With Eve Light Switch from Elgato you can turn your lights on and off using Siri or with a quick tap on your iPhone. You can further create scenes to control Eve Light Switch and other HomeKit-enabled accessories with a single command. Leverage the power of automation and attune your lighting to your routine.

In short: Enjoy the comfort of connected lighting.

Eve Light Switch transforms any single or multi-bulb setup into an intelligent lighting system, so can use your existing bulbs regardless of their shape, size or color. Taking advantage of Apple’s revolutionary HomeKit technology, Eve offers unparalleled ease of use, advanced security, and tight integration with Siri. Eve Light Switch connects directly to your iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth low energy technology, without requiring a hub, gateway or bridge.

About Eve

With Eve, see your home at a glance right on your iPhone and iPad. The Eve family of HomeKit accessories gathers data on air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy consumption and more. Gain insights that help you improve your comfort, and make your home a smarter place. Use the free Eve app to view all data collected by Eve and control all accessories featuring HomeKit technology.

Learn more

* * *

My thanks to elgato for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by Syndicate Ads.

​Enjoy the Comfort of Connected Lighting (Sponsor)

Little Things Add Up: The Effect of Details in Aggregate

It’s the little things, in aggregate, that can make the difference between something being exquisite and delightful, or else being full of friction.

When done well, the little things add up to make an overall positive impression. And, on the flip side, when ignored or done poorly, the little things add up to leave a negative impression.

This is why “good enough” can be the enemy, and why implementing many features poorly is actually a worse plan than implementing a few features very well. Though the princess slept on many mattresses, just one pea under the whole stack ruined her night’s sleep.

* * *

A few years ago I was replacing all the flat slab doors in our home with new 6-panel slab doors. A slab door is just the door itself — I wasn’t replacing the jambs and frames, which means for each door I hung I had to cut out the grooves for the hinges. These are called mortises, and I used a router to cut them out.

Over several weekends I worked my way through the house, doing one door at a time. And as I did, I became acutely aware of all the shortcuts the previous owner had taken when they were framing and painting the doors I was now replacing. All the doorknobs had paint around their base, the door hinges were painted over, and so were the strike plates.

After I had hung about half the doors, I began to understand why there was so much sloppy work I was replacing. When you’re in the middle of a project like this it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the little to-do items, and thus begin cutting corners in order to speed up the completion of the project.

As I was routing out each mortise and measuring the spot for each new strike plate, I felt the temptation to sidestep a detail here or there. I’d have to remind myself that I couldn’t take a shortcut — not even once. What would seem like a negligible issue in the moment would soon snowball into another sidestepped detail and then another, until there was an overall feeling of sloppy work.

When you’re in the middle of the project, you think, “well, a one-off here and a one- off there is not the end of the world.” But shortcuts add up, and those little details — for the good or for the bad — come together in aggregate and make the difference between something that is either exquisite, ordinary, or poor.

When I was done with my project, the difference was significant. Just as the sloppy work on the previous doors and knobs and hinges had added up to exude an overall “cheap” feeling, having new door knobs that weren’t tainted with paint slops, new door hinges that were clean and not painted over, and having doors that were free from scuff marks, all added up to an overall “classy” feeling that was greater than the sum of the parts.

And so, when you’ve committed to not take shortcuts, you quickly learn that sweating the details is where most of the hard work lies. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s that 80/20 rule: 80-percent of the project gets completed with the first 20-percent of effort, and then it takes the remaining 80-percent of the effort to complete the final 20-percent of the project.

But it’s worth it because in these details lies the overall feeling of the product. The underlying “truth” of our product is found not in the feature set but in the details we implemented well. The details make the design.

* * *

This article was from my book, Delight is in the Details.

I wanted to share it with you because it serves as one side of the coin.

When it comes to our goals, our projects, and/or our businesses, it is important to sweat the details.

However, there is another side to the coin: perfectionism will kill your project. We’ll get into that next.

Little Things Add Up: The Effect of Details in Aggregate

Need an easier way to keep track of client follow ups, emails, meetings, projects, and new business opportunities? Try Daylite — the business productivity app for the Mac, iPhone & iPad.

Review all emails and notes for a client before a meeting or call. Track projects and share tasks between people on your team. Get reminders to follow up on new business opportunities. Keep track of referrals and relationships between contacts.

Daylite integrates with Apple Mail to help you achieve Inbox Zero. And because Daylite is a native app, you always have access to your info whether you have an Internet connection or not.

“Without Daylite, my revenue would take a nosedive because it increases my efficiency.” — Lawrence, Mighty Prose

Start your free 30-day trial of Daylite today.

* * *

My thanks to Marketcircle for sponsoring the site this week!

Daylite — The Business Productivity App. Exclusively for Mac, iPhone & iPad. (Sponsor)

Blanc Media Core Values

When you’re living a focused life, it’s your personal vision and values that serve as the foundation for how you spend your time and energy.

Start with what’s important to you, and then use that to direct where you spend your time, energy, and attention. (Many people do it backwards, and they allow their time and energy to be spent on things that are important to other people.)

When you have core values as a business, they too can help drive the choices you make as you grow.

As you know, there are so many options for how you can grow your business or side-project…

Do you focus on awareness, traffic, conversions, subscribers, followers, opt-ins, downloads, customer lifetime value, customer satisfatcion, membership churn, new products, networking, hiring, or something else altogether?

And since there is no singular path to success, it’s not a cut and dry roadmap. Each business or side-project is unique in terms of why it exists and what stage of growth it’s in right now.

When you’re not sure what to do in a situation, your business’s core values can help.

Moreover, as your business grows, new opportunites will present themselves. Your core values can help you choose what to say yes to and what to decline so that your success doesn’t end up leading you to failure.

Our Core Values

Until recently, we didn’t have Blanc Media’s core values written down or articulated. Now that we do, I wanted to share them with you.

Practice Integrity

We follow through on our commitments. We put our audience and customers first and condisder it our responsibility to take care of them on an ongoing basis.

Be Transparent

We are honest. We teach what we know in order to help others who are on a similar path. We do not overhype or overexagerate our work, but neither do we downplay or undervalue it. By being transparent we hope to earn the trust of our audience and build customers for life.

Pursue Generosity

In business we always seek to provide value first and foremost, without expectation of return. We also seek to increase charitable donations every year so our giving grows along with our business.

Build Community

We create opportunities for people to connect in a vibrant community where they can connect with one another by sharing their challenges, opportunities, and successes; building a creative career is challenging, and a strong community can help mitigate the fears that go along with that. We are also building an internal team of employees and contributors who practice integrity and pursue generosity in order to create something greater than the sum of their individual abilities.

Blanc Media Core Values

Your Content Strategy and Your Business Goals (Part 3)

As a business, or as a “brand”, your biggest challenge is overcoming obscurity.

In his book, The 10x Rule, Grant Cardone writes that as he was trying to get his business off the ground, he was working extremely hard to gain initial traction. His problem, he writes, “wasn’t competition; it was obscurity”. No one even knew who he was.

“Since most people don’t know you or your product or service,” writes Cardone, “the only way to burst through obscurity is by taking massive action.”

Content is the price of admission for relevance.[1]

If you want to burst through obscurity, you need to show your work.

As many of you know, it was in 2011 that I quit my job to begin writing my blog for a living. At the time my content strategy was simply this: “write stuff that didn’t suck.”

And my business goals were about the same: “be profitable.”

Which means my overall plan was to simply to write as well as I could and hope that it generated enough traffic to earn a living through sponsorships and memberships.

The “simplicity” of that whole setup is actually why I think things worked.

Long-time readers will remember that most of my writing centered around Apple, tech, and design. And while these topics are what first drew people in to my website, those who stuck around to become readers and members are those who also connected with me, Shawn, as the writer.

Don’t discount the importance of putting passion and personality into your work. Let who you are show through.

Back in 2011, in the first article I published as a “full-time blogger” I quoted Anatole France: “a tale without love is like beef without mustard: insipid.”

So too is a blog writing without personality.

If you happen to be good with words then congratulations. Dispassionate beautiful prose, however, is still dispassionate.

When you think about content strategy, think less about your skill and more about emotion, honesty, truth, and passion. These are the backbones of writing. And these are the very things that can be the hardest to put into our writing.

* * *

In today’s article I’ve got three things I want to cover:

First of all, I want to briefly unpack what it means to have a content strategy that serves your business goals (and why that is so important).

Secondly, I’m going to share a few unordered bulletpoints about my own experience with content strategy, writing, and business.

And finally, I’ve listed out some questions you can ask yourself that will help you figure this stuff out for yourself.

First, let’s briefly unpack what it means to have a content strategy that serves your business goals…

That’s a mouthful, so let’s break it down.

As we discussed in Part 1 of this series, “Content Strategy” is not a dirty term.

Content: What you create.

Strategy: Your plan of action.

In other words: how will you use your creative work (your content) to move you toward your goals?

Answer that question and boom, you’ve got yourself a content strategy.

You want your content strategy to serve your business goals because otherwise the work you’re putting out there is just a hobby. There’s nothing wrong with a creative hobby, but if you’re trying to earn an income from it then you need to start thinking differently. You need to become a bit more intentional.

You want the work you do align with the big goals and values you have as a business. But also, each piece of content you put out there should help move people along in their customer journey (which is why email can be so powerful, by the way).

In order for that to happen, it kinda helps to know what your business goals are, what your business values are, and what your customer journey looks like.

At the end of this article I’ve listed a few simple questions that can help you consider your business goals.

A few unordered bulletpoints about my own experience with content strategy and writing

As you know, I’ve been writing full-time since early 2011. Here are a few few things that have proven to be immensly valuable to me as a writer who is also trying to grow his business.

  • It helps tremendously to have a customer “avatar”. If you’re a writer, this is not unlike your ideal reader. Who is it you’re trying to connect with and to help? Unless you’re Coke, you can’t make something for every single person on the planet. And even if you are Coke, there will still be folks who prefer Pepsi, or who just flat out don’t drink soda.

  • In addition to knowing who our ideal customer is, it helps to know what their journey is. What are the things they need to know, the mindsets they need to understand, and the actions they need to take?

  • Don’t give in to scarcity mindset. Don’t fear that one person having success means you now have to see failure. It’s not a zero-sum game in the market, nor is it a zero-sum game with your own work.

  • What’s awesome about growing a business with content marketing is that, over time, you can build the business you want to exist. You can attract the audience, customer base, and even employees who by conveying your values and goals through the content you create. How you share ideas, the way you promote products, your attitude toward your customers, etc.

  • Watch out for the spiderweb mess of “Content Strategy Tactical Overload”. Off the top of your head I bet you could easily list a few dozen things people say you absolutely MUST DO if you want to WIN BIG in content marketing. Ugh. I’ve been in that spot, where I try to implement multiple things all simultaneously, and it’s exhausting. There’s just no way I can focus on more than just one thing at a time. It is far more efficient and effective to do just one thing and to do it well before moving on to the next.

  • When people sign up for my email list, one of the first emails they get is me asking them about what’s challenging them right now. For example, when I was working on The Focus Course, as people signed up to get on the waiting list, I’d reply back and ask them about what their biggest challenge is related to focus. And I got tons and tons of replies. Those replies helped direct the content I created for the course itself. My point being: if you can pay attention to what resonates with your readership and also pay attention to what they are saying, then you can be all the more helpful and relevant to them.

For even more, see this list of 50 things I’ve learned about publishing a weblog.

Lastly, here are some questions you can ask yourself that will help you figure this stuff out for yourself

  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in your business right now?

  • What is your current business model? (Who do you sell to, how do you make money?)

  • What is your ideal business model? (Who do you want to sell to? How do you want to make money?)

  • In an ideal scenario, what does your business look like in 12 months from now? In 5 years?

  • If all other things were to remain the same, what one thing, if changed, would have the most significant impact on your business?

  • What are your business goals?

  • What values is your business based on?

  • Do you want to develop long-term or short-term customer relationships?

  • Do you have a customer journey? (Where should someone start? What are the best next steps for them to take to get from where they are now to where they want to be?)

* * *

There is quite a lot to digest here. The reason I moved through it all so quickly is because I wanted to give you the high-level view and something to think about for the next few days.

However, I want your key takeaway to be this:

Focus on consistency and honesty.

The internet thrives on patterns and regularity; showing up every day lets people know they can rely on you to be there.

Secondly, consistently showing up to do the work will help you grow in your skills. As your talent improves, so too will your ability to turn your work from a hobby into something more.

And honesty, as I shared about at the very beginning, is the most important element for building an audience that trusts you. Being honest and sticking to your guns is how you earn the respect and long-term attention of your readership.

Your Content Strategy and Your Business Goals (Part 3)