Chris Brogan Thinks I’m a Rockstar

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Marketing and Social Media guru Chris Brogan lists me as a Rockstar. Rather, I shamelessly promoted myself on his blog in his Rockstars section. You can submit your own name and blog into his list, but it’s at his sole discretion whether or not you appear on the list. I suspect my episodes of messing with the cat have something to do with this. Actually to be honest, I haven’t seen any traffic through this list, so I think you’d be better off leaving comments on his blogs and trying to foster a real relationship instead of being lazy and just link dropping if you wanted some traffic.

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Viral Video Done Right


Check this video out. It’s freaking awesome, there’s no denying it. It’s been out for about a day and already it’s been viewed over 100,000 times as of the time of writing. This is how you do a viral video. Show something remarkable that people want to talk about and spread around. Not only that, but it’s pertinent to what you are promoting. Often times, companies don’t get it and spend hoards of cash creating a viral video that has NOTHING to do with what they are promoting. Without further ado, I give you Bruce Lee nunchuck ping pong…

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Target Coupons: How Not To Do Viral Marketing


My wife got some Target coupons for $5 off $25 in her email, and we were more than excited to go do our grocery run there this weekend. We had 2 of them and being cheapskates that we were, we were going to split up at the counter to get our $10 off $50. So we shopped and more than filled our cart. When it came time to pay up at the counter, we were told that they do not accept those coupons anymore due to fraud. Both of us begrudgingly paid and left.

Shady Target Bait and SwitchNow don’t get me wrong, we LOVE Target. We love their Archer Farms line of products, and we love the affordable yet stylish clothes there. Once I picked up 5 pairs of summer shorts no kidding. However, this episode left a bitter taste in our mouth. It’s a total bait and switch. How can you NOT honor an email coupon? The idea is great. Send your customers email coupons; they send it to their friends some of whom may or may not even shop at Target thus introducing them to this wonderful store. So yeah, Target loses $5, but they have so much more to gain. By back peddling on their offer, not only have they pissed off their loyal customers but also new potential customers who try Target for the first time thinking they were going to take advantage of this coupon. Our grocery run just now was more than $130. Was a $5 coupon really going to break their bank? Just when we were slowly buying more from Target and relying less on Jewel. I guess it’s back to Jewel.

Let’s talk about 2 companies that do it RIGHT. Take Bed Bath and Beyond and Linen and Things. These 2 companies REGULARLY mail 20% off paper coupons to our household. The wonderful thing about both of these companies is that they will honor the OTHER’s coupons and their own regardless of the expiration date. They know that if the customer is at the counter with merchandise in hand ready to spend their hard earned money on them, and they jip them on this little gesture, the customer can just as easily switch to the competitor the next time. So they take the long term customer service view and say we’ll do right by you even if it’s a slight hit on us because you’re here and not at my competitors.

Now I’ll still shop at Target. I just love their Archer Farm chips and granola bars too much. I think they’ve come a long way as far as positioning themselves as affordable and having good quality. However, if more episodes like this ensue, it will definitely makes us think twice.

Popularity: 6% [?]

“Crossing the Chasm” Book Review


I think this book was recommended reading on a Y Combinator blog post. Described as a marketing book for engineers, I quickly jumped on this one on Amazon. This book aims to help you take your product from the startup phase across the chasm into the consumer phase. The misconception that entrepreneurs must realize is that the early adopters are a different type of consumers than the majority. Success in one market does not necessarily lead to success in the other unless different tactics are employed.

To be honest, the beginning of this book was pretty dry, and I wasn’t sure that I was going to get through the book, but it does get better. My interest in the book quickly increased when the author Geoffrey Moore gives the D-Day analogy of introducing products to the mainstream:

  • Goal is to enter and take control of the mainstream market that is dominated by an entrenched competitor
  • Assemble an invasion force of other products and companies
  • Immediate goal is to transition from early market base to strategic target market segment
  • Between us and the goal is the chasm
  • Force competitor out of target niche market
  • Then move out to take over additional market segments

That pretty much summarizes the points in his book. I really like his analogies. One that comes to mind is his statement that numeric data is like sausage – meaning that once you know how it’s made, you can’t quite every use them again. His belief is that most numeric data is built on assumptions that are built on assumptions like a house of cards built on more houses of cards.

One thing that really resonated with me was – make products easy to buy vs. easy to sell. You are trying to convince the customer of buying, not yourself of selling the product. Seems like common sense, but that’s not how most engineers think.

To Moore, it’s all about positioning your product. The key is to occupy and solidify the space inside the target customer’s head. You have to be just one thing to the customer or else he won’t remember it. By this he means that if you try to be too many things, the customer cannot remember it. Think about all the major brands like Nike, Coke, Apple. Those brands really only embody a few if only just 1 single thing in your mind.

One thing to keep in mind though is that this book is a bit dated. It talks about companies that may or may not have fared so well after the Internet bubble burst, but I think the theories are just as applicable today as they were 10 years ago.

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Weekly Favorite Links

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Some of these links are kinda old, but I figured I’d share them with my audience anyways. The focus of this week’s links are robotics and user interfaces.

Boston Dynamics Big Dog Quadruped Robot Showcasing real time walking and balancing. Your jaw will hit the floor when you see it recover from slipping on ice.

Dean Kamen, inventor of the infamous Segway, shows off his “Luke” (as in Luke Skywalker) prosthetic robotic arm. I thought this was amazing and even more profound than the segway.

Hot along the heels of the movie Iron Man, this is a real life exoskeleton suit reminiscent of Ripley’s powersuit in Aliens. It augments the wearer’s strength and is quite mobile.

Other Links

  • The Eco Zoo is a site done in Papervision3D (an open source 3D library for Flash). This is probably the coolest Papervision site I’ve ever seen bar none.
  • Browse the Flickr universe not just metaphorically in this Papervision browser.
  • Some really creative advertisements.
  • Livescribe digital pens. Not only does it digitize what you write, it also records the audio to go along with it. I want one of these, but I’ll wait for Mac support.

Popularity: 2% [?]

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