The lock and the key

First, you need to figure out what story you have to tell.

Second, you need to figure out who might be interested in the story you have to tell.

Third, you have to tell the story.

One and two might be interchangeable, and actually it is generally a good idea to search for a lock and then fashion a key.

But the problem is that most just go with three.


When you write copy for a website, a landing page, a brochure, a banner, an email, or any other marketing or sales material, this is a great piece of advice.

Except, you should actually ask that question at word level: what is this word supposed to do?

Words take up precious space on screens, and the ones you are going to pick need to have the potential to change the right people. This is probably the reason why your marketing material is not effective.

Empty shells

Have you ever written down a list of the things you do?

Particularly when you feel overwhelmed, it is useful to write down on paper the things you do regularly. Emails to write, reports to compile, meetings to attend, errands to run, people to talk to, tasks to complete, projects to finalize, and so on.

Then look at the list and ask yourself: what can I delegate?

Sure, the first instinct would probably be to say nothing! But if you think long enough, if you weight the items against your purpose and who you want to be, if you ask others what they expect of you and what they will measure you by, I am confident you will end up with quite a lot you can give away.

Most of the things you do are clutter. They give you the impression of being important, and by extension they make you feel important, but they are merely empty shells very difficult to crack. And the wonderful thing is that if you trust others and ask around, if you become generous, you will find somebody for whom those things are relevant, important, purposeful.

Make the match.

Most of us are so stuck on the short-cycles of urgency that it’s difficult to even imagine changing our longer-term systems.

Amazingly, this simple non-hack (in which you spend the time to actually avoid the shortcuts that have been holding you back) might be the single most effective work you do all year.

Seth Godin, A different urgency


As I have cleaned up the mess that was (still is) my personal inbox, I have grouped together few resources that are worth checking out if you are interested in any of the topics below.


Seth Godin’s blog – Delivers daily, and rarely fails. It might be considered “marketing” by most, but I personally consume Seth’s content mainly to keep my practice and work on track.

David Cancel’s The One Thing – Delivers weekly, fairly short messages, loads of wisdom from a guy who has built three multi-million dollars companies and witnessed a good deal of B2B and Saas development in the past decade. Without losing sight on what is important.

Dave Stachowiak’s Coaching for Leaders – This is a weekly podcast, but by subscribing (for free) you are getting weekly episode notes full of great content. Always one of my first recommendations when it comes to a more modern approach to leadership.

Marketing Strategy

Forget the Funnel – Gia and Claire’s customer-led program is all you need to come up with a complete and growth-oriented marketing plan. For free, you still get weekly workshops and a resource library that is basically endless.

Sharebird – For different reasons, I consider Product Marketing has being the strategic foundation of modern marketing, and Sharebird puts together AMAs from Product Marketers of companies such as Salesforce, Adobe, Zuora, Hubspot, and more.

Content Marketing

Animalz – Their weekly newsletters are pretty much a lesson in how to do content marketing themselves. I crave for their “What we’re reading” section, and I recommend joining the Slack community to get feedback and insights on best practices, or just have a chat.

Velocity Partners – I wrote about how much I love Velocity’s messaging, and that is in itself a great reason to get their semi-regular newsletter. And if you want a second one, here is what they did when everyone in marketing was panicking about the covid situation back in April. Brilliant.

This is definitely more content than I can consume in a lifetime, and it is pretty much my final newsletter reading list.

What do you read?

Keys and locks

Most people, when starting a relationship, tend to be all about themselves.

Here is what I do, here is what I think, here is where I go, here is what I like.

The hope, in this case, is to have someone on the other side of the table that finds what we have to offer interesting and that is ready to commit to it. It can happen.

The effectiveness of this approach tends to decrease as the relationship develops. And as we are not really talking about amourous relationships (though some basics are similar), even if we attempt to find more people interested and ready to commit, the self-centered tactic is clunky. Seth Godin explains it well when he compares this situation to owning a key and having to go around looking for the lock (or locks) to open.

Alternatively, we could just sit at the table and listen to what the other has to say. Understand their background, what they do, what they think, where they have been, what they like, and where they are headed. See if there’s a match, and if anything of what we’ve heard made us click, go back and continue working to make it work, until next time. In other words, finding the lock and fashion the key (always Godin).

Traditionally, the first is the way of sales and the second is the way of marketing.

I am not sure nowadays the distinction about the two departments should still be relevant (it is in many organisations, unfortunately), but certainly the difference between having the key or the lock first is fundamental when you think about going to market.

It’s the difference between being one of the many and being the only one.

Your choice.