Have you noticed how upbeat the ads for airlines and banks are?
Judging from the billboards and the newspaper ads, you might be led to believe that Delta is actually a better airline, one that cares. Or that your bank has flexible people eager to bend the rules to help you succeed.
At one level, this is good advertising, because it tells a story that resonates. We want Delta to be the airline it says it is, and so we give them a try.
The problem is this: ads like this actually decrease user satisfaction. If the ad leads to expect one thing and we don't get it, we're more disappointed than if we had gone in with no real expectations at all. Why this matters: if word of mouth is the real advertising, then what you've done is use old-school ad techniques to actually undercut any chance you have to generate new-school results.
So much better to invest that same money in delighting and embracing the customers you already have.
My Garmin gave me a route to the airport, but I had a hunch it was mistaken. So I went my way.
As I turned left instead of right, I heard her voice hectoring me, beseeching me to go right.
And I confess, I felt terrible. I was disobeying. Not following instructions.
If it's gotten to the point where we are uncomfortable disobeying a 3 inch by 4 inch touchscreen, then you know we've been brainwashed. It's actually okay (in fact, quite possibly productive) to call out the Garmins, the bosses and the influencers in your life, and ignore them all you like.
Just announced: Tony award winner Sarah Jones and her many invented friends are going to interview (for lack of a better term) me on-stage at the Nuyorican in New York City on January 18th. There are just a few tickets available.
Sarah is a genius and an artist and a hero of mine. I'm thrilled to be asked. It'll certainly not be what you expect.
These are the words that entrepreneurs, painters, artists, statesmen, customer service pioneers and writers need to hear.
Not true. They don't need to hear them, they need to feel them.
No artist needs a fair weather friend, an employee or customer or partner who waits to do the calculus before deciding if they're going to be there for them.
No, if you want her to go all in, if you want her to take the risk and brave the fear, then it sure helps if you're there too, no matter what. There's a cost to that, a pain and risk that comes from that sort of trust. After all, it might not work. Failure (or worse! embarrassment) might ensue. That's precisely why it's worth so much. Because it's difficult and scarce.
Later, when it's all good and it's all working, your offer of support means very little. The artist never forgets the few who came through when it really mattered.
Who's got your back? More important, whose back do you have?
Here are the details for tomorrow's event.
I know that there's a snowstorm affecting part of the East Coast, and if you want to buy an extra ticket (or sell one) please use the comments below to reach out to one another. The event is totally sold out, and since we turned people away, there are no refunds.
I can't broker any sales, but feel free to transfer at will, just bring the name of the original ticketholder with you when you come tomorrow.
Thanks, and stay safe.
(Expand this post and arrow through to see all the comments. Also! Put your contact info in your comment or no one will be able to find you…)
Allison Miller, aged 14, sends and receives 27,000 text messages a month. Hey, that's only about sixty an hour, every hour she's awake.
Some say that the problem of our age is that continuous partial attention, this never ending non-stop distraction, addles the brain and prevents us from being productive. Not quite.
The danger is not distraction, the danger is the ability to hide.
Constant inputs and unlimited potential distractions allow us to avoid the lizard, they give the resistance a perfect tool. Everywhere to run, everywhere to hide.
The advantage of being cornered with nowhere to turn is that it leaves you face to face with the lizard brain, unable to stall or avoid the real work.
I've become a big fan of tools like Freedom, which effortlessly permit you to turn off the noise. An hour after you haven't kept up with the world, you may or may not have work product to show as a result. If you don't, you've just called your bluff, haven't you? And if you do, then you've discovered how powerful confronting the fear (by turning off the noise) can be.
Ten years ago, no one was lost in this world. You had to play dungeons and dragons in a storm pipe to do that. Now there are millions and millions of us busy polishing our connections, reaching out, reacting, responding and hiding. What happens to your productivity (and your fear) when you turn it off for a while?
A cop with a Surefire flashlight doesn't have to say to her partner, "I'm sorry my flashlight isn't so bright." It's made without compromise for people who won't compromise.
There are high margins in the business of high-end flatware, for people who don't want to apologize for the lack of an asparagus fork when they have fancy company over.
One of the most vibrant segments of the stereo business is the category of products that are ridiculously expensive (and really good).
Where's the cell phone headset that will appeal to people who don't want to apologize for the quality of their cell phone connection?
People will go out of their way to buy and recommend products that don't require an apology.
Wait, I was confused. There's a sure-fire recipe for delicious chocolate chip cookies. There is in fact a magic formula.
For businesses, not so much. There isn't one secret, one process, one solution. Instead, there are a thousand or maybe a million.
It's not a jigsaw puzzle, it's a strand of DNA, easily rearranged and sometimes it even works. For a while.
1. Throwing is more important than catching. If you're good at throwing, the catching takes care of itself. Emergency response is overrated compared to emergency avoidance.
2. Juggling is about dropping. The entire magic of witnessing a juggler has to do with the risk of something being dropped. If there is no risk of dropping, juggling is actually sort of boring. Perfection is overrated, particularly if it keeps you from trying things that are interesting.
Hence the tricky part–you want to ship in a way that (as much as you can) avoids failure, but when failure comes, moving forward is more effective than panic or blame.
All you've got, all your brand has got, all any of us have are the memories and expectations and changes we've left with others.
It's so easy to get hung up on the itinerary, the features and the specs, but that's not real, it's actually pretty fuzzy stuff. The concrete impact of our lives and our work is the mark you make on other people. It might be a product you make or the way you look someone in the eye. It might be a powerful experience you have on a trip with your dad, or the way you keep a promise.
The experiences you create are the moments that define you. We'll miss you when you're gone, because we will always remember the mark you made on us.
There's a sign on most squash courts encouraging players to wear only sneakers with non-marking soles. I'm not sure there's such a thing. If you're going to do anything worthy, you're going to leave a mark.