Tell


This post was originally published in my Editor's Cut blog. I've decided to maintain a single blog so I'm moving it here.

The manager was busy at the table next to ours and scooping up their empty noodle bowls and making small talk.

I got up and stood just out of his path back to the kitchen. He looked at me as he approached. He knew I wanted something.

"Excuse me," I began.

"Yes?" he prompted.

"Our waiter," I said.

The manager's brow furrowed a bit. He looked concerned. "Yes?" he prompted again.

"He was excellent," I said, "really excellent."

"Oh, good," the manager said. He looked relieved and then he looked pleased.

"I just wanted you to know. From beginning to end he was very good."

My mom taught me the importance of telling someone.

Of course she complains when something isn't right, but she always takes time to find the right person to talk to when someone or something is notably good.

Chad Fowler taught me the same lesson about the work I do: tell someone. It's a lesson I forget over and over again.

I was interviewing Chad for the Pragmatic Programmer podcast years ago about his excellent book "The Passionate Programmer". He explained that many of us think of marketing as a dirty word. It's not that it's beneath us so much as we feel uncomfortable doing it.

Chad said that if you are engaged in doing something that would benefit other people, you do them a disservice by not telling them about it. Marketing is just a way of helping people find things that would be useful or delightful.

Tell.

And so I am.