Getting the word out…

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For some, this is the holy grail of marketing.

If only more people knew what you know.

If only they were aware of what you have to offer, of the work you can share.

Perhaps you can get more people to click on your video, read your tweet or see your Instagram.

Alas, awareness is not action.

Everyone reading this is aware that Peru is a country. But that doesn’t mean you’ve visited recently, or have plans to go soon.

Everyone reading this is aware that turnips are a root vegetable. But knowing they exist doesn’t mean you’re going to have them for dinner.

Awareness is important, but it is insufficient.

Action comes from tension, desire and fear. Action is the hard part.

Marketing Defined…

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I think that any time reality doesn’t match your expectations, it means that marketing was involved.

Perhaps it was advertising, or perhaps deliberate story telling by an industry. Or perhaps it was just the stories we tell one another in our daily lives.

It’s sort of amazing, even to me, how much marketing colors the way we see the world or our reaction (either way).

Bigger may feel safer but is it ?

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Creative institutions get bigger so that they can avoid doing things that feel risky.

They may rationalize this as leverage, as creating more impact. But it’s a coin with two sides, and the other side is that they do proportionally more things that are reliable and fewer things that feel like they might fail.

In other words, hiring more people makes their useful creative productivity go down.

This is not the way it works in a factory. When Henry Ford hired more people for the assembly line, productivity went up. Things got more efficient. More lines, more plants, more hands led to more productivity. The natural scale of the enterprise was large indeed.

But a creative studio, a marketing team, architects, strategists, programmers, writers, editors, city planners, teachers the natural scale of the enterprise is smaller than you think.

This is a new law of organizations, and it’s not well understood.

We hire more people to make it feel safer. To paper over the cracks, to please more people, to increase stability.

None of these things are why the creative institution exists.

While the bureaucracy may benefit from more scale, the work doesn’t.

But are you doing your work?

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Here is a hint: your work might not be what you think it is.

A doctor might think her job is to cure diseases.

But in fact, thats not what gets and keeps patients. The cure is a goal, and its important, but its not sufficient.

The technical tasks are important, but the work involves more than that.

Doctors who contribute to the academic community, are personable, take a moment to bring emotional labor to their patient, invest in staff and training and put their office in a medical crossroads always do better than doctors who don’t.

And the same thing is true for the web designer who thinks the job is merely typing good code, or the restaurant owner whos merely focused on the food. Thats important, but theres more to the work than whats in the typical job description

Doing your job is not always the same as doing the work. The soft stuff might matter more than you think. Doing the work is the ticket you buy for the privilege of doing the other part.

Newness as a form of hiding…

Every once in a while someone will say to me, “yeah, sure, I’ve heard that before… what do you have that’s new?”

In contemporary art or movies, it makes perfect sense to be focused on the bleeding edge, on the new idea that’s never been previously contemplated.

But when we’re discussing our goals, our passion and the way we interact with the culture, it seems to me that what works is significantly more important than what’s new. Racing to build your organization around the latest social network tool or graphics-rendering technology permits you to spend a lot of time learning the new system and skiing in the fresh powder of the unproven, but it might just distract you from the difficult work of telling the truth, looking people in the eye and making a difference.

“I can’t describe the value we deliver, I’m too busy integrating this new technology into my workflow!”

All too often, the ones who are aggressively seeking the theory of the day don’t have a lot to show for what they did yesterday.

Competence vs. Opportunities…

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As we get more experienced, we get better, more competent, more able to do our thing.

And it’s easy to fall in love with that competence, to appreciate it and protect it. The pitfall? We close ourselves off from possibility.

Possibility, innovation, art–these are endeavors that not only bring the whiff of failure, they also require us to do something we’re not proven to be good at. After all, if we were so good at it that the outcome was assured, there’d be no sense of possibility.

We often stop surprising ourselves (and the market) not because we’re no good anymore, but because we are good. So good that we avoid opportunities that bring possibility.

Is It Just The Good Parts…?

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“I want to be an actress, but I don’t want to go on auditions.”

“I want to play varsity sports, but I need to be sure I’m going to make the team.”

“It’s important to sell this great new service, but I’m not willing to deal with rejection.”

You don’t get to just do the good parts. Of course. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have chosen this path if it was guaranteed to work every time.

The implication of this might surprise you, though: when the tough parts come along, the rejection and the slog and the unfair bad breaks, it makes sense to welcome them. Instead of cursing or fearing the down moments, understand that they mean you’ve chosen reality, not some unsustainable fantasy. It means that you’re doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself.

The very thing you’re seeking only exists because of the whole. We can’t deny the difficult parts, we have no choice but to embrace them.

Good Luck…

Its Never Enough..


There’s never enough time to be as patient as we need to be. Not enough slack to focus on the long-term, too much urgency in the now to take the time and to plan ahead. That urgent sign post just ahead demands all of our intention (and attention), and we decide to invest in, “down the road,” down the road.

It’s not only more urgent, but it’s easier to run to the urgent meeting than it is to sit down with a colleague and figure out the truth of what matters and the why of what’s before us.

And there’s never enough money to easily make the investments that matter. Not enough surplus in the budget to take care of those that need our help, too much on our plate to be generous right now. The short term bills make it easy to ignore the long-term opportunities.

Of course, the organizations that get around the universal and insurmountable problems of not enough time and not enough money are able to create innovations, find resources to be generous and prepare for a tomorrow that’s better than today. It’s not easy, not at all, but probably (okay, certainly) worth it.

We’re going to spend our entire future living in tomorrow

Fear of Public Speaking…

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Why is it that a common,safe,and important task is so feared by so many people?

In Iconoclast,Gregory Berns uses his experience running a neuroscience research lab to explain the biological underpinnings of the resistance.In fact,public speaking is the perfect petri dish for exposing what makes us tick.

It turns out that the three biological factors that drive job performance and innovation are social intelligence,fear response,and perception.Public speaking brings all three together.Speaking to a group requires social intelligence.We need to make an emotional connection with people,talk about what they are interested in,and persuade them.That is difficult and we are not wired for this as well as we are wired to,say,eat fried foods.

Public Speaking also triggers huge fear responses.We are surrounded by strangers or people of power,all of whom might harm us.Attention is focused on us,and attention (according to our biology) equals danger.

Last,and more subtly,speaking involves perception.It exposes how we see things,both the thing we are talking about and the response of the people in the room.Exposing that perception is frightening.

In a contest between the rational desire to spread an idea by giving a speech and the biological phobia against it,biology has unfair advantage.Hence the need to step up and challenge yourself.

Public Speaking is a great fulfilling skills to develop,embrace the challenge today..Here are some free tips..

Good Luck..

Are you good at listening ..?

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Live interaction still matters. Teachers, meetings, presentations, one on one brainstorms–they can lead to real change. The listener has nearly as big a responsibility as the speaker does, though. And yet, Google reports four times as many matches for “how to speak” as “how to listen.” It’s not a passive act, not if you want to do it right.

If listening better leads to better speaking, then it becomes a competitive advantage.

Ask an entrepreneur leaving the office of a great VC like Fred Wilson. She’ll tell you that she gave the best pitch of her career–largely because of the audience. The hardest step in better listening is the first one: do it on purpose. Make the effort to actually be good at it.

Don’t worry so much about taking notes. Notes can be summarized in a memo (or a book) later.

Pay back the person who’s speaking with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm shown by the expression on your face, in your posture, in your questions.

Play back what you hear but in your own words, using your own situation. Don’t ask questions as much as make statements, building on what you just heard but making it your own. Take what you heard and make it the foundation for what you are trying on as your next idea.

If you disagree, wait a few beats, let the thought finish, and then explain why. Don’t challenge the speaker, challenge the idea.

The best way to honor someone who has said something smart and useful is to say something back that is smart and useful. The other way to honor them is to go do something with what you learned.

Good listeners get what they deserve–better speakers.