Author Archives: Gerry McGovern

Trust is shifting to the network

Our trust in institutions and the establishment is in severe decline. At the same time, we are getting into cars with strangers and letting strangers sleep in our houses. We are increasingly deciding who to trust based on what the network of our peers says.

Historically, societies have looked to leaders, institutions and deities to get guidance and direction. Global surveys are revealing a collapse in such institutional trust centers. And yet a sharing, service and collaboration economy is rapidly emerging that is highly dependent on trust.

The new brands that are leading in this economy—Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Google—are not so much trusted in themselves. Rather, the trust is in the network of drivers, home and content owners. Of course, this nascent new economy is constantly under assault with fake news and other attempts to game the system. However, even with such challenges, there are many promising developments.

People are willing to put trust in the wisdom of the crowds. In a survey of 16,000 people by BlaBlaCar, 88% of stated “that they highly trust other BlaBlaCar members with full profiles.” This is just 7% lower than the 92% who highly trust their friends, and 30% higher than the 58% who say they trust their colleagues. The key to trust is having a “full profile”, much of which means being vetted by a significant number of other people who use taxis.

“At Trust Amsterdam,” Irene Dominioni writes for Euro News, “you can walk in and sit at the cozy, vintage tables, enjoy unique vegetarian recipes prepared in the open kitchen, and pay…as much as you think your meal was worth. There are no prices on the menu.” Trust Amsterdam has been successfully running for three and a half years.

On a grander scale, Blockchain is a way to establish trust between two strangers. It taps into the collective processing power of millions of computers in a highly distributed and decentralized way. According to David Siegel, Blockchain can:

  • Eliminate trillions of dollars of wasted effort in coordination, market functions, and clearing.
  • Record data – including ownership rights to anything of value – permanently, in a way that can’t be hacked or stolen.
  • Eliminate middle men – companies that bring buyers and sellers together and charge high fees (everything from banks to insurance companies to ecommerce to Uber)
  • Eliminate data centers, which are targets for hackers.
  • Eliminate IT departments, which are expensive, sluggish, and prevent companies from being agile.
  • Radically transform government services to be far cheaper, faster, and better.

Of course, there is exaggeration here but what is no exaggeration is the latent power of the network. Humans have a capacity to circumvent traditional models of the ‘establishment’ order and organizational structure in a way that is unique in history. The World Wide Web is already a giant hub of human intelligence and connectedness. We are at a point of reinvention of what a society and economy is and can be.

Time to replace capitalism with trust

Decentralstation (Blockchain) David Siegel (Thanks to Andrew Lugton for the info.) 

BlahBlahcar survey

 

Complexity demands collaboration

In a world of increasing complexity, unpredictability and sheer randomness, the idea that traditional, hierarchy-based leaders can lead us to a better future is both naive and dangerous.

Nobody’s in control. Nobody knows what the future will bring. Things have become just too complicated. In such an environment, the most dangerous are those full of certainty and zeal, as they fight to rise above with their Zeppelin-like egos.

The hard, brutal reality is that we all have to take more responsibility. The best response to unpredictability is flexibility. We must be ready and willing to change our attitudes, our opinions and our decisions based on shifts in our ever-changing environment.

Faced with such an unpredictable present and future, we must resist the call of the wild, the simplicity and comfort of tribal thinking. I am as much a culprit as anyone else for this tribal thinking. And all around me I hear the chants of the tribes of my profession. People love nothing better than to split into groups and do their own thing.

In the Web industry of which I have had the honor to be a part for more than 20 years there is a dizzying array of digital tribes. We have the content tribe, and the UX tribe and the CX tribe and the IA tribe. We have the techies from Pluto, the visual designers from Saturn, and the marketing folks from Mars. And there’s the sales crowd, the support crowd, the analytics crowd and the SEO crowd. And the Social crowd see the Web crowd as competitors, and mobile is of course the new and future king. All these tribes either consciously or unconsciously seeking advantage, competing with the others for budget and prestige.

I watch time and time again as groups within open offices busy themselves building walls within their minds. Within six months, they converse in jargon with a tight circle of those who share their passions and agree with them. They don’t have time to discuss with the others because that would slow them down and might even challenge some of their certainties. And what’s the result? A silo-delivered, sub-standard customer experience.

The seamless customer experience is the Holy Grail at the moment. How on earth can you have a seamless customer experience without a seamless organization? When so many of us are busy stitching and building walls, who’s building bridges and ironing out the seams?

We can do so much better, and deep down, we all know that. It’s just that it’s so hard and messy and time consuming to get multidiscipline, multigroup collaboration going. And, of course, the traditional organization rewards tribal departmental behavior, encourages internal competition, and often actively punishes those who promote collaboration across and outside the organization.

This is a call to the rebel. It’s easy for me, I know, sitting comfortably on the outside. But there has never been a greater need for a holistic view of the customer and a holistic view of the organization. The road is tough but the rewards are huge. In practically every instance where I have seen major web success, I have seen a wide web of collaboration and interconnections.

You’re not responsible for content, technology, graphics, usability, Twitter, apps, websites. We’re all responsible for the customer experience. Together.

 

Digital organization customer disconnect

The Great Wall of Digital is being built between organizations and customers.

Before the Web, the average person could visit a dealer 9 times before buying a car. Now, it’s down to an average of 1.3 times. This is according to Conrad Fritzsch, from Mercedes-Benz, who presented at a Netcentric conference in Lisbon in January 2017. According to CACI, the number of times people visit a bank branch is set to almost halve between 2016 and 2020.

The irony of digital is that it is isolating organizations from their customers. Organizations are talking more and more about customer experiences and relationships and are, in reality, having less and less relationships with their customers. And the experiences that customers are having online are increasingly not with the organization that ‘makes’ the product or service but with the one that organizes the information and connections around the product.

The Web was supposed to get rid of intermediaries. However, companies like hotels.com, Uber and Airbnb are showing dramatic rises in value because they are managing customer relationships.

How are traditional organizations responding? With traditional marketing and its obsession with leads and potential customers. Don’t these organizations ever stop to ask why they need to generate so many new leads? Maybe, just maybe, if they looked after their current customers better, they would achieve more success.

As organizations have fewer and fewer human interactions with their customers, they have never had more data on these same customers. If you have less and less human relationships with your customers, the danger is you will abuse the data, abuse the customer, and destroy the relationship, trust and loyalty.

How many of these data analysts know customers, meet them for coffee, have a clear moral approach that they should always want to do good for their customers? When you create distance you create moral ambiguity.

“When it comes to building trust with customers and within teams, it turns out that warmth is a key element to success,” Renuka Rayasam wrote for the BBC in January 2017. Warmth is generally associated with human-to-human relationships. How do you approximate warmth online? You must show that you care about your customers. Not ‘say’ that you care. People are so tired of hearing organizations saying that they care. For an increasingly cynical public, the more you say you care the less they trust you, because if you actually cared, why would you feel the need to keep saying it?

Take Amazon. Amazon gives you a good price. That shows they care. Amazon tries to deliver as quickly as possible, often for free. That shows they care. If you have a problem, they generally resolve it really quickly. That shows that they care about you.

Digital can make organizations blind to their customers, and customers blind to organizations. Once that happens we will get great instability of relationships. The key to avoiding such instability is to actually truly care about your current customers.

The one quality that builds trust and loyalty, BBC

Collaborating beyond our comfort zones

Cooperation and collaboration are how societies have been built. Our history books—like Hollywood films—mythologize the heroic leader, but it is the humble collective upon which civilizations have laid their foundations.

The villagers of Palanpur “have remained poor, even by Indian standards,” Samuel Bowles wrote in his 2003 book on microeconomics. “I approached a sharecropper and his three daughters weeding a small plot. The conversation eventually turned to the fact that Palanpur farmers sow their winter crops several weeks after the date at which yields would be maximized. The farmers do not doubt that earlier planting would give them larger harvests, but no one, the farmer explained, is willing to be the first to plant, as the seeds on any lone plot would be quickly eaten by birds. I asked if a large group of farmers, perhaps relatives, had ever agreed to sow earlier, all planting on the same day to minimize losses. “If we knew how to do that,” he said, looking up from his hoe at me, “we would not be poor.””

According to Helga Nowotny, “No human group can survive, let alone effectively cooperate, without being able to develop a shared outlook on the world which is the precondition for acting together.”

The shared outlook of the group is what gives it the capacity to act collectively. This is what we might call group culture. However, in our world of ever-increasing complexity and interdependency, this group culture can hold us back.

“What make complex systems so complex are their multiple feedback loops and indirect cause‐effect relations which, moreover, play out at different speeds and on different time scales,” Nowotny states. “Reaching out across different domains and adopting different perspectives to achieve some kind of synthesis, synergy, perhaps even some kind of synchronicity in the ways we perceive, analyse and interpret the world, we begin to realise that we are part of dynamic complex systems. Any such system is open and evolving.”

We are indeed part of dynamic complex systems that are open, evolving, unpredictable and often random. To succeed within such systems requires a flexible adaptive mindset that embraces multiple viewpoints and disciplines. The traditional, cohesive group with its deep shared outlook and common language can find such open systems extremely challenging. The group’s common language becomes jargon to those on the outside, and its deep culture is often unwelcoming. You are not one of us, the group makes clear in subtle and not so subtle ways.

And yet our future as a species depends on us evolving a new type of group. One that is internally cohesive yet welcomes outsiders. One that is multidisciplinary, multicultural, multi-viewpoint. One that encourages and embraces challenge, is open to heresy, and ready to act and change with other groups. We need groups that are comfortable working within multi-groups.

Yes, it’s messy. Yes, it can seem slow and tiring. We long for the strong group and the strong leader who will find us a simple path through our complex world. That’s a mirage, an increasingly dangerous myth.

“The embarrassment of complexity begins when we realise that old management structures are no longer adequate and the new ones are not yet in place,” Nowotny states. “Currently we are in a transition phase. The old never yields to the new at one precise moment in time and this is what makes transition phases exciting, risky – and sometimes embarrassing.”

 

Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution, Samuel Bowles

A view from the top: the complexity of managing complexity, Helga Nowotny

Fake news, distrust and anti-marketing

The global trust epidemic has become a pandemic. Historic lows are being reached in people’s distrust of government and business. The system is broken.

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer makes for grim reading.

“For the first time in 17 years, people’s trust declined in every kind of institution we asked about”

“Public trust in media at all time low”

“Trust in CEOs plummets and hits all-time low”

“A staggering lack of confidence in leadership”

“Global implosion of trust”

“Public trust in institutions sinks to a record low”

“The West’s biggest problem is dwindling trust”

“Largest-ever drop in trust across institutions of government, business, media and NGOs”

Trump and Brexit are the consequences of this tsunami of distrust in government. Brand disloyalty and consumer agitation is the consequence for business. People are switching brands and jobs like never before. A key growth area is freelancing and self-employment. At an increasing rate, people are becoming disconnected from the pillars of the system. They are moving off the grid, becoming harder to reach and influence.

Before there was fake news, there was marketing. Advertising and marketing thrived and fed off a gullible, trusting, emotional population. There was a time when great numbers of people were ready to unquestionably believe what ‘the man’ said.

There is still gullibility and emotional behavior out there but every year the immunity grows. As messages explode in a Big Bang of communication, and the marketing calls for attention become more shrill or sly (native advertising), the population becomes more cynical, blind and deaf.

If you’re shouting at someone and they’re not paying you any attention, should you start screaming at them? “Hey John!!!” See! I know your name! See how personal it is. I know your name! Buy from me, John! Buy from me, John!!!!!!!!!!!!”

““Hey $FNAME” used to cut it,” Brad Smith wrote for Wordstream in January 2017. “Used to be good enough. And then like many things in marketing, it was overextended, overused, and now inevitably ignored.” The best strategy today? “A direct and to-the-point statement that still sounds personal.”

Boring marketing is often outperforming creative marketing. “MailChimp analyzed over 40 million sent emails to determine which email subject lines performed best and worst,” Brad wrote. The best subject lines had “an incredibly high 60-87% open rate, while the #losers only managed a depressingly low 1-14%.”

Here’s what the winners looked like:

[COMPANYNAME] Sales & Marketing Newsletter

Eye on the [COMPANYNAME] Update (Oct 31 – Nov 4)

Here’s some examples of the losers:

Last Minute Gift – We Have The Answer

Valentines – Shop Early & Save 10%

Marketing Experiments, an excellent evidence-based resource for marketers, in January 2017 released a manifesto called Transparent Marketing. “When you say “sell,” I hear “hype.” Clarity trumps persuasion. Don’t sell; say.”

If you’ve got a fake product you need fake news. If you’ve got a real product you need to get real. Amazon, Google, Slack, Facebook are digital winners because they’re useful. Too often I meet companies with great products who are hurting their brands because of outdated traditional marketing techniques.

Anti-marketing is marketing that seeks to inform and be useful, to listen and respond, to take feedback and change. Anti-marketing does not seek to create a customer experience, but rather seeks to enhance the experience the customer has already decided to have.

 

2017 Edelman Trust Barometer

5 Subject Line Mistakes That Tank Your Open Rates

Transparent Marketing

How does price affect the “user” experience?

It is silo-based thinking to think that there is a set of user experiences and a set of customer experiences. There is only one set of experiences, and every single interaction with the organization contributes to it.

I have always disliked the word ‘user’. What do drugs and the Web have in common? Traffic, Users and Hits. The word ‘user’ crawled up from the traditional IT dungeon. It has historically been a word laced with contempt, or worse still, indifference. The reason why traditional IT launches a continuous steam of technological monstrosities is because they are designed for users. In other words, they’re designed for people who don’t matter and therefore they’re not designed at all. They’re engineered so that they technically ‘work’ even though ‘working’ may involve you having to do 6 months of training, reading a 7,000 page manual and going through 673 excruciating steps that take 92 hours, when it should only be 3 steps, taking 2 minutes.

Anyway, we are seeing progress and the whole user experience sector is full of valiant professionals trying to convince their organizations that users are indeed human, that users should be given some level of respect, and that some users might even be valuable customers.

It’s great as far as it goes but it’s all part of the human instinct to create tribes. User experience professionals see themselves as different and distinct from customer experience professionals.

According to Wikipedia, customer experience “is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship.” Wikipedia defines user experience as “a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service.” However, according to the Nielsen Norman Group, user experience “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” Confusing?

Let’s for a moment accept that there are indeed two distinct experiences. Where does price come in? As someone observed to me recently, user experience people rarely think about price.

I recently decided to treat myself to a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard and mouse. I knew it would be expensive but it has great customer reviews. I visited the Microsoft store. The price was €130. Hmm, I thought. Maybe I’ll check Amazon. Now, it seems counter-intuitive that you would check Amazon instead of Microsoft if you wanted to buy a Microsoft product but stranger things have happened. Lo and behold, the price on Amazon is €80, a full €50 cheaper!! I’ve just had another great Amazon user / customer experience.

Do you notice that when you go to hotel websites these days the design almost screams out at you: “Our Best Rate!!! Guaranteed!!!” Now why would that be? Could it be that for years we were getting better rates on hotels.com?

You see, if user experience professionals lock themselves into a narrow, rigid definition of their profession based on some narrow concept of use, they allow the customer experience professionals to sweep down the pitch and win the game.

I had a wonderful user experience recently on an airline website. I just didn’t book the flight because it was too expensive. Price is a huge part of the experience. We must think in a holistic way about the experience. How can an interface help build trust and confidence if the price is €50 more?

Digital is making government redundant

Government, like all organizations, claims to exist to serve citizens but in reality is usually more interested in serving itself. Digital is increasingly exposing government incompetence and how remote from the real life of people so many in government are (particularly at a senior level).

“We see government programs that are not designed to help those who have to navigate them, programs where the focus is more on what civil servants are doing than on what citizens are getting, where delivery times are long, where data is incomplete, and where public reporting does not provide a clear picture of what departments have done.” So said Michael Ferguson, the Canadian Auditor General in November 2016.

In the same month, Paul Shetler resigned as Australia’s government head of digital transformation. He has talked about how it became impossible for him to witness a string of “cataclysmic” IT failures, about how this is “not a crisis of IT” but a “crisis of government”.

It’s true. We are seeing a global collapse in trust in government. What is it good for? Does it actually serve ordinary people or just special interests? Is government capable of dealing with digital transformation? Government just assumes it can continue being the same old government. That’s a dangerous, lazy assumption.

There are, of course, a great many government workers who do excellent work, but they often do this great work in conflict with the very institutions they work for. As you go up the bureaucratic management tree the eyes look ever upwards, seeking to please the politicians and massage egos.

“You’ve got an entire bureaucracy of IT bureaucrats who are backed by large vendors,” Shetler stated. These two groups are locked in a love-hate affair. Most of the people involved in this sordid affair have never once seen an actual citizen use the IT Titanic monstrosities that they allow to sail out with unrelenting regularity. The idea of creating something that’s simple to use is utterly alien to these people. Citizens are supposed to use what they’re given and be grateful. There’s no such thing as a software bug, just stupid people who need more training. When problems occur, government just denies they exist. Only when things explode in an absolute mess are they forced to grudgingly look around and find someone else to blame.

I have been in government buildings all over the world. One thing I have noticed again and again is that when there are pictures of people hanging on the walls of these fine buildings, they are never pictures of ordinary citizens. Instead, they are pictures of politicians and senior bureaucrats.

“Policy is not just something you dream up on a piece of paper,” Shetler states. “It’s actually also the results that you see on the streets.” And that’s the very problem with government. It measures itself based on the creation of the policy and its ‘communication’ to the press. And the further up in government you go, the more relentless that navel-gazing focus becomes.

Government must become useful again, and to do that it must measure the outcome of the policy. It must measure the use of what it creates and rapidly learn and evolve based on use. What is digital transformation? What is being transformed? Digital is just the enabler of transformation. It is the government, the senior bureaucrats and the politicians who must be transformed.

Canadian auditor general report review

Paul Shetler interview, The Guardian

Without fairness societies will fail

Since the Second World War many societies have had a contract of fairness. Somewhere in the 1980s that contract began to be broken, and we are now paying a heavy price for that break.

In the 1960s almost 80% of citizens trusted government in the US, while over 60% thought government “is run for the benefit of all.” By 2015, only 20% believed that government was fair or could be trusted. The decline in trust directly correlates with the decline in the sense of fairness.

In the 1990s, average CEO pay rose in the US by 535%. The pay of ordinary workers rose by 32%. It got worse in the 2000s. In an increasing number of countries, the middle class is becoming the new working class, and the working class is becoming the working poor. This is the gift to the world of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

The titans of the elite scoff and say: “Life isn’t fair. Get over it.” And, of course, you know what the people’s response is: “If we can’t change the system, we’ll wreck the system.” Less than 100 titans own as much wealth as the bottom 4 billion humans on this earth. Every year, wealth and power becomes more and more concentrated. This is neither fair nor sustainable.

Fairness is a cornerstone of civilization. Human societies thrived when they adopted principles of fairness. In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins wrote about how the optimal environment for growth and long-term sustainability involved a Grudger Principle. The Grudger will cooperate and collaborate, but it they feel they have not been treated fairly they will punish the offender in whatever way they can. Sometimes they will punish the offender even though they know the punishment will have a severe cost to themselves.

We are entering into a period where less and less people have faith, loyalty and trust. Less and less people believe in the system, in the word of the expert, the elite. This is a recipe for tremendous turbulence and all sorts of extremes.

I read an article a while back about someone visiting Uber’s offices in London. Inside was Silicon Valley casual and cool, with a comfortable reception for guests. The visitor happened to look out the window. It was raining. Snaking around a side street was a line of taxi drivers waiting to sign on for Uber.

On its website, Uber states that “millions of people in the United States earn money by driving,” while encouraging you to become an Uber driver. At the same time, Uber is enthusiastically testing automated cars and trucks that will ensure that millions of people’s livelihoods will be run over by the inevitable wheel of progress.

This whole Digital thing. It’s made the world better, hasn’t it? Then why are so many families struggling to pay the mortgage, and send their kids to college? And these kids are coming into a work world where there is less job security and lower wages than what was offered to their parents.

We have social progress in the sense of that people have never had more tools to connect with and organize with their friends and peers. When you combine that with economic regression and a belief that the system is built by the elite for the elite, well, that’s the best possible recipe for ferment and revolution.

Cultural Essentials for Digital Transformation

The essence of digital transformation is not technological, but rather about culture and attitude. We must shift from an organization-centric view of the world to a customer-centric one. Here are some of the essential characteristics of a truly customer-centric organization.

Customer top tasks

What is most important to the customer, rather than what is most important to the organization? Relentlessly focus on customer top tasks. What is least important to the customer? Stop doing that. Stop producing features and content on that. Remove features and content connected with these tiny tasks.

Empathy for the customer

Drive more human-to-human customer interactions. Make sure that everyone involved in creating things that are for the customer regularly spends time interacting with and observing the customer. Create bridges between production and use. Feed the organization regular customer experience information that goes beyond simply data. Show actual, real experiences of customers interacting with the organization. Show actual, real customer journeys, not ones invented in workshops or in the heads of designers.

Simplicity obsession

Always be asking: How to we make the top task simpler, faster, easier? Focus not just on simplifying the new stuff. It is often more important to simplify the legacy content and tools. Maintenance and removal of that which is old and out-of-date can often be one of the best acts of simplification.

Rapid evolution with the customer

Design with the customer, for the customer, by the customer. Make sure systems are built to change, not built to last. Get the thing into the world of the customer as quickly as possible and iterate it based on how it is used. No more launch and leave. Launch and continuously improve.

Multidisciplinary collaboration

The complex problems of today cannot truly be solved by one silo, one department, one gender, one cultural outlook. Encourage multidisciplinary teams and disparate perspectives. Reward those who build bridges and go outside their comfort zones. Embrace organizational complexity in order to create customer simplicity.

Evidence based decision making using customer behavior

At every step we must get evidence of what is actually happening. We must have data on what customers are doing, not what they say they’re doing. At all times, we need to avoid organizational opinion. Live in the world of the shifting hypothesis and constantly test everything. What will be a great customer experience today will likely be a poor one in twelve months’ time.

Transparency, fairness, trust

Assume that everything digital is ultimately findable. It’s so hard to keep digital secrets that often the best strategy is to be as transparent as possible. This requires a business model that is fair to the customer. Customer trust is collapsing and it can only be rebuilt on the foundations of fairness and transparency. Your default position should be to make everything free, transparent. Only lock stuff up that absolutely must be locked up.

Measuring customer outcomes

We must carefully measure how customers are performing their top tasks. Are they successful? If so, how long is it taking them? Organizations are good at measuring what they do but they are not so good at measuring what the customer does. In this transformed world we must put the customer at the center of everything. The best way to do that is to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the Customer. The best KPI focuses on reducing customer time.

Customer experience has become real business

When I started out on this Web journey back in the mid-Nineties, I was a bit idealistic and naïve. I actually believed that the Web could be a place where people could find and do what they needed to do as quickly and easily as possible. I actually believed in marketing concepts like ‘the customer is king.’

I was presenting these ideas to a manager in a large organization once and halfway through the presentation he stopped me. I’m paraphrasing him but this is essentially what he said to me.

“I admire your enthusiasm and passion,” he said. “But what you’re saying is idealistic. Let me tell you how real business works. Real business uses marketing and advertising to paint an emotional picture about how much it cares about its customers, how much it cares about the environment, whatever. That’s the story it has to sell. I mean, business can’t just tell customers that it’s trying to sell them something they don’t really need or can’t afford. It’s not going to say that the more loyal a customer is the more they’re overcharged. It’s not going to say that the reason it’s outsourcing its support is because it wants to minimize the cost of managing its current customer base.”

He took a sip from his coffee. “Real business has a military mindset. Marketing and advertising are military exercises. The objective is to conquer as many customers and as much of their money as possible by piling on the propaganda and pulling hard on those emotional triggers. It runs campaigns of conquest that target customers and seek to capture market share. Once the campaign has been won, the bounty is the new customers captured, and the feeling is that the business can pretty much do as it wants with this bounty.”

“Every organization has its values blah blah blah and its mission blah blah blah,” he continued. “It’s just paper. When the doors are closed and the sales targets are set, the wolves come out. I’m not proud of it. And I know most of my colleagues are not proud of it. I wish there was another way. I see huge customer turnover. But it’s just the way it is. This is the system. I wish there was another way but I just can’t see it ever changing.”

A couple of weeks ago—almost 20 years later—I had a chat with another manager. “Amazon walk the walk,” he told me almost incredulously. “They actually seem to genuinely care about their customers. They treat them fairly.” And then we got to talking about Slack and how they automatically refund you for inactive team members. He shook his head and laughed so loudly that others in the restaurant noticed. “The world’s gone crazy,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief.

The world’s gone crazy because the customer is no longer some helpless victim waiting to be carried off as bounty by yet another marketing campaign that overpromises and underdelivers. The world’s gone crazy because today you can actually do great business by doing great by your current customers. Crazy, crazy, crazy.