When I was a kid my mom would push me outdoors. I would spend all day outside. Outside I would play with my friends, imagine different games to play, build things, I would join someone else in what they were doing, and other kids would join me in what I was doing. Now that I’m grown up I have to remember to push myself outdoors, to join in what other people are doing and invite people to join me in what I’m doing. Now that I’m grown up it’s too comfortable to stay in the office all day and to stay behind walls all day.
The measure of work is the measure of change. If what you are doing is indifferent then it’s not work. Shipping a product, getting it in the hands of customers, changing lives is work. Checking email, reading blogs, attending meetings might be a part of your job but they are not work. If your job is interfering with your work then change it. If your position is interfering with your work then change it. Worthwhile work is where results happen, where things are done, where something meaningful outside of the effort itself is accomplished. An idea that remains in your head only, the thousandth email that you read and moved on to the next one, the meeting that ends with no changes are all things that eat up our valuable time, but effectively don’t change a thing! If you find yourself doing more and more but effectively changing less and less then you’re in an unproductive cycle that is a vein effort. Step outside of your routine, step outside of your worries and change something.
When you’re building a business do you think about the culture you have surrounding what you offer? You might have a product and a corporate culture. Those are things inside your company walls. What’s the culture surrounding your products outside of your walls? If your product or service was a piece of art, not functions and benefits, how do people outside of your company look at it, feel about it and believe in it? It has more to do with symbolic thought inside people than it does in the external functionality of your “thing”. You can hammer a nail with something other than a hammer, but the culture is built around the hammer. A culture is something people contribute to, involve themselves with and share a common belief in. Maybe you can’t calculate culture, but you can participate, attend and observe the culture forming around your products and services. If your next product is going to have more features and benefits but confront a strong culture then your investment should shift from more features and benefits to picking which features and benefits will strengthen the culture. Maybe those other features and benefits you leave out could be a new product that can have its own culture form around it.
Who chooses average? When you go to Google and type in a question because you’re looking for something are you going to pick the best search result or the other ones? Each time you try to pick the best result. It’s the same for products and services. You can’t beat Microsoft on the number of features in a software product. You can’t beat open source projects on price. Yet, they are both successful because they’re the best at something people care about.
When I was thinking up SpiveyWorks Notes I knew it had to be something different than just another free online notepad. If I type “free online notepad” into Google I get about 1 million results. If I describe SpiveyWorks Notes as a “free online notepad” how much better can it be than the other online notepads that had years of lead time and that have tens of thousands of users? No one’s going to believe SpiveyWorks Notes is the best free online notepad. It doesn’t show up in the first half million search results, it has 20 users and it’s only been on the market for two weeks. Knowing that the world didn’t need just another online notepad I created SpiveyWorks Notes to be the best at typing notes quickly on your mobile phone with the QuickEntry feature. I made it the best looking online notepad with beautiful themes to choose from.
Is Xwisee another Flash shop talking about elearning? Let’s do a search on Flash elearning on Google. If I type in “Flash elearning” into Google then I get 1.6 million results. If Xwisee describes itself in terms of Flash elearning no one’s going to believe it’s the best. How could it be? Instead, Xwisee is unique because of how it approaches problems with a specific set of principles.
Instead of thinking of what you’re customer is going to ask, should you be giving the customers the questions to ask, knowing ahead of time that the questions you are supplying will lead to the best answer being your product or service? Why should a customer choose you? Because you’re the best!