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  • April 2020 - How are businesses pivoting in the pandemic? Here are 3 inspirational examples.

April 2020 - How are businesses pivoting in the pandemic? Here are 3 inspirational examples.

How are businesses pivoting in the pandemic? Here are 3 inspirational examples.

How are businesses pivoting in the pandemic? Here are 3 inspirational examples

Launching my new book

Your votes were clear and overwhelming in choosing a cover for my new book, Forever Employable: How to stop looking for work and let your next job find you. That one (above) was the clear winner (and my favorite too). This book is a direct application of the material I've been working on for years to make products, teams and cultures more successful now applied to future-proofing your career and professional growth. 

I've started a launch group and I want you to be a part of it. Here's how:

The launch of any book is super important to its eventual ongoing success. This particular book is even more relevant now given the state of the world (more on that below). I've put together a launch group of people like you who are passionate about building great products, teams, cultures and careers. When you join the group you'll get early access to the book, supporting material and tools and a community of innovators reshaping our ways of working. You can sign up here.

Hey folks -

I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. A month ago I was sitting in a restaurant in London with a group of friends enjoying dinner, catching up on what we’ve been up to and taking turns holding one friend’s new baby. It was a ton of fun and we were happy to be there. The food was good. The mood was good. We were excited about all the things we had planned for the coming months.

the crew at dinner in London just 1 month ago

Here’s the photo we took as we left the restaurant that evening.

Fast forward one month and I don’t have to tell you how the world has changed. You know and you’ve been affected. We all have. We all are figuring out how to juggle working from home, schooling from home and the general stress of quarantine and global uncertainty. In our family, I have to admit, that while having two teenagers isn’t always the easiest, I am grateful for my kids’ relatively high levels of independence and commitment to maintaining their school and social interactions. It’s provided me the additional bandwidth I need to figure out how to navigate this new world for our family and for my clients.

As with any crisis, there is resiliency and from that come opportunities to learn. I’ve been searching for interesting and inspirational stories of companies retooling, refactoring and reinventing their business models to stay relevant, valuable and frankly, in business these days. I wanted to share three examples with you that I’ve found so far.

Example 1: The travel industry

One of the hardest hit sectors, companies that offer tours, attractions and experiences are figuring out what to offer when people can’t travel.

several businesses were highlighted for their interesting pivots. For example a service called Withlocals, where normally you would spend time with a local experiencing something, well, local, has pivoted to online classes like pasta-making in the hopes that these free livestreams will lead to private bookings of classes. What I’ve been impressed with in this sector is the application of the “test and learn” approach. Another company that offers cultural walking tours in many cities, Context Travel, offered $35 online seminars as a test using Eventbrite to sell tickets. The test was successful and a broader rollout is planned.

Lesson learned: There are many ways to deliver the core value you provide. How can you focus on your expertise and experience and use the tools we have available at the moment to delight your customers?

Example 2: The conference business

We can’t meet in person so this effectively kills the conference business, right? Not so fast. While seemingly every conference is now online, porting a lengthy one or multi day in-person conference to online is not an easy proposition and can be a sub-optimal user experience. Enter

. The London-based (but globally present) team at MTP puts on a series of large in-person events around the world. Instead of porting this format online directly. for their recent APAC-focused event, the team broke the keynote sessions into a multi-day series of lectures that were shared free of charge. The goal was to use these online sessions to drive leads to their training business which can be delivered effectively online and continues to be needed.

Lesson learned: You may not be able to charge for your core product. How, then, can you use it to create interest in products and services you can charge for?

Example 3: Education

Schools are closed for the rest of the year in most of the world. Many instructors have never taught “online” before. While they may be familiar with the basic tools and some regularly use learning management systems, converting an entire curriculum online in a matter of days is a monumental task.

There are a ton of variables in the success of schools going online recently including privilege, access to technology and tools, the age of the students and many others. I wanted to acknowledge these as they are not easy to overcome.

I also wanted to highlight what I’ve seen the teachers at our school do. We’re in week 3 of “virtual school.” Week 1 was tough — a couple of intro videos, homework assignments and instructions to upload the assignments via any tool the teacher and students had access to: WhatsApp, Google Classroom, text message, etc. Each week, the school asks for feedback from the parents and the students (our school goes from pre-Kindergarten to high school). Each week new tools are introduced. Old tools are removed. Curriculums are adjusted. Students are engaged differently. We’ve got a long way to go but I’ve been amazed by the build/measure/learn attitude of our educators.

Lesson learned: Your first efforts to pivot to a distributed world will be clunky. They might even suck. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re learning from these efforts and most importantly checking with your audience to understand where you can improve. If you’re learning, you’re moving forward.

There’s a tremendous amount of collaboration and innovation happening in the world right now. The challenges are massive and have never been experienced at this scale before. Your skills, talents, expertise and experience are even more valuable now than before. I hope that the examples above inspire you to experiment with ways to continue to do that.

I want to help you as well. What are you struggling with? Have you figured out a quarantine hack for what you do? Ask me. Tell me. I’ll share and amplify.

Please stay safe, healthy and at home.



What I'm up to:Product Discovery for Agile Teams, the live online class I teach with Josh Seiden is now open for April cohort registrations. We’ve sold out every cohort so far. Details and tickets (individual and team) available here. Click here to see what a recent student had to say about this class.We're also offering this class in a private format for organizations around the world. Hit reply to ask me how we can bring this to your teams in-house.I am going to be on a ton of online meetups and other type of events over the next couple of months in advance of the launch of the book. The ones coming up soon include Quarantine Book Club with Mike Monteiro and the Digital Drivers show with the Barcelona Design Community. Check Twitter for other upcoming live online events. 


What I'm liking at the moment: 

-- one of the best books I've read recently on becoming a better teacher with techniques you can apply and see results from every class.

-- it pains me to admit I like this band because I hate bands with unpronounceable names but, here we are. Mellow. Groovy. Not a lot of lyrics. Perfect for working and relaxing.

Ozark -- Season 3 out now on Netflix and it just gets darker and weirder. I love this show and how cold and calculating Jason Bateman and Laura LInney's characters can be. Must watch. 

As always, if you want me to work directly with your company on training, coaching or workshops on the topics of organizational agility, digital transformation, product discovery and agile leadership, don’t hesitate to reach out.Like this newsletter? Forward it to a friend. 


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