Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Method Method by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry - Learn About Method's Seven Obsessions

Pros: Excellent introspection, great advice, good motivation
Cons: Not that I can think of.

The Bottom Line: Recommended for entrepreneurs just starting out, big business CEOs that need to re-educate themselves, and people who just love Method (like me!)

When I got the email that Method was putting out a book, I thought, “Cool.”  It wasn’t until I was on a serious Method kick that I saw it on the bookshelf at work and grabbed it.  Mainly I was curious.  How do two random guys just suddenly start making earth-friendly soap?

Well, turns out Eric Ryan worked seven years in advertising and Adam Lowry worked as a climate scientist that included projects like the Kyoto Protocol.  So maybe not so random after all.  But after their initial How We Got Started story, the two discuss the seven obsessions that they have within and surrounding their business.  Their beginning wasn’t easy and they had to learn several of these along the way, but their goal with this book is to help other entrepreneurs looking to make a difference in the world with whatever it is they may want to create.  Frankly, I think a lot of current CEOs and their underlings could benefit from this book as well.

Here’s a really quick rundown of the main chapters (which I normally don’t do but for some reason want to today).

Method’s Seven Obsessions:

Obsession 1 – Create a Culture Club  It’s all about having an amazing work environment without having to work at it – or at least, work too hard.

Obsession 2 – Inspire Advocates  That would be me.  Don’t just get customers – get people who love your products and tell everyone and their grandma about them.

Obsession 3 – Be a Green Giant  Be earth-friendly, be human-friendly, and rock at it.

Obsession 4 – Kick Ass at Fast  It’s not about being the fastest to market, but knowing how and when to be the fastest.

Obsession 5 – Relationship Retail  Make your retailers a part of the process and they’ll be more enthusiastic about selling your goods.

Obsession 6 – Win on Product Experience  If people have used it before, it’s not special.  Give your product an edge by turning it into an entirely new experience.

Obsession 7 – Design Forget about the same old, same old.  Be new, and be stunning in more ways that one.

Those are the obsessions that the Method team lives by in a nutshell.  There are a lot of great things in this book that entrepreneurs will find motivating, engaging, and downright useful.  I just work in a bookstore and I wanted to go out and try something new!  It’s almost as though the enthusiasm of Eric and Adam is put right into the pages.  With the way it’s written, perhaps it is.

As a Method Advocate (yes, I call myself this), I found this book to be highly interesting because I learned so much about the company.  It’s not facts and figures, but instead how they function within their walls, how they learn, how they grow, how they work with their suppliers and retail outlets.  About some of their values, known collectively as their Methodology; “What would MacGyver do?” and “Keep Method weird.”  You see how hard they work to find just the right people to fill positions, keeping a spot empty for months on end until they have someone who is close to perfect for the job.  Discovering all these things made me want to work for Method.  Did you know it took them 8 years to finally be satisfied with their toilet bowl cleaner?  That’s how long they worked on it because they wanted to get it right – not just put out some mediocre product.

Entrepreneurs are likely to be inspired by this book.  The information offered is useful and practical.  Eric and Adam don’t lecture and regurgitate facts about their business.  They point out people who have inspired them, ideas they’ve borrowed from other companies because of their usefulness (like Google and, and things they’ve discovered over the years as their company grew.  They also make sure to point out areas where they have made mistakes, such as expanding too quickly or realizing the faults in one of their Methodology values.  They show how they grew from those mistakes, how they’ve learned from them so they don’t make any repeats in the future.

Other established companies should really take a look at this book too.  Method does many things that most of us regular folk would absolutely love for other companies to do.  Things, in fact, that these other companies truly should do for many very good reasons.  Excellent customer service.  Hiring quality people instead of just anyone off the street to fill the position and provide awful results.  Handling marketing and advertising in smarter, more efficient ways.  Changes that could be made in current, sadly lacking companies would be beneficial to everyone.

My love of Method aside, I really do think this book is an excellent resource.  I hope it does help some people, and I hope those people create some amazing things that change the world for the better.  I know that would make Adam and Eric pleased as punch.

**Fun fact: These two have such faith in their products that when at a UK presentation, a reporter asked Eric that if their toilet bowl cleaner was so nontoxic, why didn’t he drink some?  Eric promptly pour a shot and downed it.  Two others followed his example.  (Not that they or I am saying drink Lil’ Bowl Blu, but geez, tell me that’s not trust in your product or commitment to it?)

Notes from the playlist: "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train

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