A difference is the only thing worth making.


Yesterday, I wrapped things up with one of my favorite thoughts—business exists to make a difference. Today I’d like to explain what I mean by that.

Our days are filled with marketing messages for what I can only describe as thoughtless, lowest common denominator, derivative crap. The Uber of this. The Twitter of that. Another “new and improved”, “professional grade”, “platinum-premium buzzword” commodity nobody gives a rat’s ass about at the end of the day.

All these products are supposed to make a difference in people’s lives. Maybe they do.

Toothpaste makes a difference. So does toilet paper. So does any cloud-based, data-driven, predictive customer analytics martech offering designed to help you accelerate and scale and grow your sales pipeline. (read: Likely 90% of them.)

You’ve experienced this profit-first mentality. Probably today.

  • If you used a self-checkout kiosk.
  • If you were unable to shop a third ISP.
  • If you spoke to a customer service rep who couldn’t help you.

Business spends an inordinate amount of money trying to scale sales and marketing. But what if they shifted that investment into making a legitimate difference in the customer’s life?

What if everyone got a real person on the phone within two rings, who was not only an expert on both company and product/service—but also empowered to resolve any and all customer issues with complete autonomy?

What if you really could vote with your wallet and fire that rat bastard ISP that raises your rate more than they improve your service, and go with a more affordable, more privacy-focused, local competitor that actually appreciates your business?

I’m not saying it’s easy—especially not scaling this sort of thing—but it’s the kind of business I want to build one day. Product and services truly worth owning sell themselves—through honest word of mouth.

If you make a widget, even if it’s a variation on a dozen widgets already in the marketplace, I think you should stand out by caring about the results your customers get more than you care about the margin you make on the sale.

Yeah, you need those margins. I know. But at the end of the day, results that fucking matter are all that matters. Make a difference in the customer’s life and you’ve got a customer FOR life.

(You can see how this pairs with my definition of success.)

The MarTech Daily Double (Egads)

I’ve never liked roller coasters, but here we are!

NPS 0 to Hero

For the non-marketers in the audience, NPS is “Net Promoter Score”. Think: “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends?”

Someone gave us a big fat zero. And within 24 hours was “Mr. Right, MVP”, for my pickiest customer.

That’s customer success success, right there.

Reality Bites

Mere hours later, I found myself thinking about Next Level Gearhead Summer 2018—HOLY SHIT—less than two weeks away—and the data I need to collect for scoring this epic, three-month-long, multiplayer game I’ve been fiddling with since 2014.

For the first time in my life, I realize I—personally—could use Salesforce.

I am SO not ready for THAT.


The Flywheel

Let me tell you a story…

Once upon a time, a small handful of bloggers decided to combine forces and launch a blog together. They’d already known each other for years, each having his or her own blog on the subject, and all getting to know each other from commenting on each other’s blogs.

They launched their little blog project together in 2011. Seven years later, they have over 200 people writing for them and publish over 300 stories a month. Those writers all enjoy a simple, yet generous profit-sharing program.

I knew this site was special within a minute of seeing it. Everything mattered. Everyone cared.

And everyone benefits.

Anyone who truly cares enough to step up and add value can do so. And so that small handful of bloggers built a flywheel and set it in motion. As it grows and spins ever faster, it brings new opportunities to light.

People in their industry see the community they’ve built and they feel the genuine excitement around the work being done by that community. And they ask how they can become a part of it, themselves.

It’s a success story in every sense of the word. And it’s a PRINT business.

A customer at work just made my day week.

Work-life parallel, folks.