Published in Online Spin October 26th 2012
There is a Tom Fishburne cartoon from 2008 called “Poser Marketing.” It depicts a can of soda, brand unrecognizable, anthropomorphized with arms, legs and a face. There are three hipster-looking youngsters sitting in the corner. “Fine,” declares Soda Can Guy, “You win! I give up trying to interrupt you with TV ads you stubbornly refuse to watch. You can be my Myspace friend or watch my YouTube videos instead.” The hipsters are unmoved; only one of them bothers to offer a reply: “Whatever, loser.”
Published in Online Spin October 19th 2012
Thirty-seven years ago, my mother started teaching cooking classes in our kitchen. Thirty-five years ago, she formed what has become the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts; I sit on its advisory board. Several years ago, they began blogging, Facebooking, and tweeting. Last month, one of the graduates started a Facebook group for alumni. Within a week, more than 1,000 people had joined.
Published in Online Spin, October 12th 2012.
Have you heard? The days of quality journalism are behind us. The Fourth Estate is in trouble. Newspapers are dying, and have been for some time. TV news has been overrun by phone hackers and idealogues. The need for speed is not only killing your company, it is destroying any standards of accuracy and integrity that remain, resulting in, for example, media outlets publishing reports on Supreme Court decisions before said Court has even finished reading said decision.
Published in Online Spin, October 5th 2012
Question: What do YouTube, Wordpress, and Wix.com have in common?
Answer: They all exist to reduce barriers to participation. Each one of them can be described by the Colbin Barrier Reduction Formula: “Thanks to Company X, anyone can Y.”
Published in Online Spin, September 28th 2012
I cannot begin to tell you the number of bad ideas I have had.
When I first started receiving an allowance, at the age of 10 or so, I had grand intentions for my weekly five dollars. Surely, I thought, I can use this to pay rent on an apartment, which I can then use to house and care for homeless animals. Every week, I scoured the real estate section of the New York Times magazine, looking for the right property. Finally, I saw it: a big house, out in the country, for sale. I couldn’t believe my luck; the price tag was a mere $2,700.
Published in Online Spin, September 21st 2012
It is often (and dishearteningly ) the case, in these modern times, that etiquette is considered unnecessary: an anachronism, a relic. We seem to have agreed to dispense with courtesies, with gentleness, and with grammar. These dismaying developments appear to arise from a belief structure that, at its core, is flawed -- a structure that interprets kindness as weakness and assumes thoughtfulness is only required of subordinates.
Published in Online Spin, September 14th 2012
If you’ve ever pitched to investors, you’ll have heard the same five questions over and over. They’re the same questions asked on “Dragons’ Den” and “Shark Tank.” They’re the questions that must be answered well for any business to grow to a significant size, and, although they are simple, they are exceedingly complex:
Published in Online Spin, September 7th 2012
I had breakfast recently with a friend from college who is doing very well for himself. His company deals in public utilities. They work all over the world. I asked him his greatest piece of advice.
Published in Online Spin, August 31st 2012
We received a postcard last week. It looked fake -- or, at the very least, salesy. But in fact it was a picture of some friends, taken by the Thames in London, by a machine or a kiosk or a service that obviously specializes in automating the sending of personalized postcards. The note, clearly written by our friend, was printed in a font evocative of handwriting but obviously not. I imagine that there was some kind of setup with a sign, “Take your picture, write your note, and we’ll print and send your postcard anywhere in the world!”
Published in Online Spin, August 24th 2012
Let me tell you about Greg.
Officially, Greg is a salesman. He works for a computer company, securing significant corporate contracts for data centers. He is very good at this job.
Unofficially, though, the value Greg brings is not his ability to talk features and benefits. It is his ability to serendipitize.