Sep 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm
Dripping my way along... a lesson from Seth
Seth Godin that is. The lesson comes from this post and only set sunk in yesterday. Key point:
I discovered a lucky secret the hard way about thirty years ago: you can outlast the other guys if you try. If you stick at stuff that bores them, it accrues. Drip, drip, drip you win.
It still takes ten years to become a success, web or no web. The frustrating part is that you see your tactics fail right away. The good news is that over time, you get the satisfaction of watching those tactics succeed right away.
The media wants overnight successes (so they have someone to tear down). Ignore them. Ignore the early adopter critics that never have enough to play with. Ignore your investors that want proven tactics and predictable instant results. Listen instead to your real customers, to your vision and make something for the long haul. Because that’s how long it’s going to take, guys
Drip, drip, drip the work pays off and all the time you spent getting it right comes back to your two-fold. An example:
Let’s say you take on a website project for friend of a family member. Let’s say it took a while and you didn’t get paid very much because you did it out of love. You keep changing it and updating it and, after a while, it becomes your own. You’re not being paid anymore but you just want that other person to have something nice. And they appreciate it!
Now, let’s say you get busy elsewhere and you stop correcting errors, stop checking for 404 errors, stop updating the blog. A few links change and you forget to check them. In the meantime, your friend, so happy that he has someone like you to help him out, is handing out your card to everyone he knows, telling everyone how incredible you are. He says “go to my site, check it out, it’s incredible!”
One day months later you get a call from your friend and he’s all smiles. He talked to someone that wants to talk to you about a job and he has two people with your card that want to call you about the site. Suddenly, you hope they didn’t click on that one link or notice the wrong copyright date. Maybe they saw a 404 or a few typos and reconsidered. Maybe they got the impression you were a full-time webmaster and were confused why everything wasn’t in tip-top shape. Suddenly, you wished that realized that payoff can take some time.
If you put your name on it, put your best into it. The work you do now could (and should) come back to haunt you later and it’s up to you whether this phantom is benevolent or not. Deliver on time repeatedly, concentrate on quality output (be it product or service), and take care of your customers so when someone inevitably asks them “Hey, where did you get that?” the respond will be “Oh, Josh made it, he’s great, here’s his email” rather then “Ugh, don’t ask.”