Content is a Lens. So is Profit.

When you look at you/your business through a content lens, you may see many job functions, deliverables and processes. Those threads will lead you into dark alleys full of flat databases, and reveal inspirational vistas tucked away in customer service skunkworks documents. The content lens always comes back to the design of customer/employee experience: the thank-you email, the check-out flow and the ability to say something new (even if it runs outside protocol). Most organizations struggle with this lens. It reveals the dimensions of their businesses that are organic and non-binary—things which require innovation and ‘what if’ to always be at the ready. (See scary.)

The profit lens is much easier, because it appears more immediately necessary. It focuses on quarterly earnings, efficiency and optimization. Seeing things through the lens of profit has fewer twist and turns—we made money or we lost money. Processes and departments appear less granular, and steps tend to be more easily grouped and concatenated. A profitable business with enough customers and (discordant) content still has its lights on, payroll is covered and tomorrow is another day.

But rest assured both lenses are required. The trick is having the patience and experience to wear every hat and the ability to squint at the right time.

—Ian

 

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