August 4, 2017

Outreach prep step 3 in progress!

As may recall from my last few messages, I’m on step 3 of the outreach plan for my mobile consulting biz reboot.

Here’s the TL;DR:

Step 3: Collect contact info for senior marketing leadership at credit unions in Atlanta and Chicago.

(Search your inbox for messages from me that include the term “outreach” for the backstory)

I have put together a spreadsheet to help me with this. You can play with it here:

CU Research Spreadsheet

ASIDE: Lots of people have asked if I outsource this sort of work to a VA or Upwork, et al.


Yes this work is arduous and inefficient, but I think it’s super valuable to do it myself! ​If you think of this as grunt work that is beneath me, you’re missing the point.

The activity of manually cutting and pasting each of these data points from a poorly formatted government PDF into a Google spreadsheet took me about two hours.

The painstaking, focused labor forced me to slow down and take in each and every data point individually. I wasn’t scanning for macro trends. I’ll do that later.

In the moment, I was marinating myself in the data. Connect dots. Noting questions. Forming hypotheses.

What’s the benefit of doing “grunt work” like this?

Before I went through this exercise, I didn’t have a clear picture of what challenging questions I could ask in a meeting with senior leadership at these credit unions. After going through this exercise, I do know what to ask. Things like:

If you’re thinking about doing some outreach but you’ve got writers block, a couple hours of grunt work might be the solution.


I can almost guarantee you that no other software developer asks credit unions questions like these. The typical generalist developer wouldn’t consider asking such “business-y” questions because devs are usually focused on defining scope, not outcome.

I’ll have lots more questions that are specific to my area of expertise once I get to the next couple steps in my research, but feeling confident about entering into a discussion about “member to asset ratio” or “employee to member ratio” is a huge confidence builder for me... and I expect, will be a big differentiator.

Remember: Without a big differentiator, you’re forced to compete on price.



P.S. I’m going to be off the grid (literally) for the next week or so at a bigass family reunion in the deepest darkest regions of Maine. I’ll try to queue up some popular posts from the Inner Circle archive before I leave but if I can’t, you won’t see me in your inbox again until Monday, August 14th. Either way, you should really stop billing by the hour -> 😜

P.P.S. Thanks to the flood of people who wrote in to tell me what AME stands for - I appreciate the help!