Categories
business philosophy

Failure disguised as caution

I knew a girl in college who was paralyzed by fear. She’d see a fire truck drive by and start worrying that her dorm was on fire. She’d hear about a robbery and ask people to walk her to her car. She’d study for weeks for mid-terms and literally shake in fear as she was leaving them, thinking she’d missed some crucial question. She would use hand sanitizer every few minutes.

Abby was a very bright girl. She got a good job and ended up with a great life. But despite a healthy intellect and marketable skills, she was fighting an uphill battle of risk avoidance. She was afraid of something — anything — going wrong. It’s hard to blame her. A lot of things go wrong.

Categories
business

One shot, do not miss your chance

Do you think Karl Benz could have iterated the automobile, and released a half-driveable concept to the public? Do you think Apple could have iterated the iPhone, and released a smartphone that only sometimes works?

If you have one shot to create outsized success, an iterative process is not the way to go.

Categories
business

the thin liquid line

In a crisis, there is a very thin line between crashing and soaring.

Sometimes it’s the industry itself, and that’s not the fault of the company. No airline or hotel business model exactly thrives in a global lockdown.

But outside those specific hammered industries, you can look around at other industries: businesses in the same field either seeing record profits or going flat broke.

Categories
business philosophy

universal basic mug

Money helps people.

Due to many factors – decreased violence, technological advancements, increased education, charitable aid, foreign investment – the amount of poverty in the developing world has decreased drastically over the past few decades. In 1990, over 36% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. By 2015, that figure was under 10%.

Regardless of how the folks got the money, having it is clearly positive.

Categories
business marketing

marketing gurus and backwards ball caps

I have a blanket policy of turning down all sales meetings.

The tricky part comes when you don’t know it’s a sales meeting.

We’d recently announced that Discosloth was hiring. I was looking for a paid search specialist, and it took me a few months to find the right fit. Those few months brought an onslaught of inquiries and emails and phone calls – people looking for a job, people trying to sell outsourcing services, people selling software.

Categories
business philosophy

Lording it

I was sitting in this fellow’s office, and he was absolutely lording it over me, and I wasn’t even sure why.

I’d gotten to know the owner of a small media company in Little Rock, and he’d wanted me to meet his director of production. I went over to the studio, got introduced, and then sat down in the fellow’s office to get to know him.

Here I was, the naive 24-year-old freelancer, confused as heck.

I was just a camera guy. I made websites on the side. I was broke, had a lot of acne, weighed 145 pounds, and just wanted to hang out around some other media nerds. I was no threat.

Yet somehow that didn’t matter – I was fresh meat and this guy was out for the kill.

Categories
internet marketing

control is bred by desperation

Have you ever noticed that whenever a profession is slipping out of first place, tactics get a little more desperate? Whenever something is falling out of favor, and the former experts are getting a little grey around the temples, suddenly there’s a last-ditch grab for control.

I’ve seen it in countless situations. It happened with old-school barbers. It happened with film vs digital photographers. I’m even seeing it start to happen with online marketers.

Here’s how it plays out in real life.

Categories
business philosophy

the landscaping guy vs the product manager

A few days ago I wrote a post over on the Discosloth blog about Shakeup 2.0, and what it’s going to mean to agencies.

I like to prophesy, and like all contemporary prophecies everyone else should take them with a fat grain of salt.

In this case, my musings were about the state of digital marketing agencies. I created a list of 5 things that would be the make/break factors of survival in an economic downturn. For an agency, the winning factors are:

Categories
business

selling their own fantasies

Would you go to the gym and hire a 400-pound man as a physical trainer?

No, of course not.

I wonder about the mentors, the gurus, the life coaches, the business strategists, the financial advisors. They fill my inbox and ring my phone, every single day. I can show you hundreds of my LinkedIn messages proving that these folks can do everything. Increase your sales, wealth, happiness, productivity, peace, health, profits.

Categories
business

pulling the plug

I once worked in a cubicle across from a really nice guy. He was truly a caring, calm, and level-headed person in all regards, and spent most of his time doing work on his high-end desktop.

Back then, computers made noise when they worked, and you actually had to wait for things to happen when you clicked somewhere. A particularly large project locked the computer up. The fan whirred. His cursor froze, an eternal hourglass.