Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Choosing to be formidable

Message amplification, Free Prize, Where do Purple Cows come from…?

“Where do Purple Cows come from?”

Bob at Arnold Architectural Strategies asked a question that was similar to many: What’s the free prize, why don’t you talk about it more and how do I use it?

Seth Godin posted on August 09, 2013

In Free Prize Inside, my sequel to Purple Cow, I point out:

As marketers, our instinct is to believe that we have to make a product or service that flies faster, jumps higher, costs less, works infinitely better and is generally off the charts at doing what the product is supposed to do.

We get our minds around one performance metric and decide that the one and only way we can be remarkable is to knock that metric out of the park.

So, hammers have to hammer harder, speakers have to speak louder and cars have to accelerate faster.

Nonsense.

This is a distraction from the reality of how humanity chooses, when they have a choice.

We almost never buy the item we buy because it excels at a certain announced metric.

Almost no one drives the fastest car or chooses the most efficient credit card. No, we buy a story.

The story is what the product also does.

It’s the other reason we buy something, and usually, the real reason.

Simple example:

You have a 7-year old daughter. The last time she unexpectedly woke up after going to bed was three years ago. Of course, you’re going to hire a babysitter and not leave her alone, but really, what are you hiring when you hire a babysitter?

Is it her ability to do CPR, cook gourmet food or teach your little one French? Not if she shows up after the kid goes to bed.

No, you’re hiring peace of mind. You’re hiring the way it makes you feel to know that just in case, someone talented is standing by.

If her goal is to be a great babysitter, then, good performance doesn’t involve honing her CPR skills or standing at the door, listening to your daughter breathe.

Good performance for a babysitter is showing up a few minutes early, dressed appropriately, with an air of confidence.

Good performance is sending a text every 90 minutes, if requested, to the neurotic parents.

Good performance is leaving the kitchen cleaner than she found it.

It sounds obvious, but it’s rarely done.

It’s frightening to build and stand for ‘other’ when everyone else is making slightly-above-average.

The free prize is the other metric, the thing we want to talk about, the job we hire your product to do when we hire a product like yours. T

hat’s what we tell a story about.

 

Choosing to be formidable

Seth Godin posted on August 12, 2013

You’ve met people who are an accident just waiting to happen. What’s the opposite of that?

What we’re looking for in a boss, in a CEO to invest in, in a business partner, in a candidate, is to be formidable. Someone to be reckoned with.

Not someone with all the answers, because no one has all the answers.

No, we want someone who is magic about to happen.

This is the electricity that follows the star quarterback around. We aren’t attracted to him because he’s a stolid, reliable, by-the-book play maker.

No, it’s the sense that he has sufficient domain knowledge combined with the vision and the passion to create lightning at will. Sarah Caldwell was the same way, bringing a sense of imminent possibility to the work she gave us.

They don’t teach formidable in school. They teach compliance and rote and perhaps spin.

They teach us to be on the alert for shortcuts and for ways to get away with less.

Not surprisingly, the formidable leader takes the opposite tack in every respect. She’s willing and eager to take the long way if it gets to the elusive destination.

She doesn’t need to spin because the truth as she knows it is sufficient.

There might only be two critical elements in the choice to be formidable:

1. Skill. The skill to understand the domain, to do the work, to communicate, to lead, to master all of the details necessary to make your promise come true. All of which is difficult, but insufficient, because none of it matters if you don’t have…

2. Care. The passion to see it through. The willingness to find a different route when the first one doesn’t work. The certainty that in fact, there is a way, and you care enough to find it. Amazingly, this is a choice, not something you need to get certified in.

Formidable leaders find the tough questions, and instead of being afraid to ask them, eagerly decide to seek out the answers.

They dig in deep to the details that matter and ignore the ones that merely distract.

They bite off more than others can chew but consistently avoid biting off more than they can (because they care so much, it hurts to admit that you’ve reached the end).

It’s not a dream if you can do it.

Paul Graham gets full credit for coining the term. “A formidable person is one who seems like they’ll get what they want, regardless of whatever obstacles are in the way.”

Message amplification isn’t linear

Seth Godin posted on August 14, 2013

Put two loudspeakers next to each other, and the perceived sound isn’t twice as loud--and ten times as many speakers certainly doesn’t seem ten times as loud.

But when you hear an idea from two people, it counts for twice as much as if you randomly hear it once.

And if you hear an idea from ten people, the impact is completely off the charts compared to just one person whispering in your ear.

Coordinating and amplifying the evangelists of your idea is a big part of the secret of marketing with impact.


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