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The best restaurant in Omaha doesn't serve steak. And it's not a chain. The Kitchen Table is run by two people who care. Colin and Jessica aren't trying to copy what's come before and they're not trying to please everyone. When they first opened, people wanted to know why everything wasn't $5. (You can get a large dinner for two for $30 here).
1. What is it for? If this piece of writing works, what will change? What action will be taken? The more specific you are in your intent, the more frightening it is to do the writing (because you might fail). And, magically, the more specific you are in your intent, the more likely it is to succeed. 2. Who are you? Writing comes from someone.
Here's Randall Munroe's brilliant explanation of how the Saturn V rocket works. The brilliant part is that he illustrated it using only the 1,000 most common words (which, ironically, doesn't include the word 'thousand'). If you are only able to use 1,000 words, nuance goes out the window. The typical native speaker knows 20,000 words, and there's your opportunity: If you k ...
Selling change to organizations is difficult. One reason is that change represents a threat, a chance for things to go wrong. It's no wonder that many people avoid anything that smells of change. Another reason is that different people in the organization have different worldviews, different narratives. Consider the difference between "offense" and "defense" when confronting a new idea.
My latest book, Your Turn, just went back for its third and fourth printings, bringing the total to more than 100,000 copies in print. I did some math on the orders and discovered that more than 70% of them were going to people who had previously ordered a copy. This never happens. It never happens because the book industry is built on the idea of inventing desire and then ...
They are based on a fallacy: "I am irrationally afraid and persecuting this innocent person will make me feel better." Which is expressed by those in power as: "There's a good reason I'm afraid and punishing this person will make that reason go away." Hunting witches never makes things better. Part ...
Bikes should give way to cars: Cars are bigger Cars are faster Cars are powerful A car can hurt a biker Cities are built for commerce, and powered vehicles are the engine of commerce It's inefficient for a car to slow down I'm in a car, get out of my way I'm on a bike, I'm afraid Cars should give way to bikes: Bikers need a break Bikers are more fragile Bikes aren't n.
Is it that simple? Can you choose to make an impact? Of course it is. You can choose to merely do your job, to meet spec and to follow someone else's path. Or, you can dig in and transform your contribution. You can level up, taking advantage of the world-changing array of tools and connections our new economy is making available. Access to tools is a small part of it.
Why do most restaurants use an unhealthy amount of salt in the food they serve? I'm talking three to five times as much salt as the typical home chef might use. For the same reason that lazy marketers spam people and unsophisticated comic book writers use exclamation points. 1. Because it works (for a while). Salt is a cheap and reliable way to persuade people that the food is tasty.
Bravery is for the people who have no choice, people like Chesley Sullenberger and Audie Murphy. Bravery is for the people who are gifted, people like Ralph Abernathy, Sarah Kay and Miles Davis. Bravery is for the people who are called, people like Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Mother Theresa. Brave ...
More interesting than you realize. An interesting person is interesting to us because she combines two things: Truth and surprise. The truth: Not necessarily a law of physics, not necessarily a measurable truth in nature, but merely the truth of experience. "I believe this," or "I see that." And surprise. Note that surprise is always local. Surprising to me, the audience.
The purpose of a company is to serve its customers. Its obligation is to not harm everyone else. And its opportunity is to enrich the lives of its employees. Somewhere along the way, people got the idea that maximizing investor return was the point. It shouldn't be. That's not what democracies ought to seek in chartering corporations to participate in our society.
The Grateful Dead hit their peak in 1977. Miles Davis in 1959, Warhol perhaps ten years later. It's not surprising that artists hit a peak—their lives have an arc, and so does the work. It can't possibly keep amazing us forever. Fans say that the Porsche arguably hit a peak in 1995 or so, and the Corvette before that. Sears hit a peak more than a decade ago.
It's easy to visualize the efficiency of precise ties. Every phone call goes through. The marching band executes every turn, on cue. The entire band, each and every one of them. The fabric in that sari is flawless. Today, we're seeing more and more sloppy ties, more things created by apparently random waves than in predictable outcomes.
An oxymoron that's true. Everyone who does good things does them because it makes them feel good, because the effort and the donation is worth more than it costs. (And it might be a donation to a charity or merely helping out a neighbor or contributing to a community project). Some people contribute because of the story they are able to tell themselves about the work they're doing.
You can learn a new skill, today, for free. You can take on a new task at work, right now, without asking anyone. You can make a connection, find a flaw, contribute an insight, now. Or not. In a fluid system, when people are moving forward, others are fall ...
These two ideas are often uttered in the same sentence, but they're actually not related. People don't click on things because they like them, or because they resonate with them, or because they change them. They click on things because they think it will look good to their friends if they share them. Or they click on things because it feels safe. Or because they're bored. Or mystified.
"All men are created equal." But after that, culture starts to change things. Almost nothing is evenly distributed. Some people seek out new technology in an area they are focused on... others fear new technology. Some people can dunk a basketball, others will never be athletic enough to do so.
As of now, there are more minutes produced by the podcasts I listen to each day than there is time to listen to them. I can't listen to something new without not listening to something else. Which makes it challenging to find the energy to seek out new ones. Rebroadcasts of radio shows rarely keep my attention any more, because the podcast-focused audio is so much more focuse ...
The 747 is a very large plane. But that doesn't mean it's easier to get off the ground--in fact, it's more difficult. As your project and your organization grows in size, it's tempting to hope that at some point it will take care of itself. That customer service will get better without a herculean effort to keep it un-industrialized.
As you work on your project (your presentation, your plan, your speech, your recipe, your...) imagine that it's the sort of thing that could be reviewed on Amazon. Now, write (actually write down) two different reviews: First, a 5 star review, a review by someone who gets it, who is moved, who is eager to applaud your guts and vision.
The best way to tell if your speech is going to go well is to give your speech. The best way to find out if your new product has market appeal is to try to sell it. The best way to become a teacher is to teach. There's a huge need for study, refinement and revision. No question about it. Non ...
In a hyper-rational world, this sounds like voodoo. Persuading ourselves in advance is no way to see the world as it is. But what if your goal is to see the world as ...
It turns out that competitive Scrabble players always arrange the letters on their rack in alphabetical order. The reason makes sense: By ensuring consistency, the patterns appear. You've seen this before... That same discipline works in most k ...
Bernadette Jiwa's brilliant new book is out this week. Doug Rushkoff's book isn't out until March, but I was lucky enough to read a galley. Worth pre-ordering. Here's the (free) audio of a recent talk I did at Hubspot Inbound. (Video is here, but I think the audio works nicely). If you want to understand how to des ...
Feeling like a failure has little correlation with actually failing. There are people who have failed more times than you and I can count, who are happily continuing in their work. There are others who have achieved more than most of us can imagine, who go to work each day feeling inadequate, behind, and yes, like failures and frauds. These are not cases of extraordinary outliers.
The first element is the guts to do things without money or bureaucratic approval. The guerrilla marketer doesn't wait for a policy, or a developed industry or a line to form. She steps up and speaks up. But, as Jay Levinson said from the start, more than thirty years ago, the other half is at least as important, and easy to overlook: The core element of guerilla marketing is generosity.
The ignored secret behind successful organizations (and nations) is infrastructure. Not the content of what's happening, but the things that allow that content to turn into something productive. Here are some elements worth considering: Transportation: Ideas and stuff have to move around. The more quickly, efficiently and safely, the better.
Fear will push you to avert your eyes. Fear will make you think you have nothing to say. It will create a buzz that makes it impossible to meditate... or it will create a fog that makes it so you can do nothing but meditate. Fear seduces us into losing our temper. and fear belittles us into accepting unfairness.
Have you thought about the fact that just about every time Steve Jobs appeared in public, he was selling us something? And yet few rolled their eyes and said, "oh, here comes another sales pitch." Jobs sold us expensive, high margin hardware that we knew would eventually became obsolete, and yet people lined up to hear the pitch.
Entitlement is the joy killer. Halloween is hardly what it could be. Any other day of the year, hand a kid a chocolate bar and he'll be thrilled. Do it on Halloween and it's worth almost nothing. When you receive something you feel entitled to, something expected, that you believe you've earned, it's not worth much. And when you don't receive it, you're furious. After all, it's yours.
Seth Godin's riffs on marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread.