Discover more from Margaret the Pug
Of business writing
What do serial entrepreneurship, hyper inflation, and the Mars rover have in common? They're all in this post.
Ingenuity, the helicopter built to fly in the thin atmosphere of Mars, waves to his rover buddy Perseverance.
Business writing is the philosophy of our age. Rather than study ethics we get MBA’s.
A look at popular business books tells the story:
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices
Now, Discover Your Strengths
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
The 4 Hour Work Week
These are books about how to live and what it means to be good. That’s philosophy.
Business is how you make money and it can also be how you make a living. Think for yourself. Don't take another's word for what a fortune is.
Work and life are not separate. We can learn from everyone, and everything can make us better in our work. As Montaigne says, “Everything is useful in a household; even the stupidity and weakness of others will be an education to (the student.) By taking stock of the graces and manners of others, he will create in himself desire of the good ones and contempt for the bad.” Or as Margaret the pug might say, “The sun teaches me to sit.
From the world of Canadian start-ups, this article in the Globe and Mail describes a new venture with the unfortunate name Disco that allows anyone to teach classes to others in real-time. Think Substack meets Deschooling Society — one of my favorites: a communist social critic predicts internet business models in 1971. Technology makes anything possible, but it doesn’t make everything smart. Hey founders, ever heard of YouTube? They already have $4.75M is seed capital, so what do I know. One of the founders sold a performance marketing company for $122M and lives full-time in Costa Rica. You can’t make this stuff up. Bonus points for readers who know what “performance marketing” means.
The term “serial entrepreneur” has many of the same connotations as “serial philanderer.” Is there a trail of broken hearts behind you? If you really loved your businesses, wouldn’t you stick with it? Commitment isn’t for everyone. Some of us are good starters and need to leave serious business to others. Of course, making something out of nothing is no joke, but if you take it too seriously you’ll never finish the first draft. Know who you are, a starter or a finisher. Get people around you who are unlike you and can make the parts you can't that are needed to make something great.
Speaking of making something out of nothing, $1.9 trillion new dollars are gestating in Uncle Sam, ready to be birthed into our economy. They’ll join about $2.2 trillion of their young brothers and sisters born in 2020 and another $2.2-ish trillion promised in the 2017 tax cut, and billions more from the bailout. (Remember those innocent days when the only contagions were financial?) So why has there been little inflation so far? The best explanation I’ve heard is that the money has been sitting inside banks or with a small number of organizations and individuals and has never gotten into circulation. If you already have $50 billion and you get an extra $5 billion from the feds, you’re unlikely to spend it. You could argue that there has been inflation— runaway inflation in asset prices— but that’s too scary. The most recent $1.9 trillion is targeted at a different group than the beneficiaries of the previous new dollars. Wouldn’t it be ironic if help from the government came inflation free only when it goes to people who don't need it.
I have no idea, but it's still interesting. Buy GameStop?
Marketers should think like virologists, or movie-villain virologists anyway. The best viruses are ever evolving, relentlessly searching for the most efficient way to bond to another carrier. The marketing as virus analogy also explains why it’s so hard to pin-point marketing’s contribution to sales; buyers can be asymptomatic carriers of marketing’s messages. Asking people how they heard of you isn’t enough. Understanding the role of asymptomatic carriers in transmission is super difficult. I say stop trying.
Work to create messages that transfer easily from one person to another. The most effective carriers don't know they're carriers.
Selling is very bad for marketing; we all have strong antibodies against being sold to.
Most of us forget details, but we get the big picture. Never stop painting the big picture.
Don’t tie marketing to metrics it can’t control. Give it its own territory, and hold it accountable to a revenue goal, as this McKinsey article illustrates. Money quote: “Don’t count on returning to a pre-COVID-19 level of in-person sales coverage, as only 20–30% of B2B buyers want to ever interact with reps in person even in their ideal/post-COVID-19 model.
Good editors are hard to find, and I’ve found one. Although there are times when I feel like the Latrell Sprewell to her P.J. Carlesimo, coaches are supposed to make us grow, and sometimes growth hurts. Thank you Suzanna de Boer for the hurt.
My friend Adam Zais, connoisseur of cool SaaS products, for showing me his latest find, pie.me. It’s project management software you might actually use. The pie analogies get a little cute, but the visual metaphor is striking, and the tactile focused interface is intuitive once you believe it. In software, there’s always a better way to tackle an old problem.
NASA and the entire team responsible for the Perseverance rover and its super-cute helicopter buddy Ingenuity. If the trailer doesn’t make you wish you’d tried harder in science class, you have no heart.
A consumer price index of 1.7% over the last 12 months. Let’s hope it stays there.
Finishing the book. Publication is slated for October.
Finishing the analysis and recommendations for product marketing at a healthcare SaaS company.
Building a collaboration with friends at Crayon.co, a platform for competitive intelligence.
Experimenting in Clubhouse with our friend Josh Oakes.
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