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The Marketer as Philosopher: by Flint McGlaughlin

"Asking 'how' leads to information; asking 'why' leads to wisdom." This is the essence of Dr. Flint McGlaughlin's book, The Marketer as Philosopher.

After twenty five years of asking "why" to a single question and testing his hypotheses using the web as a living laboratory, McGlaughlin has released a collection of his findings. These 40 brief reflections unfold in a series of layers that suggest a new framework and theory of messaging.

For more information, you can visit www.meclabs.com/mapbook

Latest Observations

On Leadership and the Importance of Honest Dialogue

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Nov 16, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Leaders tend to use relationships to achieve meaningful KPIs, but relationships are not built around KPIs, they are built around honest dialogue. KPIs are useful for management, but they are insufficient for inspiration. The leader can drive his team with goals or draw his team with trust. The first can help you achieve the possible, but only the second can help you overcome the impossible.  

On the Balance between Craftsmanship and Genius

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Nov 14, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Great art is not made by the artist, it only escapes from the artist. The moment you try to construct the parts and the multi-layered magic that makes art, it becomes contrived. That is why creative writing teachers seldom write the great stories. That is why those who teach music in schools seldom compose the great songs. The artist can apply craftsmanship, but they cannot craft genius. 

On the Molecular Unit of Communication

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Nov 13, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The molecular unit of optimization is the sentence. Every single principle associated with optimizing any form of marketing can be understood, perhaps best understood, in the context of improving a sentence. A sentence represents the basic grammar of life. Entity exists; subject “predicates”.

  • There are only three ways to improve a sentence: to add, to remove, to change. This is the same for any instance of marketing collateral.
  • A good sentence is structured with an optimized flow, the sequence of thought. This involves considerations of order: point first, point middle, or point last. Again, this is the same in marketing.
  • A sentence typifies specific forms of communication: the imperative, the declarative, the interrogative, etc. Once again, this is the same in marketing (indeed, marketing today employs far too much declaration and not enough explanation).

My point is not to make an exhaustive list, but to demonstrate that by focusing on the art of creating a beautiful (read effective) sentence, one may learn the essential insights necessary to shaping any other form of communication. As Strunk and White espoused, “make every word tell.”

On Leadership and the Paradox of Excess

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Nov 8, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The leader must learn to appreciate beauty as the defining standard in the form and substance of the organization. Beauty is lavish, but never wasteful. Art often engages a paradox of excess and frugality. It is the spare lines of the brush, contradicted by the lavish color on the pallet which transforms an empty canvas into a rich experience. 

On Leadership and the Four-Part Framework of Mentoring

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Oct 10, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The leader who embraces a teaching model focuses on building people, then, the people build the company. As you approach this mentoring activity, it is important to think through a four-part framework: beliefs, values, character and skills. There should be an emphasis on maximizing strengths, balanced by systems’ protection against life-threatening weakness. These are the particular weaknesses that can destroy you. One does not achieve high impact by working evenly to offset their weaknesses. One must maximize strengths while paying close attention to those key weaknesses that completely “cancel out” your strengths. 

On Leadership and the Scarcest Constraint of Time

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Oct 2, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Much has been written on the importance of time, but as time passes the leader become more cognizant that time is our scarcest constraint. The most important priorities for the leader are the factoring and prioritizing of time. If you do not make time your friend, it will become your worst enemy.

Bankers have long learned the importance of time as it relates to interest rates, but these same people fail to recognize the compounding impact of time on their personal lives. The artful leader must build their life plan around their scarcest constraint – time.

On Developing a Personal View

Topic:Personal Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Sep 29, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

As you structure a lens within which to survive the sea of uncertainty, it is good to remember that the ultimate context seems to be a paradoxical tension of (beyond) brilliant, pure chaos. It is as if the world itself were the product of a bipolar deity; as if the world were shaped with ultimate intelligence and absolute randomness. It is within this context we must develop a "personal view."

On Leadership and the Difference Between View and Perspective

Topic:Leadership Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Aug 23, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

It is useful for a leader to understand or draw the distinction between the term “view” and the term “perspective.” When I was a young man, I had a (flawed) view on most of life’s important questions. As time passed, I gained perspective. It doesn’t matter how good your eyes are (how intelligent you may be), there are some things you cannot see correctly until you have a change in perspective.  

On the Power of the Compass and Lens

Topic:Leadership Topic:Management
Posted on:Aug 17, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Vision is overrated. Indeed, there is a place for this concept, but it is more important that the leader develop two essential tools: their “compass” and their “lens.” The compass helps us know; it gives us a sense of direction. The lens helps us see; it gives us unique perspective. With the world changing so fast, it is sometimes difficult to maintain a crystal-clear vision, but with a transcendent combination of “seeing” and “knowing” the leader can still guide their organization to the right place.

On Leadership and the Danger of the “Almost” Tense

Topic:Leadership Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Aug 8, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Leaders must beware of leading from the “almost” tense. Though you cannot measure this gap in cognitive inches or minutes, the “almost” tense is the furthest you can be from the present. Leaders in the “almost” tense convince themselves that they are just on the edge of a breakthrough. Thus, they remain forever outside of the only zone a leader can truly lead from – the productive present tense.