Seth Godin's Blog, page 124
July 4, 2010
Here's a way to get more strategic.
Instead of arguing for a course of action based on the status quo or your emotional gut, describe the theory of the case.
A is true.
B is true.
If we do C, then A and B should permit us to get D.
The method of this strategic analysis is that you expose your assumptions, you describe your actions and your posit the results. This permits your teammates to supply facts that might change your analysis.
Wait, A isn't true.
Wait, we're not capable of doing C.
July 3, 2010
When you measure an activity, you can improve it. Computers make it easy to optimize just about every portion of your life.
Surely, you can optimize a website or a blog for traffic. You can optimize ads to make them yield more results. You can optimize your presentation style to close more sales or change more minds. You can optimize your workout to get faster and stronger. You can optimize your diet to lose weight and gain muscle. You can optimize your sleeping patterns to get more rest in...
July 2, 2010
If you choose to manage a project, it's pretty safe. As the manager, you report. You report on what's happening, you chronicle the results, you are the middleman.
If you choose to run a project, on the other hand, you're on the hook. It's an active engagement, bending the status quo to your will, ensuring that you ship.
Running a project requires a level of commitment that's absent from someone who is managing one. Who would you rather hire, a manager or a runner?
July 1, 2010
The next time you find yourself on the hook for a 40 minute presentation (with slides!) consider, at least for a moment, a radical idea:
A slide every 12 seconds. 200 slides in all.
You're used to putting three or four bullet points on a slide. That's at least four distinct ideas, but more often, each of those ideas has three or four sub ideas to it. In other words, you're cramming 32 ideas on a slide, and you're sitting on that slide as you drone on and on. Perhaps you spice it up with some r...
June 30, 2010
A small island grows sugar cane. Many people harvest it, and one guy owns the machine that can process the cane and turn it into juice.
The guy with the machine, of course. It gives him leverage, and since he's the only one, he can pay the pickers whatever he likes--people will either sell it to him or stop picking. No fun being the cane picker. He can also charge whatever he likes to the people who need the cane juice, because without him, there's no juice. No fun being a baker or...
June 29, 2010
A toddler wants what she wants, now. That's a win.
A little later, when we're more mature, we might define winning as getting what we want at the expense of someone else. I win when you lose. And yes, winning still means now, not later.
A demagogue cares so much about winning that he'd rather wreck the system itself than lose. It's okay, he believes, to root for the failure of the republic or to destroy civility or democracy if it leads to something that could be called a win.
What happens when ...
June 28, 2010
Brian Trelstad and his team at Acumen have had great success using a metric they call BACO (the best alternative charitable option). They can compare the results of the development and investment work they do to the results that direct aid or charity would generate instead. In short: when you understand the alternative, it's far easier to not only measure your work, but value it.
If you are familiar with a great restaurant just down the street, that raises the bar for a new restaurant to get y...
June 27, 2010
If you're waiting for a boss or an editor or a college to tell you that you do good work, you're handing over too much power to someone who doesn't care nearly as much as you do.
We spend a lot of time organizing and then waiting for the system to pick us, approve of us and give us permission to do our work.
Feedback is important, selling is important, getting the market to recognize your offering and make a sale--all important. But there's a difference between achieving your goals and...
June 26, 2010
I'm not talking about the ability to be heard... we solved that problem a few years ago. It used to be logistically impossible to make it easy for the masses to speak up and to sort and respond to the feedback. Now, though, that part is easy.
I'm wondering whether marketers, politicians and leaders have an obligation to treat everyone's input equally. Sure, you have the right to speak, but what does it take to be listened to?
Does the CEO of HP have the obligation to listen to a loony...
June 25, 2010
How is that a sleepy, conservative organization like the postal service ends up licensing its brand to a company that can't resist every honey pot scheme and opt out technique in the book?
I needed to send a package today and figured I'd try them out. Visited the site on my Mac, got all the way through registration, entered my card to pay for stamps and then (and only then) did I find out their software doesn't work on a Mac. Of course, they knew I was on a Mac but didn't...