It’s Monday, and a tiny Bob Bly and a tiny Merlin Mann are having breakfast at a tiny dinette set inside the tiny breakfast nook inside my head.
Bob Bly prefers to drink his coffee back in his wood-paneled executive home office, but Merlin Mann insisted they have a real breakfast with fresh orange juice, fried chicken, and waffles. Bob is indulging Merlin, but he’s just itching to get back to work.
They’re having another one of their non-argument arguments, where no one is talking and yet a great deal is said by the way one asks for the syrup and the other passes it. Bob Bly is reading the Wall Street Journal, and Merlin Mann is making up limericks. He likes limericks.
They’ve been having this argument for a while now, here in my head’s dinette. I just can’t tolerate another unpleasant breakfast, so I’ve decided to air things out. Here’s what they have to say for themselves.
The World According to Bob Bly
Bob Bly says, “Write more, sell more.”
He wrote the book on it. It’s a good book. I read it back in 2002, and still think about it today.
Bob Bly’s worldview, as represented in engineer-friendly, bullet-point fashion:
- Apply nalgas to chair: the proven formula for inspiration.
- Get wife to bring meals to home office.
- Write more to sell more. Don’t kill yourself trying to perfect every word.
- Stick to a schedule and discipline yourself to achieve success. At every moment, ask yourself, “What’s the most important thing I could be doing right now?”
- Work more by cutting out everything that isn’t billable. Outsource so you can work more and earn more. Don’t do anything yourself unless it’s billable or could bring you business.
The World According to Merlin Mann
The Merlin Mann in my head says, “Write less, say more.”
He wrote a blog post on it. It was such a good post that I invited Merlin Mann over for breakfast with Bob Bly, and they’ve been living together as The Odd Couple ever since.
Merlin Mann’s worldview, as interpreted by me: Don’t be a webcock. Protect your time. And if you’re going to Tweet, post, or write, have something inspirational, meaningful, or wildly entertaining to say.
So, after listening to these two go at it every morning over breakfast, and after giving the Bly Worldview several good tries, I’m thinking of marrying them–to each other.
The Odd-Couple-Get-Married Worldview:
- Go running and tramp before applying nalgas to chair. It’s much more fun than willpower–and effective, too.
- Have breakfast by the window, at an actual breakfast table.
- Take out my own trash and do my own dishes and laundry. Yay, chores!
- Every once in a while, take a pointless, unbillable WALK with my dog.
- Follow own internal schedule. Do things when I have the energy to do them—while still meeting deadlines, of course. See Productive Flourishing’s awesome heatmap.
- Be as kind to myself as I would be to others. If I feel like stopping for the day, stop.
- Work less by focusing on the really important stuff. Accomplish more because I’m working on projects that FEED energy instead of projects that TAKE it away.
Maybe the “write more, sell more” model’s time has passed.
If everyone is writing and marketing as fast as they can, does everyone really need to market more, sell more?
Is it possible that it’s actually market LESS, sell MORE?
When I think about the businesses I LOVE, they don’t send too many marketing emails.
They do less “marketing” marketing—and more Fried-Chicken-and-Waffles Marketing.
Hanging out, being of use. People like Andy Wibbels, Mark Silver, Daphne Gray Grant, and the Communicatrix market less, but I’m positive they sell more. I recommend them with more passion than an affiliate–and the return I get is knowing I’ve linked another person to their awesomeness.
They’re just that helpful.
3 questions for your consideration over breakfast:
- What would happen if you put your business on a Marketing Diet?
- Do you think your business would improve if you sent out FEWER messages, and made each message count?
- Have you actually TRIED this, and how did it work?
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