Don’t compare your backstage to other people’s onstage.
— Patrick Rothfuss
We’ll get into the awkward subject of why there have been no blog posts in the last ten months but first, an aside… Podcasts.
For various reasons, 2016 was the year I went from listening to a lot of music to listening to a lot of podcasts. I’m late to the game, I know, but for some reason as last year’s news got worse—Brexit, Trump, losing a loved one—I began to find great comfort and distraction in listening to other people’s voices in my head. Not necessarily content that tried to make sense of the madness happening in the world, but subjects that helped to ground me, like tech and productivity. It was an audible hug for my brain.
Along my podcast journey, I was reacquainted with the voice of Merlin Mann who spoke at dConstruct in 2010; my first ever web conference. He and John Gruber recorded a rather special edition of The Talk Show—which normally covers commentary on the Apple ecosystem—but for this episode mainly skirted around the US election result, having been recorded the day after. I thought it was a nice light through the fog and I began digging into some of Merlin’s other shows.
Back to Work popped up on my radar which is a show Merlin co-hosts with Dan Benjamin where they discuss productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more. I took particular interest in an episode where they were discussing this notion of backstage versus onstage.
It got me thinking a lot.
tl;dr — the things you generally see on the web, on Instagram, on TV—these can all be seen as someone else’s onstage. It’s the public version. The polished version. And as content creators and makers of things it’s very hard not to be affected by the success of other people’s work. Or by the latest and greatest technique, or method, or framework. Sometimes these things can have a positive effect, but sometimes they can simply make you feel like crap. Like you’re forever trying to catch up. It’s a loud world, and only getting louder.
And then I realised that we at Tito are the kind of individuals—and by association, the kind of company—that try not to get distracted too much by outside influences. We keep our heads down and focus on the things we have to do. “Fuck all that noise” is a statement you’ll hear occasionally echoing through the office.
As with everything, this approach has it advantages but also comes with some drawbacks. We’re not natural showpeople. Marketing ourselves and talking about what we’re up to isn’t something that comes very naturally to us.
We’ve done a lot in the last 10 months, but our default behaviour isn’t to shout about it. Instead, we just hunker down and move on to the next thing. And, when you’re a small team, there’s always a big pile of next things.
Is that a good approach for increasing engagement? Nope.
Is this helping us to scale beyond our wildest dreams? Nope.
We’re perhaps a little too humble for our own good, but we’d prefer that to the alternative. Because the alternative can come across as brash and abrasive. Or maybe it’s ego.
I have a feeling that a lot of our customers prefer our lack of jazz hands. What they get from Tito isn’t a lot of heavy promotion and attention grabbing headlines. They get an honest product with a team dedicated to improving their experience.
With all that said, there needs to be a balance. If you came to our blog looking for a pulse, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all was not well. In fact, quite the opposite is true. We’ve been very busy. We’ve even hired a few great folks to help us improve our *onstage*.
We’re also hiring a few folks to help us improve our bus number.
Not to mention the fact that we haven’t been idle during the last year, and we have plenty of exciting updates that we’ll share soon.
So hello, we’re back. Not that we ever left, but you’ll be hearing a lot more from us from now on.
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