You must be present to win
Guest post by Phil Schott
I often have the pleasure of putting my four year-old son to bed at night and I’m usually exhausted afterward. It’s a never-ending string of questions and admonishments that goes something like this,
“Daddy, is it a stay-at-home day tomorrow?
“No, Joe, tomorrow is a go-to-school day, it’s Tuesday. Joe, stop talking and go to sleep and please stop picking your nose.”
“Daddy, how long until the Easter bunny comes?”
“A few weeks. Now, go to sleep and stop picking your nose, Josef.”
“Dude, what did I say about picking your nose?”
“Sorry daddy, I can’t help it. It’s my job.”
“Daddy, When’s it going to be my birthday?”
“Joe, you’re not going to live to see your birthday if you don’t stop picking your nose and go to sleep.”
Lather, rinse, repeat for about 10-30 minutes every night. Same questions, same answers, always picking his nose.
In retrospect it seems funny and maybe sweet, but it never does at the time and the thought of doing it all over again tomorrow night makes me want to run out screaming.
However, I realize that if not me, who? Who’s going to tell Joe to stop picking his nose? Who’s going to answer his questions? I have to. It’s my job. If I want to be his dad, that’s what I’ve got to do. If not, then I don’t get to be his dad, I don’t get to be part of his life, and I don’t get to be part of my family.
There are folks in our industry just like Joe and me–those who never seem to get it, those who ask questions over and over, and those who tire of answering the same questions.
I’d like to thank those who answer those questions over and over. Folks like Al Iverson, JD Falk, Mickey Chandler, Greg Kraios, Ken Magill, Laura Atkins, Steve Atkins, Karen Balle, Annalivia Ford, and many others who deserve to be on this list.
I’ve only been in deliverability for a few years and I’d be nowhere if these folks hadn’t answered my dumb questions, posted their thoughts, shared their knowledge, and told me to stop picking my nose on occasion.
It pains me though to read from time to time the ranting of those in our industry who want to decry the dumb marketer, give up, and take their ball home. It’s a shame, but that’s their right and their decision. However, they then don’t get to be part of the community. They lose the effectiveness to tell a dumb marketer to stop picking his nose. They become a washed-up, has been, curmudgeon with no voice. Like with my four year-old son, if I want to be a part of the deliverability community I’ve got to stick it out and deal with it. You have to be present to win.
In her post, A very young industry, Laura Atkins of Word to the Wise quotes ExactTarget’s Joel Book as stating that less than 20% of those in email marketing have more than two years experience. Yes, it’s an industry full of four year-olds. If you’re one of those in the know are you going to bemoan this fact that’s beyond your control or are you going to work to make the community you’ve helped build a better place? You absolutely can choose to move on. We will miss you and I wish you the best of luck. But either keep helping out as you’ve expertly done or get out of the way. Don’t take cheap shots at those trying to do the right thing and trying to do some good work.
For those of you tired of answering the same inane questions you’re fooling yourself if you think the folks who really need to hear your message are reading. They’re not. And they’re going to keep on asking their inane questions until somebody helps them out. I choose to help them out. I choose to be part of the community. I choose to be present.
A big part of the issue is how daunting it can be to ask for help without the risk of appearing the fool. There are far too many folks in this business of deliverability who are more interested in proving how smart they are and selectively sharing knowledge than they are in helping raise the overall level of consciousness and enlightenment.
If you want the idiots and fools to go away then help them become something more. Help them like no one helped you when you started out. With much effort, time, and frustration, I could pick through five years of your blog posts to find the one bit of information I need, or you could give me the URL to the post that will reveal all. I’m not asking you to spoon feed me, I’m just asking for a little help. There’s no books on this stuff and you can’t go to school to get your BA in deliverability. All we’ve got is each other.
Phil Schott has been handling delivery and compliance for a major ESP for the last 3 and a half years.