Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

Every Tuesday, I write.

I share an idea I’ve come up with, a struggle I’m wrestling with, a puzzle I’m turning over in my head, or a story that I think the world needs to hear. You can sign up to get these emailed to you each Tuesday morning by clicking here

On Thursdays, I write at Batch about a business idea or concept, usually through the lens of my day-to-day work as co-founder and CEO or from the viewpoint and lessons learned of our purveyors. Follow along here

On LinkedIn and Twitter I often toss out quick thoughts and ideas that aren’t ready for longer posts just yet or something that I’m seeking feedback on. 

If you'd like to get more ideas like these sent to you each day, it's easy: sign up here.

Posts tagged ideas
Dose Is Coming

I'm excited to announce that starting tomorrow, I'm offering a new email newsletter subscription to those who want to stay motivated, inspired, and challenged. Dose is a daily dose  - a shot in the arm - of a thought, quote, or idea to keep you energized and focused.

A few promises:

  • It's free - there's no cost to subscribe to these doses.
  • It's daily - like eating or taking a shower, we need motivation daily.
  • It's short - no long diatribes here. Less than 100 words each morning to help you start your day fresh.

Sign up by clicking here or by using the box on the right. You can also unsubscribe at any time.

So, give it a shot for the first week and see what you think. Thanks for your support.

Melons or Berries? and 25 Other First Date Questions

Getting to know someone can be hard, awkward, and even boring. First dates, orientations, staff retreats - they all usually include some version of icebreakers or get-to-know-you questions that are tired. The "What's your favorite color?" train has left the station. So, in an effort to get to know someone better, whether you're sharing your first latte or embarking on saving the world together, here are 26 questions you can ask that should spark a story.

And when you're getting to know someone, you need a story, not an answer. Stories let us shine; they showcase a passion and give us context (not just content). You can tell what's important to someone when they tell a story - what they include, what they omit, when their eyes light up.

Here's to all of us telling better stories.

26 Great First Date Questions

  1. Do you prefer melons or berries when it comes to fruit?
  2. If you could be a background character on any TV show, which would you choose?
  3. Who do you admire that I've never heard of?
  4. If your plans for Friday night were suddenly canceled, how would you spend those hours?
  5. Would you rather shop for the ingredients or bake the cake?
  6. What routine in your life - if skipped or missed - knocks you out of whack?
  7. If you had the means to live in two cities at once, which would they be?
  8. If you found $100 on the sidewalk tonight, how would you spend it?
  9. Who - in your opinion - has the perfect relationship?
  10. What do you think about when you don't think about anything?
  11. What song are you embarrassed to have on your iPod?
  12. How old were you when you got your first cell phone?
  13. Who do you call or write first when you need advice?
  14. Who is the oldest person you know?
  15. Who is the youngest person you know?
  16. Was your high school prom unforgettable or very forgettable?
  17. What's the hardest thing you've ever done?
  18. What did you dream about last night?
  19. If you're going to a potluck, do you make something or buy something?
  20. What is the best meal you've ever had?
  21. If your house was on fire, what one photograph do you grab on the way out?
  22. Why is your house on fire?
  23. If you're in a new city, do you wander or stick to the itinerary?
  24. Where - or who - is "home"?
  25. What is one thing you own that you would never sell?
  26. What do you wish I would have asked you?

Of course, some of these questions may still fall flat. But, you at least won't have to bore yourself with "Boxers or briefs?" and who knows? If the person across the table likes to bring deviled eggs to the cookout, then you can go ahead and plan your exit speech for why you have to get up early the next morning.

Got any to add?

What new, better, fun, and story-giving questions do you like to ask someone you meet?

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Am I Here to Encourage or Criticize?

Many times, people keep plodding along with an idea because no one has told them it's not good or viable or possible. And, many times, people give up on a great idea too soon because they didn't receive enough encouragement to keep going. When you have an idea, solicit feedback. Ask friends, family, and strangers what they think. And when you do, be crystal clear that you'd either like them to encourage you to see it through or criticize the idea in a very honest way.

You need to know whether to plow through or stop in your tracks.

Lots of kids on American Idol should have been told a long time ago by a parent or a friend that they're not good at singing. And I bet there are thousands of people who should have shown up to audition because they have a great singing voice but no one has told them.

It hurts to hear that your idea doesn't have merit or legs, but that pain is much duller than finding yourself bankrupt or hopeless because years of trying never paid off.

I've mentioned before that we all need cheerleaders. This is a great role for family and friends to play because it's a natural fit. But don't let their cheering voices drown out the handful of objective strangers that can tell you honestly whether or not your idea has a chance. When you get the meeting with the investor, the experienced entrepreneur, or the potential co-founder, before you pitch, ask them to be brutally honest whether or not your idea is worth chasing.

Then, they'll have your permission not to sugarcoat anything. And this is good. You don't need candy. You need the nutritious power of open and honest feedback.

What you don't want from anyone are polite smiles and nods. That doesn't tell you anything. You need someone to either jump on a couch or laugh in your face.

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Why I Like Public Speaking

I meet more and more people who want to become speakers. Whether they want to make a full career of it or they simply want to leverage speaking opportunities to get more business for their company, it seems like many people are trying to break into the public speaking world. I was recently asked by someone what the most exciting thing about public speaking is for me. What is it that makes me want to stand up in front of 5 or 500 people and say something?

It's not being on a stage. There are plays and musicals that could accomplish that for me. (Okay, maybe not musicals.)

It's not saying something. I can say things in any other venue, including talking to myself.

It's not to earn a living. There are plenty of ways I could make money.

It's not to travel. In fact, when I travel, I'm known to be gone for as little time as possible, sometimes catching a red eye back home.

It's not to sell stuff. Speaking appearances don't always convert into sales.

Why do I like public speaking? Because I like to share an idea.

To me, this is where the difference lies between public speakers and professional speakers. Technically, if you say anything, you can be a public speaker. But if you share ideas that can make people think, then you have a chance at earning a living. Discover a big idea and share it.

Lou Heckler said:

Workshops teach skills, and speeches are designed to prompt thinking.

If you're on the big stage, you need to prompt thinking. And this what I love to do. Whether I'm blogging, writing a book, or standing on a stage, I like to share ideas.

If you want people to clap for you, go play kickball. If you have something to say, start saying it. You'll find the stage eventually.