This email was sent on the 6th April, 2020, to all Tiny CX subscribers:
The Machine Stops.
Last year, I read a short story by E.M. Forster titled, "The Machine Stops", because I was inspired to read it after reading Oliver Sacks' essay, "The Machine Stops".
In each story, the author laments the loss of social connection due to advances in technology.
In Forster's dystopian world, humans live in isolated underground apartments that are powered by a "machine". The machine does everything for us: it cooks, it educates, it communicates, and it sleeps and bathes us. We return to an in-utero state.
In Sacks' essay, he drew parallels in Forster's world to the impact of technology on our lives in the 21st century. Sacks, the Jack Kerouac of science, was bemoaning the impact that the rise of technology has had on our ability to drive human connections.
Recently, at least for a few days, the machine stopped.
And now it's resetting.
The Hard Reset.
It's like the world is doing one big hard reset. We've been turned off at the wall and we're starting to re-boot, and maybe some things that were there before won't be there anymore.
The impact that my business, Tiny CX, has felt is the same as almost every other business: a frozen pipeline and an uncertain future. If this crisis shows anything, it's which businesses have strong cash positions and which are highly leveraged (a fantastic monologue from Matt Watkinson is available on this subject here). I am somewhere in the middle. Had this happened last year, I fear my appetite for new ventures may have been my undoing.
For mine, I'm trying to view this "hard reset" as the opportunity to revisit the business, the brand, and the future. As a business owner, it's incredibly difficult to objectively optimise your own business in the same way that you can do to others. But when the world grinds to a halt, it changes your perspective on things. The output has so far been:
"What we do is important, how we do it could be better".
In reading Nassim Taleb's Incerto essays over summer, it became apparently clear to me that change is exponential, not linear. What emerges from this pandemic may not be the same business, or individual, that entered it, and that's ok. For now, I am continuing to explore how things might change in these times, and you are invited to have a say in that process.
While I am reducing the website down to our essence, "moments that build brands, and brands that deliver on moments" (coming soon), I have opened up a survey for you, a human who is taking the time to read my self-indulgent business drivel, to provide any feedback (anonymous or no) on Tiny CX:
In my last send all, I mentioned some initiatives that are being explored because, for me, options = adaptability.
There are less initiatives than there were before, and those that remain only remain because of the traction that they have received over the last few weeks. Here is a summary of those new opportunities outside of Tiny CX that remain:
Thanks to grants like those available through the City of Melbourne, we're seeing an increase in demand for building new products, services, and digital marketing solutions from businesses around the country to help adapt to the impact of Covid. Working to a fixed cost, I see our role as defining and creating a successful MVP that can ultimately fund more iterations. More information is available here.
A collaboration between Freeform Strategy and Tiny CX, this new product is a customer feedback loop solution that measures the value of your CX and helps you understand how you can improve it. More information is available here.
I've been fortunate enough to interview Joe Pine, arguably the founding figure of CX as we know it today, on his perspective on Coronavirus and its impact on the experience economy. I am interviewing other business leaders from around the world to hear their perspective too. I am still seeking distribution partners for this series, so please contact me if you would like to discuss being a part of this.
How Can I Help?
I'm navigating uncertainty and treading water like everybody else, but I still know that I sit in a position of relative privilege.
With this knowledge, I have increased my hands-on engagement with a non-profit that I am a NED of, the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. Being a non-profit film festival is an interesting challenge in 2020.
I do, however, have the capacity and the drive to help those around me. If you need help, please reach out to me and I'll do my utmost to be of value to you. My details are provided below.