Short, visual daily posts on listening to the right voices in your head about marketing and business.
October 20, 2020 Daily Post
…is that folks don’t want to stop being a startup.
If a startup fails because it didn’t plan a suitable solution to a problem, that’s one thing. We see that happen all the time, as a result of a lack of customer-centric focus or lack of resourcefulness or just plain bad luck.
But succeeding as a startup is to no longer be a startup, too. To graduate from startup-town and move into being… well, just a business. An operation that systematically serves and solves, with many of those early concerns replaced with new problems.
Staying a startup means you don’t get to do any of that to your full potential, because you’re still in “figuring the initial stuff out” mode.
It’s a lot of fun to start up something. But we achieve so much more for those we serve if we don’t stay at the start.
October 19, 2020 Daily Post
It’s rare to solve a problem that previously had no solution at all.
It’s also often unprofitable since there’s usually not a developed market there.
But when we’re in a sales environment, this fact sometimes gets forgotten:
“You need to buy this if you’re going to X.” Do we, really? Is there no other path for us to reach our goal, than the one you’re pitching to us?
“You’re going to miss out if you don’t X today.” Maybe, but is that as big of a deal to us as it is to you? Are you pushing because it matters more to you or because it matters more for us?
“There are many ways, but this way is straight, simple, well-defined and on good terms.” That’s more like it. Show us a way to where we want to go and make the path straight. We’re interested now.
The path that our body of work paves to a solution need not be the only path. We don’t buy because it’s the only path. More likely, we’ll buy because you made the path straight for us.
October 18, 2020 Daily Post
We get to choose the byproducts of our work:
For instance, when we boost videos on Facebook designed to peddle products or bask in our own majesty, we wear people down or wind them up. The byproduct is that they may tolerate you, ignore you, or yield to your pursuit under duress.
Conversely, when we spend money boosting videos on social platforms that are designed to make problems go away, we make lives better. The byproduct is that they may come to you for more support, whether it’s free or paid.
Which sounds like the kind of business you’d like to operate?
We get to choose the byproduct of our work by the kind of work we create.
October 17, 2020 Daily Post
What do designs, business plans and product development plans have in common?
They’re conversations, not deliverables.
For instance, design software isn’t for making pixel-perfect designs. It’s for allowing creative mediums to converge in one place prior to preparing them for development. Illustrations, animations, things that if you were to take straight into code may not quite work together in quite the same way without first having a canvas to spike it all out in varying levels of fidelity.
Design files aren’t supposed to be perfect: They’re supposed to be enough to inform the creative and the code how to come together.
Business plans aren’t supposed to be perfect: They’re supposed to be enough to inform operations, marketing, product, finance and more how to come together, not correctly predict the future and reward our minds for getting there in advance.
Product development plans aren’t supposed to be perfect: They’re supposed to enable the product and the marketing to be the same thing, by giving a language for product and marketing minds to converge over together, rather than merely producing widgets others have to figure out how to peddle.
Are you creating deliverables where you should be creating conversations? What would change in your body of work if you changed that?
October 16, 2020 Daily Post
I had a beautiful wall clock for my birthday.
Watching it keep perfect time without a single gram of silicon in sight to power it is a great reminder of a business formula I preach all the time in our companies:
Process + Hard work + Humility = Success
Process without hard work doesn’t tick. With no pendulum swinging back ‘n’ forth to keep the cogs turning, we won’t be able to keep time at all.
Hard work without humility doesn’t stay in beat. With some parts of the system thinking they’re better than others, the process won’t be adhered to (much less improved) and we won’t keep good time.
Hard work without process ticks and bongs at all the wrong times. Good intentions without the focus and discipline of process makes an impressive amount of noise, but it’s not to be relied upon to tell the time.
Process + Hard work + Humility creates a unique blend of focused, methodical, harmonized work that stays the same worst-case, and gets better with time best-case.
Does your company, team or cause run like clockwork?
October 15, 2020 Daily Post
Do you trust the process, or the guru?
The guru: This is the internet marketer promising untold riches if you buy his course. This is also the version of yourself you might want the world to see, the one where everyone thinks that you’re extra-special, the one that doesn’t receive feedback very well.
The process: This is the map you wanted to follow to get to your goal, but may have strayed from because a guru showed up. This is also the thing that reveals us to be diligent –rather than extra-special – when we trust (and refine) the process.
The guru makes us feel better. The process makes us better.
October 14, 2020 Daily Post
Our egos aren’t going to enjoy this one. Here we go:
We’re not amazing. You and I, that is. We’re not born with unique undefinable, un-refineable skills that the world desperately needs. What we do have is the ability to work hard with humility, to create process, and make great things as a result.
Our teams aren’t amazing. But if we all have the disciplines of humility and hard work above, we can produce great things. That’s far more desirable by the marketplace than the ability to produce delusion that distances one’s self from reality by ego.
Our clients aren’t amazing. Forgetting this leads to starstruck abandonment of our ability to think critically and deliver our best work. A great client shouldn’t receive worse output from us than the rest, should they?
Humility and hard work often lead to the perception of “amazing”. But believing that you are often leads to the loss of humility and hard work.
The question is, do we want to produce great things?
October 13, 2020 Daily Post
Designers don’t have the job of experiencing great design. Those they produce designs for have that job. Designers have the job of wrestling subpar design into great design.
Writers don’t have the job of reading great books. Those they produce words for have that job. Writers have the job of wrestling with blank pages and fifth drafts into great prose.
The job is to live and create in ‘the void’ between those two places. To make ‘the void’ a place of work, leaving the appreciation of great works to others.
Average practitioners spend their time with great work.
Great ones invest their time into average work.
Because that’s where the great work comes from.
October 12, 2020 Daily Post
When a customer cries, “ASAP!”, relax.
Because that’s not a deadline.
ASAP is uncomfortable because it’s ill-defined. Some focus on the “as soon as” part of it, others on “as possible” part. One is tense, one is slack. That’s not a deadline.
ASAP is uncomfortable because you’re anxious about the wrong thing. About getting something done “right this second”, rather than getting a workable deadline (date & time).
ASAP is what happens when deadlines don’t happen, but the thing still needed to get done, and still nobody stepped up to set a deadline.
So set a deadline.
October 11, 2020 Daily Post
You might be telling yourself the wrong story.
Your team mate is probably not trying to sabotage your success. The success of the team (and the contribution they’re making) is more likely to be why they showed up today than merely to make your life difficult.
Your client is probably not trying to make your life difficult for the heck of it. They’ve got goals and to-dos and schedules and family and responsibilities just like the rest of us. They’re more likely to be slammed than sadistic.
Your company is probably capable of more, even when you’re feeling tired. Because how we feel today rarely has much to do with our reality and our potential, not to mention the reality and potential of the team you serve alongside.
The wrong narrative is hand-delivered, in person, by ego. The real narrative is found in reason.
Which narrative are you listening to today?