Archive for the ‘dummies books’ tag
Q: What is a linchpin, and why is it important to become one?
A linchpin is the part you can’t live without, the thing that makes a difference. In every organization there are one (or several) people like this. It might be the brilliant inventor who creates the impossible, but it’s far more likely to be the great sales rep or customer service person who makes a connection, or the marketer who knows how to tell a story that resonates.
In a post-factory world, manning the assembly line isn’t so critical. Stuffing the candies into the boxes, running the punch press, following the manual… these are easily replaced roles, ones where neither the worker nor the organization gains much on the margin. If you want real job satisfaction and security, then, you need to figure out how to do the unexpected, to do work that matters and to create human interactions.
Q: You talk about linchpins being artists. What’s the difference between a conventional marketer and one who thinks like an artist? Can you give an example of a marketer who is an artist?
Art, by my definition, has nothing to do with painting and everything to do with connecting with people in a generous way and causing a change to take place. A movie director is making art when she makes you cry. A product designer creates art when the UI is better than it needs to be and it creates efficiency or even joy. Marketers can find plenty of Dummies books and manuals and insider PDFs that demonstrate, step by step, how to follow the rules. That’s easy and not particularly valuable. A marketer becomes an artist when she goes out on a limb, does the unexpected or the risky and makes a difference.
I’d argue that you two do art when you stand up and give a talk about the 1%. Or Biz Stone was an artist when he figured out how to launch and scale Twitter’s marketing. Or Scott Monty at Ford when he does a car show rollout that bypasses the cocktail parties at AutoWeek in favor of individual interviews with social media mavens. The second time someone does something, it’s a copy. The first time, it’s art.
Q: We understand the concept of “physical labor” when it comes to work, but you stress the importance of “emotional labor.” What do you mean by that, and can you give us an example?
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t gotten paid to do physical labor in a really long time. Maybe typing.
Emotional labor is the act of smiling when you’re scared, or getting on a plane when you’re tired. It’s dreaming when you don’t feel like dreaming, caring when the other person is (frankly) acting like a jerk. Emotional labor is work with your heart and your soul and your feelings. We seem to feel it should be easy, but it’s not. It is, though, important.
Q: We love this quote in the book: “The easier it is to quantify, the less it’s worth.” Can you tell us, and our MBA friends, why this is true?
If you can quantify it, then probably someone before you figured out a why to grind it out. And if you can grind it out, someone can grind it out cheaper than you can.
On the other hand, the really valuable stuff, the stuff we pay a lot for, is unquantified. Things like creating joy or security or happiness. No easy measurements for those, thus they are art, and art is always worth more than the predicted.
We measure the quantified because we can. But we should create the unquantified because it’s so rare.
Q: Our lizard brain tells us to “Shut up. Don’t stand out. Don’t speak out. Blend in.” If we want to be a linchpin, how do we silence this negative part of our brain?
Steve Pressfield calls this the resistance. The voice in your head that destroys your art. There are a myriad of ways to defeat it. You can distract it. You can trick it. You can steamroll it. You can seduce it with small steps. I’m not sure there’s one best technique, but I know for certain that it must be done. My book has only one goal: to sell you on committing to this very task.