Why do you enjoy certain non-fiction books? Is it…
“I like that because I’m like that.”
The author grappling hooks us with experiences, a cause, and or belief that we hold near and dear.
Maybe we’ve been led to the book by a breadcrumb trail of interest and it didn’t disappoint.
Or perhaps, like a young maiden infatuated with Cinderella, the book represents something we yearn for.
Call me a fan of Cinderella. In the late 1990’s I was smitten with books on customer service. It seemed like Patty Seybold and her seminal book Customers.com, held a place in reality that I couldn’t seem to experience in the HVAC industry.
I used to think, “why can’t leaders in our industries see the importance of Patty’s view!?” (Not to mention a bazillion other authors who wrote on the same subject as it related to the dawning 21st century).
Then in 1999, like a match to a pile of yearning, dry timber, a book hit the stands that absolutely torched me. The four authors put words to my burning desires.
“Okay Dave, put the pen down and slowly back away from the metaphors. Jeepers!”
In early 1999, Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger published the revolutionary Cluetrain Manifesto to the web as 95 Thesis. Readers could sign their names along with whatever they wished to write. I signed and contributed to it.
These are the first 3 points of the 95 Thesis:
Markets are conversations.
Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted with a human voice.
The book, The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual, was published in December 1999. (The link here is to the 10th Anniversary Edition).
The following are points 14, 15, and 25. This is why I was so in love with Cinderella.
Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.
In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business — the sound of mission statements and brochures —will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th-century French court.
Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships.
20 plus years later and many corporations remain clueless. The thread of, “you don’t know your market, you don’t know how to relate to them and you don’t know how to talk with them,” course through the 95.
Point 14, “Conversations do not speak in the same voice…” sparked today’s article. Along with Trapper Barnes of Infinity Texas Air, we did a webinar with Jackie Rae Aubel of ServiceTitan on the subject of Transformational Leadership.
When you think company, do you think human? When it comes to ServiceTitan, the world’s leading software technology platform for the skilled trades, I do. Why? Because of folks like Jackie.
ServiceTitan is the Google of their industry. Their software is leading-edge, technical and efficient. Yet, as sophisticated as this sounds, there is Jackie Rae Aubel orchestrating our webinar from her kitchen. This is in part what it means to be human. Another part is how Jackie relates with viewers.
A great deal of my writing over the years has been dedicated to companies who employ folks like Jackie. Whether they’re authors, business owners or coworkers, I love to write about people who are good at what they do, who love what they do and the companies they’re associated with.
When deciding to write about a company, I ask myself:
Do they deliver top shelf products and or services?
Do they employ folks like Jackie?
Do they let folks like Jackie come out and play?
Are they making a difference?
Are they human?
Still not sure how being human can relate to a company? Be sure to read through the 95 Thesis!
Because I love to explore companies and people, I’m often asked to recommend a company. There are some companies I recommend where I’ve never experienced their actual product. ServiceTitan is one.
Yikes! I just felt you recoil.
“Oh man Dave, don’t tell me you’re paid to recommend!”
Although when it comes to books, I am an Amazon Affiliate, I’ve never accepted a dime to recommend a company. My recommendations come from my heart.
The last time I interacted with a residential service software system was nearly 20 years ago. It was DOS-based. Here’s the thing. As a Mentor within the Service Nation Alliance, I am surrounded by some of the most elite contractors in the country. I don’t need to look at one ServiceTitan screenshot to know how effective their software is. The fact that over 95% of the contractors I interact with use it, tells me most of what I need to know. The other reasons are the same reasons I write about companies.
Of course, when it comes to ServiceTitan, there’s one more reason. I spent two years interviewing, interpreting, and working with Ben Stark and Chris Hunter to help write their evolutionary and transformational tale, where they went from service techs to entrepreneurs to creators-of-wealth*.
As contractors, they used ServiceTitan. I heard and felt it first hand.
Does this all sound like an endorsement of ServiceTitan?
It is. And I hope by now, you realize my motivation. Their customers don’t deal with ServiceTitan. They deal with Jackie Rae Aubel, Valerie Pope, Leslie Gildea, Tom Howard, Angie Snow, Chris Hunter and SO many other human beings.
I like that because I’m like that.
*The book, It’s Go-Time: Ben Stark and Chris Hunter Share Insights & Strategies to Help Your Home-Service Succeed! is at the printer now. We are currently offering a deep pre-order discount. This offer evaporates the day It’s Go-Time hits the street. Most companies are also ordering copies for their managers. Order a box today!