Archives for February 2005

I Don’t Know How People Can Debate This

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

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Recently, Scoble suggested anyone who does a marketing site should be fired if they don’t do an RSS feed.

"Sorry, if you do a marketing site and you don’t have an RSS feed today you should be fired.

"I’ll say it again. You should be fired if you do a marketing site without an RSS feed."

Can anyone say . . . umm, duh. Yet, there are people who debate this simple fact of today’s marketing/business climate. People like Rick Bruner, who I really enjoy reading. Also Michael Gartenberg and Eric Peterson, both writing from the Jupiter Research blog.

Of course, later Eric Peterson seems to get it in this post when he quotes a Scoble comment regarding a Dave Winer post:

"No RSS on a site is a symptom of something deeper. It tells me the
site’s owner doesn’t care about traffic. Doesn’t care about users.
Doesn’t want to update often. Doesn’t understand Google. Doesn’t
understand how to get more inbound links (again, doesn’t understand
Google). And doesn’t care whether anyone with Google power links in."

The name of the game is relationship and authenticity. It’s not about the RSS feed. It’s not about the technology. It about what the technology enables. What it promotes. What it allows. It’s about the philosophy of blogging = show up, be real, be relevant.

The genie is out of the bottle. One year from now, if you are not CONNECTING with your network/customers in a very personal and authentic way, the way the blogging philosophy demands, you will be seen as out of style. Out of fashion. Behind the curve. Just another company trying to sell me your shit. Have as great a product or service as your budget will allow, but without the relationship thing, you can bank on declining market share.

Unless of course you have no competition and a monopolistic distribution strategy (and even then you’re not safe from relationship-based products).

You see, XYZ company, I don’t care about you. I care about me and my friends and my family. I care about how your products and services help all of us be better and live better. Show me that you care about the things I care about. Show me that you care more about me than selling me your shit. Talk to me like a friend rather than a target or a consumer. Make it easy for me to hear from you and talk to you. Stop hiding behind the marketing-speak and just be real already.

No RSS = no REALLY SIMPLE syndication. I like REALLY SIMPLE.
No RSS = technological ineptitude.
No RSS = more concern for marketing to me than relating to me.
No RSS = no respect for me, the customer.
No RSS = not enough content (soul) to keep me engaged.
No RSS = no personality. I love personality.
No RSS = you don’t get it.

If you’re Amazon, you don’t need RSS. Yet. If you’re ebay, you don’t need RSS. Yet. If you’re Apple, you don’t need RSS. Yet. If you’re any other 800 pound gorilla competing with monkeys, you’re safe for now. If not, get it together.   

What’s Up In Podcasting News

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

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Podcasting is on the move. If you’re not into it yet, you should be. Start by reading T. L. Pakii Pierce’s excellent post here. I’m thoroughly impressed with TL. He gets it.

"I’m telling you here and now that you must start thinking relationship ==> reputation ==> revenue as your model of growing income through social markets."

After that, read Wired’s latest piece on the subject here.

"Several US public radio stations, as well as the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation and the BBC, are experimenting with the medium. Even beer
megacorp Heineken is getting in on the action. The brewer has started
making podcasts of popular DJs available on its Web site as part of a
promotional campaign. Given that podcasting didn’t exist nine months
ago, this adoption curve is impressive. Podcasting – unregulated,
low-cost, on-demand radio – is heading for a tipping point."

Finally, to see how it all started and where it’s heading, check out this post from Evan Williams.

"I’m super-excited to see where this goes. Podcasting is going to be
freakin’ huge. I don’t have time in this post, because it’s 2am and I
gotta be on stage at 8am, to give my pitch for why. But it’s the same
story as blogging (with several unique charastics of its own), but in a
whole new medium that is much bigger than people think. And it’ll
happen much, much faster.

"It’s about personal media, time-shifting, and the long, long tail. And I love that shit. Amazing things are going to be created."

Early adopters, are you listening?

No More Heavy Stuff

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

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Having just finished shoveling snow for the 23rd friggin time this winter, it seems fitting to shovel away the heaviness left by this post a couple days back. If you haven’t read it yet, it can best be characterized as me whining about sometimes feeling like a loser.

BTW, for those who responded with concern for my well-being (Rex, Effern and others), thank you. It was very kind indeed.

There were four different things going on with that post.

1. I was testing the edges of my own honesty. In other words, I’ve never been one to air my dysfunctional thought processes in public. It seems like whining to me. Almost everybody feels like a loser on occasion (don’t they?), but most don’t go around telling the world about it. I just wanted to see how comfortable I was talking about my dark shit publicly. (I was very uncomfortable.)

2. Writing Practice. Having been inspired by Augusten BurroughsDry, I wanted to see if I could capture the wave of an emotion and ride it all the way to shore. In words of course. I give my effort a strong C+. I do, however, love this line:

"As the phrase ‘quiet desperation’ begins to gently permeate the chorus of a song yet unsung, you find yourself still there."

3. I was venting. The theory is if you can just say what you’re feeling publicly, it loses it’s emotional energy. While this may be true, my take away from this experience is it’s probably better to do this with your therapist rather than your blog readers. Unless of course that’s the type of material your blog readers expect from you. Mine don’t.

4. How much transparency is too much? There’s a lot of talk lately about the need for transparency in business. Especially in the context of blog writing. But do we really want to know all the gory details of what goes on behind the closed doors of a business or within the mind of a business person?

Naturally, it’s up to you and your customers where that threshold of comfort lies. For me and this blog, one of my readers answered the question best when he emailed me and said, "Your last two posts are NOT why I read your blog. I hope you get back on track."

Going forward, I can’t promise I won’t experiment some more, but I will try to keep it light and entertaining. Thanks again to all who responded.

I Wonder If She Can Cook

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

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(Via Agenda Inc. Live Feed)

Oh I have to get one of these.

"For men who are tired of spending the time, trouble and expense of
having a real girlfriend – or who are irritated by the difficulty of
finding a new one – Hong Kong now has a technological solution for
lonely hearts.

"Meet Vivienne, a virtual girlfriend created by
Eberhard Schöneburg, chief executive of the Hong Kong software maker
Artificial Life."

I’m Fine. Really.

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

>> Return to the Small Business Branding front page <<

If you read my last post and came away thinking I may be suicidal, don’t worry. I’m really fine. I realize stuff like that is out of character for me (and it may be a bit much for a marketing & business blog). All I can say is I’m venting some stuff while testing the edges of my own honesty.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

– from The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

If Living Was Easy We’d All Be Doing It

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

>> Return to the Small Business Branding front page <<

I hate to sound cynical. Well, that’s not completely true. Sometimes life kicks the shit out of you enough that cynicism is about all you have left (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). I’m in one of those moods. And don’t give me the "you make your own choices, so you create your own life" horse shit. I know all the pop psychology missives that lead us to believe we’re in control of our lives. And there’s plenty of time to sooth the existential agony with all that crap. For now, however, I’m playing victim to life’s cruel and (not) unusual punishment.

I remember when I was a child. "Mom," I’d say, "I’ll  find a cure for cancer some day." Ugh. What the hell was I thinking? Was I thinking at all? Or was I merely yearning, narcissistically, for just the right amount of attention to feel like I’m alive, yet not too much to think the world revolves around me. The ego is a tricky little fucker. Unchecked, it becomes a monster. Yet, when you crush it, the soul is somehow much less than it could be. Now, as a parent, I pray for the wisdom to walk that fine line with my own daughter. Oh hell. Maybe it’s all genetic anyway.

So at 18-years-old you leave home all high and mighty. At best, you’re ready to conquer the world. At worst, you feel a sudden desire to shit your pants in a fit of fear that leads to the first of many hyperventilating anxiety attacks you’ll have over the course of your life. Wondering what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into, the preferred path leads straight back to the door of mommy and daddy, yet you realize it’s too late. You’re not in Kansas anymore. Or Kiev. Or Kuala Lumpur. Or
Kazakhstan. Or Kenya. Or any place that feels remotely like home. The ride of your life has begun, and there’s no getting off now. Suck it up.

But fear is easily remedied. Whether it be narcotics, alcohol, sex or hard work, the fear is appropriately repressed beneath the ruse of expect-able post-adolescent behavior (at least if I’m a fucked up on something, my cowardice will go unrecognized). If you’re lucky, you manage to find a partner or partners with whom, in an appropriately codependent manner, you fight off the fear to make it to the next rung on the ladder without coming completely undone.

On the downhill side of "the best years of your life," you find yourself still getting ready to live. How will I make my mark on the world, you wonder. Will it be the corner office with drones to serve my every beck and call? Or will it be the white picket fence with perfect children performing the leading role in their private school plays? Will it be med school, law school or business school? Perhaps the academy? Will it be the the family business, the business of family or both? What the fuck. I just want to go back to high school football games, parties and cheerleader spankies on the front seat of dad’s new pick-up truck.

Choose or loose. Or so they say. Times running out already, and you’ve not yet even contributed dime one to your 401k. Social security? What’s that, besides something pop-pop looks forward to receiving in the mail around the first of each month. Not me. No sirree. I’ll take the road most traveled.

Swing low sweet chariot. Slavery did not, in fact, die in the 1800s. It’s alive and well each and every day I open my pathetic deer-in-the-headlights-looking eyes. Can I really do this for the rest of my life? Okay. Maybe just till the kids are grown and off to college. Maybe. Can my soul survive that long?

As the phrase "quiet desperation" begins to gently permeate the chorus of a song yet unsung, you find yourself still there. A solitary soul, it seems, left standing in the starting blocks as the rest of the field rounds the second turn about to lap you for the first of many times. You wonder. Did I not hear the gun? Or did I just not have the balls to run? Already I’m a thirty-something with little-to-nothing besides a few crow’s feet, several yet unanswered questions and a quarter’s worth of wisdom to help me, at least, write this shit in the hope that I’m not alone.

To be continued. Hopefully.

Recruiting and Marketing

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

>> Return to the Small Business Branding front page <<

Doug Miller, VP of marketing at Hire.com has a blog called On Talent. He writes an interesting post (here) in which, I’m proud to say, he applies my smallbusinessbranding manifesto to recruiting/hiring.

Doug’s blog is pretty new, and I like it. It looks like he’s one to watch. Especially if you’re in the talent business.

p.s. thanks for the link, Doug.

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