It Doesn't Matter What You Think

Perceptions are everything.

If someone believes something to be true, it almost doesn’t matter what the data says. The most reasoned arguments and the most robust set of facts will pale in comparison to their beliefs, values and worldview. 

And as a marketer or salesperson reaching out to current and potential customers, it certainly doesn’t matter what you think. It only matters what they think, how they perceive the facts.

Unplug Yourself

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott

It’s almost always a bad idea to try and make difficult decisions in the fog of war, unless we absolutely have to. 

In the midst of the battle, we’re faced with a host of messages and signals coming at us, non-stop, seemingly at random. Sometimes, our senses are heightened and we’re fully attuned to our circumstances, allowing us to make sharp, intuitive decisions. But more often than not, we’re not. Or we aren’t for any extended period of time.

Some Things Don’t Change

I was thinking about the Dotcom era of the late 90s and the euphoria that gripped the markets for those few years as stocks climbed to record breaking levels.

The news of the day was engaged in a fevered debate - were we in a new era, one where the old models had become hopelessly outdated? Or was this simply another fad, not unlike Dutch Tulips, a bubble that would burst in due course, once we all came to our senses?

More On Competition - Is That Even The Right Focus?

In my last post, I discussed the idea of competition and specifically, that it’s existence shouldnt act as a deterrence to us entering into a specific market. In many ways, it can act as a validating factor that should, frankly, encourage us to play in that space. 

But the more pertinent question, at least the one I’ve been turning over in my mind, is whether that’s even the right focus.

Rethinking The Idea of Competition

Our natural reflex, when we’re evaluating a market, is to think of competition as being a negative factor. If there is a plethora of companies already operating in a given space, fighting it out for share, our immediate assumption is that this market is “taken” or that adding another player into the mix is a dumb idea.

This might be the case, but then again, it might not.

I’ve got a bit of an issue with articles that proclaim that the golden age of something or the other is over. (I saw one recently proclaiming that the golden age of American dining was over.)

I get that stream of thought when it comes to specific brands or technologies. For example, I don’t think any of us would disagree that The Golden Age of the Walkman is pretty much done and dusted. Or that The Golden Age of Atari is essentially behind us.

When Our Best And Brightest Stop Speaking Up...

Every organization has that person. The one who raises issues, flags problems, talks about solutions and fixes to move the ball forward.

I’m not talking about the complainers - folks who have nothing better to do, and don’t have any real intent to solve the problem. I’m talking about those who want to get things done and are vocal about it. Very vocal, in fact. Sometimes, they’re in your face. Many times, they’re irritating. Many times, it feels like they’re too much.

That's Not How Good Ideas Work

I don’t subscribe to many email newsletters but one that I do like to read is from Rob Hatch and Chris Brogan of Owner Media Group. They always have great ideas and perspectives on doing business at a granular level - how to organize your thinking, how to position and market yourself and your products and so much more.

Rob recently sent an email about how we think about “ideas” in business, specifically referring to Chris’ book, Trust Agents, published ten years ago. He talked about how he still found the ideas discussed to be relevant. Still as applicable today as it was a decade ago.

"This Will Only Take A Minute..."

Expectations management is everything in business.

If you’re going to do something, do it. If you have no intention of doing it, don’t say you will. That’s pretty clear cut and I think we’ll all agree with that.

The problem arises when we get comfortable in the grey areas, at the edges of “well, this isn’t really a big deal”. We brush off - consciously or otherwise - these little things.

You Can't Get A Little Bit Pregnant...

Free Soloing is a form of climbing that’s done without any sort of protection - no ropes, no harnesses, no climbing gear. Nothing but a good pair of climbing shoes, chalk to keep your hands dry and your technique and wits. It’s been around for decades but came back into the spotlight in the excellent documentary, Free Solo, which profiled Aex Honnold and his free ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite, a truly spectacular and breathtaking achievement.

Sometimes The Problem With Our Message Is Us

In my last post, I talked about the importance of simplicity and authenticity in our messaging. Complex, obtuse and, worse, overly clever messaging does a disservice to the point we’re trying to make. And most of the time, it detracts from getting that point across.

Sometimes, though, this just seems impossible. We struggle with distilling the key takeaways or the so-whats. What keeps emerging is far longer and more involved than what feels right.

“What Do You Think Happens To Us When We Die?”

The universe seems to be on a Keanu Reeves binge at the moment.

Everything he does in his reel life is pretty much turning to gold. (OK - maybe not everything, but enough that it matters.) Meanwhile, his actions in real life show him to be the kind of person we probably all want to be.

Keanu Reeves’ Philosophy even seems to be a thing, and we caught a glimpse of it in a recent appearance…

When Capable People Need To Go

The biggest challenge that any organization - small or large - faces is finding and keeping good people. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a start-up team of 3 or if you’re Google, the core challenge remains the same: employ the best people possible.

And getting the best people is a complex goal with multiple aspects to it, each as important as the other.

How do I find the best people to do what is needed? How do I incent them to do their best work? How do I make sure they stay?