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Doing it right vs. Doing it on time

You have a choice how to get there: Launch quick, launch big, or launch great. 

  • You can hit a deadline, feel proud, and get a thumbs up from the boss (or investors). 
  • You can follow the very trendy strategy of “minimum viable product” and launch something that’s just OK and make it better later (if people will give you another chance).
  • Or — you can do what you need to do to get it right, which takes patience and enough cash to hold out until you’re ready. (Like this.)

In the end, the great product that makes happy customers is the one that wins. 

How do you want to win?

Service through technology (We’re going to the White House)

SMORG-MM36-Flag-logo

We’re in a time of crappiness in politics — endless roadblocks, complaining, and negativity.

But there’s a bright spot in Washington: The amazing work of the US Digital Service. They are teaching government agencies how to build better software.

This matters, because each improvement makes life easier for millions of citizens. Faster care for veterans, quicker benefits for seniors, and fewer hassles for all of us.

Good government is independent of politics, and we all win when the government gets better at doing good work.

Read about their inspiring work here and here.

We’re bringing 100 SocialMedia.org members to the White House on Tuesday as guests of U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. The reason: the first ever White House Demo Day, which will bring together entrepreneurs from all walks of life, from all across the country, highlighting the individual journeys of a diverse set of entrepreneurs — people whose stories show exactly why we need to grow the pie to make sure there’s opportunity for everyone in our innovation economy.

Follow along on Twitter via hashtag #WHDemoDay.

The event will also be livestreamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Better is better than new.

Beef jerky might be the oldest form of prepared food. But that doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs can’t find a new way to make it special.

The folks at ThinkJerky.com are doing delicious things with star chefs (sriracha honey!) — along with a lot of clever marketing. (They sent me some excellent samples – check out the Kickstarter.)

Here’s the real lesson for all of us: Everyone tells entrepreneurs that they need to come up with some radical new idea to change the world. That’s not actually true — you just need to make something a lot better.  

Apple didn’t invent phones or computers, Tesla didn’t invent electric cars, AirBnB didn’t invent vacation home rental, Google didn’t invent search …

Thinkjerky

Newsletter #1048: The “Lessons from Drybar” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

We were inspired by this conversation between Inc. writer Liz Welch and Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, a mobile salon that only offers wash and blow-dry services. She told Liz that while a lot of competitors are starting to copy her model, staying true to the business has helped Drybar stay ahead.

Here are three lessons to learn from their persistence:

1. Do less, better
2. Think about every detail of the customer experience
3. Train employees to get real feedback
4. Check it out: Gravity points

1. Do less, better

Drybar does one thing: wash and blow-dry services. And it’s inspired a lot of competition to do the same, and it’s put the pressure on them to offer other things to stay ahead. But instead of adding on more beauty services, Drybar just doubles down on doing what they do really well: washing and blowdrying hair in a luxury environment. They chose to stick to their niche instead of becoming just another salon.

The lesson: Doing one thing really well is what makes the idea work. What makes it fail is letting more creep in.

2. Think about every detail of the customer experience

Drybar works hard to make a great environment for their customers. Their salons are made to look like a chic bar, they put iPhone chargers at each station, and fresh flowers are everywhere. In fact, they could fit about ten more chairs in their typical-sized salon, but instead, they choose to leave extra space around their limited stations.

The lesson: Take the money and resources you would spend on expanding your services and invest it in making your existing product the best it can be.

3. Train employees to get real feedback

Alli tells Inc. one of the worst things that can happen is for a client to leave unhappy. So their cashiers ask every customer about their experience. But they don’t stop there. Drybar also trains employees to read customers’ body language and facial expressions to pick up on upset customers who aren’t sharing their disappointment.

The lesson: Not everyone will tell you when they’re unhappy. And while most places don’t even want to know, how much better could you make your business if every unsatisfied customer was heard?

4. Check it out: Gravity points

Click anywhere to add a gravity point and watch as the dots interact and with one another. Open the controls to change the interference and number of particles on the page.

Check it out: Gravity points

It could have been so great

We were staying in a beautiful seaside resort. It was nice.

But it fell just short of great. We probably won’t be back.

It would have been so easy to be impressive — fix the toilet paper holder and loose doorknob, a little WD-40, a few towel hooks. 

The difference between OK and GREAT is caring for the details. Not strategic wizardry, not tech innovation — lots of companies do things similar to the best companies.

But the ones who care most about the tiniest customer-facing details win every time.

Doebay

It’s not the critic who counts

Fascinating how many Deadheads found a reason to criticize the Grateful Dead’s farewell concert tour (example). Folks, it’s a concert by a band that played more than 2,500 concerts over the years. And this time you can watch a live stream for 20 bucks. About as uncontroversial as you can get. But here’s the real […]

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Newsletter #1047: The “Lessons from Pets” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.] People have a lot of passion for the animals they consider family members. And that’s why whether you’re running a dog […]

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Newsletter #1046: The “Hitting Close to Home” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.] How well do you know your customers? Do you know what they cook in their kitchens? If they run a small […]

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Newsletter #1045: The “Human to Human” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.] Let’s take a break from automated responses, digital customer service, and self-checkouts for a second. Let’s focus on some of the […]

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