Business

    Another chapter in the ever-growing story of how I interact with, and use, social media:

    I wrote a little while ago about choosing two social networks.

    I kind of have, Mastodon and Threads/Instagram/Facebook. By which I mean that the Meta platforms all blur together with crossposting and attention.

    That leaves my remaining accounts from the tier list, Facebook Page, LinkedIn, and Twitter/X.

    Rather than delete them, like I’d rather, I’ve trialled throwing them to ChatGPT.

    I’m still refining the prompt, but here’s what I’m asking ChatGPT 4 to do in a Zapier zap:

    It starts with an instruction, or a set up which looks like this …

    You are a content producer for Josh Withers the Australian wedding celebrant, a marriage celebrant famous worldwide for creating epic marriage ceremonies for adventurous people. You believe that the best kind of marriage ceremony and wedding is an intentional one, where everyone invited is invited for a reason and with a purpose, and that everything that happens at the wedding happens with intentionality and purpose. You are not necessarily against wedding traditions but you are against wedding traditions for the sake of wedding traditions. You write and speak in Australian English, and in a classic and timeless nature but with the wit and humour of Australian marriage celebrant Josh Withers. Be funny. When talking about weddings use inclusive language, use bride only if you’re talking about a female person getting married, not as the title of the wedding industry client, and explore a diverse range of topics, cultures, and kinds of people that could get married.

    Then I prompt it to write a post like this …

    Write another new controversial tweet as Josh Withers, do not enclose it in quotation marks, written in the style of Australian wedding celebrant Josh Withers based off his writing online and on social media, asking a question or posing an thought about Josh Withers’s wedding planning style. The tweet can be a controversial opinion about a modern, inclusive, intentional style of getting married; or an insight into modern wedding planning; or a reflection on wedding traditions of old and how they don’t matter any more. Designed to illicit engagement and a response from people who see it. Take into account all interviews and responses by Josh Withers Australian wedding celebrant, and everything Josh has written on his online. Keep the message to under 280 characters. Do not start with greetings, do not use Australian slang like “G’day”, do not use any hashtags. Be controversial and talk about all kinds of different wedding topics. Make each tweet different and unique.

    There’s a 66% chance of the zap running that every hour, and 50% of the time the content goes to Facebook.

    My engagement on these existing platforms has been very low for a long time, so let’s see if this moves the needle. If not, it’s a fun experiment into what a LLM can do for social media.

    Colonel Sanders and the sadness in scaling businesses

    Mimi Sheraton in the New York Times in 1976 telling the story of walking into a KFC with Colonel Harland Sanders:

    You’re frying for 12 minutes—that’s six minutes too long. What’s more, your frying fat should have been changed a week ago. That’s the worst fried chicken I’ve ever seen. Let me see your mashed potatoes with gravy, and how do you make them?

    The Colonel is paid $200,000 a year to do advertising and PR for KFC, but when asked about Sanders' remarks on the chain’s methods post-sale:

    Raw chicken turns customers off, so we play it safe and fry at lower temperatures for a longer time than the colonel likes.

    Which is fair, but this plays to my theory on scaling businesses.

    When you run a small or micro business, a single storefront, or perhaps a business like Britt and I do with The Elopement Collective, or our Airbnb, or my celebrancy practice. Businesses that are anti-scale can celebrate the JOMO of business, the joy of missing out. We can’t do every elopement, or every wedding, or take every Airbnb booking on the Gold Coast.

    Because of our very deliberate JOMO we can chose a different direction for our businesses where we aim to be five our of five stars, or whatever rating system is in play, we just aim to be the best.

    Cabel Sasser once tweeted:

    I can’t help but feel there’s a wonderful and often unexplored middle ground between “die” and “grow and grow aggressively”

    And ever since I read that I’ve been fascinated on that unexplored middle ground.

    When you decide to scale you very simply decide not to be the best, but instead to be the biggest, the cheapest, the most-available, and you turn your back on the best.

    I remember a small hotel we stayed at in Manhattan once and it proudly boasted a 7.2 rating on one of the hotel review websites which rated hotels out of 10.

    If one of our businesses was 72% as good as the best of that category of businesses we’d shut it down, or completely rework it until it was a really good business and bringing immense value to people.

    But when you’re just one of the thousands of hotels in New York, maybe 7.2 is ok?

    But it’s not ok for me and it wasn’t ok for the Colonel.

    Enshittification reaches the wedding industry, revealing The Knot to be rotten

    Three former employees of The Knot have blown thy whitsle. Jennifer Croom Davidson, former Global Fashion Director; Rachel LaFera, former Director of Fine Jewelry; and Cindy Croom Elley, former Account Executive at The Knot, have since left, are out from under NDA, and they’re truth-telling about one of the world’s largest wedding industry companies: The Knot Worldwide.

    The Knot Worldwide is the current name of the parent company of WeddingWire, The Knot, The Bump, Hitched (which formerly had a presence in Australia, and disclosure, yours truly was a paid writer for them), a series of localised wedding directory websites through The Americas and Europe, and the Real Weddings TV show. They started as an AOL channel in 1996 and went to the open web in ‘97, and just before the dot com bubble burst they raised $35 million in their first IPO.

    Since then lots of corporate shit has occurred, most of which bores me as someone who prefers to be on the “tools” in the wedding industry, not in the C-suite, but the trio dropped the bomb on The Lioness in an extremely detailed expose revealing that advertisers don’t get what they’re paying for and the whole business is terribly run.

    This internal chatter among The Knot Worldwide’s customers is confirmed by looking at currently available web review sites; to this day, you can see complaints of contracts unfulfilled and impossible to get out of, and torrents of fake and spam leads. A recent Business Insider article also reveals that things are still amiss, reporting that 70–80 percent of the company’s leads are scams and that little to no inbound results from their advertising.

    PetaPixel sums it up well:

    Whistleblowers within the company say the supposed “swindling” issues began with vendors who purchased premium ads with the promise of generating new client leads, but instead were delivered spam content and even lost rankings within The Knot’s own ad-based search results.

    The enshittification of the internet spares no person and knows no bounds. It is sad to see one of the few companies that made it through the dot com bubble to be revealed as rotten.

    🗺️ Where’s Josh’o? An update

    Just going on the record for everyone who asks where we are, where we’re living now, and if we’re ever coming home to Australia: we’re in Italy then Paris and Singapore between now and getting home to the Gold Coast late August.

    I’m back to work and at your service making weddings and elopements from August 22, 2023.

    I’ve got travel around Australia and New Zealand for weddings and elopements through the end of this year and early next year before we head back to Europe in 2024.

    I’ve also had some requests for the USA if you’re interested in having me there too.

    June, July, and August 2024 for weddings and also elopements with The Elopement Collective and some of our team including Jason Corroto, House of Love Weddings, George Bowden, House Of Lucie, and Pearce Brennan.

    Finally, I wanted to address something a few people have lovingly brought to my attention “I thought you only did elopements”.

    I might be married to the @elopementcollective’s boss, but I create ceremony for all and sundry. Big weddings, small weddings, elopements, and corporate events as a master of ceremonies. As the band was named, I do weddings, parties, anything.

    So very formerly: I do weddings as well. If you know someone getting married somewhere in the world and you reckon we’d be a fit, let them know I exist!

    Fourteen

    The 14th of May is my celebrant anniversary and today in 2023 I begin my 15th year creating awesome marriage ceremonies for adventurous couples who really really like each other and believe that getting married matters.

    They say time is the best teacher so with 14 years a wedding celebrant, 41 years 5 months a human, 10 years 8 months a husband, 4 years 6 months a father, 3 years 1 month a silver fox, 32 years 2 months a computer nerd, 6 years 1 month a Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyer, 7 days a Parisian, and 24 years 10 months as best kitchen cleaner home medalist in my home state, ask me anything.

    July: great at selling luggage, not great at supporting it

    Update: July have made good on this error and sent me a replacement bag to where I was in the USA. Thanks for going the extra-mile guys.

    I feel so heartbroken when I didn’t keep my word. I struggle as a parent when I make a promise - or a threat - to my girls because I want to make sure I can follow through on my word. When I fail to keep my word in friendships, family, or business, it pains me. It’s why I pore over our website copy and contracts to make sure we can and will do what we promise to do.

    So I guess that’s why I’m feeling really disappointed in one of my favourite brands: July.

    Flying from San Jose del Cabo to Brisbane through Los Angeles in November last year a wheel came off my Checked Plus July luggage somewhere between Alaska Airlines' check-in at Cabo and the luggage carousel in LAX. I’m no fool, I’m sure one of the gentle giants working in luggage handling delicately placed the bag where it needed to be and the faulty wheel just fell off.

    I had travel insurance on the trip, and no doubt Alaska Airlines might have covered it - but I know from experience that airlines are painful about damaged luggage.

    So I had one week to make the claim with Alaska Airlines, but I thought travel insurance was the sure bet, but I know they’d ask me if I’d contacted the airline for coverage or the manufacturer for warranty, so I contacted July as I arrived on Australian soil on November 21 - intent to get a quick no from them so I can make an insurance claim, buy a new bag, and be ready to go by the time I leave Australia on December 21. We have one month to solve a hopefully easy problem.

    July’s ‘Happiness Team’ replies - and by the way, unless you’re actually going to make people happy, just be a customer service or customer disservice team:

    “We would be happy to have replacement wheels sent out for you.”

    This I was not expecting!

    So I give all the details as required and requested, put to bed any thoughts of wrestling with Alsaka’s premiere airline, and even worse, my travel insurance, and await the wheel.

    It shipped from July one month later, as I was boarding my flight to Nashville via Sydney and Dallas. I explicitly communicated that I was in the country for a month and it took a month to send the wheel.

    Another wheel was then allegedly shipped to my Mexican address but it’s been three months and all I am left with now is a series of thoughts and no wheels.

    • going to “the media” aka social media or the news never works, until it does
    • I really like the July suitcases and kind of enjoy having a matching set of five despite one limping
    • we’re in Baja California Sur for another month until we go to Nashville and Hawaii then Europe before coming home in August, what am I going to do about this three-wheeled bag.
    • I’d really just like another big July bag but do I want to continue to do business with a company that can’t simply keep its word?
    • I wish they’d just said no back in November and I would have bought a new bag and they would have never experienced the pain of letting me down.
    • Can I even get a July bag in, or to, Mexico before April 8?

    What we measure is often not what matters

    Byrne Hobart, in The Diff:

    “If actors are getting older and the music we listen to is getting older, it may be because TikTok stars, Twitch streamers, and Roblox creators aren’t being counted among entertainers, even if they have a similar-sized audience. One thing that drags down the average age of Fortune 500 executives is when tech startups with young founders go public, but many of those startups don’t have the revenue to qualify for the Fortune 500, even if their market cap puts them in the S&P.”

    This is the kicker, this is where the story is going. What we measure isn’t always what matters:

    “Revenue is a lagging measure of impact, just as box office results are an output from fame.”

    What else are we measuring that doesn’t matter as much as something we’re not measuring at all?

    Instagram is embarrassing itself because it didn't steal, it copied

    Five days after Instagram launched in October 2010 I graced the new photo-sharing service with this gold nugget.

    [Instagram screenshot from October 2010] (https://www.instagram.com/p/-iO/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=)

    4,301 days later who knew that I could have summed up the entire social network in four words.

    “Make me feel better!”

    Instagram made me feel better for the longest time. The simple act of making and viewing photos was lubricated to the point of a simple addiction. I could make photos and share them so easily, and you could share your photos and I could experience them so easily. We would doom scroll wanting to see more of each other’s world through the film-filtered Instagram app. Instagram, having stolen from Hipstamatic, did what the hispters never achieved - they made photo sharing easy and beautiful on our new fandangled Apple-branded telephones.

    I still remember the early months of Britt and my relationship when she learned about Instagram and when she found out it wasn’t available for Android phones we bought her an iPhone. She switched to an iPhone to use a free photo-sharing app.

    Making people feel better is the key to success in business, you’re solving people’s problems, making them feel better. Instagram made us feel so much better.

    In the almost 12 years since, the service has adapted new features, like video, IGTV, Stories, and Reels. Each step along that path of evolution has become more and more embarrassing for it.

    In 2015 when it adopted Snapchat’s Stories feature the theft was seen as an act of survival, and we generally all went along with it. After all, we wanted Stories but didn’t want to change to Snapchat and risk getting sexted by some young person along the way.

    2018’s introduction of IGTV was a hedge against YouTube on mobile. Turns out that portrait/tall video was a few years too early for us.

    But in the first year of the Covid pandemic when Instagram replicated TikTok’s video service as an Instagram feature called Reels, that’s when the social network started losing its soul. The desperation to kill TikTok by replicating, copying, the whole service as a feature has brought us to July 2022 when the entire app has evolved into an Instagram-shaped TikTok.

    There’s a difference between stealing and copying.

    Great artists steal. When an artist - I’m not sure Adam Mosseri would identify as an artist - copies, they replicate, duplicate, they make a facsimile of something else. It lacks soul, and it lacks care. Copying is not what an artist does. Copying is what a lazy corporate slave does.

    Stealing, however, is key to being a great artist. If I steal from you, I take your thing and it becomes mine. I take ownership of it. I care for it. It has my attention, it has my soul. Great artists steal. They take your idea and make it their own. If Instagram stole TikTok’s video feature, it would look different to Reels. Reels wasn’t stolen from TikTok, it was copied.

    The easiest way to see if Instagram stole or copied TikTok would be to open the recently updated app and see if it carries the craftsmanship of people who care. Is the user experience beautiful, is it thought through? The content being posted on Instagram as a Reel, does it have a Tiktok watermark on it or is it original content made for Instagram?

    Also, what’s the deal with some parts of the app being black like a dark mode, and some being white. The recent update is just so poorly implemented.

    I often wonder about what the future looks like, and the only data we have to work with is the past. Which major brands, companies, and products ceased to exist in the past - and why? Why am I typing this on a MacBook instead of a Compaq? Why is my phone an iPhone, not a Nokia? Why is my car a Mazda, not a Holden? Why is my internet connection provided by Aussie Broadband, not OzEmail?

    For all the P&Ls, corporate mission statements, leadership changes, and org charts, I humbly believe that products/brands/companies that continue to exist, exist because they carry soul and bring purpose into the world, they continue to solve our problems. For all the complaints you can have about Apple Inc., there is a mountain of evidence that the individuals inside the company care about the products they ship. They might have different priorities than you or I, and what they care about might differ from what you’d like them to care about, but it is inarguable that they care.

    It’s clear, without a doubt, that Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, and Adam Mosseri, do not care about Instagram. They care about eradicating - or at least neutralising - the competition and now that they can’t simply buy their competition, the goal is to strangle them out of the marketplace. Welcome to modern capitalism, and Meta is welcome to engage in it, but I’m also at liberty to comment that it’s embarrassing and I can’t help but feel that this recent copying won’t result in the goal they are shooting for.

    My friend, Scotty McDonald, accused me of becoming a ratchety old man who doesn’t like change, tweeting: “I remember when you were the fearless, early adopting, shining light in my life”. I honestly hope this isn’t the beginning of my slide into the old man yells at cloud meme. But that’s why I blog, to document my eventual demise into a senile old man who might of had a few correct insights along the way.

    Regardless, the July 2022 “TikTokfication” of Instagram doesn’t make me feel better, and that was Instagram’s one job.

    How much are they paying for this myGov thing again? I got the notification email overnight, I’ve been anxious about it all day, finally got the guts to log in and find out what was wrong, and I owe them $0. Can I sue the ATO & myGov for anxiety inducement?

    Follow-up to

    I’ve been extraordinarily blessed to have so many phone calls, messages, offers of help regarding my recent post, I’m not ok.

    I wanted to offer a few follow-up remarks:

    1. Donations: Some of the world’s most generous people have made offers of finance to us. I won’t say no, that’s rude, but I also am not asking. We’re provided for today, and luckily we have things to sell.
    2. Getting a new job: I have very mixed feelings about this. One one hand, I’m a really good celebrant, and people like what I create, and I’ve been blessed to create weddings around the globe, literally from Iceland to New Zealand and everywhere in between, and I really enjoy(ed) celebrancy before March 2020. On the other hand I have a responsibility to provide for myself and my family, and if one job isn’t available, get a new job. I’m honestly open to job offers for those who know my background and skills, the problem is that I have a large backlog of weddings and elopements that have to get done some day, and that would seemingly be a large burden to a new employer, to have me having random days off.
    3. My mental health: I think I’m ok mostly in that regard. I know that the last 17 months have been traumatic and left me scarred, but I’m not sitting here thinking bad thoughts. That said, I could do with seeing someone, I just don’t want to see the kind of psychologists I’ve seen in the past who seem quite clinical and have great breathing techniques - they’re fine - but I know how to breath now. I don’t know who I need to see, or if I can afford that, but if you know, let me know.
    4. Gratitude: A former colleague from when I was on breakfast radio, was kind enough and generous enough to lend me his ear over the phone recently, but he had a hidden and kind motive, to introduce me to The Resilience Project, so I’m working my way through that idea and working on a gratitude journal, and trying to get into that headspace. It’s not natural to me, but I’m getting there. Thanks Mat, you’ve always been so good to me.
    5. Further gratitude: As I’ve mentioned, so many have been kind enough to share, comment, tweet, message, DM, email me. You guys are the real MVP. I wanted to share for the same reason Britt and I shared we were pregnant with Goldie before the “time” you’re supposed to tell everyone. When we lost our first baby we told everyone a few days before we found out that the pregnancy wasn’t continuing. That sucked, but it was the best situation, because our friends and family were on the journey with us. Thank you for being on the journey with us. I don’t share for pity or to ask for donations. I share because we’re all in this together, warts and all.

    TL;DR:

    I’m ok, but not ok, and I’d like new work, but it’s complicated, and I have skills. I should talk to someone, but I talked to Mat, and I’m grateful. Thank you.

    A wedding celebrant’s Covid story: I’m not ok

    I see so many of my friends, and randoms I follow on the Internet, talking about lockdown and Covid has affected them.

    Stories of woe like having to takeaway instead of dine-in, holidaying in Australia instead of overseas, and some people have even been forced to share their home and their office with partners and children. Horrible stuff. And maybe for some of the unlucky ones you’ve had hours cut and some have lost jobs. It’s a tough time for all.

    The average Australian online complains about things I could dream of. How I would love to just go to work today.

    Over here in wedding-world, things are not looking good. The whole industry, all of us, are barely alive.

    Due to the nature of the wedding industry, payment is made before the wedding, often more than a month before, sometimes many months. Which was lovely for a period there, because although we couldn’t work, at least we had money. JobKeeper brought some relief early on as well, though with mixed results, also JobKeeper wasn’t built for an industry that is in perpetual postponement. See how it ended in March?

    That’s the issue with weddings compared to the entertainment and hospitality industry. Weddings are planned well in advance with very particular attendees coming from across the globe, and they are extremely intimate and personal events deeply shrouded in emotion and feeling.

    You might be upset to not see a comedy or music show, but when your wedding is postponed for the second and third time you start to wonder whether the coronavirus is actually reading your wedding invitations.

    Here in August 2021 I’m seeing 90% of the next three months of work being postponed to next year, and I’m getting calls from couples well into next year asking if they can postpone later. Most of these couples are on their third, fourth, and for at least one, their sixth wedding plan.

    Most paid me a year or more ago. Some are just calling quits on the whole thing, demanding a refund - that I can’t afford to give - so they’re taking me to court. I’ve had over $90,000 of cancelled work across our two brands tht my wife and I manage.

    The extra vector of pain for us is that for the last decade we’ve been stupid enough to build an international and interstate brand. Most of my work, almost all of my work in 2019 and 2020, was a flight away. So in rescheduling we need the couple, myself, their guests, and the state government’s to all co-ordinate. Hell.

    Plus no-one in their right mind is booking a wedding today. I wouldn’t. With rolling lockdowns being announced with six hours notice on a Saturday (thanks Queensland, you lovely asses), there’s no way in hell I’d be planning to host a wedding today.

    And the beautiful thing is that I can’t even take a new job today because the couples who have already contracted me for their wedding or elopement expect me to turn up next week - unless they postpone because then they expect me to turn up next year.

    So what do we do?

    I’m studying a Certificate IV in Real Estate so I can take a new job if there is one, we’re selling our investments, and depleting our savings. We apply for the $750 Covid disaster payment and wait for any other assistance my 24 years of taxation might be able to provide.

    I guess the only main takeaway you should have is that if you’re getting married in the next few years, expect to be surprised at the cost - you’ll be paying for the covid-injuries the industry sustained.

    And when events are back on, go support the legends in the arts and entertainment industries, they’re hurting like the wedding industry is.


    I’ve published a follow-up here.

    Hey Siri, please remind me of this every day

    “People hate their own art because it looks like they made it. They think if they get better, it will stop looking like they made it. A better person made it. But there’s no level of skill beyond which you stop being you. You hate the most valuable thing about your art.”

    Elicia Donze

    On paying more

    “Most people try to negotiate the lowest possible price when paying for a service. That’s a mistake. Because if you “win,” you may save some money but are likely to be the lowest priority for that service provider as a result. On the flipside, if you pay a bit MORE than the typical price, you become that service provider’s highest priority. You’ll wind up getting way more value for your money.”

    James Sepector’s newsletter

    How cheap money and algorithms shaped the last decade and the opposite will shape the next

    This is a powerful read for people trying to mentally tie a bow on the 2010s. Ranjan wraps it up saying that the cheap money thanks to near zero interest rate policies we’ve had since the GFC, and social media algorithms, are what shaped the last ten years of our lives.

    “I’m incredibly excited about the coming decade because I am genuinely hopeful the two core trends I outlined will be reversed.

    Algorithmically-optimized lying has prominently entered the conversation to the point our ex-President was kicked off. There’s simply no way money can remain this cheap for a prolonged period of time. What that unwind looks like is an entirely separate post, but there will once again be discipline imposed on the allocation of capital. Financial and technological regulation is far more imaginable than just a few years ago. Change is coming.”

    The Margins, on Substack

    I’m speaking at the Wedding Business CEO Summit

    Registration is officially open for the Wedding Business CEO Summit!

    This summit is hosted by, and created by my friend Heidi, to help wedding business owners go from overwhelmed & overworked to streamlined & more profitable than ever.

    I’m speaking along with 24 other incredible speakers with topics ranging from finances, pricing, integration, going full-time and everything in between. I’m talking about creating a meaningful and fun customer journey!

    The summit kicks off on Australia Day and it’s going to be 5 action-packed days that you won’t want to miss!

    Click through my short link josh.show/summit to learn more and get your free ticket!

    The fact that Uber achieved the same growth in 10% of its $150 million as spend is one thing, the story of how they got there, that’s something else entirely!

    Simon Owens on 'the Substack problem'

    “2021 will be the year that publishers start to form strategies to deal with the Substack Problem. By that, I mean they’ll need to find ways to discourage their star writers from leaving to launch their own Substack newsletters. In the most likely scenario, they’ll make deals with writers to launch the newsletter under the banner of the media company. They might structure the deal so the writer gets to keep their current salary and then some percentage of the subscriber income they generate – similar to the advances and royalties that book publishers dole out. This will be enticing to the writers because they get to maintain job security while also benefiting directly from their success. They can also grow their audience much more quickly with the help of the media company. It’s a win win for both parties.”

    Simon Owens, on his Substack, which I highly recommend subscribing to

    Finally mapped out my talk for next month’s wedding business summit, now I just need to find a quiet place to film it

    I’m forecasting that within 12 months the remaining non-greys will be turned to the grey-side as we embark upon what will be our busiest and most taxing year ever. 2021 sees Britt and I with a newborn, a toddler, new 2021 weddings and elopements, and also most of 2020’s couples.

    My friend Geoff at Motion Art Cinema said we should take before and after photos to see how 2021 ages us.

    Bring it on 2021!

    Bullish on Airbnb in a post-Covid world

    Airbnb’s strength today and in a post-covid travel world is in it’s flexibility to offering a different kind of travel.

    “Airbnb’s “gross daily rate” was pretty flat at the end of last year, hovering around $110. This, too, declined in April. But by June, it had increased to $146, and has since settled to a rate around 20% higher than last year — $128 in September.”

    Airbnb in 2020 would be one of the least affected-by-Covid companies on the planet.

    “One of my favorite taglines in recent memory was Airbnb’s “Live There,” a campaign it launched in 2017 with the agency TBWA. It’s as cheesy as any earnest brand campaign. But it feels true. A real representation of the Airbnb spirit, something its frequent customers can appreciate. Airbnb-ing isn’t remotely the same as staying in a lame chain hotel in a tourist quarter.”

    And he shares an interesting story about why Airbnb probably isn’t the best and biggest travel content creator today:

    “In late 2012, Airbnb launched a product called “Neighborhoods”,” he wrote, “which offered users incredibly rich and unique content about individual neighborhoods around the world. Visitors loved it. Almost too much. It turned out the content was so interesting that it distracted visitors from actually booking. When the team removed it from the home page, bookings went up.”

    From Dan Frommer’s New Consumer newsletter

    Today’s office: Byron Bay Airport.

    The Gig Economy Is White People Discovering Servants

    “The core functionality of these apps — despite all their fancy technology — is not significantly different than having a servant. What the technology has done is pool the servants, make them available to more people, make it easier to communicate tasks, and — most importantly — make it possible to not think of them as servants at all.”

    Read the article by Indi Samarajiva

    Someone asked me recently what my personal brand strategy was.

    I just see go to places, see cool things, make photos of them, and post the photos online where they get 2-3 likes.

    I’m not very good at being strategically cool.

    If you see me dancing in an Instagram Reel or on TikTok, know that this is a call for help because I will have been taken hostage and I need to be rescued. Please screenshot this and put it on your fridge as a reminder.

    Apple’s underdogs series is marketing at its best.

    April 2019: Apple releases “Apple at Work — The Underdogs

    July 2020: Apple release “The whole working-from-home thing — Apple

    Working on story telling at this height would honestly be so cool!

    Gary Vaynerchuck’s take on the Apple of today and why he thinks they’re leaving money on the table and should buy Target (the US one) - Listen to the whole podcast.

    There are two things in this world that take no skill, spending other people‘s money, and dismissing an idea.

    Netflix staffer: so, it’s like Netflix, but you don’t get to choose what you watch, it just shows up automatically.

    Netflix execs: wow

    Rest of humanity: are you just describing TV?

    “Social media encourages the myth that who we are is defined by the opinions we type. But the older I get, the less interested I am in how well people can script their beliefs in front of a computer and the more interested I am in how tenaciously they go about grinding out their moral existence. I’m impressed when someone can get up every single day, determined to be a better human being than he or she was yesterday. Typing out what we “stand for” is easy. But loving well isn’t. I am not down on typing out our opinions—clearly. I’m only down on thinking that typing in and of itself constitutes an ethical life. May we stop thinking that becoming the kind of person we want to be is as easy as typing “me too” at those we agree with and “stupid people” at those we don’t. That’s a distraction from the real work of being human. And I’m ready to work.”

    From Love Matters More by Jared Byas

    ”A crisis doesn’t have to be a negative event. A wedding is a crisis–one ceremony, one day, over and done. All eyes, all attention, all on this moment. That’s why we do it–even though the chronic condition of the marriage itself is always more important.”

    Seth Godin, on a useful crisis