Too Convenient to be Killed

Toto didn’t just pull the curtains apart.

He pulled our fears

He proved that when the voice doesn’t scare us, when the
reputation doesn’t intimidate us and when the smoke doesn’t dissuade us,
everything changes.

All we have to do is question everything. To spot the ideas
that are too convenient to be killed, and let the creative, curious part of ourselves
take a risk and pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

That way, we’re the great and powerful ones.

Is Eye Contact Too Much To Ask?

If the first step in selling is stopping the eye, the first step in service is meeting it.

When I walk up to the counter to put in
my order, you don’t have to read my mind. You don’t have to perform a miracle.
I just need you to care.

Instead of being completely preoccupied
with yourself, stop using your phone, stop surfing the web, stop talking to
your coworkers, stop reading the paper, stop eating lunch and stop doing
whatever else you’re doing for three seconds to extend me the common courtesy
of a simple glance.

Caring is not about eye contact. It’s
not about nonverbal indicators of interest. And it’s not about another a tired
technique that creates the illusion of hospitality.

It’s about bother to acknowledge my
presence as a human being.

I know it’s not part of the handbook,
but it is part of your heart.

It’s Not a Sales Tool, It’s a Hearing Aid

When it comes to your prospects, information is invaluable.

If you can find out who they are, what they read, where they
work, what they do, how they think, what’s important to them and how to reach
them, you’re off to an awesome sales start.

In light of the digital revolution, however, there’s another
piece of information that might be even more valuable than any of those: What they’re saying.

That’s the biggest misconception about the web, more
specifically, social media. It’s not a sales tool, it’s a hearing aid. It’s not
a cash register, it’s a listening platform. And it’s not a device for tricking
people into giving you money, it’s a direct channel into how and why they make

People are sharing more ideas, more experiences, more
opinions and more thoughts than ever before in history. And all you have to do
is listen. All you have to do is care enough to understand their world. That
way, you can helppeople with what they’re already doing,
instead of artificially squeezing yourselves into their overcrowded lives. That
way, you can learn how you fit into their world, not how they fit into
you marketing plan.

And if you’re lucky, what they’re saying will soon include
something positive about you.

Lay Your Motivations Bare

Everybody has an agenda.

Even if we say we
don’t, that’s still an agenda.

But there’s no reason to feel guilty about that. If we want
something, there’s no shame in making some noise, letting whoever has it know
that we want it, and respectfully reminding them why we deserve it.

When we start our phone calls or emails with, “Everybody has
an agenda, and here’s mine,” we still lay a foundation of respect, establish
expectational clarity and frame the conversation with candor and transparency.
To do otherwise is to do a disservice.

What’s more, because so few people are willing to lay their
motivations bare, the unexpectedness of this approach makes the encounter more
memorable, and often times, more successful.

When Will The Web Overturn Your Profession?

Not unlike travel agencies, record
stores, post offices, encyclopedias, newspapers, movie rentals, yellow pages,
television, bill paying, book publishing, photography, pornography, video games, terrestrial
radio, real estate and journalism, there’s no reason to think your industry
won’t be completely flipped on its head too.

But if you help the industry make
contact with the future, if you skate to the where the puck is going to be, you
might be able to pivot enough to save yourself.

Netflix, by virtue of its very brand,
showed the world that their model was the future. Forget about going to the
video store, their flicks stream through the net. The name says it all. No
wonder their company made money so quickly. No wonder their company disrupted
the movie rental and cable industries forever. Instead of marketing
without outdated language, Netflix embedded words into their branding that
painted a picture of what could be.

If you want to apply the same thinking
to your organization, train your staff to turn feedback into inspiration. Seek
out complaints. Embrace anger. Document what your users, employees, customers,
vendors and colleagues are telling you. They will tell you how to serve them
better. They will tell you how to ride the digital wave to a better future.

Without that kind of listening
platform, the web is going to overturn your profession too.

It’s only a matter of time.

The Belonging Sessions 012: Judith King of The Morris + King Company

1. Good brands are bought, but great brands are joined. Why do you think your employees join yours?

We’ve created a culture of complete honesty, friendship and
leading with love. We’re never unkind, my door is never closed and I have never
walked in the office in a bad mood. That’s deeply unfair to my colleagues. We
do whatever it takes to make each other as happy as possible. There’s constant
laughter, while getting a lot of work done simultaneously – because when you
participate with each other, you elevate each other.

2.    The great workplaces of the world have soul. What do you do to humanize your

I respect people’s right to be engaged by their space, so I’m
constantly changing design of the office. This keeps people’s eyes interested
in their surroundings on a physical and emotional level. Also, we have great
snacks. We choose a different candy bar every month, running a contest to let
people select the one they want. This place is brimming with soul. It’s a
universe where excellence can blossom.

3.    Belonging is a basic human craving. How do you remind employees that they’ve
found a


I’m realistic. Work ain’t home. But people belong to the extent
that the environment is the best possible. I don’t want to curtail their creativity.
There’s no dress code. I encourage people to think about the work, not what
they have to wear that day. Also, we’ve done some of the finest practical jokes
around, to the point that they’ve become legendary. At the end of the day, the
fish stinks from the head, and I never want this place to stink.

Thanks Judith! Learn more about Morris + King here.

A Heroic Dose of Humility

The draw of social media is automatic listenership.

Which makes sense, considering people are lonely and want to
be listened to. And when they can scratch that itch for free, instantly and
everywhere, it’s hard to resist.

But the number of followers, friends and subscribers you
have doesn’t necessarily mean people are listening. This calls for a heroic
dose of humility.

Do people actually care about your feelings, or is it just
simulated compassion? Do people actually dig your work, or did they just friend
you so you would reciprocate back to them? Do people actually take an interest
in your lives, or are you just a random number in another faceless, fake
relationship? And do people actually want to connect with you, or are you just the
next stop on their transcontinental digital pissing contest?

You may never know. And that’s the hard part about the
social media world. Sometimes it feels like you’re winking in the dark.

All you can hope is that your work, the ambition that fuels
it and the audience who consumes it is enough to make money, make a difference
and meet your quota of usefulness.

Just something to think about before you publish your next

The Belonging Sessions 011: Bobby Emamian of Prolific Interactive

Prolific Interactive is a Brooklyn agency that loves crazy,
creative minds with an interest in mobile strategy, design and development. 

sat down with their Co-Founder and CEO, Bobby Emamian and posed three crucial
questions about belonging: 

1.Good brands are bought, but great brands are joined. Why do you
think your employees join yours?

At the root of our culture, we solve problems together. We go to
battle together. And we all bring a different angle to the table. Many of
our employees have a sports background, so there’s this want and need to help
the team. At the end of the day, the passion and determination gets
everyone fired up. When a lot of people in the room are doing things for
the right reasons, it’s an absolute joy to walk in the morning.

2.The great workplaces of the world have soul. What do you do to
humanize your culture?

Monday morning meetings are an awesome time for our company. We do a word of
the week that’s connected to whatever theme is most important. Whether
it’s growing or closing or launching, it’s a fun way to share and
compare, to get the week started. We also have something we call Prolific
Court. You can fine people a quarter to two dollars depending on the
‘offense’. For example, going home with the bathroom key in your pocket,
leaving the AC on at the end of the night, or getting a beer for yourself and
not asking if anyone else would like one, are all ‘offenses’.
This keeps everyone on their toes and accountable, and the
money always goes towards a company event. Lastly, the same
attitude applies to our brainstorming. There are no
limitations or boundaries to our thinking. And that allows for a
comfortable, human atmosphere.

3.Belonging is a basic human craving. How do you remind employees
that they’ve found a home?

Our culture makes people feel like they belong and have found a home, but
just to remind them, we have a company Seamless account. If you come
early or stay late, we buy you breakfast or dinner. We have beer
stocked up, video games, sporting equipment and a few televisions. People are
constantly collaborating, chatting and hanging out.  And the
collaboration, lending a hand to each other, makes it feel like a
family. We succeed together and we fail together.  And as long as we
stick together, we grow and create the best products out there.

Thanks Bobby! Learn more about Prolific here

Bother to Bother, Dare to Care

True service isn’t about labor and time, it’s about intention and attention.

It’s not about bastardizing caring into a technique, it’s
about broadcasting the willingness to and the consistency with which you do

When the restaurant has an hour wait, takes down my cell
phone number on their iPad, encourages me to walk around the neighborhood and
promises to send me a text message five minutes before my table is ready,
consider me served.

When the financial advisor calls me the day the stock market
crashes, spends a half hour briefing me on the state of the economy, then sets
up a meeting to sit down and talk about the future of my investments, consider
me served.

When the hotel concierge checks me in and wheels out a stack
of every bible from every major religion, including a book on atheism, then
asks me which book I would like to keep in my dresser drawer, consider me

These companies bothered to bothered. They dared to care.
They took a minute to make a moment, showed up when it mattered, and did
something tangible that made a difference.

Make Your Brand Worth Sharing

If you want to get people hooked, give them a greater sense of occasion.

Turn a
routine arrival, subscription, payment or membership into a happening, a big
deal and amoment worth remembering.

When you practice yoga at Bikram
Los Angeles, new students get their name written on a huge chalkboard in the
lobby to commemorate their first class.

With you order speakers from Noogi,
their trademark wooden shipping containers turn the routine chore of opening
boxes into a substantial moment of celebration.

When you board the Disney
Fantasy, crewmembers announce your family’s name on the intercom system for the
entire cruise to hear.

When you buy tickets for Once,
actors encourage audience members to join them onstage for preshow jam sessions
and intermission popup pubs.

When you sign up for Zipwhip, employees
new customer acquisitions with a whimsical automated flag raising to keep
victories visible.

Each of these organizations makes the mundane memorable in a fun,
unique and engaging way that’s consistent with their brand and worth sharing.

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