On The Race To First…

This post is a simple reminder that being “first” is pressure we often just put on ourselves.

With the launch of IGTV this week, I was reminded of how eager we are to celebrate the quick wins in this industry. We scramble to activate right away, have teams completely shift gear and barely get a moment to breathe. Social media updates, man, they cause a frenzy!

As I watched the conversations unfold around IGTV and the desire to “be there” right away, I couldn’t help but to wonder if the frenzy is always necessary. Do our fans care that we are there right at launch? Does the scramble of getting in on the moment help elevate our presence? What’s the difference between jumping in on launch day or seven days later? It’s important to ask these questions.

Experimentation is absolutely part of what we do. It is our jobs to stay up on the trends. It is our job to push organizations to innovate. It is our job to download and understand IGTV when it launches. It’s our job to have a pulse on this landscape. I’m not debating that.

But, I believe we have to be careful to not confuse “first” with “best”. We should not measure our success on being first in line unless it really has a value proposition. We have to understand why being first matters.

When our work is so public and the community of people in it is active (and awesome), it’s easy to get caught up in the game of comparing. It’s easy to feel the pressure to go and go now. Understandably, we all feel this desire to be in the middle of it all.

The reality is we operate in a world with small teams (typically) and already endless amounts of pressure. If you want to survive the long game in digital, you have to learn that there is, in fact, a balance. We don’t have to create false frenzies and false pressures. It’s okay to observe, brainstorm and then act. We have to make the conscious effort to prioritize.

I’ve learned that working in digital is the ultimate balancing act. Be strategic, but also be swift. Focus on acting quickly when it really helps drive your goals. Resist the urge to check the box for the sake of doing so. Give yourself permission to breathe, pause and think. If the team can execute the moment something new is launched and it makes sense for your brand, great, but we need to get rid of the false pressure. That’s all I’m saying.

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