Viewing entries in


#22 Birthday edition! The Myth of the Entrepreneur, What Young Women May Not Know, Are You Human?

It's my birthday! (And that of my twin sister - HBD, Julie!)

It is truly a gift to me that you are opening this silly newsletter. The list continues to grow week after week. Welcome to all my new subscribers, including MY MOM! HI MOM! 

It's my birthday! (And that of my twin sister's - HBD, Julie!)

It is truly a gift to me that you are opening this silly newsletter. The list continues to grow week after week. Welcome to all my new subscribers, including MY MOM! HI MOM! 

This is edition number 22, and in this edition of the World's Best Newsletter:

1. What B2B Marketers Need to Understand About the Power of Relevance in a World of More
2. The Myth of the Entrepreneur
3. What young women may not know
4. Are you human? 
5. The Sad Truth About Milo Yiannopoulos
6. Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds
7. No Happy Ears
8. Quote of the Week: Lauren Landry

Let's get into it:

1. What B2B Marketers Need to Understand About the Power of Relevance in a World of More

I'm very fortunate to be with a wonderful partner who just gets me. I know, because the birthday gifts she gives are always thoughtful, creative and spot on. 

In my guest post this week for Evergage, I relate the feeling of getting a really perfect gift to great marketing. Both require someone to know a lot about the other person. It's relevant. And it's this sense of relevance that makes it special. 

2. The Myth of the Entrepreneur

In this excellent piece, Janessa Lantz tells the real story of what drives innovation. It's not the lone entrepreneur creating innovation (as charming as those stories may seem). It's funded academic research, entrepreneurial education, and a shift in VC funding. 

Today, VCs invest $63 Billion in startups, the majority in late-stage internet companies. If we follow this model, Steve Blank says, 

"We risk running out of new technology — 5 years, maybe 10 — then we’re buying from China. The next layer of innovation comes from basic research.”

Janessa implores us to continue to provide STEM PhDs with funding to conduct research. 

It has "long been the unsung secret to the United State’s innovation edge. It might not be as exciting as the entrepreneur myth, it certainly doesn’t grab as many TechCrunch headlines, but it’s the real story of how we got to where we are today. And it’s a story that will shape how we invest in our future." 

3. What young women may not know

"Many people are not aware that a select group of white men, a board of education in Texas, has been charged with the job of editing all of the history textbooks for decades. Their editing is final. That is the reason you probably didn’t know..."

Read the STORY of the real fights for women's rights in our not-so-distant past that lend important context to today's narratives. Then, go send it to everyone you know who is "completed satisfied with life" and does not understand why we need to be discussing such things in 2017. 

4. Are you human? 

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin … (4:25 video)

5. The Sad Truth About Milo Yiannopoulos

He is an attention-seeking provocateur. He is the most boring person on the planet. He should have never been given an iota of opportunity to SPEAK ON BEHALF OF anyone: he does not represent conservatives, he does not represent the gay community. He represents the worst of human nature. Shame on anyone who fell into his trap of media-manipulation. (Read Ryan Holiday's writing for a playbook.) Enough.

6. Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason. Facts don't persuade like we think they ought to. 

7. No Happy Ears

On the other extreme, a lack of the truth does not help when facing tough choices. Actually, facts are necessary when making difficult decisions.

Quoting friend and colleague Denice Sakakeeny "optimism is not a proxy for facts. Facts pretty much always help make difficult decisions easier." 

8. Quote of the Week: Lauren Landry

Lauren Landry is a friend, a writer, a teacher, and a whip-smart ball of intelligence and optimism. I had to share her recent Facebook update:

"Think of the last time you were truly excited about something or someone. Maybe it was a project that motivated you, and you couldn't fall sleep until it was finished. Or maybe it was a person who made your stomach flip; whenever you were with him or her, you didn't want the night to end.

If you don't feel that same level of excitement, that passion, ask yourself if you're settling. If you're forcing something. If you're making decisions out of comfort rather than love. Just some food for thought."

Want to comment on this newsletter? Do so here, on my website.

Want to tell the world about this newsletter? Click here to post to Twitter (it's a pre-filled Tweet that includes OTTERS.)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!


Want this newsletter in your inbox every week?



#21: The mayo sandwich trap, flexibility stigma, the President is lying, and the disease of more

Good morning! 

Thanks to a suggestion by loyal reader Doug Fox, you can now comment on each edition of this newsletter by visiting my website. I know, two-way communications... eek.

See today's edition here.

The link will henceforth and forevermore be available at the start and end of each newsletter. I imagine Doug's face right now looking something like this:

On to edition #21 of the World's Best Newsletter:

1. What I love most about my job - (and what it says about us) 
2. The agency of the future
3. The Disease of More
4. 5 Things Every Left-Brain Marketer Should Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer
5. Positioned Like a Mayo Sandwich? Blame the “Why” 
6. The Flexibility Stigma: How a Weekly Meeting on Monday Nights Can Shut Off your Access to Top Talent
7. Why Nobody Cares the President is Lying
8. Quote of the week


1. What I love most about my job - (and what it says about us) 

For Valentines Day, LinkedIn reached out and asked what I loved about my job, along with 9 other marketers.

If you read the full article… you realize each of us loves a similar aspect of the job: there’s never a dull moment, there’s always something new, there’s a beautiful variety.

But I can’t help but feel that this mini-experiment in uncovering what we all love about what we do instead revealed an ugly truth about the profession: it’s unpredictable and discombobulated, and very hard to describe without sounding frivolous.

But, alas, it’s what we do. And it does matter. And we do love it.

2. The agency of the future

I really like this take by marketing freelancer Matt Kendall. He articulates the journey I’m on, and many in my network are on - assembling teams like Ocean 11 to solve problems for clients with greater agility.

Sure, there are downsides to going with a group of freelancers over an agency with different skill sets and expertise in-house, but for many companies, like my clients, it can be the right fit for a certain amount of time.

Matt says “It’s re-directing the promise of the digital economy away from exponential automation and corporate profits, to making it about human potential. Having it work for us, rather than us for it. To have these incredible technologies augment human autonomy rather than replace it.”

That sure makes working from home in my yoga pants sound more grandiose. 

3. The Disease of More

Ever meet those people who are constantly working to self-improve (self-help junkies) or reach the next personal milestone or just keep hustling because it’s all about the hustle, bro and they’ll be happy once they chin the next bar? 

Of course you do, we glorify them.

We give them Inc features and pat them on the back and tell them they’re inspirations. But in many ways, we're sending the wrong message.

Mark Manson says it really well in his article: “Some psychologists call this constant chasing of pleasure the “hedonic treadmill” because people who are constantly striving for a “better life” end up expending a ton of effort only to end up in the same place.”

We trick ourselves into thinking, if we just do / have a little more, we’ll be that much happier. And it’s an endless cycle that we never actually reach. Chew on that, bro.

4. 5 Things Every Left-Brain Marketer Should Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

Congrats to my friend Mark Feldman on his new role at Building Engines.

As VP of Marketing, he looked for five things before joining the company. 

He designates them as specifically geared to left-brained individuals — but they’re five good things any marketing leader should look for. 

5. Positioned Like a Mayo Sandwich? Blame the “Why” 

We have all heard the advice made famous by Simon Sinek: “Start with why! Nobody cares what you do, they care why you do it!”

And that’s true and decent advice for marketers — to the extent that it gets people to stop using marketing as a conduit for “listing product features on every possible f*cking channel thank you”

But, like everything in life, messaging is a balancing act - one described brilliantly by aforementioned Doug Fox, branding expert. 

“I see companies all the time now that come right out and tell you why they exist without ever saying anything relevant to their audience. It's like unfiltered, dreamy mission statements without any support.”

Don’t forget the what, the how, then the why. 

He also manages to use a sandwich metaphor throughout, something that so effective it’s making me hungry.

6. The Flexibility Stigma: How a Weekly Meeting on Monday Nights Can Shut Off your Access to Top Talent 

Thank you to wonder woman herself Kristin Farwell for sharing this article with me this week. Stacey Epstein, CEO at Zinc, describes an interview for a CMO role she was jazzed about a few years ago.

Everything was great.. until she was told by the overzealous founder that management meetings were held Monday nights. With young kids, she knew this was not only not going to work. How could it? She sets aside 2 out of 24 hours every day to be with her kids (I know, how dare she, 6-8pm!?) 

But more importantly, Stacey explains brilliantly here why it’s the absolute wrong mindset for any founding team to have. 

“Especially as the workforce becomes more gender balanced, allowing time for parents to be present at home is important for moms, dads, and the future generations we’re raising.”

The takeaway is this: work/life balance matters, for both you as a founder, and for your employees. It’s a great way to build a successful company, and it’s how you attract (and keep) great talent.

7. Why Nobody Cares the President is Lying

I am baffled, daily, at the tendency for so many in our country to believe what they see on the internet. I believe the pace of media literacy has not kept up with the pace of true “fake news” (those memes, sensational headlines, and conspiracy theories that clogged the internet leading up to the election).

It’s just too easy to read a headline you agree with, click “share” and feel good about yourself. You’ve done your political discourse for the day. Pat yourself on the back. This is for both sides of the aisle. And now, we have an administration re-defining “fake news” to further complicate the mess.

Charles Sykes’s piece in the NYTimes (FAILING! SAD! FAKE NEWS - give me a break) articulates the problem:

“Discrediting independent sources of information has two major advantages for Mr. Trump: It helps insulate him from criticism and it allows him to create his own narratives, metrics and 'alternative facts.'”

He cautions media to refrain from being unduly oppositional, saying:

“We must recognize the magnitude of the challenge. If we want to restore respect for facts and break through the intellectual ghettos on both the right and left, the mainstream media will have to be aggressive without being hysterical and adversarial without being unduly oppositional.”

Personally, I think the bubbles created by social media (see red feed vs blue feed, by the FAILING AND SAD WSJ) are as much to blame as the “mainstream media.”

Every generation reads and consumes media and their facts differently. What is the right way? How do we understand the media? But… how do we trust any of them when each is driven by advertising and page views and subscriptions and clicks?

I believe a 24 hour news cycle is just unhealthy. 

We don’t need it. We can’t think critically anymore because of it - the result of which we are feeling today.

8. Quote of the week


Backstory: although there’s a general rule of “don’t read the comments” and “don’t feed the trolls” when writing on the internet, go browse through the comments to my article about the $$ behind female empowerment. Brace yourself. 

SO many angry people (mostly men but women as well) attack the very notion of female equality. The internet equivalent of “shut up and stop making up problems, I'm not affected by this and so your experience must not be valid." 

..... silent scream into my pillow ..... 

The hero image is of a woman holding a sign saying “we are better than this!” and I wish I could copy/paste that text below each of these ridiculous, short-sighted, insecure, ridiculous comments. 

O... the quote of the week:

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for safety in the streets, for child care, for social welfare, for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone asks ‘Oh I’m not a feminist’, I ask, ‘Why? What’s your problem.’”

- Dale Spender, Man Made Language

What do you think? Unleash your inner troll on my new comment-friendly version of this newsletter. 

Thanks, as always, for reading. Tell a friend? (You're gonna like this week's Tweet...)



Want this newsletter in your inbox every week?