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Twitter, Facebook? This Stuff Is Infrastructure!

I finally figured it out: my passion for this social media stuff is grounded in the reality that what we’ve got at our fingertips is new infrastructure.

Roads, schools, tv, radio, your social ‘wall’ and your Twitter ‘stream’.

When radio came out, did a company own the technology?

This is heady stuff.

Poets Can Be Marketers–Marketers Should Be Poets

I’m on record for thinking it’s an easy hop from being an artist to being a good marketer. And this Charles Bukowski quote reminds me ever more.

An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way.

Marketing is about robust communication on the head of a pin. It’s about the ability to distill–to take the complexity out of a thing without taking out the thing that makes the thing a thing. Wait, I just turned into Bukowski’s intellectual!

Ben Folds–On Being Obsessive

Came across this great quote from Ben Folds:

“I spent maybe six months just running scales with a metronome like a freak,” Folds said. “I suppose that did something.”

Of course it did something Ben!

Fundamentally, it’s about knowing that being a maniac about something is the right thing to do sometimes–not as a way of life, of course, but as a way to build up expertise or a skill that you feel will be fundamental to your life sometime in the future.

When I learned HTML I think I went through hundreds of tutorials–just did everyone I could find. It was important to know everything–not just the things that were immediately involved in a project.

I also went through a phase when I underlined everywhere word I looked up in the dictionary–and then I’d review all the ones I’d ever circled–every week!  My wife gave me a weird look about that one.

Quote from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Folds.

I Almost Got Into A Fight Over the Word ‘Gerrymander’

This is most certainly true. And for the folks who know me, fisticuffs are not in my DNA.

Of course, this happened when I was younger–and at a brew pub–but the metaphorical significance prevails.

So there I was, gesticulating wildly to an interlocutor, spinning a yarn a mile wide whenI dropped the word ‘gerrymander’. It was admittedly not a perfect fit–but some aspect of it worked for me. I recall needing a word that connoted (not denoted!) ‘defining the shape of something for political ends’.  ‘Gerrymandered’ popped out. Nice, I thought.

Here’s a quick look at what happened next:

Friend-of-a-friend: “Hey, you can’t use gerrymander like that!”

Me: “What?”

Friend-of-a-friend: “Gerrymander means…[insert political science definition here]”

Me: “I know that–but I’m free to make words conform to my needs–language is pliable per user. I get to do what I want!”

Friend-of-a-friend: “That’s ridiculous! And sloppy!”

Me:  “That’s creative–and fun!”

So if you plotted the hostility on a graph it would look like a hockey stick.

All the other ‘friends-of-friends’ had to send us to opposite sides of the brew pub–DINGDINGDINGDING. It was like a boxing match… And somehow, about every 30 minutes, we would cross paths and the debate would burst open like a baked potato in a microwave.

Since I like make the world easy to understand, I’ll make this grand conclusion: Some folks just like to stick to the rules. And some folks (ahem!) think there’s just too much darn fun to be had breaking them.

The world is indeed a black and white cookie.

A Great Example of Positioning

A conversation with my 4-year-old. I’m giving her a ‘tubby’ and…

Me: “Do you want conditioner?”

Her: “NO!”

Me: “Would you like your hair sillllllky and smmmmmooooooth?” [Major affectation added]

Yes: “Yes!”

Wouldn’t it be great if all marketing was this easy?

Lesson: Test, Outcome Over Product, Delivery Matters

Chocolate Mousse or Key Lime Pie?

This blog title is no joke.

It’s fundamentally philosophical.

It’s an edict.

It’s an aphorism in disguise.

It’s actually something I witnessed.

Here’s some context: This quote came from mouth of a mentor of sorts—an older guy who has achieved a cool success but without any battle scars. He usually doesn’t wear socks. California is his sales territory. It’s adding up, right?

So at a holiday party a year or two ago, we were sitting together when the waitress came over to ask us what we wanted for dessert. We had two choices  from the menu. I answered the waitress dutifully: “Chocolate mousse.” Then he answered. Or, actually, he asked: “Do you have chocolate ice cream?” That’s when I looked at my menu thinking “How did I miss that?! I’d rather have chocolate ice cream too!”

Turns out, I didn’t miss it. It wasn’t on the menu.

After the waitress left, I jumped on him in a jokingly authoritative way “Hey, what gives you the right to ask for what you want?! You should adhere to the rules like the rest of us.”

After some back and forth banter—great entertainment for the rest of the table—the dust settled and our desserts arrived. Everyone at the table had what they ordered from the menu. My friend was eating what he wanted.

The take away is clear—and it’s a real energizer: in life, you don’t have to pick from the choices presented to you. Just ask yourself: “What do I really want?”

Life will never be the same.