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When you're running a company, one quickly becomes acquainted with the thought that everything matters. That everything, every little detail, as it relates to the enterprise and its progression is important. And in that, one is mostly but not completely right.
Some stuff doesn't matter or matter enough. Perhaps, un-intuitively, the surprise is that most of the stuff that turns out not to matter is good news. That is to say, positive events that don't translate into anything additive to the company's growth.
Here are 5 that come to mind:
1. Positive local press
Here it is the Washington Post which is a prominent national publication. And a great write up in it will certainly bring kudos from your Facebook friends. Enjoy for a couple minutes and then get back to things that will grow the company.
2. National TV appearance
Check the numbers on your favorite cable programs. Unless those include Fox's Bill O'Reilly, large numbers of people aren't watching these shows. And, even when they are watching, they are likely not interested in your product. It is exciting and fun. Just consider it a break from the daily routine. You still have to concentrate on communicating your value proposition to probable suspects.
3. Product of Year from a Trade Pub
It is great fun to win and beat your competitors in a "head to head" appraisal. Then again, if you take the same effort that goes into influencing one of these and apply to everyone who doesn't read the trade publication (>99% of the universe) -- it would have been a much better use of time. Plus, there's always a competitive trade publication coming to a different answer and all the trade publication awards have a very short useful life. So, as they say, fame and magazine awards are fleeting.
4. Trade Show Award
Do we really trust these folks? Really? If you have a big enough booth, you're entitled to the award for most innovative product or product of the year. If you aren't profoundly suspect of these, take an afternoon off.
5. Calls from Large Company Bureaucrats
They are interested and enthusiastic but utterly powerless. They are also meaningless in their own organizations but get to be giants within yours. They call expressing powerful interest and you would be forgiven thinking about the potential positive impact. Then again, you might have better things to do than give meaning to someone who has chosen to live a powerless life. Many a small company will find itself turned on its head chasing a huge opportunity that is only the product of a bureaucrat's search for meaning.
I raise these 5 pieces of good news because they are often touted by the CEO's that pitch us as evidence that the company is really gaining traction. Unfortunately, they frequently tend to indicate that the company won't gain traction because its management is chasing good news that would be better ignored.....