Archive Monthly Archives: December 2007

The Drunkard’s View

Sunday, 8:06pm
Reno, NV


Let’s talk about boozing it up, shall we?

I mean, tomorrow is Amateur Drunk Night, after all. The streets will be an obstacle course of big damn SUVs and expensive sedans driven by people who have just discovered — just tonight, at the big New Year’s Eve party — that they love Irish whiskey or Mai Tais or Mad Dog 20-20 or whatever… and look! it doesn’t affect their ability to drive even one li’l teensy li’l tiny bit, buddy, and whadya gon’ do ‘bou it, huh, mishter? Shime da bescht der-river inna worl! Hey! Where’d da tree come fum, huh? He he he he…

Don’t do it, man.

Don’t drink and drive. And don’t even drink a lot, if you’re not used to it.

Especially if you’re around friends or co-workers.

Bad, nasty, evil mis-adventures will befall you, and haunt you for decades.

I know.

I’ve been there.

And no, I’m not gonna Read more…

The Dark Side of Passion

Thursday, 10:15am
Reno, NV


Sometimes marketers like to pretend they exist outside the “real” world of politics, war and social upheaval.

This attitude is especially evident in certain commercials and ad-heavy publications that reveal a thick-headed cluelessness about life outside the box of privilege. In the past months, I’ve seen TV ads mimicking revolution in the street for a frivolous product… and read articles on celebrities that used references to famine and actual murder cases, trying to be ironic and hip.

These efforts are clunky and embarrassing. Yet, they never abate. (Mind you, I adore irreverent humor and M*A*S*H-style commentary… but you can’t accomplish this kind of wit from the sidelines. Cluelessness makes knowledgeable people cringe.)

I first noticed this disconnect between pain and fun as a teenager waiting for my draft notice during the Vietnam war. The evening news was dominated by combat zone film bringing the war right into America’s homes (something The Man has since realized should never happen again, if he wants to continue blowing people up for vague and unsupportable campaigns)… so for half an hour between typical fluff like “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Gilligan’s Island”, we were treated to glimpses of Hell, half a world away. Guys just a few months older than me crouched behind shattered walls, bullets zinging into the stucco while swaying palm trees burned under distant napalm assaults. And the wounded were evacuated, swathed in bloody bandages, the stretcher-bearers ducking and weaving.

And then, during the break, here comes this bright and cheerful commercial for laundry soap… with a pretty housewife flying a WWI-era bi-plane, dropping tablets like bombs from the sky. The slogan — and all TV ads back then were centered on slogans — was some bullshit reference to “blowing up” germs in your dirty clothes with this new, improved way of keeping your family clean.

Seconds away from the grime and gore of a real battlefield, here’s Read more…

Blah, Blah, Blah And The Fear Of Silence

Saturday, 11:09pm
Reno, NV


The bad part about being sick for a few weeks is that it sucks, of course. You fall behind on stuff, you fatten up from the lack of exercise, and people treat you like a leper when you do venture out, dodging imaginary explosions of germs each time you cough into your hand.

The GOOD part about being sick for a few weeks is…Read more…

The Naughty List For Businesses

Sunday, 11:59pm
Reno, NV


Quickie post here, cuz I’m a walking petri dish of germs. There’s a slug of Nyquil sitting here with my name on it, and I’ll be worthless about three minutes after I slam it.



Here’s the post (while I can still type): One of the grand traditions of year-end journalism is the round-up of “worst” lists.

I love ’em all.

In truth, 2007 had some totally bitchin’ highlights for me and my colleagues. The gloom-and-doom mainstream media would prefer that we all become quivering masses of hysterical anxiety… but after you’ve been around the block as many times as I have, you get some perspective.

Things have been worse. And they’ve been better.

That’s kinds how the world works.

Still… there are all these wonderful lists to enjoy.

So here’s a good one, in case you missed it. Not your standard “celebrity eats own head” kind of material, either.

It’s literally a “worst of biz” 2007 list. By Fortune magazine.

Read, enjoy, discuss:

Stay frosty… and don’t catch what I have…

John Carlton

Your Ignored “Call To Activate” Cash Account

Thursday, 7:54pm
Reno, NV


A colleague of mine recently shared an interesting tactic for instantly increasing cash flow.

It’s very low tech.

It’s the phone. And no, it’s not telemarketing.

Here’s what he did: During an afternoon lull in the workday not too long ago, my friend (let’s call him “Joe”) realized he had nothing urgent on his plate that required immediate attention.

So he picked up the phone and called a long-time customer who he’d been playing phone tag with over some minor matter. It was a “B” list kinda task.

During the chat that ensued, however, Joe happened to mention another project he was involved in… and his client expressed immediate interest.

Joe wasn’t pitching the event. Just bringing it up in conversation.

But it triggered a sale.


Very interesting.

So Joe made another call, out of the blue, to another long-time customer… and after some brief small talk, brought up the project. That client, too, wanted in, at full price.

No pitch. No hard sell.

Just a casual mention of something coming up.

Joe sat back and considered things. Both of these clients should have already heard about this project… and should have had ample opportunity to sign up previously. There had been email, direct mail, blog postings, etc.

In fact, before the phone calls, Joe had taken it for granted that all his best clients had of course already heard about this upcoming project. He was very thorough with his marketing.

But no. The project hadn’t entered their attention span. Until he brought it up in a friendly phone call.


So Joe picked up the phone again…

Long story short… Joe spent the next couple of hours calling random numbers on his “hot list” of best customers… and grossed something like $51,000 Read more…

The Difference Between Cash and Happiness

Sunday, 11:16pm
Reno, NV


Let’s chat about money.

Cash, moolah, the big bucks, treasure. Greenbacks. Funds. Scratch. Coin of the realm.

You know — the stuff we kill ourselves (and sometimes each other) to get ahold of.

People who pretend to know will tell you that money cannot buy you happiness.

In fact, they say, too much of it can even cause you grief, and ruin your life.

There is ample evidence that there’s something to this, too — lottery winners are often right back where they started, financially, a short time after taking possession of their loot… wealthy business owners often lead lives of desperate loneliness, estranged from their own family and without any real friends… and many folks who strike it rich go into life-long funks worrying about losing it all, and the paranoia makes them suspicious, nervous, unlikeable pricks.

Still… most of us want to experience the horror of having lots of dough for ourselves, thank you very much.

We’ll take the risk of being ruined forever by a too-fat bank account.

Well… as with most of the good info in life, this topic bears a little airing out. It’s not black-and-white, and it’s definitely worth exploring a bit.

In fact… I just returned from a weekend brainstorm at my pal Joe Polish’s joint in Phoenix (attended by a bevy of bucks-heavy business mavens) where this very subject was a hot discussion point. (I was there as a guest lecturer. The regulars were all part of Joe’s schockingly-successful “$25K Mastermind Group” — who literally write twenty-five thou checks just for the privilege of attending four of these carefully-presented events each year.) (If you’ve ever demanded real-world proof that mastermind groups are worthwhile, this should shut you up quickly: The event I spoke at was the last of the year, and everyone in attendance considered the cost a genuine bargain… and most were eager to pay again for another year.) (Think about that.)


Joe asked me to clarify an operating statement I’ve been tossing around for years. It goes like this:Read more…

Never Right

Thursday, 12:02am
Reno, NV


How would you like to frustrate the hell out of all your competitors… and get so good at sales that people start believing you’ve made a pact with the Devil?

Okay, that’s too many satanic references in one sentence. (Though Frank Kern would dig it.)

But the analogy holds, once you learn this one simple salesman’s tactic I’m about to share with you. Other biz owners will swear at you, and fresh customers will swear in appreciation of your Read more...

Wii Don’t Suck, YOU Suck

Sunday, 5:49pm
Reno, NV


One of my favorite hobbies is to go into stores and be insulted by clueless sales staff.

It used to offend me… until I realized all the really good marketing lessons inherent in every face-to-face encounter with anyone selling anything. (One of the coolest taxi rides I ever took was in Vegas, many moons ago, when the driver spent twenty minutes trying to pimp out his personal line-up of hookers. He used every salesman’s trick possible — including take-aways, upsells, cross-sells, urgency, guarantees and special offers. I actually took notes.) (And no, I didn’t become a customer. Shame on you for thinking so ill of me.)

For online marketers, the offline sales encounter might not seem relevant, but it is.

Your ad is your salesman, and your ordering process is your checkout experience.

All the things that can go wrong in the store, can and do go wrong in the online virtual sale process.

Quick example: I’ve been hot to get a Nintendo Wii gaming console since, oh, about five minutes after the product was announced last year. (I’ve been a gamer longer than you, and I don’t care how old you are. Back inRead more…