If you can’t trust Pokémon, who can you trust?
As I get through Pokémon Shield on Nintendo Switch, there’s a line in the game that bothers me.
It’s a line that reminds me of too many marketing pundits on Twitter.
For those who never had a Pokémon obsession, or who never endured the Pokémonophilia of a loved one, here’s the general plot:
Children, starting in their elementary school years, leave their families, with their smiling parents all too willingly sending them off to venture out across the country on their own or with friends to capture wild pocket monsters known as Pokémon.
Almost all the monsters are dangerous, with such abilities as spraying toxic gas, throwing fireballs, or swooping down and disabling prey with their talons. Parents never bother telling their kids, “Try not to get disemboweled.”
Trainers get to keep any wild Pokémon that “faint” and vanish into the trainers’ Pokéballs (monsters don’t die; they recover in a special hospital that hooks up the balls to the equivalent of a Pokéventilator).
The Switch game follows this plot. You assume the role of a Pokémon trainer, leaving your mother’s home. There’s no reference to your father. Perhaps your father returns after you beat the game, seeking a share of your winnings and then heading out to the Poképub to load up on Pokéjuice with your mom wondering why she didn’t just marry a Snorlax – a Pokémon as lazy as they come, but at least she’ll always know where she can find him.
(My six-year-old is reading this aloud as I write this – the first column of mine she’s ever read. She just looked at me and said, “You’re funny!” She later told her mother, “Daddy wrote you should marry a Snorlax!” Dinner was… interesting.)
So here’s my beef with the game.
(Upon my reference to “beef,” my daughter said, “Mmm, you’re making me hungry already!”)
On to my beef:
When you’re battling other trainers, you pick which attacks each of your Pokémon use. Attacks vary in effectiveness. A water attack, for instance, may put out a fire-type rival’s flame, but it may do nothing against a lush, flowering grass-type enemy.
That’s how it’s supposed to work. But due to a host of factors, you may luck out, even when the odds aren’t in your favor.
Then, the message appears:
“It’s not very effective.”
This is the point where I start shouting at the Switch.
“What do you mean it’s not very effective? The other Pokémon just fainted! Of course it was effective!”
This is when the game reminds me of all the worst people in our industry.
It’s all the people who said, “The Peloton ad is not very effective.”
In business parlance, saying something is not very effective is a lazy way of saying, “I don’t like it,” or “I don’t understand it.”
(My daughter: “Yeah, that’s a very weird saying. I’m thinking about it right now.”)
For some reason, the Pokémon game decided to take the role of an armchair quarterback, backseat driver, or tweeting pundit. It passed judgment on what’s supposed to work and didn’t bother checking if the action achieved the desired result.
It doesn’t matter what the game thinks of how I play. If I get the other Pokémon to faint, my move is effective.
Conversely, if I launch a move that doesn’t do any damage to my opponent, I don’t care if the game calls it “super effective.” If my Pokémon are the ones going on the ventilators, I need a new strategy, or new tactics, or some more time bulking up in the Wild Area.
Maybe this is Pokémon’s way of encouraging players to question authority. This is, after all, a game where young children are sent into harsh climates to capture deadly monsters. You know what’s effective? Not dying. You know what’s super effective? Making the monster faint and capturing it in your Pokéball.
You know what isn’t effective? Someone kicking back in a Pokélounger sipping his Pokémonade (it’s usually a “he”) telling you what he thinks of your moves.
I’m making some headway and hope to beat Champion Leon soon; I helped my daughter beat him by diagramming the best match-ups with a dry erase marketer on my office’s glass door.
That’s what I’m up to. What are you making of yourself?
PS: I may hold off publishing this next week as I’m taking off a few days around Memorial Day. If I miss it, we’ll be back to the regular schedule the week after.
PS 2: My daughter on you reading all of this: “They’re going to read A LOT of crazy sentences!”
LEARN. TRY. SHARE.
DECARTSTRUCTING SHOPIFY’S CEO
George Mack has a powerful Twitter thread reviewing Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke’s approaches to management and leadership. This thread could be a book. I’m glad it’s a thread instead.
TURNING HUBSPOT INTO JOBSPOT
David Yahid offers practical advice for turning a CRM engine into a job pipeline. This beats the last approach I used: an ugly Google Sheet with too many tabs, all updated too infrequently to be of much use.
Also, check out more community news from Serial Marketers members, powered by Vestorly. Want to add your site here? Let me know.
There are now so many that I’ve broken them up into categories. Keep the terrific links coming.
- Bing’s COVID-19 tracker
- Covid spread tracker from Rt.live
- CovidPing gives you regular SMS updates about the virus data
- Financial Times: coronavirus tracker and visualizations (access for free)
- Domo’s coronavirus tracker and visualizations
- Data hubs from Google and Foursquare with location trends related to coronavirus
- Glimpse’s COVID-related trending topics
- Retail trends from Retailmenot and Rockerbox (D2C focus)
- State maps of coronavirus spread for New York and Texas
- USAFacts.org: up-to-the-minute metrics
- Within’s Retail Pulse for trends including revenue, conversion rates, and ad spend
- World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) tracks brand responses to coronavirus
DONATE & SUPPORT
- $1K Project to support families for three months
- Charity Gift Certificates that support lots of COVID-related causes
- Coffee donations for healthcare workers
- Help Main Street (120K+ local businesses in 50 states) by ordering online, buying gift cards, or donating
- Hospitals near you need support — via Protect the Heroes
- Local business gift cards via Square
- Personal Trainer directory from Salut; support them with donations
- PPE resources from Laura Fitton
- Support Restaurants with dining bonds
- Tip bartenders handsomely (even the less handsome or pretty ones)
- CoronaHub: the job board and Slack community
- Guild’s work-from-home guide
- Family activities from Standupbly
- NUMA’s collection of business resources
- Springworks’ resources for managing remote teams
- Unemployment Guide for all 50 States via HireClub
- Upskilling During a Downturn: resources from Scott Monty and Jeremiah Owyang
TOOLS & ESCAPES
- The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has a free portal through June 5
- Audible’s free audiobooks for kids
- CommunicationsMatch has some free offerings for agencies and freelancers
- General Assembly opens up workshops weekly with Free Fridays
- Home scheduler by Owl Labs
- Murray’s Cheese Shop now runs virtual cheese tastings
- Remote team tools via Collaboration Superpowers
Please send over any events you’re hosting or attending, and I’ll add them to the list. All events below are virtual, and all times are EDT, unless otherwise specified.
SERIAL MARKETERS SALONS
We have an incredible lineup coming up:
-5/19: Ask a Recruiter Anything with Kelly Herrick of Searchlight
-5/26: How Local Businesses are Adapting with Dani Hall of Yelp
-6/2: E-Commerce Trends with Sarah Hofstetter of Profitero
-6/9: Interviewing and Hiring over Video Conference with Jeff Lundwall and Stephanie Vautravers at Lundwall Group
-6/16: Pivoting with Purpose Events with Victor Cho, CEO of Evite
-6/23: Secret Financial Lives with Ben Zeidler and Gunny Scarfo, founders of Nonfiction Research
SOCIAL FRESH X
Social Fresh runs terrific events, and I’m looking forward to their virtual edition. Basic tickets are free, with added perks for premium passes. “A virtual conference for marketers adapting to the unknown. Learn how to create new content, stay relevant, and engage your audience without sounding out of touch.”
COMMUNITY CHAT SUMMIT 2020
I’m excited to attend this one. You should too and take advantage of $49 earlybird tickets which cover the full two days: “The Community Chat Summit is a gathering of community builders helping each other navigate the world of community building by sharing resources, strategies, and best practices. Featuring keynote speakers, workshop sessions, 1 on 1 networking and more.”
June 3, 6pm
First Wednesday is back! We have dozens of great people RSVPing for this fun NYC tradition that is now open to anyone virtually. Len Bilello might even by you a drink.
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES SUMMIT
The previously-Chicago-only event is now virtual and coming up soon. I’ll be speaking about how to build and run a successful B2B community. Of course, I will be including examples from many others, with a bit of experience covering mistakes I’ve made that others can learn from.
“Discover strategies, insights, and connections for driving more performance through your Partnerships.” I’ll be on the panel 6/16 about building communities that drive results.
Events for May and June include conversations between Jack Myers and luminaries such as Ford’s Lisa Schoder and Jim Motavalli, Madison Avenue Manslaughter author Michael Farmer, and LUMA’s Mr. Lumascape Terry Kawaja.
I’m working on sourcing more jobs for this. In the meantime, check the resources below.
Keep checking out the #jobs channel in Serial Marketers too. I’ve added some descriptions of top-secret searches there, and others have posted some leads too.
Various product marketing roles
Via Chris Vennard on LinkedIn: “I have 3 roles open on my team, and a few more in our overall group. All of these roles are leading Go-to-Market strategy and execution around the TikTok ad platform. For my team, I’m looking for very deep & specific experience within programmatic advertising and API, as well as some more general experience across 3rd party marketplaces and Ad Measurement on our larger team.”
Other job resources:
- Ad Ops Online: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
- Advisable: Get instant access to top marketing freelancers
- AMA Job Board: Listings from the American Marketing Association (maybe you can also ask them anything)
- Built in NYC: Jobs at a range of levels and functions, as long as you’re okay working in this quaint, backwater hamlet.
- CareerList: Here’s a form for companies hiring and a form for job seekers; here’s the public list with tabs for both
- CoronaHub: Jobs relating to the crisis response
- ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster)
- GLG: Get paid to share your topical expertise; it can lead to some interesting conversations at a potentially decent hourly rate
- The Hired Guns: An array of jobs in marketing and related fields at brands, agencies, and media companies
- Hunterz: A way for connectors to get paid to introduce startups to large enterprises
- Lead5: A paid service for executive roles, plus intel on changes with companies and PE investments; you can try a risk-free weeklong trial to see if it’s any good for your needs
- Lunch Club: Match 1:1 around predetermined goals with accomplished professionals (free)
- NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
- One Club for Creativity: COVID-19 Jobs Board
- TechNY Daily: While more technical, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups.
- VentureLoop: Free startup job listings; their paid option is $15/month and might surface more leads (but it might not).
- Wanted: Wanted helps top talent in tech and marketing find a job at your desired pay. Plug in your salary, stay anonymous at first, and connect with companies that want to recruit you.
Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I’ll share them.