“Everybody needs an EVIL PLAN.
Everybody needs that crazy, out-there idea that allows them to ACTUALLY start doing something they love, doing something that matters.
Everybody needs an EVIL PLAN that gets them the hell out of the Rat Race, away from lousy bosses, away from boring, dead-end jobs that they hate.
Life is short.”
Fantastically written short business book I recommend to everyone <it is kind of like the Top Models Decision Book … chapters one or two pages long … concise points>.
I mostly recommend this book because I think everyone SHOULD have an Evil Plan.
To be clear with regard to everyone having one of these evil plans. Some people will actually try an implement it. And some people will just have it in a drawer somewhere thinking maybe someday I may do it and maybe some people just like knowing they have an Evil Plan regardless of where it is gathering dust. That’s what dreams are all about.
You don’t really have to follow your dreams all the time sometimes it is just nice, really nice, to have a dream. A “what if” as it were.
I’ve softened my stance on this over the years. I used to be a “if you have a dream and don’t pursue it in some way you are cheating yourself.” I recognize now that I am an Evil Plan developer and implementer. Therefore … I may have had a skewed perspective. Ok. I did have a skewed perspective.
As time has passed … and as Hugh points out in his book … it can be a consuming thing. Consuming is a great word because it is a nice way to suggest that there are tradeoffs.
I would suggest that there are a shitload of very happy people with Evil Plans in a drawer somewhere just sitting there gathering dust. Happy people living Life as it is.
Just as there are a shitload of happy people out there consumed pursuing their Evil Plan. Happy people living Life as it is.
Everyone should have an Evil Plan.
No debate. An Evil Plan is a mandatory.
Here’s the point. Whatever you are selling isn’t merely a product or service. It’s also a product of a belief system – your own belief system. And understanding your belief system is crucial to building your Evil Plan.
It’s not what you make; it’s what you believe in. That’s what people respond to.
That is where your enterprise lives or dies.
So.Go believe in something. It really works. Trust me.
And the idea of an Evil Plan is not a flippant aimless idea. It has purpose … or maybe it’s an objective – WORLD DOMINATION.
Everyone lives in their own little world. The planet is just too damn big for one person to take it all in. So every human being seeks out their own little microcosm. Whether we’re talking about Wall Street, the coffee shops of bohemian Chicago, the ranches of West Texas or the San Francisco advertising agency scene, we find these worlds that suit us (sometimes they find us too), and we pitch our tents there. These worlds are the ones we want to dominate.
We all know where and what they are….
You don’t really aim to “dominate” the world you live in, of course. The most you can hope for is to live in harmony with it. You like it, it likes you back. Things just work. Things just click. And when your Evil Plan is going full steam, this is how it all feels.
But maybe, just maybe, the real thought behind a well thought out smart insightful Evil Plan is not so harebrained because … well … the market for something to believe in is infinite.
I have written far too many times in the past that, in business, we are dealers of Hope. Hope for something better. Hope to be better. Hope for better than I am and what I have today.
Hope has an infinite value.
Hugh’s version of this is the fact that people will line up for the chance to be involved in something to believe in. It can be a product, a service, a brand, a purpose … or all of the above.
Rather than preach some personal philosophical bullshit I will simply share what Hugh calls The HughTrain Manifesto:
THE HUGHTRAIN MANIFESTO:
“THE MARKET FOR SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN IS INFINITE.”
We are here to find meaning. We are here to help other people do the same.
Everything else is secondary.
We humans want to believe in our own species. And we want people, companies and products in our lives that make it easier to do so.
That is human nature.
Product benefit doesn’t excite us. Belief in humanity and human potential excites us.
Think less about what your product does, and think more about human potential.
What statement about humanity does your product make?
The bigger the statement, the bigger the idea, the bigger your brand will become.
It’s no longer just enough for people to believe that your product does what it says on the label. They want to believe in you and what you do. And they’ll go elsewhere if they don’t.
It’s not enough for the customer to love your product. They have to love your process as well.
People are not just getting more demanding as consumers, they are getting more demanding as spiritual entities. Branding is a spiritual exercise.
Either get with the program or hire a consultant in Extinction Management. No vision, no business. Your life from now on pivots squarely on your vision of human potential.
The primary job of an advertiser is not to communicate benefit, but to communicate conviction.
Benefit is secondary. Benefit is a product of conviction, not vice versa.
Whatever you manufacture, somebody can make it better, faster and cheaper than you.
You do not own the molecules. They are stardust. They belong to God. What you do own is your soul. Nobody can take that away from you. And it is your soul that informs the brand.
It is your soul, and the purpose and beliefs that embodies, that people will buy into.
Why is your Evil Plan great? Why does your Evil Plan matter? Seriously. If you don’t know, then nobody else can- no advertiser, no buyer, and certainly no customer.
It’s not about merit. It’s about faith. Belief. Conviction. Courage.
It’s about why you’re on this planet. To make a dent in the universe.
I don’t want to know why your brand is good, or very good, or even great. I want to know why your brand is totally frickin’ amazing.
Once you tell me, I can tell the world.
And then they will know.
I do believe people need a plan. I don’t really care if it is an Evil Plan <albeit I think it would be cool for everyone to have one>.
Anyway. Pick up his book Evil Plans. It is a simple read and yet addresses some non-simple personal things – ambition, fears, aspirations, hopes and dreams – and yet talks directly to being trapped in a dead-end job, how to effectively position ideas and why it’s actually a mandatory to think differently if you want to think creatively <not just as a traditionally defined creative person but just as a thinker>.
Throughout the book, MacLeod includes his artwork/cartoons which are almost worth the price of the book alone. Someone wrote this and I agree … This is not a book filled with nothing but doom and gloom. It is quite the opposite; his words and art inspire, motivate, and will make you laugh.
He is the creator of a great blog, www.gapingvoid.com. He is an artist, entrepreneur, author, among other things. He is creative, forward-thinking, open-minded and smart. You will note since day one of my blog I have had the Hugh MacLeod cartoons on my site.