Posts tagged Rigorous thinking
Stop A/B testing everything: Only run experiments that inform your future actions

There's a lot of hype about data-driven marketing. But almost everyone forgets to mention an important downside: overhead.

I've run hundreds of growth and marketing experiments over the years, both formally and informally. In hindsight, some experiments were literally not worth my time.

Why? Setting up an experiment requires you to define what you want to test, clean the data, track results, troubleshoot... Each of these steps take effort to set up. If you leap in head first, you might spend hours setting up an experiment with little payoff. By prioritizing what to experiment, you can skip useless experiments altogether, conserve your energy, and focus on experiments that will lead to meaningful leaps forward.

Before you A/B test, ask yourself:

“What will I do with this information?”

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What to say when you’re caught off guard

You might get blind-sided by a project detail you are not prepared to talk about. Moments like this can make you look bad and make others doubt you.

That’s why I’m a big fan of having go-to phrases you can use in 80% of situations when you’re surprised. The benefit is you won’t have to scramble in the moment. You can relax because you know what to say, which allows you to be more present. Plus, it's an elegant way to buy yourself time.

Here what to say:

“I’m coming out of another meeting, so I'll need some time to context switch and make sure I give this the attention it deserves. Let’s set up a meeting for later this week so we can carve out time and go deep on this issue. How does that sound?”

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Why A-players make assertions

Early in my career, I worked with some of the smartest people at the Gap headquarters in San Francisco. I was bright-eyed and excited to be there, so I’d spend time after work putting together “trend boards” about styles that were trending in the market.

“I’m seeing a lot of high-end designers using plaid.”

“Leggings sales have been steadily going up while pants sales stayed constant.”

“A lot brands are beginning to offer activewear this year.”

I would pat myself on the back when I pointed out an insight. I thought everyone else would pat me on the back too.

This wasn’t the case.

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No lazy thinking: How to train your team to think rigorously and systematically

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...

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Active thinking versus osmosis

If we're immersed in an environment, will we learn by default?

It's easy to think that we can absorb through osmosis, that we'll hum along and improve simply because we're present. I think intuition develops from deliberate thinking. Not from osmosis.

For example:

You can live in France for years--and not speak French fluently (or at all).

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Proximity

Have you ever eaten something because it was in front of you? Those cookies that you don't even like. The mediocre pizza place that's downstairs from your apartment. The yoga studio that's on your home from work. Understanding how proximity affects you means being more aware of your decision-making habits. You might be on autopilot saying yes or no to things. Without even realizing that you're on autopilot--that's the worst part.

I've found that it's surprising how much proximity affects what we choose. 

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