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World's best marketing (plus workshops next week in Vancouver and Seattle!)

October 7 · Issue #38 · View online
Design Sprint Newsletter
Hey there!

No unifying theme today, just three links I hope you’ll enjoy.

But first, ads. I’m teaching two design sprint workshops next week:
  • Vancouver on Tuesday, Oct 15. My first workshop in Canada!*
  • Seattle on Thursday, Oct 17. This will be at the beautiful Artefact office with a view of Elliott Bay. Should be a fun day!
  • Barcelona on Nov 3 is sold out.
  • Also John Zeratsky, my co-author on Sprint, is running workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, Minneapolis, and Toronto.

Now, the links:

I’ve come to believe that marketing is the most important part of any product or service. That would’ve sounded like heresy to me 10, 15, or 20 years ago, but now I’m convinced that the biggest problem most products have is lack of a clear and exciting story. Doesn’t matter how smart or powerful the product is—if you can’t explain the value to your customers (and your own team!) it’s going to be a silent tree falling in a sad forest.

That’s why I want you to look at the Descript marketing page. And it’s why I want you to watch their intro video. This is marketing done right. It’s exciting, it’s clear, it’s fun. I’m going to try this product—even though I don’t need it, even though we have an excellent human editor for our podcast, I’m going to try it. I know what it’s for and I know what it does.

I don’t know if Descript will be a success—in the end, it takes not just a clear message but also a great product, great timing, and a lot of luck—but I am sure they’ve done this part right. If you facilitate design sprints, I highly recommend for your next lightning demos.
My friend John Zeratsky (yes, the same one) and I used to have a blog called Time Dorks where we would write (occasionally) about time and attention. Recently, John rebooted and rebranded that project as the Make Time blog and he’s been updating it regularly with excellent posts. (I really like this one about a weird, simple, and very effective technique he calls “calendar templates”.) For updates, sign up for John’s newsletter here.

As regular newsletter readers might recall, I moved back to Seattle this summer. Last night, our neighbors invited us over to something called “Soup Night. One home played host, everybody came over, bringing their own bowls and spoons, and a couple of people brought big pots of soup to share. By the end of the night, we’d met twice as many neighbors as we’d managed to over the last couple months, and we really got to chat with them, not just exchange pleasantries on the sidewalk. It was fantastic.

Turns out this whole idea comes from a book called… well… Soup Night, which some folks on our block read a few years ago. I’m sharing because I like processes for things that don’t happen automatically on their own. Soup Night is like a design sprint for good vibes in the neighborhood. Maybe you can try it on your street!


Okay, that’s all for this issue. Last time I asked why people subscribe to this newsletter, and lots of folks wrote back, which I appreciate! Many people said they like the random nature of this newsletter, which is good, because it will continue.

Please do reply any time the spirit moves you. I always intend to read and write back to every reply. If you’ve written back and I didn’t reply, ping me… sometimes messages get lost in the deluge of out-of-office notifications. Anyway, thanks for reading!!

*Some Jake trivia for Canadians: I grew up in northern Washington State where we only received Vancouver television signals for most of my childhood. Thanks to Canadian Sesame Street, I can count to ten in French, but despite long term exposure, I still don’t understand the appeal of curling.
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