Kevin Coffey, Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and his team have spent years of their lives listening to mice and rat squeaks to investigate disorders of the nervous system“
Whatever your job is, it isn’t that. It appears Kevin wanted it to be “not that,” as well. At least, not spending his youth listening to mice squeaks.
Lucky for him we can actually see sound. He and his co-horts created DeepSqueak, a program to translate squeaks into images and the analyze those squeaks.
From Nature: “While DeepSqueak is not the first software package developed for USV detection and analysis . . . it is free, accessible, accurate, and fully featured.”
Here’s what the output looks like:
They made something formerly invisible to the eye, visible.
It’s now being used to monitor whales talking so that wind farms are not built on top of them. Because we can SEE the whales via sound, we can save them.
Could DeepSqueaking your business save it?
DeepSqueak goes to the grocery.
Let’s say you walk into the grocery store and meander to the aisle with barbecue sauce and salad dressing. On one side are the cans of fruit cocktail, and over there are the olives.
You want pickles, though.
WHERE ARE THE PICKLES?
You ask a helpful store associate.
“Oh, they’re in the diaper aisle,” they say. As if that is where pickles are usually stocked.
That’s kinda whack, right?
PICKLES GO NEXT TO THE A1 SAUCE.
Or, at least, that’s usually where they are. It’s where people expect them to be in U.S. grocery stores. That or on an artfully curated table full of charcuterie must-haves.
“Pickles in the diaper aisle” is one of my favorite analogies, which I got from Steph and Ross.
I bring it out when working on new websites with clients because it helps people instantly create a picture in their minds for an abstract concept.
The concept is this:
Website visitors expect to find a menu of navigation options pointing to standard pieces of info using standard language such as:
Home | About | Services | Shop | Visit Us | Contact
Like you’ll find on the Grosh’s Lawn Service website.
Start Here! | The DEETS | Need Something? | Scoop it Up | Swing By | Holler!
Oh. Oh no. I don’t like that. Why?
I have to decode the menu. I have to work to find the info I want. It also assumes that I have the same understanding of the phrase “The DEETS” that the website owner has.
And you know what happens when we assume.*
DIY WEBSITE AUDIT BREAK: Look at your website navigation (That top bar or three line “hamburger menu” (oh and I have THOUGHTS ABOUT THOSE)) and make sure that the destination for each button is clear and the language is straightforward.
“I’ll know it when I see it.”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever said this.
My knee jerk reaction when I hear it, and even more if I say it is, “SHUT UP.” (SHUT UP, KATIE.)
Here’s the thing. “I’ll know it when I see it” is a good phrase to keep in your back pocket, as a customer and as service provider or retailer.
I’d re-phrase it. Here are some examples from the customer point of view.
“Can you help me picture it?”
“Can you help me understand the reason why – maybe with an analogy?”
“Can you tell me the consequence of not doing it?”
That last one is essentially asking someone to get straight to the point so you can form your own picture.
Recently my husband and I were the beneficiaries of such a statement.
“If you don’t replace the transmission, you can drive the car but it will just quit running without warning one day.”
I immediately pictured the car quitting in the middle of a thunderstorm on I-40, right in the place where there’s spotty cell service.
Worth 1,000 words
It’s hot and you need your customers to water their plants.
Show them this. (Feel free to right click and save or make your own version. I made this quick and dirty in Canva. You might could do better or you might like it just fine!)
You want customers to understand plant spacing and the sheer number of plants it takes to get a nice display. (Fall-planted bulbs, I’m looking at you.)
Show them this:
More ideas to show not tell:
- Garden centers: Plant a demo bed with “regular homeowner spacing” (A 6-pack of zinnias spread out across a 2′ x 4′ bed) and then one next to it with a BUNCH of Zinnias. Then put a sign with empty cell packs stapled to it to illustrate how many they need. Or something like that.
- Container gardening pros, garden designers: Social media/ email newsletter/ website content with before/after pictures.
- Speakers: Show a clip, accompanied by a testimonial including a photo.
Quick tip to come up with your own show to tell:
It’s much easier to understand differences when contrast is apparent.
- This is your garden with 100 tulip bulbs in a 3′ x 3′ bed, this is your garden with 10.
- This is your Saturday morning when you have to mow and edge vs. your Saturday morning if you don’t.
- These are your plants if you water them. These are your plants if you don’t.
When I started watercoloring I took to heart my guru’s advice to “Make your darks REALLY dark.”
Example 1: Without extra darks.
Example 2: With extra darks.
There is contrast at work. You might not like the paintings, but the one with more darks has more depth.
I was delighted to discuss my 12th book, No Waste Kitchen Gardening on Wisconsin Public Radio this week.
You can listen to me discuss plants as sentient beings by clicking here.
Courtney Everett, the show producer (pictured), said, “Kate [the host] had such a wonderful time with you. We couldn’t say enough at our morning editorial meeting about how amazing you were on-air. Our entire team appreciated you letting your fun personality shine. We felt that truly created a comfort for our listeners and hopefully will then try this style of growing.”
Need a podcast guest to talk plants or business or how to get started with watercolor? Want a lunch-and-learn webinar and/or discussion or demo? Email me. I’d love to join you.
Make Room for Merch
You can get your customers to do your marketing for you. One way? Offer cool merch.
Check out my June 2022 article in Green Profit with tips for running a successful merch program.
Data backed reasons to include neon in your marketing.
5 Lesser-known personality tests.
I just started listening to the podcast “Cultivating Place” and I love it.
Do you enjoy this newsletter even though you don’t quite know why? Please forward it!
Need help? Grab a call slot here.
*P.S. What happens when you assume? Email me and I’ll tell you, but you asked for it!