Category Archive: Marketing

Open or Closed: Experiencing (Social) Technology

open_closed_doorOpen.  Or Closed.

This has become a big question for web technology.  Opening up your source or API to the public can reap huge dividends.  Just look at Twitter and all the news and apps and traffic it has.  (It also has great content, but let’s have that as a given.)  Closing your source or API can have quality control benefits and keeps your tech where you want it.  Think Apple and their secrecy.  Great innovations.  Pros and cons on both sides.

For me, I’m more on the open side.  Here’s my take.

Using my Twitter example, its growth has shot up in recent months.  Personally, I think it is because of its openness.  You could use any number of apps to use Twitter.  You can control your experience.  If you like the web version, use that.  If you like an app, use that.  Switch as you feel led.

Now, I’m not sure being totally open all of the time is the way to go.  Apple obviously is doing okay, and they keep a tight lid on their advancements.  The iPhone, the iPod, iTunes, and (oh yeah) their great computers.  They do open their code up so people can create programs to use on their hardware (the App Store, Objective-C, Cocoa, etc).

So, what do you think?  Open or Closed?  Or Both?  Or some better way?

How Do You Consume Online Media?


With all the means to get news, blog posts, and almost anything else on the web, which tools do you use?  How efficient are they?  Could they work better?

I was inspired by this post to think about my subscription practices, and I’ve found they could use some work.  For my RSS feeds, I use Google Reader.  I love it.  But the number of articles per day has grown beyond what I can read everyday.  What the above article suggested was to use email subscriptions for your must-read feeds.  This would act as a filter and let you spend less time checking your feed reader.  Cool.

So, my mind is taking that idea one step further.  I find that for the few sites I frequent daily, I end up just checking their actual website.  Why?  Well, I comment on the posts.  To do that, I have to be on their site.  So why go through the RSS middleman?  I did subscribe by email to these sites to see if it helped me at all.  I think it has, at least a little.

I’ve found that I will probably end up with three categories of “feeds.”

  1. A-list feeds that I just go to their site, but will also have some subscription to alert me (probably email and/or Twitter),
  2. A-list feeds that I really like, but I don’t generally comment on or frequent the site, so I’ll get an email subscription,
  3. Other feeds that I like enough to subscribe too, but that I just consume.

Of course, the feeds are always in flux.  If I really start liking a feed in the third category, I’ll jump it somewhere above.

So what’s your way?  Any cool tools you use to make it easier?

The Power of the Story

Consider this scene:

A military man is riding home with his family on a train.  His country is on the brink war, as its enemies stand ready at the gates.  As the train rolls close to home, the enemy attacks, unprovoked.  As the train arrives, the attacks come closer, as his home is close to a military base.  This man must stay and protect his country, but somehow he must save his family.  He sends them away, with a passionate embrace, praying he may once again see them.  But he knows he must defend them if they are to live.  He turns and takes his place on the line, praying he will not fail this test.

What does this make you feel?  Why do you feel that way?

Hopefully, the answers were 1) that you feel a little torn and very hopeful that the man comes home again, and 2) because if you were that man, you would do all you could to save your family.

Consider your favorite movie.  Why do you feel strongly about its story?  What does it do to you?  What does it make you want to do?

So, here’s the point of all: stories have strong influences on us.

Our entire lives are full of stories.  When we were small, we were told bedtime stories and fairy tales.  These simple stories carry with them the basic desires and needs of our very souls.  To be daring, to be swept up, to save, to make right, to love.  When we speak with friends, we tell stories.  Stories of our day, stories about days past, stories of days that could be.  When we engage in leisure activities, we engage with stories.  The cinderella sports team, the hero of the video game, the heroine of the novel, the love story of that song.  Even now, you are writing a line in your life’s story.

Okay, so why is this important?

As humans we relate to stories.

If I see a brand with a great story, I will be more willing to engage that brand.  People join the military to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  In other words, to be a part of a larger story.  This is the drive of the human soul, to be a part of the Great Story.

Now, what does this all mean?

One way to make a great product is to tell a great story.  Great books sell because of great stories.  Great art says something.  Great music tells us something.

If you are writing a novel, start by thinking up a great story.  Don’t worry about grammar now.  You’ll have plenty of time to worry about that later.  For writing a song, come up with a great idea to say (or an old idea said a different way).  The lyrics will come.

If you tell a great story, people will come.

So tell me a story.  Make me believe again.  Draw me in.  Give me something I can’t put down because I have to know how it ends.  If you can do this for your brand, you will attract the right people.

Posted via web from On Life, Stories, and Music

The Value of Real

Here we are in a virtual world.  Digital music, virtual games, ebooks, online dating.  Pandora’s Box is opened, and we can never go back on the digital world.  Not that we want to.  However, as evidenced in declining music and book sales, the value of a real product is diminishing.  It’s too easy to find free products online that compete with going to a brick and mortar store (or even buying through online stores).  So how does one create value?  Here’s one idea.

Catching up on eveything, I stumbled across this article about vinyl record sales increasing.  I chuckled to myself, then I read this:

“They [13 to 24 year olds] were brought up on virtual everything. Their games were on the computer or on the TV. Their music was in a box,” he [Steven Sheldon] said. “I think they also do recognize the difference in sound, but I think holding that 12-by-12 piece of art and holding that record in their hand is creating the buzz.”

The light went on in my head, again.

To add value to your product in a digital age, you need to add something real.  Something intangible and scarce.  That is what people want to have.

As music inches closer to becoming free, we all need to add something to the experience.  Watching your favorite band live is an irreplacable experience.  That night will never happen again, and you were a part of the history of the band.  Being a part of an exclusive fan club for your favorite artist is another experience.  As a member, you can be up to date on inside information.  The artist communicates with this group in a special way.  You have access to special products and/or offers that others do not.

This is the new music business.  Finding ways to connect with others.  Finding something to give your consumers something that no one else can.  Consumers today can see through the ads.  “Look at this, it’s the best ever!” doesn’t work anymore.  Why is it the best?  The best for whom?  How does it compare to alternatives?  If you can offer something that is real and authentic, then the right people will find you.  That is why vinyl records are selling again.  Most consumers don’t have them.  They create some exclusivity to your brand.  This is what you want.

Find a way for your brand to add real value.  You just might come up with something big.

Posted via web from On Life, Stories, and Music


One thing to always remember, whether you are a buisness person, a musician, an artist, a writer, whatever; be somone of integrity.

In this world of growing transparency and information, what you say and do will be seen by someone.  Your business will get word-of-mouth reviews by previous customers.  If you have treated that customer with integrity, they will most likely recommend you.  As any kind of artist (visual artist, musician, writer, etc.) you must be an artist of integrity.  People generally see when you’re creating art for non-creative reasons.  Personally, I think the music business is putting out much that isn’t really art anymore; it seems to be too much about the money.

Here’s an example.  A writer should write for themselves first.  By this, I mean that if writing is not fun or enjoyable or rewarding for the writer, then the writing will suffer for it.  The writer can never please everyone, and if that is the only reason to write, then the writer will always be disappointed.  Example number two.  Why do you think that so many sophomore albums do poorly compared to the first album?  The artist had spent years perfecting the craft of being what they were.  Once that hit big, they were asked to write ten new songs for the next album in a fraction of the time.

Just remember why you started doing your thing to begin with.  Find that passion.  If your work is full of that passion, coming from that integrity, then someone will enjoy it.  And isn’t that the point?

Posted via web from On Life, Stories, and Music