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Everyone else, also

Everyone else also thinks it’s about them.

Everyone else is in a hurry.

Everyone else is afraid.

Everyone else wonders if they’re being left behind.

Everyone else is tired.

Everyone else isn’t sure, either.

The good news is that everyone else also has unused potential and the ability to make an impact.

Online marketing vs. marketing online

Online marketing has become a messy mix of direct marketing, seo, tricks, tips, code and guesswork. It’s an always-moving target and it’s mostly focused on tactics, not strategy, because tactics are easy to measure.

Marketing online, on the other hand, is what happens when the work to serve our audience arrives in an electronic form. Marketing online is simply marketing–the act of making things better by making things–aided by a mouse and a keyboard.

Careful not to get stuck focusing on the wrong one. You need both, but one drives the other.

Politics vs. governance

“It’s just politics.”

No one ever says, “it’s just governance.”

Politics is organized sparring about power, without much regard for efficacy or right or wrong.

Governance is the serious business of taking responsibility for leadership.

Over the last twenty years, the mass media has shifted, from “here’s the news,” to, “hey, it’s just media.” As a result, a system has been built in which situations, emergencies and bad news have been packaged and promoted twenty-four hours a day.

In the face of that maelstrom of noise, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the world is more dangerous and unstable than it has ever been.

When we have a chance to speak up for governance, we can strike a blow against politics.

Because even though it doesn’t make compelling TV, the long-term challenges ahead of us aren’t going to respond to politics.

Dedication, resilience and concerted effort have saved us before and they can save us again. Except once again, it’s on us to speak up and do something about it.

Lottery logic

Someone has to win the lottery, it might as well be you.

Buying a lottery ticket is economically irrational and emotionally rewarding for some. Because while someone has to win, it’s probably not going to be you.

There are examples of lottery logic in our daily work as well. It’s clear that someone is going to be the next Taylor Swift, the next George Clooney or the next Will Smith. But it’s probably not going to be you. Someone is going to raise a $40 million seed round, or get picked to be the next big thing. But it’s probably not going to be you.

It’s tempting to decide to follow the path that leads to mass-market stardom, the top of the charts, the fame and fortune that comes to the person who wins a media lottery. It’s tempting to build a mass-market podcast or a general-audience news site. It’s tempting to be the sort of vanilla-but-attractive actor who can play just about any role…

But it’s far more productive to focus on stepwise progress for the smallest viable audience instead. It might not make headlines, but it’s far more likely to work and more rewarding in the long run.

Arithmetic true

Arithmetic is true. It’s true because

1. we accept the terms for what they mean

2. it’s timeless, past and present and future are the same

3. it’s testable

In every fourth-grade classroom, the statement, “9 is bigger than 7” is clearly true. We can count out nine marbles. We have a mutual understanding of what “bigger” means in this context. From this shared understanding of the axioms and vocabulary, we can build useful and complex outcomes.

On the other hand, “Cheryl is a better candidate than Tracy” might be true for some people, but it presents all sorts of trouble if we look at it through the same lens of “truth” as a term we learned in arithmetic. We know who Cheryl is and we know who Tracy is, but it’s not clear what “better” means in this case. Are we describing who will win an election in two weeks? That’s awfully hard to test in advance.

And ‘words as building blocks of truth’ gets even more complicated when the ideas intersect with both science and culture. The statement, “The theory of evolution is our best explanation for how we all got here,” is demonstrably true in the realm of science, but for people with a certain worldview who value cultural alignment more than verifiable and testable evidence, this statement isn’t true at all.

The words matter. It matters whether we’re talking about ‘arithmetic true’ or simply an accurate description of what works for part of our culture.

Confusing effort, preparation and performance with the outcome

How’d you perform on the sales call?

It was great.

How do you know?

They bought.

How did you play?


How do you know?

We won.

Actually, that’s selling your potential short.

Even if the chip shot went in the hole, it doesn’t mean you hit the ball properly.

It might simply have been a positive variance. Next time, it could easily bounce the other way.

In order to improve our performance, we need to model our preparation, our effort and our form against a standard, not base it on the outcome. Because outcomes aren’t always guaranteed by our work.

Just because you won doesn’t mean you did a good job (and vice versa).

The shunning

Shun the people who have transgressed against cultural norms.

And shun the people who have stood with those people.

Shun the people who have a different solution to an urgent problem.

Shun the people who didn’t invite you.

Shun the people who aren’t shunning the right people.

Shun those who have slighted you.

And shun those who didn’t realize that they should be shunning those that you’re shunning.

Not much left.

Shunning is a powerful tool, it is a sanction that society uses to maintain norms. But it’s an absolute tool, a final resort.

It’s possible to connect with people without endorsing their worst actions. In fact, the best way to undo negative actions may be to engage with people to persuade them that there’s a different way forward.

Where’s the freakout line?

Giving a talk to three people is easy. No sweat. Giving it to 100 costs you a night’s sleep.

Sending an email to six colleagues is normal. Sending a note to a list of 400 is cause for concern.

Where, exactly, is the line?

Is an audience of 21 different from 24?

If you spend some time looking for the line, perhaps you’ll discover that there’s rarely a reason to freak out. It’s just one more than the number you’re fine with, after all.

Reckless, fearless and generous

I did a live QA and rant today at 10 am NY time. Topic: there’s a difference between reckless, fearless and generous, and once you see it, it’ll help you move forward. You can watch (and chime in) live, or see it once it’s archived (the insta version is only available for 24 hours).

You can follow me on Instagram (Check it out… Taylor and the team are working with me to do some innovative things in this medium) and we’ll be simulcasting on Facebook as well.

Also, as long as we’re talking about other places, don’t forget to check out my podcast Akimbo, now in its fifth season.  Here are some examples of favorite episodes.

Thanks for tuning in, wherever and however.

What does it feel like when you say “later”?

What does it sound like when you put something off?

All of us have a catalog of voices in our head. We’ve got the one for feeling behind, the one for not feeling good enough, the one we use when we’re trying to avoid a sore spot.

There are good reasons to decide to wait until later.

Waiting for later keeps our options open.

Waiting for later helps us avoid the short-term hustle.

Waiting for later feels safer.

Too often, waiting for later also keeps us from leaping, from leading and from making a difference. It keeps us from moving on, moving forward.

The feeling of “later” doesn’t go away. it actually gets harder and harder to leap as the time goes by.

It’s easy to turn waiting for later into a habit. It’s a great way to hide from the work we truly care about, especially if it’s uncomfortable.

Today’s the last day of 2019 to apply for the altMBA.

It’s possible that you’ve heard about it, read the case studies, seen the impact it’s made on the thousands of people who have completed it, but perhaps you decided to wait until later.

Today is later.

Today’s the last day to apply at our current tuition. Our upcoming session is this October, and after that, we won’t be back until 2020.

Now is usually better than later.