Jimmy Daly

Head of Content at Vero, runner, writer, bro.

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The Principal-Agent Problem in Marketing

The cost of college textbooks has risen 812 percent since 1978. That’s more than triple the inflation rate over the same period of time, according to The Atlantic.

So what gives?

Textbook costs are a perfect example of an economic theory known as the principal-agent problem. Professors (the agent) choose the textbooks and the students (the principal) pay for them.

As Planet Money said, it’s the “the somebody else’s money problem.”

Marketing has a problem of its own that can partially be attributed to the principal-agent problem. Content, email and SEO have all reached critical mass. Everyone is doing it. And that has created a real issue: mediocrity.

Nearly all marketing looks and feels the same. Hardly anything stands out. Every blog churns out general, obvious information. Email marketers send cookie-cutter templates on Tuesdays at 10am. And SEO’s have title generating tools to...

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Why You Should Learn From Success, Not Failure

It’s a common misconception that people learn more from failure than success. But in fact, just the opposite is true.

Here’s Basecamp co-founder Jason Fried’s thoughts on the Signal v. Noise blog:

I don’t understand the cultural fascination with failure being the source of great lessons to be learned. What did you learn? You learned what didn’t work. Now you won’t make the same mistake twice, but you’re just as likely to make a different mistake next time. You might know what won’t work, but you still don’t know what will work. That’s not much of a lesson.

Instead, put most of your energy into studying your successes. What have you done right? What worked? Why did it work? How you can repeat it? Instead of making something worse a little better, how about making something good a little better? Don’t spend so much time looking down. Look up more.

(If you haven’t read REWORK, stop...

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Minimum Viable Email

Most startup entrepreneurs are already familiar with Eric Ries’ lean startup methodology. The approach centers on the idea of a minimum viable product.

As Ries explains, a minimum viable product (MVP) “is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”


Image via Paul Kortman

The product must be both minimal — requiring the least effort to create — and viable — functional enough that users can provide useful feedback. Rather than spending time and money perfecting a product, the lean approach gives entrepreneurs the chance to get rapid feedback, fail fast and improve quickly. It’s a data-based approach to product development and one that Ries has popularized on his blog and his book, The Lean Startup.

Minimum Viable [Fill in the Blank]

The minimum viable mindset can apply to many things...

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Say Goodbye to Comfortable

No doubt you’ve had butterflies in your stomach at some point in your life. Maybe it was before you pitched the last game of the high school playoffs or did a sales presentation for a big client. You know the feeling. But did you know that nerves actually help you perform at your peak?

People don’t perform at their best when they are comfortable. It’s true, and science backs it up.

The relationship between anxiety and performance most often applies to people who perform in public — think athletes, public speakers and Broadway actors — but the same idea applies to marketers.

Have you ever considered that your blog post or email is actually a performance? Think about it: Many people will see and read that post or email. Some will love it, and some might hate it. Still others might be bored by it. The results of your performance are measured in clicks, page views and shares. When you...

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Defining “Hard Work” for a New Generation of Laborers

Ashton Kutcher’s speech at the Teen Choice Awards got me thinking about what hard work means to my generation. “I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work,” he says. Right on. But what exactly does hard work look like for people who toil in mental and emotional labor? And more importantly, what does it feel like?

The Evolution of Hard Work

Hard work used to include physical labor. It doesn’t anymore. Technology has evolved to the point where the value that employees create often isn’t a physical product. Instead, we are paid to drive sales via Twitter, impact decision-making with emails, provide knowledge on blogs and otherwise fuel the emotions of other desk-dwellers.

The lack of material output is a phenomenon that London School of Economics anthropology professor David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs.”

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s...

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