Time Value of Execution

Anybody that has taken business courses in school has heard the term ‘time value of money’. That means that money’s value changes over time based on what could be done with it. For example, $100 today has MUCH more value than $100 in 5 years. That’s because if you had $100 today you could invest it at 5% interest and it would be worth around $128. In reverse, if you waited to get the $100 for five years it would only be really worth $78 today. Why is this important? Well, if you are investing in things that would return less than the future value then you are wasting money. Again, for example, if you loaned that $100 to a friend and told him that you would charge him 15% flat interest to use it for 5 years you would have lost almost half of the value that you would have earned if you had invested it.

There is a corollary for business execution too. I call it the Time Value of Execution. If you wait to make a decision too long then you risk wasting time that can never be ‘re-earned’. For example, if I wait to hire the extra sales rep too long then there is an opportunity cost to not serving customers during the period that I haven’t hired someone. This TVE really extends to almost every business decision/action that you need to take.

One of the ways to manage this is to try to understand the ‘time sensitivity’ of the decision using similar terms that you would for Time Value of Money. 1 – What is the PRESENT VALUE in taking the action today (and risk), 2 – What is the FUTURE VALUE of waiting (ie. I need to deposit checks from the register. It’s after 3PM. The value of waiting until the morning is the same as the value of depositing tonight since they won’t post until the morning anyways but I could get XX more things done if I stay and work until end of day and then deposit in the AM). 3 – Every decision action or delay has an Opportunity Cost. Try to identify what that cost is and then make a decision based on the facts.

I painfully deal with this every day at iTaggit as we work to drive our business and we find that every hour is critical time. Just something that I’m learning….

iTaggit BETA II Released!

We have released a new version of iTaggit which adds new features and addresses many of the Interface and Navigation changes that have been requested by users over the past few months. Some of these features include:

Full AJAX 1.0 support with new, larger images and icons
Improved navigation buttons
A new Asset Management section in item records
Contact information “cards” for tracking service and sales contact information by item
Delicious and Digg tagging
Ability to add HTML buttons and code to personal profiles
Improved HTML generators for profiles and items
‘Friendly URLs’ for items and collections
Global simple search

Come check out what we’ve done with the site – and we have even more to come in the near future! Any suggestions or comments would be welcome. Just send them to info@itaggit.com.

Looking for Input!

We are currently running on online survey to better understand the needs and desires of collectors with regards to online software for managing collections. The survey is very short and takes no more than a couple of minutes. We are trying to get as much feedback as we can in a relatively short period of time. Any assistance that people give would be appreciated.

One important note: MOST PEOPLE are collectors even if they don’t classify themselves as such. If you have Art, Comics, Sports Equipment, Electronics, or anything else that you value and buy/sell/or trade for then you are a collector. We’re interested in your feedback as well.

To take the survey Click Here. The survey is hosted by Zoomerang, a leading provider of online survey tools.

Thanks for your assistance, feel free to pass the link on to others as well: http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB226HU69JRKM

iTaggit in the New York Times!

The New York Times covered online collecting in their Monday edition last week and highlighted iTaggit as one of three collecting websites. The article was very good and pointed out that iTaggit is bridging the gap of providing tools for deep collectors.

The article also covers two other sites; zebo.com and mythings.com. Zebo is actually a site for young people to share and shop together. mythings.com is based off of a business that has been around for several years which had listings of stolen items. Mythings’ stated goal is very different from iTaggit’s but they are definitely in our competitive set.

Take a peek at the article! The article is two pages and most of the iTaggit coverage is on the second page. Not bad for a young company!

To go to iTaggit go to http://www.itaggit.com and check us out.

The challenges of focus

Today was one of those days that I really dislike. I woke up at 5AM with a horrible pit in my stomach – the one that usually warns me that I either a) forgot to do something really critical, or b) had something ominous about to happen.

In the past I used to obsess about that feeling and would get so distracted that my day would go to hell. The problem with obsessing is that every little problem DOES become the ominous thing that I worried about. The stress begat more stress until I really did create or have a problem. Over time I’ve come to realize that the feeling is just the manifestation of being over-extended and it’s my brain and my body telling me that I’ve got too many balls in the air. I’ve fairly recently learned a little trick that I’ve used to help me get through days like today and, as I write this at 6:30PM, it’s proven to work once again.

I learned this trick from Jack Groeppel, who is the author of a great book, The Corporate Athlete, at a class he taught at Kellogg School of Management. What Jack pointed out was that humans are not really true ‘multitaskers’ and that we need to focus on doing one thing really well at a time.

What I do to get through days and feelings like today is that I concentrate on a single task at a time and push myself to fully concentrate on that task until it’s done and I move to the next one. When I get a phone call I turn away from the computer and focus on the call. When I’m working on a mail I focus on the mail and don’t get on the phone or respond to other mails that come up. What this does is reset me to focus AND it actually makes the tasks that I’m doing go better. With the single exception today that I forgot my computer on my desk when I left for the airport I had an extremely productive and positive day and the funk went away.

It’s not enough to casually say that you want to focus on a task at a time, to make this trick work you have to push yourself to concentrate on the task and ignore everything else. For me this removes the obsessive behaviors and allows me to stop worrying. It’s proven to be a fantastic trick and I give kudos to Jack for his great class!

The Wild Wild West

We’ve entered a wild new world where users can create their own experiences and web environments. While this sounds strange, it’s true and it’s here. We had an interesting debate this week about a feature that we wanted on our site (I won’t share the feature) and the amount of development effort that it would take to create. In the past, developers would have to build the components, but in the new world of Web 2.0 there are applications that can be incorporated in YOUR application to deliver the functionality for the user that used to have to be home grown. This is the concept of ‘mash-up’ or taking pieces from different applications and ‘mashing’ them together to have a new application.

A great example of a ‘mashable’ application is Jaxter (jaxter.com). Jaxter allows users to add a Contact Me control to any of their social networking sites (or even their email signature line) and allow others to call or txt msg them without exposing their personal phone numbers. It’s a great application!

Another great site that finds interesting Web 2.0 (and mashable) sites is stumbleupon.com.

We’ve done the same thing with our site, iTaggit, in that you can use our database as an ‘electronic folio’ on a collection or an item and generate HTML code to embed the item into other websites. This allows users to share their music, art, antique, or other collections/items through different sites while only needing to maintain it on iTaggit.com