I started putting my speaker notes in a Powerpoint in case I lost the notebook, then realised that half the stuff I came back with wasn’t from making notes during the talks or the workshops. So I tumbled it all out into two pages and hoped it made sense by the end of it. Some of it was unpublishable (also known, frankly, as unkind), and I have taken it out. Some of it is nonsense. Unlike Glastonbury, Latitude, a Walt Disney training day (yes, I know) or any other festival, experience, coming together of people that I have experienced, going to Do and coming back from Do feels as though I have been through something that…well:
● I hesitate in uncertain situations - I knew this already. So even to go to west Wales on my own to spend a few days with a bunch of strangers was out of my ordinary, though somehow I’d made it feel like the most logical thing in the world. Quiet your inhibitions.
● When thrown together with a bunch of people with similar interests, you will be ok.
● Each day there were morning workshops: yoga, running, or bread making. Sign up required the day before on a bit of paper. On Friday I woke at 6.30am with a hangover and the knowledge I’d signed up for a 6.45am run. “What kind of person will you be if you don’t go for a run?”. I went and I felt better. Take the short term pain and JFDI.
● Everyone has a different bit of life exposure to you. That’s cool. Learn from what you don’t know and what they don’t know, too.
● Strategy is the big stuff. Tactics is the small stuff. Make sure your strategy guides your tactics. It’s a stupid fucking buzz word, but remember your value proposition.
● Some people have concepts first, other people have products. Each of them is trying to find ‘the greatest source of pain’. A lot of strategy is about working out how to describe the pain and what the business is doing to stop the consumer hurting.
● Another buzz word: fail fast. I never really understood fail fast. There’s a juggling book that says, “A drop is a sign of progress.” There’s another juggling book that says, “There’s a juggling book that calls a drop a sign of progress. It isn’t. It’s a mistake.” That’s what failing fast says to me. But it can also say something else: work fast, and change it when you realise it isn’t working.
● Related to fail fast: get your ideas done quickly, and tweak them as you go. Don’t let your feedback loop break. Talk to your customers and find out what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.
● Build design into every bit of thinking. What are we doing and why are we doing it this way? Think about user journeys and experience. When you build a website, that journey should be intuitive. When you build a shop, people shouldn’t be confused about where to go & what to do: signposting isn’t the answer, better design is.
● Know when enough is enough - revenue, staff, outlets, product line, everything. Nature optimises, not maximises - so why do we always try to build bigger & bigger?
● Being outdoors is brilliant.
● 93% of word of mouth marketing happens online, so why the fuck do you spend more than 7% of your time on Twitter? 7% is three hours, 9 minutes per week. Budget your time.
● A lot of people went to the Do Lectures because they were on some kind of precipice: of doing their own thing, or of trying to work out what their own thing might be. I was there because I wanted to be around some smart people for a few days. Maybe the people looking for something more than that got more out of it than me. I’m ok with that.
● Some people want to build ‘personal brand’ into everything. It’s depressing as hell. Don’t fall for it.
● It’s easier to save money than make more money.
● One I’ve been pondering for a little while, and I’m not sure why the Do Lectures made me think of it more: you have one body. Use it. Run, walk, ride, whatever - if you don’t use your body to be the best it can be, you’re wasting something pretty valuable. (I am going for a run this evening.)
● It’s ok if your motivations for work are different to other people’s. A lot of people at Do wanted to build social enterprises with a value proposition of making the world better. For me, that’s a side benefit, not the core offering. Being a responsible capitalist is as cool as running a non-profit.
● Think about the kind of company you want to be. Build the company you wouldn’t sell (Zach Klein - DIY.org).
● Damon Collins, Joint: When you eat, eat. When you walk, walk. Do one thing well.
● Everyone says it’s all about people. It probably is.
● Sucking the marrow out of life is the Thoreau one. As the groups began to dissipate after day 1, I nearly zoned out, too. Then I thought: you’re here. Do it properly. I’m still not sure I ‘did it properly’ after Thursday, but at least I’ve learnt: while you’re there, be there. You’ll get more out of it the more you invest in it.
● There’s a lot to read in the world. Don’t let reading get in the way of doing. But keep learning.
Do Lectures 2013 buzzwords
I had an amazing time at the Do Lectures last weekend, and I’m very glad to have gone.
Here are all the words people kept on saying all weekend.
My five favourites are:
minimum viable product
I’m not sure if they’re my favourites because they’re useful and interesting, or because they’re stupid.
Guardian piece on self tracking - which they’re calling ‘quantified self’. Nice nickname for it.
The Monday mashup they post weekly is at the heart of that. By becoming the go-to place once a week for social news, they make themselves more relevant as a social agency. It’s a great investment of time and therefore money - now I know that they know their stuff, I’m a lot more likely to think of them rather than hundreds of other agencies for big social projects.
Contrast that to some of the over-branded branding agencies I’ve come across in the past few weeks where I feel they’ve spent so much time on their own branding, they wouldn’t spend any on my projects. The difference lies in the added value it creates - We Are Social’s Monday mashup makes me feel like they’re authorities in the social space. Overbranded agency sites (not mentioning names) makes me feel like they’re authorities on themselves.
On the day that Twitter’s UK director praised my work at GAIL’s (pretty happy with that, thanks chaps), it was a little disappointing to discover that just as I want to pull in the RSS of a Twitter feed to show on another site…support is removed. The replacement is Embeddable Timelines. I’m no web developer but I can’t help but feel they’re not the perfect solution for building Twitter into a site - instead it makes a Twitter feed into a feature rather than an integration - great for Twitter, not so great for brand cohesion.
I tweeted about Mailchimp about a month ago after having a dream about someone sending a campaign without showing me first (turns out I’m a digital control freak even when asleep). Their CEO favourited the tweet - and then last night, this came in.
So much care and attention into the user experience - I was already a fan of the service, but now I’m a diehard - and I’ll recommend them to anyone talking to me about mailing lists. Well done Mailchimp.
When running I’m obsessed with my mile times on Runkeeper. I haven’t descended to it with riding yet; my bike is primarily for getting from A-B. But the satisfaction of reaching the top of Muswell Hill or Swains Lane is enough to make me think that at some point I will succumb to data tracking my rides as well as my runs.
Overall though one of the interesting things about this piece is in the smartphone’s place in cataloguing data. I track my sleep habits with Sleep Cycle and my running habits with Runkeeper, two things I never would have done before smartphones entered the equation. Judging your achievements by your vital measurements has become far more sophisticated than waist size - but in a perfectly casual manner. It’s no big deal to track how much sleep I get every night, and I don’t know what it teaches me other than what I already know - I feel better when I sleep more, my times get quicker when I run more frequently. Something about the solid data, though, gives a sense of achievement or measurement - and taps into a fairly normal human trait, the desire to improve.
Customising content across different social networks. I’m yet to use this but glad it exists.
Worthy read about Nike & its corporate culture. I’m slowly beginning to believe that innovating & executing efficiently as companies grow larger is one of the biggest challenges. Nike’s brand and innovation remains top of the class.