Hi, I’m Worthless...

As much as we’d like our products do not work for everyone. In fact, for many businesses you need laser-like focus to separate yourself from the rest of the pack and find a market where you can survive. I saw this clearly this week as I was checking out a blog that had mentioned Glance. I’m always excited to find marketing and communications people that are interested in content to tell them about the Marketing Over Coffee library. This time was a bit different, Anne mentioned that she can’t hear. Suddenly the value of that back library of audio content was approaching zero. The lesson learned is the same one we came to a few years back with the podcast – you need to test other channels to confirm you have the right fit. We got here when we saw that Podcast IPO was a phrase probably never to be heard. We’ve been testing transcripts of more popular interviews (like the one with Seth Godin), eBooks like Chris’ On Heroes Project, and the Marketing Over Coffee Quarterly Report. (Now only 99 cents!) If you have any interesting stories about channel testing, please...

Seth Godin on We Are All Weird...

A few weeks ago I a great discussion with Seth Godin about his new book We Are All Weird. You can hear the original interview over at Marketing Over Coffee  (or just buy the App). I had a request for a transcript, and since I went to the expense of having it written up I thought it was worth posting: John Wall: So your new book here is “We Are All Weird” on the Domino Project available on Amazon. Tell us about “We Are All Weird”, what’s the idea and how did this all come to you? Seth Godin: You know this is possibly the biggest idea I’ve had in terms of it all coming to me at once and I’ve been writing the last couple years about the death of the industrial age and the beginning of a new age. And I’ve been talking about how the industrial revolution created all this wealth. It created a culture around it because the wealth brings culture with it. It created standards, it created public school, it created expectations. But what I realized, just a little while ago, is that most insidious of all, it created a standard of normal. And by that I mean both statistical, normal, the center of the bell curve, and cultural, normal as “just like us”. And so what we do in our society is we make stuff in a factory, whether that factory makes insurance policies or widgets, and by default we have to pick the model we’re going to make. We have to pick whether the scissors are for left handed people or right handed people . We have to pick whether the car has four on the floor or automatic transmission. And what factory owners want, what shareholders want, is for...

Live with Seth Godin

The past month has been insane. Thank you dear readers who keep this in your feed despite my spotty publishing schedule. The good news is that I have been writing like crazy and after about 3 years of Saturday mornings at Starbucks or Tunnel City, the first draft of my book is complete. I hope to have it edited in less than 2 months, more on that as it goes. I also did a session on 10 tricks to improve your photographs at Podcamp Boston 6 last weekend, you can get a PDF of the tips here. Seth Godin was kind enough to talk with me about his new book, We Are All Weird last week. You can check it out on the latest Marketing Over Coffee. There was also a Hurricane in there, Trade Show, some sick people, me breaking the side mirror off the Flex, watching Cars 65 times, new episodes of Dr. Who, some Red Sox games, the wheels falling off the Red Sox, DC Comics doing some crazy stuff, and a lot of work. I can’t forget my personal favorite – going to The Big E (a multi-state fair for those beyond New England) and hearing a marching band in the parade playing Cee Lo Green’s hit “F**k You” and most people not getting it, my wife laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe and was unable to explain why to her...

Audiophile Check-in: Best Headphones for Running...

I got an email this week that TomTom is doing a GPS running watch with Nike. This was the missing link from the Nike + system that got me to switch to the Garmin 305 a couple of years ago. That led me down a rabbit hole of trying to figure out if I wanted this upgrade. A big part of it is headphone review since there are tons of styles and model numbers. Hopefully some of my research and experience will help you. To bring everyone up to speed I have two systems that I use for working out. For running on the treadmill indoors during the winter I am now using my iPad and the Jaybird Sportsband Bluetooth Headphones. I wanted to go bluetooth so that I didn’t have to worry about pulling the iPad off of the treadmill magazine rack. I had tried a similar setup with the Sony PSP, but could not find a good way to get the PSP to sit on the treadmill with the headphone jack coming out of the bottom (great for gaming, terrible for movie watching). I just found out about the Jaybirds two weeks ago from Christopher S. Penn, who liked his. I had been looking at the previous Jaybirds, but they stopped making them. I also used the Sony DRBT160AS, bluetooth in ear headphones for about a year, using an in-ear bud for running is a strange experience and I found that they didn’t go as loud as I would have liked for watching movies. I also tried a set of Plantronics Backbeats that died the first time they got some sweat on them. I wouldn’t say the Jaybird Sportsbands are perfect, but they are the best I’ve found so far. They are...

What is the Best Dog Food?...

With the passing of our dog Hannah, an economic turning point was reached. She was allergic to many common dog food ingredients, so we ended up having to buy her very expensive dog food. At first it was a prescription food, until we found out that it was actually a lot of low quality ingredients. We were able to switch to a higher quality of food that was less expensive (around $70 for a 30 lb. bag). When we adopted Carter from the shelter he had been eating whatever garbage he could find on the streets, so we knew that even the crappiest dog food on the market would still be something he would suck down so fast he wouldn’t taste it anyway. Eating stuff like your own crap must kill the whole gourmet experience… My first stop was Consumer Reports, an excellent site, but outside of their major categories I often come up short. In this case they have a pet food study going on now, but no results yet. Next stop was the Google, and it did not disappoint. I found Dog Food Advisor, an amazing site. From what it says there, Mike’s dog was a victim of the dog food industry’s lack of quality control. Like any true hero, he has stepped up to right what has been wrong. It was very easy to check out the 5 star foods and find a number of alternatives. At this point though, my background in Economics kicked in – Yes, there was a ton of data on the quality of the food, but without pricing information there was still work to do. I fired up Google Docs and started building a table of pricing from Amazon. We are Amazon Prime Members so for...

My Last PC

I was hoping that this post would be about how much I love my new laptop. Both my old tower and laptop were both over 5 years old and I decided that portable hard drives now come in sizes large enough that I could consolidate to one machine. The problem is that after dealing with so many viruses, spyware, malware, adware, corrupted registries, I’ve moved everyone else in the family to Macs. There were two things that made me think staying with a PC was the right thing to do: I use one for work and this way I could use one docking station in the office I’m already loaded on PC software so that factored into the price of everything There are two things that have made me realize that this was a mistake: Migration – Moving from one Mac to another entails connecting them with a cable and coming back an hour later. Migrating from one PC to another has taken all of my personal time this week and will still take another 5 hours or so. Backups – The state of PC backups are a disgrace to the technology industry as a whole. Time Machine is the Mona Lisa, PC backups are a stick dipped in crap. The migration thing doesn’t bother me too much, I know people who don’t go the transfer route because they want to reinstall apps for better performance so the only real pain point here for me was iTunes. I had to do a lot of hocus pocus to keep my playlists – transferring my library to an external drive then reimporting it on the new machine. Backup is what kills me. I had used Ghost for years until I had a couple of machines where...

Flight vs. Invisibility Oct15

Flight vs. Invisibility...

Recently This American Life replaced an episode from the archives where John Hodgman (flickr Photo from kodamakitty) did a segment asking “What superpower would you choose?” (available here via Amazon affiliate link). The rules are simple, you have the choice between invisibility or flight. He uses the question to great success as an icebreaker, and talks about the process that most people go through while answering the question. If you do not listen to This American Life I heartily recommend it, it’s very high quality and family friendly. And most importantly, which would you...

Audiophile Update

Longtime readers know of my love for music and audio, and regardless of the quality of my marketing thoughts here the linkbait of my headphone review trumps everything else at this site. The original review was in 2007 and is posted here covering Shure, Sony and Bose. I also get a lot of traffic on how to get better sound out of your iPod if you are willing to cough up another $50. So what’s new? I also mentioned the Nike earphones that I use for running, they died a couple of weeks ago at the Falmouth Road Race. After at least 3 years of sweating and pouring water over my head in hot weather I can say they are a superior product and served me well at the price. I have replaced them with the Sennheiser PMX80 running earphones, which I had considered when I bought the Nike set. They are also great but it comes down to sound quality vs. comfort and isolation. The Sennheisers sound much better but they are a tiny bit heavier and they fight much tighter in my ear, this results in a much better sound, but I’m not able to hear what is going on around me as well. It comes down to much better music, or hearing what’s going on around you with out as much in your ear. For now, I’m liking the music, we’ll see how the hold up. Shure Update – I got an email notice that Shure is refreshing the line of products. The big thing I noticed is that the cables are now removable. After a couple of years of heavy use the cord on mine broke because of the way they twist over my ear (and it should be mentioned...

A Sad Day

There is some good news first, this is the first time I have posted to the blog from iPad. I’m using the keyboard with the stand and it works very well (yes, the hardware keyboard supports the dvorak layout for any fellow typing geeks). My only thought is that it might be better to use the bluetooth keyboard and a stand so that I can see the monitor in landscape view, the portrait view is not the best for the Gmail interface, or wordpress for that matter. Scrolling up and down works well, side to side causes problems with readability. So… back to the sad day thing… A little more than a year ago I mentioned that I was using a PSP to watch movies while traveling, and that I had checked out a comic book application that wasn’t too bad. I could see the writing on the wall that eventually this would become a problem for the local comic shop, much the way the small local bookstore has been taking a beating for the past 5 years or more. Fanboys like me know that Wednesday is Comic day, that’s when the new publications hit the stores. I’ve followed the stories of adventure for more than 25 years, but last Wednesday was the first time that a comic I was going to buy in the store was also available via the Comixology Application for iPad. Instead of driving to the local shop to buy it, I just clicked and had it instantly. Comic shops are like antique stores, fishing stores and hardware stores, just fun to walk around and see what’s interesting. I wish I could say that comic shops will stick around, but I think they have a lot more in common with...

The Last M Show

Back in January of 2005, I started podcasting. Since I was playing with a new technology, I didn’t give much thought to what the show should be about, so I just copied Don Imus and did my own talk radio show. It had a pretty good run, at it’s peak around 2007 it was getting around 16,000 downloads a month. Over the 5 years I just hit a half million downloads. Just over 3 years ago I started doing Marketing Over Coffee with Christopher Penn, and that show has a real niche, instead of me playing Morning Zoo guy. MOC is getting over 20,000 a month now, and it will hit a half million in the next two to three months. For The Last M Show, I invited a bunch of folks who were in town for the MarketingProfs event out to dinner at Morton’s at the Seaport. It was a great night, and it was fun to do one final show. It’s always been kind of a show for insiders, if you’ve never listened before but want to check it out, listen to Show 100, that explains everything. If that doesn’t dissuade you, take a listen:...