The one book I bought from #INBOUND16

People say you write how you speak (or is it speak how you write?), so if author and New Yorker journalist Charles Duhigg’s books are even half as good as he speaks, then I’m in. The two words I’d use to describe his talk about the science of productivity would be: tight and meaty. Zero rambling, and story after story, Malcolm Gladwell-style.

The two points I took away from Duhigg’s talk were:

  • Have a contemplative routine. Duhigg told a story about a fellow who wrote twenty-page letters to his friends almost every night. His friends didn’t even read them, they were too long. But it didn’t matter. The routine of writing letters paved the path for the man to become a best-selling author. A contemplative routine could be yoga, stogies, baking, or biking — a space that allows you to process through creative ideas.
  • Motivation expands when we feel in control. This struck me as fascinating. Duhigg’s point was if I’m feeling unmotivated, a lot of things in my life are probably outside of my control. The more control I have, the greater my motivation. Thus, the importance and power of habits: habits increase control over my life. As an example, Duhigg told the story of how Starbucks trains its employees to “Latte” unhappy customers:


Acknowledge the problem

Take problem-solving action

Thank them, and

Explain what you’ve done

This system gives Starbucks employees a way to address a potentially uncontrollable situation in a controlled manner, yielding mutual happiness.

One lesson from the VP of Sales from Tesla

“We don’t sell.”

— Jon McNeill, VP of Sales for Tesla Motors.

Tesla can’t afford an advertising or marketing budget and yet they have managed to double the revenue of a $5 billion automobile company.

“We educate and present the product,” McNeil said, “But we don’t sell.”

Equipped with facts and stats, Tesla salespeople are trained to educate customers about the mortality rate caused by CO2 emissions and problems with vehicle safety. For example, exhaust from gas engines can create cancer-inducing poisonous smog in dense cities, and engine placement in a traditional sedan can kill the driver in a head-on collision (i.e., with a telephone pole).

The sales team simply lets the customer test drive the product. With record-setting acceleration, software-based user interface, and environmental and safety benefits, Tesla vehicles sell themselves. Musk was so particular in regard to the design that Mcneil recalled Musk saying in a review of the finished Model 3, “There’s too much blue in the mirror.”



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