Quarterly reports and Jonah Lomu

As a kid in New Zealand, Lomu was to Rugby as Jordan was to Basketball. Everyone wanted to do a side step, where you run at the other team then sidestep around them. You did not want to be on the opposing team against him.

I’m reviewing quarterly reports right now – and you see the sidestep or in our industry, the pivots. We were full steam ahead at this, then this happened, so we changed. Quickly. AND still got the ball across the line.

What’s most important is the fact that it happened, the team saw the landscape change – adjusted and closed out strong. Game over. Review/reflect/re-energise. Next quarter, next game.

If you haven’t seen any of Lomus play, see this highlight reel from the RugbyWorldCup.

October 18th, 2019

Logging every decision

I’ve found it immensely valuable of recent relying on my notes.

You never know, what in the future, will be important.

Of course you need to trade that off with practicality.

A couple I have found super helpful is, what decisions were made and the WHY. It’s the why that is the thing that likely changes in the future. And it’s the why that gives a decision directionality.

For example

We agreed to price it this way BECAUSE of X.


We agreed to price it this way.

Yes this is obvious but it’s things that are in plain sight that can be overlooked.

In a way, this is a note, to future Ben. Please keep this up.


September 12th, 2019

Consider yourself notified

Apple watch notifications.

iPhone Notifications.

Desktop notifications.

Tv notifications (?)

Email notifications.

Uber during-ride, in-app notifications.

Waze notifications.

Consumers can consider themselves notified.

It’s about now that brands are refining how they tell stories through this journey. From start to finish. Morning to evening. Home to work.

In some respects it’s frustrating, in others it’s an opportunity to continue the great work you’ve always done. But in personalized smart ways.

And if you’re not smart about it, people will opt out.

But for those that do, you’ll be duly rewarded.

August 13th, 2019

The kids door

In June I had a short trip to Spain and in San Sebastian found such a store with a children’s only door.

(As referenced in The Perfect Client)

It’s not the best photo but you get the idea. Once your child is in, you’re definitely going to follow.

Right here on the entrance it screams, this is for kids, we put them first. For people like that. Come on in.

It’s easy to think this is silly but it connects straight away. It’s that bold leap that we reward.

August 7th, 2019

Bread made from 4,500 year old yeast

This is the neatest thing I’ve seen in a while.

Click through to see the full thread.

August 7th, 2019

Edge cases

Edge cases are the points at which a process stops working. It’s the customer that tries to enter via the exit. Or wants to pay on card when you are cash only. Or someone that adds 20kg to a container that only holds 10kg.

Edge cases are helpful, they help you find the bounds or ranges of your process. Addressing them can further these bounds. Or constrain them. They are tactical real feedback.

How you address that feedback – sets the tone for future edge cases.

And most often the lens is, do we want to increase the addressability of our process? Or is this the limit we want? Both can be right. And both communicate to your customers.

July 26th, 2019

Zero carbon

Loved this, NZ to introduce zero carbon bill.

Target is 2050.

I wonder what I’ll be doing in the years 2050. Hopefully enjoying zero carbon!

What makes New Zealand an ideal test bed is that it is a completely cut off country. It’s discrete. Everything that comes and goes can be identified, tracked. I imagine there is some leakage but a lot lower that say a country in Europe.

It makes a perfect scenario for measuring it.

July 19th, 2019

Time to value, how far can you take it? Amazon knows

Amazon upped the ante reducing two day shipping to one day.

But even so, they are still looking at other ways to get value to the end consumer faster.

And I liked this, I bought a book in the weekend, and they let you give it a read BEFORE it arrives. Not sure how they handled the digital rights on this, maybe it is a book where they have both rights. Or maybe it leverages the free sample. Either way, there is an option for me to get started on a new book.

How deep do you have to be in the customer experience to go, lets do this.

That’s the standard for the rest of us to exceed.

July 17th, 2019

Podcast vs radio and the sense of accomplishment

Growing up, adults listened to radio. I didn’t do (or know of) the books being read aloud for kids, maybe it was a bit before my generation. So radio was background noise, with music and DJs I liked as I grew up. It was just there. All the time. Like a river flowing and you turned the tap on.

But with podcasts, you seek them out, you start, you finish. I’ve listened to that one, right lets listen to another. Or you binge a bunch. Then once they’re done they’re done. There’s a psychological reward for finishing, it’s a sense of accomplishment.

In essence both are the same thing, audio storytelling. In fact much of the top downloaded podcasts are radio shows republished to podcast directories.

They are different in substance but that’s dictated by the medium, radio shows are made for mass appeal whereas podcasts are ok in the niches. The one thing that does separate them is the sense of accomplishment. TV is the same.

Maybe it’s not that people don’t like TV or radio. It’s just that in a world of endless content, people like making progress. OTT and podcasts offer that. A sense of accomplishment.

July 16th, 2019

You should know when you’re hot or not

Another kicker from the Druckenmiller interview I shared in the last post.

(for context he is a fund manager)

Skip to 49:00 minutes to pick this chat up.

They get in to, what do you do, after you’ve had a bad year? The analogy is the same with betting after you’re down.

As an aside, the investment principle: if you’re down 20%, you now need to make 25% on your principle to get back to where you were. Or if you’re down 80% you need to make 500% on your principle to get back to where you were. This is when people tend to get irrational and make bigger and bigger bets. Only to lose.

Druckenmiller goes on..

When you know you’re hot, make bigger bets. When you’re not, make smaller bets to find your groove.

It’s when you make big bets when you’re not hot, that really hurt, and create bigger losses.

A good fund manager should know when they’re hot or they’re not. And calibrate accordingly.

I like this simple approach.

July 9th, 2019

Friends & family

Was listening to this interview with Druckenmiller – and he talks a lot on, how friends and family, create the environment and support to do great things.

Give it a listen in the background, it is excellent. What I tend to do, is open on phone, put AirPods on.

And I couldn’t agree more, we are as strong as our weakest support.

Thanks to Noah for sending it my way.

July 3rd, 2019

What did you do differently the second time around?

I shared some thoughts on Quora, around thinking about the second product.

Like most things, the second time is easier but now the threshold is higher.

Same but different.

Here’s more on the Nudge blog.

And a link to the thing. In short, we see a lot of first timers to content give up because they don’t know where to start. Showing them where others brands are – gives a reference point. And then maybe evoke a little bit of the competitive spirit.

Lets see.

June 25th, 2019

The perfect client

I was on a flight a month ago, thinking about the perfect client. Who are they? What do they do? What do I do, to nudge them to be the perfect client?

I caught Ana Milicevics presentation on how to find the right vendor or kick off vendor partnerships in the right way.

That’s the thing. The right partnership is a combination of the technology and expertise to supercharge your internal value chain.

Seth Godin has another analogy on it, his is, are you pushing a stone uphill to close deals, or rolling it down a hill. Creating those conditions for the perfect client, leads to more rolling than pushing.

As one of those partners, it’s helpful to define what a perfect client is. Once established we can work on creating and maintaining the ideal conditions and environment.

So for me, what is my perfect ideal client?

A clear understanding of how our partnership can drive value.

A clear north star, or goal, that we can work towards.

Something we can both spark or learn from.

Cultural fit.

Have fun but stimulating work.

An appetite to improve, to be the best in their area of the world.

Not all clients will be that, each can bring new and unexpected dynamics but it’d be a spoilt position to start each relationship from.

Give it a think, how would this apply? How can you do an experience audit, to make sure you are creating these conditions or the right environment for it to happen? How can that experience speak to and acknowledge your unique lens, or POV on the world?

This kids store had a ‘kids only’ door, that part of the experience sets the tone, kids are valued here, and in turn so are the parents that share that value. An obvious but subtle nod – that also creates enjoyment. That’s the kind of output from the exercise.

May 29th, 2019

When does a human cross the threshold to become a bot?

It’s a question we were faced with recently. I don’t typically share long form pieces on the blog, but you can see it over on Medium for the full write up.

In a world of automation, we see these tools also bridge to all sorts of use cases. And in a recent campaign, we saw automation or assistant tools, in turn being used to inflate user numbers for a brand.

The vanity metrics looked great – but the real metrics did not.

There was also a piece a while back on how someone created a bot to fulfill tasks on Mechanical Turk. Or used AI to respond to are you a robot CAPTCHAs.

These are the signs of our times and will continue. That’s why things like blockchain are counter responses to this. As more and more systems and processes digitize, more will become bots so to speak.

May 17th, 2019

The rise of private intelligence

Everything zig zags online, in recent history our brands intelligence has been more public, you can see it on Facebook. The zig.

But what we’re seeing now is the development of private intelligence, the zag. The shift (and maturing) of brands to build up their internal processes, to execute novel media (and content) tactics, to combine public with private data.

I’ve been thinking about it from a product perspective too. How Apple handles machine learning is the perfect analogy, the learning is done on device, protecting your privacy (rather than in the cloud). Google yesterday mirrored this intention. This is the private intelligence.

This is the exciting time, as it’ll produce richer and different types of investments in the digital eco-system. I’m excited to see what eventuates.

May 9th, 2019

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