Trial and Error

Trial and Error sounds so clean, so clinical. Picking yourself up off the ground for the 10,000th time requires a lot more soul than just “starting the next trial”. In many ways I rate this blog as a failure (which sounds much more imposing than “an error”) having not taken the advice many successful bloggers did take of “think of it as working on a book, not a diary.” But, I like having a bit of my own writing out there that’s fun for me. It may not be a big crowd, but if you do read this, you’re probably into many of the same things I am and I’m happier to have a few kindred spirits reading about things they want to, rather than feeling like I have to post something here seven times a day to “feed the beast”. So, I’ll ignore the trial and error results and let’s get back to the diary! What’s going on that has kept me away from posting about audio or Christmas Tree ornaments here? I’m working on a great project called Stack & Flow with Sean Zinsmeister of Infer. Sean’s opened up his rolodex to get Sales and Marketing leaders to talk about the sales and marketing technologies they are using to drive results. It’s just been fun to find a place for Marketing Ops people in the podcasting world. Marketing Over Coffee has been growing like crazy thanks to all the excitement around podcasting. We’ve decided to launch our first events for listeners to work together in groups limited to 10 people. I’m hoping we get to take it on the road as our audience has grown to around 50% outside of the US which opens up the chance for some foreign travel which would be fantastic....

Seth Godin at Sales Machine 2016...

This is the transcript of an interview I did this summer at Sales Machine 2016. You can listen to the audio of Seth Godin on Marketing Over Coffee. John: Today, we have a special guest. He’s the author of over a dozen bestselling books. He’s been on the show many times, and I’m very excited to have him with us here today at Sales Machine in New York City. Seth Godin, thanks for talking to us. Seth:  What a pleasure. Thank you for having me. John:  You’re here to talk to this audience about your latest book. In fact, it’s been about a year and a half since we talked to you last. How has the book done? I’ve actually heard you say that you love it more now than when you put it out. Seth:  Yes, I did a webcast about it the other day. I’m fortunate in that I don’t organize my life around promoting books; I organize my life around teaching people, and if a book is helpful, that’s great. It never occurred to me that I was here today to talk about my book because I’m not. The book What To Do When It’s Your Turn is a call to action. It’s illustrated. It’s consumed in a way a lot of people consume the Internet these days, in little bits and pieces. It’s determinedly non-digital; it’s only on paper. I published it myself so that I could sell it in boxes, as opposed to by the copy because I believe that if the people around you are also engaged in what you’re engaged in, it’s more likely you’ll be able to push yourself forward. I’ve gone back to press five times. It’s become this community tool that enables an entire...

Project Update

Here’s what’s been going on and why I haven’t been posting here. We are still barrelling along at EventHero. It is not easy, but we’ve had some big wins recently and this is the best team I’ve ever worked with. If we continue on our present course life could get a bit easier, like just “software startup difficult” not “flat out alchemy”. So if you have anything to do with events and need badges, lead retrieval, session tracking, or integration between event technology systems, please remember me. Marketing Over Coffee continues to be a great project, even since Serial brought in a fresh wave of listeners things have been growing faster than ever before. Even if you are not into listening to podcasts, you might want to sign up for the MoC newsletter. The biggest topics from every show are sent out a couple times a month, all the goodness without having to listen. To be honest, that’s been the biggest killer of this blog, the newsletter gets 10x the readers and is backed by sponsors so that’s where my free time goes first. On the audio gear front I decided back in the spring that I wanted some over the ear headphones for the office. My favorite Shure 530s died after many years of service and the new Bose QC20i is amazing for travel so I looked around for something new while at the desk. I was very impressed with the Sony 7506 as a huge value when you look and price and sound quality. Then I went a little further down the lunatic path – I’ve been modifying them, adding a removable cord so you can use them with your phone, or with a high quality boom mic. I’ve tested dozens of aftermarket...

2014 Results, 2015 Targets...

With year end it’s time to look back and see how things went, and to figure out what the plan is for 2015. In the past I would review and report every quarter. By the time we had two kids, my goals could be boiled down to “Survive”. We’re starting to make it past survival mode, and occasionally I even have an hour to myself, or a chance to use the bathroom uninterrupted. The funny part here is that it’s been so long since I have had anything like free time I usually sit there in a stupor absorbing the silence and trying to remember what it was I used to do when I would have free time. Here’s the map as it stands for 2014:   The funny thing is that the goals are only the milestones. Even though I only accomplished about half of what I wanted to, I would rate this year as a huge success. Our family is doing well, and there have been some flashes of brightness that could be the beginning of great things in 2015. The segments: Family – Everybody did well this year in spite of health troubles, my brother came out early in the year for the first ever Wall Ski Trip: The Next Generation. We visited my family in Michigan that I haven’t been out to see in a couple of years. With the exception of the college funds being under funded, all went well. Everyone is doing pretty well, score this a win. Personal – Getting a cold/flu for the Falmouth Road Race was a backbreaker for me last year. I wasn’t in great shape but I was on track to finish well (for me), and this would have been my 10th. Instead I...

What’s Your Mobile Strategy?...

I had the opportunity to talk with Tom Webster about his new book: The Mobile Commerce Revolution. Here’s the transcript, or if you’re into audio you can listen to it over on Marketing Over Coffee. John: Tom Webster is here. He’s going to be talking about his brand-new book, The Mobile Commerce Revolution, written with Tim Hayden. If you don’t know Tom, if you haven’t run across him in all the major social channels, he is VP of strategy and marketing at Edison Research, the folks that do the exit polls for the major political races. But he covers a lot of stuff, and most notable for us is his Infinite Dial report that talks about the state of online music and audio. We’ll have him tell us about that. Also the author of the BrandSavant blog, talking about what’s going on in his neck of the woods. He has the Marketing Companion with Mark Schaefer, a podcast that he does — a two-man long format marketing discussion. Most importantly, he’s the producer of award-winning Friday Five podcast, and “Discovering the music DNA of interesting people” is the tagline on that. Tom, welcome to the show. Tom: Thank you. The Friday Five is coming back. I have three in the can now. I wanted to get four or five in the can before I launched, because, as you know, scheduling a podcast is awful. John: That is the number one thing that people don’t think about that just takes so much time. It’s so great because I’m a huge music fan, so I love to hear that. It’s amazing to hear the stories people have behind the music they choose. Before we jump into the book and all that, tell us about your background. Obviously,...

Simon Sinek – Leaders Eat Last...

I first interviewed Simon Sinek for Marketing Over Coffee back in 2010 (transcript here). His sophomore effort was published at the end of last year and is another exceptional book. You can listen to the original audio here, or read this transcript. Transcription service by rev.com. John:We can wind back to 2010. I got “Start With Why” sent to me from a PR person behind the book. I clearly remember the pitch said, “Look, check out this TEDx video that talks about it.” I looked, and thought, “Wow, a TEDx video that has over 1,000 views. There’s got to be some meat here. This is a big deal.” Here we are, four years later, 16 million views on that TEDx video. We’re going to talk about your latest book here, “Leaders Eat Last.” You’re just coming off of the big TED, if you will. I’m very pleased to welcome back Simon Sinek. Simon, thanks for joining us. Simon:  Thanks for having me. It’s good to see you again. John:  Pretty much our audience are all huge TED fans. Tell us about that. How was TED? How did that all go? Simon:  It was my first time at the big event, speaking and attending. It was overwhelming in every proportion. It is exactly what you would expect it to be: surreal, brilliantly choreographed – I mean, it was one of the most buttoned-up, if not the most buttoned-up, event I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot – and just the people that show up, it’s astounding. They don’t just come in for an hour, they come in for a week. Really humbling to be a part of, and there are various times where I thought, “What am I doing here?” Really excited...

Why People Hate You for Talking Politics Online...

This post has been in my draft bin since the last Presidential election. I was trapped in the loop of having to publish a post on politics about why it’s bad for your reputation to post about politics. In theory all voters would make a rational decision and the best candidate would win. If all Americans applied the same logic, one candidate would get all the votes. Of course this never happens. Voters apply a value to each of the characteristics of a candidate and then ultimately choose a single candidate. These characteristics fall into 3 major categories based on significant research I did while driving home yesterday listening to a boring audiobook: The candidate’s stand on issues (taxation, abortion, medicare, welfare, ad infinitum) The candidate’s party (that has it’s own stance on both issues and ideology (how the Constitution should be interpreted, the role of Government itself, ad nauseam) The candidate’s personality (values, appearance, ability to look good on TV, if they’ve been caught as an outright cheat and liar, [#LatinPhrase]) Every voter does their own calculus to determine how to cast a vote. Some consider party affiliation most important and don’t have to think much. Others get wrapped up in mental gymnastics such as struggling with the relative value of a candidate being pro-choice being as positive, versus allegedly claiming to be Native American for preferential treatment when applying for jobs (especially when I didn’t have the stones to try that stunt on my own college applications).  Every person assigns different values to these factors, giving us an infinite spectrum of possible reasons why to vote for a candidate. Another factor is the two party system – many polarizing opinions end up getting adopted by one party, with the counterpoint on the other. This gives you interesting...

Starting with Why

Recently I’ve started publishing transcripts of Marketing Over Coffee Interviews that I’ve done. As part of #blogchat I keep referring back to Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why” and I’m excited to announce that I’ve landed a block on his calendar to talk with him about his new book “Leaders Eat Last”. With both of these coming up I thought it would be good to crank the wayback machine to 2010 and get a transcript of the last discussion with him. John: Simon, for someone who has written a business book, you’re uncomfortable with saying that you are in business. Tell us more about that. Simon:  It’s true, for me this is a cause. This is a movement. We live in a world these days where there is a lot less leadership than I think we need. There was a time not that long ago where you could rattle off the names of leaders: Lou Gerstner, Jack Welch, Lee Iacocca, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan. These people were all contemporaries. I defy you to name on one hand five great leaders that are living today that are contemporary in business or in politics. It’s really hard. Quite frankly, we lack leadership in this world in all segments of our society, especially in business, and I think we need to change that. For me, this is a crusade. This is a cause. What I understand about great leaders is that they all operate from this center, from this “why.” They all have clarity of “why.” Every single business, every single organization – even our careers – are based on three levels: what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. The problem is that most of us are...

What is Growth Hacking?...

Ryan Holiday is the author of Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising. This month he stopped in to Marketing Over Coffee (if you’d prefer to listen to the audio) to talk about his new book and his previous book, Trust Me, I’m Lying. John:  Give us the elevator pitch on growth hacking. What’s the idea here? Ryan:  The idea was one morning I was going about my day as a traditional marketer and I sit down, I read this article and the headline is, “Growth Hackers are the New VPs of Marketing.” I’m a VP of Marketing. I’m director of Marketing at American Apparel and I’ve never heard of a growth hacker. I have no idea what it is. But I look at the companies that growth hackers are responsible for – Groupon, Airbnb, DropBox, Facebook, Twitter – a handful of billion dollar brands that were built right in front of us in the last five years, and they didn’t do any traditional marketing. They used a strategy they call growth hacking. I thought, “What does it mean that these people build billion dollar brands using none of the services that I provide or I pride myself in being good at? Maybe they’re better marketers than me.” I sat down to study what growth hacking is and how it works. The book is a result of those interviews, that research, and trying it myself. John:  One interesting point – I was talking more about what it isn’t than what it is. Like you said, you were doing VP of Marketing so you have the book of business that you provided, but really it came down to stuff that was testable, tractable, scalable. That was a big three...

2011 Interview with Steven Pressfield...

Two years ago I had a chance to speak to a key player on The Domino Project, Ishita Gupta, and one of the authors involved, Steven Pressfield. When Steven’s next book came out the email I had for him had been shut down. I contacted his admin about an interview for the new book and was told there wouldn’t be any. We get plenty of books in for review so I moved on to the next one, but was disappointed because I like his work and really enjoyed speaking with him. My bruised ego thought “I’m sure if Oprah called they’d find some time on the calendar.” Well, guess who showed up on Oprah today? When I heard about this earlier in the week I grabbed this interview from the archives (click here if you’d rather listen to us) and sent it to transcription. No reason for me not to take advantage of a probable search boost from Steven getting an hour with the greatest name in TV. John:  Good morning. Welcome to Marketing Over Coffee. Today we have a special interview with Ishita Gupta and Steven Pressfield. We have two special guests with us today. Ishita Gupta works on The Domino Project, a series of books and some new ideas on book marketing. She also works on a number of projects with Seth Godin, whose book “Poke the Box” was the first book in The Domino Project. Ishita, thanks for talking to us today. Ishita:  Thank you for having us on. John:  Also joining us is Steven Pressfield, the author of “Do the Work,” the recently released second book in The Domino Project. His previous books include “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” which in 2001 was made into a movie with Will Smith,...