Send better emails with SCRAP

Over the last few months I’ve been talking about writing quite often. One of the main takeaways I normally convey is this: you should (almost) never start from a blank page. Always, always have a clear structure first.

Templates usually help, and I have several of those for all the kinds of write-ups I regularly do. When it’s time to send a business email, whether I know the recipient or not, I usually try structuring the text using the SCRAP model.

What does SCRAP stand for?

A message that’s been put together according to the SCRAP formula has these ingredients, in this exact order:

Situation: where we’re at right now.
Complication: the problem that needs to be dealt with.
Resolution: your proposed way to fix the problem.
Action: the action you want the reader to take (a click, or even a simple answer).
Politeness: the end, on a friendly note.

Here’s a simple example. Alex and Sam are two random people who briefly met at a meetup. In this email, Sam is doing a classic networking follow-up and the SCRAP model fits perfectly:

Hey Alex,

Lovely to meet you yesterday at the Product meetup! Glad we were able to chat before the schedule got underway.  ➡️ SITUATION

I remember you mentioned [CHALLENGE], which is far too common in our industry. ➡️ COMPLICATION

Since that’s exactly what our team does, I’d be really happy to have a chat with you and explore ways to work together. ➡️ RESOLUTION

It would be great to schedule a Skype call earlier next week. Does Monday 10AM work for you? ➡️ ACTION

Looking forward to hearing from you. ➡️ POLITENESS

Cheers!

Sam

Why does it work?

As a template, it works by default—it gives you a framework with five content blocks to fill, so that you can create a first version quickly and painlessly. As a message, it’s short and to the point, and prompts the recipient to perform the intended action.

Mind the Product 2017, London. See you there?

On the 8th of September I’ll have the pleasure to attend the Mind the Product conference at Barbican Hall, London.

Mind the Product is an event dedicated to product management, bringing together product people from all over the world to explore the intersection of design, technology and business. The schedule looks amazing—Jake Knapp, lead author of Sprint, does look like a strong way to start!—and I can’t wait to meet so many people who work in the greater product ecosystem.

If you’re coming and you’d like to hear more about anything I or we at Human Made do (WordPress for enterprise, products with WordPress, etc.) just get in touch beforehand—I’ll be more than happy to chat during the breaks or at the afterparty 🙂

Follow the #MTPcon hashtag on Twitter to know more!

Resizing multiple objects in Keynote

More like a note to self than a real Keynote protip, because for some reason I never seem to remember this little trick when I need it.

If you need to resize multiple objects in keynote, select them, then Arrange → Group.

Menu entry for grouping multiple objects to resize them in Keynote

Once they’ve been grouped, you’ll be able to resize them with your mouse.

Ungroup to get back to single objects.

A KeepCup for each attendee.

WordCamp Brighton gifted each attendee with a brand new KeepCup and a reusable bottle of water. Whilst I have my trusty Nalgene with me all the time, the KeepCup is a nice addition to my messenger bag regular content.

One of the goals in WCBTN’s organisers’ mind was to create a conference that had zero impact on the environment. With reusable bottles and mugs, the event wouldn’t end with an enormous amount of paper cups and plastic bottles to throw away. And now I can keep the tradition going: I always politely ask baristas to fill my water bottle with tap water, now I can ask them to use my KeepCup for coffee without having to dispose a paper cup once I’m done.

Blogs and social media at WordCamp Edinburgh 2017

I’m super excited to announce that I’m speaking at WordCamp Edinburgh 2017! I’ll present a talk about long-form content and social media, which I’ve cheekily titled Are Twitter threads killing blogs?

WordCamp Edinburgh will take place on 22-23 July at CodeBase, the UK’s largest startup incubator, located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. I’ll speak on Saturday, at 3:45pm, and it’s going to be the closing keynote of day 1.

Tickets are still available, so if work with WordPress and you’re in the position to afford a trip to Edinburgh, don’t hesitate and come with us.

Links

My speaker profile
My talk’s abstract
WordCamp Edinburgh 2017 schedule

WordCamp Europe 2017

WordCamp Europe 2017 is starting in just three days! 15-17 June in Paris, France.

I’ll be there, travelling from the UK. On a Eurostar, which excites me big time—you know how much I love train trips.

Looking forward to seeing all my friends (whether from Human Made or the greater WordPress community), meeting new people, and obviously listening to another bunch of amazing talks.

5 awesome Instagram accounts to follow

If you follow me on the web, you know I’m a huge fan of Instagram.

I was a bit disappointed when they started stealing every possible feature from Snapchat, but I’ve kept using it on a daily basis, just like millions of other people. Uploading my own photos, liking/commenting other Instagram users, and messing around with Stories.

Here are 5 Instagram accounts I’m loving these days.
Continue reading “5 awesome Instagram accounts to follow”

See you at WordCamp Brighton?

Yep, another WordCamp in South England where I’m speaking. 🎉

In my talk at WordCamp Brighton I’ll explain who a product person is and how I apply my product person identity to everything I do.

It’s pretty much the same talk I’ve done at WordCamp Torino, but this time it’s going to be in English and I’ll only have 15 minutes, so I’m planning to structure it quite differently.

WordCamp Brighton will be held on the 18th and 19th of August 2017 at The Old Market (11A Upper Market St, Brighton BN3 1AS). There will also be a Contribution Day on the 20th of August 2017 at Barclays Eagle Labs (1 Preston Rd, Brighton BN1 4QU). I’ll speak on Friday 18th, at 1:30pm.

Tickets & Sponsorship spaces

Both tickets and sponsorship spaces are still available.

If you work in the WordPress ecosystem and a trip to Brighton doesn’t break your bank, don’t think twice and buy that ticket. You’ll learn something, expand your network, and contribute to the project.

If you think that exposing your brand and support a growing WordPress community makes sense for your business, there are still 3 sponsorship packages that come with a stand. Other spaces that are cheap and unlimited are also available, and they’re all perfect to have some exposure and contribute to the success of the event.

Links

My speaker profile
My talk’s abstract
WordCamp Brighton 2017 schedule

Out of Office 2017 is today, have you signed up?

We’re doing it again. After last year’s successful edition, we decided to put together another Out of Office event.

Click the image 👇 to know more and sign up

What is Out of Office, exactly?

It’s a conference about all the things related to remote work. This year we’re having speakers from GitHub, Forbes, Zapier and other big guns of the Internet, touching on a fairly wide array of topics—from remote project management to culture, growth and team building.

It is ONLINE, so you will be able to watch it from any device as long as it benefits from an Internet connection. Wherever you are—co-working space, home office, living room, you name it.

It is FREE, so you won’t pay a dime for it. You only need to sign up and wait for today 4pm UK time. There’s still time.

It is INTERACTIVE, so you’ll be able to ask questions, upvote other people’s questions—Reddit style—and get answers from both our speakers and Human Made folks.

Cool! On social media?

We’re on Twitter and will be live tweeting the event with highlights from our speakers and other details. Make sure you follow us, even—and I dare say, especially—if for some reason you can’t watch the event live.

Want to tweet about the event? Awesome! Please use the hashtag #outofoffice17 so all the conversations will be gathered under one stream.

We look forward to see you!

How we do things at Human Made: The Human Made Handbook

Saying your goal is to prioritise people is easy. Doing it, a whole different beast.

People-first companies grow in number and like talking about themselves on the interwebs, but most workplaces around the world are still just workplaces—you put in your hours, get stuff done, and that’s it. As a result, resources on how to do things at companies that care about their employees are still limited.

At Human Made we live, work, and breathe in the open source culture. Restricting open source to just software? We’re not game. That’s why we’re releasing our staff Handbook: a constantly work-in-progress document where to find everything about working at Human Made, including work-related guidance and HR policies.

You are free to reuse it and apply its core concepts to your team. Please don’t assume it’s 100% fit for your own purpose: consult a HR professional to ensure it meets your cultural, operational, even legal requirements.

So here we go, without further ado…

The Human Made Handbook