Captain’s log, stardate 20170804
Sent by Jonathan Stark on August 4th, 2017
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.
!!! NO, I DON’T OUTSOURCE THIS WORK !!!
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 -> http://hourlybillingisnuts.com 😜
P.P.S. Thanks to the flood of people who wrote in to tell me what AME stands for - I appreciate the help!