Posts About Strategy

Not just about showing up

Up until I was about 27, this mantra was all that I needed:

Life is all about showing up.

This statement is true, but it’s only half-true in some situations. There’s more to it than that.

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Becoming the authority

Sometimes there just isn’t room for you at the top. If you’re in a field with experts and join late, then you’re going to have a hell of a time getting to authority status. It’s not impossible, but you’re setting yourself up for a tough fight.

I’ve been finding myself in that spot over the past couple days. I’ll talk a little about the options I have available and where I want to go. (Maybe you’ll pick an idea up too.)

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Setting up your GI Joes

A friend back in college always used to reminisce about the old days of playing with GI Joes as a kid. Why am I bringing this up on a blog about marketing? I think it’s interesting to compare the story to project planning, particularly in technology projects.

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Information as payment

You may be unaware that you actually do pay for free services on the Web. The form of payment isn’t always obvious: your personal information.

There are a couple lessons to be learned here. Read on.

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When your software becomes a commodity

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the business of software and how it’s changing. It’s expensive to produce software, but the rewards are there if you produce something special.

But what happens when your software becomes a commodity? It’s not quite as special as it used to be. I believe that you should release it as open source.

Read on to see my reasoning. You may still be able to pull ideas from this post, even if you don’t necessarily sell software. Other things can be “open sourced” as well.

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Consistency

Another E-Myth Revisited lesson that seems obvious (but isn’t always that obvious).

Customers want a consistent experience. If you are to be a rock star, they want a rock star every time. It’s not acceptable to give them a rock star the first couple times and then dial it back some.

If your customer experience isn’t designed with any forethought, you’re going to disappoint. If you offer coffee at one touch point and not at the next interaction, then you’re going to disappoint. If your website is a shiny example of excellence and your customer service rep sounds bored and hollow, then you’re going to disappoint.

Your customer experience needs to be designed, measured, and monitored. And it needs to be consistent and predictable. The customer wants to feel in control, not the other way around.

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You are not your business

You are not your business unless you want for it to be that way. Can your business run without you being there? What if you want to take a vacation, are sick, or just plain aren’t feeling it for a spell? At that point, you haven’t signed up to run a business. You’ve signed up for a job.

I’m over halfway through Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited. It really is changing the way that I think about a lot of things that I do.

Sure, you must “be your business” at first (in a sense), but this shouldn’t be your end goal.

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A good primer for the New Marketing

This is a great introduction to basing your customer experience on personas. If you can analyze your customers to the level where you can write specific stories about them, you can base a better experience by analyzing their needs.

Read on for more thoughts about the book.

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Vision and management

I really like this idea about management, transcribed from a 1986 speech by Richard Hamming:

When your vision of what you want to do is what you can do single-handedly, then you should pursue it. The day your vision, what you think needs to be done, is bigger than what you can do single-handedly, then you have to move toward management. And the bigger the vision is, the farther in management you have to go.

The bigger your vision is, the bigger the ship that you need to steer to get to that vision. Just this idea alone can tell you where you need to go in your career and whether you’re on that ultimate goal.

It can also be a criticism of leaders that have no vision. Why are managers in their current positions if they have no vision of where to go?

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Strategy F-up: you can’t control the Web

GateHouse Media filed a lawsuit against the New York Times [via Wayback Machine] for linking to one of its sites. Their argument was that by linking directly to the article, the NYT-owned site was causing visitors to bypass the home page, which contains ads that support the site.

This is very flawed strategy on GateHouse’s part.

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