I love Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work. Many other people probably do as well. It’s the kind of book that gives you a firm kick in the ass if you choose to pick it up during a moment where you feel like nothing is working as it should during a given workday.
It’s the second book in Seth Godin’s Domino Project, the first being Godin’s own Poke the Box. I read Poke the Box. It had a similar feel to Do the Work. If Do the Work is a kick to the ass to get motivated, Poke the Box are two burly dudes who are holding you up by the arms to receive the motivational beating. I recommend reading both books, as well as the third and fourth books (I’ll read them eventually– we could start a book club on Google+ or something).
[EDITOR’S NOTE, April 2018: Google+ book club not likely.]
Pressfield references research through his ode to doing stuff. Research is catalytic to his collective process of doing. It’s used to keep things going.
I can remember times when I was told to not research and to just work… not so fun.
Pressfield: Do research early or late. Don't stop working.
Pressfield suggests to stick to a research diet of about three sources or so. He doesn’t imply barely brushing up on a topic or becoming an all-out expert. He believes research should fill in the necessary gaps to keep people going.
I believe it. Heck, I’ve been a part of some painful projects run completely off of assumption and fear. Those were days where I truly wished that we had even researched an inkling of some kind of truth about our audience. It’s not fun to dump hours of work into projects where you’re unsure of whether or not you’ll connect with your audience.
Matthias Poehm did his homework.
Now, Poehm’s the president of the Anti-Powerpoint-Party of Switzerland. They’re gunning to become the fourth political party there. With his research, and the way he speaks to the pains of powerpoint that professionals the world over understand, he just might create an international craze.
Poehm exhumes his beliefs to the world:
There’s a difference between testing something to see if it works, and not knowing your audience. Research helps calibrate your crazy idea into an execution that may hit or miss the target.
The results of any well-prepared launch are palpable and measurable. It feels good to have this kind of failure because you know you can replug in some newer calculations and perhaps get closer to the results you were looking for, i.e. more page views, more clicks, more callers, whatever you dig.
Don't fall through the gaps.
On the flip side, creating content out of ego and pride happens all the time. Those are the sites that we often close immediately because we don’t understand what’s going on, or that there may be too many animated GIFs for Flash to really enjoy and comprehend anything on said site.
These site are often conceived out of making the brand look like an authority, rather than gaining authority by inspiring and informing the market. This kind of content happens because creators, doers like you and I didn’t communicate why ego content is a bad, bad idea. Instead we let it go out of fear and then you know how those stories end.
This kind of content screams its lack of preparation and research. There’s too much focus on the pew pew. Where the fault lays could be anywhere, but I personally believe it falls on not knowing your audience at all– not doing enough research.
I’ve fallen between gaps that I should have filled. I wish I had the balls to speak up about it more. Now that I have an opportunity to do things the right way, I’m making sure the gaps are filled.
I hope you do the same. Best of luck with whatever you’re working on.