Integrity
Write
Loading...
Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

1 year ago

Successful people have this one skill.

More on Personal Growth

Joseph Mavericks

Joseph Mavericks

1 year ago

The world's 36th richest man uses a 5-step system to get what he wants.

Ray Dalio's super-effective roadmap 

Ray Dalio's $22 billion net worth ranks him 36th globally. From 1975 to 2011, he built the world's most successful hedge fund, never losing more than 4% from 1991 to 2020. (and only doing so during 3 calendar years). 

Dalio describes a 5-step process in his best-selling book Principles. It's the playbook he's used to build his hedge fund, beat the markets, and face personal challenges. 

This 5-step system is so valuable and well-explained that I didn't edit or change anything; I only added my own insights in the parts I found most relevant and/or relatable as a young entrepreneur. The system's overview: 

  1. Have clear goals 

  2. Identify and don’t tolerate problems 

  3. Diagnose problems to get at their root causes 

  4. Design plans that will get you around those problems 

  5. Do what is necessary to push through the plans to get results 

If you follow these 5 steps in a virtuous loop, you'll almost always see results. Repeat the process for each goal you have. 

1. Have clear goals 

a) Prioritize: You can have almost anything, but not everything. 

I started and never launched dozens of projects for 10 years because I was scattered. I opened a t-shirt store, traded algorithms, sold art on Instagram, painted skateboards, and tinkered with electronics. I decided to try blogging for 6 months to see where it took me. Still going after 3 years. 

b) Don’t confuse goals with desires. 

A goal inspires you to act. Unreasonable desires prevent you from achieving your goals. 

c) Reconcile your goals and desires to decide what you want. 

d) Don't confuse success with its trappings. 

e) Never dismiss a goal as unattainable. 

Always one path is best. Your perception of what's possible depends on what you know now. I never thought I'd make money writing online so quickly, and now I see a whole new horizon of business opportunities I didn't know about before. 

f) Expectations create abilities. 

Don't limit your abilities. More you strive, the more you'll achieve. 

g) Flexibility and self-accountability can almost guarantee success. 

Flexible people accept what reality or others teach them. Self-accountability is the ability to recognize your mistakes and be more creative, flexible, and determined. 

h) Handling setbacks well is as important as moving forward. 

Learn when to minimize losses and when to let go and move on. 

2. Don't ignore problems 

a) See painful problems as improvement opportunities. 

Every problem, painful situation, and challenge is an opportunity. Read The Art of Happiness for more. 

b) Don't avoid problems because of harsh realities. 

Recognizing your weaknesses isn't the same as giving in. It's the first step in overcoming them. 

c) Specify your issues. 

There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution. 

d) Don’t mistake a cause of a problem with the real problem. 

"I can't sleep" is a cause, not a problem. "I'm underperforming" could be a problem. 

e) Separate big from small problems. 

You have limited time and energy, so focus on the biggest problems. 

f) Don't ignore a problem. 

Identifying a problem and tolerating it is like not identifying it. 

3. Identify problems' root causes 

a) Decide "what to do" after assessing "what is." 

"A good diagnosis takes 15 to 60 minutes, depending on its accuracy and complexity. [...] Like principles, root causes recur in different situations. 

b) Separate proximate and root causes. 

"You can only solve problems by removing their root causes, and to do that, you must distinguish symptoms from disease." 

c) Knowing someone's (or your own) personality can help you predict their behavior. 

4. Design plans that will get you around the problems 

a) Retrace your steps. 

Analyze your past to determine your future. 

b) Consider your problem a machine's output. 

Consider how to improve your machine. It's a game then. 

c) There are many ways to reach your goals. 

Find a solution. 

d) Visualize who will do what in your plan like a movie script. 

Consider your movie's actors and script's turning points, then act accordingly. The game continues. 

e) Document your plan so others can judge your progress. 

Accountability boosts success. 

f) Know that a good plan doesn't take much time. 

The execution is usually the hardest part, but most people either don't have a plan or keep changing it. Don't drive while building the car. Build it first, because it'll be bumpy. 

5. Do what is necessary to push through the plans to get results 

a) Great planners without execution fail. 

Life is won with more than just planning. Similarly, practice without talent beats talent without practice. 

b) Work ethic is undervalued. 

Hyper-productivity is praised in corporate America, even if it leads nowhere. To get things done, use checklists, fewer emails, and more desk time. 

c) Set clear metrics to ensure plan adherence. 

I've written about the OKR strategy for organizations with multiple people here. If you're on your own, I recommend the Wheel of Life approach. Both systems start with goals and tasks to achieve them. Then start executing on a realistic timeline. 

If you find solutions, weaknesses don't matter. 

Everyone's weak. You, me, Gates, Dalio, even Musk. Nobody will be great at all 5 steps of the system because no one can think in all the ways required. Some are good at analyzing and diagnosing but bad at executing. Some are good planners but poor communicators. Others lack self-discipline. 

Stay humble and ask for help when needed. Nobody has ever succeeded 100% on their own, without anyone else's help. That's the paradox of individual success: teamwork is the only way to get there. 

Most people won't have the skills to execute even the best plan. You can get missing skills in two ways: 

  1. Self-taught (time-consuming) 

  2. Others' (requires humility) light

On knowing what to do with your life 

“Some people have good mental maps and know what to do on their own. Maybe they learned them or were blessed with common sense. They have more answers than others. Others are more humble and open-minded. […] Open-mindedness and mental maps are most powerful.” — Ray Dalio 

I've always known what I wanted to do, so I'm lucky. I'm almost 30 and have always had trouble executing. Good thing I never stopped experimenting, but I never committed to anything long-term. I jumped between projects. I decided 3 years ago to stick to one project for at least 6 months and haven't looked back. 

Maybe you're good at staying focused and executing, but you don't know what to do. Maybe you have none of these because you haven't found your purpose. Always try new projects and talk to as many people as possible. It will give you inspiration and ideas and set you up for success. 

There is almost always a way to achieve a crazy goal or idea. 

Enjoy the journey, whichever path you take.

Hudson Rennie

Hudson Rennie

1 year ago

My Work at a $1.2 Billion Startup That Failed

Sometimes doing everything correctly isn't enough.

Image via: glassdoor.com licensed under CC BY 2.0

In 2020, I could fix my life.

After failing to start a business, I owed $40,000 and had no work.

A $1.2 billion startup on the cusp of going public pulled me up.

Ironically, it was getting ready for an epic fall — with the world watching.

Life sometimes helps. Without a base, even the strongest fall. A corporation that did everything right failed 3 months after going public.

First-row view.

Apple is the creator of Adore.

Out of respect, I've altered the company and employees' names in this account, despite their failure.

Although being a publicly traded company, it may become obvious.

We’ll call it “Adore” — a revolutionary concept in retail shopping.

Two Apple execs established Adore in 2014 with a focus on people-first purchasing.

Jon and Tim:

  • The concept for the stylish Apple retail locations you see today was developed by retail expert Jon Swanson, who collaborated closely with Steve Jobs.

  • Tim Cruiter is a graphic designer who produced the recognizable bouncing lamp video that appears at the start of every Pixar film.

The dynamic duo realized their vision.

“What if you could combine the convenience of online shopping with the confidence of the conventional brick-and-mortar store experience.”

Adore's mobile store concept combined traditional retail with online shopping.

Adore brought joy to 70+ cities and 4 countries over 7 years, including the US, Canada, and the UK.

Being employed on the ground floor, with world dominance and IPO on the horizon, was exciting.

I started as an Adore Expert.

I delivered cell phones, helped consumers set them up, and sold add-ons.

As the company grew, I became a Virtual Learning Facilitator and trained new employees across North America using Zoom.

In this capacity, I gained corporate insider knowledge. I worked with the creative team and Jon and Tim.

Image via Instagram: @goenjoy

It's where I saw company foundation fissures. Despite appearances, investors were concerned.

The business strategy was ground-breaking.

Even after seeing my employee stocks fall from a home down payment to $0 (when Adore filed for bankruptcy), it's hard to pinpoint what went wrong.

Solid business model, well-executed.

Jon and Tim's chase for public funding ended in glory.

Here’s the business model in a nutshell:

Buying cell phones is cumbersome. You have two choices:

  1. Online purchase: not knowing what plan you require or how to operate your device.

  2. Enter a store, which can be troublesome and stressful.

Apple, AT&T, and Rogers offered Adore as a free delivery add-on. Customers could:

  • Have their phone delivered by UPS or Canada Post in 1-2 weeks.

  • Alternately, arrange for a person to visit them the same day (or sometimes even the same hour) to assist them set up their phone and demonstrate how to use it (transferring contacts, switching the SIM card, etc.).

Each Adore Expert brought a van with extra devices and accessories to customers.

Happy customers.

Here’s how Adore and its partners made money:

Adores partners appreciated sending Experts to consumers' homes since they improved customer satisfaction, average sale, and gadget returns.

**Telecom enterprises have low customer satisfaction. The average NPS is 30/100. Adore's global NPS was 80.

Adore made money by:

  • a set cost for each delivery

  • commission on sold warranties and extras

Consumer product applications seemed infinite.

A proprietary scheduling system (“The Adore App”), allowed for same-day, even same-hour deliveries.

It differentiates Adore.

They treated staff generously by:

  • Options on stock

  • health advantages

  • sales enticements

  • high rates per hour

Four-day workweeks were set by experts.

Being hired early felt like joining Uber, Netflix, or Tesla. We hoped the company's stocks would rise.

Exciting times.

I smiled as I greeted more than 1,000 new staff.

I spent a decade in retail before joining Adore. I needed a change.

After a leap of faith, I needed a lifeline. So, I applied for retail sales jobs in the spring of 2019.

The universe typically offers you what you want after you accept what you need. I needed a job to settle my debt and reach $0 again.

And the universe listened.

After being hired as an Adore Expert, I became a Virtual Learning Facilitator. Enough said.

After weeks of economic damage from the pandemic.

This employment let me work from home during the pandemic. It taught me excellent business skills.

I was active in brainstorming, onboarding new personnel, and expanding communication as we grew.

This job gave me vital skills and a regular paycheck during the pandemic.

It wasn’t until January of 2022 that I left on my own accord to try to work for myself again — this time, it’s going much better.

Adore was perfect. We valued:

  • Connection

  • Discovery

  • Empathy

Everything we did centered on compassion, and we held frequent Justice Calls to discuss diversity and work culture.

The last day of onboarding typically ended in tears as employees felt like they'd found a home, as I had.

Like all nice things, the wonderful vibes ended.

First indication of distress

My first day at the workplace was great.

Fun, intuitive, and they wanted creative individuals, not salesman.

While sales were important, the company's vision was more important.

“To deliver joy through life-changing mobile retail experiences.”

Thorough, forward-thinking training. We had a module on intuition. It gave us role ownership.

We were flown cross-country for training, gave feedback, and felt like we made a difference. Multiple contacts responded immediately and enthusiastically.

The atmosphere was genuine.

Making money was secondary, though. Incredible service was a priority.

Jon and Tim answered new hires' questions during Zoom calls during onboarding. CEOs seldom meet new hires this way, but they seemed to enjoy it.

All appeared well.

But in late 2021, things started changing.

Adore's leadership changed after its IPO. From basic values to sales maximization. We lost communication and were forced to fend for ourselves.

Removed the training wheels.

It got tougher to gain instructions from those above me, and new employees told me their roles weren't as advertised.

External money-focused managers were hired.

Instead of creative types, we hired salespeople.

With a new focus on numbers, Adore's uniqueness began to crumble.

Via Zoom, hundreds of workers were let go.

So.

Early in 2022, mass Zoom firings were trending. A CEO firing 900 workers over Zoom went viral.

Adore was special to me, but it became a headline.

30 June 2022, Vice Motherboard published Watch as Adore's CEO Fires Hundreds.

It described a leaked video of Jon Swanson laying off all staff in Canada and the UK.

They called it a “notice of redundancy”.

The corporation couldn't pay its employees.

I loved Adore's underlying ideals, among other things. We called clients Adorers and sold solutions, not add-ons.

But, like anything, a company is only as strong as its weakest link. And obviously, the people-first focus wasn’t making enough money.

There were signs. The expansion was presumably a race against time and money.

Adore finally declared bankruptcy.

Adore declared bankruptcy 3 months after going public. It happened in waves, like any large-scale fall.

  • Initial key players to leave were

  • Then, communication deteriorated.

  • Lastly, the corporate culture disintegrated.

6 months after leaving Adore, I received a letter in the mail from a Law firm — it was about my stocks.

Adore filed Chapter 11. I had to sue to collect my worthless investments.

I hoped those stocks will be valuable someday. Nope. Nope.

Sad, I sighed.

$1.2 billion firm gone.

I left the workplace 3 months before starting a writing business. Despite being mediocre, I'm doing fine.

I got up as Adore fell.

Finally, can we scale kindness?

I trust my gut. Changes at Adore made me leave before it sank.

Adores' unceremonious slide from a top startup to bankruptcy is astonishing to me.

The company did everything perfectly, in my opinion.

  • first to market,

  • provided excellent service

  • paid their staff handsomely.

  • was responsible and attentive to criticism

The company wasn't led by an egotistical eccentric. The crew had centuries of cumulative space experience.

I'm optimistic about the future of work culture, but is compassion scalable?

Patryk Nawrocki

Patryk Nawrocki

1 year ago

7 things a new UX/UI designer should know

If I could tell my younger self a few rules, they would boost my career.

1. Treat design like medicine; don't get attached.

If it doesn't help, you won't be angry, but you'll try to improve it. Designers blame others if they don't like the design, but the rule is the same: we solve users' problems. You're not your design, and neither are they. Be humble with your work because your assumptions will often be wrong and users will behave differently.

2. Consider your design flawed.

Disagree with yourself, then defend your ideas. Most designers forget to dig deeper into a pattern, screen, button, or copywriting. If someone asked, "Have you considered alternatives? How does this design stack up? Here's a functional UX checklist to help you make design decisions.

3. Codeable solutions.

If your design requires more developer time, consider whether it's worth spending more money to code something with a small UX impact. Overthinking problems and designing abstract patterns is easy. Sometimes you see something on dribbble or bechance and try to recreate it, but it's not worth it. Here's my article on it.

4. Communication changes careers

Designers often talk with users, clients, companies, developers, and other designers. How you talk and present yourself can land you a job. Like driving or swimming, practice it. Success requires being outgoing and friendly. If I hadn't said "hello" to a few people, I wouldn't be where I am now.

5. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Copyright, taxation How often have you used an icon without checking its license? If you use someone else's work in your project, the owner can cause you a lot of problems — paying a lot of money isn't worth it. Spend a few hours reading about copyrights, client agreements, and taxes.

6. Always test your design

If nobody has seen or used my design, it's not finished. Ask friends about prototypes. Testing reveals how wrong your assumptions were. Steve Krug, one of the authorities on this topic will tell you more about how to do testing.

7. Run workshops

A UX designer's job involves talking to people and figuring out what they need, which is difficult because they usually don't know. Organizing teamwork sessions is a powerful skill, but you must also be a good listener. Your job is to help a quiet, introverted developer express his solution and control the group. AJ Smart has more on workshops here.

You might also like

Scott Galloway

Scott Galloway

1 year ago

Attentive

From oil to attention.

Oil has been the most important commodity for a century. It's sparked wars. Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike to guarantee Japanese access to Indonesian oil, and it made desert tribes rich. Oil's heyday is over. From oil to attention.

We talked about an information economy. In an age of abundant information, what's scarce? Attention. Scale of the world's largest enterprises, wealth of its richest people, and power of governments all stem from attention extraction, monetization, and custody.

Attention-grabbing isn't new. Humans have competed for attention and turned content into wealth since Aeschylus' Oresteia. The internal combustion engine, industrial revolutions in mechanization and plastics, and the emergence of a mobile Western lifestyle boosted oil. Digitization has put wells in pockets, on automobile dashboards, and on kitchen counters, drilling for attention.

The most valuable firms are attention-seeking enterprises, not oil companies. Big Tech dominates the top 4. Tech and media firms are the sheikhs and wildcatters who capture our attention. Blood will flow as the oil economy rises.

Attention to Detail

More than IT and media companies compete for attention. Podcasting is a high-growth, low-barrier-to-entry chance for newbies to gain attention and (for around 1%) make money. Conferences are good for capturing in-person attention. Salesforce paid $30 billion for Slack's dominance of workplace attention, while Spotify is transforming music listening attention into a media platform.

Conferences, newsletters, and even music streaming are artisan projects. Even 130,000-person Comic Con barely registers on the attention economy's Richter scale. Big players have hundreds of millions of monthly users.

Supermajors

Even titans can be disrupted in the attention economy. TikTok is fracking king Chesapeake Energy, a rule-breaking insurgent with revolutionary extraction technologies. Attention must be extracted, processed, and monetized. Innovators disrupt the attention economy value chain.

Attention pre-digital Entrepreneurs commercialized intriguing or amusing stuff like a newspaper or TV show through subscriptions and ads. Digital storage and distribution's limitless capacity drove the initial wave of innovation. Netflix became dominant by releasing old sitcoms and movies. More ad-free content gained attention. By 2016, Netflix was greater than cable TV. Linear scale, few network effects.

Social media introduced two breakthroughs. First, users produced and paid for content. Netflix's economics are dwarfed by TikTok and YouTube, where customers create the content drill rigs that the platforms monetize.

Next, social media businesses expanded content possibilities. Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit offer traditional content, but they transform user comments into more valuable (addictive) emotional content. By emotional resonance, I mean they satisfy a craving for acceptance or anger us. Attention and emotion are mined from comments/replies, piss-fights, and fast-brigaded craziness. Exxon has turned exhaust into heroin. Should we be so linked without a commensurate presence? You wouldn't say this in person. Anonymity allows fraudulent accounts and undesirable actors, which platforms accept to profit from more pollution.

FrackTok

A new entrepreneur emerged as ad-driven social media anger contaminated the water table. TikTok is remaking the attention economy. Short-form video platform relies on user-generated content, although delivery is narrower and less social.

Netflix grew on endless options. Choice requires cognitive effort. TikTok is the least demanding platform since TV. App video plays when opened. Every video can be skipped with a swipe. An algorithm watches how long you watch, what you finish, and whether you like or follow to create a unique streaming network. You can follow creators and respond, but the app is passive. TikTok's attention economy recombination makes it apex predator. The app has more users than Facebook and Instagram combined. Among teens, it's overtaking the passive king, TV.

Externalities

Now we understand fossil fuel externalities. A carbon-based economy has harmed the world. Fracking brought large riches and rebalanced the oil economy, but at a cost: flammable water, earthquakes, and chemical leaks.

TikTok has various concerns associated with algorithmically generated content and platforms. A Wall Street Journal analysis discovered new accounts listed as belonging to 13- to 15-year-olds would swerve into rabbitholes of sex- and drug-related films in mere days. TikTok has a unique externality: Chinese Communist Party ties. Our last two presidents realized the relationship's perils. Concerned about platform's propaganda potential.

No evidence suggests the CCP manipulated information to harm American interests. A headjack implanted on America's youth, who spend more time on TikTok than any other network, connects them to a neural network that may be modified by the CCP. If the product and ownership can't be separated, the app should be banned. Putting restrictions near media increases problems. We should have a reciprocal approach with China regarding media firms. Ban TikTok

It was a conference theme. I anticipated Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner to say, "We're watching them." (That's CEO protocol.) TikTok should be outlawed in every democracy as an espionage tool. Rumored regulations could lead to a ban, and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr pushes for app store prohibitions. Why not restrict Chinese propaganda? Some disagree: Several renowned tech writers argued my TikTok diatribe last week distracted us from privacy and data reform. The situation isn't zero-sum. I've warned about Facebook and other tech platforms for years. Chewing gum while walking is possible.

The Future

Is TikTok the attention-economy titans' final evolution? The attention economy acts like it. No original content. CNN+ was unplugged, Netflix is losing members and has lost 70% of its market cap, and households are canceling cable and streaming subscriptions in historic numbers. Snap Originals closed in August after YouTube Originals in January.

Everyone is outTik-ing the Tok. Netflix debuted Fast Laughs, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Snap Spotlight, Roku The Buzz, Pinterest Watch, and Twitter is developing a TikTok-like product. I think they should call it Vine. Just a thought.

Meta's internal documents show that users spend less time on Instagram Reels than TikTok. Reels engagement is dropping, possibly because a third of the videos were generated elsewhere (usually TikTok, complete with watermark). Meta has tried to downrank these videos, but they persist. Users reject product modifications. Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner posted a meme urging Meta to Make Instagram Instagram Again, resulting in 312,000 signatures. Mark won't hear the petition. Meta is the fastest follower in social (see Oculus and legless hellscape fever nightmares). Meta's stock is at a five-year low, giving those who opposed my demands to break it up a compelling argument.

Blue Pill

TikTok's short-term dominance in attention extraction won't be stopped by anyone who doesn't hear Hail to the Chief every time they come in. Will TikTok still be a supermajor in five years? If not, YouTube will likely rule and protect Kings Landing.

56% of Americans regularly watch YouTube. Compared to Facebook and TikTok, 95% of teens use Instagram. YouTube users upload more than 500 hours of video per minute, a number that's likely higher today. Last year, the platform garnered $29 billion in advertising income, equivalent to Netflix's total.

Business and biology both value diversity. Oil can be found in the desert, under the sea, or in the Arctic. Each area requires a specific ability. Refiners turn crude into gas, lubricants, and aspirin. YouTube's variety is unmatched. One-second videos to 12-hour movies. Others are studio-produced. (My Bill Maher appearance was edited for YouTube.)

You can dispute in the comment section or just stream videos. YouTube is used for home improvement, makeup advice, music videos, product reviews, etc. You can load endless videos on a topic or creator, subscribe to your favorites, or let the suggestion algo take over. YouTube relies on user content, but it doesn't wait passively. Strategic partners advise 12,000 creators. According to a senior director, if a YouTube star doesn’t post once week, their manager is “likely to know why.”

YouTube's kevlar is its middle, especially for creators. Like TikTok, users can start with low-production vlogs and selfie videos. As your following expands, so does the scope of your production, bringing longer videos, broadcast-quality camera teams and performers, and increasing prices. MrBeast, a YouTuber, is an example. MrBeast made gaming videos and YouTube drama comments.

Donaldson's YouTube subscriber base rose. MrBeast invests earnings to develop impressive productions. His most popular video was a $3.5 million Squid Game reenactment (the cost of an episode of Mad Men). 300 million people watched. TikTok's attention-grabbing tech is too limiting for this type of material. Now, Donaldson is focusing on offline energy with a burger restaurant and cloud kitchen enterprise.

Steps to Take

Rapid wealth growth has externalities. There is no free lunch. OK, maybe caffeine. The externalities are opaque, and the parties best suited to handle them early are incentivized to construct weapons of mass distraction to postpone and obfuscate while achieving economic security for themselves and their families. The longer an externality runs unchecked, the more damage it causes and the more it costs to fix. Vanessa Pappas, TikTok's COO, didn't shine before congressional hearings. Her comms team over-consulted her and said ByteDance had no headquarters because it's scattered. Being full of garbage simply promotes further anger against the company and the awkward bond it's built between the CCP and a rising generation of American citizens.

This shouldn't distract us from the (still existent) harm American platforms pose to our privacy, teenagers' mental health, and civic dialogue. Leaders of American media outlets don't suffer from immorality but amorality, indifference, and dissonance. Money rain blurs eyesight.

Autocratic governments that undermine America's standing and way of life are immoral. The CCP has and will continue to use all its assets to harm U.S. interests domestically and abroad. TikTok should be spun to Western investors or treated the way China treats American platforms: kicked out.

So rich,

Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

1 year ago

Here's What I Learned After 30 Days Analyzing Apple's Microcopy

Move people with tiny words.

Apple fanboy here.

  • Macs are awesome.

  • Their iPhones rock.

  • $19 cloths are great.

  • $999 stands are amazing.

I love Apple's microcopy even more.

It's like the marketing goddess bit into the Apple logo and blessed the world with microcopy.

I took on a 30-day micro-stalking mission.

Every time I caught myself wasting time on YouTube, I had to visit Apple’s website to learn the secrets of the marketing goddess herself.

We've learned. Golden apples are calling.

Cut the friction

Benefit-first, not commitment-first.

Brands lose customers through friction.

Most brands don't think like customers.

  • Brands want sales.

  • Brands want newsletter signups.

Here's their microcopy:

  • “Buy it now.”

  • “Sign up for our newsletter.”

Both are difficult. They ask for big commitments.

People are simple creatures. Want pleasure without commitment.

Apple nails this.

So, instead of highlighting the commitment, they highlight the benefit of the commitment.

Saving on the latest iPhone sounds easier than buying it. Everyone saves, but not everyone buys.

A subtle change in framing reduces friction.

Apple eliminates customer objections to reduce friction.

Less customer friction means simpler processes.

Apple's copy expertly reassures customers about shipping fees and not being home. Apple assures customers that returning faulty products is easy.

Apple knows that talking to a real person is the best way to reduce friction and improve their copy.

Always rhyme

Learn about fine rhyme.

Poets make things beautiful with rhyme.

Copywriters use rhyme to stand out.

Apple’s copywriters have mastered the art of corporate rhyme.

Two techniques are used.

1. Perfect rhyme

Here, rhymes are identical.

2. Imperfect rhyme

Here, rhyming sounds vary.

Apple prioritizes meaning over rhyme.

Apple never forces rhymes that don't fit.

It fits so well that the copy seems accidental.

Add alliteration

Alliteration always entertains.

Alliteration repeats initial sounds in nearby words.

Apple's copy uses alliteration like no other brand I've seen to create a rhyming effect or make the text more fun to read.

For example, in the sentence "Sam saw seven swans swimming," the initial "s" sound is repeated five times. This creates a pleasing rhythm.

Microcopy overuse is like pouring ketchup on a Michelin-star meal.

Alliteration creates a memorable phrase in copywriting. It's subtler than rhyme, and most people wouldn't notice; it simply resonates.

I love how Apple uses alliteration and contrast between "wonders" and "ease".

Assonance, or repeating vowels, isn't Apple's thing.

You ≠ Hero, Customer = Hero

Your brand shouldn't be the hero.

Because they'll be using your product or service, your customer should be the hero of your copywriting. With your help, they should feel like they can achieve their goals.

I love how Apple emphasizes what you can do with the machine in this microcopy.

It's divine how they position their tools as sidekicks to help below.

This one takes the cake:

Dialogue-style writing

Conversational copy engages.

Excellent copy Like sharing gum with a friend.

This helps build audience trust.

Apple does this by using natural connecting words like "so" and phrases like "But that's not all."

Snowclone-proof

The mother of all microcopy techniques.

A snowclone uses an existing phrase or sentence to create a new one. The new phrase or sentence uses the same structure but different words.

It’s usually a well know saying like:

To be or not to be.

This becomes a formula:

To _ or not to _.

Copywriters fill in the blanks with cause-related words. Example:

To click or not to click.

Apple turns "survival of the fittest" into "arrival of the fittest."

It's unexpected and surprises the reader.


So this was fun.

But my fun has just begun.

Microcopy is 21st-century poetry.

I came as an Apple fanboy.

I leave as an Apple fanatic.

Now I’m off to find an apple tree.

Cause you know how it goes.

(Apples, trees, etc.)


This post is a summary. Original post available here.

Rachel Greenberg

Rachel Greenberg

1 year ago

6 Causes Your Sales Pitch Is Unintentionally Repulsing Customers

Skip this if you don't want to discover why your lively, no-brainer pitch isn't making $10k a month.

Photo by Chase Chappell on Unsplash

You don't want to be repulsive as an entrepreneur or anyone else. Making friends, influencing people, and converting strangers into customers will be difficult if your words evoke disgust, distrust, or disrespect. You may be one of many entrepreneurs who do this obliviously and involuntarily.

I've had to master selling my skills to recruiters (to land 6-figure jobs on Wall Street), selling companies to buyers in M&A transactions, and selling my own companies' products to strangers-turned-customers. I probably committed every cardinal sin of sales repulsion before realizing it was me or my poor salesmanship strategy.

If you're launching a new business, frustrated by low conversion rates, or just curious if you're repelling customers, read on to identify (and avoid) the 6 fatal errors that can kill any sales pitch.

1. The first indication

So many people fumble before they even speak because they assume their role is to convince the buyer. In other words, they expect to pressure, arm-twist, and combat objections until they convert the buyer. Actuality, the approach stinks of disgust, and emotionally-aware buyers would feel "gross" immediately.

Instead of trying to persuade a customer to buy, ask questions that will lead them to do so on their own. When a customer discovers your product or service on their own, they need less outside persuasion. Why not position your offer in a way that leads customers to sell themselves on it?

2. A flawless performance

Are you memorizing a sales script, tweaking video testimonials, and expunging historical blemishes before hitting "publish" on your new campaign? If so, you may be hurting your conversion rate.

Perfection may be a step too far and cause prospects to mistrust your sincerity. Become a great conversationalist to boost your sales. Seriously. Being charismatic is hard without being genuine and showing a little vulnerability.

People like vulnerability, even if it dents your perfect facade. Show the customer's stuttering testimonial. Open up about your or your company's past mistakes (and how you've since improved). Make your sales pitch a two-way conversation. Let the customer talk about themselves to build rapport. Real people sell, not canned scripts and movie-trailer testimonials.

If marketing or sales calls feel like a performance, you may be doing something wrong or leaving money on the table.

3. Your greatest phobia

Three minutes into prospect talks, I'd start sweating. I was talking 100 miles per hour, covering as many bases as possible to avoid the ones I feared. I knew my then-offering was inadequate and my firm had fears I hadn't addressed. So I word-vomited facts, features, and everything else to avoid the customer's concerns.

Do my prospects know I'm insecure? Maybe not, but it added an unnecessary and unhelpful layer of paranoia that kept me stressed, rushed, and on edge instead of connecting with the prospect. Skirting around a company, product, or service's flaws or objections is a poor, temporary, lazy (and cowardly) decision.

How can you project confidence and trust if you're afraid? Before you make another sales call, face your shortcomings, weak points, and objections. Your company won't be everyone's cup of tea, but you should have answers to every question or objection. You should be your business's top spokesperson and defender.

4. The unintentional apologies

Have you ever begged for a sale? I'm going to say no, however you may be unknowingly emitting sorry, inferior, insecure energy.

Young founders, first-time entrepreneurs, and those with severe imposter syndrome may elevate their target customer. This is common when trying to get first customers for obvious reasons.

  • Since you're truly new at this, you naturally lack experience.

  • You don't have the self-confidence boost of thousands or hundreds of closed deals or satisfied client results to remind you that your good or service is worthwhile.

  • Getting those initial few clients seems like the most difficult task, as if doing so will decide the fate of your company as a whole (it probably won't, and you shouldn't actually place that much emphasis on any one transaction).

Customers can smell fear, insecurity, and anxiety just like they can smell B.S. If you believe your product or service improves clients' lives, selling it should feel like a benevolent act of service, not a sleazy money-grab. If you're a sincere entrepreneur, prospects will believe your proposition; if you're apprehensive, they'll notice.

Approach every sale as if you're fine with or without it. This has improved my salesmanship, marketing skills, and mental health. When you put pressure on yourself to close a sale or convince a difficult prospect "or else" (your company will fail, your rent will be late, your electricity will be cut), you emit desperation and lower the quality of your pitch. There's no point.

5. The endless promises

We've all read a million times how to answer or disprove prospects' arguments and add extra incentives to speed or secure the close. Some objections shouldn't be refuted. What if I told you not to offer certain incentives, bonuses, and promises? What if I told you to walk away from some prospects, even if it means losing your sales goal?

If you market to enough people, make enough sales calls, or grow enough companies, you'll encounter prospects who can't be satisfied. These prospects have endless questions, concerns, and requests for more, more, more that you'll never satisfy. These people are a distraction, a resource drain, and a test of your ability to cut losses before they erode your sanity and profit margin.

To appease or convert these insatiably needy, greedy Nellies into customers, you may agree with or acquiesce to every request and demand — even if you can't follow through. Once you overpromise and answer every hole they poke, their trust in you may wane quickly.

Telling a prospect what you can't do takes courage and integrity. If you're honest, upfront, and willing to admit when a product or service isn't right for the customer, you'll gain respect and positive customer experiences. Sometimes honesty is the most refreshing pitch and the deal-closer.

6. No matter what

Have you ever said, "I'll do anything to close this sale"? If so, you've probably already been disqualified. If a prospective customer haggles over a price, requests a discount, or continues to wear you down after you've made three concessions too many, you have a metal hook in your mouth, not them, and it may not end well. Why?

If you're so willing to cut a deal that you cut prices, comp services, extend payment plans, waive fees, etc., you betray your own confidence that your product or service was worth the stated price. They wonder if anyone is paying those prices, if you've ever had a customer (who wasn't a blood relative), and if you're legitimate or worth your rates.

Once a prospect senses that you'll do whatever it takes to get them to buy, their suspicions rise and they wonder why.

  • Why are you cutting pricing if something is wrong with you or your service?

  • Why are you so desperate for their sale?

  • Why aren't more customers waiting in line to pay your pricing, and if they aren't, what on earth are they doing there?

That's what a prospect thinks when you reveal your lack of conviction, desperation, and willingness to give up control. Some prospects will exploit it to drain you dry, while others will be too frightened to buy from you even if you paid them.

Walking down a two-way street. Be casual.

If we track each act of repulsion to an uneasiness, fear, misperception, or impulse, it's evident that these sales and marketing disasters were forced communications. Stiff, imbalanced, divisive, combative, bravado-filled, and desperate. They were unnatural and accepted a power struggle between two sparring, suspicious, unequal warriors, rather than a harmonious oneness of two natural, but opposite parties shaking hands.

Sales should be natural, harmonious. Sales should feel good for both parties, not like one party is having their arm twisted.

You may be doing sales wrong if it feels repulsive, icky, or degrading. If you're thinking cringe-worthy thoughts about yourself, your product, service, or sales pitch, imagine what you're projecting to prospects. Don't make it unpleasant, repulsive, or cringeworthy.