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SenseMaking from the Web

This post is an aggregation of recent articles that I have collected over at Flipboard on my magazine there. It captures great sense making from others, in other words, great articles from other sites I thought worth capturing and sharing. Curating good articles is a discerning process and I’ve automated the delivery of it in WordPress using a Power Automate Flow to achieve this – more on that here.

How to Communicate Your Company’s Strategy Effectively

Posted on November 30. For too long, communicating strategy has been an afterthought. Executives have shared long, bombastic documents or withheld critical information and expected people to just “get it.” And it hasn’t worked. Greater external uncertainty, collaboration, employee anxiety, and organizational openness …

Three Pillars of User Delight

Posted on November 28. Summary: Delight can be experienced viscerally, behaviorally, and reflectively. A great design is supported by all three of these pillars and is best …

Two Stanford Professors Explain How to Produce World-Changing Ideas In 1 Hour

Posted on November 22. Cramming everyone into a conference room to “spitball” is a disaster. But with some structure and a system, literally thousands of ideas are within reach. A vague calendar event appears in your inbox. There’s an urgent need for breakthrough thinking, and you’re invited. It’s got something to do with …

7 Outdated Habits That Are Suffocating Modern Businesses

Posted on November 22. These outdated strategies and rules from the old economy are slowly stifling success. These are the reason good companies go bad. As technological advances have altered the velocity of business and created structural changes in the environment, policies and practices within many companies have not …

Copywriting’s Turn to Radical Brevity

Posted on November 21. Once, copywriting was about the strategic creation of an appealing thought in the reader’s mind.It was the greatest era of commercial …

Elon Musk went on a firing frenzy at Twitter. Now he’s paying for it

Posted on November 21. When Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44bn, he clearly didn’t know that the key assets he was buying lay in Twitter’s 7,500 workers’ heads. On corporate balance sheets, the assets of a corporation are its factories, equipment, patents and brand name. Workers aren’t considered assets. They appear as …

Multi-dimensional innovation for the digital age

Posted on November 19. For enterprises, innovation needs to be multi-dimensional. From the smallest of new features on a website or a new way to make a payment to a new partnership or an entirely new product that changes an industry, innovation is constant and everywhere. However, there are also many stories in which …

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Suite or best of breed strategies for customer success when enterprise software budgets are squeezed

It is in economic hardship that many offerings are put to the test and not least, the enterprise software offering. I’m reminded of this every day since I work supporting one of the most well-known suites out there, Microsoft 365 (disclosure). It was brought back to my attention by this post in The Information: Zoom Could Draw Suitors Even Though Customers Are Balking at Software Bundles (registration may be required). The context is Cisco being a potential suitor to Zoom.

The nub of the article as it pertains to what I want to talk about is captured in an excerpt below:

The question is whether Cisco, or another enterprise software firm, could get full value out of (acquiring) Zoom – part in brackets mine. The point of our report today is that customers of enterprise software tools are becoming increasingly resistant to buying bundles of software products. Like the millions of consumers who’ve dropped cable TV in the past decade, irritated at paying a fortune for channels they don’t watch, cost-conscious companies are now questioning why they’re paying for software tools they don’t use, according to the report by my colleague Aaron Holmes. This isn’t an issue just for Cisco—it likely affects all enterprise software companies that pitch bundles of different software services, from Salesforce to Oracle to Microsoft.

I’m not sure on what basis they conclude that “customers of enterprise software tools are becoming increasingly resistant to buying bundles of software products”. There is reference to a report but no detail. It does make sense on the logic of it – why pay for things you don’t use. Especially in challenging economic times.

Suite or best of breed is a longstanding discussion topic. Although the article has another focus, it does touch on one more aspect for suite or bundle sellers: “…software firms need to justify the value of each tool, rather than trying to use one to sell another that may be less popular. Another option is that software firms will need to sweeten the pricing on bundles”.

Which is where I’d like to focus next, to bring two important yet different perspectives.

What buyers care about

Buyers are often a collective, like a purchasing department. Or it comes down to a single or few decision makers with a budget. They are the ones who care about cost and price and all roads lead to them. They very often have no idea of the user’s perspective as they should – they are making decisions based on cost.

On the slim chance they do care about the user’s perspective, it’s often just to determine how many users are using a given tool so they can argue they should pay only for what is being used. I often get the request to help determine what current usage rates are.

Not to say there isn’t merit in usage-based pricing models and there are a lot of SaaS vendors moving in that direction.

The problem with just focusing on usage is that it is a proxy for value but says nothing about actual value being gained from the use of a tool and what that is worth to a customer.

For this you need to get the users perspective – more on that below. But if cost is the primary concern, then for sure you need to be justifying the value of each tool, whether standalone or as part of a suite. Bundling good with bad is never a good idea. More on value later.

What users care about

Users care about utility. How easy is it for them to do what they need to do. How does a tool or set of tools help them get their job done, on their own and/or with others.

What business outcomes does the software help them achieve is probably the most important metric focused on.

Sometimes needs are unarticulated or unmet and you need to help identify them and sometimes they are blindingly obvious. The more you can help users map outcomes to these needs, the better. Bringing this back to the buyer/s will make a pricing or cost-based discussion much easier.

With collaborative software the value is often collective, i.e. you get more value out of it, the more users use it, so called network effects. When collaborative software is used as a layer on top of other software, and you can collaborate successfully with others when using it, value doubles. I’ve written about collaborative apps before: Hyperconnected business and driving the next level of productivity with collaborative apps.

The single most important thing to focus on when trying to capture what users care about – stories. User stories are not the same as user personas which are typically created beforehand and used to help define how you develop products or sell them. User stories typically happen post use and capture how a product has been used and to what end. Ideally it captures successful use or why create them (other than for lessons learned) and if done well, will spur on further successful use. Brief thoughts on a related topic here Thought Rocket: Anatomy of a Perfect Customer Success.

What really matters and what you should focus on

Outcomes and the value they create in business terms and in the eyes of business users to make it super clear. I’ve given examples of what I mean in relation to a product suite here: How Microsoft Viva can drive Performance – Correlating and Tracking Business Outcomes.

And just to bring it back to the suite versus best of breed context which I’ve digressed from slightly 👇

Interoperability, which is where platforms come in, makes for more usable products in a suite.

When you consider that in organisations these days, the average number of Apps being used (depending on the research referenced) is 1-200 Apps, then anything that can be done to make these work better together, so much the better for the users and ultimately the business.

Because one tool can never do it all (especially in complex organisations with many needs) and shouldn’t, this would seem to lend itself to the suite argument. This is totally ignored in the article, but I guess that wasn’t its point.

Not that I am pushing for one or the other. But when a suite is a platform that drives interoperability and delivers multiple and much needed functions in a joined-up way, without redundant or unnecessary features, it will beat best of breed any time. And it will win because it delivers better value in every sense, not just in better business outcomes but better value for money too.

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When all about you are losing their heads

It seems as if the world is going mad (or I’m just reading too much news). Twit billionaires buying companies on a whim and then seemingly and wilfully destroying them and still they are held up as leaders. Prime Ministers tanking the entire economy of the UK, in an own goal, yet still the party is peddling its policies under new leadership. Irrational exuberance making a triumphant return after the dot com bust, this time in Crypto, yet the VC’s behind it now thinking they can simply flip a switch and become suers. And don’t even get me started on tin-pot dictators and failed past presidents thinking they still have a future.

Not to make this post a rant 😏

Actually, it’s a post about positive perspective.

It comes with a DanelDoodle because nothing makes the point better than one.

A nice way to get the right perspective is to think about our chances of even being here – nicely explained here.

Consider the sheer improbability of your existence and then the madness may recede just a little and your glorious, glittering presence and being may come into focus.

The way to see how beautiful life is and ignore its maddening eccentricities as well as atrocities, is to see it from the vantage point of space. When we zoom out, we gain distance and perspective. We see everyday activities as minute-level machinations and finite in their effect and impact. They will not last as the universe has for billions of years past and hence.

More importantly, we appreciate the vastness and emptiness of space and the fact that we are here is like a miracle of existence. The only sane reaction to is to glitter in response

At least this works for me and maybe it does for you too.

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Microsoft 365 customer questions – Teams top tips

I work in the business of dealing with customer questions on Microsoft 365 all the time (disclosure), either directly or indirectly. This is part of a series of posts where I share them if they can be of help to others. Where I can of course and naturally, not just the questions but the answers too. All questions and answers strive to respect both sides sensitivities (parts will have been redacted and/or anonymised) and the main topic is covered in each post title.

The question (that I am answering in this post) is actually part of a broader set of questions which I will be answering in a virtual session with over 100 executives and users that a customer of mine is hosting and has asked me to speak at. It is a deceptively tricky question because there are so many options. Here is the question below and future posts will cover the other questions.

Q: Your top 5 tips for using or what you like most in Teams?

First there are two questions in one really. But that’s okay I guess, because we often end up using most what we like best. I have focused on what I use frequently but also what I think adds value. The context for the session in which I will answer this question is that Teams has a vast number of functions and sometimes it is difficult to discern best use or most valid amongst the many options. So here is my take and then I have included a bonus tip.

Pinned Chats

Chats can get overwhelming, more so than Teams, which are subject to their own sprawl.

Chats is where most of the action happens. They effectively take over from where Skype for Business left off and it’s now the DeFacto, instant messaging function of Teams.

They are super easy to set up, be it with individuals or groups, but they are not so easy to find once you have amassed a large list and want to come back to them.

One trick is to use the new search function (see start of video). Another is to pin and unpin chats frequently depending on urgency. I have chats pinned at the top of my list, where I am working on something currently and/or urgently.

The way to pin chats is found at left – hover over the chat title until the three dots appear and, in the pop up, you’ll see the option.

Meeting Polls

You would once have to create Polls through Microsoft Forms.

That was not such a straightforward exercise.

It’s much simpler now as a new Polls App has been added to the App Store.

You can add Polls before a meeting starts and you can add more than one. This way you are ready to launch the Polls at the appropriate time throughout the meeting.

You can also add them on the fly, especially the instant polls.

They are a good way to drive participant engagement.

And of course, to get critical collective feedback.

More here on how to use it.

Prioritise Teams

As mentioned, Teams also have a tendency to sprawl, either because you have been added to too many or you have created too many.

My view is to be ruthless in your participation. If you are invited to a Team, think carefully about staying in it.

If a Teams usefulness has ended or if the purpose for which a Team was created is no longer valid or you can no longer serve it, leave it.

Before creating a Team, think carefully about it and whether it’s really necessary. Oftentimes a chat will do, even a group chat which has the ability to add many numbers of participants, has a files section, Apps can be added to it, etc.

If you are a member of many Teams, order the most important at the top and rank them by priority. You can also pin channels so the ones that are most active can be pinned to the top, above the list of Teams.

Notifications

For starters, you should manage notifications globally from Teams Settings. In the top right of the screenshot you can see where to access those – clue, it’s the three dots next to your profile pic.

There you can set general notifications or customise them.

You can get specific on active channels in Teams. If you have a lot of active Teams on the go at a time and they are all important, then you want to get notifications.

You want to make sure you don’t miss important collaboration.

You can add email notification for some of the most important activity.

For Teams notifications, you can access them from global settings, or you can drill down for Team Channel notifications- see screenshot.

Teams Apps

Apps in Teams provide the ability to quickly, and in most cases, easily bring much needed functionality from outside Apps into Teams, e.g. 3rd party, Microsoft, custom Apps, etc.

This means end users can remain in their flow of work, i.e. they can work on the App without leaving Teams – this reduces context switching.

This also brings a conversational layer to the Apps around which users can collaborate, e.g. viewing a PowerBI dashboard and discussing the data in it with colleagues.

Apps need to be enabled for end users. This can be done from the Teams admin centre portal – more on that here.

One of the things that can be enabled is to pin Apps to the sidebar for all users, for quick access. Users can also do this for themselves.

With all these Apps though, my view is to start with what you are trying to do, then seek an App that can help you do it. Not the other way around.

Bonus tip – Bring email to Teams

Click to enlarge

First, let me address why you would want to bring emails into Teams. Well, simply put, it’s because Teams is the better tool for collaboration and when you need to deep dive on a topic with a team, Teams is where to do it. It’s also great to create a backchannel for discussion or triage with a separate set of participants before coming back to the email participants with a response – this way you avoid the email trees which have been prevalent since forever.

From the screenshots above (where I have redacted some details) you can see the view on the left is from an email where you can access the Share to Teams Add In (this view is from Outlook Web App – it might be slightly different in the Outlook client). On the right is what pops up so you can select who to share it to. It automatically suggests recipients of the email but then if you go into the Share To field, you get suggestions from recent Teams chats or you can search and find the right chat (group or individual).

Considering Teams chat use has overtaken email use for commercial users (for more read the Microsoft FY23 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call transcript) this function makes perfect sense. As stated by Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO): “an average commercial user spends more time in Teams chat than they do in e-mail, and the number of users who use four or more features within Teams increased over 20 percent year over year”.

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SenseMaking from the Web

This post is an aggregation of recent articles that I have collected over at Flipboard on my magazine there. It captures great sense making from others, in other words, great articles from other sites I thought worth capturing and sharing. Curating good articles is a discerning process and I’ve automated the delivery of it in WordPress using a Power Automate Flow to achieve this – more on that here.

3 science-backed ways to train your brain to have a growth mindset

Posted on November 11. There’s a key link between helplessness and mastery, it’s worth figuring out. A growth mindset is the belief that a trait (like intelligence or resilience) is malleable and can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and the ability to receive and integrate thoughtful feedback. Like all …

Meditate in the Metaverse

Posted on November 11. Imagine meditating while floating around in a colorful kaleidoscopic abyss. With Tripp’s immersive wellness platform, you don’t have to go far. Strap on a VR headset to enter a world of psychedelic images, breathing exercises, guided meditations, games, and sounds designed to calm the mind. “We’re …

The biggest trends in graphic design for 2023, as predicted by the creative industry

Posted on November 8. The job of the graphic designer may have changed a lot lately, but the good news is that the discipline is still in demand more than ever indeed. As …

Research Roundup: How Technology Is Transforming Work

Posted on November 7. Digital technologies promise to bring new levels of productivity and efficiency in a wide variety of applications and organizations. But how are they transforming the experience of the employees who actually interact with them every day? In this research roundup, we share highlights from several …

6 Mind-Blowing Topics in the Philosophy of Mind

Posted on November 7. Before we can examine the mind-bending problems posed by the philosophy of mind specifically, it is important to clarify something about disciplinary …

The 25-minute meeting: half the time and double the impact

Posted on November 2. The goal Halve the time and double the impact of your meetings. Nano tool The world of work will always revolve around people working with people, and …

To Craft a Better Employee Experience, Collect the Right Data

Posted on November 2. When rethinking their employees’ experience at work, leaders need tools that allow them to efficiently and effectively learn what their diverse group of employees actually needs so that they can craft policies accordingly. For the past 10 years, in their respective work, the authors have been …

The New Role Of Marketing: Drive Business Growth By Reimagining Customer Engagement

Posted on November 2. We live in unprecedented times. This is a new normal. These times represent a great reset. The market is rife with uncertainty. The great resignation and quiet quitting are making it difficult to retain talent. All the above statements are true. Things seem to be moving faster, now. Technology is …

Customer Experience This Year’s Top Sought-After Business Skill

Posted on October 31. A major online learning provider has released its list of most-popular courses, with data analytics, cloud, and customer experience (CX) management. While the demand for analytics and cloud is predictable, it’s notable that there is a growing emphasis on CX, as organizations seek to achieve …

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Cutting bureaucracy – 5 ways to sharpen your scissors

I’ve been on the case for cutting bureaucracy before in relation to my profession, customer success. Beyond that, there are so many good reasons for doing it. It’s the bane of modern life and often the preserve of large, monolithic organisations. But no one is immune and especially in an already chaotic and complex world, we MUST make a conscious decision to cut it at every turn. Here are some ways.

1. Way of the minimalist – remove until it breaks
I’ve already written about the way of the minimalist for creative productivity. Here too it can go far beyond the pursuit of creativity. Every time you are designing or building something that governs how you or others should work (process, approach, framework, etc.), think first about whether it’s even needed. If yes, take a stab at a first draft and then with close scrutiny, think about every step and whether it’s really needed – if not remove it. Remove as much as you can, until it breaks what you came up with.

2. Bureaucracy busters
There is a risk of creating more bureaucracy but if you keep a small team that are empowered to assess, audit and advise/cut, this could work. Punish unnecessary complexity, reward simplicity and eloquent action. I could have called the team the bureaucracy police but that is a stretch – they should not have that kind of power and its more about carrot than stick.

3. Empower employees and let them decide
Keep complexity out of the system (processes) and with people who can mostly figure things out for themselves. At least trust them to.  Processes should be minimal (see first point) when designing anything. 

4. Favour action and decision making
Help the company become action or decision driven. Movement is the key. Inaction will eventually lead to procrastination and inertia and these bedfellows provide fertile grounds for bureaucracy to flourish. When we are at a loose end, we tend to focus on unnecessary things – when a decision is made and action is needed, we will often go for the line that is shortest.

5. Brutal prioritisation
Ask yourself why you are doing something at every step of the way and how it leads to where you want to go. If it’s not going to help on the journey, it isn’t a priority and you can cut it. Only by being brutal in saying no, will you get to an eventual yes – more on the power of yes and no.

Walking around with a t-shirt might help remind you and everyone else to be on the lookout for this pernicious malady and cut it back at every chance you have so buy one today 😎

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Stop waiting for the permission bus

I’ve made it analogous to waiting for a bus, this whole topic of permission, and how it pertains to work. What I mean is I often see teams or individuals waiting for permission before they take any action. Sometimes they know who they seek permission from, often not – they are just waiting for someone to give them the green light. Or the permission they seek is from the right person but not needed. It’s like waiting for a bus when maybe walking will do because the destination is just around the corner, you just don’t know it. Or the bus is cancelled, and you are waiting in vain.

Another way of putting this notion is often attributed to Grace Hopper: It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission.

My point with this DanelDoodle, is clearly not to be waiting for permission.

Obviously, this does not apply in every single case. There will be times when you need to get something cleared before acting. Maybe it’s something you need expert input on, like a perspective on something that may have legal implications.

Most of the time though, people are just avoiding responsibility for decision making because they fear being blamed for the result if it’s not positive.

I say we get paid to take risks. Sensible risks but risks none the less, where outcomes are seldom certain.

Unless you have just come out of education and super early in career, you will have built up knowledge and skill and that is what you are being paid to use.

Managers should also build this culture into their teams and organisations.

So buy a t-shirt and drive decision making. Don’t worry too much about the consequences. If needed, ask for forgiveness – just don’t make the same mistake again.

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Microsoft 365 customer questions – Viva Amplify boosting internal comms

I work in the business of dealing with customer questions on Microsoft 365 all the time (disclosure), either directly or indirectly. This is part of a series of posts where I share them if they can be of help to others. Where I can of course and naturally, not just the questions but the answers too. All questions and answers strive to respect both sides sensitivities (parts will have been redacted and/or anonymised) and the main topic is covered in each post title.

I have written about Microsoft Viva before, in relation to an employee experience trend report I am working on as well as in answer to other customer questions on the multiple Viva modules being rolled out. As that roll out continues, I continue to address the new opportunities and questions that arise. Past posts below for your interest, before I get to Viva Amplify, a new module just announced (scroll through for the full list).

Why Internal Comms is ripe for disruption

I have also written about internal comms before: Internal Communications is more important than ever but missing a trick. In that post I talked about a new Microsoft Teams App called Company Communicator that could be used by internal comms teams and I covered some of the benefits of that over traditional means. Well you can think of Viva Amplify as a form of Company Communicator but on steroids, reaching more channels, with built in analytics (which was missing from Company Communicator), etc. Ultimately Viva Amplify will boost the function of internal comms even further and take it to the next level. I’m super excited by the possibilities.

What is Viva Amplify?

With new communication capabilities in Microsoft Viva, you can create messages to drive business outcomes as well as plan, create, manage and publish all your workplace communications from one place.

Reach all your employees on any device, wherever they work (i.e. the tool they are working in at the moment), whether you’re planning a large campaign or sending out weekly updates.

Jumpstart your process using Viva’s writing guidance, which makes it easier to create messages that resonate with your audience and in the right channel. Save time rewriting the same message for a different channel or audience in just a few clicks.

Viva Amplify gives you a single place to share drafts and track approvals, and it also helps you visualize and optimize your messages by previewing your final output for each channel.

In addition to messages, you can also define campaign objectives to help you set clear messaging goals within multiple channels, whether that’s Outlook, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer and more. All this before you hit send.

Then use Viva’s Campaign hub to understand and track the impact your messages will make. Know what’s working and how to improve your messages for next time you have a story to tell.

Here is a short gif to give you a flavour of how this will work (note that this may change in the final version when it launches some time early in calendar year 2023).

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SenseMaking from the Web

This post is an aggregation of recent articles that I have collected over at Flipboard on my magazine there. It captures great sense making from others, in other words, great articles from other sites I thought worth capturing and sharing. Curating good articles is a discerning process and I’ve automated the delivery of it in WordPress using a Power Automate Flow to achieve this – more on that here.

The missing apex of Maslow’s hierarchy could save us all

Posted on October 28. In his later years, psychologist Abraham Maslow added a new apex to the pyramid of human needs: self-transcendence.

It’s Time to Rethink the Employee Experience

Posted on October 28. The research found that 96% of survey respondents consider recruiting CX employees to be challenging. And 62% are struggling with increasing …

4 things you need to know about the metaverse this week

Posted on October 26. Experts believe that the metaverse will come to represent the next major computing platform, transforming consumer experience and business models …

Everything dies, including information

Posted on October 26. Quite a bit, according to the experts. For one thing, what we think is permanent isn’t. Digital storage systems can become unreadable in as little as …

PepsiCo is working with startups to tap new sources of innovation. Here’s how it does it

Posted on October 26. How can innovative startups work effectively with big firms? One senior executive gives us his top tips. Blue-chip firms with thousands of employees …

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Features that delight – delayed receipt and sending of messages

I love some of the options we are given to skip receiving something or delay sending something. The benefits are many, chief amongst them that you have the time to address the message properly at a later stage. This works in both instances, i.e. you snooze the message to a time when you can address it or you delay sending it in case something comes up to change it before sending.

Microsoft Teams

You can now schedule messages for later right from within Microsoft Teams

The screenshot at left tells you pretty much all you need to know in terms of how to do it. This only works in Chat messages (not Channel messages).

As tempting as it is to be immediate with your messages in Teams due to the on-demand nature of the communication, it is useful to schedule messages to later. Especially when the person you are messaging is in a different time zone.

Outlook

In Outlook you have both options (to snooze a message and schedule it for later).

These screenshots are from Oulook Web App which is what I use. I don’t imagine it will be very different in the Outlook client.

As you can see, snoozing can be done on some predetermined time basis, or you can select a custom date and time. So too with scheduling messages and you access this function by clicking the down arrow in the send button.

Of course these functions are not unique to Microsoft technologies. I just make more use of these and so I’m showcasing them here. You will find these functions in most email technologies and probably also in collaborative or messaging technologies. The key is they are simple to use once you find them and surprisingly delightful in their value.

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SenseMaking from the Web

This post is an aggregation of recent articles that I have collected over at Flipboard on my magazine there. It captures great sense making from others, in other words, great articles from other sites I thought worth capturing and sharing. Curating good articles is a discerning process and I’ve automated the delivery of it in WordPress using a Power Automate Flow to achieve this – more on that here.

Growth hacking is really just growth testing

Posted on October 10. Who knew that “growth hacking,” a term coined in 2010 by Sean Ellis, the first marketer at Dropbox, would become so commonplace in 2022? Considering the fact that growth marketing wasn’t even a formal function at startups 12 years ago, I think it’s okay to say that we couldn’t have predicted how …

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe and Early-Stage Company Growth Dynamics

Posted on October 10. The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Stanford University, Ernst & Young and Endeavor, surveyed over 1,000 entrepreneurs from around the …

Is innovation training the key to transforming your organization?

Posted on October 9. Innovation training encourages the kind of creativity and problem solving that can lead to breakthroughs in business. Innovation training helps …

Curiosity, Not Coding: 6 Skills Leaders Need in the Digital Age

Posted on October 9. This is the third and final article of the “Leading in the Digital Era” series. Read parts one and two. Leaders who set out to reshape their companies …

There Is No Such Thing as an Original Idea, or Why You Should Copy and Not Worry

Posted on October 9. Artists enjoy calling their work “original.” For good reason too, as artists, we want to stand out and send an authentic message to the world. But, …

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Why do we work if not for meaning

This is a gloss on an Annie Dillard piece when she was writing about writing. I read her classic book called The Writing Life not too long ago and this excerpt stuck with me. I thought it could easily apply to many things but especially work. If you want to find the original piece, go to pages 72-73 in her book. Here is my take in relation to work, modified quite substantially.

Why are we working if not in hope that the work will magnify our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will impress upon our minds the value of labour, so we may feel a sense of worth and that we have contributed in some way to the very foundations of humanity.

Okay I probably overegged it. Try tell something that on a Monday morning 😬

But if not that or even part that, what then and why not?

Yes I get that not everyone has choices in life that allow them the luxury to question the work that they are doing.

But surely now in an age of the great resignation, after the futility and of the pandemic, with wars raging and madmen at the helm, why now should we not consider this alternative.

If not now, when.

I’d like to think I’ve always been in it for the passion. I’ve had several jobs that were devoid of passion, mine or anyones around me (which is often a great determinant of our own passion), and soon after I quit.

Thats the way it should be.

The pendulum for following your passion swings both ways many times. I’ve read headlines saying success at work are equally due to following your passion or nothing at all to do with it.

Let us not get too caught up in what the answer is. The points are: do you get meaning out of the work you do; does it satisfy some deeper level drive that goes beyond the need for a pay check?

I would argue that passion and meaning are closely aligned and whether you are following a passion at work or are passionate because of the work you do, it will give you meaning.

And why should that meaning not led to greater fulfilment. To experiences at work that allow us to feel alive and that we are contributing to something worthwhile. Something that “resonates with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive” (as Joseph Campbell put it in the Power of Myth).

When we spend at least two thirds of our lives working, why should we not expect this and work towards it.

Whether as employees or employers, can there be a grander vision for work?

I would argue not.

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SenseMaking from the Web

This post is an aggregation of recent articles that I have collected over at Flipboard on my magazine there. It captures great sense making from others, in other words, great articles from other sites I thought worth capturing and sharing. Curating good articles is a discerning process and I’ve automated the delivery of it in WordPress using a Power Automate Flow to achieve this – more on that here.

3 simple tricks for driving change in your workplace, no matter your role

Posted on October 7. The authors of ‘Hack Your Bureaucracy’ explain a central misunderstanding about getting things done: change happens just because the person in charge declares it should. In our experience, too many people think that the president—or your CEO, organization head, or university president—is the …

Why Customer Service Is the New Marketing

Posted on October 6. October 6, 2022 SPONSORED CONTENT Sprinklr’s Arun Pattabhiraman explains how brands can close the gap between these two functions. Happy customers make …

XaaS and subscription business models | Get started with business model innovation | SAP Insight

Posted on October 6. Explore business model innovation and the rise of XaaS and subscription business models – learn about the benefits, examples, and more.

Research: How Employee Experience Impacts Your Bottom Line

Posted on October 6. Executives might be more accustomed to seeing business cases and ROI calculations from marketing and sales teams, but they should start empowering talent departments to make their own case. Why? Because customer-facing employees and revenue are strongly linked, the authors find. In their research, …

AI can produce prize-winning art, but it still can’t compete with human creativity

Posted on October 6. People consider creativity to be inherently human. However, artificial intelligence (AI) has reached the stage where it can be creative as well. A …

The rise of product-led growth is creating opportunities for startups

Posted on October 1. Welcome to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where it gets its name. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here. More companies are adopting product-led growth (PLG), in which the product itself does most of the …

How to Prepare for AI Writing Disruption in Content Marketing

Posted on September 27. The content marketing industry is witnessing a paradigm shift. The search for the keyword “AI copywriting” is trending upward globally. On Google Trends, between December 2021 and now (August 2022), the search term has maintained an upward trend. Also trending alongside it are more specific keywords, …

The real opportunity in creative AI: Deepening human creativity

Posted on September 25. We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift brought by generative AI — but it isn’t about making creativity “quick and easy.” Generative technology opens new heights of human expression and helps creators find their authentic voices. How we create is changing. The blog you read earlier today may have …

What is the future of the employee experience?

Posted on September 25. Employee experience directly impacts the customer experience so it’s critical for businesses to invest in both to achieve success Every company’s success is tied to its talent – recruiting and retaining the employees needed to deliver high-level customer experiences that support the bottom line. Yet …

9 Future of Work Trends Post Covid-19

Posted on September 25. In short: Ongoing changes in the way people work have permanently transformed employees’ relationship with and expectations of work. • Hybrid work could …

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Launching a business in a recession – 4 of 4 – Selling

This is a post in a series of four detailing how you can start a business during a recession (find them all eventually under the startup innovation tag). I think it is a commonly held view that we are about to enter into or are already in a recession. For whatever reason you are thinking about starting a business at this time, I am helping a startup on a similar path and thought I would share what I am thinking about to help them (more on my mentoring here). The focus in this series is the really early stages prior to launch and the emphasis is on how to do things on the cheap ;)

Assuming all has gone well in preparation for launch, one of the main things that you will presumably be doing at time of launch is selling your product or service. Whether it’s free, freemium, includes trials or fully paid for, at some point you will want to consider the transfer of a product or service and the beginning of a relationship with a customer or user. Well, you will need to consider the best way to sell and distribute your product/service and the best way to amplify that. You may want to consider doing it on a test basis before full blown launch but however you do it, you need to consider a few things.

eCommerce


There are so many factors to consider when selling something online that it would be impossible to consider them all in a short post.

It depends on whether you have a single product or multiple, product and/or service, physical and/or digital, fixed price and/or subscription, etc. And this is only the beginning.

In conclusion, you should consider a platform that is flexible. One such platform is WooCommerce although there are many others. It comes from the developers of WordPress and is free for the most part with the possibility of buying addons.

Distribution


So many options to think about in this area too, but it’s crucial as it could make or break your business.

And there are similar dependencies. If you sell software or digital downloads, you will have far fewer challenges. If you sell physical products and these are complex and require installation, then so much the more challenging.

An obvious option is to go Direct to Consumer and learn what many established firms are. Or if your product suits it (like printed t-shirts), go on demand and integrate order and delivery into your site. Most attractive is the new trend in Dropshipping, where you commission suppliers to ‘drop’ shipments to your customers’ doorsteps on your behalf.

Bonus Tool/Service: Themes

You want your site to look cool and attractive and you don’t have the time or money to pay for a designer – start with a theme.

As you can see from the screenshot above and the link in the button below, WooCoomerce comes with a theme directory you can choose from.

There are many more choices than this as well. For instance, you could consider Divi or Elementor, both produce website building platforms dedicated to WordPress and offer themes that are focused on eCommerce. These would make it super easy for a non-technical person to customise a theme without having to start from scratch.