Social Media Predictions for 2020

I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now

Shallow” from A Star Is Born

One of the most interesting tales I’ve heard told about social media in 2020 is this: Once upon a time, ten years ago, social media was a story about the wonders of technology; five years ago, it became a story about unrivaled business growth; today, it is a story about politics.

What will it be tomorrow?

(Credit to Longform for the social media “story” narrative.)

Here are some predictions I have, based on reading and studying news, trends, and reports from all of the major social media networks the past several years.

(If you want to see what the Big Six social networks are up to currently, check out the Q3 earnings reports for Facebook/Instagram, Google/YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.)

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Why Your Marketing Strategy Needs a Mental Model


See this blog post as a fancy slideshow


Mental models seem like a strange place to begin a chat about marketing strategy, right?

My tendency is to just “come up with the strategy already” and not spend time splitting hairs about what nests into where and which thing rolls up to what thing.

But … I understand the value of having a model in which to place yourself and your vision, goals, and strategy. Or, put another way, I recognize the risk in coming up with vision, goals, and strategy without knowing how it all fits in to the bigger picture.

I’ve done it before! It’s a mess.

Lesson(s) learned. 

Let’s start with models and then dive into the specifics of strategy.

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You are enough

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Whenever I struggle with feelings of impostor syndrome or self-doubt, I return to this poem.

Whenever I feel like I’m not enough — not good enough or strong enough or famous enough — I read this poem and feel better.

I hope it can be a reassurance to you, too.

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Startup ≠ life

This week I had a friend in trouble.

Everything’s going to work out okay (thanks for asking). They’re going through some things, and I had the privilege of walking through some of the messiness with them, together.

And in doing so, I realized — or, I remembered — that a full and real life is so much more than the pixels we push and the trials we start.

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Building a growth engine

Every three months, I do a recap of where my marketing team — the Buffer marketing team — is at and where we’re headed for the next three months. This time, for the first time, I put my quarterly recap into podcast form. You can listen below and subscribe to the podcast to get future episodes and musings.

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What’s the big idea?

I am here to tell you that the secret to success in your career comes down to three things: take risks, work hard, and get lucky.

Fred Wilson

Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything

Neurologist Daniel Levitin (as mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers)

If you improve by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put it all together.

Dave Brailsford, Great Britain cycling coach (as retold in James Clear’s Atomic Habits)

There’s a theme that runs through all of the above advice: Effort.

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The future of Brand Experience (BX)

1. How do direct-to-consumer businesses grow today? They build remarkable brands.

2. If you ask leaders at some of the biggest DTC businesses in the world for their keys to success, they will invariably start with brand. Brand is the native language of the new DNVB industry. It is the single biggest differentiator in the fight against entrenched, behemoth companies. Brand is everything for these companies.

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Hobbies without expectation

It’s okay to love a hobby the same way you’d love a pet; for its ability to enrich your life without any expectation that it will help you pay the rent. What if we allowed ourselves to devote our time and attention to something just because it makes us happy? Or, better yet, because it enables us to truly recharge instead of carving our time into smaller and smaller pieces for someone else’s benefit?

Mollie Conway