Thanks to Glenn for sending it over.
The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.
Thanks to Glenn for sending it over.
Not a computer company. The Free Prize has nothing at all to do with how fast the Excel spreadsheet gets crunched or how bright the screen is. In other words, we're buying something other than a computer.
This site: ------ Applele.com ------ makes that far more clear than Apple can.
Mark Hurst writes,
i thought of another Free Prize for you:
on the corner of 1st avenue and sixth street, there are these two indian
restaurants that are mirror images of one another - both are atop the
same steps up from the street; both have the exact same (ridiculous)
red-pepper-christmas-light decorations. one is to the left of the stairs,
one to the right.
the Free Prize is, when you walk up the stairs, two guys burst out of the
restaurant doors and loudly try to coax you, as you walk up the stairs,
to go into their restaurant. whichever one you *don't* choose gives you a
really dispirited look. quite entertaining.
food is good (and the same) in either restaurant.
thought of this last night as ali and i went to dinner..
Dinner and a show!
Remind me to tell you about Calvin Trillin's Chinatown Dancing Chicken one day.
If you've got your own Free Prize soft innovation to share, go ahead and send it to bzzagent. See below.
Frequent readers will know that I've previously talked about Bzzagent, a viral marketing firm that tries to institutionalize a lot of the ideas I talked about in Unleashing the Ideavirus.
Bzzagent did a great job with Purple Cow, and now they're back with my new book. If you click here you can find out how to join, how to get a free copy of the new book and what they're all about. You might want to do this to see what a buzzing organization looks like from the inside, or you might want to do this just because you like bzzing neat stuff.
[void where prohibited. not valid outside the US. your mileage may vary. consult doctor before using.]
Some people got the point of my post (below) about the increasing brazenness that I'm noticing. I think this is the result of the economy, orkut, friendster, email ubiquity, spam and a sort of neo-networking. I was making a point about ALL of us, not just me.
I wasn't saying, as some of my dear readers inferred, that I don't want to hear from you any more. Sure I do. I always have, and I think I always will. I'm not so subtle... if I want you to go away, I'll let you know.
What I was saying, to be clear, is that even someone as open to mail as I gets cranky when people start acting entitled and insistent. That this neo-networking scam isn't going to last long, with me or anyone else.
Thanks. I feel better now.
Google changed their UI today. The scary thing is how wrong it feels. Obviously, the small changes aren't wrong, but the fact that you notice them is a testament to how spectacular the marketing of the "original" Google was.
Challenge #17 for Google: figure out how to train users to look forward to an evolving google rather than a static one.
Thanks to Alex's Blog for pointing this out. He's also got a great link to an alternative to Google that's worth checking out.
But have you noticed that people who want you to help them are getting a lot more insistent?
My incoming spam from countries I'll never see seems to be more persistent (and with ever more spelling errors).
Incoming "personal" notes from people two or three handshakes away are now insisting that I help format PowerPoint presentations, introduce them to just the right hiring executive, contribute to their next project or drag myself downtown for lunch to discuss how I might give them some advice.
The beauty of the web is that it introduces us to thousands of people that might never have crossed our path. The problem, it's becoming ever more clear, is that friction is rapidly disappearing. People who would hesitate to say "hello" at a cocktail party think nothing of sending a 1245k attachment. Then, when you're foolish enough to send a courteous reply, they escalate into phone solicitation. Yikes.
Are we more desperate or more comfortable? I think it might be both. I know I'm more aggravated.
Today's New York Times has a great article about Cabela's. Cabela's Online Store - Quality Hunting, Fishing, Camping and Outdoor Gear. Turns out that they are actually BIGGER than LL Bean. Not in size (though a quarter of a million square feet for one store is a LOT of square feet) but in annual revenue.
Who says you can't get big going to the edges? And yes, Cabela's will sell you a camouflaged, digital turkey call.
It's easy to forget just how bad web sites used to be, even a year or two ago. A visit to Air Canada is a vivid flashback to just how broken a site can be.
Enter the site by pressing "English" and then book your entire itinerary. Whoops. You forgot to press "US Traveler" on the front page, so you're stuck.
The fields are small and hard to navigate. The logic is twisted at best. The hierarchies don't match.
My point is simple: the bar has been raised, folks. If you're not smooth and easy and logical, people will flee.
I bought two things on the net over the last few days. Envelopes and Screen Printed T-Shirts. The experiences were identical. Great pricing, sure, but human intervention when necessary and automation when it wasn't.
In both cases, I bought stuff that used to be slow, expensive, a little scary and a big hassle. And in both cases, real people augmented by appropriate technology made it a terrific experience.
I bought some shirataki for lunch. Funny little white noodles in a bag. Here's what it says on the label (I'm not making this up):
"Drain water and parboil for 2 to 3 minutes before use to reduce the authentic aroma of Shirataki."
It also says,
"Shirataki is composed of thin, gelatinous strings made from yam flour... and has very low caloric or digestible food values."
While it's actually pretty good, I think this is just a fascinating way to market your product, don't you agree?
The Free Prize is the experience of service at the Ritz Carlton, when what you paid for was a good night’s sleep.
The Free Prize is the change counting machine at Commerce Bank, when what you needed was a checking account.
The Free Prize is the line at Al Yaganeh’s soup stand, when what you came for was the soup.
The Free Prize is the milk carton that housed the first 10,000 copies of Purple Cow.
The Free Prize is the way you feel when you open the little blue box from Tiffany’s.
The Free Prize is in the look on the face of the valet when you drive up in a Hummer.
The Free Prize is the lighting and ceiling of the new Boeing 77e
The Free Prize is the lighted keyboard on the new Mac Powerbooks
The Free Prize is the way it smells inside a bakery
The Free Prize is the line to get onto Space Mountain
The Free Prize is the container that Method dish soap comes in
The Free Prize is the exterior design of the Maytage Neptune dishwasher
The Free Prize is the “thunk” that the relays make when you turn on the Mark Levinson amplifier (which costs $4,000)
The Free Prize is the way you can pack cigarettes against the side of the package before you smoke them
After that little squib in today's Wall Street Journal, I thought it was time to let you know about the new book. You can get a summary right here.
Yes, the book comes in a cereal box. Really. But only the first printing.
I'm looking for three or four amazing (paid) interns for the summer to help launch a new project I've been working on. There's a referral bounty, so even if you're not looking, you might want to check out the PDF and forward it to those who are.
I need students or graduates from top schools who are able to come to my loft outside NYC for the summer (no telecommuting, sorry).
Here's the PDF: Download file.
I hope not. But a nice interview re: Really Bad Powerpoint. (including a secret free offer at the end). sociable media // articles by Cliff Atkinson
Just got a note from Janet Helm. I peeked at her site.
It does an awful lot of things right, things that would apply to almost any business that has a few things to show and wants a tone of voice that increases trust.
The cool thing, of course, is that this site costs just as much to host and build as one of those screaming yellow sites that look like a ransom note.
Art directing your brand (or you) is not a dumb thing to do. In addition to satisfying one's vanity, it's a chance to establish an image that might last a long time. The top half of my head, for example, first showed up in Fast Company and then on Permission Marketing. The time spent working with Brian Smale (a great photographer) clearly paid off in building the image of the brand.
No question, people look at pictures far more often than they read the words.
Which leads me to today's New York Times.
When the photographer arrived, I had thought long and hard about what the photo should accomplish. I wanted to include my cow, because it's a great connection to the Purple Cow book. I figured it would be fun to have my Gandhi/Apple poster, because it's quirky and positions my ideas a bit. I didn't want my Segway in the photo, because I didn't buy the Segway to ride around on... I got it to use in my presentations about how technology-first ideas often don't pan out (it's featured in my new book).
So, this is the photo we ended up with:
Alas, I didn't realize that the photographer had quite a wide angle lens. This is the photo he actually shot:
And then, when the folks at the newspaper got their hands on it, it became:
And finally, when they were done getting rid of the artful lighting and the vibrant colors, we ended up with:
So, you may not care one whit about how millions of Americans are having their breakfasts ruined because they have to suffer through my non-optimal photo, but a> it doesn't help the brand and b> it might happen to you one day.
Not sure what letter it is, maybe it's an "I" for inappropriate.
Janet Jackson is about to perform on Good Morning America, and of course, the network is insisting on a tape delay so that they can bleep her or blank her if she misbehaves. Reuters | Breaking News from Around the Globe
Perhaps she should perform in a burka.
Whether or not you were shocked (shocked!) at the improprieties she demonstrated at the Super Bowl, there's really no reason to assume that every single time she goes on television she's going to expose one part or another, any more than there's reason to believe that Howard Dean is going to start screaming or that your Audi is going to suddenly accelerate and run over the kid down the street.
Humans are really bad at extrapolating, which is why brands work and you should care a lot about making a significant first impression you can live with.
Janet Jackson was a third-rate brand. Michael's sister, okay singer, hit record maker, decent dancer. Nothing exceptional, no "Mona Lisa" only-one-in-the-world qualities to her. Until February. Now she's got that scarlet letter. She's been branded. Possibly forever.
Of course, now that she's got the brand, she's actually LESS likely to start parading around naked on morning television, right? But playing to the brand is easy and fun and safe, so the folks at ABC institute the bleeping delay, just to be safe. Reinforces the brand, protects the network.
So, yesterday, for the second time in a week, I was harassed, yelled at and threatened.
By a garage parking guy.
My Prius doesn't start like most cars. You have to press a button and there's no key required.
When I get to the garage, I calmly invite the attendant to learn how to drive my car. With no exceptions, they refuse. They're offended. They are, after all, professionals.
So, yesterday, when I went to pick up my car, not one, not two, but three guys had to climb into my car and try to figure out how to start it, jabbing and pressing everything. My offers to teach them were rebuked.
Finally, I said, "I'm sorry, I don't have time to have you play with my car any more..." they got really angry and started saying things you can't say on the Howard Stern show.
I think I'll make a sign and hang it from the steering wheel.
Then the whole country is in trouble. CNN.com - $1 million%u2020bill leads to arrest - Mar 9, 2004
Which means it's going to be hard to get me to shut up for a while about it.
Read Doc's second post on the ubiquity of it. The Doc Searls Weblog : Wednesday, March 10, 2004
What will make this work (or not work) is that we don't yet have an amazon, ebay, yahoo or google of RSS. It's still too homemade.
Keeps going up.
Consider the case of Red Sky At Night - Great deals on Helly Hansen, Sperry Top Siders, Sebago Docksides, Teva Sandals, Brass Lamps, Boating Books, Brass Clocks, Ships Bells, Hand Bells, Boat Shoes, Deck Shoes. I ordered some shoes two weeks ago (my son is in a play) and let them know when we needed them by.
The date came and went, and no shoes.
So we had to go out and buy a pair the old-fashioned way. Two days later, the shoes got here. I just got a call from the person who handled our online order, and, unprompted, he refunded all of our money and told us we could keep the shoes.
Worth it? Well, considering that it costs $10 to $200 to get an online customer using various forms of media, and that they just got one for good, yes, it was a good investment.
the surprising thing is that the Times (and the rest of the industry) think Particle's approach is new and novel.
This is the future, folks. The Unorthodox System: First Build a Fan Base, Then Record an Album
...in Detroit. reveries - marketing insights and ideas. Here's an excerpt:
Nissan's "Carlos Ghosn recently declared that design was now on a part with investment strategy, the most fateful decision a modern corporation can make."
Indeed, the auto "industry's economics," Mr. Jenkins goes on to suggest, "have also become impressively Hollywood-like ... Nowadays," he observes, "any reward for shareholders will have to come from gratuitous profits earned on 'hot models' that customers are willing to pay more than a commodity-box price for." It's a trend that started with the "retrofusion" of the new Beetle and Chrysler's PT Cruiser, and continued with "the 2001 Thunderbird, this year's Chevy SSR and next year's Ford GT. That pace picked up, Mr. Jenkins suggests, with "the Bauhaus-inspired Audi TT ... and a series of Volvo non-boxes inflected with the sensibility of Swedish furniture design."
We've got people from the UK, Poland, California and New Jersey coming to my seminar on March 25.
Just wanted to remind you that there's six seats left. If you'd like to come, drop me a line at email@example.com and I'll send you all the details.