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Two bits of fame

Ogilvy & Mather was on line 1. (I actually only have one line, but it sounds cool to imagine that they could be on line 1).

The news was unexpected. They were calling on behalf of the AMA and inviting me to be inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame. I actually thought it would be more likely that I'd be invited to join the Roller Derby Hall of Fame.

The ceremony is on May 17th in New York. 

Also!

The Dip was on Billions on Showtime yesterday (note: Cable-TV language included):

How cold is the turkey?

If your customers had to stop using your product or service tomorrow, how much would they miss it?

How easy are you to replace?

How deep are the habits, how essential are the interactions?

Being missed when you're gone is a worthy objective.

A clean sheet of paper

The last few clues on the crossword are the easiest to decode… there aren't as many choices.

Over time, we let the grid at work get filled up, and spend our work day filling in the little tiny corners. We address the undone tasks or find the small improvements that are next on the list.

Sometimes, this tiny incrementalism leads to a big idea. But often, it's the freedom (and fear) of a clean sheet that opens the door to a different path forward.

Of course, the paper is never fully blank. We have countless assumptions about what our assets are, what's achievable and where we're comfortable. These assumptions could be suspended if we cared enough.

The best time to work with a clean sheet is long before you're confronted with one.

The moment of maximum leverage

It's the moment before it tips, that split second where a little effort can make a big difference.

We wait for this. For the day when participating will truly pay off, for the mechanical advantage that gives us the most impact for our effort.

It's a myth.

Maximum leverage is the result of commitment, of daily persistence, of gradual and insane and apparently useless effort over time.

When it works, it merely looks like we had good timing.

Inciteful

The right answer might not be the best thing you can say.

Perhaps it would be better if you could help your friend take action instead. The acts of finding and doing are almost always more useful than getting good advice.

Inciting action is often better than contributing insight. Better to move forward and figure it out than to stand still and believe you know the right answer.

The trap of listening to feedback

"If I listened to feedback, I would have quit on the first day."

You're devoting your life to making something important. Something helpful. Something that matters. Mostly, something that hasn't been done before, that's going to bend the curve and make an impact.

If you begin and end with surveys and focus groups, all you're going to do is what's been done before.

We're counting on you to trust yourself enough to speak your own version of our future. Yes, you'll need the empathy to put yourself in our shoes, and the generosity to care enough to make it worth our time and trust. But no, don't outsource the hard work of insight and creation to the rest of us.

That's on you.

About that tantrum

A note to the customer who just had a meltdown. To the groom without a perfect wedding, to the rental car customer who had to wait twenty minutes, and to the boss who’s furious that the delivery wasn’t as promised.

We heard you. We, as in the people you were seeking to impact, and we as in the rest of us as well, the innocent bystanders.

Actually, we heard you the first time. Ever since then, the only information that’s being communicated is about you, not the people you’re angry with.

You’re demonstrating your privilege (because you need to have plenty of resources in order to waste so many on an emotional, non-productive tirade.)

You’re demonstrating your entitlement.

You’re demonstrating a surprising lack of self control. Toddlers have tantrums. Adults should solve problems.

And you’re demonstrating your fear, most of all. The fear that fuels a narrative of being unheard. The fear that you’re not good enough. The fear that this might be the last chance you get to make everything exactly perfect.

Working with the outside world is an act of communication and mutual respect. You deserve to be heard, but you don’t have a right to have a tantrum.

Entrepreneurship is not a job

You don’t apply. You don’t get a salary. No one picks you.

Bragging about how much money you’ve raised or what your valuation is a form of job thinking.

Entrepreneurship is a chance to trade a solution to someone who has a problem that needs solving.

Solve more problems, solve bigger problems, solve problems more widely and you’re an entrepreneur.

It’s tempting to industrialize this work, to make it something with rules and bosses and processes. But that’s not the heart of it.

The work is to solve problems in a way that you’re proud of.

Missing from your job description

If you're working in an office, here are some of the checklist items that might have been omitted:

  • Add energy to every conversation
  • Ask why
  • Find obsolete things on your task list and remove them
  • Treat customers better than they expect
  • Offer to help co-workers before they ask
  • Feed the plants
  • Leave things more organized than you found them
  • Invent a moment of silliness
  • Highlight good work from your peers
  • Find other great employees to join the team
  • Cut costs
  • Help invent a new product or service that people really want
  • Get smarter at your job through training or books
  • Encourage curiosity
  • Surface and highlight difficult decisions
  • Figure out what didn't work
  • Organize the bookshelf
  • Start a club
  • Tell a joke at no one's expense
  • Smile a lot.

Now that it's easier than ever to outsource a job to someone cheaper (or a robot) there needs to be a really good reason for someone to be in the office. Here's to finding several.

 

[Heads up: Today's the early priority deadline for the summer session of the altMBA.

Also! Tonight, just after 6 pm ET, the one and only Simon Sinek is joining me for a Facebook Live conversation, on location.]

After you raise your hand…

Show up.

Show up and keep showing up.

Show up with at least as much enthusiasm as you had when you first raised your hand to volunteer.

The volunteering part is easy. Making promises is a fun way to get someone's attention.

Keeping those promises is often unsung, but that's how you build something.

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