Category Archives: Loyalty

Straight outta Silicon Valley

I’m sat at SFO airport waiting to board a flight and reflecting on my 72 hours in Silicon Valley. I’ve been at Menlo Park courtesy of Facebook, up in Mountain View meeting some Googlers, down in Palo Alto and finally in the sunny city of San Francisco itself meeting with start-ups and entrepreneurs to get the skinny on what gives this place it’s energy and draw for the next generations of thinkers, makers and investors.

What struck me more than anything is the almost unanimous focus on people first. It pleasantly surprises me to hear this time and again, for admittedly I was expecting a more ruthless ‘follow the money’ response to my questions.

Maybe it’s the sun, maybe it’s the recent legislations, maybe it’s just that it’s so damn expensive everyone pulls together, but almost every response was around building the right team, with the right people and avoiding the sharks and d*ckheads, which for those that don’t know me personally, is exactly my mantra so it resonated.

Before I leave I thought I’d share my top insights for success from the valley in the hope that if we all taken a human centred focus in building our teams, we’ll build; happier, more successful, more durable places to work and invent.

Here goes:

1. Your first people are the biggest decisions you will ever make so set your foundations strong.
2. Build for people and embrace the friction that this causes to your business models and frameworks. People and the diversity they bring will only better and enrich so if something is getting in their way, break it down and rebuild it so it enhances them another abilities.
3. Back people and then back markets for they are the only consistencies in a world that shifts constantly.
4. Be prepared to back your entrepreneurs no matter what for they will cause the best ‘Good Trouble’.
5. Size for ‘Pizza Box’ teams. If your team can’t happily share a pizza then it’s too big and decisions won’t get made in the right way and work will be layered and complicated, keep it lean, lean in and everyone will have a fair slice.
6. Build progression around 50/50 goals so that you stretch yourself and your team to aim high for the 50% they will hit and learn quickly from the 50% they will miss.
7. Be open to talent shifts and support them where you can, no one likes to be a square peg in a round hole and the cross population of skills will stabilise growth.
8. Know every factor in your ecosystem and the relative value of it (which if you follow the above will be human focused) so you can make informed decisions with reduced risk quickly.
9. Be open to crazy ideas as they’ll probably be the best ideas you ever hear.

I’m happy to say I do most of this, but I’m definitely going to action point 6 immediately as I love this thinking and I think my teams will too.

What will you do from tomorrow?

 

San Francisco

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FFS

For many businesses I’m working with at the moment memberships are becoming the new subscriptions. The bar for a credible value exchange is set higher than ever before with freemium models saturating the market, so our hungry audience are no longer satisfied by exclusive content and a glossy cover, pixel enabled or not. 

Today wants tailored and timely, relevant and resonating. Brands are expected to know what their audience want, on a 121 basis, which is fine if you run the coffee shop round the corner and you’ve been there for 20 years watching the town around you grow up and evolve. It’s not so straight forward when you’re scaling beyond your inner circle into a model that not only makes money, but enables you to create a viable business that pays other people money too. 

This shift from having customers to members is a step change for how businesses build everything from their CRM programs to their technology stacks, because in today’s world every piece of data matters, because those pieces of data allow you to be relevant, to everyone. 

It’s easy to get dragged down into the detail, so I’ve put together a little checklist to help:  

Be Focussed

Decide wich parts of your paid membership are going to add the most value and invest on making those amazing first. If you do too many things at once it will not only cost a lot in production, but also in technical development and promotion. 

Be Frictionless

Make it really easy for your audience to receive, digest and share. There is nothing more disappointing to users, or more costly to you, if this doesn’t meet expectations. 

Be Selfless

Listen, analyse and adapt your model as you go. The most successful businesses are those that put their audience first and their business second. Think of them as your insight tool, fusing the next phase, they are not the end game. 

I appreciate the last one is the hardest, especially with financial goals and deadlines, but it’s the most important in the long run. 

We should all be thinking FFS for the right reasons. 

Image found on Pinterest via wework.com - thank you

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