Snapchat I just can’t want to

The older I get, the more I fear ‘new’ things, is this why I struggle with Snapchat?

During my first year of University, I’d listen to every new song and laugh at how the older generations had to have radio stations locked into an era long gone, unable to digest any new music.

Now I’m 39-years-old, and while I have heard Tay Tay’s new snake-themed album and I know more than one word in ‘despacito’, this has been driven mostly by my eight-year-old daughter. If left alone, I’d quite happily go back to my musical comfort window of 1994-2004. Grinspoon is still a thing, yeah?

So this brings me to the onslaught of new technologies, I’m well ahead of the curve on most technology, it is my job to be, but…..

“I just can’t want to snapchat.”

Let me explain what I mean.When my son was a little younger he had this great phrase he would use to describe his emotions when faced with a task that he not only didn’t want to do but one that he couldn’t even think about wanting to do… “I just can’t want to”.

Me: “Will, pick up your toys”

Will: “I just can’t want to!”

Cut to the scene of a 3-year-old boy on the ground in floods of tears.

It was a brilliant turn of phrase in its honest and descriptive power. My son wasn’t saying he couldn’t. Just like me, of course I ‘could’ Snapchat, if I wanted to. But I don’t. And I can’t even find a reason to want to.

This is a terrible position for me to take professionally. I’ve been in digital marketing for 20 years now, as in the entire time digital marketing has been a thing – I’ve been there.

I’m across Twitter, I love Linkedin and I obviously blog, but when it comes to Snapchat I just can’t. Or to use or a more grown-up phrase ‘I can’t find a f**k to give’.

And this is why I don’t think Snapchat will win the social communication market. You see, when Facebook launched it was our (the Xennial Generation’s) job to train up our baby boomer parents. But now us Xennials are getting older, we fear the unknown, and so we’re not going to train up our parents on how to ‘snap their chats’.

Snapchat has no onboarding experience. They figure ‘your young, you’ll figure it out’. But I don’t want to. I have other ways of expressing myself in my digital world. Or maybe I’m just bitter cos my stories would all be parenting fails and the confused stare of a balding old man.

Is it that we fear the unknown or do we as humans (just like startups) have a finite number of pivots in our lives? I think there is probably some truth in the latter option but for now, I’m happy just to work with fear.

So I’m calling it – Snapchat will lose out to Facebook, Twitter and the other channels. In tech land, you can’t maintain your bubble like valuations waiting for the millennials to age 50 years and hope that every newborn generation continues to snapchat. You need intergenerational adoption, you need it to happen quickly and you need your early adopters to education the older generation.

So Facebook wins. Facebook is a known entity, and for everyone who was born before 1980 and who is increasingly scared of the unknown, embrace your age and all the rights that brings you and proudly announce to the digital world that you “just can’t want to snapchat !”

Stop working stupidly long hours

Working too hard

Focus on working hard, not long

Here’s the thing. There’s a subtle, yet powerful distinction between the two words ‘hard’ and ‘long’ in the context of how you work.

Working long (as you probably guessed) is when your working day extends beyond the regular 9 – 5 or more likely 9 – 6 working day. Working long also includes those late night emails, texts, slack chats and diary planning. Unfortunately working ‘long’ has become a badge of honour for so many people. Social BBQs and water cooler chat is littered with stories of 5am flights and working until midnight on that “big presentation”. We rattle these stories off in an attempt to gain both praise and sympathy from our friends and colleagues.

Working ‘hard’ (on the other hand) I am taking to mean working on a task that is ‘hard to do’. This might be because this is innovative work that has never been done before or highly skilled work that few people can actually do. Working ‘hard’ will almost always result in the end achievement being the story, rather than the struggle to get there.

For example, if you’re a lawyer you can work hard on a case to win asylum for an immigrant family to Australia. This is undoubtedly arduous work. You might have to do some long hours, but the niche skill involved – coupled with the virtue of the work which can make it seem noble- is what makes it ‘hard’. Working ‘long’ can be a by-product of working ‘hard’, but the two are not causative – and that is the crucial distinction I want to make. It is possible to work hard and yet not work long hours, just as it is possible to work long hours that are not actually hard.

I was in the Virgin business lounge in Sydney last week, and while lining up for my perfectly matched meat pie and chardonnay, I overheard a senior businessman schooling his young travelling colleague ….

“…work smarter, not harder…”

It’s an old adage and strikes me as a classic ‘working for the pay cheque’ approach to life. This cliched line implies the desire to work less which I don’t think is at the heart of remarkable work.

The history of illustrious careers is not filled with people who managed to work fewer hours than others, nor is it filled with people who pulled the all-nighters like some ridiculous badge of honour. History rewards the people who tackled the hard tasks, the tasks that others thought to be impossible or couldn’t even imagine in the first place.

So my challenge is to ask yourself, are you working ‘hard’ or are you working ‘long’?

Because if you’re just working long hours and telling yourself you’re working hard, you’re most likely just working to help someone else achieve their ‘hard’ goals.