So Secret, We Should Have a Handshake

The secret of my incredible energy and efficiency in getting work done is a simple one. I have based it very deliberately on a well-known psychological principle and have refined it so that it is now almost too refined. I shall have to begin coarsening it up again pretty soon.

The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.
—Robert Benchley

Dear readers and friends, crowd around. Having you join our luncheon once again means let’s not keep it a secret anymore—the Round Table’s a great way to do some work that’s not the work we’re supposed to be doing at the moment! I’ve invited new friends and old to share their fresh perspectives today. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know them—leave them a comment, and come on back to share your thoughts around the Maximum Customer Experience Round Table!

Let’s start off with the wonky post, before you get too deeply into your first martini: What’s the secret to making all our boring numbers, well, less boring? Dan and Chip Heath lay it out for you in The Gripping Statistic: How To Make Your Data Matter at Fast Company. Now is it fair for me to call it wonky when they promise gripping? Nah. It’s a great read.

As you chew thoughtfully on your olive I’m going to spin you in another direction. Nothing that the acerbic-tongued Heather B. Armstrong (better known as Dooce) writes stays a secret for long, folks (oh! she would have fit right in at the Algonquin!), but this post does have an ending from a company that delivered total delight in an utterly unexpected way. I’ll never link to another post as long as Containing a Capital Letter or Two, but I guarantee you will be laughing so hard you will never notice that this diatribe-slash-Customer-Experience lesson scrolls on for at least a couple of miles.

“I’m sorry, today the brands people love don’t create satisfied customers. They create enthusiastic proselytizers.” George Tannenbaum, as always, is in on the best secrets, and his quickie tale of Mercedes-Benz’s strategy for delivering delight belongs on a post-it at your desk. Like, go make one. Now. Check out Any Color as Long as It’s Beige at Ad Aged.

Dyson, the little vacuum-company that could (topple established Big Boys), knows a thing or two about creating enthusiastic proselytizers. (Aside: What’s the typing equivalent of tongue-tied? In my eagerness to spell “proselytizers” correctly without resorting to cut-and-paste I typed “enthusiastic” wrong three times… thanks George.) Delivering delight does not end when you deliver the product! Read Spic and Spam at Andy Nulman’s Pow! Right Between the Eyes.

Why are we so eager to find the complex solution? Zippy read of the day: Set Your Business Apart by Cody Heitschmidt at Small Biz Survival sent me in search of simpler approaches to everything I worked on over the past week. This secret’s hidden in plain sight.

On the other hand, if you need to drum up business in a way that no one’s ever tried before, get inspired by Steve Sammartino’s personal tale, Inventing Demand, at Start Up Blog. I particularly love this line: “As entrepreneurs, we need not be afraid of how we can build demand and momentum with our start up. We must do this because action creates reaction and often people simply liking our idea isn’t enough.”

You may have seen the incredible viral video, Your Business Card Is Crap, on YouTube. Today you’re going to see it in context. And what a context! I got curious about that video and discovered the short documentary it originally came from. Let me tell you, if you do nothing else today, click on over to Chris Zubryd’s blog Galahad Productions and watch The Pitch, Poker, & the Public. You could take notes on almost every minute of this show, based on intimate interviews with Mike Caro, poker guru, Howard Bloom, who discusses public relations for Joan Jett and others, Joel Bauer, pitchman extraordinaire, and others. You will learn secrets I almost don’t want you to know. You will think better and worse of the business of promoting your business. It’s both grindingly cynical and beautifully ethical, full of real takeaways, and scattered with disarming clichés like this gem: “Conduit of joy—the fact is it’s what we are. We either connect—or we don’t exist.” Riveting.

Thanks, as always, for the pleasure of your company and your commentary. Let’s do lunch again soon.

Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Learn something fantastic as you clicked around? Think I missed the best one of the week? Have your say in the comments—you know you want to!


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

If you’re going to write, don’t pretend to write down. It’s going to be the best you can do, and it’s the fact that it’s the best you can do that kills you.
—Dorothy Parker


Last time, Mrs. Erickson and the Vision Circle (that’s you) entertained:

Are You Talkin’ to Me?

Craving dessert? Click here to see all the posts in the Round Table series, along with other great recommended reading from MCE!