Give First, Then Listen

Give first, ask questions later.

There’s a great idiom for the decision making process in the business community - “shoot first, ask questions later.” It speaks to the need for action, results and getting something started, vs endless inquiry and curiosity without action. It is embodied in a corporate philosophy with Amazon’s “tie goes to the runner” approach to making decisions. If an investment committee comes to a tie vote on a “go / no go” the answer is “go.” On the diametrically opposed side, we’ve worked in the insurance and spirits industries, which are often so deliberate it’s like watching a cactus grow.

While you’d like to think your camp is the best way, it might be the industry drives this part of a culture. Amazon combines digital and retail, two of the fastest moving industries. The Jack Daniel's brand is 142 years old and if they don’t cause too much regulatory trouble, they’ll be around for as many more. Hence, a fast moving spirit brand might find itself taking too many risks for government regulators. And a slow moving digital retailer might find the tire tracks of a competitor are the cause of death.

Wherever you stand on the spectrum of velocity, let’s take a different angle on it.

We have built a brand, Capsule, on giving first and then asking questions later. It means we move fast, are as agile as an Amazon, but when we need to be deliberate we’re able to slow things down. We are not 142 years old, yet when a client needs us to be as thoughtful as a barrel of Jack, we’re able.

We, Capsule, give before asking to receive. Here’s how this happened and what it means for you.

1. My mom gives everything away. She gave her kidney to a stranger and started a nonprofit now with 18 years of giving kids with disabilities a horseback ride and a huge boost of confidence. River Valley Riders

2. My daughter started giving children’s books away when she was nine and set a goal to give 1 million by her 18th birthday. She’s 17 and has topped 2.2 million books given to kids who don’t own one. Read Indeed

3. Generosity was built into both founders of Capsule and it has become a way of doing business. We give advice and ideas before proposing work and asking for an agreement - it is the best way to start a relationship.

When you work with an outside partner, it is expected that their ideas, approach, thoughtfulness and deliverables match or exceed the price you’re paying. We set the bar high with an international caliber of research, strategy and design, but that’s just hot air or pixels on a screen until you experience Capsule.

When we check back with our clients from the past 18 years, we hear how they worked out the value of a firm. In fact, they’ve told us, we give first without asking. Sure, there are clients, acquaintances and even past employees who abuse this natural behavior. But for the most part, it all comes out in the wash and balance is returned in time.

What do you consider when you seek a partner for brand strategy and experience design? What puts one firm over another? And in the process of getting to know them, are you allowing the generosity to shine?

Thank you and if you need anything from me, reach out via LinkedIn, Twitter or email. Happy to help.

About The Author

Aaron Keller

I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior and design? Oh, it’s on.


* indicates required