Goals vs. Systems | Scott Adams Blog Posted November 18th, 2013 @ 9:11am in #General Nonsense In my new book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, I talk about using systems instead of goals. For example, losing ten pounds is a goal (that most people can’t maintain), whereas learning to eat right is a system that substitutes knowledge for willpower. Expanding on that point, let’s say you have a choice between pasta and a white potato. Assume you enjoy both foods equally and you want to choose the best one for your waistline. I recently posed that question to a crowd of ninety senior managers at a huge tech company. Here’s another example. Compare the goal of exercising 3-4 times a week with a system of being active every day at a level that feels good, while continuously learning about the best methods of exercise. By the way, it is only in the past few years that you could replace willpower with knowledge about diet and exercise and get a good result.
Six years at SoundCloud, Five Lessons Learned A few weeks ago I opened Twitter and just started writing. It was an avalanche of thoughts, insights, and learnings I’ve gathered over six years at SoundCloud, helping a startup become the world’s largest audio and music platform on the web. As a college dropout, lead singer in a hardcore band, A&R-turned tour manager, marketer, and failed founder, joining SoundCloud six years ago is up there in the highlights of my life. I’ve learned so much. Over 20 tweets and 2 hours later, I found myself wanting to unpack some of those thoughts as they seemed to resonate with people. Here are 5 nuggets that I want to share in more depth: Company culture = a collective of people living shared values Culture is the sum of your people living the company’s core values day in and day out, amplified by how those values are communicated internally and externally. Defining our values started as an interesting challenge and turned into an amazing opportunity. These three things are all intrinsic to our culture.
A Product Manager’s Musings A Product Manager’s Musings A Product Manager is a strange occupation in Silicon Valley. You’re the mini CEO. You’re the jack of all trades but master of none. You’re the one with all the power and yet none at the very same time. You’re the one with all the responsibility and yet have none at the very same time. And truthfully, all of these are true, and none of them are true. Seriously, being a product manager sometimes feels like you’re in some awful Zen koan riddle that you think you found the answer to, but really never do. So I’ve been a SaaS product manager on the Enterprise side now for five years. And at the five year mark, I think I finally understand why. Don’t worry if Engineering hates you. I can’t imagine a relationship more setup from the start to be naturally antagonistic. Engineering automatically see you as the enemy. Why? If you have an Engineering background they see you as meddlesome and annoying. If you don’t, they see you as useless and incompetent. You’re the everything
The Only 10 Slides Needed When Pitching Your Business (Infographic) Once you’ve come up with a business idea that you believe in, the next step is getting investors to believe in it, too. You need to pitch your idea in a way that’s interesting and informative -- and quick. Renowned entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki should know a thing or two about what it takes to successfully pitch investors. He’s been an evangelist for Apple and an advisor for Google’s Motorola division, he’s founded multiple companies, including Garage Technology Ventures -- the a venture capital firm that invested in Pandora and Tripwire. Now, he wants to teach you how to pitch an idea that gets results. He says a pitch only needs 10 slides and should have 15 at the absolute max. Check out the infographic below that originally ran on Kawasaki’s website to see what slides you need, and the order that you need to show them. Click to Enlarge Related: Could Your Posts Pass Guy Kawasaki's Social Media Test?
The Tyler Durden Philosophy of Product Design My all-time favorite movie is Fight Club, and one of its most memorable lines (among many) is: “You’re not a beautiful, unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” Oof, total downer, right? Flare’s new mobile interface is a perfect example of a “scratch your own itch” mindset – in fact, you can see it in action right now, by viewing this post on a mobile device. Oh, fine, here’s a quick animation of it, in case you’re lazy, have your hands full, your phone is dead, or you’re an Apple executive trying to browse this post on your fancy Apple Watch (say hi to Dr. I thought it’d be interesting to tell you the story of a problem we turned into a business, and how our experience with this approach continues to inform what we’re working on today. Step 1 – Validate Your Own Pain It all kicked off with an insight from earlier this year that an increasing proportion of the traffic to our blog was coming from mobile users. Step 2 – Scratch Your Own Itch …right?
The 6 Skills Marketing Managers Need to Become CMO [Infographic] Today’s marketing leadership appears quite a bit different than it might have a decade ago. Marketers today are required to be more agile, analytical, and customer focused than ever before. According to recent study by Heidrick & Struggles, CMO candidates hired in the past 18 months are far more likely to: Have direct experience managing digital media projectsPossess analytical experienceUnderstand CRM; customer loyalty, or retention strategiesHold an MBA In order to become competitive as a top-level marketing executive at a large organization in the years to come, it’s critical for today’s marketing to take a hybrid approach to strengthening their inbound marketing skill sets. Inspired in part by Heidrick’s research on today’s Chief Marketing Officer, we’ve addressed several types of skills and abilities upwardly mobile marketing managers should focus on in the years to come: Brand Storytelling 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. CMOs hired today are 15% more likely than their predecessors to hold an MBA.
5 Psychology Principles Every Visual Marketer Should Know Photo by Augustus Butera Let’s face it. Lifestyle photography can be cheesy, bland, or completely lackluster. In a study of more than 10,000 participants from 48 countries, psychologists Ed Diener of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Shigehiro Oishi of the University of Virginia found that worldwide, people rate happiness as being more important than any other life outcome including living a life with meaning, become rich, and getting into heaven. Stop spending hours sifting through cheesy, awkward, forced, and staged photos. 1. Across multiple surveys of hundreds of people in the United States, Venezuela, the Philippines, China, and Japan, researchers found that people feel more positive emotions “in daily situations where they either acted or felt more extroverted.” Visual Marketing Takeaways As advertisers, more often than not, your task is to create campaigns that illicit feelings of happiness in your audience. 2. Photo by Greg Clarke 3. 4. Visual Marketing Takeaways
10 Rules Successful Startups Should Follow Editor’s note: Carol Broadbent and Tom Hogan are the founders and principals of Crowded Ocean, a Silicon Valley marketing agency that has launched over 35 startups, with 10 of those companies being either acquired or going public. Having launched over 35 startups in our decade of operation, we’ve been fortunate to be involved with our share of ‘unicorns’ (Palo Alto Networks, Nimble Storage) and really nice white stallions (Sumo Logic, Trifacta and Snowflake Computing). Given the wide range of companies we’ve worked with — and their equally wide range of success/failure — we’re often asked to sum up the characteristics of a successful startup. So here goes. 1. Following in the footsteps of business giants like Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, all startups should adopt a “no assholes” policy to build a stellar team. 2. Most startups have myopia — they’re focused only on their own product/technology and the immediate road ahead. 3. Most of our startups are laudably diverse — ethnically.
The Aardvark Theory of Product: Fake It Till You Make It Aardvark, by some measures — accumulating many active users or making lots of money, for example — did not succeed. But hey, it did get acquired by Google for a cool $50 million, so it’s worth hearing a little more about how the social search startup succeeded on that front. The real secret, according to Aardvark co-founders Max Ventilla and Damon Horowitz, who were speaking at the Startup Lessons Learned conference in San Francisco on Friday, was acute awareness of how close they were to failure. Aardvark co-founders Max Ventilla and Damon Horowitz “I’m probably going to fail, so how can I increase my chances of success but — more importantly — use that failure and make it less painful and minimize the risk of the catastrophic fail, when you’ve run out of money and you actually have to change jobs,” was how Ventilla described their thought process. “Once you’ve sold your startup, it feels very much fated. Aardvark's abandoned product ideas Aardvark's long path to product automation
6 Tips for Designing Happiness For decades, companies have taken for granted the notion that focusing relentlessly on improving customer interactions will lead to greater loyalty from the people who buy their products and services. The relevant metrics usually pertain to familiar questions: How well am I delivering in-the-moment? How are customers experiencing my brand across a range of touch points—call centers, websites, social media, mobile apps, in-store? But singular focus on the in-the-moment interaction a customer has with a brand means companies are missing moments when engagement might be more exciting and compelling for consumers: before and after the interaction. Most brands miss these opportunities to deliver happiness, which may help explain the wide disconnect between companies that believe they’re delivering a superior customer experience and what the metrics tell us about their customers’ actual level of satisfaction. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. For business results, emotions matter.