June 24, 2014


castle 960x540 water-96591
How many newsletters do you receive without noticing?

You may notice due to the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) which takes effect on July 1, 2014. Email lists are already meant to be opt-in already but some senders are asking subscribers to opt-in again.

Before you do, re-examine the value of each newsletter. You have the opportunity to reduce inbox clutter, focus your attention and boost your productivity.

Better Ways?

You get instant information whenever you want via a web search or social media. Those channels may be faster than searching through your email, especially if you have multiple accounts. In addition, you may find newer information or fresh sources.

If you’re following an organization in other ways (e.g., LinkedIn Company Page, LinkedIn Showcase Page, Twitter or Google Plus) you’ll often get the same information in an easily shareable way.

27 Typical Requests For Permission

Having to give permission feels like work. Notice the sameness in these subject lines:
  1. Request for consent – time sensitive
  2. LAST CALL – newsletter confirmation request
  3. Stay informed. We need your consent.
  4. Updating our email list
  5. Reminder – Consent to Communicate
  6. IMPORTANT – requesting your consent
  7. Help Us Keep You Up To Date
  8. One Minute Ask: Your Consent Is Required (CASL)
  9. [COMPANY] requests your consent
  10. [COMPANY] needs your consent!
  11. [COMPANY] requires your consent
  12. Consent requested to contact you by email
  13. Stay Connected.
  14. Keep us in your inbox
  15. Email consent request from [PERSON’S NAME]
  16. CASL – What you need to know
  17. Update your e-mail preferences! Don’t miss out!
  18. Deadline approaching
  19. We request your consent
  20. ACTION REQUIRED: We require your consent
  21. Request for consent - time sensitive
  22. Anti-spam is just around the corner
  24. [COMPANY NAME} doesn't want to lose you
  25. Say Yes To Stay Connected
  26. URGENT: [COMPANY NAME] Requires Your Consent
  27. Don't lose out on great business information
The content suffers from sameness too. For example: “July 1 is approaching and we have not yet heard from you. We value our relationship with you and would like to stay connected, but we require your consent in accordance with new Canadian legislation.”

A Simple Way To Keep Subscribers

There’s a simple way for senders to entice subscribers to accept marginal newsletters: offer incentives like prizes or something useful for free. Even big companies aren’t doing this when they easily could. They must think their content is very special even when it’s really about them.

The Exceptions

Some senders aren’t asking for permission to continue sending their newsletters. Perhaps they feel they already have permission. Perhaps they’re reluctant to ask because they fear mass unsubscribes. Perhaps they interpret the laws differently. You can still unsubscribe.

The Sneaky Ones

Some senders are not asking for permission (and never really had it). One doesn’t even have an unsubscribe option. Instead, you’re to send them an email.
One company is saying
“if we don't receive explicit consent from you, in limited circumstances, we will continue to provide relevant communication to you under the implied consent provisions.”
The oddest example is Expedia, which just added me to a list without permission:
“As a subscriber to Groupon Getaways by Expedia, we are happy to start providing you with special travel deals and promotions. As a part of our ongoing commitment to bring you the best experience, we want to let you know that you are now automatically enrolled to receive emails directly from Expedia.”
The last Groupon email arrived on September 8, 2011.

Change Your Mind?

Chances are good that you won’t miss what you’ve stopped receiving. If you change your mind, you can always re-subscribe to a mailing list.


PS I’ve unsubscribed from 30+ lists and feel lighter.

June 11, 2014


Jack knocks 'em down
(This post will make more sense if you're familiar with the TV series 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland as terrorist-fighter Jack Bauer. We’re new viewers currently watching season three on Netflix.)

Jack Bauer is a specialist you hope you never need. He feels that how doesn’t matter when there’s a why. When he thinks he's right, try stopping him. He may not ask for permission now or forgiveness later.

As Your Boss

Imagine Jack on a routine day. Picture him answering emails or folding the laundry.

If you work for Jack (or Steve Jobs), count on ever-changing priorities with unrealistic deadlines. Don't count on going home on time or maintaining personal relationships with your family.

Jack has your back though. He protects his team by taking responsibility for their mistakes. That's leadership. That's a way to build lasting loyalty. Jack doesn't hold grudges (though will make exceptions if his family members get threatened or killed). He doesn’t keep reminding you of your past mistakes.

As Your Employee

Jack and rules
Jack works hard for 24 hours (without coffee or yawning) and then takes long breaks. He's moody. He's unreliable. He doesn't follow orders. He plays favorites. He ignores social conventions like politeness. He's demanding of his bosses, giving them orders of the "Just Do It" kind. He shouts. He — here's a shocker — uses violence against co-workers following their orders.

Jack doesn't follow the chain of command. To save time, he talks directly to the President.
Jack uses employer resources for personal reasons like picking up daughter Kim from the police station (and not just once).

What Saves Jack

We forgive a lot if we get what we want. Jacks track record saves him. He's versatile. He adapts. He delivers results on mission critical projects. He takes calculated risks. His personal interests (like staying alive) don't get in the way of making the right decision for his employers and society.

Even Jack's non-supporters know there are times they need him. They'll tolerate him because he goes beyond the limits of what anyone could reasonably expect.

Be Like Jack

Let's take lessons from Jack.
  1. Keep learning: go beyond the "10,000 hour rule" because the next 24 hours won't be like the last. Jack knows how to set the email signature on his smartphone and finish a 30 second infomercial in 30 seconds.
  2. Keep delivering results: Jack doesn't rest on his past achievements. He keeps proving himself, which prompts others to stretch themselves.
  3. Work on projects that matter: Jack isn't who you'd call to a routine staff meeting
  4. Go beyond your limits: that's how you find your limits and stretch them
  5. Take chances: Jack doesn't know what might happen in the next moment but proceeds anyway
  6. Act on your convictions: there are things Jack refuses to do because they're wrong. What about you?
  7. Have a compelling cause: Jack fights to save innocent lives. What are you fighting for? How much do you care?
Just don't stay up for 24 hours. Leave that to Jack.


PS Jack works by the clock but doesn't quit after 8 hours.

June 4, 2014


what are you reading?
When you read, what do you have to show for your efforts?

You might be educated or entertained --- and kept away from TV and Netflix. Regardless of where you get your content, you’re a consumer, part of the audience. If you borrow books from the library or a friend, you may feel pressure to finish.


I’ve stopped reading books for six months (which in my case means no longer listening to audiobooks while driving). Instead, I’m listening to E Street Radio and comedy on Sirius XM. They’ve given me a free six month trial.

Afterwards, I’ll return to books (generally nonfiction). At the start of my sabbatical, I had mild angst. There are so many books to read and I was falling behind. Within two weeks, I was enjoying the break. Stepping back is refreshing.

Other Sources

Books are time consuming to finish. You’ll find their ideas condensed online in excerpts, reviews, videos or interviews. For instance, if you’ve seen the Start With Why TEDx Talk, you don’t need to read Simon Sinek’s book or see him live. You might want to but you already have the highlights.
You’ll also find related content through your social networks and mainstream media.

A Quota

If you’re an avid reader, another approach is to limit what you’re reading. Rather than racing to read more books, consider getting a deeper understanding of fewer books. Maybe you read or re-read one book per quarter. You now have time to apply what you’re learning.

A Different Use Of Time

Instead of consuming, start creating.

We learn better by explaining to others. Perhaps you publish a mind map, blog post, video. We build character and show consistency by sticking to a schedule. We improve our skills. We also help others.


PS Conversely, if you don’t read regularly, maybe it’s time to start?