- Our Blog
If you see things that don't meet the norm as 'deviant', then you are approaching the world with a mindset of mass, of conformity, of obedience. You are assuming that you can be most effective and efficient when the market lines up in a straight line, when one size does fit all, because one size is cheaper to make and stock and distribute.
Tell me where to click. Just about every web page is designed to cause me to connect, to buy, to approve, to move to the next step. Okay, great. Where is the button to do that? (click to enlarge). This is the page you see when you want to refund an order on Eventbrite. Question: Should you click on the big green square or the big grey square? Answer: It turns out you click ...
We invented televisions so marketers would have a way to run TV ads. We have magazines so marketers can run magazine ads. Make no mistake: mass media exists because it permits mass marketers to do their job. Mass production, the ability to make things cheaply, in volume, demanded that we invent mass marketing--it was the only way to sell what was being made in the quantity it was produced.
The worst troll is in your head. Internet trolls are the commenters begging for a fight, the anonymous critics eager to tear you down, the hateful packs of roving evil dwarves, out for amusement. But the one in your head, that voice of insecurity and self-criticism, that's the one you need to be t ...
It's one of the most profound and difficult lessons every MBA is taught: Ignore sunk costs. Money and effort you spent yesterday should have nothing to do with decisions you make tomorrow, because each decision is a new one. Simple example: You've paid a $10,000 deposit on a machine that makes widgets at a cost of a dollar each. And you've waited a year to get off the waiting list.
Forty years ago, Stanley Kubrick showed us 2001. The first 90 seconds are without dialogue and solid black. It's hard to imagine that working as the intro to a YouTube video today. Instead, our finger is on the mouse trigger, ready to leave in a moment. Not only that, but instead of leaning forward, we've got our shields set to level 7, wary of what's to come.
This two-part sentence tells us a lot about bureaucracy and the challenge of being in the middle. I heard it twice in one week from hard-working but underpowered people in organizations that should know better. The first half, "I'm sure," is a statement of power. The speaker is trying to establish trust and authority with the customer by owning what is about to be said, speak ...
Productivity is a measure of output over time. All other things being equal, the more you produce per minute, the more productive you are. And economists understand that wealth (for a company or a community) is based on increasing productivity. The simplest way to boost productivity is to get better at the task that has been assigned to you. To work harder, and with more skill.
It's not always easy to measure what matters. Sometimes, the thing that matters doesn't make it easy for you to measure it. The easiest path is to find a stand-in for what you care about and measure that instead. For example, websites don't actually care about how many minutes someone spends on the site, they care about transactions or ad sales or making content that moves pe ...
...isn't nearly as powerful as teaching people what they need. There's always a shortcut available, a way to be a little more ironic, cheaper, more instantly understandable. There's the chance to play into our desire to be entertained and distracted, regardless of the cost. Most of all, there's the temptation to encourage people to be selfish, afraid and angry.
Jazz became popular because an opera-loving engineer developed radio, which opened the door for an ignored art form to spread. And rock and roll was enabled by the transistor radio and the FM band. More subtly, consider the fact that real estate developers lobbied for suburban train lines to build their stations in hamlets where they owned a lot of land.
Tribal jingoism doesn't scale for the long-term. In the short run, the fear-based attack on the 'other' is a great way to galvanize those likely to take up arms, defend the brand or send in cash. But, fortunately, for all of us, the 'others' are able to band together. Fortunately, it turns out that connecting and understanding and most of all, granting ...
My new audiobook from SoundsTrue ships today (see below) and it got me thinking about the magical power of repeated, semi-passive audiobook listening. You sit (in a car, even) doing something else and at the end of the first, second or tenth listen, you are transformed, seeing the world in new ways. I marvel at this every time it happens to me--a good audiobook is a game changer.
But if we did, it would take a lot to speak up in a useful way. It's difficult to be a generous skeptic. Not only do we have to be clear and cogent and actionable, but we cross a social boundary when we speak up. We might be rejected, or scolded, or made to feel dumb. And of course there's the risk that we'll get our hopes up that something will improve, only to see it revert to the status quo.
About to be celebrated all over the world for the first time, tomorrow is annual Ruckusmaker Day. Tomorrow would have been Steve Jobs' 60th birthday. Steve's contribution wasn't invention. Technology breakthroughs didn't came out of his workbench the way they did from Land or Tesla. Instead, his contribution was to have a point of view. To see something and say 'yes' or 'no'.
An original audio production* via Sounds True, with 100% of my royalties going to the Acumen Fund. Find it right here: Leap First. I just got this great note from Jason Connell. I hope the recording resonates with you as much as it did with him: Wanted to let you know that I listened to Leap First over the past two days and love it.
DoSomething is a stellar success, a fast-growing non-profit that's engaging with millions of young people around the world. Most organizations can learn something from their recent experiences. Basically, their customers changed. They changed how they consumed media, how they connected with each other and how they acted.
There's a huge difference between "no one" and "almost no one". Almost no one is going to hire you. Almost no one is going to become a true fan. Almost no one is going to tell someone else about your work. Almost no one is going to push you to make your work ever better. If only 1% of the US population steps up, that's 3,000,000 people in the category of "almost no one.
Hitters don't have much of an agenda other than, "swing at the good balls." No one blames the hitters when the pitcher has a hot hand and throws a no hitter. Pitchers, on the other hand, decide what's going to happen next. Pitchers get to set the pace, outline the strategy, initiate instead of react. When your job is in reaction mode, you're allowing the outs ...
A beautiful pair of shoes, but one size too small, on sale and everything.... Not worth buying, not for you, not at any price. Because shoes that don't fit aren't a bargain. And at a restaurant, you may have noticed that there's no extra charge for salt. You can have as much salt as you want on your food, for free.
Unfair things happen. You might be diagnosed with a disease, demoted for a mistake you didn't make, convicted of a crime you didn't commit. The ref might make a bad call, an agreement might be abrogated, a partner might let you down. Our instinct is to fight these unfairnesses, to succumb if there's no choice, but to go down kicking and screaming.
Seth Godin's riffs on marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread.