The Perfect Tweet

Can one tweet be representative of how healthy a company is?

Netflix is garnering attention for a tweet this week...

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Here are the many reasons this is amazing marketing:

  1. They care about their metrics. The result of this always leads to better original programming because they know what their customers like.
  2. They have great internal communication. In order for this tweet to exist, their analytics team has to communicate in real-time with their social media team. Many large organizations struggle with this concept.
  3. They aren't afraid of humor. This is a funny and provocative tweet. This is something all companies should be doing to be more engaging, and since Netflix is an entertainment/media company, it suits them well.
  4. It reveals a fun company culture. It doesn't matter that I know people at Netflix that love working there. It's tweets like these that make it a much wider known fact to the public. This, in turn, creates more demand for them equating to better talent.
  5. Fun trolling = Engagement. It doesn't take an expert marketer to know when a company is creating a splash with their content. This is effortless content and it's very engaging. Its mystery makes customers want to call out their friends.

Well done, Netflix.

The Hum

Picture your radio dial. Imagine turning the dial to "1." 

What do you hear? 

Only if the song is extremely recognizable, will you even be able to make out what it is amidst the sounds of your car driving on pavement. 

You hear the radio's frequency more than the content itself.

Now turn it up a few to "3." Can you hear the melody now? 

As you continue to turn the dial to the right, your body begins to feel the beat and you begin to connect with the emotional component of the music. 

The hum is still there, but you can't hear it. Why? - Because you're now lost in the moment. Happily consumed by the melodic chaos.

This is what it's like to grow a business.

Once you get started, you'll hear that hum. It won't be clear until you pay closer attention or amplify your message.

The hum and the business are always there - vying for your attention. 

The trick is to get lost in the music as often as you can. 

Once you hear it, you'll feel it.

Once you feel it, others will follow. 

Nobody will notice that underlying hum.

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The Self-Identification Option

Instead of calling a business and hearing an automated voice system you are forced to talk to, we should be able to quickly identify ourselves via established parameters. No, I'm not talking about "name" and "account number." The system should track my phone number, read my response time, already know that my younger age suggests a higher aptitude for technology, my historical engagement with the company, and most importantly, what I might be calling about. 

I'd rather wait on hold for 2 minutes if I know the system is reading the context of my situation than stumble through a series of pointless questions that ultimately result in a frustrated version of me pounded "0" to speak to a human.

Know me as a customer. Then personalize my experience. Anything else will always be too painful to even call about.

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Red Rover

If the other side is willing to hear you, just ask them for what you want. This can come in the form of favors, products, people, and anything of value. That's why barter exists in the first place - value is rarely evenly distributed. Assets are being underutilized everywhere. 

To take the concept a step further, don't just ask for it. Go get it. 

It's alarming to me how many people still jump through hoops just to get to precious data. Why are you going out of your way to retrieve it? Have it come to you. 

Some may argue that having so many things come to you is too much of a distraction, but I see it differently. If you know you are going to need something at some time, it's like hailing a cab.

You wouldn't walk all the way across town to find your ride, would you?

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The Noun and the Verb

It's one thing to want to become a successful entrepreneur, but it's another to live through the process to get there. We are constantly being shown the excitement of freedom, choice, wealth, and success as an entrepreneur. Those messages, however, aren't accompanied by the realization that only hard work gets you to that point.

Thus, we want to be the noun without doing the verbs. 

While the success and freedom should be goals that become cherished privileges when obtained, let us not overlook that no one else is around to do the work. When you start out, you're the everyman. You're responsible for every single task. It's far from easy. It's not even fun most times.

As long as the work gets done, and you can outsource what you aren't good at if you have the funds to do so, you'll be primed for the success you've dreamed of. Just don't overlook the fact that all of that work still funnels back to you for review.

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The Sideways S

We all know about the S-Growth curve. It reveals acceleration via a natural form of adoption over time. 

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The "S" shape is obvious in its aesthetics, but what about flipping the diagram on its own axis?

The sideways S considers a start with preexisting adoption, a dip prior to repeating adoptions. The rest of the curves are then reliant on popularity and attention. 

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In other words, it's the ultimate marketing challenge. 

How can we salvage adoption is a unique way to look at growth? Retention should never be overlooked. 

Accept or Ignore?

When you disagree with something, it's very difficult to not get passionate about it. 

We take pride in debates and arguing our perspectives.

Try to resist the temptation. What is the worst that will happen?

I am able to remain calm most of the time because of one simple question I remind myself constantly:

What if I didn't hear that?

This reminder puts the bigger picture in the frame. If one person thinks this thought, then surely others do elsewhere. Knowing this, how will exhausting energy against one accomplish anything?

I'd much rather keep thinking about the next thing others will eventually disagree with. 

That's just a part of the process. 

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Totality

When two bodies of mass move with such velocity, there is only one perfect moment when their paths cross. 

If you move as expected and remain the same as always, magic will happen in that moment. 

There are plenty of these moments out there. You just have to be looking ahead toward the next body of mass moving toward you. 

Take each one in stride. 

Bot To You By...

Sponsor a technology.

It's essentially the same as making an acquisition or an equity investment. 

The biggest difference is that your payment doesn't increase your liability. It only maintains the level of direct financial risk.

Consider Apple's recent announcement with Qi as an example. Wouldn't it have been much easier for Apple to acquire them? 

Perhaps it's not worth the brand risk if it fails. 

Your options are always open.

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A Temporary Disruption

It has now been a week since my life has been uprooted by Hurricane Irma. After fleeing the state last Wednesday, getting caught in traffic, staying at hotels, and finally reaching North Carolina, we sought solace in Durham for five days. 

Meanwhile, over 6 million Floridians evacuated, businesses shut down, and the state prepared for the worst. 

There are still so many Florida residents without power. They've also announced that schools won't open again until next Monday. 

When all is said and done, the damage from Irma should not merely be measured by the visible destruction. It's the 7+ days of no work, the loss of power, the wear and tear of vehicles, and the emotional stress that amount to an unfathomable figure. 

The bright side? 

We're seeing the same generous humanitarian efforts as neighbors help neighbors, friends without power shack up with friends that do, and resources are being shared. 

If only we could come together in a similar way without requiring the damage first. It's something worth striving for. 

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Why is it So Hard?

There are usually two honest answers to this question:

  1. Because it's worth it.
  2. Because you care too much.

These two concepts juxtapose one another when it comes to taking action.

You'll almost always push through the pain or back down. Deciding to do neither is the only form of failure.

Frustration is a temporary pain that makes future decisions easier.

Just as long as you do something. 

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Symmetreat

It's pleasing to the senses when everything looks tidy. Disarray is stressful.

Yet, there is so much beauty in purposeful misalignment.

This observation can be compacted into something like...

What is beautiful to whom is not as beautiful to whomever. 

It's all an art, not a science. 

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The Dream Isn't Enough

A young first-time entrepreneur emailed me the following...

"I'm having trouble finding investors. Am I asking for too much money?"

After reviewing the pitchbook, I responded with a simple question...

"Why don't you include pictures of the product you're selling?"

Her response was...

"I don't have enough money to create the prototypes, but my passion for what I am trying to do should replace that."

This is usually where I'd simply wish her the best of luck and move on. 

But for the sake of other entrepreneurs in a similar position, here's my message to you...

"If you don't have experience, a reputation as a founder, or traction in a market, you better have the most innovative idea and strategy to execute it on it in the world. Otherwise, you're too much of a risk. It's scary enough that you have no experience, but when you tell me you have no product and haven't made a single dollar, I can't help but cringe. That's simply not an investable scenario.

All businesses can be minimized to a 1-to-1 service model. This means, with a little additional hustle, anyone can obtain customers directly and service them. It sounds silly, but if your idea is the next Spotify music streaming app, offer to curate everyone you know's playlists for free. Guess what? - doing that just landed you your first customers.

There's way too much competition out there for anyone else to want to risk that much on you and your venture. Prove you're worth it. Do the work. Look passed the dream and start making things happen."

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September Will Be Lots of 'Phone'

First I start hearing whispers of the new iPhone being released in a month. Then Android releases Oreo the following day. The mobile OS race continues to heat up (pun intended), and I'm enjoying every moment of it. 

I'll give Apple some credit. Potentially disposing of the 7S altogether is a bold move. After all, if you have the upgrades ready, why not release the better product? But I'm skeptical that they're not going to hit it out of the park with this one. Doesn't this whole thing seem a little rushed? - Especially after it was delayed.

I'll also give Google its fair share of credit. Not only is the ad for Oreo gorgeous, funny, and relevant, but bouncing back from recent hardware issues is no simple task. The fact that they're already creating buzz with the myriad of great new features proves they're in the race to win it.  

I'm also teetering between the two. I am, and always have been, an iPhone user. There is a Google-loving geek inside of me that gets jealous of Android customers, though. 

I can't wait to watch this market continue to unfold - especially since there are so many other potential competitors that can enter the space again. 

Waves

It doesn't matter what's happening everywhere else...

Another wave will come crashing before you. 

And then another.

And another.

Even though we know each wave is coming...

It's hard to predict how large they'll be.

Or if they'll be playful.

Or violent.

Or surfable.

It all depends on what you were hoping the wave would do.

Or be.

After all, you did know it was coming all along. 

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Irritation Trumps Inspiration

As creative humans, we are on the perpetual search for inspiration. We wait for events to happen; to bear witness to incredible accomplishments, or to simply look at other things from a different perspective. 

Inspiration isn't the answer, though. 

Whenever inspiration strikes, it should be the ignition for an even greater drive. 

Whatever it is that we're creating is often deeply rooted in a problem we are trying to solve. The best innovators in the world tend to scratch their own itch by alleviating their own troubles. When the pain point is actually felt by the creator, it's a constant reminder. The reminder serves as the much-needed inspiration. 

Keep solving problems. Doing that will inspire everyone around you. 

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100 Hours Left

As much as we hate to admit it, we are insignificant beings on a very large planet within an immeasurable universe. Rather than let that get us down, we should use that as fuel to defy the odds. 

How significant can you be in this world?

How can you make as much of an impact as possible? 

If you're looking for motivation, there is no better thing to consider than "legacy." When you think of how you will be remembered after you pass, you begin to summarize the highlights of your life. 

Here's a little trick that I learned several years ago. It's kept me going and continues to stimulate my mind on a daily basis.

Live life as if you were told you had 100 hours left to live. Not 100 weeks. Not 100 days. 100 hours.

If you don't resort to hustling your way to doing something significant, you weren't meant to leave a legacy outside of what you've already accomplished. 

For any of you that haven't reached your goals yet (which I'm hoping is everybody reading this), wake up tomorrow with that mindset.

Let's see how your mind and body respond to such an urgency. 

Good luck!