Swipe File #35: Being Naïve Is Totally Normal

"There's no risk when you go after a dream. There's a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe." — Bill Burr

Hey All,

Here's an anecdote that caught my eye this week.

More than 2,500 years ago, Milo of Croton won six Olympic wrestling titles. James Clear tells the story of how he developed the strength that turned him into a dominant athlete:

One day, a newborn calf was born near Milo’s home. The wrestler decided to lift the small animal up and carry it on his shoulders. The next day, he returned and did the same. Milo continued this strategy for the next four years, hoisting the calf onto his shoulders each day as it grew, until he was no longer lifting a calf, but a four-year-old bull.

Regardless of your goals, commitment is key. It turns ideas into businesses, words into books and design into art.

Start small, but start today.

Enjoy this week's articles and if you're feeling inspired, pass it on.

My Unconventional Path to a Video Career via @csavage

Here's another from Wistia CEO Chris Savage. He has a knack for storytelling — and this a great one.

Now, I realize that being naïve is totally normal in a nascent space where there's a huge opportunity for innovation. There are no industry veterans to learn from in a brand new industry. The upshot is that getting into a brand new area can put you on equal footing with competitors, which means that it isn't experience that wins, but the ability to learn the fastest.

What Startups Can Learn from Watsi’s Wildly Successful Email Campaign via @firstround

I came across this last week while researching for a collection of email case studies. This post really stood out. It does a great job explaining the nuances of great marketing.

Part of showing people what they’re getting is investing in communications where you aren’t asking for anything. Instead, you’re thanking people for their business or their participation. You’re acknowledging your end of the deal where you’re committed to delighting and surprising them.

This is something that for-profit startups tend to neglect — the importance of not just sending a receipt for a purchase, but honing that interaction to make customers feel something more.

Optimization at the Obama Campaign: A/B Testing via @kylerush

As campaign season heats up, I thought it would be interesting to see how things have changed since 2012. Kyle Rush, who headed up digital marketing for the Obama campaign, shared some of his insights on his personal blog a few years ago.

Many things will be different this time around. But one thing that wont't change: Relentless testing.

Overall we executed about 500 a/b tests on our web pages in a 20 month period which increased donation conversions by 49% and sign up conversions by 161%. As you might imagine this yielded some fascinating findings on how user behavior is influenced by variables like design, copy, usability, imagery and page speed.

Graph of confidence vs. experience

Investor Chris Dixon shared this on Twitter recently. There's a heated Reddit thread about the misspelling — "no nothing" — but the idea stands up.

chris dixon tweet.jpg

Have a great week!


PS - There's been a ton of new subscribers from Amsterdam. What's the story? I'd love to know how you found Swipe File.

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