I don’t think I’ve ever seen Seth correct a post based on fact-checking. Today was that day, in his piece on the ostracodish. He had said it was extinct and it ain’t, although some types have disappeared.
So his metaphor of an organism evolving step-by-step into a state of being completely unfit for their environment lacks a little something, but the point he’s making is valid.
I’m sure there was a really good reason twenty years ago for all the steps that are now involved in the thing you do right now, but your competitor, the one who is starting from scratch, is skipping most of them.
Every day we get a new chance to begin again. And if you don’t, someone else will.
In Proposal Land we can also get into ruts – often thought of fondly as best practices.
We set a schedule that gives a whole whack of time at the end to perfecting and prettifying the document, just as if we were creating a brochure that had to last for several years instead of a one-off sales proposal. If we were starting from scratch, would we instead allocate more time upfront to planning how to do the work both better and cheaper than our competitors?
We ask technical experts with no particular writing or proposal-response skills to write. Or we ask overloaded technical experts to communicate with writers who don’t actually understand the work. Or we ask marketeers to jury-rig boilerplate to fit this requirement. If we were starting from scratch, would we instead invest in technical writers who understand our clients, our work, and proposals?
We use precious time during the response period to collect and document stories on accomplishments relevant to this work. If we were starting from scratch, would we, instead, pay someone to interview operators/managers/executives on a regular cycle to identify our accomplishments and store them in a searchable format?
We “stop presses” to review the whole document, driven (I expect) by what worked when we had to work on paper. If we were starting from scratch, would we instead give people ongoing access to the document as it emerges?
Every day we get a new chance to begin again. And if we don’t, someone else will.