The perfect crime

Sometimes, marketing enables a pickpocket to steal a wallet--and be thanked for it. Marketers are responsible for what we do, it's not an activity without effects. Last year, just one of the big fast…

Memo to the modern COO

Why is it so hard for organizations to understand what Tony did with customer service at Zappo's? Instead of measuring the call center on calls answered per minute, he insisted that the operators be…

Memo to the modern COO

Reality is not a show

The media-pundit-advertiser industrial cycle has discovered that turning life into a sporting event (with winners and losers, villians and heroes and most of all, black and white issues) is…

Measuring without measuring

As an organization grows and industrializes, it's tempting to simplify things for the troops. Find a goal, make it a number and measure it until it gets better. In most organizations, the thing you…

Conservation of energy in conversation

If you escalate (cut off in traffic, angry at the gate agent, frustrated at your boss), you've just added (negative) energy to a conversation. If you escalate (high-pitched enthusiasm, a hug,…

First, do no harm–three rules for public interfaces

When we think of design, we usually imagine things that are chosen because they are designed. Vases or comic books or architecture... It turns out, though, that most of what we make or design is…

Pitch your tent where it’s dry

Silly question: Does it snow in Utah because that's where they built the ski areas? Of course not. It's obvious that you find the snow and then you build the ski runs. Years ago, a friend was…

Important, not very good, could get a lot better

A recipe for personal and brand triage... We invest our time in hopes of a return, prioritizing the important, but sometimes, we waste it on the urgent instead. What's worth focusing on improving?…

What’s it for?

The best way to get unstuck

Don't wait for the right answer and the golden path to present themselves. This is precisely why you're stuck. Starting without seeing the end is difficult, so we often wait until we see the end,…

No one ever bought anything on an elevator

If your elevator pitch is a hyper-compressed two-minute overview of your hopes, dreams and the thing you've been building for the last three years, you're doing everyone a disservice. I'll never be…