December 14, 2018

World’s Best Cup Of Coffee

There’s a scene in the movie Elf where the main character Buddy (who grew up at the North Pole and is visiting New York City for the first time) sees a sign in the window of a greasy spoon diner that says:

“World’s Best Cup Of Coffee”

Upon seeing this, Buddy bursts into the diner and exclaims:

“You did it!!! Congratulations! Wow, the world’s best cup of coffee! Good job everyone!”

The reason this is funny, of course, is that everybody except Buddy knows that the sign is not true.

It’s just a baseless claim that is probably meant more as decoration than anything else.

Here’s the thing...

I see software developers and other independent professionals make the same sort of baseless claims all the time on their websites, social media profiles, and other marketing materials.

Claims like:

“Rails Experts”

“JavaScript Ninja”

“Marketing Guru”

“Sought-After Speaker”

“Best-Selling Author”

Epithets like these, when expressed about oneself and lacking reference to a third-party, are not credible, not persuasive, and do not build trust.

They don’t project “street cred” because they are unverifiable.

Compare the previous list to the following:

“Rails core contributor and three-time winner of Rails Rumble”

“Creator of the jQuery JavaScript library”

“Agency behind Apple’s ’Think Different’ marketing campaign”

“Most-watched TED speaker of all time”

“50 weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list”

See the difference? Boasts vs facts. As the old saying goes:

“It ain’t bragging if it’s true."