Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What Do Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and Judy Clarke Have in Common?

Steve Jobs
“He ... came to like the idea of having a uniform for himself, because of both its daily convenience (the rationale he claimed) and its ability to convey a signature style.”

Barack Obama
“You also need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day. ‘You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,’ he said. ‘I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’ He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. ‘You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.’”

Mark Zuckerberg
“Zuckerberg’s willingness to be different and ignore social norms manifest itself in other ways. He wears a gray T-shirt every day, saying he wants to focus his decision-making energy on Facebook not fashion.”

Judy Clarke
“Knowing exactly what to put on each morning saved her from having to think about it.”

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Great Man Shows His Greatness by the Way He Treats Little Men

“Bob Hoover, a famous test pilot and frequent performer at air shows, was returning to his home in Los Angeles from an air show in San Diego. As described in the magazine Flight Operations, at 300 feet in the air, both engines suddenly stopped. By deft maneuvering he managed to land the plane, but it was badly damaged, although nobody was hurt.

“Hoover’s first act after the emergency landing was to inspect the airplane’s fuel. Just as he suspected, the World War II propeller plane he had been flying had been fueled with jet fuel rather than gasoline.

“Upon returning to the airport, he asked to see the mechanic who had serviced his airplane. The young man was sick with the agony of his mistake. Tears streamed down his face as Hoover approached. He had just caused the loss of a very expensive plane and could have caused the loss of three lives as well.

“You can imagine Hoover’s anger. One could anticipate the tongue-lashing that this proud and precise pilot would unleash for that carelessness. But Hoover didn’t scold the mechanic; he didn’t even criticize him. Instead, he put his big arm around the man’s shoulder and said, ‘To show you I’m sure that you’ll never do this again, I want you to service my F-51 tomorrow.’

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Friday, April 10, 2015

If You Can’t Sell What You Create, You’re a Bum

Why salesmanship is the ultimate skill.

1. “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” —David Ogilvy

2. There’s no such thing as a bad idea. There are only ideas that clients won’t pay for.

3. Real artists ship. —Steve Jobs

4. “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent ... Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb ... The world is full of educated derelicts.” —Calvin Coolidge

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Which Headline Do You Think Is Best?

Knowing nothing else, which one would you click on first?

  1. 10 E-Newsletter Tactics You’re Overlooking
  2. The 10 Most Impactful Opportunities Your E-Newsletter Is Overlooking
  3. 10 Fast Ways to Turbocharge Your E-Newsletter
  4. 10 Tactics Every E-Newsletter Must Exploit
  5. 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your E-Newsletter
  6. 10 Easy Ways You Can Quickly Enrich Your Email Marketing
  7. 10 Powerful Ways to Perfect Your Email Marketing
  8. How to Polish Your E-Newsletter to Perfection
  9. 10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Make Your Next E-Newsletter More Clickable
  10. The 10 Most Important Elements of Your E-Newsletter
  11. 10 Ways to Make Everyone Read Your E-Newsletter
  12. 10 Ways to Make Sure People Read Every Word of Your E-Newsletter
  13. 10 Things You Need to Know to Master Email Marketing
  14. 10 Easy Wins for Every E-Newsletter
  15. 10 Ways to Transform Your E-Newsletter Into a Revenue-Generating, Grassroots-Mobilizing Machine
  16. 10 Loopholes Every Top E-newsletter Exploits
  17. 10 Power Tips for Pro Email Marketers
  18. How to Become an Email Marketing Wizard
  19. 10 Things You Didn’t Know Your E-newsletter Could Do
  20. 10 Tactics to Consider Before Sending Your Next Email Blast
  21. E-Newsletter Hacks: 10 Small Opportunities That Pay Big Dividends
  22. 10 Proven Ways to Wring Every Drop of ROI Out of Your Email Marketing
  23. 10 Tactics No Email Marketer Can Live Without
  24. The Top 10 Secrets of the World’s Most Successful E-Newsletters
  25. 10 Secrets Email Marketers Don’t Want You to Know
  26. 10 Tactics to Boost Your E-Newsletter’s Open and Click-through Rates
Vote here.

Addendum (4/6/2015): Preliminary results:

Addendum (4/13/2015): And the winner is...

Friday, April 3, 2015

How Many Shares Did That Article Draw?

These publishers make their stats public, which is smart, since it’s easier to join the bandwagon than to be blaze a new trail.



PR Daily



Fast Company


New York


Thursday, April 2, 2015

The 4 Key Words Every Headline Now Needs

1.     Meet

Meet the Man Who Will Replace Jon Stewart
The New York Post
Meet Trevor Noah, New Host of the Daily Show
Meet Trevor Noah: What We Know About Jon Stewart’s Daily Show Replacement
Meet Your New Host of the Daily Show
The New York Observer

2.     Who

Trevor Noah: Who Is He?
The Telegraph
Who Is Trevor Noah? 10 Things to Know About the Daily Show’s New Host
The National Post
Who Is Trevor Noah? A Look at His Comedy Show
CBS News
Who Is Trevor Noah, and How Will He Do As Jon Stewart’s Replacement on the Daily Show
The Washington Post
Who Is Trevor Noah? Get to Know the Next Daily Show Host
Entertainment Weekly
Who Is Trevor Noah? New the Daily Show Host’s Best Jokes, Tweets
The International Business Times
Who’s Trevor Noah? Want to Know About the New Daily Show Host
Your New Host of the Daily Is Trevor Noah. Who?

3.     Know

Everything to Know About Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart’s Successor
The Daily Beast
Everything We Know About Trevor Noah, the Daily Show’s New Host
Get to Know Your New Daily Show Host
Vanity Fair
Get to Know Trevor Noah Through Instagram
The Wall Street Journal
The Daily Show Trevor Noah: 5 Things to Know About Him
ABC News
Want to Know About the New Daily Show Host Trevor Noah
What to Know About Trevor Noah, New Host of the Daily Show

4.     Need

25 Things You Need to Know About Trevor Noah
The New York Daily News
Everything You Need to Know About Trevor Noah, the New Daily Show Host
Here’s What You Need to Know About New Daily Show Host Trevor Noah

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Sucker Is Optimized Every Minute

“For years, search-engine optimization, or S.E.O., has turned web pages into Googlebait. These days, optimizers of squeeze pages, drawing lessons as much from the labcoats at Optimizely as from the big daddies at Google, recommend creating a three-to-10 minute video that’s introduced by a ‘magnetic headline’ (‘Find the Perfect Lampshade for Any Lamp’) and quickly chase it with an ‘information gap’ like ‘You’re Not Going to Believe the Trick I Use While Lampshade Shopping.’ (Article of faith among optimizers: humans find information gaps intolerable and will move heaven and earth to close them.) Next you get specific: ‘Click the play button to see me do my lampshade trick!’—after which the video unspools, only to stall at the midpoint with a virtual tollbooth. You can’t go on unless you hand over an email address. Presto.”

Virginia Heffernan

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Amazon’s Customer Service Keeps Getting Better and Better

March 17, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Do you carry this product (Apple’s leather case for the iPhone 6 Plus) in white? Thank you.

March 17, 2015 at 4:00 PM[1]

I do understand your concern that you’re interested in this item.[2]

Unfortunately, we don’t have any more stock of the case in white color right now,[3] and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to get more.[4]

In this case, we’re waiting to receive more inventory of this item from the manufacturers directly instead from our reliance suppliers.[5]

I’ve passed your message to the appropriate department in our company for consideration so that they can make arrangements to avail this item.[5]

I’d suggest checking our website from time to time to see if this item is available. If anyone is selling it, you’ll see a “More Buying Choices” box on the product detail page.[6]

You might also want to check our international sites ( to see if the item is available. Orders placed at these sites cannot be combined with orders and will also be shipped from outside the U.S., so international shipping costs will apply.[7]

Thanks for your patience and understanding. We hope to see you again soon.

Best regards,
Nijan R[8]

1. Wow that was quick!

2. Restates my problem.

3. Bottom-line up front.

4. Preemptively answers my first follow-up question.

5. Explanation.

6. Alternative solution.

7. Another alternative solution.

8. Name


Thank you for contacting Amazon seller support.

From your email, I do understand your concern regarding ASIN B002GHBUTK.[1] I deeply regret any inconvenience caused to you with this regard.[2]

Upon reviewing this ASIN, I found that these are restricted by our Business team. These products have been restricted based on reports that some customers have received products that are inconsistent with the product detail pages.[3] Due to the nature of this restriction, Seller Support cannot provide further information or approve requests to list.[4]

To ensure buyer satisfaction we occasionally restrict the sales of certain products to pre-approved sellers. Although certain sellers may be listing these items, Amazon is not accepting new offers at this time.

While we do not have a specific date when we expect these restrictions to be lifted, these restrictions are intended to be temporary in nature.[5]

Unfortunately at this time we do not have a way to appeal this decision, nor is there a way to apply for approval to list this item. I am very sorry for any inconvenience this causes you.[6]

These decisions are taken by our Business team at a higher level where Seller Support does not have any insight into, hence I am unable to provide further information related to the restriction.[7]

While I truly want to help you in this situation,[8] please know that we at seller support do not have authority to influence or make immediate changes to the currently existing policy and service terms as these are implemented by Business team.[9]

I understand that this might be frustrating and may cause inconvenience to you. I deeply empathize with your situation and request your understanding and co-operation for this.[10]

Again I sincerely apologize for the little information I was able to provide you regarding this issue. If there was more I could provide I would, but we at Seller Support do not have that information due to factors out of our control.[11]

Please note that we will also try to get in touch with you to discuss the issue.

Thank you for selling with Amazon,

Vinod Nukapur[12] Seller Support

1. Identifies the product about which I’m inquiring.

2. Apology.

3. Explanation.

4. Our hands are tied.

5. Silver lining.

6. Our hands are tied.

7. Our hands are tied.

8. Empathy.

9. Our hands are tied.

10. Apology and empathy.

11. Apology and empathy.

12. Name

Friday, March 6, 2015

Joe Kennedy Was Right

“The futility of [Hillary]’s email prophylaxis could have been explained to her by any intern. Emails, once written, are almost impossible to erase or protect. On some email systems, you don’t even have to hit send for them to be detected! Remember how Gen. David Petraeus and his mistress-biographer thought they were keeping their correspondence confidential; by writing ‘drafts’—unsent emails in shared Gmail account that both could read? But the FBI wasn’t fooled by their trick and found the messages. Email systems are routinely hacked and correspondence is frequently leaked. If you must use email (and I must) never write anything you’ll be embarrassed by when a hacker leaks it or a subpoena makes it public. Just ask Sony’s Amy Pascal, former Rep. Mark Foley, former Gov. John Kitzhaber, a whole Wall Street wrecking crew, Sarah Palin, Selma Hayek, former IRS Commissioner Lois Lerner, Jonathan Gruber, and many more.”

Jack Shafer

Monday, February 23, 2015

“Honey, Do These Pants Make Me Look Fat?”

Asked for your opinion of something you think is subpar, how should you reply? Should you offer gentle reassurance—pointing out the good, then suggesting alternatives—or should you come straight to the point (“It’s bad”)?

Here are two arguments for the latter:

1. “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.” —Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) in Whiplash.

2. Steve Jobs’s taste for merciless criticism was notorious. Jony Ive recalled that after seeing colleagues crushed, Ive protested. Jobs replied, “Why would you be vague?,” arguing that ambiguity was a form of selfishness: “You don’t care about how they feel! You’re being vain, you want them to like you.”

Ive was furious, but came to agree. “It’s really demeaning to think that, in this deep desire to be liked, you’ve compromised giving clear, unambiguous feedback,” he said. He lamented that there were “so many anecdotes” about Jobs’s acerbity: “His intention, and motivation, wasn’t to be hurtful.”

Addendum (3/9/2015): An argument for the former:

“The real power of workplace recognition is not in motivating the most elite levels of talent in the organization. It’s in mobilizing the majority—recognizing the vast middle tier that helps move the organization forward every day. Though recognition for a job well done may be demotivating to a rare few superstars, it’s exactly the thing that pushes the rest of the staff forward.”

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Don’t Call It an Email “Blast”

“Blast invokes images of something you send out without much thought or consideration. It doesn’t take much time or effort either, because you’re literally just ‘blasting’ out information.

“Effective email marketing, on the other hand … takes time, thought, and consideration because you’re focused on building relationships and not just ‘blasting’ your audience with updates ...

“This type of email marketing enables you to build relationships, stay top of mind, drive valuable repeat business, and encourage word-of-mouth referrals.

“Achieving these types of goals starts with dropping the ‘blast’ mentality.

Constant Contact

“When ‘blast’ is used in reference to emails, it conjures up images of unwanted bulk emails invasively clogging thousands of inboxes at a time. And if you’re trying to create and grow meaningful relationships with your customers, it’s easy to see that clogging their inboxes is not the way to go.

“So instead of ‘email blast,’ let’s think of it as a simple note.

“Thinking of your email as writing a ‘note’ rather than a ‘blast’ gets you in the right frame of mind. Your emails should be like a pleasant conversation among friends ...

“When you take this approach with your email marketing, you’ll find much better results. After all, you’re trying to build relationships. Friendly conversations that offer helpful, relevant information will go much further than ‘blasts’ that talk at your customers rather than with them.

Constant Contact

Friday, February 20, 2015

How to Close the Customer Every Time

Typical: after a meeting or call, a prospect asks you to send him additional info.

Atypical: you reply as follows:

1. “Absolutely, Sean—what kind of information would you need to help you (and your team, if applicable) come to a decision?”

2. “Sean, let’s say that I send you all that, you review it and love itwhat happens next?”

Close Every Customer by Asking This Powerful Question

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

3 Tips Every Job Applicant Should Know

1. Copy and paste the job description into a word-cloud generator, like Wordle. This way, the most important words will immediately become apparent.

2. Remember: who you follow on social media and who’s following you is public. Just ask Google’s former CEO.

3. Follow the result-by-action structure for the bullet points on your resume. For example:

  • Generated approximately $452,000 in annual savings by employing a new procedure which streamlined the business's vendor relationships

Friday, February 6, 2015

The #1 Mistake Everybody Makes on Twitter

In Your News Releases, Use Different Subheads for Different Reporters

Imagine this is the headline of a news release you’re pitching:

“Acme Releases Groundbreaking Shovel”

No doubt, you’re sending this to various media. Shouldn’t you therefore vary the subheadline—if not the headline itself?

As my friend Mike Long explains, here are a few subheads you might use for a business reporter:

  • Release expected to boost 4th quarter profits
  • First Acme tool built at new all-robot plant
  • Last project of outgoing CEO

And here are a couple for a lifestyle reporter:

  • First Acme tool built at new all-robot plant
  • High-tech features aimed at first-time gardeners

It’s one of the oldest—and too often overlooked—tricks in the press playbook: different audiences deserve different messages.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Is Facebook Dying?

“Here’s the hard truth. According to the latest from Pew Research, Facebook’s growth has become relatively stagnant. The site is also losing enthusiasm from today’s adolescents.

“But, I, as well as others, will argue that’s completely irrelevant. Facebook is still the world’s largest social network. The latest data shows that Facebook has nearly 1.4 billion monthly active users. That means 20% of the world is on Facebook.

“Reports released just days ago show that Facebook topped Wall Street’s revenue target in the fourth quarter, growing by 49% and reaching $3.85 billion.

“So yeah. Facebook’s not going anywhere.

Kiera Stein