If you Google “literacy foundation,” you’ll find over 26 million results. All of those on the first page are dedicated to actual efforts to promote literacy.
If, however, you Google “numeracy foundation,” there are barely 3.5 million results. The first page is filled with curriculum-based results, rather than organized charitable efforts to help people actually understand math. Thinking that perhaps few people use the word “numeracy,” I checked “math literacy.” This gave me a healthy 28 million results. I had hope — briefly — until I noticed that not one single result on the first page was an organized effort to promote such.
I mention this because I am afraid innumeracy is going to bring us down. Read More →
I’d like to take a moment today to step away from my role as pusher-of-the-envelope to talk about something a little outside my normal wheelhouse: branding.
Earlier this morning, I was reviewing the submitted questions for an upcoming panel I’ll be a part of. One of the questions was about metrics and campaign measurement. While there’s no doubt that following the numbers is one of my favorite pastimes, I found my answer had a big “BUT” hanging at the end. Metrics are certainly wonderful, BUT even though you can measure the click-through rate, time spent, the social share rate, and pretty much anything else you are interested in, there is still something about human nature that requires some regular exposure to the thing before there’s a comfort level and commensurate response. (Yes, there are exceptions. There always are.) Read More →
“Perfection is attained, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
-Antoine de St. Exupery
As a product manager, my job is as much about deciding what features don’t make it into a product as it about what features do. Sometimes it’s more about what not to put in, or — dare I say it aloud — what to take out. Stakeholders will bristle when their pet feature is headed for the chopping block, but product managers have to press on, because the simplest and most elegant solutions are often the most powerful. The same goes for your career.
Example: At a previous website (unnamed to protect the well-intentioned), everyone had an opinion as to what the content engagement efforts should look like: Most Popular. Most Recent. Most Commented. Most Shared. More Like This. Your Cat Would Like This. I inherited an article page that had seven of these modules crammed into a pretty tight circle around the main edit well (this was in the days when “above the fold” ruled, but that’s another post altogether). It was too much, too cluttered, and too unclear what we were asking the user to do next. Instead of driving more engagement, it drove — wait for it — a 60%+ bounce rate.
You, too, are a product manager. It may not be your actual job title, but you are the architect and manager of your career. And the last thing you want is a 60% bounce rate on your professional endeavors. Here are three rules of product management that can help you remove the noise from your career narrative and engage the user in a smart, effective way. Read More →
“We should give the user more of what they obviously want.”
It seemed like such a good idea at the time, didn’t it? Reading about holiday entertaining? Then you must want to see more recipes and decorating ideas. Checking out career success tips? We’ll give you a ton of career success tips.
Here at Budget Travel, I have yet to talk to a single partner or advertiser who doesn’t want to target users based on what they’re already looking at. Selling deals? Put a deal to Paris on a page about — wait for it — Paris! All of this makes sense…up to a point.
Read More →
Back in the day (I’m talking 2002-ish), our sales team was keen on promoting a “home page takeover” or other home-page-based advertising executions to really give clients that WOW factor. After all, everyone comes to the home page!
Today (10 years later, if you can believe it), I still hear salespeople get all worked up about pitching a home page takeover. But no one goes there any more. Read More →
The other day I took part in a hysterical exchange on Facebook: After watching AMC’s The Pitch (think Mad Men meets reality TV), my friend Deb Gabor, who heads up Austin-based consulting shop Sol Marketing Concepts, posted that she couldn’t stand hearing the contestants talk about “about mind spaces, brand platforms, value propositions, empowering consumers and other sundry bullsh*t.” She followed that with a comment along the lines of, “I’m afraid I sound like this at work – please help me.” Of course I jumped in with a snappy and equally buzzword-laden response, as did a few other folks. We cracked ourselves up. (I know, I need to get out more.) Read More →
You’ve heard of HiPPOs, right? They’re the Highest Paid Person’s Opinions, and there’s someone with them in every group.
Whether they come straight from the actual Highest Paid Person’s mouth, or just someone who sucks up to her, or the guy who’s super-charismatic and persuasive, there’s always someone who has the last word. “I think it should be like this,” they intone. And so it shall be done. Read More →
I was at a product manager’s gathering a while ago, and the topic of video came up. Someone threw out the idea of taking short-form video — say, 90-second clips, the kinds of video you watch on mobile phones and laptops — and having it available on internet TV, which one would navigate using a standard remote control. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” the manager said. Well, yeah, there’s actually a lot wrong with that. Read More →
In my last post, I listed nine questions to ask the digital team to help you understand what they do, and why and how they do it. And the first question we got back was, “What if the techs aren’t talking?” Well, hmmm, I thought. I guess that does happen — and I rashly promised a follow-up post, completely breaking my rule about not making a promise for delivery before fully clarifying the specs, by the way.
A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a Hired Guns event to preview and critique various Guns’ SXSW presentations. I was overwhelmed by the positive energy in the room and the level of truly supportive and constructive criticism. These Guns were flat-out awesome stars in the digital field, and there was tons of feedback. I thought, “Wait a second — we techies share plenty!” So what gives? Why were these folks sharing so freely, while there’s still lots of non-digital people out there complaining that their digital teams don’t do the same? Read More →
I hear the phrase “Can’t we just . . . ” around the office a lot. Actually, I should correct that. I used to hear that phrase a lot.
Now I have a Post-it on my computer with those words in a circle with a line through it, and I’ve pointed to it enough times that I hear it less often.
Here’s what used to happen when people said that: I’d take a deep breath. Downward glance to compose myself. Pause-filling smile. Another pause filler, maybe sip my tea, or save my doc, or anything to buy a few more seconds to still my beating heart. Read More →
Lisa Schneider writes for The Hired Guns blog about the technological changes that everyone in digital organizations needs to know about, whether it affects their own job directly or not. Questions about technology or making the transition to a primarily digital career? You can either put them in the comments or ask them via Twitter.
Recently, a colleague left a dinner where there was lots of talk about HTML5. “What does this mean for our website?!” was the fairly panicked email I received.
Gone are the days (if they ever existed) when people outside the digital or IT teams could ignore the technology behind websites and applications. And while not everyone needs to know how to code, workers in management, editorial, marketing, and other areas all definitely need to know enough about the technology to understand its implications.
HTML5 is simply the next iteration of HTML. But what’s different, and why are people excited? Read More →
We’d like to welcome to the blog Lisa Schneider, who works in the digital part of her organization but who brings to it knowledge honed from a past working in print. She’ll be writing about just that sort of move, whether it’s about how to transfer current skills to a digital area, manage digital employees, or get a purely digital career off the ground in organizations that might not be completely up to speed themselves. She’s here to help you keep up, so that you and your career stay relevant. And in such a rapidly changing field, we suspect that you’re likely to have your own questions. Please feel to either put them in the comments below or to ask them via Twitter.
Having successfully made the transition from print to digital over a decade ago, I’m sometimes approached for advice on how to make that leap today. People who’ve been happy to leave it to the tech department until now are realizing that they ignore digital platforms at their own peril, since even non-techs must show an understanding of and facility in this area just to keep up: editors are creating or optimizing content for multiple platforms, marketers must master getting their message out via number of channels to show a reasonable return on investment, salespeople are asked to sell multimedia packages, and the list goes on. Read More →