#29 Don’t trust the map, trust the compass!
Innovative thinking and learning from anywhere
Polina recently shared her interaction with legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer around leading In crisis, developing an appetite for risk, and building a hospitality empire. One section about mistakes caught my attention. It shares a good framework about thinking about how to build a great service experience.
Generally, you can end up in a better place with the person you made the mistake on if you practice what we call the "5 As of Mistake-Making." The first is to be aware you made the mistake. Second, acknowledge it, Third, apologize for it. Fourth, act on it and fix it. And fifth, apply additional generosity.
Now, it's time for us to write a great next chapter. If I made a mistake, you're probably going to tell someone about it. I can't erase it. Our job is to write a great next chapter, so that when you do tell that story, you say, "But do you want to know how they handled it?"
It’s such a simple articulation - no nonsensical jargon. I’m adding it to my playbook on service delight thinking.
Looking for best practices and learning from others (industry, brands or team) is such an underutilized method of improvement. It’s phenomenal how much we can learn if we keep a curious and open mind to find solutions. I’m leaving you with this story of how NASA found inspiration for the first space suit at the Tower of London. If they can do it, we all can as well.
And on that note, let’s get to discover & learn some new things.
Firstround recently published a post on Language/Market fit. I heard this term for the first time and possibly won’t hear it for quite sometime in future. At its core, the post covered the idea of positioning in a new lens, and so it deserves to be shared here.
What’s language/market fit? The article explains:
… when you find the exact right words to explain your product or service to prospective customers, words that resonate with goals and struggles that are already in their brains. When you talk about your product, a lightbulb in their heads switches on that says, “That is EXACTLY what I’m looking for” — they feel like you’ve read their minds.
Needless to say, it’s very important when you look from the marketing & customer lens point of view. But then there are some hidden benefits of this articulation for your internal systems & processes as well. The article further explains...
Working backwards, every successful startup creates something that people find truly useful. If you cannot even describe what your customers are trying to do in simple language, how long will it take you to invent a product they will love? With clear validated language, you can improve every aspect of the customer experience.
Here’s a couple of quick takeaways if you don’t have the patience to read through the article (you must, it has some good examples to help you understand the approach).
A simple test: If your headline completes the sentence “Our product is…” You’re not using their words. If your headline completes the sentence “Now you can ______” or “I wish I could _____” or “Someday I hope to _____” then your language might resonate. A good marketer will fill that “now you can” blank with exactly the right words.
Finally, 4 steps to finding your language/market fit.
Shower thoughts are random thoughts or ideas that you get while carrying out a routine task, such as showering. It's like some crazy revelation or an epiphany. I believe, most of us can have these, but it takes a curious mind to notice & then remember them beyond that moment.
I love the Shower Thoughts account on Twitter, it posts some of the wittiest thoughts out there. The Hustle does a curation of some of the good ones from Reddit in the Friday post. Here’s a collection from the last week.
“There is a chance that someone you know will use your death as an excuse to get out of a social obligation they don’t want to go to.”
“The trees cut down to make Jenga blocks are repeatedly forced to relive their own downfalls.”
“We don't know what time period ‘The Lion King’ is set in.”
“As data showing the effects of sugar on the human body becomes more well known, future generations will look back with horror on our practice of sending children out to trick-or-treat.”
“Stories usually put horns on evil or scary creatures, but in nature only herbivores have horns.”
Smart, isn’t it?
It takes visionary leadership to build institutions that last decades & centuries. India’s space program is filled with stories of remarkable grit, determination and innovative thinking. Most of us have seen photos of parts of our rockets travelling over cycle & bullock carts. The scarcity of resources could not halt the progress. The same goes for challenges thrown by the society, business & labour forces.
Here’s one such story from that period.
Source: Founding Fuel
Sometimes when big boys have to solve their problems, they do it the old fashion way. This is a story of how Instagram and Twitter buried a 9-year-old hatchet. The screenshot gives a glimpse of what I’m talking about.
Head to the story here to hear it directly from the actors involved. Roadmaps & product strategies can be overhyped sometimes, I must say.
Last few paragraphs bring our attention to the challenges & requirements of building the so-called metaverse.
“More and more, platforms are going to need to figure out how to be more open,” Mosseri said. “And that’s tricky. Data portability has huge privacy implications. I think we need to figure that out as an industry.”
In the end, though, the only thing that was truly needed to end the Instagram-Twitter feud was time — and a willingness to put users’ needs ahead of strategic anxieties.
“People don't live on one product,” Beykpour said, noting that Twitter had also launched an integration with Snapchat last December. “They’re navigating in between them. So making those traversals feel convenient and colorful, I think, is important.”
Some random goodness from the internet:
Game: Stacking rocks can be fun. It’s not an easy task though. Especially when you do it online like this. Put on some soothing music, and give it a shot.
Longread: It’s a fun read to be more precise. Like a crime drama - unexpected turns and outcomes. It’s the untold story of how Sushi came to rule America.
Web: Sometimes I wonder if these are real live feeds or pre-recorded content. Does it really matter? They are giving a glimpse of a world not seen so regularly and in all its natural beauty. The meditation feeds here are fun as well.
Web: Library of old postcards from the US. That someone collected them, digitized and organized them so nicely deserves due respect. Who could have imagined collections like ‘Fire, Destruction, etc’, ‘Ugly Restaurants’, ‘Animals, Taxidermy, Hunting’, and even ‘Mock violence’ as categories!. Alas, we don’t see such postcards anymore.
Before we sign off, here's a snapshot of a tweet worth saving.
That's all for this week, folks!
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