Focus now out in βeta

Danny Denhard

Must Reads: 3rd July 2020 | This week’s newsletter includes how to win by putting the brand first for the rest of 2020, a good article questioning is the office actually dead? Tips to combat anxiety in today’s climate, Google sheets automation removing needing annoying formula’s and 5 actionable tips for managers.

—Friday Fun—

Friends fan? You might enjoy this facemash.


This week I launched Focus in βeta. Focus was created to cut through the noise, cut through the confusion, and ensure businesses focus on developing their organisations and performance, all with a strategy and culture lens.

I highly recommend you read the Focus Manifesto. I break down the what, the why and the action that needs to happen.
Here are the 20 problems that every company needs to fix and failing at & find out how many of the 40 fundamental problems you are facing.

Talk To Me About Focus

—Must Reads—

  1. How to gain momentum & win the rest of 2020 - A must-read for brand leads and marketers ☑️ - Link

  2. Bananas: Why banana flavouring and sweets don’t taste like actual bananas 🍌 - Link

  3. Is The Office Dead? 'Working from home is strategic and comes down to trust’ 😐 - Link
    IMHO - this is down to trust but also how committed you are, what direction you have and the culture you have built. Leaders, it’s time to lead!

  4. Anxious about WFH or going back to the office? Tips from a clinical health psychologist on managing the work-related stresses impacting your mental health 💯 - Link

  5. Burnout: Parents burn out is real, important read for the summer ahead 😔 - Link

  6. Evolve Or Lose: Leaders digital behaviour is changing, surprisingly recognition & feedback has increased 👥 - Link

  7. Fightback: 7 innovation frameworks to help you fight back disruption 📉 - Link

  8. Elements: How conspiracy theories emerge and die decoded 😲 - Link

  9. Hate Sheets or Excel? Machine learning is coming to excel and sheets, Google announced auto-complete (like in Gmail) to your data, think splitting names or connecting records together automatically 🦾 - Link

  10. ‘Authentic and almost homemade’: How the JW Anderson’s patchwork cardigan went viral on TikTok 🆕 - Link

  11. Joy: Tiktok new COO on why he left Disney and Tiktok’s mission to spread joy and creativity ⏯ - Link

  12. Intimate & Mobile: How Mobile gaming took on and beat console gaming 🎮 - Link

  13. Gaming Hero: Want to be the hero of your own AR game? 👓 Link
    —Here is a good look at the state of streaming and how twitch is leaping ahead - Link

  14. Fortnite Olympics? Would the Olympics in Fortnite or Fortnite at the Olympics have a better impact? 🏃‍♂️ - Link

  15. Mirror Mirror On The Wall: A good look at why Lululemon brought mirror & why AR could be the future of fitness 🏋️‍♂️ - Link

  16. Prime Expectations: How Amazon has set a too higher bar for customer experience 👀 - Link

  17. Upgrade: WhatsApp is going through a major upgrade, including QR codes, concentrate on the speaker on group calls, dark mode for desktop added animated stickers 💭 - Link

  18. Career Ladder: Two good in-depth reads on Reforge - how to transition to a Marketing Leader (article link) & how to become a product leader (video link)

—5 Tips—

This weeks 5 actionable tips from me - connect with me on LinkedIn.

  1. Talk Openly: If you have made redundancies and layoffs in recent weeks, leaders make the time to talk directly to the teams impacted, run through the reasoning, why you are in the position and how you will divide the work and support them through the coming months. Hard but essential.

  2. Quick Audits: 3 proactive ways you can help get your company back on track,
    (1) Run a SWOT analysis - be ruthless in prioritisation and share with senior leadership with the actions you and colleagues are taking and in what order.
    (2) Run a Landscape Audit (Free Template) show you know the market, the changes and how you need to adapt.
    (3). Run a Know 🧠 Like 👍 Love 💕 Audit (Free Template) - how you are viewed, where you are in mindshare and how to change this.

  3. Focus: Are you focusing on the right priorities? Review what the next 90-day plan is and understand what your set of tasks are moving, align with colleagues and prioritise in public so people understand why, the what and the how you are going to make positive change.

  4. LOL Together: Get the team, or people around you laughing together again:
    As a team, it is likely been difficult to laugh together or get a sense of togetherness from being on video calls. Create a quick competition that enables contagious behaviour, laughter is key. A drawing competition, a select a gif for your mood at the start of meetings, narrate your favourite movie quote that makes you laugh etc.

  5. Career Development: Worried about a lack of networking? Build out a free Slack, Discord, or Facebook Group and invite industry friends, these are invaluable, co-create content, and promote out to a wider audience. Use these times as opportunities to create content in fresh formats or formats you have not before.
    Bonus: Commit To Communicating Clearly

Thanks for reading & see you again next Friday.
Danny Denhard

The Future

Will the future look so different? 🤖

Must Reads: 26th June 2020 | This week’s newsletter includes: vending machines, fashion indoor vs outdoor shows battle, the 40 fundamental problems in business & how to spend your following wikihow articles.

This weeks 5 Tips come from Newsletter Curator and influence weekly owner Andrew Kamphey.

—Happy Friday Video—

Sharing is caring - Why not hit forward on this Must Reads email to a colleague or slack channel with your favourite story!


—Must Reads—

  1. The 40: How many of the 40 does your business get? 🤔 - Link

  2. Brand 🆕 Tips: This week I was a panelist on brand is back panel, speaking alongside brand tracking and conjoint company Nepa and Kindred (the people who own the majority of betting companies in the UK) - here are my answers & large number of tips for Business, Marketing and Brand leaders for the next 18 months - Link

  3. Culture: Apple’s venture into AR and VR might just be struggling, why? Internal politics and culture - Link

  4. How to think under pressure 💭 - Link

  5. Smart: The smart secret behind search terms and RSS to find the perfect match on eBay, Etsy & therealreal 👏- Link

  6. Money: Is revenge spend a thing? Chinese record spend seems to suggest so 🇨🇳- Link

  7. Hmm: The Darkside & dirty tricks of the wellness industry 💊 - Link

  8. Do no evil: The disaster relief squad funded & powered by Google cofounder 💟 - Link

  9. Fashion Fight Back: The fashion show has been hugely impacted, here’s Burberry’s answer. Outdoor runways 👗- Link
    —But Paris still thinks it’s going ahead inside 🇫🇷 - Link

  10. JTBD: Spotify has really used the jobs to be done framework for podcasting, Spotify is now auto applying coupon codes within its ads platform 🎯- Link

  11. 👑 🐝: Probably the best use of Twitter threads - The evolution of Beyonce’s rap-singing - Link

  12. The genius of Amazon 🛒 - Link

  13. Flash: Is Olympus exiting the camera market a sign of how marketing campaigns and pinning hopes on one product the sign of the future? 📸 - Link

  14. Mainstream Crypto? PayPal and Venmo are said to be going into crypto, this matters as it makes crypto widely available, question is, will anyone actually understand it enough? ⚗️- Link

  15. Touchless: The vending machine is making a comeback into its own in 2020 - LinkIf you have ever worked with me, you’ll know my love for vending machines and the opportunities they offer

  16. Loophole: How 6 vloggers, Zoom and rental of a cinema/theater - Link

  17. Evolution: Why birds can fly over Everest - Link

  18. Here is a way to spend your Friday - How about spending it by following wikihow articles 😆 - Link

    Thanks to (my former colleague & great Product Manager) Debo Goschalk and 5 tips star Paula Holmes for sharing great stories with me this week.

—Focus On These Leadership Tips—

Here are three important short actionable letters for leaders -
(1) Develop Leaders (2) Ride of a lifetime lessons (3) Future Seers

“Leadership is a state of mind, an attitude rather than a job title”

—5 Tips—

Today's 5 tips comes from Newsletter creator & owner of Influence Weekly Andrew Kamphey.

  1. Find Formats That Drive Conversations and Clicks: see LandingFolio's - 200 Best headlines Formulas

  2. Use the free Hemingway app. It helps you write simply and effectively. For example, I learned to delete "just" from my writing.

  3. Write for someone. See their face as you write. This helps frame your audience and understand how it will resonate.

  4. Write fast. Learn to type fast. Your thoughts are fast and your typing could match. You'll write more. From Quantity comes quality. For me I learned that I hate writing for a long time but I can edit for hours. Typing fast gets me to editing faster.

  5. Edit a lot. Edit 6 times, at least. You'll be surprised at how much your initial writing does not match with your intention. Editing is where the communication happens. Cut repeating phrases. Move words around to help flow. Cut. Cut. Cut. Get to the point.

⏯ Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn


Friend of the newsletter Emma MacNay is looking for a new role, Emma was great when we worked together with when I spoke at a conference she ran and is a good project manager. Definitely get in touch with Emma on LinkedIn or Email if you have any opportunities.

Email Emma

Hiring? Want to promote? Hit reply to the email and let me know and i’ll happily feature.

Thanks for reading & see you again next Friday.
Danny Denhard 

Good News

😀 Positive News Improves Employees Morale

Must Reads: 19th June 2020 | Includes:
Company culture articles: Ways to improve remote relationships & a good checklist to improve your video calls efficiency. A number of interesting business reads including; 50% of online reviews are fake, why car companies hate being mentioned in rap songs, Apple v Google & importantly, how to improve your sleep health.


This week’s 5 Must Read Tips are dedicated to optimising and testing to get ahead in the coming months from Elizabeth Gabster @ Optimizely.

—Happy Friday Video—

I came across a dog owner teaching her dog to communicate with buzzers, the Twitter thread & video will cheer you up and set up your weekend.

—Must Reads—

  1. Remote Relationships: Struggling to keep or create relationships remotely, here are a few tips to focus on 💯- Link
    Worth Another Share: How to set up your business for the new hybrid office & questions you should ask to prep the future of your business - Link

  2. Zoombie: Hating all those video meetings? Feel like you’re not making progress? Here is a checklist that will improve them ☑️ - Link (If you are struggling to see the checklist, here is a downloadable PDF)

  3. Sleep Health: 8 interesting facts about dreaming - ⏯ Video Link

  4. Take out stress and anxiety: Aka uitwaaien, Being out in the wind can greatly improve your mood 🌬 - Link

  5. Colour Care: Understanding colour theory and the colour wheel 🎯- Link

  6. Guru? Vegas hotels want Elon Musk’s tunnels 🎰 - Link

  7. Ecorunner: Allbirds leading the way for sustainable running trainers 👟 - Link

  8. No Cosign: Why car manufacturers do not want to featured in rap tracks 🚗 - Link

  9. Shocker: Half of the reviews online are fake 😏 - Link

  10. Apple vs Google: Google’s move to an app free world has taken another move to become a reality with Android 11 📲 - Link

  11. Twitch Check Mate: A popular story a couple of weeks ago was how Twitch is now streaming chess & coding, here’s the backstory of how chess grandmaster made it on Twitch ♟ - Link
    Amazon is going to be using Twitch as their live destination, as Twitch will show the 4 premier league games for free, very smart play.

  12. Algo vs Human: How human editors are fairer & more diverse 👏 - Link

  13. $3b? Why Walmart’s $3b Jet Bet didn’t flop in its attempts to challenge Amazon 💰 - Link

  14. Info-mmericals: YouTube’s latest ads format enable you to buy the items of the ads from a click 🧐 - Link

  15. Beans: How Heinz creates brand affinity & experiences over just basic marketing 🥘 - Link

  16. “Ineffective Wandering”: The genius of the supermarkets 🏬 - Link

Focus On Trying This Leadership Tip:

A recent MIT study has found taking an intentional approach to sharing positive stories helps leaders boost employee morale. Try finding (or forward this email) and sharing positive stories today to boost your team or companies morale.

—5 Tips—

This week’s tips come from Elizabeth Gabster, lead value consultant at Optimizely. Elizabeth offers 5 tips to help plan ahead and optimise your customers' experience in the coming months. 

— Testing new digital experiences and learning rapidly is essential to emerging as a leader from this economic crisis. Here are a few ways we think you can do this: 

  1. Identify positive changes for your users: Users have shifted in their digital behaviors, including new types of users accessing many services for the first time. Past assumptions about your users and their motivations may have changed – revisit these assumptions and pivot your strategy where needed. 

  2. Keep digital experiences at the heart of your strategy: Customer experience is a key factor in determining which companies will generate value and weather this crisis (read the McKinsey & Company report). Focus first on the fundamentals of a digital user experience, providing excellent support and empathy to your customers, as well as pragmatic, tactical help to those that need it

  3. Build a plan for long term digital resilience: Instead of thinking of COVID-19 as an on / off switch of pre- and post-COVID-19, a return to previous behaviors will likely be muted, slow, or forever changed. Digital will continue to be the primary channel for 2020, and it is key to build resilience in your strategy to meet the needs of all of your customers

  4. Experimentation can be your compass during changing times. By definition, statistically-rigorous experimentation allows you to make decisions by reducing uncertainty. Put your customers first, by validating new features, carefully testing their engagement, and rolling them out gradually to remove the risk of failure. 

  5. Enable your teams, empowering them with progressive delivery principles, and building a culture of experimentation. Senior leaders can encourage their teams to test bolder ideas, building innovative new features, but must be careful to check their own biases – rather than validating one idea, strategically test and iterate on many variations of your product features, ensuring you truly build for your users.

➡️ Connect with Elizabeth on LinkedIn

—Be Featured Here—

If you are looking for a new role or are out of work, happily email me and I will feature you and your LinkedIn profile.

Email Me

Friends of Must Reads With Good Open Roles: Wellness 5 tipster Keith Williams & Team, is looking for a Junior Front End Developer to join his team in London - job spec
If you are hiring and want to add here, happily email and will share in next weeks newsletter.

See you again next Friday.
Danny Denhard ~ Focus Founder

The Busy Bingo Card

Busy should not be a badge of honour

Must Reads: 12th June 2020 | Includes; the future of the office is not just WFH, why you are learning more about your boss than ever before, how far $1b would go to save the ocean & how fashion is trying to embrace tech to save itself.

This week’s 5 tips are excellent from Lewis Buttress, The Head of Product at The Times.


—Must Reads—

  1. The Future: Working from home the future of work? Think Again 🆕 - Link

  2. Culture: Why working remotely is showing staff if they are really in their bosses A-Team 😐- Link

  3. Light Exercise: Why Walking is making a welcomed comeback 🚶‍♀️- Link
    —Here is another look at walking, did you know walking can be considered meditation? 🧘‍♂️ Link

  4. Rethink: Mental Health As Mental Wealth 🧠 - Link

  5. Fighting Anxiety: How to deal with anxiety when it’s becoming too much 💓 - Link

  6. Interesting Map: Where humans are not on earth 🌏 - Link

  7. Recession-Proof: How the kid’s industry is recession-proof 🧸- Link

  8. Amazon’s New Moat: Prioritising own brand in search (works ok for Google) 😲 - Link

  9. Retention Is The New Growth: As suggested in my proactive tips 11 weeks or so ago, retention is the new growth, here’s a deep dive by smart folks at reforge 📈 - Link

  10. Private Search Wars: DuckDuckGo is making another play to go after Google again, privacy is likely not enough 🕵️‍♂️ - Link
    — Here is a video interview from DuckDuckGo boss on why
    & If you are in marketing, this history of search engines by friend of the Must Reads Carl Hendy is a great read.

  11. $1b: How far would $1b go to save the ocean 🌊 - Link

  12. Napping to win: Are you struggling to sleep? Here are some great tips to help you sleep more 💤- Link — Good news naps are recommended by experts 😴- Link

  13. Rule Change: You might want to rethink embedding from Instagram, as Instagram is suggesting asking for permission before embedding 🌈- Link

  14. Gambling Shift: When you cant bet on live sports, you apparently bet on esports 🎥 - Link. — What is also interesting is that buying coin and “loot” is being considered to be reclassified as betting in 🇬🇧 - Link

  15. Watch parties: Watching live with friends has become a forced theme across social media (for more usage), well BT Sports and Sky are introducing a similar idea for live sports ⚽️ - Link

  16. Back To The Future: Are you on Twitter and want to see your followers tweets from ten years ago today? Here’s a link you will want to click, it’s weird how different Twitter was 📟 - Link
    Are you sure you want to RT that? Twitter is continuing its fight against fact news & bots (or the other side of the arguement…controlling speech), it will question you whether you have read that article ✋ - Link

  17. Platform Battle: How tech players are fighting it out to become the digital platform for the fashion runway 👗 - Link

—5 Tips—

This week’s 5 tips come from Product Leader Lewis Buttress, The Head of Product at The Times & The Sunday Times. Offering 5 great business-wide and cross-functional tips to ensure your business succeeds.

  1. Understand your product and the problem it solves - You’ll often find yourself feeling as a triage for requests and a bottleneck between the business and the team unless you understand your product in-depth and sell the direction of travel to everyone.

  2. Empower your team - Communication and empowerment is crucial for a successful product. Make sure your team has access to all the insight from data and customers. A team engaged in the problem are more likely to help deliver a solution.

  3. Stakeholders are members of the team - A common mistake is the ‘them and us’ divide between business and technology. The best thing you can do as a PM is bringing together one team who can build, market, learn, and improve a product over time.

  4. Show the thing - It's easy to get to the 'almost ready to show' phase of a project before getting valuable feedback. Make sure you're breaking things down to the smallest possible releases to get feedback either internally or externally.

  5. Learn from failure - It's inevitable that something you release in your life as a PM does not make the impact you expected. Every release (good or bad) helps you understand your product and the role you do as a product manager better – embrace failure and learn from it!

➡️ Connect with Lewis on LinkedIn


An ex-colleague and someone I have been working with Michelle on my project is a top designer and in her normal role is as a Product Designer. Great news she is looking for a Product Designer role.
📧 If you are looking for please get in touch, Michelle’s Linkedin & or can email directly here.

As ever, If you are looking for a role or hiring, please hit reply and let me know, more than happy to feature.

Lastly, I have written and shared a lot about TikTok, don’t you wish your dentist would teach you in the form of dance or you could have free access to a chiropractor that provides frequent and great advice?


See you again next Friday.
Danny Denhard 
~ Advisor & Consultant

Robot Food Delivery 🤖

& Medium's latest switch - newsletters 🤷‍♀️

Must Reads: 5th June 2020 | Includes great data visualisations, how to fix your WFH posture, making serious cash flipping, what the new cool is on Twitch & the next arms race…the race to win visual search.

This week’s 5 Tips from Trevor Gordon, offering some stand out tips for CX and putting people first.

—Wall-E & Eve?—

Who would have thought Milton Keynes (a large town in 🇬🇧) is showing us the future, 8 robots are now delivering food for Co-Op. Chinese stores and delivery companies have been using these for about a year - Link

—Must Reads—

  1. Amazon Flex: Interactive longread on Amazon, their economics and their hierarchy 💯- Link
    —Another example of a good data vis, the top-earning sports stars - Link
    There has been a lot made of data simulations taking over data visualisations but something as creative and informative can be just as good for marketing and journalism

  2. Posture: Working from home ruining your posture, here are simple stretches that will greatly help 🪑- Link

  3. Zoom Out: Zoom came under scrutiny earlier this year for its less than secure service, now encryption is going to ramped up on paid-for accounts, not free accounts, this is important as so many use it for private conversations and share very personal information in the chat 🧐- Link

  4. Passive Income: Flipping product isn’t new but making serious cash from it is becoming more common, here’s a deep-dive 💵 - Link

  5. Anti Ads: Advertising has been hit hard, Daily Mail Group has lost 70% of its revenue 📰 - Link
    Expect this to change in the coming months, there is an opportunity for brands to leverage this

  6. Going Live: Just when you thought you had seen it all, Twitch’s latest craze, people livestreaming writing code 🎥 - Link

  7. Gaming is the past, present and the future: but gaming can confuse advertisers, here are common myths of in-game advertising demystified 👾 - Link

  8. Snap and Shop: Pinterest has released shop with lens feature 📍 - Link
    Visual search or camera driven shopping has been something we have been looking forward to for years, Pinterest is in prime position to kickstart the market. Expect Facebook (with shop & Instagram) and Google with ‘camera to search’ to follow suit.

  9. Space: Why Astronauts get nervous on the launchpad 🚀 - Link

  10. Google Being Google: Google is being taken to court for tracking users using incognito browsing mode 🕵️‍♂️ - Link

  11. Free: Smart Marketing move by Amazon Prime, allowing its 4 Premier League games free ⚽️ - Link

  12. Not all feedback is equal: Facebook has come under a lot of heat this week, Marks and Spencers released a new Strawberry Clotted Cream, the comments are pretty peak Facebook 🔥 - Link

  13. Money Palette: The DNA of banknotes 💴 - Link

  14. Challenger Challenging Times: Monzo, unfortunately, is making 120 people redundant, alongside competitor revolut & their culture has come under fire again, with more forced firings.

  15. Culture: It is essential for business leaders to talk about mental health and their own mental health experiences. Here are two stories, Ex Police Chief & Buffer founder 👏 - Link

—Free Mental Health App—
It’s normal to feel anxious or panicked right now, rather than have to pay out for one of the premium apps, here is ‘free forever’ meditation app you can try 🧘‍♂️- Link

—5 Tips—

This week’s Must Read Tips is from Trevor Gordon, Director of Global Omnichannel Retail Sodexo. Trevor is a thought leader in the omichannel space and offers the following stand out tips:

—As we move towards reopening much of UK non-food retailing over the next 2 weeks, there will be talk that normality is around the corner; but while social distancing is in place, continuing to successfully leverage digital and laser focus on CX is key to help non-food retail stores trade profitably.

  1. Care of Customers and Employees. Increased and continued focus on care of customers and employees is essential; make “community” a priority while staying true to your company purpose.

  2. Ears to the ground. During the first few days and weeks of reopening, it will be important to understand quickly what is working, and not working. Utilise your customers and colleagues for “ears to the ground” insights, to adapt and move quickly as needed.

  3. Leverage a broad range of channels. Retailers should be maximising value from your own ecommerce store. Focus on relevant, fresh and content frequently across your site (in an engaging but not invasive way); and utilising social to connect with your customers.

  4. Optimise for mobile. Last year mobile has now overtaken desktop in the UK; so make sure your websites and customer journeys are optimised for mobile.

  5. While traditionally seen as a “commodity” in Omnichannel retailing; with the need for contactless and soaring online spend getting the right payment mix is essential for retailers. Considerations include how to deal with higher fraud rates, returns and chargebacks are more common, customer loyalty is difficult to secure, and lower approval rates create a higher risk of lost sales. With so much to contend with, retailers must ensure they get the right set up in place early – or risk losing sales, customers, and revenue.

➡️ Connect with Trevor on Linkedin

—Going A Little Deeper—

Medium’s latest pivot…Newsletters - Link

  • Little known “fact” back in 2016 I started Must Reads as a test on Medium, the irony is, Medium had down-weighted articles. Think of an equivalent social media algo on Medium. Meaning articles with loads of external links (like this one) received no internal reach = no views, unless you really promoted outside of Medium which acted like newsletters.

  • Medium’s Newsletter is based on Publications currently which means larger publications can flip their email sends to newsletter sends, smart but annoying if you are an active and popular creator on Medium.

  • I imagine with the popularity of Pop Culture Monday 🔗 newsletter, I’m sure we might see a newsletter product for writers/curators in the coming months.
    With the crowded newsletter space, i’m not so convinced Medium can really compete.

  • Updated Experience: Medium (aside from The Athletic) has the best reading experience (and composing) on the web, here are the small subtle changes they made recently to improve the reading experience - Link

👋 I am going to be part of a Brand is Back Event on June 24th with the great folks at Nepa, if you would like to join or would like a copy of the insights, let me know by hitting reply or emailing and I will share the details closer to the event.

See you again next Friday.
Danny Denhard 
~ Advisor & Consultant

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