2017年2月17日 星期五

Seth's Blog : "Nothing wrong with having standards"

"Nothing wrong with having standards"

This is the snarky feedback of someone whose bias is to hustle instead of to stand for something.
When you say 'no' to their pitch, they merely smile and congratulate you on the quaint idea that you have standards.
Their mindset is to cut corners, slip things by if they can. The mindset of, "Well, it can't hurt to ask." Predators and scavengers, nosing around the edges and seeing what they score.
They talk about standards as if they're a luxury, the sort of thing you can do as a hobby, but way out of the mainstream.
The thing is, if you begin with standards and stick with them, you don't have to become a jackal to make ends meet. Not only is there nothing wrong with having standards, it turns out to be a shortcut to doing great work and making an impact.

Seth's Blog : Power and reason

Power and reason

A fish is not like a bicycle, but they're not mutually exclusive. You can have both.
Part of our culture admires reason. It celebrates learning. It seeks out logic and coherence and an understanding of the how and the why.
At the same time, there are other people who seek out influence and authority. Either to exercise it or to blindly follow it.
Sometimes, they overlap. Sometimes, power is guided by reason. But that's not required, not in the short run.  And sometimes, reasonable, informed people wield power. But again, as a visit to a university's English department will show, not always.
It's tempting for the powerful to argue with those that admire reason, pointing out how much power they wield.
And it's tempting for the well-informed to argue with those that have power, pointing out how little reason they possess.
But just as a fish isn't going to stop you from riding a bicycle, these arguments rarely work, because power and reason don't live on the same axis. Listening to someone argue from the other axis is a little like watching TV with the sound off. It might look normal, but it is hard to follow.
Before we engage, we need to agree on what's being discussed.

2017年2月15日 星期三

Seth's Blog :The two vocabularies (because there are two audiences)

The two vocabularies (because there are two audiences)

Early adopters want to buy a different experience than people who identify as the mass market do.
Innovators want something fresh, exciting, new and interesting.
The mass market doesn't. They want something that works.
It's worth noting here that you're only an early adopter sometimes, when you want to be. And you're only in the mass market by choice as well. It's an attitude.
The people bringing new ideas to the public are early adopters themselves (because it's often more thrilling than working in a field that does what it did yesterday), and often default to using words that appeal to people like themselves, as opposed to the group in question.
More rarely, there are a few people with a mass market mindset that are charged with launching something for the early adopters, and they make the opposite mistake, dressing up their innovation as something that's supposed to feel safe.
When you bring a product or service or innovation to people who like to go first, consider words/images like:
  • New
  • Innovative
  • Pioneer
  • First
  • Now
  • Limited
  • Breakthrough
  • Controversial
  • Technology
  • Brave
  • Few
  • Hot
  • Untested
  • Slice/Dominate/Win
  • Private
  • Dangerous
  • Change
  • Secret
On the other hand, people who aren't seeking disruption are more likely to respond to:
  • Tested
  • Established
  • Proven
  • Industry-leading
  • Secure
  • Widespread
  • Accepted
  • Easy
  • Discounted
  • Everyone
  • Experienced
  • Certified
  • Highest-rated
  • Efficient
  • Simple
  • Guaranteed
  • Accredited
  • Public
Of course, it's important that these words be true, that your product, your service and its place in the world match the story you're telling about it.
Once you see this distinction, it seems so obvious, yet our desire to speak to everyone gets in the way of our words.

Seth's Blog : Maybe your customer isn't trying to save money

Maybe your customer isn't trying to save money

Perhaps she wants to be heard instead.
Or find something better, or unique.
Or perhaps customer service, flexibility and speed are more important.
It might be that the way you treat your employees, or the side effects you create count for more than the price.
The interactions in the moment might be a higher priority.
Or it could even be the sense of fairplay and respect you bring (or don't bring) to the transaction.
Price is the last refuge for the businessperson without the imagination, heart and soul to dig a bit deeper.

Seth's Blog : Making change (in multiples)

Making change (in multiples)

It's tempting to seek to change just one person at a time. After all, if you fail, no one will notice.
It's also tempting to try to change everyone. But of course, there really is no everyone, not any more. Too much noise, too many different situations and narratives. When you try to change everyone, you're mostly giving up.
The third alternative is where real impact happens: Finding a cohort of people who want to change together.
Organizing them and then teaching and leading them.
It's not only peer pressure. But that helps.
When a group is in sync, the change is reinforcing. When people can see how parts of your message resonate with their peers, they're more likely to reconsider them in a positive light. And mostly, as in all modern marketing, "people like us do things like this" is the primary driver.
I got a note from a reader, who asked, "Not only you, but many business authors do promotions like if I buy 2, 10, 100... (or whatever number greater than 1) copies, I get perks. Honestly, I never really got this concept. As I understand, you get the most value out of business/self improvement books, if you buy them for yourself (and when you read them in the right time of your life)."
The thing is, my goal isn't to sell books, it's to make change. And with Your Turn, I took the idea of changing in groups quite seriously. The site doesn't sell single copies, only multiples (when you buy one, I send you two, etc.). Here's what I've discovered after five printings of the book: When an organization (or a team, or a tiny group) all read and talk about the same book, the impact is exponentially greater.
If you want to make change, begin by making culture. Begin by organizing a tightly knit group. Begin by getting people in sync.
Culture beats strategy. So much that culture is strategy.

2017年2月11日 星期六

Seth's Blog : Proximity and intimacy

Proximity and intimacy

I recently did a talk where the organizer set up the room in the round, with the stage in the middle. He proudly told me that it would create a sense of intimacy because more people would be close to the stage.
Of course, this isn't true. Physical proximity is one thing, but connection and intimacy come from eye contact, from hearing and being heard, from an exchange of hopes and dreams.
Cocktail parties involve too many people in too small a room, but they rarely create memorable interactions. And the digital world eliminates the barriers of space, supposedly enhancing our ability to make a connection.
Too often, though, we use that physical or digital proximity to push others away instead of to invite them in. We hesitate to lean in or to raise our hands. The speaker in the round has no choice but to turn her back to half the audience, no physical way to make eye contact and get a sense of what's happening. In the hundreds or thousands of interactions we have each day, proximity gives us the chance to connect, but it doesn't ensure it will happen.
That's up to us.

2017年2月10日 星期五

美國總統川普在與中共領導人習近平的熱線電話中,表示同意尊重美國的「一中政策」

美國總統川普在與中共領導人習近平的熱線電話中,表示同意尊重美國的「一中政策」;習近平則回應,讚賞川普說法,並指出「一個中國原則是中美關係的政治基礎。」
川普曾說「不知美國為何要被『一中政策』綁住」,如今卻為先前的「自縛手腳」鬆綁,果真令人難測。但個人判斷,川普自始至終都沒有挑戰美國對中政策的意圖。川普「在商言商」,出現昨是今非的變化,是經過一番精打細算的過程。
美國的「一中政策」具兩黨共識的基礎,任何的改變都必須符合美國國家利益為前提,且還需要擁有相關的配套措施。川普可能盤算挑戰中共眼中的這項「核心利益」得不償失,因此才會決定放棄這埸交易。
另外,中共的強烈反應,也是促使川普出現「髮夾彎」的要因。在「川蔡通話」後,大陸的反應幾乎可以用「同仇敵愾」形容。中共強調,「台灣問題」不容成為雙方討價還價的籌碼。解放軍的一名將領曾公開表示:「小成功需要朋友,大成功需要敵人。」言下之意,認為中共有美國這樣的對手,是一件好事,可以提醒中國大陸「奮起、不懈怠和繼續前進」。由此可見,川普如果敵視中共態度不變,將激發大陸內部鷹派鬥志,使美中關係陷入難以收拾局面。
中共執政當局必然會因川普的表態,而有如釋重負感覺。在年底「十九大」召開前夕,中共不會希望美中緊張升高。由於北京不可能在處理台灣問題時做出任何讓步,如果川普拒不妥協,則雙方硬碰硬,必然會造成兩敗俱傷的結果,沒有一方願意對此付出代價。
川普回到「一中政策」軌道,也應讓蔡英文政府鬆一口氣。因為台灣如陷入美中賽局,最後可能成為「人為刀俎,我為魚肉」的犧牲品。事實顯示,受到川蔡通話影響,中共已加大對台施壓力度,從而破壞兩岸可能恢復對話的一線生機。有鑑於此,蔡政府並沒有因台美這通史無前例的高層通話而見獵心喜,反而刻意採取低調和自制的反應,這是一項理性的舉動。
川普尊重「一中政策」而非接受「一中原則」說法,顯示美國新政府的兩岸政策,不會出現如中共所願的改變;況且,美中關係涉及議題並非只有台灣問題,只要中國大陸持續和平崛起,而川普繼續落實讓美國再次強大的保證,則在「中國夢」和「美國優先」的對撞下,勢必激出強烈火花,燒到對方,也可能燒到自己。
台灣此時應思考,如何在美中競合關係中,找到自己最有利位置。換言之,台灣在加強對美實質關係同時,也應努力在可操之在我的部分,突破當前兩岸關係的僵局。蔡總統日前在一項台商集會中表示,政府會在下半年提出新的兩岸政策,我們拭目以待。選擇在「十九大」前向對岸釋出善意,應是最適當時機。兩岸也應作出積極回應,考慮儘速恢復正常的協商和對話。讓兩岸也能像美中關係那樣,回到正常的軌道上來。(作者為淡江大學中國大陸所榮譽教授)