Tips and tools: 42 pricing tactics; apps to make explainer videos; why the best people are underrated; and a tired meerkat

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Here are some great resources we have recently shared with one another

(We don’t profit from recommending things. We just love sharing things we think you’ll appreciate. You can see our other Tips and Tools articles here.)
Our explainer video (above) cost us over $40,000 in travel, filming, and editing fees. If you’re on a budget, though, tools like Raw Shorts (below) allow you to create one for free.

42 tactics for increasing your profits by tweaking your pricing

One of the easiest ways to grow a business is to optimize its pricing. Nick Kolenda has created this fantastic list of 42 pricing tactics.

Great apps for making explainer videos

Explainer videos can help increase conversion rates, particularly for products whose features or benefits are hard to describe in text.

If you don’t have a budget to hire a video company, you may like Raw Shorts and Biteable, which are web apps designed specifically for creating explainer videos.

(Alternatives include Moovly, PowToon, and GoAnimate, which are for creating any types of animated videos, not just explainer videos. GoAnimate has more features and a steeper learning curve.)

Just promise us you won’t start your video in that frustratingly slow-moving way that most explainer videos start: “This is Bob. Bob owns a business. Bob wants more customers…”

Why the best people aren’t just ten times as good

Several times in the last few weeks, people have told us that they plan to hire “fairly good” staff, rather than paying a premium for the best. One person planned to hire a cheap video company, another a cheap developer, and another a cheap designer. We strongly disagree with that approach and so do our most successful clients. Conversion is usually winner-takes-all, so the best strategy is to “win or don’t play.”

To each of those three people, we found ourselves quoting Joel Spolsky’s article “Hitting The High Notes,” which argues that the best people aren’t just ten times more effective; they often achieve things that the mediocre people never can. Since Joel wrote the article in 2005, he has gone on to be hugely successful, creating Stack Overflow (one of the top 50 websites) and Trello (which was acquired by Atlassian for about half a billion dollars). The whole article is great, but we find the following quotes encapsulate its main points:

The mediocre talent just never hits the high notes that the top talent hits all the time. The number of divas who can hit the F6 in Mozart’s The Queen of the Night is vanishingly small, and you just can’t perform The Queen of the Night without that famous F6.

Five Antonio Salieris won’t produce Mozart’s Requiem. Ever. Not if they work for 100 years.

Five Jim Davis’s—creator of that unfunny cartoon cat, where 20% of the jokes are about how Monday sucks and the rest are about how much the cat likes lasagna (and those are the punchlines!)…five Jim Davis’s could spend the rest of their lives writing comedy and never, ever produce the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld.

The Creative Zen team could spend years refining their ugly iPod knockoffs and never produce as beautiful, satisfying, and elegant a player as the Apple iPod. And they’re not going to make a dent in Apple’s market share because the magical design talent is just not there. They don’t have it.

It’s not just a matter of “10 times more productive.” It’s that the “average productive” developer never hits the high notes that make great software.

Think you’re tired?

If you’re spending too much time in front of your computer, you may empathize with this video (which we love) of a meerkat falling asleep on the job.

Long shifts can take their toll.

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