Big Data — Driven by Little People

Big Data Driven by Little People - Be Awesome Daily

Numbers aren’t sexy to me. But success can’t be measured if no one is keeping track, right?

There’s a lot of conversation in the world today about Big Data. For the corporate decision makers, it’s all about big business, so it requires big data.

Yet, when you think about it carefully, the data is you. The data is me. We are big data. And, the truth is, what we say matters isn’t enough.

Media companies like Facebook and Google are gathering data about all of us — that might piss you off, but not enough people are changing their behavior as a result of learning this is happening. So, guess what? Just because you say you don’t like something doesn’t mean you’re willing to do anything about it (Put down that potato chip!)

And, that means, you, me, your mom and dad, your kids. All of us are contributing to something bigger than ourselves.

Big Data.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. The fact that this data is being collected doesn’t bother me.

What bothers me is that it seems that only the big box corporations are doing anything about it.

They don’t really care about us, but they are willing to act like they do, enough to give us incentive to tell them whatever they want to know about us. And we believe them.

Small business owners can do this too, but many of you aren’t doing a thing. And, in the end, it seems like you don’t care about your customers, because, well you’re not paying attention to what they want.

Today, when it comes down to what matters most, it’s pretty simple:

  1. Giving your customers what they want so that…
  2. You can find new customers that want the same things.

Sure, you can ask your customers what they want, but then you have to do something with the data, and then you have to do something about what the data tells you. Oh, and there’s a difference between anecdotes and real data.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you own a really nice restaurant in a very nice part of town. You are considering new menu items because you asked a couple of your regular patrons to taste a free sample, and they said they really loved it. So, after 10/10 of your patrons said they loved it, you called your vendor and ordered the items you’d need to add this new item to your menu. And you hype it up with your staff. But, 30 days later, not one person ordered it. You have to throw away all of the perishables . You can’t figure out what might have happened — after all, you did your market research right?

It’s Not What You Think!

Trust me, I am always surprised at what the data actually says. Because, I too want to believe what my trusted friends tell me. But the fact is, that we will tell our friends one thing, and do something completely different. It’s not that we’re liars, it’s that we have a relationship that leads us to feel a little pressure. When we’re answering a survey, or browsing the web, we feel more comfortable, and are not feeling like we’re put on the spot.

Because, it’s when we’re just being ourselves that we are at our best. We want that to be enough — and, it is. It’s always enough.

Every media company knows that the value is in the content provided by their publishers, the message, and “news.” Therefore, if we’re going to make any difference in the world at all, we have to be willing to look at what matters most. The people — our customers. And, if we’re not asking them what matters most to them, we’re failing them — and big data is not.

Leveraging our connections and looking beyond, we’ll find the answer, and it’s always always going to be driven by people. Lots and lots of little people!

Don’t Let Your Give-a-Damn get Busted

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The biggest challenge we face every day is caring. Caring makes us vulnerable. Which is not the same as weak. Giving a damn is exactly what makes doing the hard work so difficult. You show up doing what you can, the expert in whatever it is that you’re an expert at. But it doesn’t always work.

When it doesn’t work, you have 2 choices.

1. Stop Caring
2. Keep Caring

If you stop caring, you’re choosing the easy path — here you can be numb, and just go along to get along. You don’t have to work too hard, and you don’t have to care about the fact that you don’t care, because, look around, that’s what it seems like everyone is doing.

And, what’s even better? If you keep caring, you get the benefit of being lonely, wrong, misunderstood, criticized, ridiculed, and tired.

Whenever you decide to add value, and do more than is being asked of you, it’s important that you realize that this is your choice — and there’s a pretty good chance, with all the Give-a-damns that are busted in our world today, that nobody will care, notice or appreciate that you’ve done anything special. The thing is you’re free to stop protecting and maintaining your Give-a-damn, because everyone else seems to have abandoned theirs.

You’re not everyone else. We need you to Give a Damn.

I work with many different people. All of them have something important to say.

All of them.

My favorite part of my job is to listen, encourage, coach and ultimately help my clients understand why they need to get really good at telling their story. And why no one else can tell it as well as they can.

That’s where the trouble begins.

Today, there are millions of people clamoring to be heard. Together, we’re all looking at this mosh pit of thoughts, and we’re terrified of throwing ourselves into it. The fear comes from unknown sources. Most of the time, it’s not even identified as fear.

It’s described as too difficult to learn, or not important enough to warrant the time, or too time consuming.

You’d rather someone else do it for you. And, if you ask enough people, you might find someone who will do it for you. But then, it’s not your story. It’s their version of your story.

So what’s the solution?

Maybe this is a simplification, but I don’t think so.

  1. You need to understand the power of your voice.
  2. You need to leverage the relationships you have now.
  3. You need to listen to the stories of those around you.
  4. You need to care about their stories first.

You’re a human being, first and foremost. And, no matter what you say, the studies reveal that your most basic human need is connection. Without this, we cannot thrive. It’s no different in your business. You need connection in order for your business to thrive.

The trouble is, there’s too much noise pollution, and for some reason all of the good and decent messages are being throttled down by the gimmicks and the lies. You, know that feeling you get when you’re running close to your allotted data with your service provider, and nothing seems to work well? That’s called throttling your data. What if we could throttle up the good stuff? I believe we can.

Your voice is worth sharing.

If more of us believed that, maybe we’d be able to throttle down the noise and we’d eventually be where we all want to be: valued.

But the deck is currently stacked against you. If I told you to go out and start writing your brand story, and you took that blog section of your company website — the one that you’ve been neglecting for 5 years, and went to town, that would be an excellent start. But I would be willing to bet all of my marbles that it wouldn’t last. You’d only have half of the point.

You’d come out of the gates on fire. “Excited! Yes, it’s time to tell my story. I have so much to say, people will want to hear my message. The story is so good!” And you’d write. One post, maybe two posts. If you’re really motivated, you might write a week, or even a month’s worth of posts. And, you’d share them with your friends and your family.

“Hey, check this out, I wrote this. Can you give it a look, maybe a comment, or a “like” or  a ❤?”

But no one would really be that interested. Sure, your mom and dad, your employees, your friends (the really nice ones), would take a look at one, or two of them, until you’d be just another voice in the crowd, another distraction among the other thousands each person must deal with each day.

The point isn’t in just telling your story, it’s in making your story worth hearing.

While your voice is important, and your story matters, the real way to be heard is to start by listening. Answering questions, letting other, important voices be heard too — lifting the voices that matter above the noise and sharing a glimmer of what’s important in this world filled with click bait and fake news. Giving a little, gets you so much further today than it ever has, because, quite frankly, we’re all wanting the same thing, and the ones who are going to get what they need, are the ones who step forward and give it to others first.

I don’t suggest that this is easy. But I do suggest that it is necessary.

This story starts now, but it really started in the crummiest time of my life, when I was playing at being a victim. Pressure was scary — and I did everything I could to avoid finding myself feeling remotely pressured to do, say or be anything.

And, I was miserable — and really, really lonely.

The good thing about the story, is that it didn’t end there. I eventually learned to lean into the pressure and discovered something totally unexpected in that space that I had so long avoided — real, unadulterated joy. Pleasure, fun and even elation were sitting there waiting for me, when I stopped hiding from my gifts and, instead, started claiming them.

Chrissanne Long - Pressure is A Privilege

Thank you, Billie Jean King (via Serena Williams)

This summer, I had the opportunity to listen to Serena Williams speak about her pregnancy, her new efforts to end abuse and, of course, reflect on her success. What struck me the most about her talk was what she said about pressure. An insight that she borrowed from another tennis great — Billie Jean King. The success she enjoys today, she described has, invariably — but maybe not so obviously, resulted in another challenge. Championships, record-breaking and accolades have led to the unsexy side of fame — pressure. Most people don’t think about this. We look at these superstars, the record-breakers and the top of the charts, and we idolize them. But, at the top, pressure is at its highest, and more than we care to realize, this pressure hits a breaking point, and stars begin to fall.

Serena, in her authentic, giving way, explained that there, in the spotlight, the challenges that were as a result of being AWESOME, were a privilege that comes with that honor. Yes, being awesome, truly living and leaning into the world, comes with the distinct and not so savory opportunity to fail in the middle of the world. The pressure of making it, means whatever you do now, becomes something everyone is watching to see what happens next. Everyone knows you can’t be a champion forever. Your book won’t always be on the bestseller list, you’re record will be broken. And they want to see what you do under more pressure.

They want to see you when you fall.

This is a phenomena that is not likely to change. I was introduced to this in my AP English class my senior year, while reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: when Marlow laments about “the fascination of the abomination,” and it’s the reason the Interstate stalls when there’s a fender bender — because human beings are fascinated by the scary, the freakish and, the failures. It makes us feel safe, it props us up and allows us to feed the stories that have been allowing us to live in our comfort zones. It’s a protective layer, and — it’s holding us back from being better, great and awesome.

As a kid, I adored Drew Barrymore, and when her life became too much for her to handle, and it fell apart at the seams, the gossip, the rumors the “tsk tsk” from others as she fell from grace, were my first living example of this that I can remember — and my first realization that being a superstar was unforgiving, and even scary, because watching her life unfurl was devastating for me as a young kid. Why did everyone have to be so judgmental? Today, for me anyway, fascination of the abomination is the only answer that makes any sense.

Serena talked about the work it took to climb that mountain of success — to become a champion. Commitment to her purpose was always at the forefront of every action. Every day, she worked at her goal. And, as we all know, she got there. But for her, the story doesn’t end there. And that’s the purpose of this post.

Staying on the Mountain

If you’re like me, your goals are a little less audacious than winning Wimbledon, or becoming a superstar, but whatever your dreams, they are incredibly precious and important. We are all climbing our own mountain. But, what happens when we actually get to the top? The answer could be as simple as, “go find another mountain.” But the truth is, there’s a lot more to it than that. We have to find a way to stay on the mountain. And that, to me is what struck me the most with the statement Pressure is a Privilege.

Here I am, writing this, because I feel I have accomplished something. And, after all the work, I admit, I am a little tired. And, staying on the mountain is proving to be j

ust as much a challenge as getting here — maybe even more, because, now, I know that it wasn’t all for nothing. That there is something important happening, and instead of going through the motions to see if there’s anything to my dreams, I can see that there is. And, that’s even scarier than what I was feeling when I started this journey. But, pressure — this doubt, uncertainty, restlessness, and fear are all a privilege. This moment, right here, right now — this is when the story gets good. This is when you have to stay the course, and keep believing.

The Resistance is Getting Louder

Yesterday, I told someone that my biggest fear is that the success I have achieved so far has been a fluke. And, as I write that, I know it’s the resistance. Before, the message was different — “you can’t do it, you’re not good enough, this will never work.” And as hard as that was to overcome, this message is even louder, more menacing, more threatening, more gut-wrenching. Today, the resistance is screaming:

t’s all a ruse. You’re a fake. You haven’t done anything important. Nothing you’ve done actually matters at all, who do you think you’re fooling?”

And that, my friends, is what privilege is all about. Yes, as ugly as the resistance is, it’s going for that most vulnerable space, because it knows exactly where it is. And, because you have gained some traction, because you defied its power over you, you have to pull out your stronger game. You have to be ready to up the ante and level up. You have to get ready to start all over again.

Because, the alternative, is not the option you want — you didn’t work this hard for this long, to just climb back down the damn mountain, and walk away. Your work means something because it’s your work. Stay on the mountain, not only is it your right, and privilege. It’s now your responsibility. We need you to keep believing. Because we’re watching and we’re believing in you. And, that is the greatest privilege of all. Now, you are able to teach others and to lead by your example of faith, and overcoming the resistance, and proving that, yes, a person like you can.

Game on. Go. Go. Go.