The Sunday Letter, 6 Jan 2019

Put in a real lawn, and water it.

Happy new year! (Also, happy New Moon!)

This year is a no-BS, take-no-prisoners kind of year. Therefore, I’m going to call you out today if you ask your people to create ‘authentic’ content or experiences.

You won’t like me ordering you to be quiet about it, but I do it for your own good. Here’s why. If you want ‘authentic’ content, or an ‘authentic’ experience, then you actually have no idea about how to be yourself. You have no idea about how your brand is supposed to act.

It’s like fake grass.

Yesterday on my evening walk, I saw a beautiful garden. But at the base of it was this lush-looking grass… with wrinkles in it. It was fake. It screamed, ‘I am not a gardener, I got someone else to do this, this beauty is all to make me look good’.

Fake grass is what people put in place because they don’t want the hassle.

Wanting ‘authentic’ content or experiences is exactly the same. It says that you want to paste in some false thing in place of doing the work. Just like fake grass, it raises the heat inside, because what appears to be is not what is. It increases stress and pressure, and what you deliver won’t match your (possibly wrinkled) exterior.

If you don’t want the hassle of meaningful, important content and experiences, those who DO the hard work will beat you in the race.

Deservedly so, in my opinion.

Until next week ~
Leticia, HRH the Queen Pixie.

PS. Enjoy the new format of the Sunday Five!

Tip of the week

If you’re going to persist with social media in 2019, calculate how many hours you spent in 2018 vs the value you and your clients got in return. If you can’t calculate it, your first job this year is to put in a table to keep records. Go. Right now. Otherwise you’ll have no idea again this time next year.

The Sunday Five

Below are 5 articles we think you’ll love this week. Every one was published in the last 7 days. If you find any gems during your week and want us to share them, email them to hello@brutalpixie.com.

[ SocialMedia ] WeChat plays follow the leader

The Luxury Daily this week published a story about how WeChat is following the social media giants by adding a ‘stories’ feature. ‘Stories’ really mean ‘disappearing content’. More than a billion people in 70 countries use WeChat, and many in China use it exclusively to interact with brands. The Luxury Daily suggests that getting on this train is a good idea if you’re in luxury. I suggest that if you’re not there and want to be, design a pilot and test it intelligently before you put resources into it.

Read this article here.

[ Storytelling ] Warwick Roger ran against most publishing, most journalism, and succeeded

Last year, the kiwi journalist Warwick Roger died, and the NZ Herald’s Simon Wilson pays tribute to this big story of 2018. Warwick Roger, like all of publishing’s greats, had some rules. They were: ‘…employ the best and insist they be the best. Be original. Write for grown-ups. Write it long. Tell the truth. Have some fun. You don't have to be nice.’ It’s true that most publishing, or journalism, isn’t like that. I can tell you that most business publishing isn’t like that either. If you have the courage to establish firm rules for your business’s publishing that are even a shadow of these ones, they’ll stand you in good stead. This is an excellent read, by the way.

Read it here.

[ Law ] Winners of the 2018 ABA Techshow Startup Alley Competition were announced… and they’re fab

So, LawSites this week listed all of the tech startups who won prizes at the ABA TECHSHOW Startup Alley Competition. There are a bunch of samey document formatting (yawn) startups, but there are also some killer ones. Like the messaging app for separated parents, which disallows editing, deletion, or manipulation of messages by either party; and a blockchain solution that creates fingerprints of your digital assets that apparently can’t be falsified. These two are potentially groundbreaking, maybe one of you lawyers can convince me that the others are, too. ;)

Check them out here.

[ Teams ] A whole lot of industries are seeing the value in having remote workers.

This week Business Insider listed nine industries that are experiencing an explosion in remote workers. Some of them might surprise you - like science, maths, engineering, and project management. The others - marketing, real estate, law, etc - are really a no-brainer. Yet while this is great for flexibility, access to talent, and much more, I predict that this is going to swing back the other way once it hits a critical mass. Then we’ll all be excited about ‘going to the office’ and having a desk someone else pays for. Ha! Truthfully, I LOVE that more project managers are remote. It’ll make them way more efficient, because they’ll be forced to be.

Go through the list here.

[ Insider View ] Intercom publicly dissects its lessons from product and design in 2018.

You guys know that I am a huge fan of open companies. Even if Intercom isn’t one that you’d put at the top of the list, this deep-dive, public article, in which they dissect what they learned from what they did last year, absolutely counts. The discussion about ‘design operations’ matches the ‘content operations’ trend in our content strategy industry: The acknowledgement that the systems driving or enabling another function are critical - and that the overall velocity of the business increases even as the operations themselves become less visible. This article is critical reading for you if you are a C-Suite executive, founder, or owner because you’ll learn a bunch of lessons to apply in your own world in 2019.

You can read it here.

Who do you know in engineering, law, accounting, or health, who could benefit from an amazing case study?

From 28 Jan - 8 February, I’m hitting the road in Victoria to go and have conversations with services businesses about their content operations. Who do you know in engineering, law, accounting or health, that could use an amazing case study for their portfolio or sales? Email hello [at] brutalpixie.com to let us know.

The Sunday Letter, 23 December 2018

All our numbers

Hi lovely one!

You’ll notice this isn’t the regular Sunday Letter. Seriously, I don’t know about you but I’m sick to death of ‘happy Christmas’ emails, and work is the last thing I want to be reading about. I figured you’d probably be like that, too.

Instead, today I would like to just share a link with you.

The link is: https://thenextfive.substack.com/p/14260-here-are-the-numbers

In that link (^^) you’ll see all the numbers from Brutal Pixie from 2018. I made an exception about my different-content-in-each-channel rule for just this type of thing.

Brutal Pixie is an Open Business, which is why I want you to be able to see what we actually do.

So much of the time, we look at the show-reel of businesses and think ‘oh that’s nice’ but we never see the Daily Grind. In Here are the numbers you get the precise daily grind, complete with numbers, extents, and industries.

It’s fascinating.

Great things happen when you get into meaningful metrics instead of money metrics.

Money metrics are fun, sure! But for business improvement? Meh. Go find the things that drive you and measure that.

Alright, I’m off now to eat and pack my bags and go on holidays. This is the last letter until the New Year, so have a blissful time enjoying your summer, eh?

cheers
Leticia
Queen Pixie at Brutal Pixie

The Sunday Letter, 16 December 2018

The Recommended Reading Edition

Hello lovely one

Today I have something super special for you.

You know how the internet is full of crazy-awesome things, but it’s hard to find them? Well, given it’s roughly a week before Christmas, I’ve decided to gift you a set of recommendations.

There aren’t many serial publications that I read religiously, but there are a few! There is also a fistful of bloggers of whom I am a Raging Fan. Today you get a glimpse. If you want more of my personal recommendations (as opposed to the business-y ones that are here), leave a comment or reply, and I’ll issue a sneaky one for all you paying subscribers.

Oh and I should point out that there are no affiliate links in this Sunday Letter. Just loads and loads of things that us Pixies love. :)

Enjoy!
~ Leticia Mooney, 
Queen Pixie at Brutal Pixie

Tip of the week

If you’re not used to working with a content professional, there’s a strong chance that they will write in a way with which you disagree. If you don’t like it, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. In fact, it might actually mean that they’re right.

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The Sunday Five

Instead of five articles, here are five killer sources. Read about ‘em, visit ‘em, subscribe to ‘em. If you have any that YOU love, reply and let us know!

[ Email ] Intelligent Tuesday

The Intelligent Tuesday is the email I look forward to the most out of the many hundreds that I get every week. It’s short and valuable - with about two absolute gems, which are always related to productivity, motivation, business, or professional development. Plus, it gives you positive news about the world. It’s just damned excellent and I recommend it to every business owner and founder that I meet. Learn more and subscribe at http://brutalpixie.com/intelligent-tuesday.

[ Email ] Email Players

Even though Ben Settle sends an obscene amount of email - multiple emails a day, every single day - loads of them are great value. If you haven’t heard of Ben Settle, he is one of the world’s best copywriters. So if you even have a vague interest in being a gun email marketer (or even just effective at email), you should sign up. Be aware that he is enormously opinionated and quite American about it. But, hey, you might not mind. Get it at http://brutalpixie.com/email-players.

[ Blog ] Saastr

There are a number of VC bloggers that I follow, but Jason Lemkin is among the best of them, because of his consistency, volume, and blend of personal with business. Plus I always learn something new from Lemkin, which is my yardstick for a great source, especially when it is related to business! Check him out at http://brutalpixie.com/jason-lemkin.

[ Blog ] Real Lawyers Have Blogs

Yep it’s a blawg, and it’s one of the world’s best. Real Lawyers Have Blogs has been around for about 15 years, and it provides outstanding commentary on blogs and similar channels as essential law publishing media. Plus, Kevin’s opinions are always bang-on. Check it out at http://brutalpixie.com/real-lawyers-have-blogs

[ Email ] Mumbrella’s Best of the Week

One of my absolute favourites in the media, marketing and entertainment industry in Australia is Tim Burrowes’s Best of the week. Mumbrella is an incredible resource, and if you’re interested in marketing, media, publicity and impact, and you’re not on his list, then I am here to grab you by the hand and fix that. Tim’s emails provide commentary and insight, often into pieces published by Mumbrella. It’s outstanding, and always great value. You can subscribe at http://brutalpixie.com/mumbrella

There are more…

Oh, so many more. But these five are a great start. :) Have a fabulous week this week! And if you’re keen to read about the inside scoop of what goes on at Brutal Pixie from week to week, go register at The Next Five Years, which is the Pixie Open Business Project through until 2023.

The Sunday Letter, 9 December 2018

Look out the window.

Hi, Pixie friends!

I wrote this letter on Thursday, when it was 33 degrees at 9 am, and I was wishing I could stay in my air-conditioned office all day! Ha!

This week I bring you a tip that I learned earlier in the year as a result of my Wednesday creative leave days. If you haven’t heard about these days, they’re a day in which I don’t do Pixie work, but instead spend the time in personal writing projects. The projects are designed to stretch me creatively and professionally, and the insights have been quite amazing. I’m going to be talking about it in my next Patreon podcast, so if you want to hear about it, you have to become a Patron.

This week’s reading is nothing short of fascinating. I’ve dug up an antitrust case against Apple, which may change how ecommerce stores are handled. There’s a lovely little piece about why looking out the window is better than scrolling on your phone; a link to one of my favourite usability tools; the best marketing campaigns for 2018; and - just because it makes for juicy reading - a very sharp piece about Informer 3838.

If you’re not in Australia, and you haven’t heard about Informer 3838, are you in for a treat! Reply to me and I’ll send you a bunch of links. The TL;DR is that a barrister acting on behalf of underworld ganglanders in Melbourne was simultaneously working as a Police Informant against those same people. What a story.

Enjoy the reading this week!

Lots of love

~ Leticia Mooney, 
Queen Pixie at Brutal Pixie

Tip of the week

Forget your elevator pitch, write a logline.
A logline is used in screenwriting and is developed before anything is done on a script. The logline is pitched to as many people as possible to get feedback, and only when responses become a universal hell yes I’d go see that film does the planning stage begin. This is so far ahead of writing a film, you can’t even begin to imagine. (It took me more than 6 months to go from my first logline to pen on script this year!) Imagine what shifts it could make in your business if you were patient and did the same thing.

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The Sunday Five

Here are the best articles we’ve found from the past week. If you find any gems during your week and would like to see them included, email them to hello@brutalpixie.com.

[ Performance ] Hack your commute: Look out the window

Were you aware that you can improve your memory and recall by going for a walk through the trees? That you’ll remember more if you aren’t looking at a city street? Well, it’s true. A new study suggests that aimlessly looking out the window is really good for us! Read this here.

Key takeaway: Work isn’t about doing-doing-doing-doing. Go for a walk and daydream. You’ll solve more things more quickly. (Yep, even content things.)

[ Tools ] Usability Hub

I am a MASSIVE fan of Usability Hub, and we at Brutal Pixie use it all the time for usability and understandability studies. They’ve just updated a whole lot of their features - and their blog is really worth an hour of your time if you’re in charge of content-related projects. Check it out here.

Key takeaway: Some of the very best tools you’ve never heard of are Australian. ;)

[ Marketing ] Best campaigns of 2018

Don’t you LOVE everyone else’s roundups? I used to hate doing them myself, which is why I adore the effort that other people go to when they create them. Marketing campaigns is no exception. We might not be a marketing agency, but as a content pros, this kind of intel is priceless. And fun! Marketing Week brings us Part 1 of the Best Campaigns of 2018. Get it here.

Key takeaway: Being confronting - done well - is really bloody good for your brand.

[ Law ] When Justice is hacked, we all lose

If you consume any news media, you would know about Informer 3838. (And if you don’t know this story, man are you in for a treat! Reply and I’ll supply you with some links.) In this article, Ruth Barson, who is the Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre argues that when legal and judicial processes become tainted by misconduct, so does our entire legal and political foundation. She argues that the problem isn’t just that Vic Police engaged in misconduct; she argues that self-assessments of misconduct are problematic in a whole range of ways. It’s burning and sharp, and you should read this here.

Key takeaway: Think about how you deal with misconduct in your business, especially if you’re in law or finance. I wonder if it’s worthwhile setting up an independent review process, even in your small business? Food for thought.

[ Business ] Apple Lawsuit could impact how courts view antitrust cases

This is about a US case titled Apple vs Pepper. The writer tells us that the outcomes may change how big tech defends itself in antitrust cases. At the heart of the case is whether or not Apple has engaged in anti-competitive actions in order to restrict consumers to buying apps exclusively from the Apple Store, and that they’ve been paying premiums as a result. While there’s the potential for a precedent to be played by the tech giant, it’s unlikely that it’ll fly. For Illinois Brick Co vs Illinois to apply, Apple will need to argue that they’re not the direct seller of apps. If Apple is not successful, this case may be groundbreaking, because it may change how people manage not only their ecommerce stores in the US, but also their pricing. Read this fascinating piece here.

Key takeaway: Anti-competitive behaviour is never cool, mm’kay?

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