Unconventional career paths and taking risks [PermissionLESS podcast]
No lazy thinking: How to train your team to think rigorously and systematically
You might think your career arc should be a straight upward line. Maybe you’ve noticed by now it’s more of a non-linear squiggle.
I used to have a strict plan for what I wanted to do in my career and how it would look. Over the years, though, I’ve changed my thinking of what it means to take risk. It’s opened the door for lots of opportunities I never would have found otherwise.
How to upgrade your career with marketing strategies [YouTube]
If you're a leader, you got to where you are because you think strategically and are killer at execution. You simply can't get very far without being good at both.
Now that you're in charge of people, though, your ability to increase impact depends on how well you manage OTHER people. You need your team to become smarter, sharper A-players.
Unfortunately, sometimes smart people (like you) accidentally traumatize their teams...
Do things your Future Self will thank you for
I want to share a Facebook Live recording I did recently that might be relevant if you want to increase your personal credibility.
What we’ll cover:
Why it's a mistake to save your questions until the end of an interview
How to use marketing concepts (FOMO, turning bugs into features, social proof) to get people excited about your ideas
How to even out the power dynamic during an interview
Technical leaders make these 3 common storytelling mistakes
Every time I have to explain a process to new team member, I search in my Google Drive first. Why?
I’m a documentation and playbook nerd. If I’m repeating the same conversation more than three times, I create documentation—it saves time and energy for all parties involved.
At moments like this when I find my own notes, I say, "Thanks Past Wes! You just saved me an hour."
Your team should be getting 20% smarter every year [ActiveCampaign podcast]
I recently had the privilege of giving a talk for Backstage Capital and their amazing early-stage portfolio companies. My talk was called “Storytelling for Technical Founders” and I shared how technical leaders can tell better stories.
Here are a few common mistakes and takeaways:
1. Over-reliance on technical details
Real-life is non-linear, but stories are linear. Therefore, stories are always a simplification.
Read your messaging in a robot voice
Whether you're a changemaker within an organization, or a startup CEO running your own company, your ability to do great work is directly tied to your team's performance.
You realized this when you transitioned from an individual contributor to a people manager. But it's likely a lesson you're constantly reminded of.
Almost every week, I hear a founder say, "I'm the bottleneck for everything. How do I get my team to be as smart as I am?”
To drive growth, focus on increasing desire—not just decreasing friction
My obsession with messaging is based on my personal experience editing hundreds of pages of copy for myself, my direct reports, and my clients. When your brand is on the line, you're incentivized to make sure copy gets your audience to take action, achieves the outcome you want, and represents you well (so you don't invite a flurry of customer complaints).
In other words, if you're a leader or changemaker who uses words to persuade, this post is for you.
I want to tell you about what I call the robot voice method.
Activation energy and why it matters for product launches
As a marketer, salesperson, UX designer, or product leader, part of your job is to reduce the friction involved if someone wants to buy something from you.
Make the button bigger
Use brighter colors
Write shorter copy
Put everything on the homepage above the fold
Add the call-to-action button everywhere on the website
Send reminder emails about the sale
Use monetary incentives, e.g. discounts, bundles, promotions, and reverse promotions ("The price goes up next month!”)
The underlying assumption is, “If I make this easier (or cheaper) for you, you’ll eventually want it.”
Be your own mentor
If you mix diluted hydrochloric acid with carefully measured strips of magnesium, you’ll get hydrogen...
You need a certain amount of each chemical though. If you don’t, the reaction won’t happen. You’ll get silence.
Activation energy is a term I learned from my friend Yuki, a biochemist who grows meat from cell cultures in Petri dishes. It’s “the minimum quantity of energy needed in order to undergo a specified reaction.”
Many projects take a level of activation energy before you start to see feedback—negative or positive. Maybe you’re an inch away from seeing a result, maybe you are a mile away...
No one is coming to save you.
[Cue panic and running around in circles.]
I remember the first time I realized no one knew the right answer. It was simultaneously alarming and liberating.
Heck, I sat ten feet away from the most famous marketer in the world.
One day, we were discussing growth strategies. He stopped and said, “Wes, you should decide. I don’t have the answer. If I did, I’d just tell you."