Scientific Wild Arsed Guess

SWAG, estimating sweets in the jarI love tripping over fun acronyms I’ve not heard before.

Scientific Wild Arsed Guess, SWAG, this is ideal for those situations when someone can’t bring themselves to come up with an opening estimate, even though they’re the best-placed person to do so. Great for encouraging technical/detailed/finisher people who might be uncomfortable with the vagueness of the start of the creative process.

Also, WAG = shortened less scientific form.

And then I rediscovered this Dilbert cartoon, I think we’ve all been there!

Dilbert-cost-estimation

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Help me translate this gobbledygook

Ages ago someone asked me if I knew what this meant:


football in the new era… Fans drive loyalty and loyalty is rewarded on the pitch. Success drives growth and growth drives ambition . Unfortunately Fans are customers and most of us in marketing understands these values as modern day football has evolved with commercial partners looking to subconsciously connect with loyal fans or the ‘brand’.


It was a post online. I have to say that it’s double Dutch to me. Do you want to have a stab at unravelling the message? Yes? Just click on comments.

My business rules (draft) for the year

  1. Don’t deal with tossers – there are enough great people about to work with
  2. You’ll always overestimate what can be achieved in 3 months. You’ll always dramatically underestimate what can be achieved in 3 years
  3. Create the story – people buy stories, they yawn at lists of features
  4. Ask questions – someone else has the information you need…ask
  5. Keep talking to people – 1:1 and 1:many, face to face
  6. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to find some different people (or a different room or both)
  7. Remember number 1

Nothing sells like a sell-out

Nothing sells like a sell-out

Years ago, I said, “Nothing sells like a sell-out.” This was an observation that demand for stock items was always lower than for out of stock products. There is some compelling logic behind this; if all vendors are out of stock, one customer might phone six different companies making the enquiry…and that was a demand of only one. If everyone was in stock of the item, only one phone call will be made (assuming all other things are equal e.g. price).

So does my statement, nothing sells like a sell-out, have any real value? I think it does. And this is where businesses can take a different position with their marketing.

If you have loads of availability, i.e. piles of stock, some customers will take the view that either a) there is no rush to buy as there are lots of them, or perhaps b) they’re not very popular.

My experience in music promotion supports this. Promoters and venues want to put on bands and performers that sell-out venues. If you are in a band that sold-out your last three shows, a promoter wants you, you are hot property. Which promoter wants a band that will only pull an audience of three?

Sandi Thom, back in 2006, pulled a blinder when she started gigging from her basement flat in London. The article in The Independent – Sandi Thom: bedroom superstar talks about her success. They haven’t mentioned a key element of her plan that really made it work…her basement gigs were a sell-out; you couldn’t get tickets. The venue capacity was only six people. In my opinion, that was the thing that made people start to watch the gigs online.

People want what others have got that they cannot get hold of. Nothing sells like a sell-out.

I’m not advocating that you should ever deceive your customers, that is wrong and a recipe for disaster. What I am saying is that highlighting shortages will help sell things. Pointing out how others have benefitted from buying has helped, oh, and we only have one left (if that is true).

This thinking edges into the area of selling exclusivity, “Only available to xxxx.”

Faced so often with abundance, those things that I might not be able to get are very seductive.

At the same time, managing availability is a big part of product management. How can you ensure you always satisfy 95% of demand? No overstocks. No expensive liquidation of end of line items.

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Attention seeking…we should listen

Look at me! The modern crisis of attention seeking.There is a good article on The Guardian website about the modern crisis of attention-seeking, jihadists and loneliness. Have a look >>> The Guardian.

It offered lots of information. It didn’t set out to offer strategies to deal with any of the problems highlighted.

On reflection, the message I took from it is that we should all be better at listening. This would let us hear the real messages from family, friends and (perceived) foe.

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Awards presentation advice

Here’s the man to be hosting an awards ceremony. Some great and somewhat obvious advice from Jack Whitehall.

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Work harder, not smarter

Work harder, not smarter“We need people to work harder, not smarter,” was the recommendation I received from a boss once. I’m pleased to say I left him working harder.

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