"Everything Starts Out Looking Like a Toy" (No.33)
Keeping up a streak still matters if you miss a day
This week’s toy: Building social change through ideas, namely by suggesting a Lego Bike Lane Set. My space designs for Moon Bases haven’t made it to Lego Ideas yet, but there’s always hope. Edition No. 33 of this newsletter is here - it’s February 14, 2021.
(yes, I missed publishing yesterday, and I’m starting a new streak today.)
The Big Idea
It takes a village to do - well, most anything. I’ve been thinking this week about repeatable process and the best way to build and learn from other people’s procedures.
There are a few things that stand out as excellent ideas to consider when you are building process or trying to learn from other people.
Write it Down
You won’t get your process right the first time, but one key of making it work is to iterate and do things more than once. Getting started at this means that you need to write things down. How do you do that? Who cares. Make a list, scrawl long hand, write bullet points. Almost anything you can do to write this down and memorialize it will help you to make it better.
Explain it to someone
Teaching someone what you’re trying to do will clarify whether your instructions make sense or whether your first draft needs to be revised … a lot. Take your initial process, think about what the outcome needs to be, and now try to train someone on it.
If you don’t have someone to try this one, stand up, record yourself on Zoom, and talk on your feet for 10 minutes about what you’re trying to do, the outcome you’re trying to achieve, how you’re going to get there, and how you will know when you’re done.
bonus points: this is a good method of taking your process and building the mental model you’ll need to share it with other people.
Once you’ve done it a few times, try again
Go back to the drawing board once your process has run a few times. You might have discovered ways to save time, steps that were missing, or interesting data about what happens when you try your process.
pro tip: time how long it takes for you the first time to do your process, and use it as a benchmark.
What’s the takeaway? Give yourself a break. You just invented something new! When you’re building a process, it’s much more important to make it scalable and measurable than it is to get it perfect. A solid process can always be improved.
A Thread from This Week
Twitter is an amazing source of long-form writing, and it’s easy to miss the threads people are talking about.
This week’s thread: on data and wearing masks.
Links for Reading and Sharing
These are links that caught my eye.
1/ There’s a sales tool for everything - If you rely on industry observers to give you easy to consume knowledge on the latest and greatest sales tools, you might need to think again. Pro tip: rely on specialist communities (they often have Slack channels or email lists), and ask what people are using and why.
2/ Digital Exhaust is … everywhere - What are we really looking for when we use a social tool to monitor changes on profiles? Fadeke Ayegbuyi writes for Every on Creeping as a Service. There’s a bigger picture here: our digital services are revealing a lot of data about us all of the time. Perhaps there’s a personal service needed that helps us know what’s being shared and when so that we can share a little bit less and still be able to participate online.
3/ Companies still depend on you - Brian Halligan writes what feels like a love letter to customers on the 14th anniversary of Hubspot and the occasion of their hitting $1 Billion in revenue. This is a fantastic achievement for any company, and my takeaway is that there are very profitable niches in every segment of that very crowded enterprise software landscape. Finding your niche is a key - don’t get sidetracked by many shiny objects - you just need one that people love.
On the Reading/Watching List
I’m reading Edelman’s Trust Barometer report to get ideas on how to build (and teach the building of) trust in the communities where I operate. This year has been pretty crazy, and knowing more about how we need to improve is a great place to start.
In the “this looks like a train wreck, and I can’t look away …” department, Zach Snider’s Justice League is coming. The original movie was so bad, this could be better? Well, at least worthy of popcorn.
What to do next
Hit reply if you’ve got links to share, data stories, or want to say hello.
I’m grateful you read this far. Thank you. If you found this useful, consider sharing with a friend.
The next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a “toy.” - Chris Dixon