Book Review: Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel

This post has been a long time coming.

Since Heelatch transitioned to operations under our new brand name Neteyecon, and for quite a bit of time before that (several years in fact) we have been VERY quiet on the blogging front.

Our plans are that this will change, and that our output will increase, but like everything else – the proof will be in the pudding. That, and we want to have something to say when we do choose to write.

I’d done a good number of book reviews which we’ve now since ported over from the old blog which a fair number of people told me they’d read and enjoyed. At the height of our book review success, Max Lenderman went so far as to tweet out our review was by the far the best of his then new book Brand New World.

Here, in preparation for SMBMTL 18¬†where Mitch has kindly agreed to be our guest (the 18th instalment of the Social Media Breakfast Montreal), I’m offering up some takeaways on what I believe to be some key bits from the book.

Right off the bat, before reading a page into the book, it’s clear that Joel’s message in the cover text, Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It.,¬†is a precursor for the readers looking to heed his advice as it relates to the need for businesses and individuals navigating our rapidly changing and technologically dependent/savvy consumers/lives.

Jobs and job titles are ever changing and early in the book we’re encouraged to question exactly what role we’ll play in our business as technology evolves. That, and considering our generation are said to have to content with up to 5 or 6 career changes in our working life, exactly what kind of impression we want to make on the world. Some heavy stuff.

Joel outlines his key beliefs in terms of what businesses and marketers should be addressing in the here and now, and here I outline in point form with brief definitions (my own and in no particular order) some of the major nuggets interspersed throughout.

Key Nuggets from Ctrl Alt Delete

A Unified Dashboard – Mitch describes this as the ultimate pele mele of all those indicators you and your team can measure which you believe has an impact on your desired outcomes. And, that if you aren’t measuring with all the tools (lots free!) available to you now or don’t establish key metrics against which to measure your efforts, then you’re lost.

Active Media and Passive Media – Consumers and clients are constantly inundated with information and advertising. Defining in which settings and how which types of media will be consumed (whether a tv watcher will just soak in your commercial VS. a blog within which a commenter is keeping up an ongoing conversation) will be key in determining new marketing efforts and informed analytical metrics.

One Screen – Referred to on several occasions by the author following the concept’s introduction, the idea that marketers need concern themselves with one screen, rather than obsessing about all of the different toys available to consumers is a good one. He’s not insisting we forget about properly optimizing all of these channels, but to ensure we put our best face forward on the one screen our clients may be favouring at any given point. That there is no room for complacency and excuses.

Speed – This is not really a secret, nor is it a new sentiment. Users want and love things more when they get them quickly. However, no longer is only speed important, but more so now than ever clever UI’s and appealing designs. With all the clutter and competition out there – you have to be better at everything.

Utilitarianism – Like so many, Joel confesses to nearly always having his phone within reach. And, that the brands who do the best job of serving a useful purpose (app or other) will be the ones garnering the real estate on the home screen of his mobile. Being a brand offering quality and value isn’t enough anymore.

Legacy – Mitch keeps much of his personal life personal, but insists he lives and breathes his business every day. He accepts that everything he says and does or shares on any online platform will be able to get found forever. He pauses before hitting “publish” and thinks about his children and their children and them eventually consuming his content. I don’t think most people have come to this realization, and like Mitch, I’ve come to a point where the lines have become so blurred it makes no sense at all trying to keep my digital and physical lives separate. What is “IRL” (in-real-life) anyway? Mitch contends that his writing or that his podcast, consumed via the web, are no less real than if you were to take in a conference at which he was speaking. I tend to agree.

Some closing points that are of particular importance I think talk about the need to somehow tell real stories. That using these platforms to blast and disseminate is missing the mark. And, that those companies and brands that will ultimately succeed, will not only find a way to be ever present and useful in their clients lives, but those who will weave a compelling and real story over time.

Perhaps the most important thing I read, and I’m so happy Mitch touches on it is the fact that no matter your business, or purpose, or wishes when it comes to your business’ existence online – that the ultimate goal is serving the customer. And, that inevitably as technologies progress, it is our job as entrepreneurs and business owners to use these things as responsibly and effectively as possible.

You can check out the site setup to market the book as well as join us on January 22nd at the next SMBMTL to meet Mitch and ask him anything you want…it’s going to be awesome.




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