Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: distractions

Gravitational Distortions

Life is distraction. For better or worse, we spend our days focusing on one thing or another. One could say we experience gravitational distortions, and our choices are the thrusters of a hypothetical starship, guiding us to the star system we want to be. Tell me you haven’t experienced time dilation akin to orbiting a nearby black hole…15 minutes on Wikipedia suddenly became 3 hours! And don’t get me started on Pinterest.

This year has gone by with the rapidity of a time dilation, but in a good way! We’ve made incredible progress with new clients, developing old relationships, and growing others still more. In the summer, an idea for an off-beat industry blog formed, and only a few weeks later, the Credit Union Geek was born! What began as a side-hobby has become a primary focus, with agreements for outside publication beginning in the new year. I couldn’t be more excited by the response and look forward to contributing what I can in 2015. Technological change is not some ethereal idea, but the here and now. More than ever before, banking decisions are made on availability of options not in existence 5 years ago. Let’s brave this new world together for the benefit of your institutions, members, and overall financial literacy.

Ok, you got me. There’s not much of a lesson in this post. Sure, an end of year sendoff is always welcomed, but I really just wanted an excuse to talk about Interstellar. As a lifelong astronomy buff and sci-fi fanatic, this film is the most accurate depiction of bizarre physical phenomena ever portrayed. Plus, it was just so much fun to experience! See how our nation’s pre-eminent astrophysicist (and king science geek with the coolest ties) explains it.

I wish you all a safe, joyous, and loving holiday season. I’d like to leave you with a quote from that film:

“I want to know where we are…where we’re going.” – Cooper, Interstellar

Image is an artist representation of Voyager I spacecraft, JPL/NASA, traveling into interstellar space.

Progress with Tedium

Too often, we see plans made, strategies devised, and duties assigned, yet nothing ensues. This isn’t specific to the credit union industry. In fact, you can find such breakdown of motivations in all areas of work and life. “I’ll clean out the garage this weekend.” Did you? “Our entire team is following a year-long plan to improve sales.” How does that look by month 7?

Expedition 41 (Soyuz 40) recently arrived at the International Space Station. Carrying 3 space-faring pioneers (well, technically, two Russian cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut), the rocket launched from the Baikanur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan early in the morning local time, and docked with the station after about 20 hours of low-Earth orbit travel.

Never mind how crazy-cool it is that we regularly send people into space, where they meet up with others who have been living up there for months. Let’s ignore the awesomeness of that for a moment. Really, it is amazing…I mean, think about it…space…as in, not Earth. And they live up there!

Talk about distractions. Ok, back on topic. Space. Orbit.

Imagine the planning that goes towards flying into space and parking on a target moving at thousands of miles per hour. Now triple what you’ve pictured. Probably more. Yet, tasks are accomplished on time while ensuring maximum safety for all occupants.

Bet your annual strategic plan pales in comparison.

How do they meet specific task markers within time constraints (and while not flying themselves into the ocean)? They progress with tedium.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but since we’re all friends here; I had never watched a live launch or docking of a Soyuz mission to the ISS. Sure, I’ve seen the Space Shuttle in person and watched launches of those workhorses. Yet for Soyuz rockets, only the replays and highlights of many, the triumphant hand-shakes over a shiny blue ball, floating in a manner to make us all so, so jealous, and interviews with family and friends on the ground.

Live is a different animal. Feeling like The Doctor without his TARDIS, you experience the passage of time in real-time. Unlike all the great sci-fi stories, orbital operations happen over a matter of hours, not seconds. Prior to launch, task after essential check was reviewed, continuing until about T-2 seconds, at which point, viewers stopped hearing those discussions. Then, once they were in orbit, thus began the tedious job of ensuring a safe opening of the Soyuz into the ISS. Can’t have a leaky seal pouring valuable air into the near-vacuum of low-Earth orbit!

I stayed awake until task 17.8…and there was still another hour of checks before the hatches were opened. Do you have the patience to progress in such tedium?

If you have a strategy that cannot falter, treat it like a space mission. Sure, it may lack the “sexy” rapid flow as you’re moving through, but it happens. When you expect. With the results you demand.

Because, just like slipping past a planet into outer space, missing your loan goals again is not an option.

Do I Have Your Attention?

10% of you won’t even read this far.

A number of years back, our VP of Marketing, Keith Winn, wrote an article that no one read. And that was the point. Dubbed The Article No One Will Read, you can look back and see how, even in 2011, people had already tuned out of, well, everything.

Last night, a modern repeat of this tale appeared in my Twitter feed. A writer for Slate wondered the same thing we had so many years ago…is anyone even bothering to read what I write? And when they do, is it to the end, or some arbitrary, “I’m bored” point?

38% of you are now gone.

He worked with a web technology company to see how far people actually scrolled on pages. Turns out, most of the time, even a committed reader doesn’t make it to the bottom. A tiny percentage get to the end, and they’re the least likely to share! Ironically, those who post your content on Facebook, Twitter, or some other service, probably didn’t read to the halfway mark.

You don’t know this yet, but you’re past the halfway point, since I know this cannot keep rambling…I’ve lost more than half of you already!

Take-away lesson: If you want engagement, don’t expect comprehension. If you want comprehension, don’t expect engagement. Weird, I know. If you want people to read everything to the end…sorry, not going to happen.

Essential point (Notice how I waited until the end to mention? Think about how those other people missed out because they couldn’t stick around long enough!): You need to get to your point fast, and I mean faster than a Weeping Angel towards the phone box (Whovians got that, but it probably cost me a few percent more in readers who gave up…oh well).

Point. Quickly. Because people won’t stay focused.

Disclosure: The numbers and style are adapted from the original publication on Slate. But I could say just about anything here, since no one is still reading. Always take a banana to a party. Make it so, Number One. Use the Force. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.

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