Finding your brand voice: The content strategy growth hack

  • That’s why it’s called content strategy-and why finding your brand voice is a critical early step.
  • All the content that works as the voice of your brand, such as blog articles and newsletters.
  • A little bit of patience, a defined brand voice, and a well-crafted content strategy will pay off.


Pitch Your Next Idea Like a Stand Up Comedian

I need to be able to grab my audience’s attention and last for at least five minutes. I also need to understand that sealing the deal isn’t necessarily about how good I am at what I do, but about how well I tell my story.

Papa CJ

Get to the punchline as soon as possible.

The first punchline is delivered in the first 15 seconds. The second punchline is delivered in the next 15 seconds. You earn the right to speak for a longer duration before the next punchline.

If you’re pitching an idea, don’t start with, “I’m so excited about the opportunity to be sharing this idea. Your mentorship on it would be invaluable.” You audience already knows that. Instead, throw in your teaser immediately. You might start with, “Our pilot has been proven by a $2,000,000 revenue in the last 3 months.” With that, you’ve instantly established credibility.

Don’t make assumptions about your audiences’ knowledge.

If your audience does not understand what you are saying, you’ve lost them. You do not get the benefit of the doubt. So don’t make any assumptions about their prior knowledge of what you are presenting on.

If you want to use terms like “blue ocean strategy” or “whitewater change” because you want to sound corporate-y, make sure to explain what they mean, or better still, keep it simple and call it what it is.

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Keep culture in mind.

Think about a presentation or an idea you’re pitching. Who is your audience? Would your idea excite them or offend them?

People will only support your idea when it is useful, exciting, relevant, and obviously, not offensive. To do this, find yourself that “local” (a senior manager, a mentor, or a friend in a similar industry) who can listen to your pitch and give your constructive feedback.

Address your audiences’ questions swiftly.

If a member of your audience has a question or objection, be in the moment and address it immediately.

Don’t stick to your script. If you don’t adapt instantly, while they may not gong you off, they will either begin to doubt you or that question will sit firmly in the center of their minds for the remainder of your presentation. Neither of these outcomes is in your favor.

Keep it short.

Your time is limited and so is their attention. Use just as many words as you need to get to your point and not one more.

Show your stakeholders that you have made the effort to respect their time. It says a lot about you as a human being and a professional.

[By Papa CJ, Via]

How Music Affects Your Brain and Productivity

5 nuggets of wisdom and facts on how music affects your brain and productivity.

  1. Studies seem to agree that listening to music with lyrics is distracting for most people. Therefore, it’s often recommended that we avoid listening to music featuring lyrics when working on tasks that require intense focus or the learning of new information.
  2. Listening to music with lyrics may help people working on repetitive or mundane tasks. 
  3. Playing classical or rock music helps identify numbers more quickly and accurately.
  4. Software developers experienced more positive moods, better quality of work and improved efficiency when listening to music.
  5. Creative processes improved when participants listened to ambient noise at a moderate volume — about 70 decibels, approximately the volume of a vacuum cleaner.

[The original piece]

Don’t Write Code for a Startup: Confessions of a developer

Confessions of a serial startup software developer.

1. You’re Giving Up Mentorship
You won’t get the mentorship you need from senior engineers.

2. High Breadth but Little Depth
There’s too much to do and nobody knows what works yet.

3. You’ll Work Hard Instead of Smart
There’s too much to do and nobody knows what works yet.

4. Hire Fast, Fire Faster
I don’t know who coined this phrase, but it always felt irresponsible.

5. Your Equity Is Worth Nothing
You’re giving up your salary now in hopes of cashing out equity later.

Do Chance Meetings at the Office Boost Innovation? There’s No Evidence of It.

For some, the office even stifles creativity. As the pandemic eases in the U.S., a few companies seek to reimagine what work might look like.

“The idea you can only be collaborative face-to-face is a bias,”  “And I’d ask, how much creativity and innovation have been driven out of the office because you weren’t in the insider group, you weren’t listened to, you didn’t go to the same places as the people in positions of power were gathering?

6 Product Frameworks From Tony Fadell, the Inventor of the iPod, iPhone & Nest

Tony Fadell on product design do’s and don’ts.

1. “What do you see?”  It is in our human nature to stop seeing what’s right in front of us.

2. “For truly great designs, 50% of the design is the design. 50% of the design is the story behind the design.”

3. Create your constraints  

4. Find Your Product Development Heartbeat

5. What A World-Changing Founder Looks Like

6. Be A Troublemaker

Tech Companies Are Training AI to Read Your Lips

First came facial recognition. Now, an early form of lip-reading AI is being deployed in hospitals, power plants, public transportation, and more.

Many of the problems with facial recognition have become public knowledge only within the last several years, due in large part to research and activism by people who were actively being harmed by it. Specifically, the landmark 2018 paper in which Joy Buolamwini and Timnit Gebru first revealed that facial recognition is less accurate for women and people of color.

Your product is a joke (and that's brilliant!)

The rules that help make good improv comedy can surprisingly help make good product too. Let’s run through interesting parallels between the two, and how you can apply some lessons from improv to build better product.

The key product lesson is that you should understand the world you are in before you do anything else. This is the base reality of your product. Who are your customers? What are their problems? What do they do about these problems? What part of the existing solutions will you not change? Resist the natural rush to be creative with features, designs, engineering and first observe and understand your base reality. The base reality shouldn’t be innovative and you should be careful about contriving it to be what you wish. Be specific and truthful. Here are some examples of base realities.

The Black Box Inventor Was Told to Drop the Idea

Warren was studying for his amateur radio license when a World War II ban on hobby radio forced him to redirect his efforts to chemistry sets.

But when Warren gave his supervisor Technical Memorandum 142, describing the use of a wire to record several minutes of cockpit conversation, his boss showed no enthusiasm. Warren was told to pass the idea to the instruments group and “get on with blowing up fuel tanks,” as Warren was quoted in a 2019 BBC News article.

WhatsApp FINALLY gets NPCI License; Let the Fintech war begin

WhatsApp has finally received NPCI license to roll out payment product in India.

The first phase of WhatsApp Pay rollout will bring the payment service to as many as 10 million users in India. The service is said to have secured the licence from the NPCI that was the first of some long-pending regulatory approvals that WhatsApp sought to officially launch WhatsApp Pay in the country.

“Pending other compliance points, the messaging platform will be able to do a full rollout”.

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MIDI 2.0: Brace up for Musical Disruption

MIDI 2.0 has been announced, after 37 years of MIDI launch (which is now a standard for music production).

The biggest development is the expansion from 7-bit values to 32-bit values. Mike Kent, one of the technical leaders in creating MIDI 2.0, says this is like going from the resolution of a 1980s television to the high-def televisions of today.

It means that instead of 128 steps for features like volume, there will now be billions. An area where producers think this might be particularly helpful is allowing for subtle “pitch bend” and controlling how much bass and treble are emphasized in every note.

Lessons on Capital Efficiency from 21 SaaS IPOs

The Rule of 40 is a popular heuristic to gauge the business health of a SaaS company. It asserts that a healthy SaaS company’s revenue growth rate and profit margins should sum to 40%+.

Learn some of the key stats on capital efficiency from SAAS IPOs.

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The 24-month journey to product/market fit

It can easily take up to another 15 months before you find product/market fit. Totalling the amount of time at 24 months already. And it is not uncommon or a shame when it takes longer.

. Someone even called it crazy talk that it takes 3 to 6 months to define the problem and solution.

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How Google Got Its Employees to Eat Their Vegetables

Over the past five years, the company has taken a typically Google-ish approach to the food it serves — methodical, iterative — to create the largest and most ambitious real-world test of how to nudge people to make healthier choices at mealtime.

Google’s tactics include limiting portion sizes for meat and desserts and redesigning its premises to lead its “users” to choose water and fruit over soda and M&M’s. The goal, says Michiel Bakker, Google’s director of global workplace programs, is to make the healthy choice the easy choice.