Building the Catcher’s Mitt.

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As we roll into 2014 the leadership team here at Balloon Distractions has made many incremental improvements to our operational systems that encompass everything from our internet scheduling software to our compensation plan to our public image online.

Several members of our Advisory Board recommended that we implement a blog that is then cross linked to all of our social media platforms: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

This blog was started in December of 2013, to date we have several thousand views and over 50 blog posts. WordPress has a stats page that shows a global map of WHERE people are looking at our blog.

When we posted about Robert Herjavek there was a spike of views from Canada! 

We have yet to start a Pinterest account, that’s on the 2014 “to do” list.

If you scroll to the top of this blog it cross-links to all our other platforms, as soon as we write a new blog we post it on these other platforms right away. On Facebook we’ve put up several group pages for each region we’re in, with a mix of local content from that region as well as content from our HQ.  

Most of the traffic to this blog was driven here by Facebook, with about 15% coming from our website and various other search engines. The Shark Tank exposure will juice views to all of our online content, which will raise our relevance ranking on the search engines.

Success builds success.  

When Shark Tank airs January 17th we want people to have plenty of content to look at and learn all about us, from written blogs to videos to digital pics. In many ways these blogs are a catcher’s mitt for those folks who are curious about WHO we are and WHAT we do. Our company culture revolves around creativity, a love for children, and a sense of humility and hard work. 

This philosophy in regards to the Ballooniverse is clearly spelled out on our website. We want to develop leaders who take this concept into every metro market with over 50,000 people. With 308 million people in the United States we know that potential leaders are out there, we just need to reach out to them and get them involved in our business!

By writing these essays we hope to find MORE people who are CONGRUENT with that philosophy who join us as we expand all over the United States, and (in a few years) the entire globe.  

This is not to say that everyone who joins us will be a hard core intellectual, but if you ARE a hard core intellectual willing to WORK and build a large team there is an opportunity for you within this organization.

Here is the link:

http://balloondistractions.com/build-a-region.html

Have a GREAT 2014!   

Shark Tank made us BETTER!

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written by Ben Alexander

Soon after we filmed our segment for ABC’s Shark Tank back in September I got together with our team and we talked about what we needed to do to prepare for the potential exposure (and rapid growth) we’d get in the months after the episode aired.

In September the Shark Tank producers made no guarantees about WHEN the episode would air, if at all, so we had to prepare for the exposure within a possible window of December 2013 to May 2014.

This meant that we had to upgrade our servers at a significant cost without being sure the episode would even air! We didn’t want to drag our tail on the upgrades and then watch our website crash when the episode finally aired.

Thankfully we got the call from ABC that our segment will air January 17th of 2014.  

There are several changes that we made in the last 3 months:

1. We brought on a CFO to look at our entire operation and prepare the organization for fast growth.

2. We upgraded our servers and website to focus on recruiting more Regional Partners, and handle more website views at one shot.

3. We partnered with the largest balloon distributor in the country to sell our Balloon Distractions Balloon Basics kit. When Shark Tank airs we might sell 5, or we might sell 5,000!

4. Right now we are drafting a new comprehensive Independent Contractor agreement that encompasses all the levels within the company, from Artist to Regional Partner.

5. We’ve modified the sales compensation to heavily incentivize recruiting and better training for our Independent Contractors.

6. We formed up an Advisory Board of successful business owners who meet once a month and look at this business with a fresh perspective. One of the recommendations of the board was to solidify our online footprint, hence the content in this blog.

….. Shark Tank forced me to look at my company in a new light, and take some steps that I probably should have taken years ago. 

These improvements made the company stronger not only for new people looking to join us but for all the Independent Contractors already working with us.

You live and you learn, right?        

Systems and Complexity.

I’ve been reading books on soil microbiology, capitalism and the growth of railroads from 1850 to 1900 and (last but not least) a book by Kevin Kelly on the evolution of technology in the last 50 years. All three books have a common underlying theme: through the use of well developed systems  a problem is solved with sublime balance and simplicity.

All three books are really about evolving systems: from the way protozoa eat bacteria in soil to the way railroad companies organized freight schedules to the progression of technology from vacuum tubes to the modern high speed internet. The evolution of technology is by far the most rapid of all three because modern progress is continuously becoming a more complex and interwoven system. Case in point: an advance in material technology leads to a faster computer processor, which helps a geneticist unravel a viral genome, and from this another doctor figures out how to graft human skin onto a metal prosthesis, which leads to more human-like robots, etc.

Even singing in a choir you need complex systems… taken in pieces the notes are very simple and unremarkable, but when they are combined in the complexity of voices and instruments a complex and multi-level beauty emerges, all from the organization of simple notes on a sheet of paper.  Perhaps this is why so many scientists and engineers are also musicians on the side…..

Inherent in everything is a quiet system at work. Even the words that you are reading right now are a small part of a highly evolved language system that was started 10,000 years ago and continues to develop even to this day.

Language enabled humans to pass along knowledge from one generation to the next, our forebears learned how to make weapons, which mushroom it was safe to eat… or which root would help cure certain illnesses. We are the products of a vast system of oral and written knowledge that has been modified and grown through ten thousand generations.

Look at any form of biological reproduction: from bacterial replication to mammals bearing live young to a dandelion being visited by a pollen-hungry bee. Vastly different in implementation, but the goal of all three is the same.

The most successful businesses use systems internally, and the largest companies on the planet sell systems that help the consumer simplify their lives. All IT companies sell systems, from Apple to Microsoft to Google.

Take a look at the entire world around you, there is a system quietly humming right there in front of your nose, from the orchid blooming on your desk to the swirling electrons and organized binary bits inside your computer that manifest the words on your computer screen.

As technology moves into the Conceptual Age everything will revolve around clever systems designed to solve a problem.

You might invent the next billion dollar system!

Ben Alexander

2010