After years as a solid companion, it was time for the old girl to move on to greener pastures. I remember the first day I brought her home, a quick little thing that wouldn't stay still. I stared into her face every chance I got and we hit it off instantly. She would travel with me, and always was ready for work or play. She would sprawl out on my lap, keeping my legs warm while I worked through the night. Every article I wrote or presentation I created she would always be right there in front of me. She was even great with the kids; I could leave them together for hours at a time. But the time began to take its toll on her body and mind. She started acting sluggish when she would first wake up and would emit weird unhealthy noises. The final blow came when she took a bad fall and started losing her memory. I shed a tear and said a prayer, bowing my head in reverence. I rested my hands on her head and closed her eyes for the last time.
Old Silver was gone.
A few days later the doorbell rang. In an instant my heart soared and a smile warmed my face. No one could ever replace Old Silver but I was useless without her. So reluctantly I had asked for a new companion. And there she was. She had the same silver coat but was much slimmer and smaller than Old Silver. With trembling hands I picked her up. Would it be the same? Would I love her as much as Old Silver? In a flash I knew it was true love again. Her face sparkled as she lit up the room with sounds of joy.
I could now rest easy. My new Macbook Pro had arrived.
While the story above may sound like a giant advertisement for Apple, I want to assure that this is about something far more important than a computer hardware manufacturer. This is about love. And love is the most powerful content creator in the world. "Shall I compare thee to a summers day...", could have easily been Shakespeare's sonnet love letter to Fisher Space Pens. "But thy eternal ink, shall not fade, under water or in space." Love motivates us to create things that share that story with the world. And tapping into that desire with your customers forms a bond that will last a lifetime. Do your customers love you? Do they love your products and services? Do they love you enough to post a picture of you, sing a song about you, or write a eulogy for you? The cold, calculating world of business comes down to customer choice between something they love and something they don't. But why is love such a big deal?
Next time you visit New York City ask several people where you can find the best pizza in town. The passion will be evident when they tell you which Original Ray's you should actually go to. People who love your company are better content creators than you will ever be. The doorman at the hotel who is in love with your pizza joint will sell more slices than a banner ad any day. And in case you were wondering, the best pizza place in NYC is Di Fara Pizzeria in Brooklyn. It's made with love!
I understand that some of you will read this and say, "This sounds great, but we sell insurance/software/healthcare/something boring/etc., no one will love us." To that I say, what could be more boring than a silicon wafer with some solder on it, encased in metal and glass. Companies like Apple have created technology based products that their customers love. And in turn their customers create amazing content that shows their love to the world. In 2007 Stephen Fry wrote that,"Apple gets plenty of small things wrong, but one big thing it gets right: when you use a device every day, you cannot help, as a human being, but have an emotional relationship with it." You must ask yourself everyday if your company is creating things that make emotional connections with your customers.
There is someone out there who loves your stuff. Find them, thank them, and ask them what you can do keep the love alive. I think I have snuggled up with New Silver enough, it's time for both of us to go into sleep mode.