Penelope Trunk homage

Penelope Trunk

I read this paragraph. Then I read it again. It’s so wonderful and perfect I’m co-opting it here until I can write one this good:

The books were late, but of all the people who bought books, I only got one really angry note. Unfortunately she put the note in my comments section on the blog, for everyone to see. Fortunately, it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want, so I deleted the comment. I sent her a nice response, though. I did not tell her that she is outside the US and because I am a mail-order rube, I gave all international orders free shipping. But at least now I can say I’ve got experience in the export business.

I’m about two years late bringing this post to your attention (even later than her books!). But I think it’s a gem. if you haven’t read the whole thing, go straight there now. Enjoy.

Facebook and the fine art of losing friends

Perhaps it’s only to be expected from a ‘friend’ site created by someone who (reportedly) had few friends, but every time the service makes an announcement it unerringly alienates another tranche of members (or should that be ‘customers’?). And now it’s doing the same with Instagram, the photo manipulation and sharing service it purchased some months ago.

The divergence of interests between the sites and their need to make money, and the users who are used to getting everything for free – and don’t welcome any suggestion that the content, created by them, is to be exploited – is the big fault line now appearing across all new media, and particularly social media.

Here the big problem is, of course, that Facebook was wildly over-valued in its IPO, and it paid far too much for Instagram. The need to start to make money is therefore pressing. But you would’ve thought (with all that money) they might be able to communicate with their members a little better than they are at present. Instead, they seem to see every announcement and every change as an opportunity to lob a metaphorical grenade into the user experience, and then have to spend the next weeks and months clearing up the mess.

I suspect they have little or no interest in the vast majority of user-generated content, but are trying to find a formula that will enable them to jump on the coat-tails of posts that go viral (e.g. gangnam style). Either that, or they’re softening up the members with this stream of smaller shocks so that when they eventually drop the bomb, no one pays it any attention.

Getting it done

Like many (most?) of us, I am rarely short of a good reason not to get something done – thinking more about it / trying to perfect it / waiting for the right moment etc. etc.

But there’s always a better reason to get it done. Because otherwise projects drag on, lose momentum and, in the end, often don’t get done at all.

So the latest post from Leo Babauta at zen habits that dropped into my email inbox – 4 Simple Principles of Getting to Completion – hit home. And in fact I applied the principles to make this post now, instead of thinking about it and (probably) not doing it (ever so much better and more polished) in a day or two.

In short, the four principles are:
1. Keep the scope as simple as possible.
2. Practice ‘Good Enough’. Perfectionism is the enemy of completion.
3. Kill extra features.
4. Make it public, quick.

Read them in more detail here.

That said, I am pleased that I didn’t immediately adopt one of his suggestions for email sanity that arrived last Monday – unsubscribe to every newsletter.

The revolution will not be televised

But is bursting with the power of a thousand suns across the internet

The Ayatollah Khomenei returned to Iran in February 1979 on a chartered Air France 747 –  the seventies equivalent of the sealed train in which Lenin travelled from Zurich to the Finland Station (St Petersburg) in April 1917.

And while Tehran erupts, Ahmadinejad visits… Moscow.

On being remarkable

Well I told you this blog is bang up to the minute. Following various links (now a tangled web of forgotten steps floating in cyberspace) I came upon – ‘found’ wouldn’t be the right word; I wasn’t looking for it – a blog post from Seth Godin on ‘Why bother having a resume?

Topical in the current climate, but actually written back in March 2008, so almost a year ago. How some things endure. Even today. Actually, his words have become ever more relevant.

A resume, he argues, de facto defines you as unremarkable. It positions you as ‘just more fodder for the corporate behemoth. That might be fine for average folks looking for an average job, but is that what you deserve?’

If you need a resume, you don’t have a reputation that precedes you; or extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows and respects; or … ‘a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up.’

Ah, so I’ll be OK after all!

In her comment on Seth’s post (yes, me and Seth go way back; or should that be Seth and I?) eSoup takes up the challenge and raises the bar just that bit higher, translating his comments into a list of things to do:

1) Create a blog that is so captivating, so ingenious, so clever, so compelling and so insightful that your potential clients feel a thrill of anticipation at the thought of meeting the person behind the blog.

Dear Reader, feel the thrill and do it anyway. Do get in touch; I know you want to.

PS I’ve just read Seth’s post for today, February 24th, where he celebrates his 3,000th blog post. That is a mighty achievement, especially given the frequency of posting and consistent quality. Seth Godin, this new blogger salutes you.