The internet is just a thin view of reality.

What a sad situation for Wright’s family and the company. It’s tempting to want to draw conclusions between the finances, the campaign, and Wright’s death, but we don’t actually know much about the situation. But I do think this highlights the potential disconnects between mental health & business, publicity & success, and success & happiness. The internet can seem so intimate but ultimately it’s a thin view of an individual’s or company’s reality.

via A sad update about a scissors maker that went viral

#chanterculture

In a December 2015 article for BuzzFeed, Joseph Bernstein argued that “the dark forces of the internet became a counterculture.” He called it “Chanterculture” after the trolls who gathered at the meme-creating, often-racist 4chan message board. Others ended up calling it the “alt-right.” This culture combined a bunch of people who loved to perpetuate hoaxes with angry Gamergaters with “free-speech” advocates like Milo Yiannopoulos with honest-to-God neo-Nazis and white supremacists. And these people loved Donald Trump.

They did it for the lulz.

Be the place that offers something challenging and smart.

The quality threshold for content keeps dropping, making it easier than ever to stand out if you write smart content. Be the place that offers something challenging and smart. Borrow principles and trends from corollary industries and see if you can make them work for your own. Find ideas that have stood the test of time and apply them to your own strategy.

via 11 thought leaders on the future of content marketing (Airtable)

Sometimes we gotta borrow from the past as we plan for the future.

Engagement = interaction = conversation.

When I started to provide behind the scenes insight into what we were doing and asking questions on what people wanted to see, the engagement became real and more consistent.

Source: How I Gained 50+ Million Views After Watching Gary Vaynerchuk

Engagement is interaction. Interaction requires conversation.

Talk to the people you’re trying to reach. Listen. Respond. Change what you’re doing based on their input. It’s how we all hone our craft, whether we’re writers or performers or salespeople or retailers or engineers or whatever else.

Do something once. Do it better the next time. Do it even better the time after that. Repeat forever.

A day in the life of a remote worker.

Are you thinking of making the leap as a remote worker? But you wonder what it’s be like to work remotely?

Source: A day in the life of a remote worker – Remotive

My first attempt at working remotely didn’t end well.

I had a brief stint in the role of a Happiness Engineer with Automattic back in 2013. Maybe it was the work itself, maybe it was the timing… I don’t know. But, in any case, there was a mutual agreement that it wasn’t a fit. I didn’t last beyond the probationary period.

Fast forward to 2015. I joined GoDaddy as a remote employee working from home in Toronto. The rest of my team was distributed between our Sunnyvale, CA and Tempe, AZ offices.

It’s been just shy of three years since I joined GoDaddy, and I absolutely love the setup.

It’s 12pm at home while it’s 9am on the west coast. That gives me a morning of uninterrupted time. Sometimes I use it to go heads-down on productive tasks, like writing or research. Other times I use it to run errands while the traffic is light and the stores are empty.

I still go down to our offices every few months, usually to get “face time” with colleagues and sync up on plans for the upcoming quarter. (I’m writing this from our Sunnyvale office, by the way.) But even when I’m there, I’m still doing what I’d do at home: headphones on, plugged in, working away at whatever needs doing. I just happen to be surrounded by people doing the same thing.

So, if there’s one piece of advice I have for anyone considering going remote, it’s this: your ability to perform may be determined entirely by the work you’re doing. If it’s motivating work, work that you enjoy or care about, you’ll get it done, location be damned.

Start with good product.

Instead of advertising, Musk’s digital instincts led him to build a product that compelled customers to advertise for him, research for him, and spread the word contagiously, at no charge. He built the product, opened the stores, the customers came, and they posted. And they posted. And they posted. In taking the path less traveled by, he changed automotive and marketing history.

Source: Elon Musk Hates Advertising and P&G Is Listening – Hacker Noon

Okay, so let’s set the Elon Musk aspect aside and focus on the product-first aspect.

A bad product, no matter how well promoted, is still a bad product. And trying to promote a product becomes much more difficult, and much more expensive, when you don’t have happy customers.

Acquiring new customers is costlier than retaining customers. But you’re not going to retain customers if your product sucks. And if the experience is so bad that people start telling others to stay away… well, you’re charging uphill into a strong headwind.

Back in college we’d talk through a lot of case studies. I had a tendency to invoke a certain phrase over and over: “Shit on a silver platter is still shit.”

The core product, the core experience, needs to be strong. It needs to work. Otherwise, as marketers, we’re making a promise that we know won’t be kept. And you can only do that for so long before people start talking.

So get the product right. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it needs to be good. Good enough that customers are willing to give it a chance and stick around as it improves.

(Aside: I’m well aware of the “sell before you build” philosophy embraced by indie hackers and aspiring entrepreneurs. That’s great for validating interest. But once you’ve validated interest, you need to make the thing, and that’s where my mind’s at with this post.)

Consistent, ongoing customer communication comes in handy here. In those early days, as the product is just getting off the ground, it’s a very collaborative and tight experience between you and the early adopters. For software, this could be an open beta phase or a discounted soft launch.

A lot of the marketing messaging at this point is “this is what we’re making, come try us out”. And from that early experience of working closely with the first groups of customers, you’re going to get feedback that’ll help you improve the product and how you market it.

And then, as the product matures, as more people are using it, you can start pulling testimonials and stories out of the feedback. Real opinions from real people using your products in real scenarios? That’s powerful stuff. Once you have that, you’re able to say “here’s what we’re making, here’s what other people are saying, come try us out”.

Meanwhile your existing customers are sticking around, because the product is still fulfilling its promise and it keeps getting better.

What comes after that? Well, if you think the product is really strong and you’re ready to crank it out and scale, you can double down on referrals and word of mouth: Incentivize sharing with discounts and refer-a-friend programs. Increase your marketing and advertising spend. You’ve tightened up the rest of the experience, and now you’re shuttling more people through.

But you need to have a good product before all of that. It needs to work. It needs to fulfill whatever promise you’re making. As marketers, we’re pouring tons of effort into raising awareness and setting expectations. So let’s make sure those expectations are being met before we start making a lot of noise.