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All posts in the Systems category

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828: Fighting For Something

If you visit Mozilla’s brand guidelines, you’re met with two big boxes that say:

  • Firefox fights for you
  • Mozilla fights for the internet

Which begs the question: what do you fight for?

Your work fights for something. It could be fighting for customer goals rather than industry trends, like Firefox (which bends towards user privacy rather than rich data gathering like Chrome does). It could be for contribution rather than mere profit, like a Product(RED) does (which associates with the (RED) brand in order to fund the fight against AIDS). What is it for your work?

Your company fights for something. It could be fighting for open standards and inclusivity like, Mozilla (which invests time supporting open-source projects, web literacy and gender equality in tech). It could be to fund the fight against human trafficking, like my teams do (which spend a lot of time learning about ways to help fight that fight). What is it for your company?

We either fight for something, or we fight against ourselves. What does your body of work – and those you work alongside – fight for?

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822: Don’t Fear The Tools

The market loves a “killer tool”, doesn’t it?

For creators and builders, one of today’s is the #NoCode movement.

The #NoCode movement is for people who can’t code but want to develop things, and for developers who can code but don’t want to.

Conversely, Apple’s “Everyone Can Code” campaign takes the opposite approach, encouraging everyone in their ability to create things beyond what they thought was possible for them.

It’s exciting to think we could skip the difficult work of learning a scary skill, or having to find someone to collaborate with who can.

But how might our meaningful work benefit if we were to be brave enough to embrace the hard, scary act of perseverance, rather than merely looking for shortcuts?

Shortcuts and “killer tools” keep coming. If you do work that matters, ask yourself: will this benefit my work, or do I just fear the tools?

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819: Innovation That Kills Innovation

Uber innovated on what it means to hire a cab.

Now an Uber driver can’t innovate at all; they drive when told, in a prescribed system, with fixed prices, at unsustainable rates.

Want to turn a ride into a unique education experience or design a counseling or admin add-on? Doesn’t matter, won’t appear in the app.

The industry didn’t innovate, and now they don’t get to.

AirBNB innovated on what it means to find and rent a holiday let.

Now holiday let’s struggle to innovate; they must list on a platform that sets the buying criteria and enforces the terms and process.

Want to add a limo ride to/from the place, or negotiate preferential rates with local restaurants? Doesn’t matter, won’t appear in the search.

Your industry is innovating too. If you’re doing work that matters, you owe it to those you can best serve to innovate while the market is receptive to it.

Don’t be like the cab companies who thought it would all be okay ‘next year’.

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809: Better Than Amazon

We know Amazon is a lousy place to work for a lot of people. Underpaid drivers and stressed out middle-managers galore.

We know the Amazon machine has eroded competitors because they need to make profit but Amazon doesn’t.

We don’t have to like Amazon to recognize what they got right:

  • Buyers want prompt, free delivery. So they ship fast, usually for free, even if it loses them money.
  • Buyers want great prices. So they eschew profit in exchange for growth.
  • Buyers want good customer service. So they have a near-universal “no questions asked” refund process.

For meaningful work to compete with whatever the cheapest Prime-ready option is, one must be better than Amazon’s best:

  • Ship quickly, or make it worth the wait. The gap between order and arrival is an opportunity to delight, as well as a gap to close. Add delight.
  • Good prices, or make it worth more. So the quality and social contribution becomes more than worth the extra they pay compared to the low-cost Amazon version.
  • Easy refunds, or actually helping people. A refund leaves them where they were to start with, but a great partner takes it upon themselves to refund the solution but keep the problem… so that it can be solved properly.

Amazon have set the criteria for what “best” means to them.

But you get to set your own criteria, for the betterment of those you wish to serve, if you choose.

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808: Who Decides the Market Leader?

Who decided how we should do things and who the market leader is?

Facebook ads are the best way to attract leads? Facebook and Facebook advertising vendors would have you think so. Our Creative team produces advertising (albeit in an aggressively privacy-conscious and no-snooping way) but they wouldn’t try to convince you it’s the only way, the easiest way or the fastest way. It’s a way, not the way.

Google Chrome is the best search engine there is? Google‘s website will peddle it so that you think so. But there are many wonderful browsers out there – like Firefox for instance – that have lots to offer (like respect for your privacy) that you may have never tried before. It’s a browser, not the browser.

The big player in your industry is the big player because they’re best? They would have the market think so. There are many other players in the market who think so too, consequently. But you are the best – for a certain body of people – and it’s your moral responsibility to outthink those who think they can outmuscle your rightful market position in the eyes of those you can serve best.

The market chooses, as much as big players try to influence that choice. Give the market the message they need to hear to make the right choice.

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800: Please, Don’t Be The Same

You’ve likely seen them for yourself:

YouTube has enough gurus repeating the same messages in the same styles, who ‘followed the formula’ because they were too afraid to reveal their true selves to us.

Instagram has enough fakers in Maseratis teaching you how to get rich, selling formulas that may have worked once but don’t work again when downstream in the hands of thousands.

The market has enough business consultants who never ran a successful business, selling false promises because they were too afraid to share their growth journey for a fee.

Please, don’t be the same. The marketplace needs you, showing up vulnerably with a heart of service and a boatload of empathy for those you’ve elected to place into your care.

Will we get to see you and engage with you today? Or must we instead try to pick you out from a sea of similarity?