Personal Psychology Startups Team

Hustle Culture vs. Chill Work

A few weeks ago, Wil Reynolds and I were on a video call together. I think I joined in a couple minutes after him, and the discussion was already starting: Someone on the call: “… just hustling”Rand: “Ugh, I hate hustle culture.” Wil: “Yo, Fish*, can you define hustle?”Rand: “Easy one. Hustling is working hard to work hard. It’s valuing…
Marketing Psychology Startups Tactics

The Incentives to Publish No Longer Reward the Web’s Creators

It’s been almost two months since my last post here. For those of you who pay attention to the digital marketing world, the infrequency of updates may be missed, but it’s likely familiar. Many, many web creators (those who publish, in any format, on their own sites rather than big tech’s platforms) who historically published content with great frequency are…

The “Marketing is Evil” Problem.

“I hate marketing.““Marketing is evil.““Marketing doesn’t work.““Marketing doesn’t work on me.““I’ll never buy from a company that markets to me.“ My best argument against those kinds of reflexive, anti-marketing takes is this: people create wonderful things to help one another, to entertain, to make art, and yes, to make money, too. But just because something is wonderful doesn’t mean anyone…

Who Will Amplify This? And Why?

You’ve created a stellar email newsletter, but few subscribe. You’ve launched an intriguing podcast, but listeners are nonexistent. You’ve published an exceptional blog post, a compelling research report, a remarkable webinar, a top-notch video, a stunning visual… but the audience just isn’t showing up. In my experience, four root causes are to blame: You’ve produced something of low qualityYou’ve produced…

When Choosing Marketing Channels, Visualize the Curve

Business Owner: “We’re launching a new company/website/campaign and want to buy ads that can get us some customers. Once that’s working, we’ll invest in content and SEO.” Marketer: “So, no one’s heard of your brand, and you don’t have any existing digital marketing, but you’d like to start with ads, then invest in content and SEO?” Business Owner: “Yup! That’s…
Marketing Psychology Tactics

The Paradox of Content Marketing to Beginners vs. Experts

Over the last 20 years, I’ve done a lot of educational content campaigns, both for my own companies, and to help others. But it’s only recently that I’ve come to grok the odd paradox of how certain types of content earn reach, amplification, and success with the people they’re meant to engage. Here’s the problem: Broadly helpful “Beginners’ Guide” content…
Product Psychology Startups

SaaS Churn and Short-Term Customers: The Contrarian View

Ever wonder why so many business software companies make it so darn difficult to start using their products? Or why subscription-focused tools are so obsessed with making it hard to quit vs. making it easy to sign up? Why don’t these SaaS (software-as-a-service, aka subscription) companies want customers who might only need their product every few months or even only…
Marketing Product Psychology

Social Networks “Optimize for Engagement.” What Does That Mean for Marketers?

I’m a firm believer that incentives and systems govern behavior at scale. If you want to understand why companies make the decisions they do, look at how their executives and boards are rewarded. If you’re trying to grok an unfamiliar sport, see how points are scored and wins are tabulated. Follow the incentives, and you’ll understand the system. If you’re…
Data Events Marketing Psychology

Marketing Takeaways from the 2020 US Election | Part V: Brand Familiarity & The Weaknesses of Product

Welcome to the final episode in our five part exploration of the 2020 US election from a marketing lens. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the rest of series Part I: Identity & Common EnemiesPart II: Positioning & SegmentationPart III: Polling Problems & Growing Fans vs. Persuading ConvertsPart IV: Narratives & Information DistributionPart V: Brand Familiarity &…