Laying brick > Catching lightning in a bottle

A few weeks ago, Liston Witherill walked us through the mechanics of his LinkedIn video that generated 200,000 views:

“The holy grail of almost all marketing and business is ‘How can I build something that just keeps feeding me?’ I build it once, by either the intrinsic value of it or by some weird coincidence it totally takes off… and that’s what we want…
My experience with the LinkedIn video in particular was, I think I wasn’t totally clear on initially why it was happening… I posted a lot of videos last year, I’d say at least one a week. It actually felt like it wasn’t engineered to get a lot of views…

As soon as the comments started rolling in I was like ‘Oh shit, how am I going to fulfill this?’ Ahhh, this is not a problem I wanted to have. And it ate up a whole week for me… and it’s not a week that I wanted to spend doing this.

I did get a client from it… one client. One very short-term client.”

Hmm… not exactly the game-changer one would expect from 1,783 comments from seemingly relevant members of your target audience.

laying brick liston comments

And even if it was, how do you plan for that?

“Catch lightning in a bottle” isn’t exactly an actionable quarterly objective.

Seth Godin shares some wisdom on the same sentiment:

“Fell swoops seem like they’re worth chasing, but a hit isn’t a strategy, it’s an event. Nice work if you can get it, but hard to plan on or build on.
It takes patience to avoid planning on swoops. It’s more productive to live in a house that’s built out of bricks, one at a time, day by day.”

I, like many engineering types, am notorious for falling victim to this type of thinking, especially early on in my career… spending an ungodly amount of time and effort trying to both engineer and time the tidal wave that’s going to carry you miles ahead in an instant.

But if instead (talking to you, early 20’s Tom), in all of that time you spent trying to “crack the code” you committed yourself to day-by-day brick building, you’d probably have a pretty sweet house by now…

And maybe a lucky fell swoop or two to boot.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *