McAbee: Start with wow

by Jeff McAbee

If you have ever watched Steve Jobs introduce the first iPhone, then you have seen a “wow” moment. No matter which brand of smart phone you are loyal to today, that first iPhone was just extraordinary in concept, vision and design.

Apple has been a corporation that has owned a few “wow” moments in the last decade or so.

Musicians do it, too. Sometimes an album comes out and reminds us that all the good music hasn’t been made just, that still more can be done with a few instruments and imaginative lyrics.

And I just keep reading books that change my life by new and different authors all the time.

There’s more content than ever, more competition than ever, and more quality than ever, but a lot of it is going unnoticed, why? My editors have Facebook, and we tweet to a group of followers who are kind enough to read our material. It’s like we are building a platform from which to sell something, even if we’re just selling ourselves.

It’s a social media marketplace where we are all having a hard time understanding the new institution of journalism, communication and using social media to make a buck.

Understand that the person who figures this out has essentially found the Holy Grail of the 21st century. Facebook’s stock has tanked because investing in Facebook is sort of like buying a municipal bond to support the streets. Facebook is not the product, no more than the street in front of my house connecting my grocery store to my gas station and my bike shop is the product. Yeah, I’d miss it if it wasn’t there, but the town supported by taxes can maintain it. In the end, I still need the product, whatever it is.

Social media is allowing a bilateral intimacy or engagement where it is possible to be more connected than ever with your customers, supporters and fans.

For example, in 2010, Vail Resorts launched EpicMix through its website which had drawn praise from industry insiders but had not yet tapped into the skiers’ and riders’ tendency to connect before, during, and after a day on the slopes.

In the first year of EpicMix, Vail Resorts reported 100,000 users – or 15 percent of all eligible pass holders.

Michael Hyatt is not a celebrity. He is not a talk show host on television, or a musician with a number one hit, nor has he run for public office. Yet, in the last eight years, his “Intentional Leadership” blog at has grown to 400,000 unique monthly visitors, he has more than 100,000 Twitter followers and over 15,000 Facebook fans.

Hyatt has written a new book called “Platform, Get Noticed in a Noisy World.” Both Michael Hyatt and Vail Resorts Inc. have a compelling product, but many businesses, organizations and individuals have compelling products (service, book, widget, anything that can be sold) and yet are not successful in standing on their platform and getting noticed above the noise. Why is this?

Very few people in this great nation aren’t aware of the whole “if you believe it you can be it” power of positive thinking way of making dreams come true. But then we’ve been dismal of late because, we’ve been focusing on these new media and neglecting the business of creating something great. As Hyatt puts it, we need to “start with wow.”

Deadlines, the pressure to provide 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year content or availability as the case may be, has resulted in a lot of mediocrity, even at some of our best institutions. “Regardless of the form your product takes”, Hyatt explains, “no amount of marketing savvy, salesmanship, or operational excellence can overcome a weak product.” Or as my grandpa used to say, “No amount of sugar will turn crap into candy.” Wow.

Jeff McAbee lives in Breckenridge. Contact him at or via Twitter @Jeff_McAbee.

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