For example, in just the past week:
- Flickr changed their entire website design, and pretty much got rid of their pro plan, which I pay for just for the photo storage. Their “update” to users on the changes was so confusing, I had to go read the Mashable article just to understand.
- Gmail kicked me into their new “composer” menu, which violates a whole slew of user experience principles. They’re Google, which i suppose gives them license to do what they want, but it breaks Rapportive, the second most important tool for my business (as when you put in an email for a new contact, it shows you their social media links, bio, etc.) And neither Google nor Rapportive seems to care.
- Producteev (acquired by Jive Software) has basically closed down my entire backoffice the past 2 days, with no end in sight. They did an unannounced software upgrade, removing key features that we chose Producteev specifically for. But the worst thing is they didn’t tell anyone about the upgrade, and it’s not gone well, so ALL of my mission critical data is now floating in the ether – business development lists, editorial calendars for my magazine, future billing schedules – all gone. And I am a paying customer – I paid because I didn’t trust a free service, and I got burnt because of it.
Our obsession with having the latest and greatest has tricked business into thinking that if we’re not constantly offered updates we’ll leave for something new. Obviously if there’s a known problem with a product or service that gets ignored, then yes, we’ll look elsewhere. But I don’t (and I suspect you don’t either) lie awake at night hoping there’s a notice on my phone to update all my apps every morning. Change for the sake of change clearly falls under Make Anything Happen.
So what does it look like to Make Something Good Happen?
It looks a lot like a to-do list filled with solving problems, answering questions, and giving people a pleasant surprise. On Seth’s original list he highlighted launching an idea, posting a post, running an ad, or calling a customer. In a good situation, all of those ideas still resonate. It’s how you apply them that matters. I particularly like the idea of calling a customer. What if once a day you called one of your customers? Not to sell them anything, but to check in, to see if they have any questions or to follow up an earlier issue. That’s making something happen in a way that makes you memorable for the best kind of reasons.
I don’t accept that the only way to “keep up” with the competition is to look like we’re doing something even if in the big scheme of things we’re actually doing very little. You owe it to yourself and to your customers to deliver substance that offers real value, answers a question or solves a problem. Obviously it’s incredibly easy to Make Anything Happen, to default to a lower standard, but your customers will notice and appreciate the difference when you Make Something Good Happen.
Photo credit: Steve Rhodes