Why the secret of climbing higher is aiming lower

You know who gives terrible advice? Really successful people. Billionaires, celebrities, top ranking athletes.  You know, the very people whose advice we most seek.  The people whose advice is, supposedly, the most valuable. I’ll get on to why this is, but first I want to outline why it’s important. Human beings are copying creatures.  We spend all […]

The “Thingness” of strategy: The mindset shift that changes everything

If there’s one part of my job that really sucks, it’s this: Nobody is shopping for what I’m selling. There are companies out there thinking “we need a lawyer”, so they go shopping for a law firm.  There are companies thinking “we need a new website”, so they go shopping for a web developer.  There […]

The lie of expertise

Before getting into this week’s essay, I just to alert you to a new undertaking of mine: Concept testing on Linkedin. From now on I’m going to be doing one post a day on the platform where I’ll be trying out new ideas and theories, having a chat about them, and then potentially expanding on […]

Strategic confidence: this is everything

It’s not every day that I come across a new idea in this field which stops me in my tracks, but I heard something recently that did just that.  I’m paraphrasing but it was along the lines of: Marketing is the barrier you put up between yourself and the world. This is epic, so let me […]

If you want to do great marketing, never use this word

As long time readers will know, my views on business begin and end with one simple belief: Business is the practice of delivering value to people. That’s it.  Each and every company is nothing more than a system designed to give value, and thus receive it in return.  Sure, you can create a business that […]

How to make strategy stick

The other day I stumbled across this Kevin Kelly quote which really sums up something I’ve learned in the past couple of years: “To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just re-do it, re-do it, re-do it. The secret to making fine things is in remaking them.” In some fields this […]

Your business does not care what you want

As some of my geekier readers may have noticed, I very rarely talk about “goals” in this newsletter.  Indeed I very rarely talk about goals in my projects either.  Goals just aren’t a particularly big thing in my interpretation of strategy – which is pretty weird when you think about it, because by most definitions […]

The thing I admire most about founders

People often ask me, given my job, whether I ever have any ideas for a new brand myself. It’s a fair question.  After all, I’ve seen inside a lot of different companies, at various stages of growth, so you’d think I’d have developed a pretty decent sense of what works and what doesn’t.  And of […]

Why is strategic thinking so rare?

I saw an old Peter Drucker quote today which really got me thinking: “Efficiency is doing things right.  Effectiveness is doing the right things”. Efficiency versus effectiveness.  Doing things right, versus doing the right things.  Two deceptively similar modes of working, which are in fact miles apart.  One means doing something well, with quality, with skill.  And […]

Is advice pointless?

When I was growing up, my favourite TV show was Frasier. One of the many things I liked about it – second perhaps only to his awesome apartment – was the way it portrayed the job of a psychotherapist.  In essence Dr Crane would listen to people’s problems, dish out some sage advice and move […]