#56 Your salary is your company's subscription fee for you
Storytelling, copywriting and other life lessons from the OGs
I came across this quote in the Dense Discovery newsletter (and later rediscovered it in Recommendo).
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” — André Gid
What do I need to say today? Let’s get to it right away.
1. Great Copywriting Examples
If you like noticing and cherishing ad or product copies, then it's your lucky day. Demand Curve’s 12 Great Copywriting Examples (Plus a Ton of Copywriting Tips) is a masterpiece on both examples and explanations. A 23 minute read, it's worth every minute of your time and may take you further down the rabbit-hole on this topic.
2. Storytelling lessons from Steve Jobs
In his book Build, Tony Fadell talks about his time at Apple and lessons from Steve Jobs’s storytelling style. Here’s why he emphasizes on the need for stories:
You should always be striving to tell a story so good that it stops being yours—so your customer learns it, loves it, internalizes it, owns it. And tells it to everyone they know.
Here’s why storytelling is so important for all (and not just the marketer)
And it all starts with “why.”
Why does this thing need to exist? Why does it matter? Why will people need it? Why will they love it?
To find that “why,” you need to understand the core of the problem you’re trying to solve, the real issue your customers face on a regular basis.
And you have to hold on to that “why” even as you build the “what”—the features, the innovation, the answer to all your customers’ problems. Because the longer you work on something, the more the “what” takes over—the “why” becomes so obvious, a feeling in your gut, a part of everything you do, that you don’t even need to express it anymore. You forget how much it matters.
When you get wrapped up in the “what,” you get ahead of people. You think everyone can see what you see. But they don’t. They haven’t been working on it for weeks, months, years. So you need to pause and clearly articulate the “why” before you can convince anyone to care about the “what.”
I loved the Rush Hour Offer example. Indeed quick and effective.
3. Tetris Effect
Lawyers are trained to identify and point out flaws in arguments. Engineers see problems and have a tendency to want to fix things , even though there is no need for everything to be optimised. Teachers treat everyone as a student who needs to be taught how something works.
The psychologist Abraham Maslow warned that “he that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail”. Such tendencies do help a person become extremely successful in a particular aspect of his work. But take that person out of the work environment, and his performance suffers.
We’re talking about the Tetris effect here. According to Wikipedia, the Tetris effect (also known as Tetris syndrome) occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams.
This short post delves into the topic and shares some useful tips for taking back control in such a scenario.
4. How to be successful
Sam Altman shares 13 thoughts about how to achieve outlier success. He is direct and does not mince his words. Sample this:
You don't want to be in a career where people who have been doing it for two years can be as effective as people who have been doing it for twenty—your rate of learning should always be high. As your career progresses, each unit of work you do should generate more and more results. There are many ways to get this leverage, such as capital, technology, brand, network effects, and managing people.
It’s useful to focus on adding another zero to whatever you define as your success metric—money, status, impact on the world, or whatever.
Or this one,
Getting good at sales is like improving at any other skill—anyone can get better at it with deliberate practice. But for some reason, perhaps because it feels distasteful, many people treat it as something unlearnable.
5. Nobody cares
Nobody Cares got me started on a series of short essays written by Ben Horowitz. They are filled with important bits of advice for a leader. Here’s one noteworthy thought from this post:
A great reason for failing won’t preserve one dollar for your investors, won’t save one employee’s job, or get you one new customer. It especially won’t make you feel one bit better when you shut down your company and declare bankruptcy.
Or from How to Ruin Your Company with One Bad Process
An excellent constraining principle when planning your budget is the preservation of cultural cohesion. The enemy of cultural cohesion is super-fast headcount growth. Companies that grow faster than doubling their headcount annually tend to have serious cultural drift, even if they do a great job of onboarding new employees and training them.
Or this one from Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager
Good product managers take written positions on important issues (competitive silver bullets, tough architectural choices, tough product decisions, markets to attack or yield).
6. Best of Formats Unpacked
Formats Unpacked is a newsletter by the team at Storythings.
Industry experts unpack one of their favourite formats by answering one simple question: What’s the magic that made it special?
Each week they deconstruct popular and lesser-known formats from the worlds of TV, radio, podcasts, online, video, games, newspapers, magazines, and more.
I’ve enjoyed discovering new formats and understanding a bit or two about storytelling from this newsletter. It surprises me every week with the kind of format it covers.
This post captures some of the best formats they have covered over the last two years. It’s a great starting point if you’re up for exploring some new ways of storytelling.
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Instagram: Oscar Pettersson (@0scarpettersson) is a 3D motion designer and creates infinite 3D loops with some fun sound effects. Super addictive.
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/YesTheory/ is a channel run by a bunch of travellers and filmmakers whose motto is to “seek discomfort”. They believe that life's greatest moments and deepest connections exist outside your comfort zone. The output is inspiring and super encouraging.
Web: Startup Cards shares the most common startup jargons in one place.
Web: The periodic table of storytelling in really beautiful infographic and great detailing even for the novices.
Interesting fact: Pollinating the seemingly endless fields of almond trees in California requires 85% to 90% of all honeybees available to pollinate in the U.S. Bees are trucked into California from across the country.
Before we sign off, here’s something only a good PM or a storyteller could tell. And Mouli is both!
That's all for this week, folks!
If you enjoyed this post, show your love by commenting and liking it. I write this newsletter to share what I learnt from others. If you learnt something from this today, why not share it with a couple of your friends to continue this chain?
Jobs's thoughts on storytelling are so insightful. Scott Adams, another great storyteller, speaks highly of Jobs as well. There's this framework for a powerful story as having 3 componenets--pathos (emotion), logos (logic), and ethos (credibility). Jobs speaks about the first two in the excerpted bit, and he obviously has credibility so his stories travel well. My sense is that the average storyteller undervalues the need to establish trust emerging from credibility. To that end, the messenger matters as does his message.
Also loved Ben Horowitz's piece on bad process. Eye-opening given the conversation we've been having. Thanks for the curation, as always! You should write about your curation process :P