Short, visual daily posts on listening to the right voices in your head about marketing and business.
October 10, 2020 Daily Post
You don’t get to place a grenade in your friend’s hand, pull the pin, and expect to walk away in one piece.
Do the same rules apply beyond explosives?
If you refer business to a client, there’s a blast radius: You’re perceived to be dripping with engagements, an oracle of opportunity, a good person to know. They’ll tell others when asked.
If you connect a peer with a service they need, there’s a blast radius: You’re perceived as the one that knows all the tools, all the hacks, a good person to know. They’ll tell others when asked.
If you extend goodwill to others in the marketplace, there’s a blast radius: You’ll be associated with that which you extend to others, because our brains like patterns and putting things (and people) into boxes.
For the betterment of your meaningful work, pick good boxes, live it out, and pull the pin.
October 09, 2020 Daily Post
Should you be taking credit for that?
Project managers: the project being smooth and successful can’t be your success, if it being bumpy would not also be your failing to work on (rather than the fault of some other stakeholder).
Sales people: closing that big deal can’t be your success, if it’s loss would not also be your failing to work on (rather than the fault of process or support).
Leaders: a business moving in the right direction can’t be your success, if it going in the wrong direction (or flatlining) would not also be your failing to work on (rather than the fault of the economy or your team).
The contributions you make produce the results in your wake.
If you don’t like the results, change your actions, because it’ll only be your success if you can first take responsibility for the failure.
October 08, 2020 Daily Post
There are different types of simple.
When we say our work is “simple” for a customer to operate, what kind of simple do you mean?
First-timer simple. Think WordPress, with its “click and done” operation. Or an iPhone, with its consistent, reliable operating system.
Both are simple to pick up and use. Both restrict you in what is possible in order to create that kind of simplicity.
Long-timer simple. Think Adobe Photoshop with its endless possibilities. Or Raspberry Pi with it’s entirely open construction.
Both are simple in the sense that they allow you to do what you need to do without looking for other products or services to get the job done. Both are intimidating to first-timers in order to create that kind of simplicity.
Bare-bones simple. Think flat HTML files and their lack of dependencies and ‘points of failure’. Or a paper notebook that can’t compute, but does a great job of holding ink.
The files can’t remember your name or let you edit from a web browser. The notebook won’t sync with your laptop or let you hit ‘Undo’. They’re bare-bones simple.
Photoshop doesn’t benefit from being First-timer simple (that just creates more work). WordPress can’t be bare-bones simple (or it wouldn’t be a browser-editable CMS anymore).
In our pursuit of work that is “simple” for our customer to operate, make sure you choose the right kind of simple, or it won’t really be simple at all.
October 07, 2020 Daily Post
Want to know how to learn something new then forget it again, all in one day?
Watch a YouTube video about a thing, then do it.
It’s fast, efficient, and your brain doesn’t care to hold onto it. It’ll remember how to retrieve that information again, but it likely won’t remember what you did. You learned fast and so you learned nothing. You’ll have to repeat this routine many times to finally learn. Fast is slow.
How about if you’d like to quickly learn something and remember it for a very long time (possibly even for the rest of your life)?
Copy. Copy the picture on paper, write the words by hand, then copy it again.
From foreign languages to programming languages, how to structure a sales call or how to rebuild your toaster… copying is the slow way to learn it , and so it’ll be learned more quickly. Slow is fast.
Next time you need to learn something new, slow it down. It’s much faster that way.
October 06, 2020 Daily Post
Companies are desperate for stickier, more addictive designs for their products and services.
Facebook execs, for instance, are guilty of taking pages out of Big Tobacco’s book, to deliberately make their products stickier.
Tools like Slack and Twitter reward nervous energy, revealing things that you may otherwise fear missing out on.
We need more Teflon (non-stick) products:
Products that get the job done then ask you to leave. One that truly solves the problem, rather than drawing us into a company’s insecurities about ‘churn’.
Products that expel nervous energy rather than creating and rewarding it. Because the peace and calm such products create are scarce commodities these days, and one we’d do well to tell others about.
Products that make us useful when we share it with others, rather than drug dealers. Because getting people addicted to something isn’t as cool as simply making their lives better.
Feels relaxing just thinking about it, doesn’t it?
October 05, 2020 Daily Post
Does your work have the right number of moving parts?
Does every business need lots and lots of products or services? While it’s tempting if there’s lots you’re capable of, focus and simplicity may be exactly what your customers need from you, especially in an expanding marketplace with increasing options.
Jobs famously axed most of Apple’s product lineup upon his return to Apple, reducing the lineup to just four core machines.
Does every website need a database? While over 31% of the Internet uses WordPress, most sites don’t need the compute or overhead of a dynamic site, particularly when many sites struggle to update their content even weekly.
For instance, this website recently moved back to Jekyll from WordPress to reduce the number of moving parts for longevity.
Does every project need a separate project manager? While it sounds tidy and organized, oftentimes leadership and management training for top producers can outperform and outmaneuver larger head-counts on smaller, nimbler projects.
For instance, in our Creative team’s work, many routine projects only require 2-3 people, none of which are just a manager (they are all producers).
Smaller isn’t always better. Neither is bigger. The status quo doesn’t represent what’s best, only what’s most common.
How could you change your team, products and process to outperform and outmaneuver your competitors thanks to having more thoughtfully considered using the right number of moving parts?
October 04, 2020 Daily Post
When we sign a document, we’re responsible for the contents of that document.
When we sign our work, we’re responsible for the contents of that work.
There’s a huge difference between saying “look at what we made” and “look at how awesome this is”:
“Look at what we made”: We’re responsible, we want your feedback, because we want to make it better. Your opinion matters here.
“Look at how awesome this is”: We’re not looking for responsibility, but affirmation, because we want you to agree with us and soothe our insecurity.
The second option is more popular on social media because people are insecure on social media. Stand out by taking responsibility and making it clearer that “your opinion matters here”.
October 03, 2020 Daily Post
Do you have one?
You probably do:
If you’re passionate about your work, there will likely be parts of your industry you can’t stand. Be it a certain sales tactic or production method, if you model a different way of doing things, we want to know.
We want to see what’s broken. We want to see how you fixed it.
For instance, you may decide to not track people on Facebook or Google because you think people deserve their privacy. Or you may decide to forgo a marketing “trick” because dark patterns and manipulation are disrespectful to your valued customers.
These elevations in reverence for your audience and commitments to your craft help us see who you are, what sets you apart, why we should choose you.
We’ll attract people who believe the same things we do. Who value what we value.
It’s a two-way valve, too: modeling a different way of doing things that your audience wishes existed in the world (and then telling them about it) works in exactly the same way.
You probably have a different way of doing things.
October 01, 2020 Daily Post
We wouldn’t manufacture weakness on purpose…would we?
Each time we lull ourselves with the melodic tones of inspiration, encouragement and assurance from internet gurus, we nurture weakness within ourselves. One in need of comfort during times we need to be uncomfortable, akin to staying under the covers because the room feels cold.
Each time we look past the need for Likes, followers and positive reenforcement, we’re able to step into the difficult work that makes great work great. A cold call “No” or a knowledge gap that needs addressing are but stepping stones toward a goal, rather than fate’s fatal blow to our dreams.
Each generation seems to have it worse than the one before it. Such is the opportunity for you – to nurture strength in response – to create the kind of meaningful body of work you’ve envisioned while others stay comfortable.
Power to you.
September 30, 2020 Daily Post
In school and in sales letters, it’s that which surprises and relates to us that we remember most.
A company that has a new and improved product for a low low price? Yawn, seen it all before, and we’ll see it all again.
An internet marketer with an ‘irresistible offer’ of a limited-stock ebook? Yawn, next.
A company that features our world, our story, our pains and our goals right on the homepage? Gosh, how did they know? We’re surprised, we’re interested, we remember.
It just so happens that the most surprising – and delightful – experience our audience is likely to encounter, is one that ought to be the least surprising and least exciting: the story of the world they already live in, told right back to them.