Things People Need You to Believe

So I finally wrapped up the wedding tour (link to absurd dancing photos), and came down with the flu this weekend. After sleeping most of the day Sunday I was back in the game for The Beancast and back to work to close out the quarter.

It’s interesting that the Bailout was shot down, talk about Marketing in Action. For my opinion on the bailout, please refer to this article in Time Magazine.

Remember to follow the money to identify the things that people need you to believe:

  • The Government can move the economy. That $700 billion (less than a 1 day loss in the market) is enough to move the entire economy. Controlling the economy is much like controlling the weather, if anyone says they can do it, they are lying.
  •  What derivatives die, the 4 Horsemen appear, signalling Armaggeddon. The Time article does a good job at explaining this – the bailout is for some Frankenstein financial instruments – think of it as insurance policies betting on on-time payments from a bunch of people who bought houses that they can not afford, have no savings and have about 10k in credit card debt. If these explode, only the people who thought this was a good idea to get burned (along with the 3 people below them in pyramid scam of reselling  this trash). Clarification – we do have another problem though – this balloon filled with crap is so huge and has been treated like cold hard cash, if it pops there’s enough to get some on everyone. Investing in duct tape and payouts to keep the balloon together is no long-term plan.
  • Financial Institutions are Too Important to be allowed to fail. Detroit can be decimated, tech bubbles can come and go, manufacturing can be wiped out, big box retailers come and go but there’s the big 3: Banks, Agriculture and Airlines – if these aren’t socialized there will be rioting in the streets and we’ll be selling apples.
  • Being an elected official is a full time career – When’s the last time you heard someone running for office talk about a duty to serve? Did I actually hear the word “Rule” during the debate last week? I’ll stack Politician on the shelf right next to Journalist in the “Professions of Make-Believe”.

And then there’s a few ideas behind the curtain that people don’t want you to ask:

  • Where did a bailout package that has Main Street bailing out Wall St. come from? Can someone show my why this isn’t elected officials sucking up to the rich?
  • Why are their no financial conservatives left?  Both Presidential Candidates see Legislative spending of citizen’s tax dollars as the solution. As a cranky old man I credit this to budget=power and since we’re dealing with career politicians there’s no incentive not to spend tax dollars.

My friend Steve has been living in LA for more than 10 years and we’ve talked about how difficult it is to buy a home there. The thought of him having to pay tax dollars to bail out some jackasses speculating on crummy mortgages makes me sick. And oh yeah,  the homeowners out of their financial league still lose their homes, they are not part of the bailout.

Before I return to our regularly scheduled marketing programming I’d like to mention Rep. Ed Markey and staff who were unable to tell me his position on Monday’s vote and even took my email address and said they’d get back to me, no need to bother now, your Aye vote speaks for itself. VoteSmart says this is an election year for you.

I’ll also note Sen. John Kerry’s office that wasn’t answering the phone, and my fax was refused, but I can give him some credit, perhaps things were just too busy today and at least he’s sharp enough to put his opinion up on his blog for everyone to read. In contrast, Rep. Markey’s website’s “Recent Events” section has him being named “Irish Man of the Year” back on March 12th.

The last of my representatives is Sen. Kennedy, regardless of political battles and opinions, I wish him the best with his health.

I can’t wait for election season to pass. Here’s the Beancast if you need some marketing to counteract the politics:

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The Marketeer

Not Strategy, Not Analysis – Execution

Seth Godin had a link to a Business Week article that had him taking some shots from academics. I had to laugh at criticsm leveled by those who have a vested interest in maintaining the impression that what’s important is analysis and strategy. There’s no shortage of armchair quarterbacks.

Execution. That’s the hard part. Building a product, leading a team, being profitable – you can’t just talk about it.

Daily Life

The Theater of Daily Life

Today was an interesting day, I ran through a huge range of emotion on my ride home. I started out thinking about the new Sony PSP 3000 that’s going on sale next month, which I don’t really need, but would like to check out. I listened to the back half of a NY Times podcast on religion that was quite thought provoking. Everything from how the 60’s have changed religion, to the impact that the church has on politics and the human condition (link below if you want to check it out).

I saw a squirrel trapped in an intersection and get killed by an SUV. Although my inlaws are mounting a jihad against the squirrell kingdom, I’d rather be spared grusome images during my evening commute. 10 minutes after that some crazy dude drove into the intersection paying no attention to the traffic lights. No accident resulted, but I had to wonder what the hell the guy was thinking.

At this point I switched the iPod over to Yo-Yo Ma so that I could take my mind off the insanity of the road.

The good news is that the 5 city, 5 wedding Summer tour is over, and perhaps I can get back to work and save a dollar or two.

The religion discussion:

Direct link to file

Graphic Design

Adobe CS4

I’m watching the Launch Broadcast right now with our video pro. They are working with the RED camera. I think I need this.

Great Marketing

The Gap Between Cool and Everything Else

This gap is clearly evident in Guy Kawasaki’s post of his Powerpoint extreme makeover.

The only issue is the classic ghetto marketing conundrum – you already need to be cool to be able to afford a graphics artist that really rocks.  But you get what you pay for… not only does it look great but it extends the message and his story. This is critical because although they downplay the importance of the slides, many people retain more information presented in a visual fashion. Why don’t more people incorporated tactile feedback in presentations? Logistics I guess….


Weekend of Sound

The M Show made an appearance this weekend:

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You can also get more marketing goodness from The Beancast:

Direct link to file

And for audio variety, I post things that I want to check out to my Gigadial channel, you can subscribe via iTunes to get the same stuff automatically – it’s like I’m hunting down interesting audio content for you.

Subscribe in iTunes

Productivity Buster

EHMO Returning

I am a big fan of this show that at least does something. When you think about it, every other show exists only to sell ads.

So I had a widget for Extreme Home Makeover here, but it broke the formatting for the page so it’s gone.


Blue Steel

The latest video edition of the digital photography podcast Tips from the Top Floor has everyone from the Portland, Maine photo workshop that I was at over Labor Day Weekend. Check out the video, and if you want to see the pictures, here’s the flickr tag.

Working on our modeling skills was interesting, here’s me doing the “White guy lamely attempts street cred by standing behind graffiti”.


Editing Podcasts Makes them Suck Less

Shel Holtz, of FIR fame, was writing about editing podcasts and I started to comment but after it got to three paragraphs I thought it would be better to just bring it over here. I’m not buying the “no edits, no second takes” argument. You can rationalize it as “more energy, more real feeling” but the reality is that editing is a lot of work, and leaving that part of the workflow out makes it much easier to create podcasts (and perhaps stay motivated in the long run).

I’m honored to be on Shel’s “must listen” list, and by adding us to the “live to the hard drive” group, he proves his own argument. I’m glad we get the “live” sound across, but the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast goes through an editing process very similar to FIR. Every episode gets a full audio review, often sections are cut out or cleaned up. The recording session is free form so occasionally it goes into topics too tech heavy, too gray to talk about in public, or because it’s early morning either of us can break into the classic New England coughing/hacking fit.

You’ll note that Mitch and C.C. both podcast solo, which makes one-take easier, and both of them do a great job of speaking extemporaneously, which not everyone can do (radio or public speaking experience makes a huge difference here).

One other thing, many people record with headphones and don’t think about all the people who listen in the car, which is a much less forgiving playback environment. The Levelator, or more advanced tools like compressors and limiters are an absolute must (I’ve also found the cheap edition of SoundSoap to do a nice job cleaning things up). It’s tough to listen when you have to turn the guest up to 28 on the dial and then the host renders you deaf. I’ve given up many casts that were fantastic content but were just to hard to listen or understand while driving. I could call out some of my friends here, but why pick on them when I have the same complaint with some great content, big name shows like the New York Times’ Times Talks podcasts.

I’ve never really bought the “it has to be unedited” argument. If you feel it’s more sincere if it’s untouched that’s fine, but don’t expect other people to sit through a bunch of boring stuff, especially when they now have options that Doug Haslam mentioned like NPR, or the BBC (I am going to be on Steve Wright’s show one day) which are professionally recorded and edited to flow seamlessly.

Would you even send all your email without using the delete or backspace key? Would you write a brochure without having anyone edit it? Would you get dressed in the morning without looking in the mirror? Are you going for the thrill of “Live without a Net” or do you want your content perfect? There’s no “right” answer, it’s just about creating great stuff. If Saturday Night Live was done by some random people on your street you’d never stay up to watch that, but on the other hand if it’s taking you 10 hours of recording and post-production to do a 20 minute podcast maybe you could be more productive by lightening up a bit.

I can give you one right answer though: if you cut out the crummy parts, it will suck less.

ps – this post had no editing of any kind.

The Marketeer

Manipulating Your Perceptions – Part 2

Over on Marketing Over Coffee a few weeks back we talked about manipulating perceptions – creating story and reality that the customer wants to see. This is nothing new, Seth Godin made the bold proclaimation “All Marketers are Liars”.

While Mr. Godin’s title embraces irony, using the word “manipulate” creates a sinister impression that is rather severe. Of course it fits well within the Red Saber attitude of the show, but is not perhaps the best marketing. For those who see the concept instead of the literal word it’s not a problem, otherwise it needs some copywriting. This becomes a guiding force during campaign times, with calculated phrases such as the more acceptable “climate change” replacing the more menacing “global warming”.

Rather than debate the semantics, this video demonstrates bending the will of others while using the power for good.[youtube]zyGEEamz7ZM[/youtube]