Five Ways to Poke the Box

I just read Seth Godin’s “Poke the Box” and learned a valuable lesson. It’s okay to fail, actually it’s a good thing. I have to admit, I have been embraced by a “trying to be perfect” mentality from time to time in my life. Maybe even a little bit everyday. As usual Seth helps me open up my mind and see new ways to do things and recognize opportunities.Seth Godin -make something happen

If you’re not failing often and repeatedly you are being remarkable in a way that is going to make a difference. Making incremental changes and doing what everyone else is doing, aka being ‘safe’, is not going to make the difference needed today to stand out from the crowd. Seth says, “the enemy is not piracy, it’s obscurity.” Did you know that 99% of the musicians on You Tube have not been heard? How do you suppose that converts to visibility for authors? I’d bet about the same or even lower.

Here’s a couple more thought-provoking ideas.

  1. Everyday, see things that scare you and notice things that are interesting. Write at least one of them down.
  2. List your daily failures and what you’ve learned from them. Put that into practice.
  3. Watch people. Who’s curious versus uninterested in the great things occurring everyday? What can you learn about them?
  4. Try BIG, new ideas –it’s okay to fail. Great actually. His viewpoint, “The cost of learning is so much less than that of not learning.”
  5. Create moments and movements that people want to talk about. Don’t sink into the blah, blah blah world of ordinary.

So get out and ‘poke the box’ a bit.  Buy the book, it’s a great quick read. Then experiment freely. See what works and what doesn’t. Use the power of the Internet to test various approaches and ideas. You really have so little to lose.

Don’t Give People What They Want

I came across a great quote today while reading “Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne (Harvard Business Review Press, 2005).Theater by alan cleaver on flickr

Samuel “Roxy” Rothapfel, previously a nickelodeon owner, started up Palace Theaters. By using the low-cost, lower-quality nickelodeon style of entertainment, he reinvented this experience for more elaborate, extravagant affairs that played upscale at an affordable price. In so doing, he changed the entire industry.

The Palace Theaters, between 1914 and 1922, opened four thousand new Palace Theaters across the US. During this age of non-demanding consumers, ‘movie-going’ became a popular entertainment product. How did Roxy come up with the idea? It’s well explained in the following quote.

Roxy said, “Giving people what they want is fundamentally and disastrously wrong. The people don’t know what they want… (Give) them something better.” By combining the viewing environments of elaborate opera houses, with the viewing content of nickelodeons, a new market, or Blue Ocean, opened up and attracted a whole new mass of moviegoers: the upper and middle classes.

When business owners today choose offerings, they are often advised to decide based on focus groups and surveys. That’s fine if you just want to provide something based on what the consumer already experiences. But as Roxy knew, to find success, you must uncover these unknown, unspoken wants and needs and then create your product or service to satisfy it at the highest level possible. Then you have innovation… and a new Blue Ocean market.

The book, Blue Ocean Strategy has many tidbits of wisdom like this inside and I recommend it for anyone that wants to bring ideas to market. It’s not just for corporate execs either. Every small business entrepreneur needs to determine ways to shake up their products, to anticipate what the next, best thing is that people really want. As Albert Einstein once said, “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you got.”

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.


We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Dispatches from Blogistan, A Book Review

Described in the subtitle as “a travel guide for the modern blogger,” Suzanne Stefanac’s book, Dispatches from Blogistan, is worth reading whether you are a blogger or not. This is not so much a how-to book as it is a why-to-blog book.

The first two chapters offer a new take on the history of communications. And the book really begins with the introduction of the internet as radicalizing the way communications occur. Instead of pushing messages (from advertising to propaganda), the shift is to pull the audience to the message. Instead of one-to-many or one-to-one channels of communication, the shift is toward many-to-many channels. The blogosphere is the heart of the many-to-many messages.

Stefanac provides a layout of the landscape in her explanation of the blogosphere. Even though the book was published in 2007(by New Riders in Berkeley) and some things have changed, her insights into the culture still ring true. Technorati is no longer the only major search engine for blogs, for example. Google, Yahoo, Bing and most others now include blogs in their search engine results. Such changes confirm how spot-on Stefanac is about the democratization of media.

With a common sensical approach she addresses issues of trust, privacy, security, and legal safeguards. Yet its reading about the power of collaborative discourse — many-to-many conversations — that gets to the heart of blogging.

There are so many basics to blogging covered in this book I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand this new social media phenomena. People all over the world upload more than a million new blog posts every day. Every day.

News blogs are written by citizen journalists and professional reporters. Food blogs by farmers, grocery stores, chefs, home cooks, foodies, gardeners, and upscale food magazines, food manufacturers, product advertisers, etc.

Blogs as diaries. Blogs as clubhouses. Blogs as news feeds.  Blogs as soapboxes.

Stefanac takes the blogger on a road tour. She gives the reader driving instructions but most importantly takes them under the hood of the car to explain how the search engines work. And how to check our own fluids, tire pressure and lights. It’s a handy desk reference for a seasoned blogger and a wonderful place to start for someone who is new to blogging.

Blogging has never been easier. WordPress makes it the easiest.