S04E01 – Context Is King: How Not To Break In An Over-Stimulated World

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

Exploring rest's role, context in advice, email risks, and viral video virtues, this episode delves into balancing well-being, communication, and digital influence.

Welcome to the launch of Series 4 of "Talking About Marketing," where we dissect the essence of marketing through our unique four P's approach: Person, Principles, Problems, and Perspicacity. This episode is a journey through the intricacies of personal development, timeless principles, navigating challenges, and helpful insights in the marketing realm, both theoretical and practical.

In our opening segment, we delve into the profound concept that the aim of life is self-development, as inspired by the insightful book "Change Your Questions, Change Your Life." This discussion illuminates the stark contrast between approaching life's challenges from a 'judger' versus a 'learner' perspective. However, we then drink deeply from Vincent Deary's well through his book, How We Break. His challenge to us is to take Rest seriously.

In the second segment, we explore the timeless wisdom of "The Book of the Courtier" by Baldassare Castiglione. This segment offers a discussion on the art of navigating power dynamics with grace, intelligence, and integrity. Castiglione's masterpiece, set against the backdrop of Renaissance Italy, serves as a sophisticated guide to developing the finesse required for effective influence and leadership in any era; David loves it, Steve is not so sure.

In our Problems segment, we address the significant shift in email deliverability standards and the risks they pose to your business. Not receiving those orders? Our tech guru, David Murrin, joins us to explain what has happened and what can be done about it. This segment, alone, is worth the price of admission!

Finally, we navigate through the landscape of social media's influence on society, contrasting fleeting negative trends with the enduring impact of positive actions. Through discussions on the power of positive viral content and the transformation of perceptions, we underscore the importance of creating content that not only captures attention but also inspires and resonates on a deeper level.

Get ready to take notes!

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

01:43  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

How We Break

In this segment, we delve into the profound impact of self-questioning and kindness towards oneself and others, drawing from the insightful works Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams and How We Break by Vincent Deary. These books offer not just a roadmap to personal development but also a mirror reflecting the subtle intricacies of our internal dialogues and the transformative power of love over condemnation.

"Change Your Questions, Change Your Life" challenges us to shift from a judger to a learner perspective. Instead of asking accusatory questions like "Who is the idiot who did this?" it encourages inquiries that foster growth and understanding, such as "What led to this decision?" This shift, though seemingly simple, is a rigorous exercise in self-awareness and empathy, demanding constant vigilance over our own thought processes, especially when directing them towards ourselves.

Vincent Deary's "How We Break" serves as a poignant reminder of the necessity of kindness — to be as compassionate with ourselves as we are with others. Deery's personal journey underscores the realization that transformation is fueled by love, not criticism. This message resonates deeply, reminding us that the path to personal and professional fulfillment is paved with self-compassion and understanding.

The episode also touches on the essential role of rest and restoration in our lives. In a world where activity and productivity are often valorised at the expense of tranquility, Deary's emphasis on rest as not just a cessation of activity but as a vital, rejuvenating state, is a wake-up call. He challenges the notion of rest as a luxury, framing it instead as an indispensable component of a balanced, healthy life.

This conversation is for anyone navigating the complex demands of personal and professional growth. It underscores the importance of gentle self-inquiry, the transformative power of kindness, and the undeniable value of rest in our relentless pursuit of success.

13:30  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

The Courtier

In this segment, we delved into the depths of Renaissance literature with a discussion on The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione, a classic that has piqued the interest of readers for centuries. Steve embarked on this literary journey over the summer, while David revisited the text, having been familiar with its nuances from previous reads.

David introduced the book as a sophisticated leap from Machiavelli's The Prince, suggesting it as a more intricate exploration of navigating the corridors of power. However, as Steve navigated through the dialogues of aristocrats debating over several evenings, his initial intrigue gave way to frustration. The debates, lacking in evidence or strong argumentation, reminded Steve of baseless talkback radio calls, where confidence often overshadows substance.

The crux of their discussion focused on a passage where Lord Gaspare Pallavicino challenges the notion of nobility of birth being essential for a courtier. This debate within the book highlights the arbitrary nature of social status and the role of fortune in elevating or diminishing individuals, irrespective of their virtues or origins.

Steve expressed his frustration, feeling disconnected from the aristocratic banter, which seemed detached from practical wisdom or empirical evidence. David, on the other hand, appreciated the book's underlying message about the importance of understanding and advising within the context of one's audience, especially when that audience operates within a significantly different social or economic sphere.

David's perspective sheds light on the essence of Castiglione's work: the art of effective counsel lies not in imposing one's ideas but in tailoring advice to the client's world. This approach resonates with both their professional experiences, underscoring the importance of empathy, contextual understanding, and the ability to facilitate decisions without imposing embarrassment or disrespect.

21:30  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

Email Deliverability

In a world where digital communication is paramount, a new challenge has emerged that could significantly impact the flow of emails from and to your website. Imagine waking up one morning to find that none of your emails are being sent or received. This isn't just a hypothetical scenario; it's a real problem that businesses around the globe started facing in February 2024 due to heightened email deliverability standards introduced by giants like Google and Yahoo.

You might think your business doesn't rely heavily on Gmail, but consider this: out of approximately five billion email accounts worldwide, over one and a half billion are with Gmail, not to mention the quarter of a billion using Yahoo. Rumours are swirling that Apple and Outlook are planning to adopt similar standards, though no firm deadline has been set. This shift requires immediate attention and action to ensure your business communications remain uninterrupted.

Our tech guru, David Murrin, joined us to explain how, for years, the rules governing email delivery have been surprisingly lax, allowing for a wide range of spam and phishing attempts to flood our inboxes. The recent changes are an attempt to curb these practices by tightening the authentication and verification processes for sending emails. Essentially, it's about making sure that emails purportedly from your business are genuinely from you and not an impersonator.

Addressing this issue involves setting up specific records and systems around your business's domain names. This ensures that emails sent from any platform on your behalf – whether it be your personal computer, your CRM, or even a form on your website – are recognised as legitimate. It's akin to ensuring the sender's address on the back of an envelope is accurate and verifiable before it reaches the recipient.

Taking Action

To navigate these changes effectively, two key services can safeguard your email deliverability:

One-time Setup: A comprehensive review and setup of the necessary records for your domain to meet the new standards. This service, priced at $250 plus GST, is a critical first step in ensuring your emails continue to reach their intended recipients.

Email Guardian Service: For ongoing protection, this service, available for around seven dollars a month, utilizes a third-party system designed to enhance email deliverability. It's a proactive measure to prevent your business's emails from being caught in spam filters or rejected due to shared server issues common in shared hosting environments.

Why This Matters

In shared hosting, your website resides on a server with potentially thousands of other sites. If one of those sites behaves maliciously, it can affect the deliverability of emails from the entire server. Utilising a third-party email service isolates your communications, ensuring that your business's emails are judged on their own merits rather than being tarnished by the actions of others.

While our focus is not on selling, the urgency and importance of adapting to these email deliverability standards cannot be overstated. Ensuring your business's emails reach their destination is crucial for maintaining your operations, reputation, and customer relationships. Taking action now can prevent significant disruptions and potential losses.

28:06  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case study from the past.

Chris Anderson And Kindness Beating Nastiness Online

This segment starts with Steve's discovery of a particularly enlightening conversation on Sam Harris's podcast, Making Sense.

Chris Anderson, the curator of TED and former editor of Wired Magazine, shared his thoughts with Harris in a compelling dialogue that veered into the impact of social media on our collective psyche. Anderson's perspective, shaped by his encounters with both the ephemeral and the enduring on platforms like TikTok, sheds light on a fascinating dichotomy: the transient nature of negative trends versus the lasting legacy of positive viral content.

Consider the trend where privileged youths frivolously waste food for social media clout—a stark contrast to actions that genuinely enrich the human experience. The story of Milad Merg is particularly poignant. Inspired by the altruism of influencers like Mr. Beast, Milad, a humble sandwich shop worker, turned the wasteful trend on its head. By crafting sandwiches to distribute among the needy, his act of kindness reached over 400 million viewers, outshining the frivolous acts it aimed to counteract. This example underscores a fundamental truth: positive actions, though challenging to propagate, leave a deeper, more lasting imprint on our collective consciousness.

This brings us to a critical reflection on our responsibility as content creators and consumers. Negative stimuli may grab our attention momentarily, but it's the positive, constructive narratives that truly resonate and endure. The challenge, however, lies in our willingness to invest the effort required to elevate these narratives above the cacophony of negativity that often dominates our digital landscapes.

The transformation of negative to positive is not just about content; it's about altering perceptions and inspiring action. A striking example of this is the story of a blind man whose plight was rendered invisible to passersby until a simple change in his sign's message sparked a wave of generosity. This transformation from indifference to empathy illustrates the power of perspective and the potential for profound impact through thoughtful communication.

Yet, we must confront the reality that our increasingly digital lives may be diminishing our situational awareness and capacity for empathy. The irony is stark: engrossed in our devices, we become blind to the world around us, mirroring the very condition of those we scroll past without a second glance. This detachment challenges us to reconsider not just how we consume content but how we engage with the world itself.

In a hopeful twist, initiatives like the BBC's HappyPod offer a beacon of positivity amidst the often grim landscape of global news. By dedicating space to uplifting stories, these efforts remind us that good news is not only worthy of our attention but essential for nurturing a more compassionate and understanding world.

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