Think about the downstream ramifications of your actions

Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

The goal is to accurately weigh the true cost and benefits of a proposed solution.

By thinking about potential side effects upfront, you save time by preventing unintentional ripple effects — before they happen.

What are second and third order consequences?

Second and third order consequences are the downstream ramifications of your actions. When you change part of a system, that change can impact other parts of the business, people, or processes.

Get rid of them and you’ll appear more confident

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The litmus test for whether your story struck a chord


On the surface, this is a story about a 3 year old. But like all good stories, it’s also about the reader.

Source: Screenshot from Nathan Ng’s Facebook; Image annotations by Wes Kao

To create value, you have two choices

  1. You can raise the ceiling
  2. You can lower the floor

Raising the ceiling means you elevate your category

You’ll know you are raising the ceiling if you feel good about people trying to copy you. You think, “At least they’re doing something positive.”

Mainly, raising the ceiling means you make the world a place you personally would like…

Get past writer’s block

  1. Talking out loud: We talk fast. So we say a lot. It’s unfiltered and seems to make sense at the time. But your tone of voice, speed, and pauses are verbal — they don’t translate into a written medium. A full page of transcribed audio can be completely unusable.
  2. Staring at a blank page: You think you have a lot to say… until you sit in front of your computer. The blank page. The blinking cursor. …

Learn the skill of pattern matching

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It’s been 12 years…

A spiky point of view is a perspective others can disagree with

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What is a spiky point of view?

A spiky point of view is a perspective others can disagree with. It’s a belief you feel strongly about and are willing to advocate for. It’s your thesis about topics in your realm of expertise.

Why this decision impacts everything about your marketing

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash
  • Ask your clients
  • Ask your boss
  • Ask your co-founders
  • Ask anyone who can veto your work

Word choice matters more than you think

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
  • Intent
  • Meaning
  • Severity
  • Level of certainty
  • Power dynamics
  • Stakes (high or low stakes if you’re wrong)
  • People managers in positions of authority
  • Customer-facing operators (customer service reps, account managers) who want to offer suggestions without overstepping…

Wes Kao

Marketing | Product | Strategy | Prev: altMBA, Seth Godin HQ, Flite (acq by Snapchat), Gap Inc. @wes_kao |

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