about buying wine. So I volunteered to work in the tasting rooms of several wineries to interact with a wide range of novice to expert wine consumers.

As you look at your product or service, what are the steps a customer follows in your workflow? Experiment with reversing the steps in the process. What do you observe? What are your reflections on the results that occur with flipping the steps?

One of my flips in perspective in writing these Emails is to use Guy Kawasaki’s APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book as my North Star. The primary flip is to see creating a book not as an authoring exercise, but as a new venture. I am creating both the book as an asset and a company as an asset surrounding the book with speaking engagements, workshops, seminars and mobile applications.

As part of my flipping perspective while writing the book, I had these observations:

January 1, 2014

I finally kept my butt in the seat long enough to write a full draft of my first book. I can’t believe it. It is done. While talking to David, he shared that he’d been revising The Seer by having Kerri read him the chapters of the book. It hit me in an instant that what I need to do is voice record each chapter and then play it back in my own voice. This will be a completely different way to hear what I am writing. Possibly it will help me to understand what my writing voice actually is. This is the method that poets use to hear their poems. I’ve never done “the hearing” with my own poetry. As I experimented with this today, I realized there are two benefits to this process.  Just the exercise of trying to speak all that is written helps me to hear which sentences are most difficult and need rewriting. Then listening to the words in my own voice is really helpful in getting a sense of how it will come across.  Oh, if only I had a deep magical voice like David Whyte when he is telling his stories and reading his poetry and giving us a sense of what was behind the poem that he wrote. I know how much more meaningful the business books I read are when I had a chance to meet and interact with the author. Russ Ackoff was the first author I did this with. I read Creating the Corporate Future in a made up neutral voice. After meeting Russ, all of his other books were now coming through my head in Russ’s inimitable style. Should I go ahead and get serious about these recordings and do an audio version of the book as well as the written version? Certainly this is a flipped perspective for me – listening to what I write rather than seeing what I write. Maybe I can develop my auditory sense as well as my visual sense. Can this be something I write in a blog post? Can I capture what edits I make after I do the speaking of the chapter so that I can see what patterns are coming from the auditory edit rather than just the visual edit? Reading versus hearing – what are the essential differences in these two modalities. I wonder if Elizabeth has some pointers to our comprehension or response based on whether we hear the same information or read the same information. Could this be another revenue stream which is selling the audio books as well?  The juxtaposition of the audio player on the written text is interesting as well. What if we could develop an iPad app like T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland where somebody reads the poem and the color of each line changes as you read through – the experience of hearing and seeing at the same time.

January 22, 2014

I am in the middle of going back to basics on the experience and meaning of the enneagram. I remember that I have one of the best sources which is Bennett’s Enneagram Studies. I sort of read it through quickly 20 years ago when I was sitting in Charley Krone’s monthly consultants’ study sessions and as part of the Bennett reading group seminars that Barney Barnett does with the Benziger Family Winery.  It was interesting but not enough to pursue really understanding the enneagram as a cosmos. Now that I am playing with the enneagram as the organizing principle for Emails to a Young Entrepreneur, I am finding the book a must read. The first chapter is looking at the workings of preparing a meal at a seminar center from the three layered cosmos view of the enneagram. What a great way to exhibit a cosmos in the formation of the meal (the dynamic) with the expertise of the chef in the context of the kitchen and the recipients of the meal. As I read through this chapter while waiting for my lunch to begin with a colleague at the Local360 restaurant in Seattle, I realize that I am in the midst of an interesting cosmos. The juxtaposition of the Bennett book on my iPad with the menu for the Local360 restaurant while the smells and perpetual motion of the cooks and kitchen boys are just a glance away. What a joy to wake up to the cosmos of my surroundings and see the dynamics of the whole local environment, rather than just the restricted view of the table awaiting my lunch meeting.  As I “see” the restaurant in this different light, I reflect on the goal of the Local 360 which is to source all of its food within a fifty mile radius of the restaurant. That goal necessarily restricts the food choices, but makes it easy to select the vegetable pot pie for my lunch. Lost deeply in thought as I await my meeting with Tim, I look up to see Tim and his lovely bride, Sarah. I jump out of my seat to give both big hugs at the unexpected pleasure of being able to interact with the both of them. As the Bennett book is just words on an electronic page until sitting in a kitchen, the meeting with Tim was just an entry in a calendar until Tim and Sarah show up. What if I could view each meeting in the context and cosmos of the enneagram? Would I prepare differently? Would the results be different? Sounds like a new idea for an applying exercise.

These two observations of the process of authoring are expanding my view of what my product is. While I used the recording of my book as a way to better edit the book, I reinforced the importance of having an audio recording of the book as a product for some “readers.” Thinking through the enneagram in context of the startup experience is leading me to ideas for mobile apps to provide a viewing portal into the book. Several reviewers of the book point to the importance of having key parts of the book always available as a mobile app. Should I start with the enneagram and reverse the “Emails” I am sequencing in the book?

The Cosmos of the New Venture

With the Flipping Perspective Email we introduce all of the geometry of the enneagram model of the cosmos of the new venture:

The Cosmos of the New Venture – Flipping Perspective

Flipping Perspective is at the heart of all that an observing and inquiring entrepreneur does. Flipping Perspective sits in the Courage cycle as it takes courage to see the world differently. You have to be intentional about stepping away from the habits and “expert mode” of behavior that is required when working for larger companies.

Along with flipping your point of view is reversing the steps in your product and business development and helping your customers reverse their steps to see more productive ways of working.

Flipping Perspective is OBSERVING with a spirit of inquiry.


You can find a PDF of the full Preface, Forward, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 here.

You can find the introduction to the Cosmos of the New Venture here.

This entry was posted in Content with Context, Emails to a Young Entrepreneur, Entrepreneuring, Flipped Perspective, Learning. Bookmark the permalink.

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