Blog Bog

In the world of business there’s literally something blog worthy every day, and it was my intention to blog at least once a week (I have failed miserably). I find time is exceptionally tight these days as I’ve taken on some new projects. I expect I’ll seldom post more than once every few months for the next year or so, but I’ll try to make the posts full of adventure, intrigue and romance. Uh… or not.


Blog Bog

There’s literally something blog worthy every day, and it was my intention to blog at least once a week. I find time is exceptionally tight these days as I’ve taken on some new projects. I expect I’ll seldom make a large post more than once a month for the next 6 months or so (hopefully it will be a more comprehensive post). In the meantime I’m sure I’ll still throw up a bit ‘o Cam now and then (maybe no pictures).

I Hate Mosquitoes (The Worst Day Ever)!

Ever had a day where everything went wrong? Well I sure did. I all started when I lost my truck keys… in Utah Lake… for the second time…

Things actually started off pretty well. On Thursday evening me and a handful of friends headed out to Utah Lake for some tubing and R&R. Everything went fine until we headed back in. When we reached the harbor in Provo I discovered that my tuck key was missing. Not necessarily a big deal, but I had already lost my other truck key (in the lake) the previous week.  A boat in the Provo harbor, no truck key, no extra key, no way to park my boat- frustrating.

We scoured the boat for my key. I had emptied my pockets when we launched and I was certain it  had to be on the boat. Needless to say the key never turned up. We docked the boat as best we could and attempted to formulate a plan. Meanwhile the mosquitoes were starting to bite…

Tom suggested attaching the boat trailer to his SUV so we could get it out of the water. The SUV was at his house so he went to get it. I puled the boat trailer off my truck and felt relieved that things weren’t more complicated. The mosquitoes were getting pretty bad. We had found some bug repellent in the boat so I doused myself again. When Tom came back we realized that we’d need to transfer the hitch over to his SUV. Sadly it was locked onto my truck. After many minutes of trying every boat key I had I realized that I was somehow missing the key I needed to unlock the hitch. Two missing keys. Nuts.

Jim called his parents-in-law and they were gracious enough to offer assistance. They were in Spanish Fork so it was about a half hour before they could come get us. I was wet, cold, embarrassed and covered with mosquitoes. Since the boat covers were locked in the truck we had to tow the boat back to Lehi without them (cringe). Since dinner had not been available dockside we stopped at Wendy’s on the back  It was closed. The freeway was also closed becuase of a rather severe accident so we took Geneva road (long and bumpy!).  When we finally made it home I showered and collapsed in bed. I felt kind of itchy, but it was going to have to wait.

Around ten the next morning I was woken up when all three of our maids came into my bedroom. I groggily opened my eyes and sat up. One of them shrieked and they all ran, giggling, from the room. An inauspicious start to the day. As I came to my senses I remembered that my truck was in Provo and I had to find some way to get it home. The itching was getting worse. I felt very sick. Allergies or a cold- they could be nearly indistinguishable. I rubbed my eyes- oh no… my contacts were still in. I pried them out but my eyes were bloodshot and stung like a wasp. My glasses were missing so I had to put my contacts back in- ouch. I made my way to work and Fran called our favorite locksmith.

They said making a new key was complicated, but possible, expensive and very time consuming. They would call us as soon as they could squeeze us in- but we had to be at their shop within 20 minutes of their call and then take them to the truck. Standby. I hate standby. I was about to each lunch when a customer came in. After the customer left I was about to eat lunch when the locksmith called. We met them at their shop in American Fork and they followed us to Provo. We arrived at the truck and our locksmith hit us with some bad news: he had forgotten something kind of fundamental to making the key- namely the key template. He had to go back to the shop. “At lest you have something nice to look at.” he said gesturing at the the lake.

I was hungry. We had some time on our hands so we went to Saigon Cafe to pick up some food. The order was wrong. My kids all decided the were hungry again (I shared). My little girl, Claire, stepped on the take out box and dumped the food out. A bee flew over and stung me. No sign of the locksmith. I was really itching. My wife had some calamine lotion, but it had dried into a chalky powder.

Over an hour later the locksmith finally came back (he’d stopped on the way down to do another job). Finally it was time to start making our key. It was going to take another hour. I sat in the grass (it was wet) and built a little house out of sticks. I wished that I lived in the little house… until my kids smashed it, that is. Anyway- the locksmith finally got the key made. He pointed out some imperfections in it (“Really hard key to make!” he said), and explained that it would “break in.” That’ll be $300. Fine by me- my ordeal was coming to an end. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel…

…but I would have the mosquito bites- over two hundred on my arms, legs, head and back- to remind me of my worst day ever…


I Just Want to Fit In.

So you’ve come up with the perfect idea. You’ve given it copious amounts of thought and you’re certain it has viable business potential. You can easily envision yourself building a business around the idea and you are, to put it mildly, manically euphoric. Great start! What’s next? Easy- figuring out if there’s a market for your business and understanding the gentle art of cramming yourself into that market.

The Market: In this case “the market” isn’t a physical place. Rather it’s a idealistic representation of an economic cycle (i.e someone sells something, someone buys something, and so on).

Let’s say your idea is to sell some type of product: shoes (don’t scoff- visit The question is simple: Is there a market for shoes in which you can sell the and a customer will buy them? One quick look around reveals that, yes,  there is a huge market for shoes. The idea has “Cam’s Business Idea Approval” (that’s a CBIA for future reference).

Okay, that was easy. Now let’s complicate things a bit.  What if you want to sell shoes with a type of new super sole you’ve developed? Is there a market for that? Looking around may not help as much in this case because (obviously) no one else is selling a shoe with as much soul as you (those puns just come out of nowhere). There is, as we have already noted, a strong market for shoes. If your product is part of a larger market and is better than existing products then there is a market for it. This is a great segway into…

Visible Advantage: This terms, as I use it, refers to anything that potential customers see as a reason to purchase from you as opposed to a competition. Lower prices, larger inventory, faster shipping, more articulate product descriptions, hot babes, anything that distinguishes you in some positive way from your competition. Generally your advantage comes from doing something better than others in your market. The idea of a visible advantage is incredibly obvious, but I’m floored by how often companies overlook or misunderstand this necessity.

Cam: Sure, I think selling ties could work. What’s your edge?
Client: We’ll have a website!
Cam: Okay. And what advantage will your website have over other tie websites.
Client: It will be on the Internet.
Cam: Oh… uh. Well, other websites that sell ties are online too.
Client: We’ll have Tomy Hilfiger ties. My brother wears them. He always says, “If it’s not a Tommy, it’s not a tie!” They’re popular.
Cam: Other competing websites will probably carry the same brands of ties. Is there anything unique you’re going to do to set yourself apart?
Client: Well, we’re going to sell a lot of ties.
Cam: Sigh.

Visible advantage is what allows a company to enter and succeed in an already crowded market. The result is simple: The market expands to accommodate the new business or the market remains the same and a company with no visible advantage goes under. You want to sell shoes? As long as you’re better than your competition in some way people will buy shoes from you. Once you can define your advantage and once the customer is aware of it you’re on your way.

Visible advantage is also what allows you to enter and succeed in an uncrowded market. If you’re the guy with the new shoe sole that that is your advantage. It’s your job to make sure the customer understands why your sole is better and why they need your shoe. When you focus on a small part of a larger market you’re working in a niche. A niche can be a an excellent visible advantage.

To recap: You have an idea. You identify your market and your competition.  You build your business with a visible advantage over your competition. Angels sing your praises and you drive off into the sunset in a green Lamborghini.  I can’t tell you that any of this is easy (those Italian sports cars are hard to drive!), but it’s straightforward, it’s simple and it works.


A couple of thoughts that will be part of the next post:

  • A visible advantage isn’t doing something someone else is already doing- it’s doing it better
  • In a crowded market you don’t have to be the best- it may not be practical. However, you must be better than the worst.
  • In a niche market you should strive to be the best.
  • One visible advantage is a start. The more you have the better you will do.
  • Even if you become the best don’t pat yourself on the back. Someone somewhere is gunning for you.
  • If you’re successful and you’ve never heard heard of this visible advantage nonsense, then you have a visible advantage.

This post is CBIA certified.