You cannot cut your way to success. It’s never
worked and it never will. Hey everybody. It’s Jay Bear with another
Jay Today, where I give you a piece of my mind three minutes at a time. I am in the
home office. We’re making progress. We have carpet now, so the audio is a lot better.
Just five day’s away D-Day, from having furniture and the whole thing. Looking forward to that. I’ve got some sad news today. I hear that
Sports Illustrated has laid off the last six of their contract photographers. They’re going
to go all freelance and sort of wire photography, which to me is just . . . I can’t even tell
you. It’s insane, right? I’ve been a subscriber to Sports Illustrated for most of my life,
and Sports Illustrated is known for their photography. Since their first issue in the
1950s, their thing, their competitive advantage, what makes them special is that they were
great at photography. In fact, if you look at ESPN The Magazine,
which I also subscribed to, they realized early on they couldn’t out photograph Sports
Illustrated, so ESPN has always focused on infographics. “We can’t out photographic you.
Let’s out infographic you.” Now Sports Illustrated has taken that advantage, the one thing that
made them special, and they’re slitting their own throat. This is exactly the same thing that happens
with a lot of newspapers faced with pressures from the Internet, declining readership, what
they often do is say, “Well, we don’t have any money for reporters anymore, so we’re
just going to run more wire copy. We’re going to run more Associated Press copy.” Guess what guys? I can get that Associated
Press story on Twitter or on my phone 18 hours before you give it to me. That’s certainly
not a recipe for success. You’ve got to understand what one thing makes
you different and special, and when times are tough, you don’t get rid of that thing.
You double or triple down on that thing. Look at Southwest Airlines, right? They’re
still the only ones with the first bag free. They’re still the only ones with no change
fees, and they are absolutely succeeding because they understand that’s their point of differentiation.
It cost them tens of millions of dollars a year to continue to give free bags and to
eliminate all change fees, but yet hey do it, they’re willing to pay that because that
is what makes them special. The worst thing you can do in business, ever,
even in challenging economic times is to take the thing that made you special, to take the
thing that made you a star and get rid of it. It’s insane. What I would have done if
I ran Sports Illustrated is gone the exact opposite and said, “Hey, here’s the thing.
We’re known for photography. We’re getting competition from the Internet, from ESPN,
from all these other websites, Bleacher Report, Deadspin, etc. So what we’re going to do is
we’re going to go only photography. Sports Illustrated from now on is a collection of
the greatest photographs every day all around the world with a tiny caption.” That’s a recipe
for success, not taking what you’re good at and getting rid of it. Today’s Sprout Social Shoutout is for my friend
C.C. Chapman, who is a remarkably great photographer in his own right, also one of the smartest
content marketers alive. Terrific guy. Outstanding author. You need to be reading his books as
well. If you don’t follow C.C. in social media, and I can’t imagine that’s true, but if you
don’t, you should fix that right now. The reason he is the Sprout Social Shoutout today
is that I, alas, originally heard about this Sports Illustrated move from a post by C.C.
on Facebook. Speaking of Facebook, this show, the Jay Today
show, the show that you are watching right now is brought to you by Sprout Social, who
I use for my own social media stylings, and the show is continued to be brought to you
by the good people at Candidio up in Indianapolis. They make these videos effective and successful.
I just upload these from my phone, and they do the rest. They’ll do the same for you. Until tomorrow, this is Jay Bear. This has
been Jay Today. Thanks for watching, and subscribe if you haven’t, please — YouTube or iTunes.