Archive of posts from November 2019

November 30, 2019     Daily Post

Four Hour Work Week For Meaningful Work?

Does the four hour work week apply to cause-driven work?

It could… but it’d miss the point:

The goal of cause-driven work isn’t to suffer the least amount of pain necessary to get through the week. If doing work that matters is uncomfortable, you have a “why” problem, not a “what” problem. Without a daily commitment to “why” you’ve chosen to make this contribution to the world, you’ll invariably start nitpicking “what” or “how” you’re doing it.

The goal of cause-driven work is to do as much of what matters to you as you can possibly fit into the week. It engages you, it fulfills you, it energizes you. The conventional four-hour premise was predicated upon freeing up time to do what engages you, fulfills you energizes you. When you’re striving to create a lasting contribution, they’re the same thing.

When it comes to doing meaningful work, long-lasting impactful work, work that makes a difference, get your “why” right and do work that engages you, energizes you. That way, forty hours will be the dream, not four.

November 29, 2019     Daily Post

Client in Your Pocket

Not a real client, of course.

But it’s worth keeping a note describing your client in your pocket. Your full, intimate understanding of them and their world should always be close by. In your pocket.

Everything you’ve identified about your people, from where they live to what they are interested in on social media, makes up your audience.

Everybody else is merely a distraction. They can’t afford the opportunity cost of your time or attention. And you can’t afford to give it to them.

The more you serve only these people – the ones in your pocket – the more your organization succeeds.

So keep them in your pocket. Keep it written down, close at hand, and think about them often. Dedicate your work to them. Write them letters of advocacy and appreciation. Think about ways you can help them live their best life. Go where they go. Be interested in what they’re interested in. Talk their language. Be in their world.

Your marketing isn’t about you, it’s about them now. Same for every piece of communication, design, every ad and every email. Make yourself meaningful in your Person’s world and meet them where they are, on their level.

They need you.

November 28, 2019     Daily Post

The Importance of a Safe Pair of Hands

Why did you buy that?

Why did you choose that particular car dealership to do business with? Was it because of the broad inventory or the fact they were the only one who didn’t lie?

Or that smartphone manufacturer? Was it because of a gimmicky feature, or that you trusted you’ll be well looked after years after your purchase?

Or that tailor for your new suit? Was it because they were cheaper, or that you trusted they’d take good care of your investment?

Or that business consulting service? Was it because of flexible pricing and fancy closing scripts, or that you felt like they were a safe pair of hands?

Being ‘a safe pair of hands’ rarely makes the list of things sales teams and businesses consider while presenting their products and services.

And yet, often, it’s the very thing we’re all looking for.

November 27, 2019     Daily Post

Ew, Salesperson

And yet, we are all in sales.

We sell the idea of going to a particular restaurant this evening.

We sell those close to us on the ability to believe in themselves.

We sell the assurance that we can complete a project for someone.

And we believe those things when we’re told by people who aren’t “a salesperson”.

To be a great salesperson, you must not be a salesperson:

To do the opposite of what they do is to get what they desire.

If they chase and ask for the sale, don’t ask, be chased.

If they pitch and impress, instead advise and set expectations.

If they’re high-energy and cheesy, be calm, stoic.

If they follow up to excess, be chased. Be professional.

If they’re attached to an outcome, be unattached – let your advice to taken as it will.

If they’re in cheap suits and fake watches, be genuine, real.

If they call you with interruptions, be called upon when needed.

We are all in sales, but we don’t need to regress into becoming ‘salespeople’.

November 26, 2019     Daily Post

Is This That Which I Feared?

A famous Stoic phrase, “Is this that which I feared?” lends itself to meaningful pursuits of important work:

Your vision isn’t as far along as you’d hoped. “is this that which I feared?” You never had it, so you never lost it. You can still have it, providing you work smart. Everyone has their own timing, their own journey; it’s what makes yours special, a story worth telling one day.

You lost everything on some bad deals. “Is this that which I feared?” You didn’t lose your will, nor your capacity nor your capability to do it again. You came into the world with nothing, you’ll take nothing with you, and you’ve every capacity to create what you decide to create.

You fudged an important sales presentation. “Is this that which I feared?” You didn’t lose your ability to improve your skills, nor your ability to have another presentation with someone else. Possibly even with the same people. None of us were born into the world with such skills.

Embracing “Is this that which I feared” reminds us that in darker moments, “Yes, this is what I had feared.” And here you are, healthy and able.

So, with less fear in your way, go. Make a difference.

November 25, 2019     Daily Post

One Kick 10,000 Times ​

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Until it’s truly mastered, there’s a game we like to play in our ignorance:

The “Make it way more complicated than it needs to be” game. It’s no different while producing meaningful work for the marketplace:

The better the product, the less ‘features’ you need.

What better way to disguise a lack of design prowess than to pepper work with gimmicks?

What better way to mask a weak product than a littering of bonuses?

Complexity is a place to hide. Mastery lies beyond.

The harder you qualify, the easier you close.

A fear of turning anyone away becomes a fear of qualifying prospects.

Which turns into desperation during closing time.

Which turns into more ‘features’ and other distractions.

Fear is a place to hide. Mastery lies beyond.

The simpler the pricing, the easier the enrollment.

A lack of clarity over how to price something becomes ‘options’.

Options become an elaborate matrix of confusing configurations.

Elaborate matrixes of nuanced configurations turn away prospects.

Nuance is a place to hide. Mastery lies beyond.

You might have too many ‘kicks’ in your training. What if you traded them for mastery?

November 24, 2019     Daily Post

Are You the Content or the Commercial?

We get to choose.

Though, for most businesses, the choice wasn’t clear at the beginning:

“I want people to see me on Instagram, so I must run Instagram Ads.” This is a half-truth. It’s true that some people will see you on Instagram if you run Instagram Ads. But do they want to see you? Do you tune into your favorite TV shows for the commercials, or the content?

“I want to serve people where they are, for my audience that’s Instagram.” When you’re the content, not the commercial, something special happens. If most of your audience is on Instagram, if you’re genuinely being of service, even those who don’t normally use it will visit your profile, just for you.

We go to the content that serves us, whenever we can. We go away from commercials that distract us, whenever we can.

Commercials serve an important introductory role in many campaigns for many important bodies of work. But is the goal to be a perpetual distraction, or a place they go out of their way to visit, just to spend time with you?

November 23, 2019     Daily Post

Your Pain Is My Priority

Quick, that client has an emergency! What are you going to do about it?!

When this happens, we have two choices. Let’s start with the popular one…

“Your emergency is my urgency”

This is the default setting of anyone new to this concept who truly cares about those they serve. If you care, you want to “make everything better” when there’s an emergency. To fight the fire, to save the day.

By adopting their emergency as your own, you do so while unwillingly sacrificing your own priorities which, from that same heart of service, was likely set with their best interests in mind anyway.

What’s the alternative?

“Your pain is my priority”

This option isn’t popular because it doesn’t feel natural to most of us.

This option remembers that saying “OK!” to the emergency sacrifices a better version of the future for the client, in favor of short-term appeasement. This option knows how important it is to invest time in explaining the importance of that bigger future.

When you adopt the “your pain is my priority” option, the focus isn’t on the emergency, but on solving the problem for good.

You’re in the problem-solving business, not the firefighting business, aren’t you?

November 22, 2019     Daily Post

Should Marketing Be Profitable?

I hear this question a lot.

“If I ‘do marketing’, it should pay for itself, right?”

“If I run some ads, they should pay for themselves, right?”

“If I buy a website, it should pay for itself, right?”

These are the wrong questions to ask:

Marketing can be directly profitable, but to enforce it as a rule limits your potential:

It’s not Marketing’s job to be profitable. If it were, why would anyone use paid advertising to sell $5 books? If it had to cover its own costs directly, why would some smart brands break-even on acquisition, or run loss-leader campaigns? Treating marketing as a profitable-or-bust activity denies your important work a whole dimension of possibility. Marketing should be effective, but need not always be directly profitable.

It’s Business’ job to be profitable. A business should be profitable. With effective acquisition systems in place, a smart business can turn loss-leaders into highly profitable endeavors with effective retention systems on the back-end. Or they could acquire at cost. Or use bundles, JV and host-beneficiary relationships to create value both for those they serve and for their own bottom-line.

“Should marketing be profitable?”

Who cares, so long as it’s effective, and your business is strategic.

November 21, 2019     Daily Post

You Call That Progress?

It’s really up to you, y’know.

A conversation with someone you can help that results in postponed discussions could be considered a failure to help someone proceed… or progress toward serving them in their timing. We choose whether we want to consider it progress or not. How we see it affects our response: to be pushy, or empathetic.

An important project you need to terminate because someone’s not behaving appropriately could be considered a failure to help someone proceed… or progress toward setting the tone for what you’ll tolerate as an organization. We choose whether we want to consider it progress or not. How we see it affects our response: to be a doormat, or an authority.

A product idea you were really hoping would work, didn’t. That could be considered a step back, that you may now be “behind your potential” because of it. Or you could consider it an essential part of the journey, remembering that all successes live on a healthy diet of failure. How we see it affects our response: to continue bravely, or mope selfishly.

You want to call that progress? That’s entirely up to you.

If you want an outside opinion on it, I say go for it. Continue bravely.

November 20, 2019     Daily Post

Shorten The Distance

Starting a project is exciting for some, daunting for others. The daunting feeling is usually mostly to do with the way they approach working on the project.

Many people go the looooong way around when it comes to producing a body of work that people want in the marketplace. They don’t shorten the distance to success.

Here’s how it normally goes…

  1. Think of a product or service, ponder the idea, then decide you’re going to do it.
  2. \Make it, absorbing the cost and risk of merely hoping it will be effective.
  3. Try to sell it now you’ve invested so much effort making it.
  4. Realize nobody wants it, or not enough people want it to make it feasible for you.
  5. Accept the failure and repeat back to Step 1.

It didn’t sound half bad until you got about half way through reading Step 2, right?

That’s the point that most people start regretting the process. In lieu of awareness of any alternatives, it all starts feeling scary and difficult.

What does shortening the distance look like, in comparison?

Here’s how that goes…

  1. Decide who you are going to lavish upon and serve fully and completely.
  2. Learn their story, their pains, their fears, their goals, their dreams.
  3. Tell their story back to them so you know you’re able to articulate it fully.
  4. Solve the problem in that story, so that the story has a happy ending.
  5. Sell that and – surprise – it’s usually well-received in the marketplace.

This version sounds a little more difficult out of the gate, but by about the same point in Step 2 that the last one got scary, this one got exciting.

And it worked.

November 19, 2019     Daily Post

There Is Enough Time

“I don’t have time for that…”

Yes you do:

Sitting silently with your thoughts for five minutes, with no distractions gives a busy day room to breathe, and you – the author of the day – room to focus on what comes next. The day will rush on by if you let it, or it will work for you if you enable it to do so.

Streamlining the way you do things, removing sloppiness or needless waste gives a team room to create great work. Someone might need to be fired this month. Someone else might need promoting to new responsibilities to allow their skills to flourish. Whatever it may be, gift what you make and those you serve with the gift of doing better.

Saying no to the distraction, you know the one (it’s different for us all but we all have one!) gives your system the shock it needs to focus on the time you do have. Wasting hours on news sites or thumbing through Instagram? What if you took five of those minutes and started working on that important piece you “never have time for”?

There is enough time. It simply needs you to take charge of it.

November 18, 2019     Daily Post

Worth Is Relative

How much is your furniture worth?

I’m about to move countries. So there’s furniture for sale. How much is it worth?

You couldn’t sell the furniture you bought yesterday for the price you bought it, because you don’t have the brand that the furniture store has. The trust and commitment is different, so you make less.

You may sell your things for less than you think they’re “worth” because you’re buying freedom to move, rather than selling a great experience. You’re still the buyer. The experience and focus is different, so you make less.

Yet you could outshine the original store by becoming a trusted, niche advisor, because you have more trust and provide a better experience than the furniture store ever could. Because that is your space now. Because you’re uniquely focused on making a great experience for a very particular body of people.

Worth is relative. It’s not about the item on offer. It’s about the relationship, the focus, and the commitment to those in your care.

November 17, 2019     Daily Post

You’re Pushing Them Away

Did you know you’re pushing those you wish to serve…away?

An old friend did a yard sale earlier this year.

While they were setting up their (very lovely) wares in their yard, there was a concern about whether or not the signposts should be put out on the street before or after setup was complete.

The concern was this: “If I put the signposts up now, I might start drowning in punters before I’m ready.”

So the signposts weren’t set up until much later, after many yard-salers were done with their search.

We do this in our businesses all the time.

“We don’t use SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger.” Fear of being overrun with contact? That’s unlikely to be your problem. More than likely, many in your audience are living their lives and aren’t thinking about you most of the time. But when they are, you could be there to help them.

“We won’t talk to you on that platform.” Fear of getting lost in so much communication? That’s unlikely to be your problem. More than likely, your disorganization will be revealed. You could be limiting contact with those you wish to serve because of your issues.

“We don’t like it when clients call us.” Fear of having your day derailed with calls? That’s unlikely to be your problem. More than likely, if those in your care need to talk to you, you’ve a service begging to be offered. You could be willfully ignoring product development opportunity.

Are you pushing your audience away? Why?

November 16, 2019     Daily Post

Make Them

When you write a blog post and publish it, it becomes live for the whole world to see.

Surely, then, people who have the problem you’re presenting will read your post and move forward with your call to action, right?

However, the problem is this:

“People” aren’t reading it.

The moment you hit the button “Publish” is not necessarily when others need your support. Even if you were to post a tweet with a link to your new blog post, that tweet is visible for only a few minutes of a single day in one timezone and then poof, it’s gone.

Other people spend as much time trawling through week-old tweets as you do.

This means you’re putting in a significant amount of work, only for a few mere minutes of potential attention, for those who happen to follow you or be looking at that particular hashtag search…

Does this sound like an effective way of helping those you wish to serve?

People aren’t listening.

If you can save them… make them.

November 15, 2019     Daily Post

Are You Automating The Wrong Things?

Automation is great. Sometimes.

Others, you’ll try to automate something and the reaction will be painful:

  • “That wasn’t for me”: A great marketing message should never hear a response like this. If you run an ad and someone thinks this then your targeting was off, but if you email someone and they think this, then you messed up. Email is a personal space – “spam” can be quantified as “that wasn’t for me”.

  • “That wasn’t you”: There are some things that you bring to the table that people find really special. When you don’t do them, people will take notice. Virgin isn’t Virgin without Richard. What are you trying to let go of that you should instead be leaning more intimately into?

  • “That wasn’t worth it”: The ultimate punishment for the sins above is this statement. Automation should equate to an enhanced experience, not a diluted experience. If people thank you for your automation efforts, you succeeded. If they leave or feel disappointed in you, add back what was lost immediately, before you lose that which makes you, you.

Automation and delegation are important for meaningful work’s pursuit to touch more lives of those it can help transform. But only if it remains meaningful work, and the lives it touches are still experience just (if not more) transformation as a result.

November 14, 2019     Daily Post

Essential Tools For Your Journey

One-off purchases, monthly subscriptions, we all have them…

But which are the truly essential tools for your journey?

Let’s use an airplane metaphor to unpack what matters most:

Comfy seats are nice to have. This is what many people spend a lot of their time thinking about; where on the plane they’re sitting, what meal they’ll be served, and how much leg room they’ll have. This is your company car, your wristwatch, your fancy suit. Many strive to achieve these things, despite being the least important facet of this metaphor.

**Wings and engines are for survival. **You won’t maintain altitude without them. Without fuel you won’t stay in the sky, but you’ll at least have a chance of gliding down to safety. This is your product, your craft tools, your ops. Without these, you’re dead – yet so many spend so much more time dreaming of comfy seats.

Fuel is for getting where you want to go. You have the things that keep you in the sky. Marketing and advertising, training and learning, product development. Do you have enough fuel in the tank to definitely get you where you want to go, or did you pump less so you could have a nicer seat?

The cargo is the point. You’re taking something to somewhere for someone, aren’t you? Without this, what’s the airplane ride even for? If you’re on a mission to solve problems for people who really need it, this needs as much enthusiasm as the integrity of the vehicle and the gas in the tank. Do you remember – and remind your peers daily – why you’re in the air?

Is the goal to get the cargo where it needs to go – to accomplish the mission you set out to achieve – or is the goal to have comfy seats in the sky?

Remember why you’re making the trip. It’ll help ensure you get there, and in one piece.

November 13, 2019     Daily Post

It’s Your Job To Make Them Interested

Why are they talking to you? Because you might be able to help them solve a problem.

Why are you talking to them? Because you might be able to help them solve a problem.

If they’re not interested, you’ve not connected with the problem, or that it can be solved.

The goal isn’t sales, or conversions, or signups, or any other selfish metric commonly tracked on conversations that involve sales, conversions, and signups. The goal is to help them move forward, if you’ve a way to genuinely do that. And not just any old way, but in the best way for them, at the best frequency, in the best quantity, with the best team, all for their benefit.

Empathy and understanding helps make sure you know the problem. Your expertise and commitment to your audience makes sure you have access to the solution. Connect those dots for those you wish to serve.

  • Interesting means you’ve connected: If they’re not interested in you or your products, but in themselves and getting their problems solved, interest means you’re onto something. Lean into it.
  • Interesting is not linear: Don’t be boring while trying to be interesting. Is there a basket of cookies available on each call with you if they can spot a word you were tasked to slip into conversation without them noticing? Is there a Starbucks gift card in their inbox ahead of your next video session so you can ‘have coffee together’? If not, why not? There’s no use in being boring when trying to create interest.
  • It all starts here. If they’re not interested, you aren’t able to help them solve that problem. If you’re unable to do that, they can’t move forward, you can’t make a difference in their lives, and you’re not in business.

November 12, 2019     Daily Post

They’re Hurting, Too

Don’t curse the imperfections of your journey:

The guy on stage, full of energy? Showing you how to change your life? He bleeds, he hurts, he carries pain. He won’t tell you, and it won’t last forever, but when he comes off stage and goes back to his hotel, it’s in there waiting for him. Not because of doing everything wrong, but because that’s real life.

That company that can do no wrong? Making the most popular products in the world? It bleeds, it wrestles with struggles. It won’t tell you, but it won’t last forever, and even in its high of success it’s struggling in ways you wouldn’t imagine. Not because of doing everything wrong, but because that’s real life.

That Instagram influencer with the best shots? Selling you “the life”? They bleed, they hurt, they know it’s not quite that way. They may not publish it on their timeline, but when they’re not shooting or posting, they’re hiding the unglamorous struggle from view ahead of the next shot, or chasing down the next endorsement deal to keep things going.

Learn how to hurt: Wishing for a perfect, failure-free ride is a delusion that distracts you from mastering the skills you need for the valleys during your pursuit of greatness and important work.

November 11, 2019     Daily Post

Last Chance To Save?

You might get as many emails as I do, informing you that today is the “last chance to save!”

But how often does that make you buy? And what’s a better alternative?

We interpret “last chance to save” as a selfish offer, a marketing ploy designed to get us to part with our very hard-earned cash. It’s the year-round “Pre-Black Friday Sale” of the inbox that never truly seems to be the “last chance” at all.

There are so many selfless alternatives to choose from, that it seems lazy to lean upon saturated offers we’ve all seen before. What we haven’t gotten bored of, is genuine care.

For example, life is fleeting, time is short, and so many of us don’t appreciate what we have in the moment. There’s a lot in common between juvenile tweets agonizing over trending topics, and delaying a buying decision that will take a problem away… that you may otherwise merely hold onto to stress about for another day. Maybe it’s not the “last chance to save”, but an opportunity to “save” the time they could otherwise spend with loved ones, or furthering their pursuits.

Another example could be, walking without sight while trusting no one and nothing to help you negotiate your surroundings. There’s a lot in common between a teenager defiantly challenging their parents good judgement, and a prospect who – in their ignorance – thinks they can solve every problem perfectly. When you know very well that they can’t. Maybe it’s not the “last chance to save”, but an invitation to see the world more clearly that could save them from making costly mistakes and losing days/months/years of their lives wading through needless error.

It’s most likely not the last chance. Not today. Today, there is ample room for those with a heart to love and serve those they’ve elected to enroll into their care. We just need to do a better job of showing it.

November 10, 2019     Daily Post

On Being A Blessing

The marketplace can be harsh. Because people can be harsh. Are you being a blessing?

Turns out they can’t pay the bill anymore? Shame on them for not planning ahead, bless them with a path forward. Neither you nor they will benefit from metaphorically ‘putting them in the ground’ over a grievance. Yet everyone benefits when you equip them with ways to earn beyond their debts.

Someone is taking from you or your cause unjustly? Shame on them, bless them with their newfound spoils and pursue the difference you wish to make with evermore adamance. Resources can be stolen, but your cause – and those you pursue it alongside – cannot. In fact, such situations often nurture fervor and camaraderie.

They’re changing their mind on what they want? Shame on them for not reading the contract, bless them with a solution they’ll thank you for. While not always possible, the generous act of helping make good out of a bad situation will – if communicated correctly – far outweigh in social capital anything that you actually created on the project itself.

The first thought is often to hold on, to get what’s rightly yours. The second thought can be to lead up, to do what’s best for them.

We can choose which is ours – which of these mindsets would you turn back to again and again were you in their shoes?

November 09, 2019     Daily Post

You Can Do More Than You Think

“I can’t” seems often to be the start of a sentence we’ve not thought about enough:

“I can’t control how they’ll read or interpret my email…” True, but you can do more than you think. We just need to lead those in our care with clear, effective messaging. When we remember that marketing isn’t about you, we’re able to use their words, their language, and do a lot to ensure our messages are understood.

“I can’t control whether or not they’ll move forward with us…” True, but you can do more than you think. We just need to know where they want to move forward to. If you’re pushing where you want them to more forward to, you’re fighting a losing battle. If you’re leading them to move forward to where they want to go, well done, fiduciary.

“I can’t control what they think…” True, but you can do more than you think. We just need to know what they’re looking for and how they want to find it. Theatre directors, opera composers and authors have had this ability for centuries. You have no lesser access to the ability to guide your choice of market toward good decisions than anyone else.

It’s liberating to ponder that which we usually consider to be impossible…

…then arrive with the realization that we can do far more than we think.

November 08, 2019     Daily Post

Doing Things My Way

Sometimes, “doing things my way” is a recipe for ignorance, arrogance, and marginalization.

Other times, it’s the best way available:

If you’re experienced in this area and a client wants to go another direction, you need to share your way. They get to choose whether or not to listen. You get to choose what you’ll do in response to that. But it’s your responsibility to share your way, if your way is effective and their idea will lead them astray, it’s your moral duty to share your way as articulately and clearly as you can.

If you’re not experienced in this area, things are different. Your way is not the best way and it’s your job to recognize that. It’s when you do things your way in this scenario that dilutes the permission you seek in the times you genuinely know the way. Doing things your way here makes you “the boy who cried wolf”. If you don’t know what success looks like in this scenario, it’s your moral duty to reveal this truth. Doing so paves the way for when we should do things your way.

We want to do things your way if it leads to success. Do you know when that is? Will you equip us with the ability to hear you when it counts?

November 07, 2019     Daily Post

Winning Is Only Half The Battle

Winning and Losing aren’t so different, when it comes to our important work or our life journey:

We need to learn how to win. Winning fuels the growth of our work and ourselves. It fuels and powers ‘what comes next’. It encourages us to try even harder, to reach the next level. And it teaches us about what’s really important, about the things that will fulfill and sustain us that are more important than the win.

We need to learn how to lose. Losing also fuels the growth of our work and ourselves. It too fuels and powers ‘what comes next’. It too encourages us to try even harder, to reach the win. And it teaches us about what’s really important, about the things that will fulfill and sustain us that are more important than the loss.

We wouldn’t know success without loss, and we wouldn’t recognize loss without success. We need both, work that matters needs both.

And so, perhaps we shouldn’t chase ‘wins’ any more than we should chase ‘losses’. Instead, perhaps we should simply pursue doing things that matter, come what may.

November 06, 2019     Daily Post

Creepy Technology And You

Facebook’s getting some pretty rough press at the moment.

It’s certainly earned it.

How should we respond?

We may not love the platforms, how they’re governed, what they do with peoples data, or the effects they’re having on our society. But we don’t have to love it. When it comes to the marketplace and our important work, our affections should remain with those in our care. If we love lavishing upon and serving our audience, we’ll be where they are to support them on their way, ethically.

That may mean not deleting your Facebook account, but modeling a better way to socialize online, while equipping your audience with everything they need to get their problems solved.

What about the creepy tracking stuff?

We may not love tracking technology’s reputation, how it’s widely used or how it’s even capable of controlling elections. But we don’t have to love it. If our affections remain with those in our care, if we love lavishing upon and serving them, we’ll be where they are to support them on their way, ethically.

That may mean leveraging those technologies yourself, but while modeling a better way to use them. Atom bombs don’t make nuclear power plants that power millions of homes with electricity and warmth a bad idea.

We’ve a responsibility to model how things would like to be. We can do so by taking a stance and moving away from those we wish to serve, or we can do so by “leading up” and showing a better way.

November 05, 2019     Daily Post

2,000 Ways To Make Your Product Better

What area of your important work needs to develop?

Speed? Reliability? Understanding? Let’s use understanding as an example in this post, since almost everyone’s product or service suffers here. Consider:

Every touch-point is an opportunity improve understanding. Every interaction and experience with you and your work, from the very first touch before an engagement ever begins, all the way through to how they give referrals as a happy client. What would you come up with were you to draw them all out in a long line and ask yourself, “What one thing can I do to this individual interaction with us that will improve their level of understanding?” If you have 100 touch-points, do you think you would come up with at least one simple ways to improve understanding each? I thought so, too. So far, we have 100 ways to make your product better.

The space between every touch-point is also an opportunity to improve understanding. Your client is engaged with you even while not interacting with you. Perhaps they’re wondering what happens next? Perhaps they’re struggling to complete a task with your product and need guidance or support? All the times you’re not interacting with them are opportunities to create increased understanding, too. For instance, if they could be wondering what you might be up to between interactions, would sending them a ready-made video informing them of what you’re up to help increase their understanding? If you have 100 touch-points, that’s 100 spaces between each touch-point. If you challenged yourself to come up with at least one simple thing to improve understanding for each space, could you? I thought so, too. That’s another 100 ways to make your product better.

Multiply by the number of areas you’d like to improve. So far we’ve only covered understanding. What about speed? Reliability? Price? Fun? There are so many variables to measure against in your value matrix of competitive advantage. If you decided upon 10 areas of importance and completed the above activities for each of them, that gives you 2,000 simple, individual, small improvements you can use to make your product better.

What are you waiting for?

November 04, 2019     Daily Post

They Won’t Steal Your Secret Recipe

Do you have a secret recipe?

I have some, I’m sure you do too. Here’s the problem with secret recipes:

For as long as they’re a secret, they’re useless.

Want to know what I do with mine?

I put them in blog posts so they’re not secret anymore. So the world can see them. So I’m challenged to give those recipes form, flavor, nuance and hopefully, a modicum of elegance. The trappings of your innermost thoughts excuse flabby, unfinished ideas from working out and being their best. The requirement of pressing “Publish” on yours whips them into shape.

I put them in documentation so something can be done with them. A recipe that isn’t produced the same way every time isn’t a recipe, it’s a ‘happy accident’. It’s a recipe when it’s written down and repeatable with predictable results. The consequent benefit is the ability to then refine your recipes, making them ever more effective.

I put them in books as time allows, so others can build upon the recipes. We all know the person who learns most in a good classroom is the teacher, so the natural next step from documentation (an environment where others can repeat your steps without necessarily understanding them) is to equip them with a full understanding of every nuance of how that recipe came to be. Your recipe can thrive and develop, and those who read it will not forget its source.

So. Do you have a secret recipe? What will you do to stop it from being a secret?

November 03, 2019     Daily Post

1,000 Futures

What’s the future like for that which matters to you?

For the meaningful work you do, the causes you support, the vision you carry?

The future you bank on is, upon closer inspection, not one future at all.

There are thousands of futures. Each decision we make takes us down a different path. Do we build this product or that product? Do we hire this person or that person? Do we try this campaign or that campaign? Each decision creates a different destiny.

They are not right or wrong. A big part of the agonizing we experience in our work is predicated upon the supposition that one option is ‘right’ and one is ‘wrong’. Rarely is this the case. There are only decisions we can make today, and decisions we can make tomorrow. Tomorrow’s may be more enlightened than today’s, that’s fine, today’s get you there. Perhaps you’ll realize you chose the wrong domain name for your website and have to change it. Better to have launched, learned and optimized than to have remained unpublished ‘pending further research’.

Pick the domain name. Name the product. Try the campaign. Make the hire. Adjust course accordingly.

November 02, 2019     Daily Post

When You Think You’re Making Sense, But Aren’t

A byproduct of subculture often appears to be “lingo”:

“Manage the polarity in the physical plane, from the Wu Chi to the Human.” For those well-versed in Taoist philosophy, this is personal development. To the rest of the world, it’s woo-woo nonsense. The intent is sound, but the language causes ideas to go ignored.

“Saved by grace through faith, I am washed with the blood of the lamb.” For those well-versed in Christian culture, this is a reverent way of being thankful. To the rest of the world, it’s dogmatic babble. The intent is sound, but the delivery preaches only to the converted.

“Our quarterly KPIs aren’t reflected on the P&L, let’s increase CLV.” For those well-versed in the business world, this is part of goal-setting. To the rest of the world, it’s just verbal scrabble. The intent is sound, but it’s disingenuous to claim to receive ideas from janitors to C-levels when only the C-levels can understand what you’re saying.

Everyone thinks they make sense. We’re not the best person to judge whether we make sense. Better, then, to ask those we’re trying to communicate to.

November 01, 2019     Daily Post

Saving Geographic Communities

Walking around the market was a joy not because you knew you had unlimited options, but because you knew the decisions you made benefited your community.

Now you can just go to Amazon, an operation that loses money on almost everything it does because their goal is growth, not profit (they have no profit, that’s why they pay no taxes).

And so markets close down. Why go through the trouble of buying something that costs twice as much from someone with limited stock and rent to pay for every 20 mile radius they wish to serve, when you can pay half the price for unlimited stock that reaches the whole world?

My original hope for the initial rise in co-working was that we would experience a new local market: the benefits of online with the local support and advocacy of traditional markets.

WeWork was the final nail in that coffin; a cancer that mauled the co-working market, rendered many people jobless, while creating windfalls for founder Adam Neumann to the tune of >$800,000 per newly jobless employee. The global local model was bastardized to benefit a single player.

We can still hold out hope for co-working spaces, and for a new local market to be born. But it’s likely going to look very different to the co-working environments we’ve seen in the past. Further, I believe the co-working culture needs to bend toward public benefit rather than personal gain in order to realize its potential. It needs to become a cause-driven initiative much like the ones you and I lead.

Today we mourn. But we can be hopeful that the right team will learn from history and build something far better.