There is a cancer in the heart of our world and it is purely extrinsic in nature.
It has been with us since the beginning of civilization and has become institutionalized through the rote work of our modern education system.
It subverts our intrinsic desire for knowledge and self-advancement based on our own desires and personal aspirations.
In life it first comes first in the form of grades, then from performance reviews by your boss.
The latter was recently optimized in an a blog post written by Samantha Douglas. Samantha was working at a child daycare when she noticed the adverse effect that giving a grade and stickers had on her kid’s hungry desire to learn. After grades and stickers were doled out, their lost interest in learning more words for their word search exercises. Their goal had become the 100% mark, the extrinsic validation and reward.
What does this have to do with online marketing?
Going for the perfect grade is like a marketer who goes only for the sale. It’s an issue because work becomes simply the pursuit of conversions rather than the meaning of a sale as the transfer of value–the transfer of a solution to a problem that a customer has.
In online marketing there is a risk to creativity and the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of learning in part because we are so overwhelmed in information from others (tutorials, videos, blog posts, etc.) and big heaping mountains of data.
Just yesterday I caught myself before I slipped into a jaded state. I was researching online marketing strategies and responding to comments from trolls on Reddit. I almost felt like I was about to lose myself and my desire to be actively creative in this abyss of external feedback about what was right and wrong with our current marketing strategy.
What’s the point here?
The point is that the Pursuit of Truth–the meaning of the word PetoVera, from Latin–in life must come from a balanced approached, from externally validated self-improvement (data, qualitative feedback), but just as importantly from personal happiness via creative pursuits and experimentation (“This landing page is too conservative and doesn’t represent who we are, let’s add this picture of a superhero here”).
So go, seek truth and become unbound from the shackles of creative restraint at the risk–dare I say?–getting a bad grade.