Tag: Perfection

Life Optimization… The Next Level

Recently I’ve become a complete Zappos addict. The fact I can look at 500 shoes online, click my size, and place an order in three steps gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. What might make me more happy is the overnight shipping and ease of returning anything I don’t like. Given my repulsion for shopping I’ve decided to take this to the next level with a product offered by the startup a fellow ex-Deloitter is working for over the summer: The Trunk Club.

This service’s claim to fame is that you get an individual stylist who works with you to understand what you like and what you need then proceeds to send you a “trunk” full of fashionable clothes when you request them. In the trunk (which retails at about $1,200) are several “outfits”. From this trunk you choose what you like and send the rest back.

Boom. I’m giddy at the thought of achieving the next level of life optimization: life without shopping.

More to follow once I get my first trunk…

Why Steve Jobs Doesn't (And Shouldn't) Give a Tweet

While Apple’s latest additions to its product lineup are arguably their best ever, their latest gaffes have been even better (at least for entertainment value). The iPhone 4, the sleekest, sexiest, thinnest, most fully functional badass superphone to hit the market, came with two amazing undocumented “features”: (1) it didn’t quite sync with exchange and (2) it came with an unanticipated hang-up button. How a company that is known for developing stable, easy to use products could release its flagship iPhone without first finding these flaws blows my mind. In the aftermath, Steve Jobs (whose email account is very well known to the public) has sent some scathing remarks to Apple customers via email. The same customers that he’s spent the last decade training to insta-buy his products whenever he chooses to release them. It is Steve’s zesty remarks that are the foundation of this post.

Twitter is all about brand building (both for people and for companies). The reason it acts this way is two-fold: (1) it’s an open environment to share thoughts, express feelings, and “legitamize” content (i.e. saying you believe that certain content is relevant to you / your company) and (2) it naturally induces conversation by reducing the distance between any two human beings (whether they’re little ol’ me or Mark Cuban) to an “@” symbol and 140 characters. Branding is all about an inherent dialogue between the brand and current / potential customer. Traditionally, by the sheer limits of media, branding was a primarily one way conversation. Today, however, through services like Twitter, both you and I can engage in a two-way communication with the brands we love and hate. As a consumer obsessed with technology, I’m a fan of a lot of things that optimize / enhance my life or just entertain me. Today when I am either pleased or pissed with a product I turn to twitter. Over the past year I’ve noticed brands engaging back in response (Tungle, Zappos, Comcast amongst many others). These responses have had a consistent positive impact on me as a consumer; they’ve either reduced my discontent or strengthened my brand loyalty (BTW, Comcast I hate you less, and Tungle / Zappos I <3 you more).

Onto Steve Jobs and why, given the latest emails he fired over the bough, he is the last person on earth that should be tweeting. Let me preface this by saying that I believe everything I read on the internet. Based on this preface, from what I’ve read Steve Jobs acts as a monarch at Apple (just see how he parks), is transparent with his expectations, and says EXACTLY what’s on his mind. Those are phenomenal qualities for a visionary leader, but horrible qualities if aimed at a pissed off and rabidly fanatical fan-base. Steve needs to learn this and FAST. While he doesn’t “Tweet” per se, any email he sends to an individual gets plastered on a thousand blogs and becomes a trending topic on Twitter.

So here’s my suggestion. While I have infinite respect for Steve Jobs and his willingness to spend time engaging with customers via email, he should only do so when it reinforces positive product / brand perceptions. For the negative situations, the situations where perhaps holding a phone in a certain way drops a call, he needs to let a herd of professional communications / PR folks take the lead on managing the brand’s response to the consumer. Oh and whoever is doing PR for Apple, don’t ever, EVER, let Steve Jobs get a Twitter account. Instead of 9 out of 10 fiery messages making it into the spotlight (and at least some question as to their authenticity), you’ll have all 10 to contend with.

Tiger Woods, at One Point, Defined Perfection

A risky title, I know. Read on, it’s not what you think.

Tiger Woods’s recent transgressions totally de-valued a story I was convinced I would one day tell my son – a story that would be so awesome he would retell it in his kindergarten class and his schoolmates would think I was far cooler than I actually am.  It’s a story about perfection. Specifically that perfection is best measured by how someone handles imperfection. This post is not by any means related to adultery, infidelity, or marital transgressions. The perfection I saw Tiger demonstrate happened on the golf course (not off of it).

This past summer I went to my first professional golf tournament at TPC Boston. I was absolutely star-struck watching my favorite golfers play in one of the preliminary tournament rounds. For those that don’t know, preliminary rounds don’t have much notable media coverage (not even for Tiger) so the events I’ll describe may not have made the front page of the Boston Globe. I joked to my friends that the only thing I really wanted to see was a top golfer completely implode: dropping a ball in the pond, hooking one into the woods, or knocking a ball into the gallery. Let’s just say, my dream came true.

Tiger was clearly the star of the show so we followed him for the majority of the day. He was having a horrendous day maintaining control with his driver but was hanging with the pack because he’s the best golfer in the world (period). On the 5th hole, Tiger unleashed a beast of a drive – a slicing bomb that probably went 800 yards straight, but 120 yards due right. Tiger wound up as deep in a thick patch of woods as I usually am – just ~500 yards further down the course. As Tiger walked from the tee box towards the gallery he launched his driver 10 yards straight into a marsh. Aghast, I just stood there. If I had fists that could be pumped without anyone else (let alone Tiger) noticing, I would have pumped them like a mad-man. At the time I may have referred to this as one of the single best moments of my life. As I watched Tiger’s caddie trudge into the swamp to fish out the club, Tiger walked an arm’s length away from me muttering to himself. I couldn’t believe it. Everything I hoped to see that day and more had just happened. The single best golfer of all time had imploded right before my eyes.

The story doesn’t stop there. Muttering to himself, Tiger walked directly over to his ball which was well into the woods. The gallery, knowing this was a chance to be inches away when he took his next swing, literally surrounded Tiger’s ball only leaving a narrow ten yards on either side of the trajectory the ball was about to take out of the woods. I couldn’t help but put myself in Tiger’s shoes. If I had just hit a drive into the woods, tossed my club into a swamp, walked down a fairway muttering to myself in front of a thousand people, and knew laying up was not an option – one of two things would happen. I’d either blast my shot over the fairway into the woods again, or drill someone in the gallery.

Neither option even crossed Tiger’s mind. With the ball teed back in his stance on a hard-packed forest floor, Tiger played the most graceful fading approach shot imaginable. He landed it ~20 feet from the pin and ended up making par. Tiger’s mental fortitude blew me away. In a million years, having played several hundred rounds of golf, I would have never had the same result. It made me realize that perfection isn’t really the absence of imperfection. In the real-world, where nothing is truly “perfect,” perfection is simply knowing what the next best step is when you encounter imperfection.

This concept doesn’t only belong on the golf course. It applies across nearly every experience we have in our personal and professional lives. I hope you enjoyed the story… even though the story is now severely devalued by Tiger’s latest accomplishments.

[If you're doubting that this actually happened, articles citing the event are here and amateur video here]

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