6 Digital Strategy Sayings (Illustrated)

March 10, 2016
By Damian Jolley

Our “Master Websmith” Shawn Johnston is an expert at crafting digital strategy for our clients. His many, many (many) years in the industry have turned him into a rolodex of business development, web design, and marketing knowledge.

Around the office Shawn is known for his no-nonsense one-liners, dropping truth-bombs and dispensing quotable nuggets of wisdom.

We decided we needed to share our favourite “Shawn-isms” with the world. Simply telling you what they are wasn’t enough; here is the illustrated guide to the most quotable quotes from boss-man Shawn Johnston.

Digital strategy sayings to drive success Digital Strategy Quote: "Drive the Bus"

1. “Drive the bus.”

When Shawn tells you to drive the bus, it’s time to move into the driver’s seat and take control of the situation. Your passengers may give you guidance, or tell you where they need to go, but you’ll be steering the wheel and hitting the gas.

How to drive the bus:

  • Show leadership and be assertive
  • Be a decision-maker
  • Move a process forward

Digital Strategy Quote: "Land the Plane"

2. “Land the plane.”

A plane coming into land has limited space to hit the ground and stop before the runway ends. Time is critical, and a lot has to happen in order to land smoothly.

Get to the point. Communicate clearly and get on with it. Don’t let your idea fall off the runway.

How to land the plane:

  • Cut useless details: flowery descriptions, words that add nothing (read more: Heavy Metal Marketing)
  • Break content into smaller, digestible pieces
  • Consider the attention span of your audience
  • Beware of rambling, overused business jargon and pointless analogies

Digital Strategy Quote: "You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs"

3. “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.”

I rarely cook, let alone make an omelette, but I do know they contain eggs — and you have to crack them to make an omelette.

A few things you really liked might have to be lost to aid the greater good in any project.

You might design forty new versions of a logo and have a client choose the one that looks just like their existing logo. It happens, but the outcome of a happy client is most important.

You can’t focus on the broken egg shells left behind; the end product is what matters.

How to be okay with breaking a few eggs:

4. “Work hard, stay humble.”

This saying is so much a part of the Forge and Smith office culture that we have it on t-shirts. This mantra is important when working collaboratively, both internally and with clients.

How to work hard and stay humble:

  • Put everything you have into every project
  • Have pride in your work
  • Recognize that everyone has their own skill set and can teach you something
  • Be willing to ask for help (and to receive it)

Digital Strategy Quote: "I'm Kind of a big deal"

5. “I’m kind of a big deal.”

Speaking of humble… This Ron Burgundy quote from Anchorman is one of Shawn’s most frequently used. It might sound like blatant ego-stroking, but it’s actually the opposite.

Running a business is hard work, and takes confidence. Shawn uses this line to remind himself that he doesn’t have time for self-doubt when leading digital strategy (and Forge and Smith).

When to use “I’m kind of a big deal”:

  • Pump yourself up before your next interview, presentation, or sales pitch
  • When you need a little encouragement to finish off the final pieces of a project
  • When you’re flying solo on your job role, project or just working from home Digital Strategy Quote: "I'm fixing the internet, one website at a time"

6. “Fixing the Internet, one website at a time.”

This straightforward Shawn-ism is about helping others in order to make the Internet a better place.

Shawn recently tried to find a pick-up basketball game in New Westminster. He searched for local places, but the results turned up nothing. Most community centres have their calendars and program information tied up in PDF documents, which are difficult for search engines to index.

Unfortunately, this happens all to often in the online world. A website should be a content hub for your business, and be easily accessible by visitors (and Google!).

Every time Forge and Smith designs a strong, responsive, SEO-friendly website, we’re fixing a small piece of the Internet so that users — like us — can find results.

How to use this line:

  • When making digital marketing magic for your business or your clients
  • When actually fixing the Internet
  • To impress someone at the bar


Now that you’re armed with these awesome sayings, go forth and save, tweet, text, and do what you must to share them and spread the digital strategy power!

Have a question? Ask Shawn now!

Damian Jolley

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