Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Gaps

Gaps.

The feeling that you don't quite know enough, and can't decide on the best direction.

The impulse to seek knowledge to bridge the chasm between where you are and where you want to go.

The eagerness with which you listen to topic authorities, only to feel let down after because you still don't understand how they arrived at success.

The mentors to meet with for lunches who became successful during a different era that themselves can't seem to recapture the old flame.

The peer group you join, where smart people spend time. But most are just aping the things they've heard and have no direct experience with success.

...

You can't fill the gaps, not for certain, and not permanently.

...

The gaps between the things we know are best filled with the things we do.

...

Pick a direction, go a ways, test the wind, repeat.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Enemy Night, Friend Morning

Oh Enemy Night, oh Friend Morning
How often I confuse thee to my great sorrow.
Better now to bed, cease from striving.
And wake to take my aim the morrow.

For at end of day, when my hopes have failed
I seek to draw favor of this enemy veiled,
And in this, I borrow from my friend morning,
And fecklessly I give its power to the night.

How night loves diversion,
And morning loves the getting.
Morning cannot yield guiltless leisure,
And night consumes my time unwitting.

But, go to now, and sleep,
Go early to bed and set thy hope upon a new day.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Path of Least Resistance

At any given moment people are fleeing from problems, some of which are simply the equilibrium points of life: hunger, boredom, physical pain, poverty.

Businesses exist solely as paths of least resistance between where customers are and where they want to be.

To the extent a customer understands their problem very well, its much easier to put forward evidence necessary to convince them to buy your product or service.

If you correctly optimize all visible and invisible traits that convey to your customer the ability to be their path of least resistance compared to other alternatives, then you win.

Examples of this:

* Uber exists because cabs are disgusting and expensive.
* McDonalds exists because people don't want to drive far to eat a reliably consistent, cheap meal.
* Walmart exists because people don't want to visit 17 specialty stores.
* Sonic exists because people want to eat in their cars and not be judged by it.
* BMW exists because some people don't want to identify with poor domestic US car brands. 

To be the path of least resistance:

* Optimize your business/product to solve most/all/enough of the pain.
* Advertise and talk to customers in terms of their specific problem (segmentation)
* Answer all their questions, be very easy to talk to, and generally treat them very kindly.
* Give your customers a clear idea of how long something will take (contrast with alternatives)
* Don't be too slow to pass-on savings to your customers.

Things to avoid:

Some companies make themselves the path of least resistance by putting up artificial barriers (pharma, spyware companies, acquisitions of competitors, etc). Yuck.

Be nice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dream Big, Fight Hard, Expect Resistance


You can accomplish anything 
you set your mind to....


 ...unless someone else sets their 
mind to thwarting you.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ad Copy: The Miracle on 34th Street Putdown

Ad copy can sometimes border on the insensitive, especially when you're in objection-killing mode. To some people the BATNA is way too strong for them to try your product, and our instincts steer us to a last-ditch objection-killing language that attacks what they love.

Ex: "If you want the fastest car, buy an F1 racer, if you want the most luxury, hire the company that builds the custom Rolls Royces for the Saudis. If you want a great car that looks great on you and has some punch, buy a Cadillac CTS."

I call this the "Miracle on 34th Street Putdown" because while it suggests great alternatives (like the Kimbal's Santa in Miracle on 34th Street), it does so by insulting the core objection of the customer. 

However, its a great verbal fencing tool when you're confronted with a jerk.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SSL for SEO

Google's recent announcement of algorithm changes that involve preferring secure sites over non-secure ones certainly created a collective gasp among SEO experts. Its a sensible move by the search giant, and certainly an SEO buff that will be OVERPOWERED for a while. Thus if you're already pretty decent on your markup and your content, the smartest on-page change you could make right now would be to add an SSL cert to your server.

If you use a hosting provider like Godaddy or Liquid:
Call them and find out what it takes to get a cert installed and spend that mo-nay right now. Its probably worth the ongoing cost.

If you're using S3 for website hosting:
Hang on to your hat, because it will cost you a fortune: http://aws.amazon.com/cloudfront/pricing/

If you're using managed hosting like Azure or Heroku
Use Expedited SSL. It takes like 3 minutes to setup. Easiest Heroku SSL possible. So good.

None of these options is very cheap, but Amazon, wow. Anyway, its probably totally worth the investment, so get on with it and add SSL to your site.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Move Something Forward

All you really need to do today is to move something forward. It doesn't have to be much, in fact, you should avoid trying to take on too much. But, just start out by focusing on moving one meaningful thing forward... and keep pushing until it moves. If it won't move, or if you get far enough to call it good, then find something else and move it forward. Do this, and don't give up until something moves. Do this every day. Soon you'll look around and be impressed by how far you've come.