Friends, last week I quietly noticed a milestone for this list: 500 subscribers! Yay!



Some personal news - I have teamed up with the fearless Katelyn Holbrook as the new co-executive directors of Boston Content. Read more about the next era of Boston's largest content-focused professional development group and our plans for the future. 

We are the third wave of ED's after Devin Bramhall, Mike Baker, Jay Acunzo, and Arestia Rosenberg. Big shoes to fill and we're excited to continue to lead a very passionate organization. Join us! 

Welcome to #37, let's dig in:

1. How to think about competition
2. Men talk more than women in sales calls, and are less effective
3. The end of cool, the rise of woke in America
4. What rebels want from their boss
5. To marketers who are stressed the f*ck out:
6. Headlines that work from a study of over 100M
7. I gotta mention the Marketo snafu this week
8. Quote of the week - how you know


1. How to think about competition


Your competition is not always a traditional set of similar companies. It includes any offerings that satisfy the same jobs to be done. This means that in different contexts, the field of competitors changes.

The article by Steve Wunker is a great overview (long read) and details organizations that claim to be the first or only ones to do something. These companies are either:

  • wearing blinders, defining themselves too narrowly and ignoring others that are getting the job done
  • doing something unique but not realizing it's been done/tried in another industry
  • truly new ideas (often new/emerging tech) bringing their own type of risk ("Innovations struggle when customers perceive risks in adopting a new solution, even if those risks are unfounded")

Read more.

2. Men talk more than women in sales calls, and are less effective



This study is fascinating. AI sales tool Gong looked at over 500k sales calls, and found men talk for longer, uninterrupted, on sales calls than their female counterparts. 

In contrast, sales women talked less, and listened more (a trait we know is best practice in sales.) 

The result: saleswomen closed more deals, especially when selling to other women. Read the full study.

3. The end of cool, the rise of woke in America


"Today because of social media, everybody is close up, present 24/7, familiar and un-iconic," says author David Brooks, contrasting what it means to be cool in 2017 to what cool was in the 20th century with Miles Davis, James Dean, or Jimi Hendrix.

What's replaced cool is now the concept of "woke." Here's the difference:

"Cool was politically detached, but being a social activist is required for being woke. 
Cool was individualistic, but woke is nationalistic and collectivist. 
Cool was emotionally reserved; woke is angry, passionate and indignant. 
Cool was morally ambiguous; woke seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable.

Culture is the collective response to the core problems of the times. Today’s general disgust with institutions is producing a new style of collective action. "

Fascinating. Read on.

4. What rebels want from their boss


Rebel. Troublemaker. Renegade. I have been known as all three in a corporate setting. This personality style is needed in fast-moving, ambiguous, environments (hello startups) but it requires a certain type of manager.

Here's what rebels want from their boss: (Source)



5. To marketers who are stressed the f*ck out:


You're doing everything wrong. 

You're not doing anything right. 

Your job is under greater pressure than ever and you're getting less time to figure it out as the average tenure of your role decreases with every passing quarter. 

You've got 5,000 tools to buy, less talent than ever qualified to manage it, changing customer behavior to keep up with, not helped in the slightest by the internet's ability to give you all the information you could ever need and tech to simultaneously measure everything you do. 

So why haven't you figured it out yet, marketer? 

Could it be that you're human? That you're in the same boat as all of your peers?

This job has never been for the thin-skinned, the timid, or those paralyzed by uncertainty.

But, as my friend Anita Brearton says in this piece for CMSWire... "nobody's figured it all out." Read more, and take a deep breath. It'll be okay. 

6. Headlines that work from a study of over 100M


Next time you hit a writer's block on that blog post or eBook title... consider a study of over 100M headlines this year by Buzzsumo:


Why it works:

"This headline format sets out why the reader should care about the content. It also promises that the content will have a direct impact on the reader, often an emotional reaction. The headline is clear and to the point which makes it elegant and effective."

More findings in the full article - bookmark this one.


7. I gotta mention the Marketo snafu this week


Marketo made headlines this week for its domain-renewal snafu. I like Scott Brinker's insight-packed take on things.

Twitter blew up and we all raised our eyebrows as an agile, loved marketing tech player made a rookie mistake - someone internally forgot to renew the domain name. 

But here's the thing - it could happen to any company of that size, and any SaaS organization. While it may seem incredibly rare and out of character, it's exceedingly common to face people and process hiccups at this point in the biz. Marketo's stage of growth (public company, PE-owned, with about 1,100 employees and a $2B valuation) puts it in a different category than it once was. 

Related: Why good people leave large tech companies.

8. Quote of the week

some people
when they hear
your story.
upon hearing
your story. 
this is how

- Nayyirah Waheed


Upcoming events I'm speaking at or hosting

(it's gonna be a busy fall...)


Have a great weekend,