Reilly Brennan lives in San Francisco but will always be a Detroiter at heart. He is the Executive Director of the Revs Automotive Research Program at Stanford and teaches a class on heroes and Dale Earnhardt at the Stanford d.school. He created a car photo thingy called Carmagnum.
The number of times any of us come into contact with actual human beings in business seems so depressingly rare. More often than not you’re just likely to get only what you’ve been conditioned to expect: somethin’ for money. This for that, X for Y, nothing more. And what’s funny is that just getting that seems hard to do with any consistency.
The reality is that people are people and most of us have a hard time just simply doing all the basics every day. I know I fall into that category; I don’t think I’ve ever done everything 100% right any day, ever. If I get it 80% right I basically feel I nailed it. Most days are probably 70% days, but there are a few 50s and 40s, too. Oddly the days when I’m less productive are when I usually do some of the best new stuff: ideas, writing, communicating, figuring stuff out. The days when I’m most productive are simply efficient days. Both are necessary. Like phases of the moon.
Contrary to what I’ve been conditioned to expect in business relationships, I’ve found one of my favorite new companies: Draplin Design Company. A few months ago I found http://www.draplin.com, a site that seemed to be written by someone who really wrote from inside. It’s all specially crafted little nuggets from a guy on the edge of his own existence, throwing reports over his shoulder but making sure you’re in on it. It took me weeks to realize that it wasn’t just one guy’s perfect little blog; it was his company website. The beautiful thing is that, of course, his company feels like a person. In fact, it is! Draplin Design Company is Aaron Draplin, who is not only a real person but also a native Michigander. I’m sold. As much as humans can run around 60% most of the time, only a real person can give you an experience that crests 100%.
So last week I browsed through Draplin’s store of online goods. I encourage you to knock around that section; there are just tons of great little bits and pieces of copywriting throughout the store section that will simply make your heart soar. If you thought copy that sells has to feel like a cheap suit, you will be happily disappointed. I ended up homing in on the North Lock Torso Cover (DDC-015) and plunked down my $20.
Two days later this great package arrived (notice how it comfortably saddles up next to a fresh box of Dulce De Leche girl scout cookies). I guess I should have assumed that Draplin would use the package as another opportunity to completely deliver on what DDC means, but I didn’t. That day I was just tired after a long day of work, so when I saw this beauty on my doorstep I couldn’t help but remember that, actually, there are real people out there. Just look at the rubber stamps and the way he gave me a nickname.
I opened it up and found not only my shirt but a battery of goods: a Field Notes book, one orange Adventures in Plastics Northlock Click Pen, and a limited edition card about Draplin’s dog, Gary. Way above and beyond X for Y. A complete, end-to-end experience (continuing, by the way, because his blog is so good).
Thanks, Aaron Draplin. http://www.draplin.com/
PS - Yes, this is the same Aaron Draplin.