Has it only been a few months since we started? It feels like much longer, there's already a strong and vibrant and insightful group of people communicating here at SebastianMarshall.com - I'm really pleased and happy to have a good crew reading, commenting, emailing me, getting into good discussions and thinking.
A tricky thing for most people building a website is to nail down these questions - "Who is this website for? What do I want to do with this?"
It's easy for me. The site is for people like me who wish to do a lot of important things, to communicate, to think more clearly, to become prolific, to grow in strength and virtue. I create on the topics that are important to doing important things.
The people who this resonates with are always welcome to come visit and gain in strength and knowledge here, to build, to hopefully be inspired, to communicate, to do good things. The people who the site appeals to are its audience, and I won't be trying to persuade anyone to join us who these topics do not appeal to at the current stage in their life.
I've got a number of good comments I'd like to share. This was the second half of a comment from yesterday's post, me wondering about technology.
While we’re on it, and I’m getting my fingers loosened up for the day, here’s my current thinking about ways to differentiate:
1. Service and Customer Support. If you’re not answering all your emails in hours, you’re not trying. Customer feedback is Easy Money.
2. Integrating with your customer’s ecosystem better. Huge room to grow here these days, with a huge number of different ecosystems. If your app lets me post notes to my Twitter account as I go, while Google only supports Buzz for corporate reasons, and I’m a heavy Twitter, I go with you.
3. Solve a hard, niche problem really well. This doesn’t have to be as groundbreaking as you’d think. I know a good number of people who keep talking about upgrading from their Blackberry to a more user friendly phone. But they don’t. Because Blackberry, while ugly and unfunctional in my hands, are productivity machines. You know what the feature the last guy I talked about cites? The ability to text message a preset group of people, with easy additions or subtractions. Running a small business, he does this constantly. My Android struggles here. My iPhone did as well. Blackberry figured out what a business user would be doing often, and does all those things well. This allows them to, at the very least, lag behind the bleeding edge in most other areas.
Customer feedback is Easy Money. - Very good insight. Yes, paying attention to customer feedback makes you more intelligent, makes you build better products, and is in itself a good marketing/branding thing. I think this is one of those things everyone "knows", but they ain't doing it yet.
Blackberry figured out what a business user would be doing often, and does all those things well. This allows them to, at the very least, lag behind the bleeding edge in most other areas. - That was an awesome insight, very cool.
I can corroborate that having someone else dependent on you to get something done is one great way to snap out of it. Another way is to engage yourself in a fun hobby or side project, most helpfully something that’s just getting started and won’t bog you down with any hard problems. This way, you can have fun and get into the groove of doing some “work”, and transition into real work after some time.
Very insightful - nothing for me to add there, that quote just nails it very well. Good comment.
Alessandro had a thought provoking comment on the same post.
I think it could be more related to the solo-adventure you are in. The more you stay without going out with friends, people, old friends and new one, having fun, the more you consume your willpower. And it seems a thing going worse as the years pass and you become older.
Probably you just need more human relations to recharge your batteries.
You are a human being: your robot schedule approach has some dark spots. This, probably, is one of them.
I actually had to pause and think this over for a moment, and then I mostly agreed. Here's what I wrote in reply -
> Uhm well I think it could be more related to the solo-adventure you are in.
Interesting comment. I had to stop and think for a moment about whether it’s true or not.
> The more you stay without going out with friends, people, old friends and new one, having fun, the more you consume your willpower.
I thought – yes, you are correct. I have friends around the world, so when I’m stopping somewhere and seeing a good friend or family, that helps. When I’m exploring somewhere I’ve never been or hunkered down to produce a lot, that does take its toll on you to some extent. There is value in exploring and carving new trails, but I suppose it’s true that you pay some price for doing it. People are important.
> And it seems a thing going worse as the years pass and you become older.
This I agree with wholeheartedly. Do you have children yet, Alessandro? I’d like children very much. It’s the thing I want most in the world right now.
> Probably you just need more human relations to recharge your batteries. You are a human being: your robot schedule approach has some dark spots. This, probably, is one of them.
Interesting comment. Yes, people. People are good. Solitude is good too, though – at times a man should be alone with his thoughts. Too many people are afraid to be alone with their thoughts, because they realize all they could be – and aren’t at the moment. This is a hard thing to confront, the mirror. Some people, you know, never go more than three days in a row by themselves. Perhaps this is okay for women, but I think to do important things as a man you need solitude occasionally for periods of time. But not too long! Human relations, yes, I agree. Thank you for this comment, it made me think.
Thanks for everyone who comments - by the way, we had had 569 people come visit on August 30th, which is just crazy and wonderful for a site that's just getting started. All of you - yes, that means you specifically - please feel welcome to comment and come out and have a discussion, even if you don't normally comment. What are you thinking? What's going on? Thoughts are welcome. Disagree? Agree? Ideas? You're very welcome to share, it takes like three clicks and not too much typing to have your voice heard here.
Thanks for the insightful comments Brendon, Ehsanul, Alessandro. Good crew here. I'm overjoyed we've got such intelligence and wisdom built up so quickly.
I've been thinking about this for a while. I fancy myself a scientist, which means I use the Scientific Method to figure things out. So I make a hypothesis, and try like crazy to falsify it, and at the end maybe there's some interesting not-yet-falsified ideas.
I train myself in all sorts of science, I keep real genuine article scientists as friends and compatriots. But y'know, I probably wouldn't be called a Scientist by the vast majority of people in this day and age.
So I started thinking. What is someone who does science who doesn't have impressive scientific credentials? And I came to - a Cowboy Scientist.
Cowboy Science is trying to figure out how things for practical reasons or for curiosity, not for academic or institutional prestige.
A rancher who tries to figure out what the best mix of water and grazing and movement for his cattle by takes notes, making a guess at what'll work, and testing that guess - he's doing science. But no one would call him a Scientist with a capital S.
I was a panelist at the Digital Hollywood Fall 2009 event, held at the Loews Hotel in sunny Santa Monica, CA (that's a picture I took on my iPhone of the happy hour event above).
You can find the PointAbout page describing the event here.