Irish songs course, Godin style

Over at Bitesize Irish, our general approach since around 2008 or 2009 has been:

  • Create course helping people with the Irish language
  • Make available on the internet
  • Answer resulting questions

That’s been quite motivational in its own right, because people always reach out and pour their hearts out, explaining the “why” behind they want to speak the language.

We can go further, though. Seth Godin in The Icarus Deception (and his other books…) calls on us to connect people, and influence people in a positive way.

At Bitesize Irish, Siobhán our language assistant agreed to make a course for singing in the Irish language. Our general plan was:

  • Create course helping people to sing a song (and eventually more) in Irish
  • Make available on the internet
  • Answer resulting questions

But after listening more to Godin, my updated approach is something more like:

  • Create course helping people to sign a song in Irish
  • Call out for people who want to be able to sing this song (Transa na dTonnta to start with)
  • Enroll people into a course that starts at a certain time
  • In the course, provide general info about the song, a meaning of each line, and a pronunciation guide of each line
  • Connecting everyone on the program by providing a private forum for them to share these recordings, to give encouragement to each other, and to discuss their love for Irish song
  • Challenge the people in the program to record themselves saying the initial verse or indeed the full son
  • Provide the song in slow and fast videos
  • Challenge the people in the program to record themselves singing the song

What’s more scalable? Of course, it’s just giving a course as video files.

What’s more fulfilling, more human, more satisfying, more real? It’s to challenge everyone involved to share their version of the song.

Residential area citizens

Should we have 100km/h speed limit for residential areas?

Think of an Irish residential area as a place with a bunch of houses built. Where people live en-masse. Where people live out their lives inside and outside. It’s where work on their gardens, walk to the shop, or walk to school. Where kids are brought up. Where people grow old.

Now let me ask you this question:

Should residential areas have speed limits of 100km/h?

If you replied yes, then this post is not for you, I kindly ask you to leave 😉

If you replied no, then why did you answer no?

I’ll assume that your reasoning has something to do with the view that it’s too dangerous.

The danger to you is not really the question, because you’re free to put yourself in danger. It’s the real danger you’re posing to other people  is the crux of the matter.

Why do you think it’s too dangerous to drive at 100km/h in a residential area?  Travelling at that speed means that:

  1. The time you have to react to an “obstacle” is minuscule
  2. The physical impact of your vehicle on the thing (person) it hits would be devastating

As a sidenote, an underlying working principle today in Ireland is: I am driving my car on this road, and you do not have the right to get in my way. If you are crossing the road and you do not get out of my way, I may not “see” you until it’s “too late”. This societal behaviour is part of the context for the next question:

If 100km/h is not a reasonable speed to drive at, what is a reasonable speed in a residential area?

I’d define reasonable as a speed where you’re highly unlikely of doing damage to another person, be it that the person is in a vehicle or not, and including the full cross-section of ages of people living in the area.

The European Commission cites a study by Tingvall & Haworth (1999), where they say the principle of “appropriate speed limits” is set on:

The driver/vehicle/road system should operate such that, in the event of an impact, forces are not exerted on vehicle occupants or other road users which are likely to lead to a fatality. 

Note that this study is looking at the WORST case scenario of death. They are not even considering what speed limit would avoid major brain injury.

That same EC page states that based on this study, “where pedestrians are present, vehicle speeds should be no higher than 30km/h“.

So the academics and EC have concluded that, no, residential areas should not have speed limits have 100km/h. That in order to “reasonably” avoid people being killed by others driving their cars, a “safe speed” LIMIT for our residential areas is 30km/h.

Client Fulfilment System, Godin Style

Michael Gerber laid out one of the core functions of a business is its Client Fulfilment system:

“The Job” is one and only one thing: it is your Client Fulfillment System.
No matter what your product or service is, the delivery of that product or service will only be scalable to the degree you design, build, launch and grow your Client Fulfillment System, and then turnkey it.

Michael Gerber’s view

Gerber rightfully argues that a business delights its customers, and he argues that that should be done consistently, systematically. You build a system. For example, you step back and ask what information would you like to know about a customer, and then you use that info systematically to later delight them. In the world of SaaS, that might look like creating email segments and mass-emailing people in those segments regularly.

In 2018, part of the foundational work at Bitesize Irish has been a discussion about what our client fulfilment system should be. The brainstorming went into a series of specific questions we’d love to know about the person who’s part of Bitesize (such as “Do you plan on visiting Ireland any time soon?”). Posed questions to ourselves including “if a member isn’t active any more, what should we do to help them? How long is inactive? Do you do this systematically, automatically?”

Gerber’s focus is on enabling growth. But as Peter Drucker said, a business does not need to continually get bigger, but it does need to get better.

The very tension in Gerber’s approach is that it’s systematised. It’s like a company sends me an email on my birthday because that would be personal, oh how nice of them.

I would posit that Seth Godin would agree on delighting the customer, and having a plan for how you’ll do that. I think his system would be rather simple, however:

  1. Get to know the person, what are their dreams and their fears? What is important for them?
  2. Sometimes get back in touch with them personally. Ask how they’re doing. (And it’s fine to keep notes to help you remember details about this person.)