Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Wisdom of Crowds

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Monday, 12:10pm
Reno, NV
“Let’s just say I was testing the bounds of reality…” (Jim Morrison of The Doors)

Howdy…

We have a winner!

Actually, the winning answer to last Friday’s quiz crashed the gates within ten minutes of the post going live.

But it was good to let the test string out, anyway… because the hard-core thinking and pure cogitation going on was excellent mental exercise.

In fact…

… there was so much fresh thinking in the over 200 responses (as of right now — they’re still trickling in)…

… that I feel compelled to bestow THREE prizes.

One, for the first right answer.  And two more for honorable mentions — one for Best Exhibit Of Pure Kick-Ass Attitude… and another for Cracking Me Up with real wit and cleverness.

I’ll reveal the winners in a moment.

First, though… let’s unravel what we’ve all learned here from this little brain teaser.

Revelation #1: James Surowiecki, in his book “The Wisdom of Crowds”, pointed out how often polls and crowd sampling is dead-on correct.Continue Reading

[Quiz] Okay, So What’s Your NEXT Step?

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Saturday, 8:42pm
Reno, NV
“Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. (HAL to astronaut Dave in “2001″)

Howdy…

Okay, let’s do a quickie quiz, what d’ya say?

It’s Saturday evening, after all… and I just got my ass whupped by Michele at Scrabble (her first win, ever, in 10 years of trying) (and I don’t expect to ever hear the last of it anytime soon).

(What’s the time limit on doing the “Ass Whup” dance, mocking your partner, anyway?)

So, to keep my mind off the misery of such a wrenching loss (she accidentally used all 7 letters in her third turn, and that bonus 50 points is what beat me), I’m hiding in my office.

I’ve got maybe 10 minutes before I have to come out and face more taunting and jublilation.

Thus, a quick blog post.  (“Get out of here!  I gotta work…”)

I’m giving a prize away, of course.

Let’s se… how about a fresh copy of “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel” to the first right answer.

I’ve got a nice new one burning a hole on the shelf across from my desk.  It’s got your name on it, Mr/Ms Winner.  I’ll sign it, and have Diane ship it out asap.

Sound good?

Okay.  Here’s the quiz:

The most common question I get from entrepreneurs who are stuck on some part of their marketing…Continue Reading

Death By Habit

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Thursday, 7:13am
Reno, NV
“I yam what I yam.” (Popeye, avoiding introspection.)

Howdy…

Are your routines helping you… or slowly murdering you?

As with most of life, it’s complicated.

And you’re gonna have to spend more than your normal 38 seconds cogitating on this issue if you’re ever gonna make peace with your natural inclination to habitualize your ass into oblivion.

(Side note: During my excellent interview with StomperNet founder Andy Jenkins yesterday, he revealed the startling statistic that most of us now live in 38-second segments.  This, apparently, has been discovered by guys in white coats with clipboards.  The Web has installed a permanent ADD virtual chip in our brains, limiting attention spans to that of a gnat.)

(This is good info for marketers to have, especially when deciding how to position copy, testimonials, video, graphics and other elements on a website for maximum attention-grabbing.  But it’s damned depressing when any conversation requires deeper thought… and you must construct your position with constant virtual shiny objects to hold the interest of  otherwise bright people.)

(I just lost half my audience with that aside, didn’t I.  Sorry.)

Ah… where was I?

Oh, yeah.  Habits and routines.

The omega and alpha of trying to live well.

Routine has both saved my life… and backed me into corners that threaten to ruin me.

So it’s good to stop and examine your routines (and your habits) every so often.  Not just glance at ‘em, and pat ‘em on the head.  But really dig into them…Continue Reading

Cheeky Bastards

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Tuesday, 12:20pm
Melbourne, Australia
“Buttula spruiks arrival of Spork at his new gig.” (Actual headline in last Thursday’s “The Australian” newspaper)

Howdy…

Reporting in from the fringes of the Outback…

… okay, I’m actually comfortably settled in an intriguing old hotel in Melbourne, nowhere near the Outback.

It still feels like I’m far from home, though.

Two weeks into this March Across Australia now, part of a bedraggled troupe of speakers, and I’m thrashed.  Don’t get me wrong — this is a great country, and we’ve been warmly embraced by the locals and shown amazingly-generous hospitality daily.

It’s just a long damn trip… made longer by that nasty plate of deep-fried snapper I had Saturday night at what looked like a decent little upscale restaurant downtown.  I forgot the old rule of traveling:  Never eat stuff that arrives with the eyeballs still staring at you.

I deserved the ensuing bout of immune-system-destroying dysphoria, I suppose.  Last December, in Dubai, a bunch of us sauntered down to the bad part of town to sample “native” fare the night before we spoke… and nothing happened.  We gobbled questionable curries and unidentifiable chunks of stew, and lived to tell the tale.

Afterward, we all looked at each other and said “What have we done?”

For most of my life, I’ve had little angels (or maybe just confused demons, I dunno) looking out for me… so I somehow managed to stay one step ahead of the Federales in Mexico, just-missed by the would-be hit-and-run jalopy in Hollywood, and usually slightily out of reach of the snarling bugs everywhere else yearning for a vacation in my intestines.  (To name a few examples out of many.)

So, this time I got caught.  It’s not Oz’s fault.  It’s all on me.

And, I’m recovering fairly quickly.  We have a couple of days to dig deeper into Melbourne’s wonders (my second time in the city), and then travel to Brisbane for the final leg of this preposterous journey.

Seems like Sydney was a month ago.

So, anyway, I’m just checking in to let you know that I believe I’ve found the answer to the long suicidal swan dive that American newspapers are taking.

And it’s very simple: Continue Reading


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