“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.” – Tennessee Williams
In business the idea you have is important, but the real important thing is the execution.
Everyone has great ideas; instead, what’s gonna determine your success is the piece of yourself that you pour into those ideas. It’s about how you deliver on your promise that this product reflects your uniqueness.
The reason is simple: there’s nothing new under the sun. No idea is original. So worrying about others’ previous failures at this is a waste of time. What you’re about to do has been done before, but it hasn’t been done how YOU are about to do it.
WE are the only new additions to this planet. We’ve never existed before. We haven’t done this specific thing yet. It’s been done by others but not by you, not by me.
Scarcity is where the value’s at. Economists roll your eyes now. I know I know, Duh!
Bear with me, this is how I think things through.
A diamond has value because the mind gives it value. There’s not much use for it except making your friends jealous that they don’t have one. Scarcity.
And this is where new artists go wrong. They’re too concerned with “keeping it real” thinking that real is a specific thing that can only be achieved one way.
All people want is something scarce. If that happens to be good writing, or good singing, or good design then so be it. But soon that level of excellence becomes the norm and now you’re toast because anyone can do it.
Just do what’s scarce. Do what’s extreme. Whether at your job, building your business, or launching your art, the same rule applies.
Don’t worry so much about your feelings and your ego getting hurt. Either it’s good and people like it or it sucks and people don’t like it. Sorry to breakt it to you but it has nothing to do with you and your value as a person/artist. You’re just not that important when you’re talking about commerce and art.
Just when traditional book publishers thought their financial struggle was getting tough enough, here comes Fifty Shades of Grey to make it tougher.
It seems like all the females I know between the ages of 25-45 are reading the Fifty Shades trilogy. Hard to believe that a novel which started as fanfiction, a piece written by an “amateur” based on an existing universe, is now a bestselling trilogy with movies on the way. And the books became a sensation despite being released through an independent publisher all on the strength of word of mouth.
We first saw hints of these self-published successes with Amanda Hocking who self-released her own novels in affordable ebook form. But the success of Fifty Shades is on a grander scale.
Which leads me to the question floating in my head: What exactly about the book made it spread so quickly? Apparently it’s not the quality of the writing, which according to critics is subpar at best.
Critics are just that, critics.
So if we look elsewhere for the reason it became a hit, somewhere down the line marketing kicks into effect. Marketing in the sense that the author saw an opening in the market and satisfied the need. The need for something which females could escape into. The need for something risque they could talk about with their co-workers. Maybe even something that would give them ideas for their own love life. Who knows?!
As a man, it’s hard for me to pin down exactly what made women rally around this trilogy. But it doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying. The answers I’ve received from my female friends seem insincere so my journey continues.
I will end by saying that the author has done a good job of letting this book be “of the people.” No pretentiousness. No high-brow smugness, she admits she’s not that good of a writer. Instead the book started spreading because it gave romance enthusiasts exactly what they craved without dilution. That sounds like a good product to me.
Ran across this article through Lefsetz’ blog and I just had to write about it. Hyundai gets it. Their execs understand that following “conventional wisdom” is the fastest way to mediocrity. And in a fast-paced world it’s actually a fast-track to the bottom of the barrel.
Growing up in the 90s I clearly remember Hyundai cars being a joke back then. Then Hyundai went against conventional wisdom and started styling midsize sedans with a luxury feel. They went completely against the grain and bet the farm on it. Their CEO of American operations summed up their success best: “It just takes courage and a willingness to take risks.” Touche Mr. Krafcik.
Since then, starting in about 2009 I remember catching myself unknowingly staring at Hyundai’s on the street from time to time. How times change.
The Genesis is sexy, and that can partly be attributed to the fact it looks like a Benz. But the price is even sexier when you compare it to other premium cars. You might be able to call it a commoditization since they’re now leading with price and then features, but their brand has gotten a huge lift.
This lift they can then use to promote their other offerings. You can’t be mad at this strategy.
It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep this up, but with this type of leader at the helm I wouldn’t bet against them.
Humans have shorter and shorter attention spans as each day passes. We’ve become very adept at ignoring all the noise.
How do you plan on breaking through the noise? Simple. Just think about the one thing.
What’s the one immediate thing that stands out about your product? Or about your marketing campaign? Or about your story? Amplify this. Give it to them right away, then let them discover all your other superb features on their own.
The one thing doesn’t have to be the best part of your product, just the most remarkable. All we need to entice us to buy is to know that your stuff is special somehow, the quality of performance then closes the deal. That’s the job of the one thing, to whet the appetite.
Back in the day the one thing could’ve been a clever ad campaign. Not anymore. Now it truly has to be part of your product. Obsess about making the best product you can, but also obsess about finding the one thing.
Being the storytellers that we are, us marketers only have two adequate approaches when telling our story.
First, we can choose to tell an old story in a new way. Take a product or service within an existing category and let them know in a fresh new way why this will improve their lives over all the other similar competitors. How can Tide connect to their world aside from just telling them it will leave their clothes cleaner?
The second approach is to take a brand new story, and tell it in an old way. The radical new product brings familiarity with it when you link it to emotions and frustrations they’ve long dealt with. How does our game-changing gadget fit into their already compartmentalized life?
The problem occurs when we approach our storytelling in the third way, telling a brand new story in a brand new way. As humans we are all resistant to too much change at once. Our brain is trained to look back at history and trends. Give us too much New and we will give you the good ol’ fashioned cold shoulder.
Who says there’s no recipe to creating a masterful piece of work?
The process can and will vary, but the ingredients rarely change.
It all starts with the inventors. The people behind the effort have to be unwilling to compromise with the important stuff. Stubbornness is good in this case. Stubborn innovators are the only ones who change the world.
The second key piece is the materials that go into the work. Whether it’s a tangible product, a painting, or a service. Using only top-quality inputs starts you off on a higher plane. The best raw materials, the best paint, the best staff. This is what you want to build with.
The last element, which is often overlooked, is inspiration. It’s the little bit of magic that you need to put the finishing touches. Something can work without inspiration, but it won’t cut through the clutter like you want it to.
Great (inventors + materials + inspiration) = masterpiece
Over the past few days I think I’ve watched this video of Seth Godin maybe 5-6 times. I already know the content top to bottom, but I keep watching it because I feel I need to ingrain his thesis into the deepest cells of my brain. “What you do is not be creative, what you do is ship.”
WHAT YOU DO IS NOT BE CREATIVE, WHAT YOU DO IS SHIP. Worth repeating because this is what plagues our generation of creatives and entrepreneurs. We don’t realize that creativity is abundant. We can all come up with ideas for products, a whole bunch of them. But doing the work and getting it shipped out to consumers is what puts food on the table.
Acting on our creativity wakes up our fears. And this fear is what provides the resistance that holds 90% of people back from accomplishing anything worthwhile.
The other 10% of individuals which actually get the work shipped out despite fear don’t have a secret weapon, they just know that the resistance is only temporary. Ship today and you’ve survived to give something else a shot.
But if all you do is “come up” with ideas that will never see the light of day then you’re neglecting your duty. Your duty to outlast the resistance, your duty to ship, your duty to be a true creator.
The business of “NEW” is a big driver of our economy, and has been for quite some time now.
As Steve Jobs famously remarked in his Stanford commencement speech, death is “life’s change agent, it clears out the old to make way for the new.” Old products must die, even if they are still quite adept at fulfilling their role. New products, which often add superficial or only slightly better features, then rise to take the place of the old.
Sports and Entertainment are a great example of this. Every year we see new rookies becoming the big-name all stars. And excellent old shows see their end while newer unproven ones step up to fill their shoes. Because good enough just isn’t good enough for too long. We want more. Or at least the opportunity of getting more.
If you’re an entrepreneur that gets this, then you’ve set yourself up for success. Provide some newness and you’ll get your platform. Give us some hope for the new big thing, and we’ll listen. However if you make it even slightly better than the previous, then you’ve also bought yourself enough stage time to show us the next-next NEW big thing.
They say a wise person is one that learns from not only their own mistakes, but the mistakes of others. Some mistakes however are worthy of being repeated. Some things just weren’t destined to work the first time around. It might not have been the right time for it yet. Timing is only one element of many which are required for an experiment to be successful.
Tablet computers had been around for a bit, but they were all failures until Apple released their iPad. Many products will only sizzle at the right temperature. The original tablets just had the wrong timing. They didn’t have the plethora of apps to make them worthwhile. The wireless infrastructure just wasn’t there up until a few years ago. Even the design community hadn’t quite hit their stride with creating rich graphics that didn’t slow processing power down to a crawl.
Apple waited until they were operating on all cylinders with the iPhone before they unleashed the iPad to the world. They knew certain variables had to be in place for tablets to become a success, and they didn’t let others’ failures prevent them from trying it one more time. If you look up the history, the iPad was being developed even before the idea for the iPhone came along. Apple just knew that the timing for the iPhone was due first.
So you see, certain mistakes from the past are worth re-trying again. Certain things might just be ahead of their time the first time around. The world might not be ready. Pay close attention to the ecosystem you’ll be operating within, and when the factors are lined up, give it another shot.