Wednesday, October 03, 2007

This Month's Silicon Veggie

This month's Silicon Veggie column is about two different restaurant experiences, one very good, one very bad.

What is most interesting is the experience versus the expectation...and how the latter affects the former.

I mean, dining experience #1 was at a Chicago steakhouse, and I'm sure you wouldn't blame me, the radical vegan, for having extremely low expectations for any meal I'd be served there.

Meanwhile dining experience #2 was at a restaurant in San Jose that positions itself as the place to go to eat ethically and authentically. The buzzwords are all there: local, seasonal, organic, sustainable. But they think the words are enough.

And I want a little more than that.

Experience #1 felt so much more positive because frankly I wasn't expecting much.

Experience #2 was doubly disappointing because my expectations were so high.

It's not rocket science. But how often do you find a company that talks a great talk...and just can't walk it?

I fear the answer is "pretty often."

Better question might be: How do you avoid being one of those companies?

Here's on tip: If you're going to go to the trouble of creating a mission statement, how about you make it one that you can actually refer to when making day-to-day corporate decisions?

BlogHer's mission is "To create opportunities for education, exposure, community and economic empowerment for women bloggers."

When the first conference was done, we started adding elements to what we did, and we honestly asked ourselves what part of the mission each of these elements served.

The web community and news hub at
More conferences: check
The ad network: check
BlogHers Act: check

Not every project serves every part of the mission, but we try to think in terms of that whole mission.

That's why, for example, those headlines sit below the ads on our network. Sure the ads themselves bring economic opportunity to the women who choose to run them. But the headlines gives each ad network member just a little bit more exposure.

That's why we didn't just create a site for people to list their blogs, but hired editors across two dozen blog topics to highlight what those bloggers are writing about.

That's why the conferences have ample educational sessions, but hopefully equally ample opportunities for bloggers to connect with one another in a face-to-face way that can't be replicated.

It's really surprising how much value the Mission bring to us when trying to think creatively or simply make decisions. And i turn we hope the Mission brings value to BlogHers, whether they even know it exists or not!

People mock Mission Statements. And I've certainly sat in useless, pointless "brainstorming" or "branding" discussions that led nowhere and vomited up buzzword-laden bon mots.

But what if you had a mission that resonated, and then you referred to it often? Would it make a difference? Could it?

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I think you posed very interesting questions in the end. A lot of people do take mission statements very lightly. Perhaps that is because they never found it to be useful and relevant to what they are doing. Perhaps they find no connection with it. I honestly believe that if you have a real mission statement that corresponds exactly to the kind of work you do, then you will experience that difference.
I agree...but I also think it's rare, so people think the relevant Mission Statement is a mythical creature!
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