Sunday Six Pack #2

Time to relax, pour yourself a coffee and enjoy the Sunday Six Pack, all killer, no filler, just six of the best links curated from a week of reading.

Compiled whilst listening to Leonard Cohen



Remember: It is a glorious day here

Before Email, Twitter and Instagram, people used to send postcards.   I collect these vintage postcards, for their messages as much as their pictures.

Rydal Water

This is Rydal Water, in Cumbria – and the postcard was sent in 1908 to Lincolnshire.  I imagine the message is between sisters or friends, judging by the handwriting – the message reads:


Friday Customer Experience Pack #2

Every Friday, I’m going to round up the best Customer Experience writing I have seen during the week. Subscribe below if you’d like to receive this by email each week. Previous editions are here.


I saw this post by Bob Thompson referenced a few times this week, and rightly so. According to a recent study, 93% of Customer Experience initiatives are failing, and less than a third are demonstrating positive results.  It’s important because most companies believe that CX is the battleground on which they will win, and the ones that get tangible results are going to steal a march on the competition.

This older article on Event Driven Feedback from Mopinion really interests me, many companies still rely on the campaign driven survey to get feedback from customers – but using telemetry to ask discreet questions will yield very specific actional insights. This seems like an excellent strategy.

Tnooz focuses on the travel industry, but this article on key priorities for travel brands has insight that is useful in ANY vertical.  The idea that companies to move past silo-based thinking and align with company-wide customer goals is valuable advice.   This is the cornerstone of the work that Jeanne Bliss does in building the CCO role.

Finally – not Customer Experience focused, but great thinking for industries like the one I’m involved in. The World needs more modest, linear-growth based companies , so says DHH at  Signal vs Noise. I agree, it’s really easy to spend time looking for silver bullets that create hockey stick growth, but there is as much value in getting better one percent at a time, and growing sustainably as a result.

What did I miss? Let me know the best Customer Experience writing you’ve seen this week in the comments.


Here is the World

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
Frederick Buechner

HT SwissMiss


Building Dynasties

Yesterday, I woke up in the future. A man, with a private company, has sent a rocket to space and left a car in orbit. It’s truly the stuff of wild science fiction.

I was just 6 weeks old when a man stepped on the moon, and a teenager when I watched Challenger explode on TV. Since then, Space travel has seemed unobtainable again, a rare few launched from the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Building Dynasties

Today, its a different prospect. Millions of words will be written about Elon Musk and his ambition to reach Mars, he’ll fit it in alongside electric cars, solving power issues with batteries and shooting people from London to New York in less than 60 minutes inside a tube.

As well as the flamethrowers.

But what is really interesting is the horizon of these goals.   Like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk is working on stuff that possibly won’t be fully formed and realised for decades. Maybe not even in their lifetimes.   Like the work of Steve Jobs, who fashioned Apple into the titan it has become, earning more and more, even after his death.

All of these leaders and their teams will be well rewarded this year and next year, and their families will never want for anything. Their companies and shareholders make huge amounts of money.  Their products and services change lives around the world.

Most importantly though, their ideas and achievements will live on long after they have gone, these people are building dynasties from technology. Their work will leave a legacy for many years.

Maybe even a billion.


Seen: The Post

This is a review of The Post a film starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.   None of my reviews contain spoilers and only broad comments on the plot of a film.

I’m continuing my sweep through the Best Film Nominations for the Academy Awards (6 out 9 watched now), with The Post.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, this is a story about press freedom in Vietnam era America. Opening with a bloody firefight in the jungle of Vietnam, the aftermath is captured in a top-secret report filed away in Washington.

Like an early-seventies Snowden, the truth wants out and the report finds its way to the hands of the press who are involved in their own battle of the Titans, The New York Times vs The Washington Post – owned by Katherine Graham (played by Meryl Streep) and edited by Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks).

And so, the battle plays out between the newsrooms, the courts and most importantly across the smoky dining tables where deals are done.

The Pos

I enjoyed this movie, it clipped along at a good pace and felt like it was fast moving despite not having any ‘action’ scenes.  Tom Hanks is believable as the editor, at home in the world of typewriters and hot metal press.  Meryl Streep plays the widowed Kay Graham brilliantly, slightly vacant at times and seemingly in a world where money means you don’t have to connect as much.

My only concern in the story was the ending which I will not spoil – but I don’t think that Streep’s character was utterly convincing in her actions, it all seemed a little convenient to me.  That said, the dovetail into the story ‘All the Presidents Men’ is excellent, where Jason Robards will pick up the part of Ben Bradlee. (Reminder to self – put that on the list for a rewatch!)

That said, The Post is beautiful to look at and artfully directed. The early seventies really comes alive in the newsrooms, with no computers and paper ruling the roost. The parallels to the press freedom debates of today are clearly writ, and it seems that Spielberg is keen to let that play on the screen.

Overall. 8/10. IMDb.


Read: Here is Real Magic by Nate Staniforth

This is a review of Here is Real Magic: A Magicians Search for Wonder in the Modern World by Nate Staniforth. You can read my other 2018 book reviews here.

There is a gap in time, between the final flourish of an illusion or trick and the point at which my mind kicks in where I still have a flash of childlike awe. Immediately after that I automatically try and decipher what I have seen, looking for a trap door or camera angle that would give the secret away.

In ‘Here is Real Magic’, Nate Staniforth dwells on this moment, describing and enjoying it in all its glory – despite being the guy who knows the answer to ‘how did they do that?’  He walks us through his journey, from the usual stopping point of the toy magic set at home, through to seeing David Copperfield in his hometown, and onwards to earning a living on the circuit.

Somewhere along the way, the author loses his wonder and begins a search that will take him to India to meet snake-charmers and illusionists from slums that are more than a round-trip airfare from his home in Iowa.

We encounter cobras, and mystics – along with mystical moments and ancient Indian twists on modern illusions.  Staniforth describes his journey across India in meticulous detail, which left me to wonder about the contrasts in a vast country.

I loved Here is Real Magic, a short read of about 300 pages in a simple conversational style that left me with no question about how the search for wonder went, and where we should seek to find it:

I think you have to grow up twice. The first time happens automatically. Everyone passes from childhood to adulthood, and this transition is marked as much by the moment when the weight of the world overshadows the wonder of the world as it is by the passage of years.  Usually, you don’t get to choose when it happens. But if this triumph of weight over wonder marks the first passage into adulthood, the second is a rediscovery of that wonder despite sickness, evil, fear, sadness, suffering – despite everything.  And this second passage doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a choice, no an inevitability. It’s something you have to deliberately go out to find, and value, and protect. And you can’t just do it once and keep it forever. You have to keep looking.

I raced through this book, enjoying every minute.  There is as much sage advice and wisdom in this book and magic, as there is in any management self-help book.  I highly recommend Here is Real Magic.


Working Out Loud Circle – Week Three

This is part of a series of posts documenting my journey with a Working Out Loud circle, as defined in John Stepper’s book; Working Out Loud: For a better Career and Life.  You can read the rest of the series here.

Friday rolled around quickly for me, the product of a busy week but the Working Out Loud circle assembled again in cyberspace, and spent another enjoyable and energising hour working through our guided practice for the week.

So what did we do this week?

As ever, we kicked off with a check-in, calibrating where we all were with the tasks and our different goals.  It was good to hear that everyone felt they had made some progress this week and our general energy levels were high, despite some people having weeks equally as busy as mine!

We then talked through the first exercise, and specifically about how we planned to ‘pay ourselves first’.  I felt like I already did quite well on this, blocking out one-hour per day to work on writing and look at contributions to others in my network. I recently wrote about how that had worked for me, with my 2018 challenge of writing every day – January is complete and I’m happy with my progress.

One thing was apparent to me today, that as a group we enjoy celebrating success. One of our number had a good win this week, and it was great to hear that and celebrate as a group. It feels like we are invested in success as a team.

Mutanfall – a German word meaning ‘Courage Attack’

We had a few interesting discussions today, one around the difference between a work brand and a personal brand. My feeling is that the two are very closely mixed, one is an extension of the other.

We also talked about how joining a Working Out Loud circle had given us all a little ‘nudge’ towards doing things we know to be useful, there is a word ‘Mutanfall’ – a German word that means ‘Courage Attack’, which is a fantastic definition of this.  I feel like I have had those attacks of courage whenever I spend time investing in myself for training or learning, and I suspect there is a network effect in play here, the more I invest, the better I will be at pushing myself.

Finally, we talked about gratitude and practised it a little bit in our group as well as setting ourself up for some private and public displays in the next week.

My key takeaways

  • Once again – we are still energised, and reading ahead in the WOL guides it seems that there are a lot more opportunities for fun collaboration with this team.
  • I’ll be working through my relationship this week and looking to make connections.  I’ve already started through this blog to pay forward some gratitude to the knowledge and wisdom that I read each day.

What did I do after the week three meeting?

  • I built some new space into my calendar to work through the WOL exercises.
  • I added some new plans to my editorial calendar for this site to connect with other bloggers who I want to express some gratitude to.



Sunday Six Pack

Time to relax, pour yourself a coffee and enjoy the Sunday Six Pack, all killer, no filler, just six of the best links curated from a week of reading.

Compiled whilst listening to Max Richter (Spotify)


Remember: Kindest Twitters to the Bird

Before email, Twitter and Instagram, people used to send postcards to each other to help share and remember events.   I collect these vintage postcards, for their messages as much as their pictures.

This one is postmarked 1902 – and the picture of London Bridge looks from that time.  The message is below.