All posts by Mark Jordan

On Writing and Editing

There is a big difference between writing and editing, and often that difference lies in which part of the brain is activated. Writing, especially storytelling, is a creative process that engages the right side of the brain. This is where art, creativity, imagination, intuition, insight, and holistic thought are believed to take place. When I’m writing, this is the side of the brain that gives me the power to combine seemingly unrelated items, to find synthesis, and to create fun ways to present information.

My editor lies on the other side of my longitudinal fissure on the left side of my brain. Editing involves analytical thought, reasoning, and language skills. This is when I can trim a few hundred words into 45, find the buried lead, and catch all of the compound modifiers.

The challenge is when I have to switch gears. Getting neurons to jump that longitudinal fissure is pretty rough – a lot like starting a twenty-year-old lawnmower in minus 12-degree weather. Usually I have to get up and walk around a bit and then restart.

The reason I bring this up is because I often get asked to switch gears between the two. It’s not as easy as putting down one piece of paper and picking up another. It involves switching sides of the brain.

So when you ask a writer to edit something or to write something when they’re editing, don’t be surprised if they don’t pick it up right away. Give them a chance to finish what they started and then switch gears.

Creating Meaning

The debate about finding versus creating meaning has continued for centuries. Personally, I believe that we create meaning by finding evidence of patterns in the the circumstances we face. This is true whether you’re entering a philosophical debate about life, or trying to position a product or service in your market.

The key to creating meaning is to first find evidence. For a product, it’s best to look at all of the new features from the perspective of the customer. What does this feature mean to them? What does it help them do faster or better?

Always remember that people make most decisions based on emotions and then find ways to justify that decision with logic. If your differentiator is based on lower cost, positioning that differentiator as “better value” allows you to play to the customer’s desire to be smart with their money. If your product is faster, consider talking about how speed makes them feel — do they feel more powerful, smarter? Or do your customers now feel that they have more time for what matters? If your service is faster, does it means more time for your customers to focus on what they want to do, or that they deserve the very best service?

By the way, if you don’t believe we buy based on emotion, ask yourself why you drive the car you drive or wear the clothes you do. Then keep asking, “How does that make you feel?” until you get to the truth.

It’s infuriating, I know. But it will make a world of difference in the end.

E-Sports Is Already Mainstream

A few years ago, my son and I had just returned to his college apartment after my first football game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. He flipped on his computer and said, “Dad, you have to see this.” What I saw changed both of our lives.

We were watching a young e-sports pro playing a practice game of League of Legends, and more than 100,000 people were watching. On a Saturday afternoon! This IS the next generation of sports and if you don’t understand it, that’s okay. Sometimes it’s hard to understand people paying to watch people hit a little ball into a hole or over a fence, or drive around in an oval for 500 miles. But people do.

But it wasn’t until I convinced the company where I worked to sponsor a team that learned that this audience is not like any other I’ve encountered. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share some of my insights into e-sports marketing.