0 Bad Reviews: Imitating Alcoa’s transformation in the information age

Picture of Paul O'Neill from Alcoa
Paul O’Neill transformed Alcoa by changing one keystone habit, safety. Credit: CNN.

Here is how Paul O’Neill introduced himself to a crowd of Wall Street investors when he became the CEO & Chairman of Alcoa in 1987:

“Today, I want to talk to you about worker safety… I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for 0 injuries,” he told the Manhattan ballroom.

– The Power of Habit

The investors were dumbfounded because he did not talk about profitability – only safety. A year later, Alcoa’s profits hit a record high. When O’Neill retired in 2000, Alcoa’s market capitalization had increased by $27B. Someone who invested $1M in Alcoa would have earned $1M in dividends, and the value of the shares would have been $5M when O’Neill left.2

Continue reading

You’re not a consumer?

24-year-old me:
“This gold pixie dust face cleanser is great, but there’s just one problem.”

Skincare promoter at a mall outside of Vegas:
“What is that?”

24-year-old me:
“I am not a consumer. So, naturally I would not buy this.”

Skincare promoter at a mall outside of Vegas:
Animated GIF of a woman saying, "What the fuck?"

Dear Skincare Promoter, if you are reading this, I have had better quotes since then! Besides the emotional intelligence faux pas, the statement “I am not a consumer” is factually wrong. I am a consumer every time I make the simplest purchase like gas or a 1970s bamboo bracelet.

Continue reading

Habit is tech

Golden hamster running in a wheel, depicting the concept of habit
Hamster Wheel” by sualk61 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In 2010, I started a company that forever impacted how I approach product marketing. The company sold data, specifically sales prospecting lists for B2B marketing technology companies. Instead of simply delivering CSV files, our data was packaged in a web app that customers could use to interact with the data. The interface was original. Early feedback from customers indicated they were eager to use it. But, the heat was about to rise.

Continue reading

How I got ‘hooked’ by Harvard Business Review

5148446026_6a04b26715_b
Lego Star Wars – Chewacca” by Fernando Bueno is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Magic happens when you give shoppers a way to identify with your brand. Just a few days ago, an article titled, “Product Success Is Not About the Zeitgeist,” flashed across my LinkedIn newsfeed. Eager to see if the author had touched on human universals, a topic near and dear to my work, I clicked on it.

Continue reading

GIF in Udemy email—got my attention

GIF with popsicle melting over Udemy Logo
Animated image from a Udemy email “Last chance to treat yourself to a new skill at 30% off.” Message to Eisaiah Engel on June 17, 2016.

Email is 43 years old. GIF is 29. As much as these two get around and despite the age difference, you’d think they would have found each other… fallen in love… and made animated email babies a lot sooner. At least what’s what I thought when I opened the above email on June 17, 2016.

Continue reading

How to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation? (R.A.D. technique)

Color Me Rad race - people in Pink
Color Me Rad has nothing to do with this but if it gets you to remember then great! Credit: “Color me Rad_111” by ludo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flikr.

LinkedIn recommendations are key to building your personal brand. Below is my R.A.D. technique to get LinkedIn recommendations. It uses the human universals of reciprocity and one.

Continue reading

Thought experiment: What is marketing?

Cow pasture with sunlight pouring over the mountains like in a dream
Credit: “dream” by Luigi Alesi is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flikr.

Poof! The internet, TV, radio, cellphones, print and all other marketing tools have vanished in a flash. No modern media exists. How then does a company get the word out about its products?

I suppose that in our imaginary world a company would have to get people to share its products–at least verbally through conversation with another. The more target customers who receive word about a company’s products, the more sales a company receives.

Continue reading