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Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 21 2021
Version 3 isn’t here yet

Version 3 isn’t here yet

There’s a lot to do, isn’t there.

So many areas of the business or product that just aren’t quite there yet.

That’s fine. You’re on Version 1:

Version 1 isn’t the end. It’s fine for now. It may not be fine for later, but it wasn’t made for later. Version 2 can’t happen before Version 1 does.

Version 2 isn’t the end, either. It’s better than Version 1, but it sure isn’t as good as Version 3 will be. Let Version 2 be Version 2, without judgement compared to what comes next.

Version 3 is a long way away from today’s Version 1. Knowing what you think Version 3 will look like might inform some decisions you make today, but trying to force it is to try forcing Version 1 to be Version 3. It isn’t.

Everything might benefit from improvement. But none will benefit from you trying to improve all of them at once, all of the time.

Let Version 1 be what it is. Be proud of it, and thankful you have the vision to see what comes next. 
It lets us enjoy the ride.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 20 2021
Multitasking gets a bad rap

Multitasking gets a bad rap

You’ve read the productivity blogs.

“Don’t multitask, you’ll get less done!” “Get into flow with a single focused task!”

They’re not wrong, but they’re not complete, either.

If your goal is distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities, don’t multitask. You’ll withdraw from your limits and your skills won’t improve to the same degree.

Deep work (as Cal Newport calls it) is better at producing those results.

But if your goal is having the ability to “see around corners” when you produce, consider throwing a little bit of multitasking in there. You’ll produce less, but time invested with many diverging nodes of thought lets you spot patterns that others don’t.

Non-obvious connections and second-order consequences are clearer in an unfocused mind, thanks to multi-tasking.

Taking massive action upon those discoveries is more efficient in a focused mind, thanks to single-tasking.

Multitasking gets a bad rap. Instead, let’s consider its utility, and use it as an advantage.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 19 2021
Certainty comes later

Certainty comes later

When you read about successful endeavours and entrepreneurs, there’s a lot of certainty in the stories.

Much more than in reality.

“They knew what to do and took decisive action”. No they didn’t. They knew what had worked for others, and what the unknowns are. The future remains an unknown for us all. The best we can do is take decisive action wit the information we have, to accelerate the learning process.

“They knew the venture would work.” No they didn’t. They hoped it would, told their peers it would, but likely spent many difficult nights wrestling with the possibility that it might not work out. That’s fine. That’s human. The best we can do is give our work the opportunity to succeed with appropriate levels of wisdom and resolve.

“They were destined to succeed.” No they weren’t. They experienced good leadership either through parents, book authors, coaches or culture, at some point in their lives, which helped create the person we see today. Some of us are lucky enough to be exposed to those things from an early age. For others, it comes later.

Hindsight and fables contain a lot more certainty than reality.

Don’t aim to be stay certain. Aim to keep growing. Leave the certainty to hindsight.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 18 2021
Innovation hides behind rites of passage

Innovation hides behind rites of passage

There are rites of passage everywhere in business.

Résumé expectations. Behaviour modification. Career ladders.

But these passages hide opportunities for innovation, if only we’d look for them:

A rite of passage could be assuming the only way to be good at producing a certain result takes a decade of experience, or that the hardships you experienced should be experienced by others too.

An opportunity for innovation could be to suppose that decade of experience could become process documentation that enables people with half your experience to produce the same results, without the hardships or struggles.

Behind every rite of passage lies an opportunity to innovate.

What innovations are hiding in your industry?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 17 2021
Making and selling

Making and selling

Making is part of the selling process.

Selling is part of the making process.

I loved making and selling things since I was really tiny. I’d cut up my drawings and try to sell them as jigsaw puzzles.

I’d learn which pictures people liked and which they didn’t. I’d learn why packaging is important, and to make sure there aren’t all-white pieces!

Making and selling should be connected.

Making without selling means you can’t make your work objective better. There just isn’t the real, empirical data you need to make real progress.

Selling without making means you can’t make your work objectively better. There isn’t the opportunity to create the changes needed to make real progress.

The ability to get that data, plus the ability to make those changes, unlocks the superpower of inevitable, eventual success.

Create an environment where these two things are directly connected. Making, and selling. It’s a real-life superpower.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 16 2021
Answer these 2 questions to focus your marketing

Answer these 2 questions to focus your marketing

There are tons of marketing activities you could be doing today.

And most can be effective if implemented effectively.

So how do you know what to focus on?

Answer these two questions to find out:

#1: What are you the best in the world at? This isn’t lots of things. It’s one thing, maybe two. If you’re amazing at how-to videos but stink at technical writing, for instance, those are things to keep in mind!

#2: Who is your audience & what do they need to hear from you? This isn’t lots of people. It’s one group, maybe two. If you’re unclear precisely what they need to hear from you, that’s your #1 priority to do something about.

Helping your specific people move forward with a message that clearly resonates with them, with world-class delivery…

…sounds like a recipe for better, focused marketing, doesn’t it?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 15 2021
When it feels like stealing

When it feels like stealing

Sometimes, it feels like stealing.

I’m fortunate enough to have created products that I first designed years ago, that continue to sell today, and will continue to do so tomorrow…

Thats the funny thing about making a large investment of time and energy into a body of work that can’t compensate you for your efforts today… that you get compensated long after that investment was made.

All while creating real, actual positive change in the lives of others.

It can feel like stealing. From your past self.

Work done in by past-you… that rewards present-day you.

Which begs the question:

What can you do for your future-self that will make that version of you feel like they’re stealing?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 14 2021
Business theatre

Business theatre

Did you cast yourself a role in business theatre?

Let’s find out. Do you…

Study your ‘elevator pitch’? Shooting clichés from the hip makes us feel others think we know what we’re doing. Business theatre favours pat answers over the discomfort of not knowing what you’ll say until the context is clear.

Fill your calendar with things because “busy means important”? Nobody’s calendar is as full as they’d have you believe. People have time for what’s important to them, business theatre obscures what’s important with feeling important.

Make decisions quickly because that’s what Bezos did once? Not making decisions is uncomfortable. Rushing decisions soothes the discomfort, business theatre favours your feelings above making a good decision.

Business theatre is a popular show.

We can act, or we can do better. Not both.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 13 2021
Optimising for Familiarity

Optimising for Familiarity

How important is familiarity in marketing?

In Cleese’s book, “Creativity”, he cites a psychological experiment where volunteers were shown various Chinese characters.

A week later, Panel A they were asked to recall the ones they’d seen. They failed.

Panel B we’re asked which they liked better. They recalled the characters they’d seen before.

They not only remembered more, but liked them more.

These familiar characters didn’t need to shout and scream to be remembered. They certainly didn’t benefit from being asked about. They just showed up again among strangers.

Consider it a call to action:

  • Twitter ‘likes’ consist of quality and familiarity. Not shouting, but showing up.
  • Follow-up that generates interest consists of value and familiarity. Not harassing, but showing up.
  • A “grand product launch” from a stranger can’t compete with familiar faces who routinely do great things.

We see a lot of online personalities making a lot of noise in hope of getting our attention and our interest.

Perhaps calmly and routinely showing up for your choice of market might be the better path?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 12 2021
Be less certain

Be less certain

Being absolutely certain on something has some real downsides:

It means we don’t look for evidence for or against something. Because we already decided what we think. Whether we’re right or wrong, we’re blind.

It makes us continue down a path that may not be right for us. Because we want to be coherent with past decisions, or because we feel led by the market or the divine.

It makes us liars. Because saying “I don’t know” doesn’t make us feel brilliant like lingo-laden expert-speak does.

There are lots of reasons to seek certainty on a great many things. But I find a better goal is to be “almost certain”.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 11 2021
Marketing In Your Colours

Marketing In Your Colours

How do your principles come across in your marketing?

Some say cold email is always bad. Others say that to suppose it’s always bad is to suppose marketing is always bad. There’s a way of doing outreach that’s “right” for your team, that reflects your principles.

Some say product discounts always cheapen a product. Others say they’re a great incentive for helping people move forward. You may be somewhere between the poles – that “right place” should also reflect your principles.

Some say user tracking is bad, an invasion of privacy. Others say it’s always great, because they’re only thinking of the marketer’s perspective. You may be somewhere between the two (such as using anonymised analytics) – your perspective should reflect your principles.

When our principles come across in our marketing, our marketing builds our brand. When we don’t consider whether our actions raise a flag in our colours, we weaken our brand.

Do you do all of your marketing in your colours?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 10 2021
You’re not alone

You’re not alone

Most of the entrepreneurs I’ve met struggle in some way. In secret. Emotionally.

With something.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at them. Or probably even by asking them.

It’d break the facade of professionalism, success, accomplishment. It could “damage their personal brand.” It could hurt.

You struggle too, I’m sure. Also in secret. And you might think you’re the only one.

You’re not.

Keep going. You’re not alone.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 09 2021
Simple rules for outbound marketing

Simple rules for outbound marketing

We could make a long list of rules for outbound marketing, couldn’t we.

Let’s make it simple: Two rules.

Rule #1: Make things better for others. This can include “providing value”, but only if it makes things better for others. It can also include simply being a nice person in the process.

Rule #2: Don’t waste people’s time. This includes communicating clearly and specifically. It includes not messing around with silly hacks and tricks or being a nuisance in your follow-up.

That’s it.

Going to do some outbound marketing?

Great!

Remember the two rules.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 08 2021
Anti-Hustle

Anti-Hustle

We know what ‘hustle’ is.

It’s spending an unhealthy amount of time working on something that interests you.

It’s creating calculated goodwill to induce reciprocity in others.

It’s what you say you’re doing in picture-quotes to get more likes.

So what’s anti-hustle?

It’s spending a healthy amount of time working on something that makes things better. Doing important work, then resting.

It’s creating value for others without expectation of reciprocity. Nobody likes to feel hustled, but anti-hustle feels great to the recipient.

It’s having meaningful conversations with those you serve, rather than pandering to algorithms for likes.

Which of the two sounds like it’ll produce the results you want?

Why not try that one, then?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 07 2021
About the next hot marketing trend this year

About the next hot marketing trend this year

Ooh, the next hot trend – know what it is yet?

Every year we have forecasts popping up all over the web covering what trends we should be chasing next.

Every trend contains a secret to making them work, and every forecast seems to miss it.

If the trend is chat bots, the focus shifts to leverage: “How can it be automated so I don’t have to talk to people personally?” The secret is, you don’t. Personal connection is the point.

If the trend is LinkedIn PPC, the focus shifts to leverage: “How can I just quickly have one ad that somehow speaks directly to every prospect?” The secret is, you don’t. Tailoring your message to those you serve is the point.

If the trend is TikTok organic, the focus shifts to leverage: “How can I just ‘hack’ the platform to get me lots of followers who will engage with our stuff?” The secret is, you don’t. Getting to build real relationships is the point.

When the next ‘hot trend’ rolls around, will you miss the point? Or will you notice the pattern that connects all of the examples above together?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 06 2021
An alternative social strategy

An alternative social strategy

“I need people to see me online, so I must make lots of noise.”

Ever said – or thought – this before?

Seems logical. But it sells you short and assumes the value you bring to the market is nil. It also distracts you from your work of serving your audience. What if we swap the statement to this instead:

“I need to serve people so fully that they can’t help but make lots of noise for me.”

Ever said – or thought – this before?

There is still noise. But it assumes the value you bring to the market is significant. It enables you to focus on your work of serving your audience. It challenges you not to get louder, but to serve more deeply.

Which sounds like the more sustainable, beneficial, valuable, fun option of the two to you?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 05 2021
The downside of being great at the details

The downside of being great at the details

What’s the downside to being great at the details?

You might not learn how to master the basics.

We often become OK at the basics in our pursuit of being great at the details. Perhaps it’s being OK at email while pursuing full-featured marketing automation skills. Or being OK at HTML while pursuing the latest client-side javascript framework technology.

Mastering the basics usually happens after someone gets great at the details. When you realise that one excellent email can generate more business than 100 generic automated sequences. Or that knowing how to write plain javascript effectively could mean some of your projects can benefit from leaner code that loads faster and lasts longer.

Dare you graduate in your work from being great at the details, to being a master at the basics?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 04 2021
The perfect launch

The perfect launch

Know what’s impossible?

A perfect product or campaign launch.

Here’s why.

To be perfect, it would need to meet the needs of its chosen audience, perfectly…

To be perfect, it would need to speak the language of its chosen audience, perfectly…

…Except it just launched and they’ve not experienced it yet, so the data needed to perfect it hasn’t yet arrived.

That comes next. That comes from a relentless pursuit of those you wish to serve, and a perpetual re-expression of what you learn from them.

There is no perfect launch.

Only the pursuit of our people, with ears open, and hearts prepared to change our work based on what we discover.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 03 2021
No is Yes is No

No is Yes is No

Here’s a (potentially) uncomfortable fact:

You do not find saying ‘No’ to people difficult.

I hear people say all the time, “I’m not very good at saying no” or, “I’m find it awkward telling people no.”

Every ‘Yes’ is a ‘No’. A no to something else you could have done with that time. You could be saying no to advancing a project that would benefit your customers in a real and meaningful way. You could be saying no to a family member who would love to spend that time with you, except you gave it away already to someone who asked first.

Every ‘No’ is a ‘Yes’. A no to something that doesn’t require your time, so you can spend it on something that does. A no that enables you to move things forward, progress in business or in life. A no that lets you spend time with your most precious people, rather than keeping them waiting because you Yessed your time away.

You might not like saying No. But every time you say No, you say yes to everything else. And equally, every time you say Yes, you say No to everything else.

Since you can’t get out of saying no, you might as well get comfortable with it and instead decide what to say no to.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
June 02 2021
The project after

The project after

You know what you’re making next.

Probably, something that makes things better for customers than the thing you currently sell. Something that we might have fixed our hopes on, because it’s our target.

What if we looked further to the future?

What about what we’re making after the thing we’re making? Something that doesn’t just make things a bit better for our customers, but make things unrecognisably better. Something not so bound by today’s foundational work. Where we aren’t fixing hopes only our next step, but on the place that step moves us closer to?

Sometimes the day’s work becomes more strategic and effective if we focus on it while keeping “the project after” in mind.

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