Archive of posts from July 2020

July 31, 2020     Daily Post

Riches On The Journey

Riches On The Journey

Bezos makes over $3,000 per second. Many Amazon workers earn poverty wages. What can we learn from this?

If you’ve ever been money-driven, consider reconsidering. If a goal is a moving target, how can you ever meet it? At what cost might you pursue it?

Before Bill Gates was loaded, a newspaper stand twice extended a kindness (a free newspaper when Gates didn’t have the change). Gates later described that man as richer than he – not because of the man’s bank balance, but because of what he was prepared to share before he had it all.

Riches are found on the journey. Thanks to the examples of Bezos and Gates, you don’t need to wait until you have it all to notice.

July 30, 2020     Daily Post

Beyond Brand Identity

Beyond Brand Identity

Knowing who you are is important. Same is true for your company, that’s what your brand identity is for.

But, as in life, it’s not all about you.

If a person figured themselves out then proceeded to talk about themselves at every turn, you’d deem them shallow and unworthy company.

One of the reasons so many “get rich quick” social media advertisements turn you off so readily.

Same is true for your company once again: if it talks about itself at every turn, making it all about itself, we’d be dissuaded from engaging with it.

What lies beyond the end of your company’s nose? There’s a whole world out there. One where your ideal customers and clients live.

July 29, 2020     Daily Post

Up Down Left Right A Start

Up Down Left Right A Start

It sounds like the start of a cheat code for a game, doesn’t it?

It’s not – it’s actually just a reflection of our work when we’re getting marginal results.

If we’re up and down, we lack the emotional energy to do our best work.

If we’re left and right, we’re here and there, we lack the focus to master what we’re working on.

If we want a start – or to make real progress on what we’ve started – we need to stay onwards and upwards, centered on your area of focus until it’s your area of genius.

(P.S. It was the “level select” cheat code from the original Sonic The Hedgehog!)

July 28, 2020     Daily Post

Maintaining Focus

Maintaining Focus

Like new toys?

‘Course you do! We all do!

Creators like new toys because they get to explore their creativity in new ways.

Businesses like new toys because they can try hot new operational or marketing techniques.

We enjoy the act of forgoing focus.

Creators that focus get to master their existing tools, to produce a higher caliber of work, or a greater quantity of work – they get to create more.

Businesses that focus get to master their current marketing and communication channels, serving more of their people with care and precision – they get to serve more.

The act of maintaining focus is harder. But out of the two scenarios above, which sounds better to you? Which sounds more worthy of our craft and our work?

We all benefit from maintaining focus. From not getting bored of our winning campaigns. From not forgetting what those we wish to serve need from us, today.

July 27, 2020     Daily Post

The Market Doesn’t Shrink

The Market Doesn’t Shrink

We hear a lot about how the market is shrinking due to COVID.

Here’s a shot of reality:

There are the basically same number of people in the market today as there were in January.

It doesn’t shrink. It changes.

The market is like energy in this regard. You can’t “use it up”, you merely change it from one form to another.

Here’s another shot of reality:

The market is always changing. This year is no different to any other year in this regard.

We have the opportunity to change with it, or wish things were as they were.

Restaurants (for instance) are discovering this truth in 2020 as the market changes, much like taxi firms did in 2014…when the market changed.

The market doesn’t really shrink. It just changes.

Will you change with it?

July 26, 2020     Daily Post

A Business Case For Not Being A Jerk

A Business Case For Not Being A Jerk

Heard of “dark patterns”?

You’ve probably experienced them, even if you’re unfamiliar with the term.

“No thanks, I don’t want to grow my company” – we’ve all seen pop up dismissal links that say things like this. They work, we feel them at work in ourselves as we click on them anyway. We’re aware that we’re being manipulated, and we don’t thank the website (or the company behind it) for it.

“Read this article in our new app!” – we’ve all been to blogs that will insist we read their post (that we’ve yet to experience) in a form other than that which we have specifically elected to use. Those which just so happen to obstruct our reading every time we go there. These endearingly titled “Dickbars” were crowned as such for a reason.

Things like this are touted as good design, often alongside shortsighted claims of increased user acquisition.

If all you see is top-of-funnel metrics, without the context of the tempered relationship (not to mention blood pressure) you introduce to those people that lead to higher downstream churn, you may be lulled into trying these cheap tricks yourself, too.

Don’t fall for it. There’s a solid business case for not being a jerk.

July 25, 2020     Daily Post

Narrative & Product

Narrative & Product

What’s your story?

Every Hermès scarf is screen printed by hand onto silk. Even the rolled edges are hand-sewn. Their pieces are great, but you only care when their narrative matches your own. Those with a preference for mass-market luxury goods will likely prefer LV goods to Hermès goods, for instance.

Everything in an Aston Martin is made of what it looks like – if it looks like carbon fiber, it’s carbon fiber. If it looks like wood, it’s wood. Their pieces are great, but you only care when their narrative matches your own. Those who prefer reliability over hand-built will likely prefer Toyota to Aston, for instance.

In the above examples, scarce, hand-made goods need to be important to you before those offers matters to you.

A relationship with the artisan, or something to keep you warm.

A piece of British automotive history, or something to get you where you’re going.

The story the buyer is telling – and the company’s ability to narrate that story – is just as important as the product for sale.

July 24, 2020     Daily Post

Paint The Back Of The Fence

Paint The Back Of The Fence

What does “painting the back of the fence” look like for you?

Sales people could anticipate and prescribe a “no-sale” to those a sale makes no sense for, while having lined up alternate right-fit offers – potentially from totally different businesses – in order to ensure they’re able to help those they serve to take the right steps forward.

Developers could reduce and defer JavaScript usage for faster pages increases user confidence (conversions, sales) and endorses fair access to those with low power devices (cool effects that make cheap tech crash doesn’t “enhance the user experience”)

Coaches could distill the points that produce the most leverage for their clients into the earliest sessions, so that everyone gets gains, regardless of how long they can afford to invest into their progress.

We can all do this. We should all do this. Are you?

July 23, 2020     Daily Post

Communication Over Tools

Communication Over Tools

Tools are cool.

New tools are cool too.

But good tools don’t solve the problem. Good communication solves the problem.

Marketing problems? Tools will be used to fix them, but better communication is what makes all the difference – listening to prospects and responding appropriately.

Operational problems? Tools will be used to fix them, but better communication is what makes all the difference – listening to team members and responding appropriately.

Product development problems? Tools will be used to fix them, but better communication is what makes all the difference – listening to customers and responding appropriately.

Communication > Tools.

July 22, 2020     Daily Post

Judge Creators

Judge Creators

“Download Now”, “opt-in”, “it’ll be worth it.”

Opting in is supposed to be a commitment.

A promise of action.

Action that goes beyond downloading something or inputting an email address, an isolated progression-point. Yet that’s what many marketers have made it mean.

It should be a two-way valve of commitment:

The creator should commit to only producing opportunities to opt in that he/she is truly proud of, that produces results select people desire. If it’s just an excuse to hound people, don’t bother.

The recipient should commit to judging their newly-received opt-in materials in a timely manner.

If judged positively – if the offer affirms the promise and the materials are great, the recipient should expect to appreciate how much more is available to them from the creator, and explore that possibility

If judged negatively, they should move on, and no amount of pursuit should dissuade them.

To not be judged at all – to merely receive and do nothing – is the worst of all.

Please, judge creators.

July 21, 2020     Daily Post

The Cost Of Not Knowing Your Manifesto

The Cost Of Not Knowing Your Manifesto

What is the cost of not knowing the manifesto behind your body of work?

You can’t advertise. Not well, anyway. You don’t know you’re speaking to, what to say, or how to say it. Sales won’t happen as you think they should.

You can’t pick tools. Not well, anyway. You might choose tools that reflect your values, or you might stumble into misrepresenting yourselves and not even know it.

You can’t connect deeply. If it’s not clear what you stand for, how can people connect with you over those values?

You can’t build a movement. Not if you’re not clear where you – and those you wish to serve – want to move.

Time to get clear on your manifesto, then?

July 20, 2020     Daily Post

Things Won’t Always Be This Way

Things Won’t Always Be This Way

What do you believe about success and failure?

It’s easier to believe “it’s all better now” when things are good. That the trajectory remains constant providing we stay the path. Believing this makes us fat in prosperity and less effective guardians of those in our care.

It’s easier to think “it’s part of a grand plan” when things are bad. That the failures aren’t really ours, because reasons. Believing this starves of the biggest benefit of self-attributed failures: progress.

It’s harder to accept that things won’t always be this way, for better for worse, as markets – like life and economics – have seasons.

If you do work that matters, if you want to be worthy of your post as guide to those you serve with that work, believe in the seasons – plan for them rather than resenting them.

July 19, 2020     Daily Post

No Tech Skills Required

No Tech Skills Required

Why is this appealing?

The acquisition of skills enables us to achieve new things, be it through ourselves or others.

The removal of skills enables more to have what was previously unlocked only by the attainment of those skills.

“No tech skills required”, and it’s many brethren (just replace the word “tech” with anything else), appeals to the part of us who wish the world would be easier, kinder, simpler more bent in our favor.

It turns out that all these things have always been possible for us through the attainment of the requisite skills to make it so.

July 18, 2020     Daily Post

Interpretation & Emulation

Interpretation & Emulation

Which should your work do?

Emulation is where we try to match – or surpass – precisely that which has gone before us. We observe what has been, recreate the result by the same means, in hope of achieving equal or better results. For example, a product that sells widgets to a particular demographic could be emulated through mimicking of operations and process in order to reach those same people in a similar way.

Interpretation is where we explain and take meaning from what has gone before us. We observe what has been, distill to principles, and respond with those in mind to continue that thought. For example, a product that fights for user privacy could inspire another level of user privacy products and services, thanks to the principles the first one followed.

Which should your work do?

Why not do both?

July 17, 2020     Daily Post

Talking Over You

Talking Over You

I closed a brokerage account.

Not because it wasn’t paying off. It was.

Their systems were sound, their product feature-complete, their brand reputable.

But people don’t usually leave because of minor feature omissions or niche brand status.

They’re far more likely to leave – as I did – because someone on the front lines wasn’t trained properly:

Bad support: If you don’t feel looked after, you’ll notice loud and clear when someone else treats you better.

Bad customer service: If their phone reps talk over you in a rude or superior manner, you’re gone. All those marketing dollars to acquire the customer, wasted.

Both of these things happened, so I took those resources elsewhere.

If you’re doing work that matters, you may have facets of your work that you deem simple, negligible, abdicable. Those are your weak spots. Pay attention to them.

July 16, 2020     Daily Post

A Case For Quality

A Case For Quality

Got an iPhone, Mac, or iPad?

Let’s talk about quality vs quantity:

When the Mac/Apple ecosystem was a smaller place with fewer developers (early 00s), the community collectively celebrated quality while dismissed lazy development.

Conversely, Google’s Gmail app (one of the top-downloaded free App Store apps) has recently released split-screen view in their iPadOS. Five whole years after the feature was released. Quality ruled.

Back in the day, this was the sort of thing we shunned. Today, platform popularity has changed what level of quality is deemed acceptable. “Who cares”, they may ponder, while enjoying “Top 10” status worldwide. Quantity trumped quality.

Here’s the takeaway:

If you run a multibillion-dollar organization with a regressive attitude toward a platform millions of your customers use, by all means, choose quantity without quality.

If you’re trying to build an important body of work while nurturing relationships with those you wish to serve, don’t forget about quality.

A wider audience who need a tool (without needing to love the tool) may not care, but the community around your work who chooses you (those you’d like to develop a deeper relationship) care a whole lot.

July 15, 2020     Daily Post

Imperfect Setups

Imperfect Setups

Do you and those you work alongside produce the same work as everyone else in the market?

Or do you do something special, something unique?

If you don’t do anything unique, there will be off-the-shelf, already-in-the-box tools for you to use precisely as prescribed.

If you do things differently, specifically for the benefit of those in your care, expect to operate with an imperfect setup.

One where you have to build some of your own tools. One where not everything plays nice with everything else…just yet. One where you make sacrifices for the benefit of the work.

It could be a less elegant phone system because your way of doing things creates a unique experience for your clients that nobody supports out-of-the-box.

If could be a software solution that creates some duplicate entry work on your part, because you’re ahead of the curve with a marketing model that nobody else is using.

If your setup is imperfect, it could be that you just need to set things up properly. Not every imperfect setup means you’re doing things better (it could be that you’re doing it wrong)…

…but it also might be an indication that you’re doing something special, something remarkable, something worth talking about.

July 14, 2020     Daily Post

The Design For The Job

The Design For The Job

Minimalist interfaces. Slick animations. We like this stuff.

You know what we like even more, though?

Understanding what is going on.

If we design something so clever that nobody can use it because the intended audience doesn’t use it often enough to care, is it really all that clever? Email, for instance, should be simple, not clever.

If we design something so cool and simple that nobody can use it because the intended audience uses it so often that options are buried frustratingly deep – instead of letting them learn faster ways of doing things – is it really all that cool? Products for editing complex video, for instance, should give videographers power, not coolness.

Sometimes simple is better than power. Sometimes power is better than simple. Know your audience.

July 13, 2020     Daily Post

The Way Tools Feel

The Way Tools Feel

While one of our teams shopped for an additional tool to use in their operations today, I noticed a curious pattern in preferences:

How the tools felt.

If it was functional and reasonably priced but felt wrong, it was either dismissed or judged far more harshly than it logically deserved.

If it was functional and possibly more expensive but felt write right, it was shown far more favor by the whole team.

For our team, the feeling was dictated by things like:

  • Does it respect the privacy of our clients?
  • Does it celebrate spammy tactics or market with integrity?
  • Does it have great support and connection with interested parties (like us)?
  • Does the design of the product seem important to them?

It won’t be the first product or service the team chose based on their values over the wallet.

My teams aren’t unique in this regard.

Teams worldwide buy with their feelings and their values. It’s often less about the functionality and the price than it is about doing business with people like us, who believe the same things we do.

It’s why you use the computer you do. Or the phone you have. Or the car you drive, or the brand of shoes you wear. Few of those things were bought purely for functionality and price.

What do you value? How can you reveal that in your work, so that those like you can find you and buy as an expression of their shared belief?

July 12, 2020     Daily Post

The Way You Tell Your Story

The Way You Tell Your Story

“The project wasn’t successful because our competitors didn’t play fair.”

“The project was a learning experience which informed what we’re doing next.” Both of these statements can be true about the same body of work.

The story we tell changes the narrative, both for listeners and for ourselves.

The first one attempts to excuse you for not succeeding, regardless of the fact that no project is successful in spite of market reception. Of course the competition didn’t play ‘fair’.

The second one attempts to demonstrate its responsibility in the journey toward a destination. Unlike the first statement, the second reveals a winner en-route, rather than a loser at their finishing line.

The way you tell your story will either build you up or defeat you. Entirely up to you.

July 11, 2020     Daily Post

Better Than Passion

Better Than Passion

“Do work you’re passionate about” is a common mantra in the workplace.

And it’s holding people back from their best work.

Passion is a side-effect of mastery (h.t. Cal Newport), not a prerequisite. By focusing on a passion, we become limited only by the experiences we happen to have had already.

A child that got good at drawing will want to draw when he grows up. But what if he’s an even better speaker, or developer, or writer?

By exploring and refining craft, we often experience more passion for that craft as we progress. Passion isn’t the point, though: craftsmanship is the point.

Instead of “Do work you’re passionate about”, we should become advocates of “Refine your craft and try new things” – the results could be more fulfilling than you know.

July 10, 2020     Daily Post

Achieve More By Not Being Dumb

Achieve More By Not Being Dumb

If you pull an all-nighter, do you get more done?

Most would agree that the lack of sleep will have a real impact on your working IQ, diminishing your output and quality of life.

What about multitasking – do you get more done then?

Most would concur that multitasking helps us achieve more, hopping between essential activities like some kind of productivity ninja.

Except both of these things reduce working IQ by the same amount – as much as 40%.

If we want to achieve more, produce better work, and serve people more fully, we need to not be dumb:

Resist multitasking precisely as much as you resist all-nighters.

July 09, 2020     Daily Post

Avoid Opinion Neutrality

Avoid Opinion Neutrality

When I say “Unilever”, what do you think?

Exactly.

Nothing. It pressed, you might expand your thought to “faceless, spineless blob that takes a stand for nothing”.

When I say “Virgin”, what do you think?

Fun.

Because it was designed that way. The way products and services are designed and marketed ooze the personality of their founder.

People don’t just buy your products. They buy why they exist. They buy as an expression of a shared belief.

If you’re opinion neutral, there’s no reason to buy beyond the need for an essential, marginalized commodity.

Are you opinion neutral? How can you be a little more yourself, for the benefit of your work and for those you wish to serve?

July 08, 2020     Daily Post

They’ll Steal, That’s Fine

They’ll Steal, That’s Fine

Your ideas, your work, these are things that people will steal… if you’re lucky.

It means they were good. So good, in fact, that they’re prepared to walk where you’ve trodden, accepting that you’re out ahead.

It means people took notice. So much so, in fact, that they’ve taken a totally different approach in their own work, bending toward your view of the way things should be.

Doing good work that people notice is good thing, not a bad thing.

They’ll steal, that’s fine. I’ve had bodies of work stolen, even falsely attributed in award ceremonies – things that I made, and worked hard on – they‘ll steal, that’s fine.

In some cases, it’s indefensible; in others, our attorneys took care of it (and then some).

The thing to focus on is not whether or not someone might steal, but whether or not it can be so good, people take notice.

July 07, 2020     Daily Post

The Disease Is The Cure

The Disease Is The Cure

We know vaccines contain the very thing they vaccinate us from. What about other problems we experience in our pursuit of meaningful bodies of work?

Don’t know what to say on video? Make more videos. You’ll find the words with practice. The disease (inexperience on video) is the cure (do more video).

Don’t know what to write today? Write more. You’ll find the words flow easier with practice. The disease (writers block) is the cure (write more often).

Don’t know how to make the sale? Sell more. You’ll find the pain behind the pain that needs solving, by spending more time with those you wish to serve. The disease (sales problems) is the cure (just keep selling).

What are you struggling with? The cure is in there somewhere.

July 06, 2020     Daily Post

Your Selfish Secret

Your Selfish Secret

Earned authority enables good people to help other good people move forward in life.

What makes you the authority?

What other people say.

If you’re the best, but nobody knows it, you’re a “selfish secret” – remaining hidden due to fear or lack of enthusiasm toward the pursuit of those you wish to serve.

When you’re not that great, and everyone knows it, you’re safely discarded by the market.

When you’re the best, and everyone knows it, you’re able to influence significant change.

Are you being a selfish secret? What are you going to do about it?

July 05, 2020     Daily Post

Connecting With Ideal Clients

Connecting With Ideal Clients

How do you connect with your ideal clients online?

You change the words you use when you speak.

Let me explain:

When you go where they are and you call upon those who are not ideal – by casting a broad net or by focusing on the wrong people – then you will, naturally, attract lukewarm interest from an unpredictable array of individuals.

When you go where they are and you call upon those who are ideal – very specifically – the right people will be the ones to respond.

If you don’t, they’ll find someone else who was brave enough to be specific enough.

July 04, 2020     Daily Post

Just Start

Just Start

“I don’t have time to blog.”

“I don’t have time to learn that skill.”

“I don’t have time to try that idea.”

“I need to work on my idea before starting.”

“I need all these things before I can launch.”

“I need this sum of money before I begin.”

“I need these things before I can become rich.”

Those who say these things are very sure of their words, considering they’ve never done it before.

Honestly: just start.

July 03, 2020     Daily Post

New Tools

New Tools

Like new tools?

Careful:

New tools mean you could get better at what you do. A new email app that doesn’t prey on nervous energy? Great, now you’ll do better work. An improved technology that speeds up your process? Super, now you’ll achieve more, faster.

Or…

New tools mean you could get the same at what you do, differently. A new email app that is basically just the same but different? Great, now you need to learn how to be the same as you already were. An improved technology that creates the same result in a different way? Great, now you’ll achieve the same, slower.

Watch out for those new tools. Make sure they’re in the right camp for you.

July 02, 2020     Daily Post

The Opposite of Practice

The Opposite of Practice

What makes a sportsperson achieve greatness?

Practice and focus.

Following greatness, these things become increasingly replaced by endorsements and promos.

The dip in practice and focus means they’re not so great anymore. So the endorsements and promos dry up.

Maybe it’s not the endorsements and promos that need your focus.

Maybe you simply need to continue to practice and focus.

July 01, 2020     Daily Post

Slices Of Belief

Slices Of Belief

Would you like to buy this product?

Unlikely, until…

First, we buy into the idea. For example, BuiltForImpact is built on the idea that the quantity of one’s success is in proportion to the quality of their communication. If you don’t believe that idea, you won’t want what it offers.

Second, we buy into the system. For example, the above product outlines a few key steps that one must take in order to realise the idea. If you’re not sold not the process, you’re not buying. Similarly, until we believe in the idea, we won’t be sold on the system, either.

Third, we buy into the offer. Then – and only then – does an offer become viable, congruent with the slices of belief that preceded it. For example, the offer to start along the journey of the above system, based on the above idea, with no risk to me whatsoever, becomes only logical for me to accept.

What are the slices of belief that lead those you wish to serve toward their best future?