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ADAM’S BLOG

All posts from June 2018

201: Take it away, what now

Many teams thrive on just one strategy that works.

What if it didn’t?

Let’s play a little game of “Take it away, what now”:

  • That client source. Take it away, what now? If it stopped working, how would you access your market?
  • That product advantage. Take it away, what now? If you open-sourced it, how would you raise the bar next?
  • That nest egg. Take it away, what now? How would you slash costs, get creative, be resourceful?

The thing about stoically ploughing on in the face of adversity, is that the adversity is optional.

Bad things don’t need to happen for us to play the game.

200: Online advertisers, stop being creepy

We don’t like being tracked online. Yet we enjoy having more followers.

What’s the difference?

  • We share our secrets with those we trust. I don’t mind friends and family knowing where I am. This information is freely given to those we trust, but we rightly resent it being taken or bartered away from us.
  • Friends and family don’t ‘cash in’ our trust. I’ve received emails that literally said, “I saw you on my website today and…” That’s just being creepy. Unwanted ads and unwanted emails take advantage of our trust.

Connecting with people and sharing information is that’s what the Internet is all about. But it’s about freedom, too. We’re smart enough to connect and share with people we trust. We’d never stalk or barter for private information in real life. Why should online be any different?

Advertisers: please spend less time learning about ads, and more time learning about people.

199: Dividing lines

Xenophobia is a fear of people from other countries.

Is it because they talk differently, or because they might be better than you?

  • The metric is care: If they care more than you do, you have every reason to be afraid. They’ll take your job and that’ll be that.
  • It goes both ways: If you care more than those around you are prepared to, they should fear you regardless of where they’re from.

The dividing lines are in the wrong place: it’s not what patch of grass you were born on that separates you from others. It’s how much you’re willing to try.

198: In defense of ‘evolutionary’

‘Evolutionary’ is often seen as the lesser twin of ‘Revolutionary’.

  • Evolutionary means progress. Revolutionary begins in stark contrast to the market. Some changes may be better, others may not be. Change too many things at once and you won’t know which is which.
  • Evolutionary means survival. Revolutionary thrives on creating a lot of buzz. Buzz causes big valuations and sudden scale. But buzz doesn’t stick around. All that scaling needs supporting even once valuations drop.
  • Evolutionary means statistical inevitability. Revolutionary bets it all on red. Evolutionary plays enough smaller bets that it’s statistically more likely to succeed, eventually.

Great teams know when it’s time to take a big risk together. They also know that, most of the time, evolutionary is a great choice for teams that want to stand the test of time.

197: Can science be an art?

Or art a science?

  • Art becomes a science when we learn how to create masterpiece after masterpiece, on-demand, objectively.
  • Science becomes an art when we choose to express our genius in our chosen area of study, on-demand, subjectively.

While doing important work at scale on a team, perhaps we need both.

196: Urgency is in the eye of the beholder

We behave differently when something is urgent, compared to when it’s merely “coming soon”, don’t we:

  • ‘Urgent’ creates an emotional response. The rational process of methodical craft circumvented by borderline-desperation.
  • ‘Coming soon’ creates a reasoned response. The pragmatic process of considering all our options begets potential for ‘analysis paralysis’.
  • ‘Up next’ avoids both of these things. When something is ‘up next’, there’s no emergency, yet there’s insufficient time to over-think.

Some people are terminally urgent. For the rest of us, let’s choose ‘up next’ over the alternatives.