The Secret To Our Success

 

We swear this photo isn't staged

People sometimes ask us how we’re able to maintain a travel blog, a Forbes column, write feature stories, and plan a bike tour all at the same time. It seems like a lot. How do we keep on top of things?

Well, I’ll let you in on a secret. They’re called Monday Morning Pitch Sessions.

We first started them in Romania, based on a practice I’d learned during my time at LA weekly. We needed to figure out a way to keep content streaming on our blog. Since then, they have become a Postulate One tradition — one to which we irrevocably owe much of the forward momentum of this trip.

The Monday Pitch Sessions are our time to sit down with each other (you guessed it — on Monday) and formally hash out the coming week’s assignments. It’s when we update each other on the progress of our articles, and figure out what tasks need to be done to keep the bike wheels spinning towards Shanghai. They are best, and usually, done over greasy breakfasts with much caffeine.  Occasionally, they are done over beer and peanuts.

At first it seemed silly for Morgan and me to arrange a meeting with each other, given that we spend 24 hours a day together.  It’s like “Will that work with your schedule, Morgan?” “How may I reach your secretary?” Friends we’ve invited to sit in on the meetings have joked about their formality — that we forgot to wear our business suits.

But all teasing aside, we’ve come to absolutely rely upon them. What we’ve found is that Monday Pitch Sessions force us to distill our ideas down into organized, concrete, and achievable tasks. They have become our accountability system.

So how does it work? Here’s the process:

“What’s the agenda?” is the always first question we start out with. We draft a list of main talking points as each of us throws out issues that need to be addressed. For example — the scribbled notes in my moleskin journal show that our last pitch session on 11.26 included:

  • Ideas for Postulate One Blog Posts
  • Updates on Forbes Articles
  • State of Affairs on the Jaipur Feature Story
  • Strategy/Questions for upcoming Advisory Calls
  • Logistics to do list

From there, we begin tackling the list point by point, between many sips of instant coffee (or beer). For me, the most interesting part is the actual “pitch” section of the meeting, when we consult each other on prospective articles for our travel blog, and the Forbes column.

For these, I need to come prepared. When it comes to pitching, Morgan can be brutal. If he thinks my story idea sucks, he’ll say so. I don’t hesitate to do the same when it’s his turn. As editors of each other’s work, we try and force each other to sell our ideas, and convince each other why a piece would be worth reading. Criticism abounds, but it’s not negative like might sound. If a pitched idea isn’t quite there, we oftentimes find ways to construct it into a story that makes sense, or is more entertaining. It’s the fun part of the morning, when we get be spontaneous and creative. Sometimes that extends into other conversations we might have about the angle of our feature stories, or different publicity strategies.

Eventually, however, the meeting always turns to logistics.

Logistics, logistics, logistics. I can’t tell you how many hours of this trip have been dedicated to them. Planning, phone calls, errands, emails. I won’t even get into it, except to say that Monday morning meetings are an essential time to draft our to-do lists for the week, and divide tasks between us.

This is always the grunt work part of the morning, but we get through them knowing that once we’ve fleshed through those tasks, we’re done. We can take off our imaginary button-downs, and dismiss our imaginary secretaries. We can step away from the board room knowing exactly what we’re expected to accomplish that week, and how things will be moving forward. It relieves a ton of stress, and I would recommend the practice to anyone working in a business, or towards any goal for that matter.

So if you want to reach me Monday mornings, I’m sorry to say I won’t be available. My schedule shows they’re penned in for the rest of this trip.

Journalism, , Permalink

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