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All posts in the Communication category

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897: If It Creates Stress, It’s Bad Design

Many social media platforms spent countless dollars trying to make their services more “sticky” for people like us.

To produce nervous energy in their visitors which releases only once that visitor returns.

They’re effective at doing what they set out to achieve… but let’s not pretend it’s “Good design”.

Good design helps people to…

…Understand things: Nothing is really being understood on those social platforms. Instead, people are just left wondering where the last 20 minutes of their lives went.

…Complete tasks: There are tasks that get completed, but these interfaces were designed to create tasks for visitors faster than visitors can complete them.

…Solve problems: The tools are designed to prevent people from solving problems. Otherwise they’d optimize their designs for connecting with the right people and fostering relationships, instead of pandering for Likes and rewarding consumption. You’re not supposed to leave, remember? Because ads.

Some honest questions to ask ourselves about our work:

  • Was our work designed to help people understand, or stay stuck?
  • Was our work designed to help people get things done, or add to their load?
  • Was our work designed to help people solve problems or keep them hooked?

Do we like the answers we end up with?

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894: The Trick Course

I almost made a trick course.

One that advertises on Facebook, portraying a young “guru” negotiating the halls of his achievements, attributing his wealth to a simple course he’s prepared for a low low fee of $497.

One where victims, upon submitting to the waves of unrelenting emails that would follow, would buy into the sarcophagus of secrets.

One where, upon opening the course, they would be met with a single PowerPoint slide, which reads the following:

“The path to success is to not buy sensationalist crap like this. Focus on doing your meaningful work for those you wish to serve, no shortcuts.”

I decided to save you the embarrassment by writing this blog post instead.

Focus on doing your meaningful work for those you wish to serve, no shortcuts.

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892: Overprescribing Solutions

We have so much opportunity and potential before us. In everything we do.

Sometimes, we over-prescribe a solution, over-paint the painting, and over-write the message.

Sometimes, simpler is better.

A funnel when a phone call will do. Marketers love their ‘funnels’, complete with lengthy (arduous) follow-up email sequences and sensationalist language. Show love to the project, not the medium. If your message is right, all you may need is a phone call to get the right message to the right person.

A book when a post will do. Every idea starts tweet-sized. Some ideas served best by growing into a blog post. Others are best served by growing into a full book. Show love to the idea, not the medium, to remove dead weight when writing.

WordPress when HTML will do. Many assume even a basic website needs a full LAMP stack server with PHP, SQL and WordPress (with its many plugins) are required for even the most simple of website projects. Love the message on the page, not the tech – sometimes a simple HTML file is all that’s required.

How could you be mistakenly adding dead weight in your projects?

How could you cut it off?

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885: Questions For Getting Things Done

Successful projects (and a successful life) is in getting the right things done, in the right way.

Consider asking yourself these questions…

“Regarding this thing I’m trying to do or want done…”

“Who do I know that knows how to do this?” Get to know them, instead of the thing they know how to do. They’ll probably do it better.

`“Is it the best use of my/our time to be doing this?” Hint, if it’s not in your area of genius, please see the previous point.

“Is it something to achieve, or merely ‘do’?” The difference between achievement with activity is the difference between business and busyness.

“What don’t I know that I should know in order to get this done?” Speak to those who can help you answer this question, then refer to the previous questions.

How do these questions shape what you’re working on right now?

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884: Every Rep Counts

We cancelled a large software subscription today.

But not because the software was no good (it’s actually quite good).

We cancelled because every rep counts.

We had been assigned a sales and support rep that had no desire to help us. When a member of our team would reach out for support, the response was always derogatory and pronounced: “You have no idea what you’re doing”.

The job of a sales and support rep is to help people derive maximum advantage out of that which he/she has far more idea about than those he/she is helping. To be there for them and advocate for them. To support them and help them create the results they’re looking for.

This software company has over 800,000 employees. They lost us because of one.

Are you building a company and a culture that maintains your standard of excellence? Are you equipping every member of your team to be a standard bearer for your brand?

Every rep counts.

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883: Hey Batman

If you stand in the middle of Gotham City and shout, “Hey, you!” who turns around?


If you stand in the middle of Gotham City and should, “Hey, Batman!” who turns around?

Still nobody. If you want to communicate with Batman, you’re closer than the first question, but still off. Maybe a couple will look at you like a looney, but Batman isn’t going to show up for you.

Because if you knew Batman, you’d know to use the Bat-Signal.

Most companies think they’re being clear enough about who they’re talking to. Usually, they’re not, and when they are, they don’t communicate in the way that audience wants to be reached.

Does yours?