Godin 07-09-10: On Lists and Commitment

July 11, 2010

I’m a skeptic by nature, so when I see lots of classes (tele- and otherwise) offered on how to grow your lists – on social networks, for your newsletter, for your blog – I have lots of questions. Then I read an article or excerpt and hear the techniques, and my skepticism grows. What’s the benefit of adding someone who falls for that technique?

People with strong reputations say it’s all about the numbers. But I’m pretty sure the list of subscribers for someone with a strong reputation is a lot more responsive than a quickly grown list built by “techniques”.

Seth Godin’s recent post on fans, participants, and spectators confirms my skepticism. The stats he shows for conversions are a little dreary. But he offers a solution.

Polishing That Turd

June 4, 2010

Seth Godin says it so eloquently. “Instead of polishing that turd, why not work harder to think of something remarkable or important to say in the first place?”

It Was a Fast-Straight-Road Weekend

May 31, 2010

It’s been a hectic Memorial Day weekend totally consumed by… let’s just call it extended-family-madness. I planned to have a little time over the last couple of days to put together a post but life interrupted my plans. But I’m home now and the chaos is left behind.

Fortunately I found a powerful and brief analogy for my recurring warning about focusing on chasing the latest new marketing tactic before figuring out your marketing plan. It was a link in a recent blog post by Seth Godin.

Seth referenced a post by Rich Goidel, blogging at “The Back of the Napkin,” titled Playing with turtles. The core message here is to focus on the important thing — marketing message — and not get distracted by secondary things — playing with marketing channels.

I’m writing a corollary. When someone else has written a beautifully concise post that conveys a valuable message to your audience, call it good, link to it, and shut up.

(Bonus to me: I don’t really have time to write a post, much less edit one to make it good.

Bonus to you: You don’t have to read that meandering post I don’t have time to write!)

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

Writing sdrawckaB

May 14, 2010

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time writing articles and pulling together ideas I’ve collected for an information product for people considering self-employment. I enjoy writing because it’s a slightly new experience each time.

Sometimes things just flow, but the next day I reread what I wrote and it looks like… it flowed, alright, but for a very different reason. Sometimes I wrestle and fight with a piece and don’t like it very much, but other people give me great feedback. Considering that, I might just be writing some of my best stuff ever right now, because I’m having to unscramble things I originally wrote backwards.
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Godin 05-13-10: Cowabunga!

May 13, 2010

Some call the new pattern of working from project to project the “gig economy.” Instead of having a predictable job, more and more people are contractors working with a particular person or company for the length of a project. Cool idea in the world of self-directed careers, because it allows people to have more control over their schedules.

But the phrase doesn’t even come close to capturing the joy of experimenting and playing and expanding our minds and our abilities that we experience as the creatively self-employed. That’s what Barbara Winter calls the “Joyfully Jobless life.” It’s joyful because it’s an adventure of self-discovery.

Leave it to Seth Godin to capture this wonderful idea in a high-octane analogy: surfing. In this recent post he compares the joy from work that grows us by developing our gifts and talents with the intoxication of the next wave for the surfer.

I can see the surf breaking in the distance with the sun rising on the horizon behind it as I round the corner on the Twisting Road.

Godin 05-07-10: The Future of Media

May 7, 2010

A very cool friend pointed me to a vivid poem yesterday. I enjoy poetry that uses concise and precise word choice to compose a scene or evoke a complex response.

I thought about the condensed communication of poetry when I read Seth Godin’s
blog post on the future of media. It’s like a mystical parable, maybe even a zen koan, in that grasping all that it teaches will change your outlook on a lot of things.

Seth Godin’s core messages are contained in this post: find what captivates you, explore it and share it with the world, and your tribe of like-minded and like-hearted people will gravitate to you and provide you with opportunities to receive their gratitude as payment.

There’s also this other lesson we solo entrepreneurs need to catch. Print media is withering, especially if it’s not published daily. It will be replaced by timely digital publications sent to smaller, more narrowly targeted audiences. Heard that for a while, right? But read Seth’s post carefully. Then think about what you’ve heard about having an e-mail newsletter or a blog to build your business. I think as this new paradigm of digital media takes over, our blogs and newsletters are likely to wither, too.

Audiences will be getting compelling, detailed information from sources who immerse themselves in exploring, understanding, and explaining a topic. “5 Quick Tips” won’t be compelling to that sort of audience. It will work to capture the attention of the newbies joining the tribe, and they might sign up to learn more. But in order to keep the tribe’s attention we’re going to have to provide much better content. I’m betting the format of a personal note, a soft content article, and two or three sales messages won’t work in the coming years.

How will you adapt?

Consumer Debt: Seth and Dave Agree

May 6, 2010

Money is one of the biggest obstacles to people transitioning to a new career, especially one that involves self-employment. The other huge obstacle for people trying to work for themselves is marketing, and marketing at its core is about how to find people to pay you for your work. So money’s a hugely important topic for us.

I used to write about money sometimes when I published my monthly blog-zine, Chasing Wisdom. The archives are available here in the section “Pursuit of Happiness: Money.” Even though I continue to talk with clients and colleagues about money and how to have a better relationship with it, I haven’t written anything about it in a long time.

I realized it’s time to start when I read Seth Godin’s blog post about consumer debt. Partway through it, I though, Dang, he sounds like Dave Ramsey! A few lines later, he was giving props to Dave and linking to an article on Dave’s web site. It’s definitely time for me to share some ideas on getting along with money. I even created a new category to encourage myself to write on this topic regularly.

You get along better with money when you’re in charge. Spend less each month than you make. Save up and pay cash for everything you buy, except your home, and pay cash for your home if you can. Never borrow money to buy things just because you want them. Work, save, and wait. This is the way to show money you’re serious and you’re going to be in charge. Piling up consumer debt says you’re giving up and letting money run wild.

May You Have Everything You Need,

Steve Coxsey

Godin 04-25-10: Who Judges Your Work?

April 25, 2010

People who react with hostility to any criticism have a handicap. This is a key hallmark of a fragile self-esteem that, ironically, presents as self-adoration. Named for the mythological character who fell in love with his own reflection, the condition is called narcissism.

Sadly, some people think that in order to avoid this self-absorption, they have to give value to anyone else’s evaluation. Truth is, many people give their opinions freely although they don’t have the context or background to make their opinions useful. Others go the other direction, coloring their remarks with niceness and softening any criticism to the point of being useless.

It’s important for people who want to improve themselves and grow in meaningful ways to learn how to evaluate evaluations – how to critique other people’s critiques. When I was in a professional writers’ group for a few years, read-and-critique was part of our weekly meetings. I was taught early on that the thing to do with other people’s critique was to record it. That was it. Not arguing or defending our writing or criticizing the person giving the critique, but simply writing it down.

We were taught to consider the usefulness of the critique later, when we weren’t feeling defensive or emotional. We were taught to consider the comments rationally. Does that comment make sense? Does it show an awareness of the context? Does it follow general rules of quality narrative, or dialog, or action scenes? If a comment generated a lot of defensiveness, we were taught that might be the best gem. It might show us where we were overly devoted to a particular phrase, or where we had a habit we were “in love with” as a writer that really wasn’t working for the reader.

When we decided to set aside a piece of critique as irrelevant or not helpful, it was for a reason. Maybe the comment came from someone who didn’t realize the confusion was addressed in a prior passage. Maybe we discussed the feedback with someone else whose judgment we trusted to be completely honest and relevant and heard that person say the critique was off-target.

Knowing how to critique the critique we get is huge. This was the topic of one of Seth Godin’s recent blog posts. Read it and add these ideas to your toolkit for evaluating other people’s evaluations of you.
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Godin 03-28-10: What Teachers Make

March 28, 2010

Teachers are leaders. Leaders develop people. That’s mentorship, and mentorship is one of the things I’m really eager to advocate and eager to see spread around the world.

Seth Godin’s short blog post that pointed me to this video is here. I went ahead and placed the video here so you can watch it right away.

No More Carnival Games

December 22, 2009

My last two posts were about the sleaziness of tricking people into buying what they don’t really want, and the ridiculousness of people complaining the FTC is going to try to keep them from tricking people into buying something that’s not what they say it is.

Then I see Seth Godin’s recent blog post about his experience being bombarded by red light district marketing tactics. He suggests an alternative: cut the hype, cut the crap, no more deceit, just be transparent and deliver.

So are you going to sell at a street carnival, a back alley, or the public square?

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