Strategy as Tires: The Story Behind A Twitter Phenomenon

by DavidLocke September 24th, 2010 

strategyastires

I write the Strategy as Tires tweets. You can find them in my stream, @DavidWLocke. Ruud Hein asked me if I write them fresh each day. Yes, I do. So he asked me how I do that. How do I do that everyday.

How To

The idea is to write at least one Strategy as Tires tweet a day.

I usually write several on the same theme. I hit a vein and out comes quite a few. Some days they don't want to stop. But, I have lost followers when they get too many tweets from me, and they usually get too many, because I write on several themes on any give day, and I converse with almost everyone in my stream.

I have put my overflow tweets in a file and used them later, but this didn't really work well. Some days I tweet these throughout the day. In this case, I might write them on different themes. These tend to reflect a search for a vein to mine.

There are days when I cannot get online, so there's no tweet. When I know I'm facing a day like that I put scheduled tire tweets on cotweet.com. These tweets tend to be from single vein.

Keywords

With SEO you have an inbound keyword inventory. I've done this. It lets me go to my inventory and pick off a keyword to write about.

I'm not an MBA, but I read a little. The tire shop has a pasture out back for the cash cows. I haven't gotten to the dogs yet.

The tire shop is overrun with the execs wanting to store stuff like their spreadsheets, and the tires that they brought with them from their former employers. Tires get mounted in the tire shop.

In real life a strategy depends on execution, so you have to get everyone onboard and executing the strategy. At the tire shop we hold lug nut parties to get everyone involved.

I'm reading a book on the history of strategy consulting firms to broaden the reach of my tire tweets.

Me, the guy that runs the tire shop asks pointed questions. One day might be more pointy than another. .

The Daily Do

The first thing that happens at some point when the reply tweets have been written, the email scanned, and the morning's first list of Go games has been played, I'll type in

Strategy as Tires:

and stare at it. Yeah, the blank sheet of paper, the writers block blinking at me at the display's refresh rate screaming, Hey, you got nothing today! I go back to my stream. It stares at me. We'll see.

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Many writers sit down and stare at a blank sheet of paper. Nothing. If they mention this to me, I tell them to write a page number on each sheet. The paper isn't pristine, so the barrier to ink is lowered.

Not so easy online or in a word processor. Pixel barriers are just as tall as those of ink. Put a few pixels on that page. Get moving, or we'll come in and inventory your fine procrastination products. Writers make quite a vast quantity of procrastination product.

Finally, I encounter a trigger in my stream.

Your tweet stream is like keyword research. It is a long list of words and phrase–keywords. Sure they are organized into sentences, long key phrases. So I type one in. Ship? Nope. Not good enough. I'm not talking mechanics. It's the idea. Flip it over in the frying pan. But, I've started. I press backspace until that one is gone. I cycle here. Then, it happens! It stared up at me. I've hit the vein.

Here's what happened the day after Ruud asked me to write this:

Strategy as Tires: The sales tire is a little low today. We'll air them out by having sales move their desks out to the parking lot.

Strategy as Tires: Having too few desks in the office forces the sales reps to visit prospects and customer for air conditioning cool.

Strategy as Tires: Our sales force uses cell phones precisely so that when we air out sales, we don't have to run wiring.

And, off we went.

Notice, there's more than one.

it's the
job
to ship
I don't spend a lot of time editing them. I ask if they work. I don't ask if they are funny. Some are and some wouldn't make that cut. I can only imagine what my editor would say. None of the tweets would ship. But, it's the job to ship. Still, when I pull them off my backupmytweets.com account and work on converting them from reverse-chrono to chrono, I find editorial that screams at me. You shipped this!!! Well, yes. Calm down. Should I fix them? Yeah.

Some days the tire tweet is like pulling teeth. Nothing shippable happens. Something is going to ship, but those days become a search for inspiration. Those of the days of rewrites. That voice in the back of my head reminds me, No, you can't leave yet. You are hostage to a tweet. But, finally SEND gets pressed. Done!!

Done? Are you kidding. Once you find the vein, the textbox wins because you can't stop.

Luckily, I don't publish at a specific time. Time does matter on twitter. You followers are online at specific times. Some of them never meet each other. You have to find the peak times and publish them when your followers are present, or soon to be present. Since I tweet something that looked like 24/7 last year and 9 am to 11 pm now, more people actually find my tire tweets in their tweet stream.

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It's not like standup comedy either. I don't do the whole batch before I ship one, so there is no sense of pacing. They struggle. They rise. They peak. They denouement. They do this without my help. If all in love with them, and if Lisa Loeb was right, saying hello is the beginning of goodbye.

I made up the imaginary games as a kid. I ran the fort. I listened to Armed Forces Radio, because there was no TV, and yes, there was a polka hour, just like Good Morning Vietnam. Radio Mystery Theater was all in your head.

Personification is looked down upon. But, I've stood there in presentation class talking about life as a hot dog.

I've sat in linear algebra class with a prof who couldn't teach this stuff drawing cartoons about a microprocessor city. Before Strategy as Tires, I was going to put cartoons about a geometric point on t-shirts. So the everyday a few toons or tweets is normal. I don't know how to do that.

Or is it what tango taught me about momentum and the appearance of continuity. Step this way. Change direction. Nothing stops you. It looks nice and smooth on the outside.

Doing it, writing the tire tweet, everyday is about making a commitment. Make the commitment first. Then, experiment with processes. Find what works for you.

Strategy as Tires: OK, who the hell ran this tire though a puddle of ink?

David Locke

David Locke, Product Strategist for discontinuous innovation. There are times when you need a discontinuous innovation.

Product Strategist

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