You are not stuck in traffic

emoji traffic

You ARE traffic. Yep, we are as guilty as the other cars in it. It is not just them, it is us. So next time you’re late to a meeting because of the road conditions – just arrive late and say this:

Sorry, I was traffic. 

Then you’ve got a nice story to tell them that they were not a victim of traffic but a partial cause.

It’s a bit like this in business. If there is a problem, and we know about the problem, then we are by definition inside the problem. We are one of its parts. We might only be a minor part of it (or a major) – but mere knowledge of it, makes us part of it. We are inextricably linked.

If we want to fix anything, then we have to admit that we are inside it. And if we weren’t inside of it, we wouldn’t be aware of it or worried about it. It would simply not be on our agenda.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Why experiences are the new consumerism

The Experience Economy

It’s not surprising that ‘consumerism‘ emerged as a thing in the post World War 2 era. The last 50 years of the 20th century was a time when we quickly homogenised under the influence of the TV Industrial Complex. We all drifted into a suburban symmetry with little variety in the western world. People had to find a way to display their worth to their tribes and wider community. As many of us entered administrative jobs (think white collar clerk work) which literally looked like we were doing the same things, we needed to find a way to show our position in the hierarchy. And boom – hello consumer land. The more people had, a better car, better clothing, more expensive toys, better furniture, the more successful people would think we were. It was an unwritten ground rule we all abided by. And it was a very effective way to show people that we were creating ‘economic value’. Someone’s consumption patterns told the story of where they sat in society.

I’m starting to wonder if the ‘experience economy’ has the same underlying driver. Sure, we all claim that we’ve moved beyond shallow consumerism, that experiences are more valuable and worthy, but it could be that they provide the same emotional benefit and are just different tactic.

For me it’s more than a coincidence that the experience economy is emerging at a time when people now have the tools to show off their experiences. In the past, our experiences were invisible to all but those who viewed a photo album in our home or heard our story first hand, face to face. Now our experiences are only matched by our desire to share them on every social tool we use. The shift to the experience economy has come at a time when it’s finally possible to share what we do, in ways we never could. Just like conspicuous consumption, experiences can now be shared with strangers, loose associates and colleagues. Even the profile pic is best suited to a tropical locale, or the burning man festival. It sends a message just like a fancy automobile can.

I don’t know if this idea resonates with anyone else, but I do now that a great deal of our human drivers have not changed in 200,000 years – just the ways we express them does.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

You should read this if you don’t understand Snapchat

snapchat

My post the other day on Snapchat had a lot of my friends saying they don’t get Snapchat, the UX is terrible on Snapchat, they don’t know how to use Snapchat as well as a whole lot of other reasons not to use Snapchat.

So here’s a couple of thoughts we need to remember:

Blogging was weird when it first arrived

Twitter was strange to understand

Mobile phones were seen as un necessary and egotistical in the 1980’s and early 1990’s

Selfies were an unimaginable phenomenon

Texting instead of talking seems entirely backwards

There are many other examples we could mention, but it is clear that our tech based world constantly surprises us with new tools and interactions. They seem strange at first, but once we understand them, there is usually a human impact deep underneath them. A human inspiration that only makes sense once we participate.

Blogging: We finally have a voice. We have expertise that can be shared and we trust each other more than mainstream media.

Twitter: A great way to follow what you care about, share succinct messages and point people to news and issues that matter – thrown in with a bit of promoting your own work.

Mobile Phones: Immediate communication which reduces risk and increases efficiency.

Selfies: Basic human need for acceptance, and people to like you.

Texting: Wanting to keep the communication shorter than a conversation. Ability to communicate at a time when noise of talking might be inappropriate.

And so to with Snapchat. We’ll work out the value for ourselves when we adopt it. It clearly has value given the wisdom of crowds who’ve already ordained it. But like all the other tools above, there is a learning curve to go up. It’s not a question of it being useless or too tricky to use, it’s more a question of wanting to learn the tools of the world you live in. And lucky for us, that is merely a google search away or a few minutes watching a Youtube video.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Innovating too early is the same as being wrong

The EV2 Electric car

I’ve had a few startups where I was a bit early. I’d put my former startup rentoid in this category – not to mention the amazing potential pivots I missed. When someone is early to an emerging market we often say these simple words.

“He had the right idea, he was just a bit early.”

Here’s the truth. Early is the same as wrong. I know it sounds mean, but we have to be honest with ourselves. If the idea is not at the right time, then put simply it is the wrong idea. But I will admit there are complexities with being early, and it leads me to these thoughts.

  1. I’d rather be wrong by being early, than wrong with a dumb idea.
  2. There’s always a good chance of being early with something new.

Number 2 points to the importance of keeping costs low. A low cost operation has more time to learn and iterate. They have a better chance of getting closer to todays needs, and or the market catching up to their initial vision.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Why Snapchat will replace my twitter feed

I’ve been experimenting with Snapchat recently. I think the channel has come a long way. The Brand Stories are very good indeed. Fast paced way to engage people with a news feed which lasts 24 hours. I’ve also found that it has a lot of similarities to Twitter – and I feel like it might be my new go to feed:

Short stories, follow people and things you care about, topic specific, idea bursts, irreverent, live, visceral and disposable, geo centric, good for business or personal use.  All with the added ability to brand build, connect and sell.

I’m doing short snippets each day now in the my story segment. It’s a bit like my twitter feed with insights on technology, culture and commerce. You can follow me here using my Snap Code:

Sammartino on Snapchat

While we might like certain formats in life (I loved twitter) the tools change. It’s not our job to predict what’s next, but to adapt to our new world as it changes. I was a bit unsure about Snapchat early on, but I like use this misidentified Keynes quote when it comes to business: When the facts change, I change my mind!

If you’re not sure on the UX for Snapchat – then this article is a very good ‘how to use’ reference guide. Come share ideas with me on Snapchat.

Add me on Snapchat.

What to do about people judging you


A friend works in a creative field. He’s a talented artist and was telling me how he hates being judged while presenting his work. So he prefers to do the work and let others sell or pitch it.

I told him this:

You’re being judged anyway. Best you inform that judgement with your presence.

Hiding from reality rarely changes the outcome, but when we do hide, we can never iterate on the fly, we can only wait for the news.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

What entrepreneurs can learn from my terrible cover band

Beatles tribute band

As a teenager I was in a cover band. Which is bit like selling imitation goods at the market for discount prices. We practiced a couple of times a week, for about a year. Sure we improved, but never thought we were good enough to start doing gigs. We never left the garage. What a waste.

Maybe we were good enough, maybe we weren’t. Whatever we thought didn’t matter because there was no feedback from the market, only voices in our heads and group think. (pun intended).

But worse that that, is this. We would much rather have played our own songs, but didn’t believe we had the talent. We didn’t even allow ourselves the privilege of doing what we believed in. We ended up hidden away playing ‘songs we liked’ and never sounded as good as the originals. Which no one ever can. Our fear from ourselves killed our dream before we even started. Our net results was worse than if we tried to do originals and failed.

When starting anything, here’s a few things to remember:

  • We’ll never be ready.
  • Copies get compared to who came first, and always make less money.
  • It’s harder to compare, when you make original stuff.

Get out of the garage and be original. It is better to fail being you, than fail by not quite being them.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.