Find the sticky substance

Wed, Nov 7, 2007

Simplicity Rules

What is the most important thing you can tell me about your project, web site, company, or self? The ability to find the core is as important when describing a project as it is in planning one.

Made to Stick
Made to Stick is essentially a book about communicating ideas. You need to find the central point that matters–the substance. Then make it sticky–memorable.

A message that is “made to stick” has two properties:

  1. core
  2. compact

The core is the central essence, the most important aspect. Compact is how you need to describe it. Made to Stick suggests using a proverb, a short phrase that is easy to remember and share.

A few examples from the book:

  • Southwest Airlines: “THE low-fare airline.” This helps employees remember that extra costs cut into maintaining their place, the greatest example of which helped an employee decide not to offer customers chicken salad. An approach I don’t necessarily agree with, but the message is certainly simple
  • Local newspapers: “Names, names, names.” If you are reporting for a small-town paper, printing names of residents is the most important thing.
  • Clinton’s 1992 campaign: “It’s the economy stupid.” James Carville reduced the campaign to one point and told the future president, “if you say three things, you say nothing.”

Much of this post comes from the first chapter of Made to Stick, “Simple.” With a name like that, I had to love this book. Lots of great examples, actionable no matter what you do, because who couldn’t benefit from communicating their ideas better?

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  1. Simplicity Rules » Show me the number Says:

    […] Made to Stick lists some topics, then invites you to open the book to a page where you’ll find an example of the topic. Where I might read the jacket of most books and then put them down, this one dares you to investigate. It gives you a path of least resistance. […]

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