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It’s the empty space that’s useful

Lao Tzu said:

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.

We manage communities for executives and this is very relevant advice: It not the content we produce that makes our communities useful, it’s the empty space that we give them to talk to each other that’s so valuable.

Our job isn’t to fill the empty space, it’s to protect it.

Lesson: Are you trying to do to much, manage too much, deliver too much? Maybe you need to give your customers/fans/communities room to add the value.

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  1. Regina Ford May 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Wow, awfully thought provoking. I’m guilty of always trying to push and push to get more done and more out there but this is a great layer to actively add to our strategy. It’s so simple and so true.

  2. tushnaa May 23, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    I really appreciate the provoking. Its so true that most of us work for ourselves rather than working as our own hometown. “Thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does the work.”

  3. Sheetal Sharma June 6, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Very well said andy, i must say the logic lies in protecting and respecting the empty space rather than just filling it with useless content, we must allow our clients and customers some breathing space and encourage them to give feedback. I am a part of Global Marketing and communication team and my boss Kulwinder Singh teaches us every day the importance of empty space – be it for marketing collateral, website content or social media marketing.

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