One of the joys of doing The Work Talk Show podcast with DJ Waldow each week is conversing with guests about how they get work done and manage their professional and personal lives. That’s where I first heard Mitch Joel call BS on the concept of work-life balance. As he quoted Seth Godin, “instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” Mitch elaborates on this in his new book, Ctrl Alt Delete.
The Elevator Pitch
More than a simple marketing book, as the subtitle suggests, Ctrl Alt Delete has two areas of focus — rebooting your business and rebooting your life. If there’s another theme at the core of the book it’s that this really isn’t something you can wait for in either case. The marketplace — your customers and community — have already changed irrevocably. It’s not enough to simply hire some young turks to rework your image or fire off a new social media strategy. You have to change and your business has to change. Your future depends on it.
4 Big Ideas from Ctrl Alt Delete
But Joel doesn’t paint a grim picture with Ctrl Alt Delete. Indeed, as the title implies, your life and work can start anew with a reboot in some key areas. Here are a few examples.
Direct Customer Relationships Are Where It’s At — Beyond any specific platform, the real value of digital media comes when you are able to establish a direct relationship with your customers. For many industries, distributors and other partners have owned the end users but now it’s easier than ever to work directly with your customer and forge a meaningful relationship. The downside? You’re all (you, vendors, suppliers, etc.) competing for their social attention.
No Multiple Screens — Flying in the face of our favorite talking points about “multiple screens,” Ctrl Alt Delete calls out the one screen that matters — the one that’s in front of you. Rather than worrying about individual screens, Joel advocates adopting a digital-first posture across our business units to bring about a holistic change in the customer experience.
Kill the Content — Wait, “content is king,” right? Sure, but the reality of the new media landscape is that now that we’re all publishers and can create more content than ever before, we have an even bigger responsibility that may require us to pause and, yes, kill the content for a bit as we regroup. What could be more important than content? Making sure your brand is telling powerful stories.
Embrace Your Careers Squiggles — This is one of my favorite concepts in the Reboot You portion of the book. Why should your career today be based on a decision you made at age 16 with your high school guidance counselor? While our career paths look more different and less linear now (they squiggle instead!) this can also help businesses as well. Consider how companies like Twitter and Instagram sprung forth as squiggles from companies originally founded to do other things.
Joel’s frank personality also shines through in the book with chapters such as “Sex with Data” and passages like, “So if a toilet paper company has figured it out, what’s got you all blocked up?” Ctrl Alt Delete also contains great sections on utilitarianism marketing, authenticity, and social media automation.
So, Should You Read It?
I looked at the question above for a long time before deciding to instead approach it from the angle of “who shouldn’t read Ctrl Alt Delete.” You shouldn’t read this book if you embrace the ostrich approach — you think all of these media shifts will go away if you keep your head in the sand. You also shouldn’t read this book if you are content to punch a clock and not make a difference. If it’s more fun to plan a week of vacation that planing how you spend your other 51 weeks, you should avoid this book like the plague.
Kidding aside, Ctrl Alt Delete is a business book that has value for any hacker, whether they sit in the marketing department or in the C-suite. It has value for someone looking to reboot their business by better understanding the shifts at play today as well as someone looking to reboot their career with a meaningful squiggle.
In the end, Ctrl Alt Delete helps you see that what we’re all after is longevity. Whether it’s building brands or crafting careers, one hopes to pivot with the shifts and stay in a game that’s fulfilling and rewarding as long as possible. Ctrl Alt Delete is a great manual for doing just that.
Want a FREE copy of Ctrl Alt Delete?
One of my favorite ideas from the Ctrl Alt Delete is adopting a digital-first posture and focusing on the overall strategy vs. each shiny, new platform. It’s one of the big ideas behind our Social Strategy Boot Camp series. That’s why I want to give the next person that registers for next week’s Boot Camp in Madison, Wisconsin a FREE copy of Ctrl Alt Delete. In fact, if you use the promo code CTRL you can hack the registration down to just $57.50 — a savings of 50%. Register now for the best price and a great book!