Marketers are keen to put things in buckets. For many reasons of course: it makes it easier to run advertising if you’re picking placements to reach ‘B2B tech target market A’, easier to pick an image that represents ‘B2B tech target market A’, easier to do just about anything if you can convince yourself that ‘B2B tech target market A’ will behave like a lovely big flock of sheep guided down the purchase funnel by a pack of helpful sheepdogs.
As a self-help junkie, the beginning of The Revery saw me swimming in a 50m pool of business books and seminars. One of the big stand outs in the chlorine packed body of information was the saying ‘Ready-Fire-Aim’. The thought behind R.F.A is that a lot of good stuff doesn’t happen because people wait to get everything perfect before they ‘shoot’.
I have a secret: I’m not a terribly ambitious person. This may come as a surprise to those who know me, but in truth I’ve never had big goals for myself as far as my career went - those “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” questions are painful (and ultimately not that illuminating). In fact my major career goal was to get to a place where I could listen to music as I worked and where I didn’t have to do my own photocopying.
A few years ago I made the conscious decision to stop watching the news on TV. Perhaps it was the groundhog day formula of ‘international war, opposition says the Government made a stupid mistake, sport, sport, sport, heartwarming kitten story’ or that it was increasingly easy to find news from other sources – online new sites, Twitter and opinion blogs that provided a sense of balanced perspective on the news.
Consider: you live in Northcote, Portland or East London. You have a fine, full manly beard, a fixie and visions of selling sushi tacos or vegan jackfruit pulled pork sandwiches. You’re looking for some advice. What message do you think is more likely to catch your eye: 'How to set up a new business' or '10 steps to crushing it with a killer food truck'?
Sitting at number 2 of my top 5 most disliked, clichéd sayings, is ‘how long is a piece of string’. If I am sitting opposite someone and they say it, I want to slide under the desk like I’ve just been given a very fast acting poison and if I’m standing I would like to fall to the ground like a narcoleptic goat.
Two years ago I read The Millionaire Next Door, the revised, revised, revised edition. Why didn't they revise the title? What's one million dollars going to buy...one house! Anyway if you haven't read it let me save you $9.45 on the Kindle version and tell you in six words how to be rich - Be quite tight with your money.
In the hierarchy of marketing, there is an unofficial ranking of ‘cool’ brands to work for. Top of the list? Luxury brands and beer (nothing surprising there). Middle of the pack might be banking - big budgets, and looks good on the CV too. And way, way down the bottom of the list you’ll probably find B2B firms.
Much like the soft faced, teary eyed little lamb like child in the sixth sense, I too have a gift that is both bothersome and helpful. While I can't claim to be able to interact with people who don't know they are ghosts, my meercat-like senses can feel disaster coming a good 20 kms off. A sort of hyper-vigilance I guess.