Kmart, Seth Godin and all that Ship

You know the first-grader in you laughs every time you hear this commercial. Kmart – Ship My Pants Commercial   S H I P, after all, is a four letter word. For years, Seth Godin has admonished his followers to “SHIP! Go make something happen.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge Godin fan, but here’s the deal: some people are all ship, no substance. “The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship.” Linchpin “Starting means you are going to finish. If it doesn’t ship, you’ve failed. You haven’t poked the box, if the box doesn’t realize it’s been poked.” Poke the Box Every book that Godin has written since Linchpin is full of ship, and the message is undoubtedly important, to some. Not every product should ship without a little more moron testing (i.e. yard darts)….

Why the Customer is NOT Always Right.

It’s more than just a voice in your head. The resistance is lurking in every decision that we make, and every conversation, in every great innovation. Most commonly, the resistance says “that will never work,” But the resistance will also sometimes say “we must do it this way.” A few years ago, during the merger between the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., the company completely changed its menu: Revolution of 2003: Hardee’s decided to pare down its menu and focus on the hearty 1/3-, 1/2- and 2/3-pound Thickburger line. Made with 100% Angus beef, Thickburgers established Hardee’s as a leader in the quick-service industry in both quality and taste. Before 2003, Hardee’s served fried chicken, burgers, barbecue and anything else that you can imagine–anything their customers “may” want. The general product offering would suggest that Hardee’s thought that if they offer a little bit of the products that everyone else offered, there would be no…

How To Engage (not build) Your Digital Community

When I think of “online communities,” I always go back to Seth Godin’s post about the third guy. It’s a great watch because I am reminded, I’m rarely the first guy–even when I think I’m the first, it turns out that there’s somebody else out there doing the same thing. Marketers and businesses can always set out to engage their customers by turning an intern loose on a Facebook page, but that isn’t what really makes a community. In fact, the brand, if lucky, may be allowed to show just for a minute. The conversation is probably already happening. The community has probably already formed in an open community. If, on the other hand, the company is going to build or engage a managed community, consider the following points:   01. What is the common interest? From best vegan recipes to Honda Civic enthusiasts, communities build around a common interest. Not everyone…

Conversation Era

photo by tochis So, they have talked about it for some time. I just want to say, “it’s here.” Welcome to the age of the conversation. Don’t believe me? Leave me a comment below, and we can talk about it. The days of standing in an auditorium with a spotlight on stage shouting while the audience obediently listens are over. The era of big broadcast messages on television shows, billboards that clutter every open space, or in the pages of your magazine are reaching the end of their usable lives. People are tired of businesses screaming at them and telling them what to buy, at what price and how many. Now consumers are talking to each other, talking to the businesses, and sometimes even shouting back, a little. B 2 C (Business to Consumer) is redefined. Under the new definition, Business to Conversation, businesses eavesdrop on the Consumer to Consumer…

Think

I find myself living in yesterday’s thought sometimes. With 2800 tweets to read, 145 unanswered emails, 2 blog posts to write, 4 powerpoint decks to craft, a dog that needs to go outside, a car that needs an oil change, an economy that is flatly in the crapper, I think about all that I have to think about rather than the time to genuinely think. Great writers and comedians explore the nuance of mundane life. Seth Godin can observe a Cranium game placed in Starbucks and Seinfeld can exaggerate the pain of saving seats for others in movie theaters. They came to these observations not while looking at iPhones or making voice notes about the other, they observed the skillfulness by observing, pausing and thinking. This word is squarely my admonition to myself. If I could spend more time with my fingers still and tongue silenced, the quality of my…

Help! Should Seth Hire Me?

Occasionally, we get the opportunity to be very bold, very audacious, and, well very dumb. Now, it seems that I have one of those opportunities. Let me explain. Seth Godin has been one of my favorite thinkers and writers for years. His writings have influenced a number of decisions that I have made, and his teachings I have applied professionally since launching on my own earlier this year. He is truly one of the great thinkers in the business realm. Yesterday, he offered to mentor a few people in his office for six months, in lieu of an MBA. If I had just graduated college, or even just earned my law degree, I would have been the first in line for this opportunity, but I am two years out of law school, starting a new company, and expecting our third child in February. Now, is not what I would consider…

Luck, Ambition, or Destiny

Reading this post by Seth today, I thought that the “reviewer” raises a very interesting point about luck in life’s success. In response, I liked Seth’s response: But I can’t imagine how lonely and depressing it would be to view myself as nothing but a pinball, batted around by forces over which I have no influence. Unfortunately, I can’t really agree with either. I simply don’t believe in the randomity nor my ability in life to overcome  odds. It seems that success or failure is somehow outside myself.  I agree that I would rather be pressing my nose to the grindstone and receive a windfall than sitting on the couch waiting for a never-realized miracle, but what about those (like my brother) that have always done the right things in life but apparently get screwed? I do believe in prosperity and oddly enough suffering.  I  believe that my investments pay…

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