Asking to get (what Sarah said)

Medium: The art of asking: or, how to ask and get what you want, 2013-Sep-9 by Sarah Kathleen Peck [highlight added.]

Put the ask on the table. Make it easy to find. Make your wishes known.

  • Give alternatives if you’d like, but stick to two, maximum three. Sometimes it’s easier for people to say yes to one of two options rather than having to choose between many. Stick to just one or two things.
  • Start with small wins. Ask incrementally for specific, small things. Get a foot in the door. Don’t ask for the big thing until you’ve established rapport, responsibility and demonstrated follow-through with someone.

14. Pay attention to context and surrounding cues. People make decisions based on their physical surroundings—much more than they would probably believe.


New customer benefit: sharing back data

A few companies are already giving data back to their customers, such as Pandora and Waste Management. We should always be looking at the data in our order systems and CRM platform to see how it could strengthen our customer relationships. 

I believe that in the future, companies will be entitled to request the data we are collecting. Might as well get ahead of that curve. 

Venture Beat: Why smart companies will start giving back data to their users, 2015-Mar-7 by Brent Dykes of Adobe

Just like informed marketers make better decisions, so do informed customers. An automobile maker could monitor driving behaviors and share tips on how you could become a better driver (e.g., you rarely use the sixth gear when you should be, which will conserve x% more gas). A software provider such as Adobe could report on which features a user touches, how it compares to other users, and share how-to videos for those areas that aren’t being used. In both cases, the product user is enlightened and the company benefits from the positive halo effect created by proactive data sharing.


Practice, practice, practice

Sigh. I'm addicted to learning and not to practicing. It's really biting me now.

JamesClear.com: Stop Thinking and Start Doing: The Power of Practicing More, 2015-March

We assume that if we knew about a better strategy, then we would get better results. We believe that a new result requires new knowledge.

What I’m starting to realize, however, is that new knowledge does not necessarily drive new results. In fact, learning something new can actually be a waste of time if your goal is to make progress and not simply gain additional knowledge.

It all comes down to the difference between learning and practicing.


If you say Houston is 4th-largest, be prepared to be disappointed by our influence

Yesterday I was talking with some friends who were trying to raise publicity for a project and they tossed out the "4th largest city" meme with regard to Houston. 

When we are trying to be influential, we have to understand our status. Houston city limits may provide the meaningless 4th-largest designation, but in terms of influence, Houston is the 10th largest metropolis in America. As a metropolitan area, we are smaller than Dallas, WashingtonDC, Boston, SF and (OMG) Detroit. (Okay, we may be able to displace Detroit soon. But not Dallas, and certainly NOT Chicago.) 

Houston's weight in controlling the destiny of people is in tune with being TENTH-largest city. FOURTH-largest makes people outside Houston frown with confusion... 

JUST STOP. 4 million residents is NOT a big deal. We are NOT about to displace Chicago. That's BS, and if you try to defend this idea outside the city limits, you'll be recognized as a FOOL. 

Not-4th-but-10th

P.S. There is one way that "4th Largest" is not meaningless, and that's if you are Annise Parker. She can boast about managing the 4th largest city. But if you want to talk about the influence of Houston, you have to recognize it's only 10th largest U.S. metro area. City boundaries don't make that much difference. It's all about being a population center, and we're the 10th largest. 


What makes me think... remembering David Carr

So many good ideas and observations have surfaced from the late, great David Carr today. I was not always a fan, but everyone is sharing their favorite clips, and I am blown away by the insights he achieved. 

Tq-120822-euReading the clip below, which says that literature helps us understand things we cannot experience, brought back an important memory for me. After I quit Ogilvy for the second time, I was very bitter and confused about how to work with passion inside an organization. Hypocrisy and pettiness confronted me everywhere I turned. I met a wise older man at a meeting and I commented that I hoped the next generation wouldn't have to experience the same confusion and disappointment as I had. He shook his head and said everyone would have to learn it the same way. 

Now, I think everyone is fated to have their idealism bruised to some extent. That is a part of growing up. But the years-long frustration which wasted ten years of my career was not fate. Today I work hard to create a professional legacy for the people who want to work with passionate enthusiasm. We can build a better place to work. 

NY Times: David Carr by the Book, 2014-Sep-22 by Pamela Paul

If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?

Probably “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. I came of age just as the Vietnam War was ending and all of the vets I knew were so ruined or freaked out that I had no understanding of what they had been through. The book taught me that literature could explain things to me in a way that I could understand. It’s not like being there, but putting a prism of words on the experience of others turned it into something I could see or at least imagine.