2017年3月25日 星期六

Seth's Blog : Showing up

Showing up

Some people show up when they need something.
Some people show up before they need something, knowing that it will pay off later, when they need something.
And some people merely show up. Not needing anything, not in anticipation of needing something, but merely because they can.

Seth's Blog : Three simple and difficult steps

Three simple and difficult steps

Get smarter. Hurry.
Learn something new and difficult and valuable. Learn it today and continue learning it tomorrow.
Solve interesting problems.
Ignaz Semmelweis saw the same problem that others saw. But he took responsibility and solved it (worth a read).
Care. More.
This takes guts because it means you'll have to do something.
If you can invest in these three assets, what happens to your leverage? Your value? Your choices?
There are people who can cut corners better than you, work more hours than you and certainly work cheaper than you. But what would happen if you became the person who was smarter, better at solving problems and cared the most?

Seth's Blog : Counting beans

Counting beans

If you have to serve chili to 1,000 people, holding back just one bean from each person means you end up with a tidy savings, and almost no one is going to notice.
If you run a call center and hire people who make a dollar less an hour, who are less supported, or less trained, or less caring, the impact on each interaction will probably seem pretty small. Of course, if you have a thousand operators, you just saved a lot of money.
And, if you make cars and you figure out how to replace a bolt with a slightly less resilient one, very few drivers will notice, and if you make 200,000 cars a year, that might be enough to pay your entire salary.
You've already guessed the problem.
Some people will notice that the portions are a little skimpy. Some customers will be annoyed enough to switch to another company. And some people are going to die.
When we add up lots of little compromises, we get to celebrate the big win. But overlooked are the unknown costs over time, the erosion in brand, the loss in quality, the subtraction from something that took years to add up.
In a competitive environment, the key question is: What would happen if we did a little better? 
Organizations that add just a little bit every day always defeat those that are in the subtraction business.

Seth's Blog : To tell the truth

To tell the truth

Thirty years ago, Fleischmann and Pons announced that they were able to create fusion at room temperature. Scientists around the world began work in this new field, only to discover that they couldn't replicate the reported results. It turns out that the original researchers hadn't told the truth. Millions of dollars and countless hours were wasted.
Science is based on honestly and accurately reporting what happened. Not reporting an opinion or a point of view as much as actual events and theories that fit those events.
But the same thing is true of the results you got from the direct marketing test you did yesterday.
And the efficacy of a new cancer vaccine or economic policy.
We need people to report what's actually true, so we can work with it.
The same thinking applies to whether or not your product made money last month and what temperature it was in Cleveland on Tuesday.
On the other hand, we don't expect the truth in a poker game, in the negotiation of the price of a new car or even in the stump speech of a political candidate. We signed up for shadings and hyperbole and some gamesmanship. 
The key concept here, as usual, is enrollment. If the scientific community is enrolled with you in hearing the factual results of replicable experiments, then it's on you to engage with that honestly. If your co-workers are enrolled to hear the truth about the culture of your organization or the results of a new initiative, the entire system depends on you keeping up your end of the bargain.
Living without accurate reporting of results, when it's what we expect, goes far beyond the ethical problem with lying. Like the toxic loans that led to the financial crisis of 2008, when lies are mixed in with the expectation for truth, the system grinds to a halt. We have to spend time filtering instead of actually getting our work done.
It's an incredible privilege to have a role where you are expected to tell the truth. Your colleagues are trusting you, letting down their guard and enabling you to contribute highly-leveraged work. 
It doesn't take much to break that trust and to degrade the efficiency of the entire system.
Let's agree, in advance, about what we're going to hear from you. 

Seth's Blog : The reason we need the FDA (hint: it's marketers)

The reason we need the FDA (hint: it's marketers)

Here's the original ad for Coca-Cola:
French Wine Coca is indorsed (sic) by over 20,000 of the most learned and scientific medical men in the world . . . . . . Americans are the most nervous people in the world . . . All who are suffering from any nervous complaints we commend to use the wonderful and delightful remedy, French Wine Coca, infallible in curing all who are afflicted with any nerve trouble, dyspepsia, mental and physical exhaustion, all chronic wasting diseases, gastric irritability, constipation, sick headache, neuralgia, etc. is quickly cured by the Coca Wine . . . . . . Coca is a most wonderful invigorator of the sexual organs and will cure seminal weakness, impotency, etc., when all other remedies fail . . . To the unfortunate who are addicted to the morphine or opiate habit, or the excessive use of alcohol stimulants, the French Wine Coca has proven a great blessing, and thousands proclaim it the most remarkable invigorator that every sustained a wasting and sinking system. (Thanks to Adam Alter's urgent and powerful new book).
John Pemberton, who wrote this ad, was addicted to the cocaine in the product and ultimately died from stomach cancer, an addict, just six years later his son died from the same addiction.
In a competitive environment, in which some marketers are rewarded for the short-term hit, the race to the bottom is inevitable. That doesn't mean it works, but it hurts. Self-regulation doesn't work in large markets that have easy entry, with many short-term competitive battles going on.
Smart, ethical marketers understand that regulation actually helps them do their work.
Regulation not only benefits the unsuspecting public, it benefits marketers, too. Without guardrails, they won't be able to stop.

Seth's Blog : Holding your breadth

Holding your breadth

It's tempting to diversify, particularly when it comes to what you offer the world.
One more alternative, one more flavor, one more variation.
Something for everyone.
We get pushed to smooth out the work, make it softer, more widely applicable.
More breadth, though, doesn't cause change, and it won't get you noticed.
Focus works. A sharp edge cuts through the clutter.

Seth's Blog : Seriously vs. personally

Seriously vs. personally

Professionals take their work seriously. The work matters, the impacts and externalities are real.
On the other hand, we can't take it personally. When someone rejects an idea, or if a project doesn't succeed, we've learned a valuable lesson about strategy and about tactics, but it's not a reflection on our worth as a human.