Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Age of Speed - Vince Poscente

1 - How did you get interested in the topic that’s featured in your book?
A: “Oddly enough the obsession with speed started at 21 when a Palm Reader in Singapore told me I would die at 40. As silly as it sounds now, I had a sense of urgency.”

“This launched me into trying sky diving (with a failed main chute on my second jump) and sports like luge (“70 miles per hour in a tight rubber suit pulling four G’s lying flat on your back… Does it get any better than that?”) In a way I felt invincible.”

2 - Tell us a bit about your background. What have you done in the past that relates to your book and that topic?

“It was the sport of speed skiing that took my fascination with speed to a whole new level. Sure, you get up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and up to 125 miles per hour in eight seconds. The problem was I was a clarinet player in the high school band. I didn’t have any ski race experience at age 26. But four short years later I was vying for gold in the 1992 Olympic Winter Games. Recreational skier to Olympics in four years is fast.”

“I learned how to accelerate outcomes. How to use speed to your advantage. Now I travel around world sharing strategies around harnessing speed to corporations and conferences.”

3 - What advise would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?

We each need a plan for putting speed to work for us rather than driving us crazy?

“The most important first step is to change how we approach our work, family and leisure life. In the past we went to work, then went home. Every weekend we would have leisure time. Those days aren’t gone but there is more of a blur between the areas of work, home and leisure. This blur is being facilitated by more demands in our 24/7 always on, hyperconnected world. Guilt follows close behind when you are sitting with your child and your boss sends you a text message on your PDA.”

“The answer is a shift in how we approach all the areas of our lives. Being clear on our values, what we value most and then connecting all that commitments we have in more of a fluid, Aikido like fashion. We simply need to embrace, not resist, the oncoming force of speed and use it to our advantage.”

4 - What do you see as the benefit to participating in groups and organizations? My first thought would be networking opportunities and the chance for personal and business growth. What are your reasons?

I often say that if you are not in an industry, you are not in the business. Being a part of your industry association, locally, regionally and/or nationally is an important part of learning and contributing.

By products of being involved are friendships and networking opportunities. Author and consultant Joe Charbonneau said, “The more you give, give, give. The more you get, get, get.”

5 - Who is the ideal person to read your book? If each person that reads this was going to recommend your book to one person, what sort of person would they want to chose?

I’d have to say from my experience at Book Expo in New York this summer it is women buying for men. It was amazing to see how many women stopped at the booth, picked up The Age of Speed and said, “Oh, my husband/boyfriend/brother/son has to read this.”

6 - What do you think ignites a person’s creativity?

Emotion. I believe that if we have an emotional connection to something creativity springs forth. Passion is another word for it. Being passionate on a subject reveals all sorts of creativity.

7 - What have you found to be the biggest stumbling block for people who want to start writing?

Fear. Fear of it being correct, lucid, innovative, funny, informative, etc. Get past the fear by just writing anything.

There’s very little about a blinking cursor that is encouraging. Just start writing and see what you come up with. The Age of Speed is my fourth book. You’d think I’d be getting good at it by now. I wrote three versions of the book before the fourth version started to look right.

8 - How would you suggest they can overcome that?

Take the part of the topic you are most passionate about. The part you have the greatest emotional connection to and write on that. Build around this part (which is now much like a chapter) and see what else you come up with.

Research always takes me to places I find interesting. Research consistently sparks ideas.

9 - What do you find is the biggest motivator for people to succeed? Is it money, security, desire for fame or something else?

I think the greatest motivator is none of these things. Enriching someone else’s life is a powerful motivator. Making them think differently, feel better about themselves, learning something, making them laugh. THAT is motivating.

10 - Who is the “perfect” person to read your book?

Zeppelins and Bottle Rockets. Some Jets. Not Balloons. Let me explain:

There are four profiles in The Age of Speed. Two will succeed. Two will ultimately fail. Let’s talk about the two failure profiles first.

The first profile is the Zeppelin. Zeppelins neither embrace speed or harness it. In fact they flat out ignore speed at their own peril. People who are in business or busy lives that completely have their head in the sand with technology or tools that could make their lives easier would be an example of a Zeppelin.

The second profile is the Bottle Rocket. Bottle rockets embrace speed but don’t harness it. They charge ahead leaving a wake of Post-it Notes and to-do lists behind them but eventually blow up.

Now for the success profiles.

There is the Jet. A Jet embraces and harnesses speed. A Jet is agile, aerodynamic and aligned. With chaos going on all around us, a Jet is a person who can be agile and flexible at high speed. A Jet reduces the number of decisions needing to be made and can shift mid course. Aerodynamics is about reducing drag. Jets remove the clutter that slows them down when they need to do more, with less and fast. Finally, being aligned is key. Trying to be who you are not, being off purpose is flat out slow.

Balloons. Balloons don’t seek speed and don’t need to. Some people in the age of speed can get away with this approach. But most of us can’t or won’t.

An example of a Balloon would be Lennard Zinn, owner of Zinn Cycles. Formerly a maker of custom bicycles on a growth pattern destined for a bulging bottom line the founder Zinn realized he wasn’t happy. He started his company because he loved being able to ride his bike to work and home again. Zinn went back to his original ways. He makes bikes at his own pace and floats along, happy with the decision to check out of the age of speed.

11 - Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

The Age of Speed is not a time management book, and I am not a time management consultant. What I am about is using every possible advantage available to us (technology included) to accelerate those things that slow us down so that we can have time to do the things that we want to savor and enjoy.

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