Captain’s log, stardate 20210726

Reader feedback re Superhero

Longtime friend of the list Erik Dietrich wrote in with an excellent additional observation about my Superhero message from the other day (shared with permission):

Hey Jonathan,

I’m actually on vacation at the moment, but this subject line caught my eye. We actually just hired someone (Cheri) to take over sales, full time, for Hit Subscribe, and your email here reminded me a lot of a disqualification question I walked her through:

"Is the prospect trying to outsource a miracle?"

If the answer is yes, hard pass.

In our world (engineering content), that usually means a CEO tasking an underling with "I want 20 articles per month on our company blog, all of which I review and all of which meet my exacting standards!"

When I hear that from the underling, I know that the underling is looking to outsource a miracle and also, critically, to outsource the blame to a vendor when the doomed initiative inevitably fails.

So I’ve learned to be direct, but gentle in that situation. "I’ve never seen a content program with CEO review produce more than 5 articles per month, and you’re asking me for 20. I’m going to pass because I’ve never seen this succeed before, though I reserve the right to be proven wrong."

I guess my point is that your contact in these situations isn’t always just looking to be saved -- sometimes they know they won’t be, and they’re looking for someone to blame. And, if you agree to become the superhero, you’re leaping in front of the blame.

Erik

Great point! Thanks for sharing, E 👍

Yours,

—J


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