When I began a career in marketing back in 2008, I was taught the following:
- K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple, Stupid
- There’s no ROI without I
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
- Never trust a bald barber
Fast forward to today, and my LinkedIn inbox is full of sales pitches, canned messages about new roles, work anniversaries or birthdays, and ‘critiques’ of websites or campaigns I’ve worked on.
Based on this enormity of data (the critiques, not the rest), I’ve come to the conclusion that every site I’ve worked on is crap. But they worked – users used, customers customed, money changed hands and nothing exploded (more than can be said for the injection mould machine next door to my office in my first job, but we’ll park that story).
So I’m here to tell you that everything you do is crap. Someone is going to call it crap – usually followed by a shiny solution you should pay for – and you may be tempted to forward that message to your designer or developer or whoever manages your site, campaign, creative, PR, copy, product.
Product owners don’t start with nothing and make everything perfect from there. That’d be impossible and we’d still have Ceefax, the most perfect of systems ever created by man.
When you own a product, you develop the fundamentals first, then you work on the weak points. You don’t polish. You know if you have one amazing feature and 4 crap ones, that’s going to average out the user experience, multiplied by the ease-of-use.
Story Time With Ali!
I used to play the Bass Trombone. I was rather good, if I don’t say so myself, and I remember being in a small room in the wings of a University concert hall doing my warm ups. I had a fun line that sounded cool. Lots of bass, lovely menacing sound – something that turned heads!
A tutor came in and called me over. He said “You like that bit, don’t you?” and I responded, “Yeah it’s cool.”
“You play it well, but you aren’t playing the tricky bit that comes later are you?” “No…” “Here’s my advice – enjoy playing the challenging parts. You’re half way up the mountain enjoying the view. Get yourself to the top. No one else will be able to see you, but you’ll know you’ve done it.”
And from then on, I’d get to the tricky parts and work on those before anything else. And that extended into work. I struggled with code, so I learned more about code. I struggled with forecasting, so I broke my issues into smaller issues and took those one at a time.
Skip to here for the point
Someone will say it’s crap, and they’re not wrong. They just don’t realise everything is crap through the lens of a critic.