Habits Beat Features

Showing up everyday to serve does more good than being good.

December 2, 2019

You could have the coolest product in the world, but if you don't show up to help out the community of people you want to serve, you're going to lose them.

I'll give you an example using Webflow, my favorite web design tool.

They continuously post new videos on how to use their software, they host local meetups to help others improve their designs, and they even went as far as hosting a "No Code Conference," to empower designers on the web.

That is showing up everyday to serve. How can you do the same thing to help your group of rebels?

More you say?

Break the Rut-Tine

I'm pretty dedicated to routine, but why let it go the last two weeks of the year?

12.23.2019

Routine is what produces results. Consistent dedication to a series of habits will beat talent any day of the week. Personally, my morning routine consists of the following:

  • 7am wake up (I'm a night owl, not an early bird)
  • Stretch, run, pushups, and squats
  • Journal and Prayer
  • Bible Reading (1 chapter from the OT/NT and one Psalm or Proverb)
  • Write the MF Punch
  • Jam on a personal project for an hour or so

Obviously, I'm not perfect so this routine gets muddied on occasion. But, it serves as a solid compass for letting me know when I've derailed. So why would I completely forego this routine during the last two weeks of the year? Most productivity hacks will tell you that you should always stick to your routine regardless of what day it is.

I'm gonna be honest and say screw that.

Routines are effective during normal times of the year, when I've got client emails to answer, phone calls to make, and, of course, design work that needs to be done. Here's the difference: none of that happens regularly during the week of Christmas or the following week for New Years. Could it happen? Sure. But the truth is that it doesn't.

This presents two opportunities: stick to your routine despite the change in circumstance or let it go for two weeks. Neither option is wrong, they just present two different outcomes and that's where it gets interesting.

When I give myself these two weeks to completely let go of my routine, I give my willpower a rest. Furthermore, with all of the bustle of the holidays and trips to Las Vegas and Mexico on the horizon, those routines quickly find themselves going out the door.

That's not an excuse to let any obstacle get in the way of your routines. There are 50 weeks out of the year where I don't see a valid excuse to let go of routine. But failing to recognize the significance and abnormality of the holiday season is a recipe for self-defeat. Things will happen and routines are good, but they also become a rut. In the spirit of creativity and constantly adapting, ruts must be broken.

Can you think of a better time to break a routine than two weeks filled with festivities, good food, and time with people you care about? Didn't think so.

So what are my plans for the next two weeks? Eat some good food, stay up late watching Star Wars movies, see my grandmother, and think about all of the good things that have happened to me this year. Lastly, think about my routine and what could be improved for 2020 ;)

That being said, it's time to take a break from these as well. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Check back in 2020 for the MF Punch.

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Branding and Marketing

Branding, so you do marketing, right?

1.23.2020

Branding and marketing appear inextricable. At least that's what thousands of handshakes and responses to "I build rebellious brands," has let me know. So let's set the record straight.

Branding expert Marty Neumeier phrases it, "marketing is any effort to get customers, branding is any effort to keep them." Or, branding is the emotional glue that makes someone prefer your business after you've shown that you can meet their needs.

It's kinda like this, any guy can draw the attention of a woman by showing that he is, in fact, a man (assuming she's looking for one). However, it's not the size of his muscles, the amount of money in his wallet, or the car he drives that creates a lasting impression. It's his character and the fact that his character doesn't waver. He markets his features, but wins the heart by triggering emotions. Without them, he's a commodity.

Here is when marketing and branding enter into conflict:

When marketing efforts get pushy/spammy without emotionally priming the customer. 

Good marketing doesn't feel like marketing. An example of this is when you get an email from a company you love and happily open it. Without a doubt, the opposite happens too. you know, those emails you get that let you know this company is looking to get into your wallet. At that point, it's clear that the brand has been tarnished. Good luck getting your reputation back.

When the brand is not placed in front of the right people. 

It's no surprise that the creative side has trouble putting things out there. The most well-thought-out and cohesive brand is worth nothing if no one sees it. Good marketing puts the brand out in the open to the right people, at the right time, and with the right message. Remember, good marketing doesn't feel like marketing.

You need both and they need to work together.

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