This is a common attention-getting technique online. Throw yourself under a bus, attract spectators.
There are countless ways to reveal your embarrassments, your inner demons and your current conflicts. There are a myriad of crazy projects you can undertake, all guaranteed to attract an appreciative crowd, the same people who want to see the crazy guy jump off the bridge or the brawl break out in the parking lot.
Do it well enough and enough often and you will gain attention.
But you'll still be under a bus.
from anonymous angry people
Expose yourself to art you don't yet understand
Precisely measure the results that are important to you
Stay blind to the metrics that don't matter
Lead, don't manage so much
Seek out uncomfortable situations
Make an impact on the people who matter to you
Be better at your baseline skills than anyone else
Copyedit less, invent more
Give more speeches
Ignore unsolicited advice
The internet is an engine of connection. It has been from the start (email, chat, forums, blogs, social media…)
One reason that so many of the most popular sites online are those that permit people to express and expose their ideas is that those are the pages we care most about. We go back to see how people responded, how the traffic is, what we can do to improve the page.
Lifestyle media isn't a fad. It's what human beings have been doing forever, with a brief, recent interruption for a hundred years of professional media along the way. That interruption is fading away, and lifestyle media is resurging. People publish. Instead of denigrating user-generated content (what an obscure way to describe human stories), marketers need to understand that this is what we care about.
We shouldn't be surprised when someone chooses to publish their photos, their words, their art or their opinions. We should be surprised when they don't.
If we put a number on it, people will try to make the number go up.
Now that everyone is a marketer, many people are looking for a louder megaphone, a chance to talk about their work, their career, their product… and social media looks like the ideal soapbox, a free opportunity to shout to the masses.
But first, we're told to make that number go up. Increase the number of fans, friends and followers, so your shouts will be heard. The problem of course is that more noise is not better noise.
In Corey's words, the conventional, broken wisdom is:
- Follow a ton of people to get people to follow back
- Focus on the # of followers, not the interests of followers or your relationship with them.
- Pump links through the social platform (take your pick, or do them all!)
- Offer nothing of value, and no context. This is a megaphone, not a telephone.
- Think you're winning, because you're playing video games (highest follower count wins!)
This looks like winning (the numbers are going up!), but it's actually a double-edged form of losing. First, you're polluting a powerful space, turning signals into noise and bringing down the level of discourse for everyone. And second, you're wasting your time when you could be building a tribe instead, could be earning permission, could be creating a channel where your voice is actually welcomed.
Leadership (even idea leadership) scares many people, because it requires you to own your words, to do work that matters. The alternative is to be a junk dealer.
The game theory pushes us into one of two directions: either be better at pump and dump than anyone else, get your numbers into the millions, outmass those that choose to use mass and always dance at the edge of spam (in which the number of those you offend or turn off forever keep increasing), or
Relentlessly focus. Prune your message and your list and build a reputation that's worth owning and an audience that cares.
Only one of these strategies builds an asset of value.
Stores went from being buildings to becoming websites… and now to devices. But Mr. Gimbel and Mr. Macy would be amazed and probably peturbed if they had to use an iPhone for more than a few minutes.
Some easily answered requests:
Why can't I see my apps in alphabetical order?
Or in the order they are most used?
Why can't I list the apps in text form, putting 80 on a page in two columns, instead of only 16 or 20 at a time?
Why isn't there a suggestor/genius that allows me to find apps that others with habits like mine use? It could change over time and reward me for opting in.
On the Kindle, why can't I see my archives organized by order of purchase? Date last read? Length? Popularity?
With ebooks, when shopping, wouldn't you want to know what percentage of the people who bought the book, finished it? How about being able to opt in to circles of readers and sharing comments, progress and reading lists as you go?
All of these improvements help people use the apps they've chosen and read the books they've purchased. And none of them cost much at all to deliver.
But let's not forget that some people actually like shopping. Are the online stores for these devices fun or exciting or social? Do they live and grow and change or are they static warehouses?
The seeds of what we buy and how we buy it are being planted with these early versions of the devices. I wonder if we're being cheated out of discovery, productivity and a bit of fun.
Well rounded is like a resilient ball, rolling about, likely to be pleasing to most, and built to last.
Sharp is often what we want. We don't want a surgeon or an accountant or even a tour guide to be well rounded. We have a lot of choices, and it's unlikely we're looking for a utility player.
Well rounded gives you plenty of opportunities to shore up mediocrity with multiple options. Sharp is more frightening, because it's this or nothing.
Either can work, but it's very difficult to be both.
"I had no choice, I just couldn't get out of bed."
"I had no choice, it was the best program I could get into."
"I had no choice, he told me to do it…"
It's probably more accurate to say, "the short-term benefit/satisfaction/risk avoidance was a lot higher than anything else, so I chose to do what I did."
Remarkable work often comes from making choices when everyone else feels as though there is no choice. Difficult choices involve painful sacrifices, advance planning or just plain guts.
Saying you have no choice cuts off all options, absolves responsibility and is the dream killer.
Showing up matters more than ever, particularly if you promised you would.
Not just showing up in person, but showing up emotionally, or with support, or with a resource that was inconvenient for you to produce.
We're no longer judging you by what sort of widgets your factory makes. We're judging you by what we can expect from you in the future.
First, to restate the obvious:
Attention from those interested and able to buy is worth more now than ever before. Companies like Google, Amazon, Daily Candy, Netflix, Target, and on and on traffic in attention. It's their primary asset. Individuals are also valued and respected in large measure by the quality of attention and trust they earn from their publics.
So, if that's so obvious, why are we so cavalier about it?
If someone stood in front of your office and lit $100 bills from your petty cash kitty on fire, you'd call the cops. But people at work waste the attention of their peers and your customers/prospects at the drop of a hat.
Every interaction comes with a cost. Not in cash money, but in something worth even more: the attention of the person you're interacting with. Waste it–with spam, with a worthless offer, with a lack of preparation, and yes, with nervous dissembling, then you are unlikely to get another chance.
How is your vocabulary? It's a vital tool, certainly. Do you know these words?
a, after, and, as, die, eternal, first, gets, gun, have, in, is, job, life, me, mouth, my, pushing, saying, step, that, the, to, Tyler, waiter, you.
How about these?
a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.
The first list contains every word in the opening lines from Fight Club, the second is the entire word list from Green Eggs and Ham. Of course, neither you nor I wrote either of these, regardless of how well trained we are in what the words (the tools) mean.
Knowing about a tool is one thing. Having the guts to use it in a way that brings art to the world is another. Perhaps we need to spend less time learning new tools and more time using them.