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Do What Works

We all want to spend our time well.  To do that in today’s world, we generally rely highly on the opinions of others – whether through online reviews or word of mouth.

Authentic experience, to us, is key and king in making the right decisions every day.

Thus, I’m always on the look out for “the best” way to do things – probably like you.

What I’ve only recently come to understand is that “the best” is actually relative.  Truly, there’s no such thing as “the best software” or “the best way to do X thing”.

While you may argue and point out that Photoshop, for example, is clearly the superior image editor (I’d agree with this assessment) – I’d still say maybe for most people.

That doesn’t necessarily mean for you.

Let me give you two examples…

LinkedIn

Check out my buddy Derek’s twitter thread below (I mean, actually click on Derek’s tweet – tl;dr version inline).

This thread spawned a short discussion over the validity of LinkedIn’s usefulness – ie: “why does this service even exist?”

The discussions, or even arguments, over things like this I’m beginning to find more and more silly.

The implication in the thread is that multiple people find LinkedIn stupid, dumb, or creepy for various reasons.  When I submit my thoughts, they sound like the opposite – the fact that I landed a job through LinkedIn sounds pretty positive, right?

So naturally, most people reading will jump to the conclusion that I disagree with the general views of those involved in the thread.  I’ve used LinkedIn to success – therefore the others are wrong.

Simply put: no.

There’s two arguments going on here, each distinct from each other and both entirely valid.  I hope you’ll be able to see this clearly because I think it would squash much internet arguing if you do…

Argument 1: LinkedIn is dumb

If you look at the experience of those involved in the thread, it tells a story.  One person does a lot of work in video post-production.  Another does game audio from the UK.

Having done film work – I know that LinkedIn is a very poor spot to find work, generally speaking.

Having done game work – I know that LinkedIn can be useful, but isn’t always.  I’d suspect that there are better methods to attack for job hunting for games in the UK.

So the opinion of those in the thread is entirely valid, right?

I’d sure say so.

Argument 2: LinkedIn is useful

LinkedIn played the initial communication catalyst in getting me a job.

Seems pretty cut-and-dry, right?  It can be useful.

In fact, I’ve gotten multiple jobs (3, if I recall correctly) by either listings or recruiting over LinkedIn.

In some careers, I’d say it’s pretty advantageous to keep your resume up-to-date there regularly.  Would I say that for film or games?  Not necessarily, but it certainly could be useful.

But my opinion – that LinkedIn is useful – is still entirely valid, right?

It appears as such!

But can these things both be true at the same time?

YES! — opinions of “good/the best” are largely situational!

Business Cards

This argument is my favorite argument to get into with creatives online.  Literally, my favorite.

I can super easily get people to hurl balls of flaming cuss words at me via a keyboard super fast just by typing this:

I think business cards are a giant waste of time.

Yep.  I said it again internet!  Come at me!

My point is this – I’ve handed out hundreds of business cards over the years.  I’ve gotten a job from one of those transactions zero times.  Zero.  Out of hundreds.

Meanwhile, I have a few strategies that, instead of handing out a card, cause me to get someone’s phone number and be able to text or call and generally have a much better initial relationship establishment.  Via these methods – I started and continue to successfully grow my career.

Are my methods foolproof and always successful?  No, but they’re better than zero.

But let’s go back to thinking about my friends in the conversation above – have they gotten a job from a business card?

Do you know anyone else who has?  I know plenty!

I’ve even had people tell me they wouldn’t hire someone who didn’t hand them a business card – people I consider great workers and well-established.

Does my opinion or experience make theirs invalid?

Hell no!

Now – I might reserve the right to say it might be a little much to refuse to hire someone who doesn’t have a business card.  But they also have the freedom to run their business the way they want.  Plus, guess what?  It’s successful!

But, for me business cards don’t work.  For others, they have, will, and sometimes do!

The Takeaway

So kids, remember this if you remember nothing else:

Your opinion and experience are just that – your own!

There’s a “best for the situation”, “best for the person involved”, but largely no “best, period.  no arguing.”

Apply this in-context next time you cross any of these topics:

  • What’s the best DAW?  Reaper or Pro Tools??  I know what the industry standard is!
  • Should I get PC, or Mac?!
  • What’s the best microphone?
  • What are the most accurate headphones and monitors?!!?!
  • Which social media site is the best use of my time?! (true answer: none)
  • What’s the best way to get a job in the entertainment industry?! (true answer: don’t)

And, of course, plenty of others.

So instead of searching for “the best” and worrying your ass off that you won’t find the right thing, try a different strategy:

Make a choice and start doing.  If it works, do what works.  If it doesn’t, keep doing until you do what works!


Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.