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Short, visual daily posts on listening to the right voices in your head about marketing and business.
January 23, 2021 Daily Post
Who are you competing against?
We know that our products compete against whatever alternatives exist in the minds of those we wish to serve.
But what about you? You compete against whatever you like.
It could be your peers: keeping up appearances in ways they deem important.
It could be different peers: the same rules as before but with a different crowd.
It could be yourself: being better than yesterday in areas you deem important, disregarding the pressures of peers.
Some imaginary races (competition) exist in the minds of our audiences; we’d do well to pay attention to them and race well.
Other imaginary races (such as the ones we have with ourselves) exist only in our own minds. We get to choose what or who we’re racing. We decide both who races and who wins.
January 22, 2021 Daily Post
“Innovation” is praised as a key requisite of successful projects. We don’t hear so much about “usefulness”.
Are these two things at odds with each other?
Innovation without usefulness is still innovative… but what good is that without usefulness?
Usefulness without innovation is still useful.
Innovation with usefulness either makes something more useful than were it to be otherwise, or it makes it useful but just in a different way.
Producthunt.com is peppered with innovations that lack much usefulness, a byproduct of the praise innovation gets.
What if we praised usefulness to the same degree? What if usefulness (plus a little innovation) was more desirable than innovation (plus a little usefulness)?
If your work exists to create meaningful advantage for those it serves, serving with usefulness is more important than impressing ourselves with innovations in isolation.
Long live “useful”.
January 21, 2021 Daily Post
If it were gone, would those you wish to service miss:
Your product or service? Is there meaningful, useful advantage that you bring that others would reach out asking for were it to be gone?
Your team? Is it’s ability to do what it does contagious enough in spirit and culture, and skilled enough in deployment, that others would sorely miss working with you?
That particular feature? The one you thought was super-important, would people reach out desperate for its return, or is it perhaps not that important?
That report or meeting? Is it integral to what you do, or could you go without and still do what you do just fine?
Your social media posts? If you stopped posting tomorrow, would someone reach out asking what happened?
When evaluating what makes our work important, it’s worth asking ourselves, “Would they miss it if it was gone?”
Could you be doing more things that they would, and less of what they wouldn’t?
January 20, 2021 Daily Post
‘Simple’ is widely considered better.
‘Easy’ has more baggage.
When something is made ‘simpler’, something was changed so that, once learned, may prove ‘easier’ to a user.
Making something simpler has a cost (learning), which the user must be willing to pay. The return on investment might be that things are now ‘easier’.
When something is made ‘easier’, something was changed to reduce a cost (learning or time). Making something easier doesn’t necessarily require ‘simple’ (delegation and removal are other paths to ‘easier’).
But when things can’t be delegated away or removed entirely, ‘simple’ often comes into play.
iPhones are ‘simple’, but the 2007 release still had to come with an instruction manual (where are the buttons? What does the ‘home button’ do?) before it became ‘easy’.
Sending letters in the post is ‘easy’ because it just takes paper and a stamp. Email may have been ‘simpler’ (fewer steps, faster) but wasn’t ‘easier’ until the cost (learning) was paid.
Menus are along the top of websites because that’s where people expect them to be. Hiding them behind a menu icon on large screens may create a simpler interface, but the cost isn’t ‘worth the investment’ to visitors who are only going to be there for a few moments.
We serve people better when we remember the costs we ask them to pay, making sure that our people think that the ‘easy’ at the end of the tunnel is worth it.
January 19, 2021 Daily Post
Less really is more:
More productive output comes from six hours of attentive work than twelve hours of mushy-minded ‘hustle’.
Better business operations come from fewer fancy processes and fewer moving parts, thanks to reduced margin for error, while creating the same output.
More Twitter community comes from less time wasted lurking on other social sites. One minute on ten social channels doesn’t create the same result as ten minutes on one.
Saying ‘No’ can be hard, especially when it’s to good ideas and opportunities.
But focusing on fewer things is often the key to achieving more, and juggling more things is usually the key to achieving less.
January 18, 2021 Daily Post
What’s a lazy opportunity?
When your competitors think “advertising means running ads on Facebook”, there’s a lazy opportunity. They forgot about a universe of potential connection, creativity and useful initiative because one channel made them lazy.
When your offer does the safe, easy thing, instead of leading customers forward bravely with better value and risk- reversal. Being lazy means a competitor can walk in, care more, and shut you down in the prices.
The lazy route is a path well-travelled.
That’s where lazy opportunity comes in – the chance to do better than the lazy status quo.
January 17, 2021 Daily Post
We’re often impressed by the wrong things:
When a framework/formula/system is put up for sale, we want to see screenshots of graphs and flowcharts… pages of supposedly-important nuance. If it’s got a lot of pages, surely it must be better? If it looks simple, perhaps it’s not worth the asking price?
When a new camera is put up for sale, we want to see how many megapixels it has… and that it comes with a carry-case and a spare battery. If it’s got lots of accessories bundled together, surely it must be better? If it looks like a lot is included, perhaps it’s worth a lot more?
What if the framework is complicated because it’s trying to impress you, rather than trying to serve you? What if the camera’s accessories are there because the seller knows people on Amazon often think 10 x $10 = $200?
We often undervalue simple and overvalue complex.
What if we did the opposite, appreciating how simplicity is often created by combining complexity, expertise, and focus?
January 16, 2021 Daily Post
Accidental Influence is all around us.
Described as “The Anchoring Trap” in a HBR post:
How would you answer these two questions?
Is the population of Turkey greater than 35 million?
What’s your best estimate of Turkey’s population?
If you’re like most people, the figure of 35 million cited in the first question (a figure we chose arbitrarily) influenced your answer to the second question. Over the years, we’ve posed those questions to many groups of people. In half the cases, we used 35 million in the first question; in the other half, we used 100 million. Without fail, the answers to the second question increase by many millions when the larger figure is used in the first question.
We can, of course, be influenced without realising it.
We can use this to our advantage too, though, by guiding our vision with way we self-talk, the way we nurture our teams, and the expectations we put on ourselves.
How have you been “accidentally influenced” this week?
How could you use this to your advantage?
January 15, 2021 Daily Post
Every sometimes, I have a strange chat with someone on our Creative team.
In that chat, we tear apart our products and services. We look for holes, flaws, things that could be improved, ways that something could slip through the cracks.
Sometimes I’ll be put straight on something I missed (where the work was strong), other times a product development opportunity emerges (where the work wasn’t strong enough).
What’s the point in this?
No work is perfect. If we get into apologetics, we miss opportunities to do better. If we get into tearing apart our own work, our work gets better.
Any of us trying to build great things owe it to others to challenge our own work, for their benefit.
January 14, 2021 Daily Post
We can’t perfect what doesn’t progress.
We can’t measure progress with parameters designed to measure perfection.
If we do, we never progress (we just become perfectionists).
So try different parameters:
Progress in a brand new craft could be “something was made.”
Progress in an existing craft could be “something different was made.”
Funny how we enable ourselves to perfect more things when we measure progress with parameters designed to enable more progress.