Red Button Your Business

What can we learn from the infamous red button in Trump’s Oval Office? Create small, targeted red buttons in your business.

Today we’re going to learn something from Donald Trump. Yes – really. Say what you will about sedition and whatnot, the man knew how to trick out an office desk. Bear with me.

You see, Trump could click a little red button on his Oval Office desk and – presto – a cold Diet Coke quickly materialized in front of him.

And right when it did, the Village People’s YMCA started playing. Wait no, I think that just happened inside his head.

The system was really even simpler: it just got him the Diet Coke.

  • Not a warm Diet Coke
  • Not a Pepsi
  • Not any other kind soft drink
  • Not any other kind of food or beverage
  • Not after a long wait

And no questions or clarifications either – it’s a one way channel. No picking up a phone, no back and forth, no taking it back. Just click and done.

The media coverage got it all wrong. It’s not about the former president loving Diet Coke, Coke, or whatever. It’s about systematization.

Why should a president waste time clarifying, repeating herself, and even conversing about what she wants done?

Why should you?

How can you red-button your business in the following ways?

  • A red button for creating new content
  • A red button for distributing that content more widely than usual
  • A red button for generating new business
  • A red button for generating a bookkeeping report
  • A red button for clearing your email inbox

These red buttons may take a little longer to press than the Diet Coke one, but they have the same idea: build little machines that streamline your business and which you can activate with almost no-friction. 

Sure, a lot of engineering and orchestration went into installing the Oval Office red button in the first place. A series of people had to design and install it. And even after it was installed, a series of people have to know what to do before, when, and after it was pressed. Protocols were put in place.

But once it’s up and running, you just click. Tempting idea, isn’t it?

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Now for a twist – you probably can’t do this. You alone, that is.

You might be able to design the red button. And you should definitely have a clear idea of what it does. But the really good buttons are hard to install.

And while your red buttons may utilize pre-built software, they will hardly ever just use one piece of sofware. For example, I can think of 5 or 6 pieces of software that my new content creation red button needs.

But’s the real kicker: you may need human help to put the whole thing together. 

Once it’s put together, you will certainly human help to service the red button on an ongoing basis: stock the fridge, clean the tray, listen for the ding, glide noiselessly into the Oval Office with the cold Diet Coke, etc.

What if you don’t have the staff? What if they are busy or otherwise problematic? What if it’s just you?

Wrong question – don’t think of it as just you. We run in packs, us humans.

So here’s a takeaway: design a red button for your business that requires a human besides you for it to work. Go find someone on a job board, craigslist, anywhere. Get a person to help make your button happen. They need the work, you need the button.