2017年11月25日 星期六

Seth's Blog : Persistent stability

Persistent stability

Investment hates chaos.
Before an organization invests in a new technology, a new machine or a new process, it needs to believe two things:
  1. That the problem being solved is going to be around for awhile if it's not addressed.
  2. That the world will be stable long enough to earn back the investment.
That's why a consistent, civil and stable government matters so much. And why industries often wait to leap into a new technology. Before there are any conversations at all about ROI, decision makers need to feel safe, safe enough to believe that there will a future that matches their expectations.

Seth's Blog : Yelling upstairs

Yelling upstairs

When you're cooking breakfast and the school bus is coming in just a few minutes, it's tempting (and apparently efficient) to yell up the stairs. If a recalcitrant teenager is hesitating before heading off to school (I know, sometimes it happens), go ahead and yell.
Good luck with that.
The alternative is to turn off the stove and walk up the stairs. Catch your breath, then have a quiet conversation.
Not efficient, but effective.
This is an almost universal metaphor. We keep finding ways to rationalize various versions of yelling upstairs instead of doing the difficult work of engaging instead.

Seth's Blog : Best practices

Best practices

If you need an appendectomy, it's unlikely you'll die during the operation.
That's because the surgeon has been trained in hundreds of years of best practices. From Semmelweis to the latest in antibiotics, she knows what's come before.
Not only that, but the scalpel she uses is the result of 1,000 iterations over the centuries. Every device has been sanitized based on trial and error from the millions of patients who came before you.
Surgery is an engineering project, and it's based on best practices. Learn from the past, don't ignore it.
Art, on the other hand, is something we value because it leaps. Art is more than engineering--art is the thing that might not work.
But even art is based on best practices. Just not as much.
The playwright better have read Bellow and Beckett. The conceptual artist should be familiar with Duchamp. The photographer and designer needs to know Debbie Millman, Robert Mapplethorpe and Jill Greenberg...
Ignore it if you want to, but learn it first.

Seth's Blog : Thank you means two things

Thank you means two things

There's the "thank you" that I say when you've been reading my mind, pushing the perfect buttons, saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. This is heartfelt, but it's also selfish, in that it's about my narrative and no one else's.
And then there's the "thank you" of caring. Of effort. Of consideration. This is the thank you that recognizes the other, her effort, her kindness and her sacrifice. The thank you of showing up. This thank you has nothing at all to do with whether it's just what you wanted, and everything to do with the power of connection and care.
Have a wonderful holiday. And thank you, both ways.

Seth's Blog : Getting clear about risk

Getting clear about risk

There are potential horrible things in the future, perhaps your future or mine.
Unthinkable illnesses, weird accidents, lightning bolts of misfortune at random moments.
If you decide to focus on them, you can fill your days with despair.
On the other hand, pretending that it's not stupid to text while driving, to swim during a thunderstorm or to ride a bike without a helmet is dangerous indeed. Our awareness of potential bad outcomes can cause us to make really good choices to avoid those outcomes.
So, what's the difference between being concerned about an asteroid hitting the Earth and being aware of how dangerous driving a Corvair at high speed is?
Here's the simple approach: How much would it cost you (in time, money, effort, distraction) to make yourself ten times less likely to be at risk?
It turns out that wearing a helmet is a cheap way to avoid a lifetime spine injury. You get a 10x improvement for very little effort. Knowing about the risk is really helpful, and any time you're tempted to run the risk, remind yourself of its implications.
On the other hand, the only way to becoming one-tenth as likely to die from choking on food is to stop eating anything but soup. Hardly worth it. 
If there isn't a way to improve your odds, it's not clear why it's worth a lot of time or worry.
Worry is useful when it changes our behavior in productive ways. The rest of the time, it's a negative form of distraction, an entertainment designed to keep us from doing our work and living our lives.

Seth's Blog : The last Black Friday

The last Black Friday

Four years ago, I wrote about the media trap that retailers invented. With nothing much to write about the day after Thanksgiving, the media engage in a stampede to encourage everyone to go shopping on the busiest, least satisfying shopping day of the year. They spent millions to create a social dynamic that pushes people to engage in an orgy of spending, merely because everyone else is.
I think Amazon may have changed this forever.
As the malls continue to die, as retailers everywhere struggle to come up with a reason why people should spend extra time and extra money to visit them, the herd dynamic of Black Friday is fading. It's hard to whip yourself into a frenzy when you're sitting at home, in your bathrobe, staring at a screen.
In their race to out-Walmart Walmart, retailers everywhere forgot the real reason we need stores. Because shopping together makes us feel connected. Because it's fun. Because there's something about the shopping that's almost as good (or even better) than the buying part.
The buying race is over. Amazon won. The shopping race, though, the struggle to create experiences that are worth paying for, that's just beginning.

       

2017年11月19日 星期日

Seth's Blog : This is post 7,000

This is post 7,000

[actually, it's more than that, but the previous incarnations of this blog are lost to the fogs of time]
Delivered free, daily, for decades. You can subscribe at no cost by email, by following this blog on Twitter or Facebook, and best of all, by RSS.
There are no ads, never have been. No guest posts, of course. No one can buy a slot or a referral. All Amazon affiliate revenue is donated to BuildOn and to Acumen.
I write every word. I don't understand outsourcing something this personal, a privilege this important. 
The secret to writing a daily blog is to write every day. And to queue it up and blog it. There is no other secret.
The blog contains more than 2,700,000 words, delivering the equivalent of more than thirty full-length books. The blog doesn't exist to get you to buy a book... sometimes I think I write the books to get people to read the blog.
I haven't missed a day in many, many years--the discipline of sharing something daily is priceless. Sometimes there are typos. I hope that they're rare and I try to fix them.
Over time, the blog adds up. People remember a blog post a year after I wrote it. Or they begin a practice, take an action, make a connection, something that grows over time. The blog resonates with people in so many fields, it's thrilling to see how it can provoke positive action.
It's true that I'd write this blog even if no one read it, but I want to thank you for reading it, for being here day after day. It's more fun that way. There are more than a million subscribers, and, best I can tell, people read this in nearly every country in the world.
PS There are two easily found collections of some of my best posts. They are Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck and Small Is The New Big.
And there are also two complete collections, each weighing more than 17 pounds.
One is out of print and a collector's item, the other has just 600 copies leftThat's the end of the run--worth gifting...
Unboxing stories are here. To celebrate #7000, the last copies are on sale until they're all gone.
Thanks for being part of this journey.

       

Seth's Blog : Disastorino

Disastorino

Elections are the only place where marketers try to get fewer people to buy what's being sold.
In many elections in the US, fewer than half the population votes. Which means, of course, that in most elections, not only doesn't the winner get a majority, the winner wasn't even chosen by a majority of the majority. We make it worse with gerrymandering and arcane vote counting.
It turns out that depressing voter turnout is a shortcut for the selfish political marketer. It's easier to get your opponent's supporters to become disgusted enough to stay home than it is to actually encourage people to proactively vote for you.
When non-electoral marketers try to learn from political examples, we get confused by all of this. The fact that it's a one-shot event, that a bare majority is the goal (most marketing doesn't have to win a majority, it merely needs to matter to enough people) and that decreasing turnout is a valid strategy all add up to make politics a special case.
Blue Bottle Coffee doesn't succeed against Starbucks by getting people to not drink coffee at all. Nor do they need to sell more than half the coffee sold. All that a non-political marketer needs to do is find enough raving fans. If politicians learned this lesson, I think we'd all be better off.
It's not an accident we're disgusted. Politicians spend billions of marketing dollars to create the belief that voting is something that's better to avoid.
They teach us that it's not a responsibility we want to take.
They make it feel like a hassle.
They don't invest in making it a chance to build community and connection.
In short, it's more like giving blood and less like going to a Super Bowl party.
Too often the incumbents are liked by a minority, respected by an even smaller group and particularly bad at the job. And if many of the registered voters turned out, each would lose in a heartbeat. 
The solution is simple, fast and cheap. Show up and vote. Every time.
Once politicians realize that we're immune to their cynical tricks, they'll stop using them.
Show up and vote. It'll make a difference.

       

Seth's Blog : Winning a yoga race

Winning a yoga race

It makes no sense, of course.  
The question this prompts is: Are there places do you feel like you're falling behind where there's no actually no race?

Seth's Blog : Cancelled

Cancelled

All those meetings you have tomorrow--they were just cancelled. The boss wants you to do something productive instead.
What would you do with the time? What would you initiate?
If it's better than those meetings were going to be, why not cancel them?