The Four Way Cross Maneuver by the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. Some things at Texas A&M are just unique. Yet for all of our talk of tradition, few schools or companies I have ever encountered embrace the speed of change in today’s world than Texas A&M.
In the newly rebuilt Kyle Field at Texas A&M University!
A panorama of the new field completed for our final home game of 2015.
The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.
The new stadium is spectacular!
Aggieland is completely different from the 1990s. Aggieland is exactly the same as it was in the 1990s. Just completely different, core values and leadership focus in tact. Gig’em.
The burden of communication is on the communicator; not the recipient.
Therefore proper email etiquette is to use strong subject lines, links, numbered lists and reasonably short paragraphs. Use these guidelines on how to write a decent email that might actually produce results.
Specifically emails must use:
Subject Lines – all emails need a well articulated and relevant Subject Line.
Examples of good email subject lines:
Client X going live on Tuesday July 29 before Friday Board Meeting
Training help file on email etiquette posted on schipul.com
Feast with the Beast Presale Facebook AD text (sent to the zoo)
Bad subject lines torture your coworkers with anxiety which lowers morale and greatly reduces profitability.
Every time an email is sent with a bad subject line, a baby seal dies. This is sad. Save the baby seals! Use good subject lines!
Links – ease of use changes behavior.
Ease of use changes behavior. Without links people will NOT click through to see the work that has been done.
It is rare that an email goes out that is truly not about SOMETHING that should be linked. Yes exceptions occur, but they are rare exceptions.
It is not your coworker’s responsibility to overcome your unwillingness to copy/paste a link from a site you are probably looking at when you sent the email!
Every time an email is sent without a link, a baby seal dies. This is sad. Save the baby seals! Use links!
Numbered Lists – organize the information
Bulleted lists are evil because they do NOT convey priority by the sender. Yet the recipient invariably starts at the top assuming this is in fact the top priority.
The value of forcing yourself to use numbered lists is that the sender (you) must organize your thoughts before confusing everyone else. It has been my experience that most people do not “order” bulleted lists but numbering makes them think about it.
Raise your hand if you like numbered lists! Now raise your other hand so things balance out. Or to put it another way – be kind to people who need this structure. It benefits you if people understand your message. Embrace diversity including “diversity of types of thinkers.” Structure and prioritize your content.
Short Paragraphs – with rare exceptions
Shorter paragraphs with strong subject sentences greatly increase reading comprehension.
Speed readers tend to read the first sentence of a paragraph and use that to make a decision if they should bother reading the rest. Shorter paragraphs means more of your message is consumed regardless.
They force you to organize your thoughts before wasting everyone else’s time!
Nickel words – save them for scrabble
To repeat – the burden of communication is on the communicator, not the recipient. While it is possible to write in tongues, this needlessly reduces comprehension.
But don’t oversimplify, just make it as simple as possible and no simpler.
We all value our time. You do. I do. Everyone does. So it frequently seems expedient to send an email quickly without thought. The problem is the person receiving these emails might be receiving 500 emails a day and there is no way to Get Things Done without more data.
For example assuming you – not putting a decent subject line – costs each recipient 1 extra minute of time to comprehend (if they give you this minute), then an email that saved you 1 minute, just cost a company of 30 people 29 minutes of billable time. This is very real money. And these are very real emotions on the part of the recipient.
Don’t be mean; take the time to write decent emails.
[Note: this was an internal company help file for years, I probably wrote it around 2002 or 2003. This is just me reposting it for public consumption.]
There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.
One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.
“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.
“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”
He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves.
So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.
The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.
Trying to explain subnet masks inside our company chat system, and this was the result. It is either the best, or possibly the worst, explanation of subnet masks and IP addresses ever. So there is that.
Think of the zero’s as “hey you are cool man. come on into the party dude!” and the ones are like “oh hell no you aren’t getting in here!”
So the 1’s are the “mask” in a subnet mask.
Visualized another way it looks like the following party-pic. These guys are PARTYING HARD with 256 IPs.
But you know, first you can’t have a zero IP address so you can’t use 192.168.1.0. Then you’ve got the supervisor (router) who gets the first IP in the block (e.g. 192.168.1.1 is the router in 192.168.0.1/255.255.255.0
In our example subnet that is 192.168.1.255 (remember IPs start at 0. Thus 0 to 255 = 256 IPs.) Anyway this guy –> “192.168.1.255” is the guy who is like HEY WHO THE HELL IS IN HERE!!!?!?!?! And now everyone has to reply because they are screaming and we all have to answer!
So that leaves 254 (1router-broadcast=254) available host ips in this block. Further by convention you typically don’t assign the .0 IP so that really leaves 253. Basically it looks like this in
It is easy to observe, notice, and complain about a problem. It is much much harder to find solutions.
Yet, if a solution is well researched and historically validated, only a fool would not work to solve it. Right? Hence my repost of a quote from a brilliant writer, a problem solver, a man who I also consider a friend.
In this complex clash of civilizations, evolutionary biology offers a multi-million-year-old lesson on how to stop death by social media: fecundity. The good guys must simply and decisively overwhelm the bad guys with good information. The good information must be programmed better than the bad information, and it must be propagated in overwhelming amounts. We can select the social media world we want to live in and social-engineer our way back to safety.
WARNING: A warning to the two or three people who read this blog – the quote above is a positive quote. An excerpt. But the link to Shelly’s blog on death by social media is a link to a brutally frank post. I am quoting the solution Shelly is telling us because I agree with him. He is correct. Just be aware if you click over to his post it does contain some rather disturbing observations.
What is Mr. Palmer’s point? Briefly, that you and I are doing it wrong, And we have the power fix it..
We must overwhelm the world with positivity. Forget the world of “if it bleeds it leads” which is so prevalent. Those media channels advertising shows won’t change, but we can and should overwhelm them with the positive.
Thus, even though it is disturbing post on the brutal reality of social media and it’s sometimes deadly outcomes, hopefully you will click over. Because we need to do this. Because it is real. Because the current reality must stop. Because the positive must prevail.
“My particular peeve is pre-roll. I hate it,” he added. “What is even worse is that I know the people who are making it know that I’m going to hate it. Why do I know that? Because they tell me how long I am going to have to endure it — 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 15 seconds. You only have to watch this crap for another 10 seconds and then you are going to get to the content that you really wanted to see. That is a model of polluting content that is not sustainable.”
“The agency model that I grew up with largely has not changed today,” he said, noting that he has been in the ad industry for 25 years. “Yet agency CEOs are sitting there watching retainers disappear … they are looking at clients being way more promiscuous with their agencies than they ever have.”
“We are still talking about the 30-second TV spot. Seriously?”
Maybe I was too early on converting Schipul – The Web Marketing Company into Tendenci Software. But the decision, the direction, the move itself? The tectonic shift in media? The virtual and global workforce coming together every day through online tools? No, I’m not wrong about that.
If you are married to the classic ad-agency model, or even web-design company model, my only advice is to chase down the third world companies and clients. Why? Because you now have a very real first-world problem; your business model will fail and your owners know it. #firstWorldProblemsCanBeABitch
This isn’t to say the solution we are going after with Tendenci is the perfect approach. I don’t think anybody knows what will work in the future.
However we DO know what won’t work. Looking at the old agency model, it’s a game of dead-man-walking. If you work there, get your money, save your money, and train like crazy because education is a lifelong journey and it is your responsibility to be ready for “the next.” It’s frustrating as I don’t know the “next” any more than anyone else.
I’ve failed a lot in the last two years. I have a PhD in failure at this point. I say this even as the company is turning around and back in the black and growing again. (Thank you to all of our new clients! Thank you to everyone who believed in us and stuck by us. We are going to have you SOOOO prepared for the “next” it’ll be incredible.)
What I did know is that I had to get my clients and my employees off the Titanic. Ironically many didn’t understand and instead left for variations I call “Titanic 2.0”. Still, I do believe our formers will be fine because they are lifelong learners. I just hope they are getting ready now. The game is changed and nobody, nobody, knows all of the new rules yet.
Maybe that is the bigger issue? If you invent a sport like soccer, you start by setting the objectives. The objective is to make a goal. Then you choose the size of the field. The size of the goal. The number of players.
Then the subtleties – rules like “offsides” – to keep the game exciting.
You don’t try to make the game identical to some other game because the public (remember the consumer? the ones with the money?) will be bored. And won’t watch. You must evolve. Evolve or die. It’s that simple. And it hurts like hell. Yet….
Make no mistake – the first decision when you invent a new sport is “what is the objective” and everything else is derived from that. If your company hasn’t figured out that the agency model is broken, then they definitely aren’t working on the subtleties. And as usual, the devil is in the details.
Has Open Source Tendenci and our team been through a lot? Yes. But it would be malpractice if we were still selling fluffy social media consulting retainers with timer based twitter posts in 2015.
Seriously, you are still selling “Social Media Consulting”? Seriously?
PR is strategy – everything else is a vehicle to execute on that strategy. There is absolutely no differentiation in being able to operate hootsuite because you can be replaced by a 16 year old. Clients aren’t stupid – they WILL figure this out.
Yes, I know people still make money selling fluffy “I can operate facebook for you”, but, just how long are clients going to be stupid enough to pay for that? Why would you pay for that when the next generation is doing hard-deletes?
As quoted above: “agency CEOs are sitting there watching retainers disappear”
It’s hard to follow a leader. Harder to follow one that is ahead of the curve. I’m probably wrong. But I’m not. Titanic 2.0 will sink just as surely as Titanic 1.0 did. And the CEOs and clients will push the weak aside and take the lifeboats. And then, well, where will you be?
In 1960, the average major corporation lasted for 60 years—but today, it gets wiped out after only 15. With billion-dollar budgets for technology, marketing, and big data at their disposal, why are flagship public companies failing faster than ever before, and industries experiencing major disruption?