You’re right, I’m special. I got an early preview copy of the book about two months ago. I just happened to be on Twitter at the right time and place to see Mitch Joel tweeting about the special offer. You see, I *KNEW* this book would be great because his last one Six Pixels of Separation was great. So, if this was a book I was going to want to read anyway, why not buy it early and get the review copy? This was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.
This is a LONG post. It’s not so much a book review as it is a brain dump of the things Joel made me think about. Either I’ll save you $30 and a few night’s reading because it’s not for you, or I’ll convince you this is a book you need to read. Either way it’s a win. So read it all.
Ctrl Atl Delete did not disappoint
Like Six Pixels, this is not a how-to social media book. This book is for all those people who say “social media is a fad” or “I just don’t get how social media will help my business.” Joel has outlined the reasons why social media will continue to invade every aspect of our lives and why we might even be ok with that. I found myself agreeing with Joel at every turn… so I sure hope he’s right about where social business is headed.
The first half of the book focuses on the future of social business. Notice I/we said social business, not social media for business? I am so glad that someone with more influence than I has put this in writing so I can pass it around.
Social media is not a fad. Will it look the same in five years? Not likely. Some form of social networking will exist. The integration between business and personal, via technology is only going to grow. Think about the growth of apps. When I download a business’s app there’s a piece of that business right in my pocket wherever I go. The question Joel asks is “What are you doing to be in someone’s pocket? Or on the home screen of their phone?” It’s no longer an if or should question, it’s a how question.
For me, the takeaway in section one is that businesses will have to be useful. Apps, websites, social accounts will all have to be USEFUL. Gone are the days of frou frou marketing sites. Give your customers the information they want and make it easy, or die. And if you want to know what your customers want from you… learn how to analyse your traffic. Yes, analytics do exist and as Joel says, only the lazy aren’t using them to make better business decisions.
A digital-first posture means that the first place your consumers go when making a business decision is to their computers, smartphones, and/or tablets… and they make their decisions driven by this digital-first posture.
If I’m giving you this book to read it’s because you don’t understand the statement above. You’re not living on technology. To you it’s a tool. To us it’s a way of life–one that we don’t necessarily wish to change.
Joel purports that this new way of living is “squiggly”, not linear. Our careers are full of pivots and turns, plot twists and cliff dives. To survive you are going to need to embrace the squiggle, figure out what isn’t working and dump it. Figure out what is working and improve it. Don’t stand still.
A true entrepreneur is someone who has an uncanny desire to create the future; someone who see inefficiencies in the work we’re doing–day in and day out.
Maybe the reason I liked this section was that I’m already there. Joel talks a lot about the entrepreneurial mindset. Well, hey, I’m an entrepreneur! I’ve spent my short entrepreneurial stint tweaking and polishing the business. It certainly hasn’t been a straight line. This idea isn’t foreign to me. All the business coaching I’ve received has been centered around figuring out what works and what doesn’t and moving forward.
And then he talks about “collisions”–working in cross-departmental groups, not silos. YES! This is what I’ve been trying to tell you forever. When the social media person talks to the graphic designer, and they’re working with the copywriter, and the media buyer is on speaker phone with the head of training and customer service… well, that’s just a thing of beauty. The future of social business is in breaking down departmental silos. Social will cease to be a department–it will become an ethos.
Marketing must stop being vertical within a business and become horizontal across all business lines. Period. End of sentence.
Your Future Depends on It
I happen to agree with nearly everything Joel says in this book. From the idea of work-life blend instead of work-life balance, to the digital-first posture, from the entrepreneurial mindset to creating collisions between departments, he has produced another thought-provoking book that all digital avoiders need to read. If you are struggling to see how your business fits in this digitally-connected life, or how connectivity can help your business or career, take a chance on this book.