Audio version or get better audio quality on Spotify
How To Trigger Your Children
I make it a rule to do something each year that has the potential to be massively embarrassing. My theory is that unless you do, you’re playing it too vanilla.
I joined a band a few years back. My daughter said:
‘Dad, everything you’ve done in your entire life has been mildly embarrassing. This kicks it up to insanely embarrassing.’
She wasn’t 100% serious, and she can just deal with it. Her friend in the back of the car, whose dad was in a classic dad band, said:
‘No child should ever have to see their father on a stage singing This Sex Is On Fire.’
Never a truer word spoken. But you can live your whole life in a prison of other people’s expectations.
The reason most people get nowhere is because they risk nothing. Because they’re afraid of mistakes and what people might think.
Opportunity Amongst The Wreckage
That’s a waste of 2020, a year when you’re allowed to try new things and fuck up in public. Nobody minds.
Everyone’s looking over their shoulder wondering what’s next. Anyone who tells you they know for sure what will be a business success in 2021 is either a liar or too thick to know how much they don’t know.
You can take an educated guess. Then test new things and see if they work. Everything’s up for change. Products, processes, working habits, management structures, media. So many opportunities among the COVID wreckage.
The normal business mentality is so geared to the punishment of mistakes that most employees will keep their interesting ideas to themselves. They sit quietly and follow their orders, rather than risk standing out.
If you run a business, think about your staff and their ideas you’re suffocating with your ‘now is not the time for risk’ mentality.
Something Always Beats Nothing
I went on Lynne Schinella’s podcast the other day and she was apologetic about its lack of technical gloss. It’s a new skill she’s had to pick up this year, and she’s enjoying the learning curve.
She shouldn’t apologise. If the chat is interesting and useful, that’s more important than production values.
Lynne is out there doing something, and something always beats nothing.
Plenty of people have plans and ideas. They’re just waiting until they can do it perfectly, because it’s the ‘professional’ thing to do. Their plan never sees the light of day. You only learn by doing it and making rookie errors.
When the lockdowns started, we built virtual studios and had a crack at doing live chat shows.
The early interviews looked pretty average. We realised we were using a live event mentality for what was essentially television. The viewer felt like a spectator, rather than being up close and involved in a conversation.
Each week we experimented with moving the cameras, changing the couch positions and backgrounds, and suddenly it all felt a lot more intimate. Six months on our whole team has much better TV skills, and it wouldn’t have happened without our early clumsy efforts.
People Will Forgive Your Mistakes
People are very forgiving about the mistakes you make when you’re having a go. Nothing ever appeared fully-formed as a success. Google started life with the terrible handsy name BackRub, and they’re quite successful now.
Now is your chance to try something different while everyone’s making the rules up.
Earlier in the year I wrote of lawyer James d’Apice, who is well-known in the legal community for his Coffee And A Case Note videos, in which a suited, cufflinked James analyses legal cases while drinking a piccolo or drip filter in different CBD cafés.
At the height of lockdown, he put out a new video titled My Insecurity. Standing in a Deliverance-looking setting, in shorts and t-shirt, admitting that he lived on the central coast and commuted to the city.
‘I’ve been insecure for a long time, because what if my big city clients, or big-city opponents, found out that I lived a long way away, in an almost regional sort of a spot, wouldn’t it water down my “big city litigator” mystique? And the answer to that is … who cares?’
I called James up recently to see how it was going. He was at a strategy conference for an innovative firm who just hired him. The insecurity confession wasn’t an obstacle to that, quite the reverse. They hired James because he was real, and they liked his refreshing, open approach to what can be a stuffy profession.
2020 is going just fine for him, because he took some risks.
You have diplomatic immunity right now. What are you doing?
Death Before Golf
Anyway here’s the chat with Lynne. It’s mostly business, though we do talk writing and recording music, because too many side-projects are barely enough. Hence the title Lynne chose: Play Fewer, Better Notes.
‘Why the music? When you’re my age, and you’re a white man, there is a temptation to turn to golf. Just kill me if that ever happens.’
Last week was a biggie for your favourite anti-science, Nazi-meme-loving TV celebrity chef Pete Evans. Just running this one back up the flagpole if you missed it back in July. It got some flak from the Pete fans ?.
If you’re new here, I write a story like this every Tuesday. Drop your email here to get it in your inbox, entirely free of charge.
Bonus: you get a free e-book on 20 Ways To Improve Your Business Right Now. Practical tips we used to build a $20M national business in about 10 years.