Archives for posts with tag: idea

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“Always in Beta.”

“Soon is not good as now.”

“Launch. Iterate. Rinse and repeat.”

You hear it everywhere. Don’t try to create anything perfect. Nothing is perfect. Just make it good enough and launch. Don’t just fail. Fail really, really, really fast.

While I believe in the spirit of these statements and don’t believe that everything we do should be perfect, we have gone too far with this meme. If it’s not good enough, don’t just launch it because you created a self-imposed deadline. This is especially true for advertising, marketing and digital products.

There’s not one person in the world that’s standing in line to see your marketing. Why are you rushing so much to satisfy a need that doesn’t exist? It applies to anything you create. What’s the rush? Why not take another week to make it better and make and a real impact?

We’re all competing for the attention of people: Millions of other things they could be doing  instead of engaging with your idea. More importantly, every time you release an idea into the world, people will make a decision if they pay attention to you next time. All of us have diminishing free time and once they consider you not worthy, it will be impossible to get them back.

You want people to spend time with your idea and, hopefully, spread them for you, you have to stop rushing. Instead, take your time, create things people want to spend time with, and make them so good they want to tell their friends.

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Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the half light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats

Ultimately, we’re in the business of creating ideas. It can get very chaotic, unpredictable, extremely random. You can be the most disciplined person in the world, run rigorous processes; still: Idea development is never linear.

Our real challenge is not to have the idea but to recognize one little light amidst a sea of darkness. To take this little, precious thing and guard it from flaming out. To identify the potential, to see the implicit greatness, the possibilities to become something great and game-changing.

That makes our jobs as instigators, creators and innovators increasingly tough. We can’t just focus on the average, we need to fully aware of the edges because that’s where the best ideas come from. They come from thinking the unthinkable. From asking “Why don’t we?”, “How about?”, and proclaiming “Let’s do it.”

All of us are idea killers

It’s just so easy. Everybody can criticize ideas. Why? Because we can showcase our intelligence, our insights, our brilliant mind by pointing out the obvious inadequacies. It’s easy to crush fragile ideas and feel superior. While we congratulate ourselves for this act of forceful destruction, a small, weak idea that could have changed the world dies forgotten.

It’s easy and the least constructive. If you want to be regarded as a valuable addition to the universe (and your company) you should throw away your executioner uniform. And start carrying small little, velvet boxes. Coax, caress and nurture weak ideas. Help them to grow up and let them free when they are ready to become glorious visions. If that’s too much for you, at least don’t crush fragile ideas. We don’t always have to hear from you.

Sometimes it’s better to just listen and keep your opinion to yourself.


HomerMobile

The brief about a viral video. The request for a LinkedIn strategy. The need to be on Twitter. POV’s about location-based marketing. What about Quora? What’s the strategy for the iPhone app? Are you done with the iPad strategy?

Brands and agencies: We’re all guilty

Marketing and advertising should be about making the product/service we’re trying to sell look good. The lightning fast speed of technology change has led to this bizarre reality that we’re trying to fit our product/service to the technology. To make the technology look good.

Brands and agencies are trying to top the competition all the time. That’s their job. We’re all tasked to come up with new and innovative ideas. But, somehow, everybody just focuses on the “new and innovative” part. And we have forgotten the idea part.

We chase the newest and innovative platform and tool because “new and innovative” equals technology. The latest garage venture, the latest tool that has some traction because you need to be first. Whoever is first on the platform gets all the PR, the calls from Ad Age and NY Times, the brownie points.Deep inside we know that our definition of “new and innovative” is too incremental to make a real dent. To move the needle. Since everybody is doing the same thing, because that little early adopter advantage disappears in a heartbeat. Chasing technology has become our idea.

That’s why Foursquare is now littered with useless promotions. Facebook with pages nobody cares about. Twitter with feeds nobody reads. YouTube with videos nobody every watched. Second Life, well…

Let’s stop building “The Homer”.

“The Homer” has two bubble domes; one in the front, while the one in the back is for quarreling kids, and comes with optional restraints and muzzles. The engine sound causes people to think “the world’s coming to an end.” There are three horns, as Homer claims that “you can never find a horn when you’re mad.” The three horns play the song “La Cucaracha.” Last but not least, the car features shag carpeting, tailfins and a metal bowler as a hood ornament.

Homer had no clue what he was doing. He just came up with a list of features, things he would like to have. Because he always wanted to have them. Or because nobody had them yet. Just like the kitchen sink brief you received yesterday. Or the kitchen sink memo that you’re preparing for your employees tight now.

The technology looks so bright and shiny because our ideas are often so stale and superficial. That’s why people can distinguish between platforms. But they have no clue which product or service ran an ad/campaign or initiative. Because the ideas are meant to fit the technology. It needs to be the other way around.