The Battle for Primacy

The Battle for Primacy

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We're in the throes of a digital war.

Kingdoms once mighty have fallen. Insurgents and rebels are gaining foothold. The rules of engagement have changed, but a new Geneva Convention has yet to be drafted. And unfortunately, it's the everyday individuals, the foot soldiers, who are being laid waste on the battlefield. We are the casualties of war, the necessary loss, written down on a ledger as costs in the fight.

It's been true since the beginning of time - kings and generals often have little idea what's truly happening on the ground. They advise from their ivory towers, yet they take mere educated guesses as to the best plan of attack given the circumstances, rarely thinking of the soldier and his family at home. And the same is true of today's technology landscape.

Consider the rise of the digital cloud - a chaotic scene of advisors and strategists rushing into the war room, all shouting out their take on how to fight the war. Google comes in and says, "we'll topple the mighty Microsoft, we have weapons that can match and even overpower theirs." Apple says, "we have the resources and the manpower, this is ours to win." And Dropbox says, "we used to be the beloved kingdom, why have our soldiers gone AWOL?"

As we navigate this rapidly-changing landscape, the only question worth asking is "how do we stay alive?"

The answer is balance.

Let's look at simple combat arena: Contacts.

The bow and arrow equivalent would be the index card rolodex. Simple, understandable, and functions exactly as intended. But it definitely cannot scale for larger battles. Then consider the basic digital contact - the VCF or CSV. You scroll through these on your phone every time you call mom or drunk dial your ex. This would be the standard rifle and bayonet. Works well, but has its limitations, and has a limited range. But then you have the massive CRMs used by businesses to gather extensive contact data - these are the Salesforces, the Hubspots, the Insightlys... consider these the nuclear warheads and drone strikes of the digital war. Massively powerful, yet when misused can wreak catastrophic damage.

As an expert on "digital warfare," I can confidently say that 99% of modern individuals don't actually know what kind of battle they want to fight. They've got a hodgepodge arsenal of equipment but have no idea what they need to succeed, and worse yet, they're often bringing the wrong weapon into battle.

Use your judgment. If you've spent your whole life as a real estate agent and you have dozens of beautifully organized rolodexes that are color coded by department and region, use them! If you're a gigging musician who wants to keep tabs on other guitarists and drummers in your city, write "guitarist" or "drummer" on the person's contact card! If you're building a venture capital fund and want a list of leads, including city, referral point, projected buy-in, and the name of their cat, you better be using a CRM!

All this is to say - use what works for you, and don't become a casualty to the war, but fend for yourself and opt out of the fight. If your digital life is holding you hostage, it's time to reconsider the terms of engagement. Think about how you want to operate, and act boldly and intelligently, confident that you've chosen the right tools to suit your needs.

And when the dust settles, you'll still be standing strong, ready for whatever new battle comes your way.

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Design Still Matters

Design Still Matters