This shit was easy.
I’m a finance geek (there, I said it). Well, actually, Iím every kind of geek you can possibly think of. If there’s some form of geekery involved, you can pretty much bet on me queuing up for a taste. After the first set of fan boys have had their gut filled, that is. That said, I take my geekery to a whole new level (for an i-banker)….or so I’m told.
This domain is a nice one. Obviously. I own it. It talks about me. It’s about me. Narcissus maximus. Logically, that would be enough to sate the ego of any well-rounded (literally) Asian male.
OhÖno, no, no. I have to play finance junkie, design addict and wanna-blogger all rolled into one. HAVE to. I tell ye truly, King Henry was right. ďUneasy lies the head that wears a crownĒ. Particularly, when you’re trying to realign the diamonds in that crown and see if the colour theory of the gems is appropriate for their setting.
“Yawn. Groan. Wake me up when you’re done.”
Now if it were that simple, we wouldn’t be having this monologue, would we (Err….I.)?
ďGet to it!Ē
Design as a metaphor
Everyone knows that content is king. Itís been shouted out from every lattice, rooftop and parapet in the online world. Offline as well. With accent and without. For the particularly dense (or stubborn) among us, bloggers like Nicholas Cardot actually spell it out in digestible chunks.
Why, then, does a finance professional even bother trying to pretty up something when the focus is on the content? Which, by the way, he believes is sorted.
Because he must.
And so should you.
No, really. You should.
Presentation is important. Not just in a blog post but pretty much everything that we do. It reflects a sense of completion of activity and a respect of the object concerned.
And it’s ambitious.
Even a Brick wants to be something.
A brick wants to be something.
Even a common, ordinary brick wants to be something more than it is.
Wants to be something better than it is.
In 2010 branding parlance: Even a brick wants a personal brand.
For example, I test-drove a Fiat Linea yesterday, a car unparalleled in beauty as in performance (at least in my head). Since Iíve been in love with the car for about a year now, itís been a bit of a torrid affair with much back and forth.
Yesterday was the 30th of December, 2010 and if you live in India youíd be aware of a price rise on the 1st of January by car manufacturers (ignore the obvious divorce from logic since the Union Budget is announced in February). Which pretty much means that getting a customer to close a deal on that day isnít exactly rocket science.
Not if the test-drive is anything to write home about.
Suffice it to say that mine wasnít. Far from actually. And I say this completely heartbroken because Iím going with a Toyota or a Volkswagen now.
Because despite the product being superlative (the Linea), the brand experience was awful (the test-drive vehicle). And that was enough to swing me the other way. It was THAT bad.
The obvious question would be why Iíd change my mind in a half hour after being steadfast for a year (or thereabouts). Because I donít own a Fiat Linea. Because Iím trying to correlate what my car would feel like after a year of ownership to what the test-drive car feels like. Because Iíd rather play safe than be sorry. Because statistics is sacrifice.
SometimesÖitís not the only sacrifice.
I would have gone ahead with the booking if the test-drive vehicle was better maintained by the showroom. Maybe I shouldnít have found old newspapers and a set of headphones in the back seat. Because no one really should. Because it really is their responsibility to provide an experience. And itís profitable to do so. And experiences are dynamic. They evolve rapidly and sometimes the evolution is a negative one. The piŤce de rťsistance was back at the showroom while filling up a feedback form after the drive. After I told him that I loved the Linea but I wouldnít be going in for it if this was going to be my solitary experience, the salesman says, ďSir, beyond that I leave in your good hands.Ē
In my goodÖ.WHAT?!?!!
And I guess what Louis Kahn said is goes for people as well. We all want to contribute to something bigger than ourselves and be recognized for our work. And the latter usually trumps the former.
The sales consultant lost a sale. Simply because they lacked the one thing that another showroom owner had: attention to detail.
Itís something I hope he wonít carry into other aspects of his life as well. Unlike his shoddy car detailing, I hope his work ďdetailingĒ doesnít reveal a couple of dinks in the side-panels. I hope.
And thatís why I obsess over every little bit of this blog. Because you (as a reader) will (and very quickly) form opinions about the content of this site based on what you SEE. And since the content is written by me (so far), it wonít be long before you start fleshing out a character profile of yours truly.
Iíll be honest: Iíd be forming opinions too if roles were reversed.
If youíve read this far, youíre smart enough to figure out what a particular perception can do (or not do) for your career. Ever wonder why no one dances with the unshaven guy sitting at the far end of the bar? Yeah, exactly. Imagine you walking into an important business meeting with a mismatched tie. Or unshaven. Youíd have to be crazy to do both.
Itís commonly said that we are what we do. There is a corollary to that statement: You think we do what you think we are. So if you think I canít service your lawnmower, youíre unlikely to ask me to service your Jaguar E-type.
Which is why itís critical to shape the perception of who people think we are (thatís you, John). Unfortunately, the only way to do that seems to be by actually doing. And not just the core activity. Relatedness is a HUGE factor in perception. Unfortunately, six degrees of freedom doesnít apply just to personal relationships. So you have to do it ALL. Naturally, you have to do the core activity best.
Which is why I obsess about font-families. And typefaces. And fat-footers.
Product x Experience=Ninja You
Because restricted OCD IS me. And you(trust me, you just donít know it yet). And others who that think attention to detail is a way of life. If you canít approximate what that means, Iíd say itís best to look at a software designerís concept of attention to detail. Or just switch on the telly.
The way I see it, I’m (and you’d want to be in this space too) the chassis of a gorgeous Shelby Cobra. A Shelby Cobra is a very specific kind of sports car and manufactured by Shelby American. I didnít say I wanted to be a car. I didnít say I wanted to be a sports car or that I wanted to be†a fastback or a notchback. I said I wanted to be a†Shelby Cobra. Which means I have a clear goal for my chassis. I know how to go into further detail. I might start by shaping the distinctive body of the Shelby Cobra. Then add in the tread of the tires, drop in that 427 engine, the sloping hood or the headlights. These are all the minor details that need to come together to create an icon on the roads. And more importantly, an icon in the minds of people. But unless I add the details in, it’s just another sports car not a signature performance vehicle.
My personal fontÖerr, fount of inspiration is the team behind MyFonts and theyíre part of the reason Iíve bothered to put this down (Chris Dargue on the HelpDesk, I havenít forgotten). If you sign up for one of their newsletters, youíll understand why the veneration.
In their honour (trumpets blare) my obsession for today is: figuring out precisely which type-face I want to use for the header of my site (thatís what Iím calling the big Avinash DíSouza text.)
Itís a start. 100% of 1 element is a lot better than 50% of 5. I think so at any rate. Iím on my way to providing a curated experience and Iím certainly looking for feedback along the way. I wonít leave things ďin your good handsĒ and hope for the best!
Iíve got this.
To look forward to.
I hope this post has helped you in some way. It’s not a career training as such but I like to think of it as a career builder. That said, hereís a couple things I would like to know:
- How important do you think attention to detail has been in your life/career?
- What would you do to change/improve the perception people have of you?