ethanbeute

Marketing | Environment | Culture

Two Tales: The Long Game and The Overnight Success

Two different podcasts. Two different authors. One common theme.

Just as this post concludes, it also began (albeit on a much smaller scale): with a compulsion to write.

I’d heard Paulo Coelho talk with Krista Tippett for On Being a couple months ago and the passage quoted below jumped out. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it.

Yesterday, I heard Salman Rushdie talk with Alison Beard for Harvard Business Review’s Ideacast. A minor echo in theme compelled me to write this up.

The myth of the overnight success is very well established. And while some successes work out that way, most are the result of consistency, hard work, and/or compulsion.

Two tales on the theme in the authors’ own words …

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The Story: Our HP Printer Stopped Printing Black Ink

First, the good news. Any day now, we should receive a free shipping label from HP to send our useless printer to one of their recycling centers.

That’s the full and complete extent of the good news.

This is the story of an otherwise functional HP PhotoSmart 6525 All-In-One Inkjet Printer that stopped printing black ink and, as a consequence, faces the fate of dismantling and (hopefully) reuse.

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6 Themes: The Best Company to Work For

Authenticity. Engagement. Culture.

Marketing and management buzzwords? Yes. But they’re also table stakes. Cost of admission. Necessary but insufficient.

To recruit and retain the best people, your organization need these things. But what do they look like in practice? How do you inventory your company’s situation and improve from there?

Recently, Gareth Jones and Rob Goffee tried to tackle this. Through their research 6 themes emerged to help define the best company to work for.

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Hubris? College Football Playoff as New Year’s Eve Tradition

New Year’s Day versus New Year’s Eve. A/B testing. A great way to optimize your results.

The problem: This isn’t a test. And it’s a $7,300,000,000 investment.

ESPN and the College Football Playoff have a decade left to go with the new status quo, despite an awful, initial result.

The initial result: Television ratings for the College Football Playoff semifinals fell nearly 40% from last year’s inaugural games.

A key difference: The games were played on New Year’s Eve this year, rather than New Year’s Day.

Here’s a rundown on the situation.
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A Reason Beyond Revenue: Considering Company Purpose

A customer talking about your company to a friend.

A new hire announcing his or her new job with your company to family and friends on Facebook. And prior to that, he or she is a recruit considering your offer and discussing it with a spouse, mentor, family member, or friend.

A supplier justifying an extension of your company’s contract with his or her team members.

Members of a neighborhood association weighing in on your company’s planned expansion.

 

What are they saying? What story are they telling?

How do they describe your company? Above all, how do they feel about you?

If you don’t have confidence in your answers, read on.

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Celebrating Constraint: “Creative within Our Fences”

“I always say we’re incredibly creative within our fences, because I don’t feel like we’re pushing boundaries. We’re very creative within our fences, and because we have the fences, they make for very creative moments.

“We come up with some stuff that I don’t think any of us would’ve come up with had we not had the fences. There’s a lot of other things that I wouldn’t have done visually had we not had the fences and I think they’re better sometimes.”

Shonda Rhimes, creator of Gray’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How To Get Away with Murder (together, the 3 shows are ABC’s Thursday prime time lineup), shared these words on Fresh Air with Terri Gross on NPR. Hear the interview here.

Asked about working on network television rather than on cable, which is far less restricted in content and language, Rhimes sees FCC broadcast rules as her “fences.” Through these words, constraint is not only embraced, it’s credited with forcing creative solutions.

 

Hearing this interview inspired me finally to sit down and organize my thoughts around this long felt and frequently experienced dynamic.

Twitter‘s 140 character limit. Instagram‘s square images. Ignite‘s 5 minutes, 20 slides, and 15 seconds.

Boundaries, rules, constraints. Operating with lines and limits seems like something many of us view with disdain. We want to be free!

 

But Rhimes’ fences change our approach. They change the puzzle. We approach, decide, edit, and solve differently.

Finding success in spite of limits has been fundamental to scientific, engineering, medical, and other breakthroughs that improve our quality of life and redefine what’s possible.

Now, a short celebration and warm embrace of creativity from constraint.

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Content Marketing Example: The Patagonia Catalog

“We have three general guidelines for all promotional efforts by Patagonia, both within and beyond the pages of the catalog:

  1. Our charter is to inspire and educate rather than promote.
  2. We would rather earn credibility than buy it. The best resources for us are the word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend or favorable comments in the press.
  3. We advertise only as a last resort.”

Written by Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard and quoted from page 155 of Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, these words set up a strong content marketing approach.

Part book review and part illustration of content marketing, this post breaks down the why and what of a beautiful, 68-page print catalog recently delivered to our home by the United States Postal Service.
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Nature Dependent: Primary Goods and The Primary Economy

The founder and former CEO of Vanguard and creator of the first index fund, John C. Bogle opened Chapter 1 of “Enough” with this “wonderful old epigram from 19th-century Great Britain.”

“Some men wrest a living from nature and with their hands; this is called work.

“Some men wrest a living from those who wrest a living from nature and with their hands; this is called trade.

“Some men wrest a living from those who wrest a living from nature and with their hands; this is called finance.”

Reading Bogle reminded me a bit of reading John Wooden – straightforward, practical, diligent, down to earth. That he opened a book about true measures of success with this old saying is inspiring – and it immediately conjured other recent reads.

Reading this epigram reminded me very much of reading John Michael Greer’s The Wealth of Nature and E.F. Schumacher’s classic Small is Beautiful.

Here’s how – and what it means for humans, nature, and economics.

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GoalZero Recycling: Social Enterprise Inside a Nonprofit

At the confluence of mission, competencies, and culture, Goal Zero recycling advances the sustainability efforts of Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado.

Just getting started, Goal Zero is extremely clever in its origin at this confluence. And the alignment is clear.

Social Enterprise Inside a Nonprofit

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1-3-9-12: My Authority Rainmaker Conference Review

Bastardizing Dan Pink’s elegant 1-3-5 opening keynote structure at Authority Rainmaker 2015 … my 1-3-9-12 review of the online marketing conference.

Pink: 1 insight, 3 principles, 5 takeaways

Me: 1 recommendation, 3 reasons, 9 themes, 12 quotes
(yes, I’m willing to break the triad)

 

Subtitled “Integrated Content, Search, and Social Media Marketing (Plus Invaluable Networking),” Authority Rainmaker is Copyblogger‘s (now annual!?) online marketing conference.

I enjoyed the privilege of attending thanks to BombBomb | Relationships Through Video.

To organize my own thoughts (initially captured in 20+ pages of handwritten notes) and to provide a necessarily pale representation of a truly wonderful event (like trying to capture a spectacular sunrise on a spectacular landscape with a photo), my 1-3-9-12 review …

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