Archive for August, 2005
August 31, 2005
A blog about the the utter disaster that is Louisiana. Words utterly fail me. [Thanks to Parmet for the link.]
[IMPORTANT UPDATE:] The help the blog linked above, I’ve built a wiki page to help the people of Slidell, Louisiana get information to each other. Hope it helps.
[MEANWHILE:] Why is it that every time I read anything even remotely related to the book publishing business, I just roll my eyeballs?
Today is Blog Day.
That means every one has to go out and link to five new blogs, in order to spread some extra linklove.
Well, I may have linked to some of these in the past. But maybe not enough.
1. Steve Bowbrik’s is quite good. He’s some kind of post-dotcom entrepreneur or whatever.
2. I always like giving Tony Goodson a read. English transplant living in Australia. Full of random, quirky but very smart observations.
3. David Burn’s Adpulp gets better and better. Advertising Industry related etc.
4. One of the better-written British blogs.
5. Susie! Susie! Susie!
Happy Blog Day!
August 30, 2005
Andrew Jaffe, an astrophysicists in London signed up for the Stormhoek Blogger’s Wine Freebie.
OK, so he got the bottle, but then sadly left the bugger on the train.
We saw the story via one of the search engines, so we sent him another bottle. What the hell, we were feeling nice.
Why is this interesting? Maybe to the average person, it isn’t.
But the fact is, for pennies (and I do mean PENNIES) on the dollar compared to standard advertising campaigns, we’re getting astrophysicists talking openly and intellegently about a bottle of $10 plonk.
Why? Because the $10 bottle of plonk is talking openly and intellegently with astrophysicists.
Yes. Cluetrain. Exactly. “Markets are conversations” etc. Sure, call me a shameless, pimping blog whore all you want, but this stuff actually does matter to me.
[BONUS LINK:] “Brand Hijack”. The essential ingredient in creating word-of-mouth.
August 29, 2005
Loic wonders why more British people aren’t signing up for Our Social World.
I wonder how a country like U.K. can have so few participants interested in a blog/social software conference such as Our Social World on September 9th. Wake up! It should be a good conference, you can still sign up.
I’m guessing two reasons.
1. It’s not in London. People most likely to be interested in this kind of stuff can’t be bothered getting up to Cambridge for an 8.30am start.
2. It’s in the U.K. The Brits hate any kind of new “social” media. They prefer “socialised” media, thank you very much. They still equate media with glamor, authority, privelege and the domain of the establishment. The idea that JUST ANYONE can have a voice they find vulgar and offensive. Which is why these turkeys can still make a living.
Well, I’m speaking on the day. Something to do with how marketers are going to have to start behaving more like techies, less like “creatives”. It should be a fun and interesting day for all concerned; I’m worried less about how many people actually show up.
The Cluetrain is happily chugging away. Getting a seat on it is not a God-given right, it’s an individual decision.
It has nothing to do with who you know, what school you went to, who your tailor is, what pub you drink in, or what political party you voted for. Which is why most Brits don’t see it.
But the ones that do, of course, are starting to have the time of their lives.
August 28, 2005
Kathy Sierra’s amazing post, “You ARE a marketer. Deal with it.“
In this new open-source/cluetrain world, I am a marketer. And so are you. If you’re interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on… congratulations. You’re in marketing. Now go kill yourself.
The marketing chart alone is about as succint a definition between old and new marketing as you’re ever likely to find.
I left a big ol’ rant in the comments, as is my wont.
August 27, 2005
Kind words about English Cut from Shel Israel, courtesy of BL Ochman:
The Best Blogs Have Passion and Authority
After doing more than 100 interviews with bloggers certain trends emerge. “The bloggers that we find to be the most interesting display passion and authority. The great poster child is the English Cut guy. Thomas Mahon started English Cut and we all went to it. At first,” Israel says, “everyone was fascinated about thread counts, how they tailor a suit, whether guy dresses right or left. In a matter of a couple of months, Mahon became the world’s authority.“
People wandered away from the English Cut blog because there is only so much they want to know about how to make a $4000 suit. But, says Israel, it doesn
The Irish Blogger’s Wine Freebie is now closed. We should be sending the bottles out soonish.
[Meanwhile, from my Geek Dinners wiki page:]
Stormhoek is very interested in sponsoring geek dinners with freebie bottles of wine. If you have a cool geek dinner coming up, the thing to do is let Hugh MacLeod know about it and he’ll take it from there. Thanks.
We want to start sponsoring geek dinners etc. We think that would be more interesting than just going after the big conferences. Small is beautiful etc.
If you know of a geek dinner coming up, please either leave it on the wiki or drop me an e-mail, and I’ll see what I can do. Thanks.
A word that rolls off my tongue a lot these days is “Commodity”.
Not surprising. We live in a era where China does the making, and Wal-Mart does the selling. In this game margins are wafer-thin, so for every hundred dollars of inventory you sell, you’ll be lucky to clear the price of a can of beer as profit. And next year you’ll be lucky to clear half a can of beer etc.
Because your shareholders want more than a few cans of beer in return for their investment, you’re going to have to sell a lot of stuff to keep them happy. Billions of dollars worth.
So to sell all these billions of dollars’ worth, you’re going to have a build a big company full of factories and cubicles and corner offices and meeting rooms and warehouses and fax machines and watercoolers and bad coffee, with legions of business-casual meatpuppets running around droning & number crunching.
It’s not pretty, but it’s what we got. Commodities galore. Commodities forever.
Luckily, some of these commodified meatpuppets earn lots of money. And as an antidote for all that commodification they’ve been doing during the week, during the weekends they’re going to want the exact opposite, and they’re willing to pay for it.
So they’ll spend their money on “non-commodity”, in other words, “Bespoke”. That could mean anything. Handmade suits or designer ice cream or yuppie furniture or wooden sailboats or Laura Ashley curtains or Tiffany necklaces. Anything that makes them feel special and unique. Anything to wash off the stink of the day job.
The more intense the WalMart-China commodification curve becomes, the more demand there will be for bepoke products i.e. the more intense the demand for an antidote will become.
And yeah, blogs are really good at selling bespoke. Which explains why, as a marketing blogger, I’ve gotten so interested in bespoke products, like $4000 suits or $10,000 jewelry.
It may also explain why I continue to live in a wee cottage in the English boonies, as opposed to doing what I always thought I’d do eventually i.e. move back to New York.
I love New York, but the more I think about it, the more I believe it’s a commodity town (just ask any over-thirty single person who lives there if you have any doubt). If I lived in New York, I’d have to go work for The Man again, just to pay the rent. I’d have to go play the commodity game again. Madison Avenue. Managing the Suicide Pact between Big Business and Big Media for fun and profit.
Sure, I could probably try my hand at being one of these “post-Cluetrain corporate guys who gets it”, but that wouldn’t last long. The boys with the red-hot pokers would find a way to come after me eventually, they always do (I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’ve been told that Steve Rubel no longer blogs during office hours. I’m guessing the red hot pokers have been out. Exactly.).
Don’t get me wrong. Some people do fine in with commodities. Some people hold down cool jobs at companies like Microsoft or General Motors. Some people can live quite comfortably on 0.00001% profit margins.
But most people I know aren’t like this. We weren’t made to emulate machines, sad but true.
So I believe the biggest issue my peers are facing at the moment is, how the hell do we free ourselves from the commodification of everything around us? How do we find our own version of “Bespoke”?
I guess this is why me, you and so many other people are blogging. Because if the answers aren’t in the blogosphere, where the hell are they?
We live in interesting times.
[REQUIRED READING:] “Small is the new big.”
[More Jeff Jarvis and the “Dell Hell” Saga:] The thing is, when you start turning your products into commodities, you start treating your customers like commodities.
And it’s a death-spiral that’s damn hard to break out of.
[Background story here.]
[ALSO:] Web 3.0. Jason Kottke spells it out. And a damn good job he does of it, too.
August 26, 2005
Excellent points by Technogoogles about the Stormhoek Blogger’s Wine Freebie:
I’ve been following Hugh’s sideline, ie new client, with interest. He’s levereging his muscle in the blogo-world to generate some PR for a wine called Stormhoek by giving away free samples and asking people to comment upon the wine in their blogs — and in doing so creating some ‘marketing disruption’ [his term, not mine]. It’s the marketing as conversation thing. However, what Hugh and Stormhoek are doing is circumventing that period where ‘use’ grows into ‘advocacy’ and by doing so it risks being just another ad campaign albeit one using a different ‘channel’ and a slightly different method. Advocacy is different from buzz and High risks not so much ‘disrupting’ marketing as being very much part of the ‘push’ marketing machine.
Fair enough. So I left the following in the comments:
Sure, wouldn’t we all love the blogosphere to be magically turned into product pimps. But that would be too easy, too predictable.
Not to mention, ineffective.
What’s more interesting to me, and more part of the long term plan, is not using bloggers as an external advertising mechanism.
What’s far more interesting to me is how this interaction with the blogosphere will affect the internal conversation… how it will affect the internal culture of Stormhoek itself.
In the Hughtrain, I wrote “the future of advertising is internal”. This is what I’m talking about.
The story isn’t, “Buy this product so you can be more like us”, which is what typical ‘cool’ brands try to do. We want to be more like them, not the other way around. We dig what’s happening in the ‘Sphere, and we want to be part of it.
So it’s more about “outreach” than “selling”.
i.e. We want the conversation to move from the external to the internal, not the usual “firehose” mass media internal-to-external.
That’s the plan, anyway. And yeah, I agree, there is some risk. But you got to try these things.
Some time ago Jeff Jarvis wrote, to paraphrase, the future of marketing is not, “Here’s why you should buy our stuff, but more “We’re interested in the same things you’re interested in.“
Like I said, it’s all about “outreach”. It’s about wanting to be part of something interesting, something larger than the actual product.
That being said, it’s early days in this brave new world of ours. And I’m interested in finding out what the edges are. The only way to do that is by trying out different ideas. Some work better than others.
But it’s something I (and a lot of my readers) find endlessly fascinating.
[BONUS LINK:] I would cite this as a “textbook example of what blogging is good for”. Absolutely brilliant.
August 25, 2005
Is it just me, or is “Free Content” an oxymoron?
Meanwhile, Doc Searls points to the next great battle in the Great Internet Wars: “How To Save The World From Splogonama”. Wonderful.
Sig’s talking about “Flow” again:
If nature was designed like today’s business and software, water would trickle down the valley in buckets, from bucket to bucket.
We have wireless in coffee shops, Skyping on transatlantic flights, Blackberries, smartphones and laptops wherever we go — why not let (server based) systems do the delivery of work-orders, run the events, do the transactions and capture the data? Why not have the flows defined with loops and warts and all ready to be refined daily as the organisations learns and grows?
“Anataxonomy” and “Flow”, combine those two principles and use the wonders of technology accordingly.
So what does this mean? Sure, we’re already getting used to the idea of big commercial Open-Source software companies like Spikesource. But what about non-software? Open-Source Exxon’s? Open-Source General Motors’s?
This is when “Flow” starts getting REALLY important.
[Disclosure: Sig and I work together. Thingamy software etc.]
Just got an e-mail from Loic:
This is just a rumor/still unconfirmed, but Les Blogs 2.0 will hopefully be in Paris December 5-6th, in Paris.
August 24, 2005
Just got back from the Edinburgh Film Festival earlier today.
The good news is, my friend Dave MacKenzie’s new film, “Asylum” is really, really good. Wow. Sir Ian “Gandalf” McKellan was tremendous.
The film was dark. Very, very dark. Even darker than Dave’s previous film, “Young Adam”.
The other thing I notice about Dave’s filmmaking is, he is a MASTER of sex scenes. Especially the dark and disturbing kind. Anyway, I hope you’ll go see it when it hits your neck of the woods.
[Bonus Link: Preview/trailer thingie for “Asylum” on the Paramount Classics website.]
Besides that, I spent a lot of time schmoozing with the usual suspects. Film geeks and media types.
Two differences I notice between film geeks and blog geeks.
1. Film geeks take a lot of drugs.
I didn’t see any at the party last night, but the Edinburgh Film Festival (or any big media event, really) tends to be awash with them. And there were one or two people around yesterday who were nursing hangovers from “partaking” the night before.
I know bloggers like a drink or two (remember the speakers’ dinner the night before Les Blogs, when Gaby and Jason had their legendary confrontation?). But could you imagine Doc, Scoble or Joi pulling out the mirror & credit card at a blog dinner? Or Loic and Caterina getting really paranoid when the white powder starts running out? It would boggle the mind.
So the Old/Big Media party circuit tends to be awash with drugs. The Blogosphere party circuit, as far as I can tell, seems to be pretty much free of them. Do the math.
2. Film geeks seem far more frustrated and battered by their chosen media than blog geeks.
To use the now-famous metaphor, it’s the difference between pushing a rock up a hill and pushing snowballs down a hill. The film geeks are hostages to fortune, namely, having their projects greenlighted by the guys in Hollywood who sign the cheques. A process that can take years, and thousands of hours in meetings.
The blog geeks don’t have that problem. As I’m fond of saying, “In the blogosphere, the only light is the greenlight”.
Let’s just hope it stays that way.
I’m not dissing the film geeks. But they do seem very locked into an artform that generally gets a lot more out them, than they get out of it. Which is why so many people I meet in that game remind me of the “Vanished” cartoon above.
Dave and I have had many long conversations about this. The fact that has managed to make a career in such a painfully difficult yet nebulous field is no mean feat, indeed. So well done, Mackenzie (Round of Applause).
–Giving a random drawing to Jason Biggs of “American Pie” fame. He was a nice guy, I thought.
–Long conversation with Hannah McGill, a very cool woman, the film critic for The Glasgow Herald. Turns out she’s actually an occasional gapingvoid reader. Small world.
–Coincidentally bumping into Paul and Matt of Salted.com at a diner, and sharing a very pleasant lunch & beers with them before catching my train home. I had no idea they were up for the week. Again, small world [Salted just finished re-designing the Stormhoek blog, so if you’re looking for a blog designer, I can recommend them, no worries.].
August 23, 2005
I’ll be speaking at “Our Social World” on Sept. 9th, if anyone fancies a great day out in Cambridge (England).
And of course, Stormhoek will be serving freebie wine there, probably in the evening.
The basic gyst of my talk will be, “Marketers are going to have to start behaving more like techies, hackers etc, and less like creatives, headlice etc.“
[NOTE TO SELF:] Is it just me, or isn’t it absolutely frickin’ great to finally be living in an era where the TV is no longer all-powerful?
August 22, 2005
The Edinburgh Film Festival is on at the moment, and I’m going up there tomorrow for the premier of my old friend, Dave Mackenzie’s new film, “Asylum”, based on the Pat McGrath novel.
I guess this means similar to “Young Adam’s” Edinburgh premier two years ago. Lots of free liquor and schmoozing with Scottish media types. Should be quite jolly.
Of course, free liquor and Scottish people is a REALLY scary combination, but hey, nothing I haven’t seen before.
This is one of those glamorous social-networking things I would’ve killed to get invited to 15 years ago, but these days, I’m less concerned about it. Upper Bohemia isn’t as alluring as it once was. Still, a fun evening is expected by all.
That being said, a germ of an idea has been perculating in my head for the last 3 or 4 months, all to do with blogging, Scotland, Stormhoek and my media/bohemian past.
Funny how these different strands of past and present all weave together sometimes, like an elaborate, dancing mirage.
Anything worth doing begins life as a mirage…
[Speaking of Bohemia:] Thanks to Cynthia for pointing me to the best photoblog I’ve seen for a while.
Interesting. Shel talks about the time he met Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple back in 1980:
He [Jobs] stared at me for a second then asked me what I did for a living. I stammered that I loved to write, and right now I was working for a PR agency until I could find something meaningful. “My PR flack is Regis McKenna,” he snapped, more than a little impatiently. “Go work for him.“
In fact, that’s exactly what I did. But I never really worked much on the Apple Account. As it turned out, that was a good thing. And I learned something about Jobs that seems to be true all these many years later. He’s much more appealing when he’s standing in front of 500 people than he is close up.
What’s always amusing with posts like this is reading the usual comments left by the “Apple Mafia”:
After you do that, give credit to Jobs for having clairvoyantly spotted a bad writer long years ago. And you’re still so ungracious about the fact that he actually bothered to give you advice on what you should do? Then ask yourself why a man in his position owes *you* the time of the day?
Clairvoyantly? Oh yeah, I forgot, Steve Jobs has supernatural powers as well. Even more reason to worship etc etc.
[SEE ALSO:] “Why I prefer Windows to Macintosh”.
10. When I was in high school, people who were overly into hipster brands were routinely taken behind the bike sheds and savagely pummeled. That is the natural order of things.
August 21, 2005
I was originally going to write something about the “Death of Advertising” etc etc.
You know what? I can’t be bothered. Seriously.
But hey, if that slushpile of an industry still works for you, then I’m happy for you. Just please, don’t expect the pile to get any less slushy in future. The non-slush days are over.
And please don’t think you are offering your clients value for money. That’s not your job. Your job is to justify insane expenditure whenever possible. Luckily most of your clients are spending company money, not their own money. It’s not like it’s real to them or anything. It’s the slushpile after all, nothing is supposed to be real.
All you can do is hope that your clients don’t lose their fondness for slush. They probably won’t, at least for now. They have their own corporate slushpiles to frolic with. You can go out for fancy dinners at company’s expense, and spend your time comparing slush notes.
So yeah, there’s happily still plenty of money to be made slushing around for a while yet. So have fun with it. Impress the girls with your valiant tales of slush. Slush is good. Slush is your friend. Slush is what will sustain you and your dreams from here on end.
Onward, Slush Warriors.
[Bonus Link:] “Advertising is going through Menopause”.
August 19, 2005
Adriana’s having a New York Geek Dinner on September 15th.
I won’t make it there, but Stormhoek will gladly supply some freebie wine for the event, if that’s OK with everybody.
Speaking of freebies, the Irish Blogger’s Wine Freebie offer is still open, if any Irish bloggers fancy a bottle.
I love this marketing model. Talk to bloggers. Make it easy for them to try the wine. If they like it, the idea-virus is unleashed. And if they hate it, that’s good too.
Why? Because nobody kills a bad idea faster than a blogger. So if Stormhoek dies, it’ll die quickly. And the Stormhoek folk can move on to other things, as opposed to spending the next five years blindly trying to market a dumb product that nobody really wants.
Fed Wilson is looking for a new dimension to the internet:
Information overload? No, we were overloaded ten years ago. What we are today has no word for it because we are too busy checking our non stop email deluge to think of one.
August 18, 2005
My friend Alistair Shrimpton is the British head of Six Apart, the blog software company.
His job is mostly to sell blogware to large commercial organisations. His biggest problem? Not enough case studies. Not enough British examples of companies using blogs successfully, compared to say, the Americans or the French.
But he has found a new champion. A company that sells “Maternity wear for women who love clothes”.
Seems one of the people who started it was once the chief designer for Victoria’s Secret, the lingerie company.
And Alistair convinced them to start getting into blogging as way of communicating with their customers. Human-to-human, as opposed to seller-to-buyer.
I think it’s a pretty neat idea. What say the ladies?
[WIKI:] I’ve set up a page on the wiki for “British Case Studies” i.e. companies that are using blogs to transform their businesses. Know any good examples?
[S.O.S.] This page on the wiki keeps on getting wikispam, which keeps on deleting the French and British categories. Does anyone know any good safeguard tricks?
August 17, 2005
I’m currently in London. I’m running around like crazy, so I’ve not had much time to blog. But this is what’s been on my radar screen lately:
1. Thanks to Sarah Blow for organising such a lovley Girl Geek Dinner last night. About 40 people came, and Stormhoek handed out complimentary wine.
2. Seth Godin has a new book out. His last, apparently. He prefers blogging as a medium for getting his ideas out there. I contributed a couple of drawings to the project. Seriously cool stuff.
I’ve found that most business books don’t get bought. Those that do, don’t get read. Those that do, make a difference, but only for those that read them. Every once in a while, a business book breaks through because organizations buy it by the truckoad. When a group buys 100 or 1,000 copies of a book, it gets talked about. It becomes a touchstone, something that people can refer to, use as a shorthand and take as a common foundation.
When I pitched Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell, Guy Kawasaki, April Armstrong, Julie Anixter, Marcia Hart and dozens of other big thinkers on contributing to a book that was designed to change the way organizations dealt with being remarkable, they all said yes. No hesitation, just yes.
3. As part of his marketing class, Robert Paterson got his students to all write 1,000 word essays about English Cut. They had to assume the voice of Thomas Mahon in the year 2008.
Here is the scenario for your last paper — 1,000 words please. We are going to explore the world of the small and the personal in the hope that in this case study, you will find some insight that will help you do the same.
Your task is to imagine that you are Tom Mahon of English Cut — the Tailoring Business supported by Hugh Mcleod of Gaping Void and Hughtrain fame. It is 2008 what happened? How did your new approach begin? What was the influence of Hugh. What happened that was differenr from the traditional way of doing this? What is is about the Long Tail that fits? Why did you not grow beyond a certain size? As you became more successful (How) what did others like you do — in other words what was the larger impact of others who made bespoke products. What were the challenges? What were the lessons for you and for others?
It was REALLY interesting reading their thoughts on the subject. Basically, their interpretation of the business model, why it’s shaped the way it is and how it’s developiong was totally spot on. Thanks, Everybody for doing such a great job. Impressive stuff.
August 13, 2005
Ed Byrne is right, of course:
Having said that, I don
[CONFIRMED:] Stormhoek WILL be serving complimentary (i.e. free) wine during the London Girl Geek Dinner this Tuesday. Caveat: It’s only being served during the actual sit-down/eating part of the dinner. The rest of the time it’ll be the normal cash bar etc.
Halleluia! Reverse Cowgirl, the blogosphere’s favorite erotic pop culture maven is blogging again.
Tim Berners-Lee, the man who built the world’s first webpage says some nice things about blogs.
August 12, 2005
A few months ago I put the word out that I was looking for an old friend of mine, Carie Meier:
The other day I was thinking about the happy, fun times of younger days, namely, back when I was a junior copywriter for Leo Burnett, Chicago in the early 1990s.
One of the people I hung out with back then was a very bright young Art Director who originally hailed from Atlanta, named Carie Meier. Anyway, the details are now a bit fuzzy, but she left Burnett circa 1993 to go work for Hal Riney in San Francisco (on the Acura account, if memory serves me correctly), and then got married soon after. We lost touch in the process, as one does. Anyway, I was wondering what happened to her.
This morning I awoke to find the following message in the comments:
Hugh!! What the f – k!? Since you’ve put this up I’ve had at least 10 – 15 people tell me that you were looking for me but no one could remember who it was from. So, Where are you and what’s been going on? I hope to catch up soon. Gone but not forgotten, Carie Meier.
August 11, 2005
The Evening Standard published my letter to them on Tuesday, the 9th of August. The Standard is the big London evening paper that all the commuters read on their way home (Click on image to enlarge etc.).
I referred to French culture as “calcifying” and “a culture utterly saturated with bureaucrats.” This is the main reason, I suspect, why blogs are so popular in France (roughly 10 times per capita as the Brits).
Though I am terribly fond of both France and the French, the young folk there seem to have fewer ways than the Yanks or Brits to express themselves. At least when it comes to being entrepreneurial. Blogs help fill the gap.
Loic, what do you think? Also, what are the chances of getting the French bloggers to try South African wine?
[AFTERTHOUGHT:] Liberty vs. Libert
(variety is the spice of life yak yak yak…)
Looks like the Stormhoek Blogger’s Wine Freebie is starting to get the attention of the press. Let’s just say, we’re starting to get phone calls.
But we’re not talking to them just yet. Not really. The story is still too new etc.
Here’s an example. Orbital Wines (the London company that owns the Stormhoek winery in South Africa) got a phone call yesterday from a very well-respected journalist in the trade press yesterday. He found the story, we hadn’t said a word.
This is a guy whose desk is utterly drowning in press releases from every single wine company in the country, begging for his journo-love. And so far we’ve not written any press releases about the blog thing. We’ve not had the time.
He. Found. Us. Not the other way around. Do you know how rare that is in the wine business? Very.
So we told him we might meet for lunch or something in September. See what happens.
The trouble (actually, maybe “trouble” isn’t the right word) is that now the story is now moving too fast for the guys in the marketing department to keep up with. Including me.
In the wine business, you’re used to spending two weeks handcrafting a one-page press release. Not to mention, spending months prior to that building other forms of expensive marketing collateral. Brochures, print ads, Power Point presentations and whatnot.
But all I’ve got in my head at the moment is to continue doing the Blogger Freebies, getting the Stormhoek blog up n’ running properly (yes, I know, it’s taking forever), and start supplying free promo wine to more Geek Dinners and Blog Conferences etc.
Marketing plan? I don’t have a frickin’ marketing plan. Then again, neither did The Grateful Dead.
August 10, 2005
I am told these are Intel’s new corporate blogging guidelines. Or at least, the beginnings of them.
Anybody have the skinny on what Intel is up to on this front? Robert?
[UPDATE:] Some further explanations in the comment section below.
Just heard: Stormhoek are now expanding their “Blogger’s Wine Freebie” to the Republic of Ireland. And the British one is still open, so if you haven’t signed up yet, please free to do so.
[Stormhoek Blog here.]
Looks like it’s working. Rock on.
[UPDATE:] To see how other bloggers received their wine freebie, please visit the wiki.
[UPDATE:] Within minutes of posting this, we got our first Irish Blogger to sign up. Thanks, Tom!
[Speaking of Ireland:] There’s a Geek Dinner with Robert Scoble in Ireland, tentativley for the 30th November. If I can, I’ll try to attend. I just set up a wiki for it.
[MEA CULPA:] Technically, the first Irish blogger to get Stormhoek is in fact here. I let him have a bottle during the UK-only part of the promotion in exchange for him sharing the bottle with his Irish wine distributor friend. But I’d forgotten about it till I was reminded again etc.
(click on image to enlarge etc.)
Paul Hatton over at Hard Diamond talks about a watch he was comissioned to design.
This watch is made of 18ct white gold, with an 18ct rose gold face, and is stepped at the sides. As it was for a woman, and a celebration, I chose to set the ends of the watch with pink, yellow and blue sapphires, and white diamonds. As it was her 50th birthday, I also decided to highlight the 50th minute.
Just so you know, I receive a small commission for every piece of jewelry that sells via Hard Diamond. I suppose if I wanted to go into the jewelry business, I could.
We’ll see. Right now it interests me less as a money spinner, and more of a good example of how blogs are the prefect medium for building a “Global Microbrand”.
Hard Diamond and English Cut have an added advantage over other business blogs, in that they actually sell stuff people actually want. People actually do want fine jewelry and clothes, and in my experience it seems that if they can afford it, they don’t mind spending the money.
Other professions– lawyers, accountants, consultants, marketing schmoes etc– they may have embraced the blogosphere more avidly than the traditional craftsman, but in many ways their job is harder.
Because nobody genuinely wants to hand over their hard-earned money to lawyers and consultants [believe me, as a marketing consultant, I know]. We just happen to live in a world where it has become a pained necessity.
We’ll see how this bejewelled story unfolds. Watch this space.
August 9, 2005
Gosh, I wish Laren was coming to next week’s London Girl Geek’s Dinner.
Good point from Doc Searls:
As a customer, I want to present myself to a marketplace and have providers there compete for my business. I want to say to the marketplace (and not just to an intermediary like Orbitz or Travelocity) “I’m looking for a nonsmoking hotel room with high speed Internet service in downtown Atlanta from September 3rd to 5th. Who’s got that?” … and have something happen.
If we want to make the conversation a bit more nuanced, I’d like to say what I’m willing to pay and what frequent sleeper (or flyer or driver) membership clubs I belong to. And that’s all before revealing exactly who I am.
Why is this pie still so damn high in the sky?
Why, Doc? Simple. It’s called the “Ignorance Premium”.
With the Ignorance Premium, you’re paying extra for not knowing. Instead of MICRO knowledge, your basing your choice on the cooler, hipper MACRO Brand Metaphor. Branding is all about about being cool and hip, because branding is all about propping up the Ignorance Premium.
The less you know, the more they can charge you. So it’s in their interest to keep you in the dark as much as possible.
Best thing Fred Wilson ever wrote (which is saying a lot):
Because free is a great way to make money. You just have to know how you are going to get paid for being free.
Read the entire post or consign yourself to the dustbin of history etc etc.
Yesterday I found this rather charming husband & wife business blog:
Together Misty and Bill make your computers, hardware, software, network, Internet, email, website, and blog work like magic.
What got my attention was they seem to have taken the “Global Microbrand” concept on board rather seriously.
It’s cool to see. In the last six months I’ve dealt with customers from all over the planet, the amount of individual nationalities would easily exceed a dozen, maybe two. I find it remarkably liberating.
Thanks Misty and Bill for the kind words. Hope it works for you.
More interesting comments being generated in a recent gapingvoid post. Apparently “A-Listers” should spend more time finding “new voices” and linking to people who “deserve to be heard”.
In other words, widely-read bloggers should spend less time doing what genuinely interests them and more time working to improve the lot of the “Under-Read Through No Fault Of Their Own” folk.
Does anyone else think this is a really bad idea?
[BONUS LINK:] From Danah Boyd:
All links are created equal. All relationships are not. Treating everything like a consistent weak tie is quantity over quality and in social networks, that means male over female.
[UPDATE:] The Head Lemur leaves in the comments below, The Top Ten Reasons to Keep The Downtrodden in Their Place, including: “1. The Downtrodden give us a place to rest our feet when we post.”
August 8, 2005
ChangeThis.com have published ‘The Youth Of Today’, written by DK, Phatgnat’s Founder & Director:
The manifesto was written from observations gleamed from working directly with young people and through conversations with other professionals and associates. It is interlaced with direct quotes from young people themselves regarding the issues discussed, giving a greater understanding into their opinions and views.
At times they are obvious, specific, surprising, controversial, universal, silly and mad, definitely contradictory which is reflective of young people
Regular readers will have probably spotted my Adrants ad on my sidebar by now.
Steve Hall’s Adrants and I have been trading ads for a while now. His ad on my blog, my ad on his.
Adrants is a great read. Deals with all the quirkier [read: desperate] stuff being churned out by the agencies. What’s even more impressive is Steve seems to have turned the blog into a successful ad revenue generator for himself. Very cool.
As far as I can tell, Adrants drives over 300 people a week to gapingvoid. In total, that makes over 30 thousand people so far.
Of course, compared to how many people a TV spot can reach, it’s a drop in the ocean. But when you’re just trying to target advertising people in a meaningful way, 30K is a hell of a lot.
Now as a result, my blog is pretty well-known in adland. Sure, it took a while. A few hundred every week. But after a while, it added up.
So here’s what I think my fellow bloggers should start doing more often: Find the coolest blog in the industry you’re in, and see if you can’t make a deal with the owner.
Hey, it worked for me.
An advertising creative makes the following comment in a recent gapingvoid post:
TV clearly is not the magic bullet it once was for advertisers. It’s been on the wane for quite some time now.
And people’s attention is splintering in many different directions. The online world being the biggest beneficiary of BIG TV’s demise. No argument there. But as an award-winning Superbowl ad writing type, can someone tell me how blogging specifically could help let’s say, the likes of Budweiser who need to reach a mass audience?
For marketing hand-made cheese that was matured in sixteenth century stone cellars, blogging is a no-brainer.
For marketing Velveeta, it’s trickier. Maybe impossible.
Both Budweiser and Velveeta are permanently locked into what Seth Godin calls the “TV-Industrial Complex”. And they have no credible way of freeing themselves from it.
i.e. TV is as much a part of their brands’ DNA as any molecule. So as the Complex dies, so Budweiser and Velveeta die along with it.
This is what Madison Avenue’s main job is, from now on. Handling the multi-billion dollar suicide pact between clients and television.
Unless there’s some big plan I don’t know about.
[UPDATE:] Seth joins in the discussion:
Can the world of blogs etc. help Budweiser? Only on the margins. The world of new media is not the place to launch the next one-size-fits-all mega brand, nor is it the place to shore a flagging brand like that up.
Instead of using new media to promote the next megafilm from Disney or Julia Roberts, it permits movies like WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price to get made at all.
FastCompany also has a word:
Big brands starting blogs has been laughable projects at best and mostly offensive. Perhaps this is the only way that big brands can imagine the use of social media. Being down-to-earth and human is the antithesis of what they stand for.
August 7, 2005
Joi Ito writes an OpEd piece in the New York Times about the Japanese atomic bombs, sixty years ago.
[GOOD NEWS:] Robert Scoble is back from his blogging vacation. Robert, you have the coolest non-billionaire job at Microsoft. A lot of people who are neither rich, cool or getting laid are going to try to take that away from you. Don’t let them win.
Recently I’ve noticed a lot of blogging detractors everywhere.
A good example would be this comment on my recent “TV is dead” post:
Wow. How easy to come, jump on the bandwagon and slag TV. Not all of America, or the world for that matter, spends their day eye-locked to a computer monitor, navel-gazing away at how wired they and their blogroll are.
The people who get off on bagging on TV simply don’t watch the right stuff. Apart from the utter deluge of bad TV, there’s a ton of fascinating stuff on TV. Since, we’re likely talking less about TV worth watching and more about TV worth spending your marketing dollar on, I’ll note there still a ton of great, targeted places on TV to get eyeballs.
Of course the amusing part is, at this point of the curve it is in my long-term interest for as many people as possible in the business to disagree with me.
I’d much rather have my competition trying to win awards and sell Superbowl ads, than start doing what I’m doing.
Right now I want as many people as possible proclaiming the long-term viability of big media and advertising for solving marketing problems, so please carry on. And if you can get some of your friends on board, even better.
We live in interesting times.