Monthly Archives: July 2008

Pedal

Photo by night86mare

I’m out. I’m going “off the grid” this weekend and I’m pumped.

Without going into much detail, imagine canoes, beer, lots of friends and family and glassy rock-bottom water so clear you can see the fish swimming along. You start to get the idea.

As I head out, I’ll share this bit of advice from Dick Costolo, founder of Feedburner:

The key is to just get on the bike, and the key to getting on the bike is not the confidence in knowing you will be successful if you do x,y,z. The key to getting on the bike is to stop thinking “there are a bunch of reasons I might fall off” and just hop on and pedal the damned thing. You can pick up a map, a tire pump, and better footwear along the way.

So there ya go.

Pedal.

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I’m Juiced

Check it out, I’m Juiced (look for me in the upper left, third bullet…).

For those non-local, Juice is the youthful kid sibling to the Des Moines Register (where I worked for a short stint in the sports department).

Usually, if you say you’re in Juice to a friend they assume it’s in the form of a photo of you sloppy drunk at some ugly sweater party. I guess I always assumed that’s how I’d make my debut.

But it’s great to be in there recognized for this little blog project of mine – along with some great local bloggers who are big in the Web 2.0 world, including Drew McLellan and Mike Sansone.

It’s a good article – Get blogging already not only lists a diverse group of local bloggers – from the big guys like Mike and Drew to, well, me – but it also gives a decent list of how to get started and why you might do it in the first place. And while I don’t think blogging is for everyone, I think everyone should at least dip their toes in (a wise tip straight from Drew McLellan himself).

But I do have one WTF: Where are the links? It’s ironic that in an online article about blogging there isn’t a single outbound link in the whole damn thing – feels very old media… C’mon Juice…

So, I’ll go ahead and do it. Cheers everyone:

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Skeptical? How about a video referral?

I just read Jeffrey Gitomer’s The Sales Bible.

The title isn’t too far off – it’s full of lots of little nuggets for how to better yourself as a salesperson. It’s chunked up into lots of lists of very practical techniques you can put to practice to improve your results.

In a nutshell, it’s not about quick words and slick presentations. It’s about selling to help customers and being remarkable while doing it.

But of all the points Gitomer makes, this idea haunted me:

Ask existing clients to participate in a video referral that you can show prospects.

How about that? No fancy copy or splashy logo or amazing guarantee can have as much influence as a few earnest video referrals from your current clients.

Anyone could do this – a freelancer, a big corporation, an agency, a job seeker (sure beats a thumbs-up on LinkedIn)…

Why not try it?

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A simple way to differentiate your brand: Lose the Times New Roman and Arial

A really simple way to create a different footprint with your brand is to use a unique font.

Pretty much everyone in the world seems to use Times New Roman for their serif font (the fonts with the little lines extending from the letter points) and Arial for their sans serif font (…y’know, sans the little lines).

But when it comes to branding, it’s generally a good idea to forge out from the herd.

So why are you using the same font as everyone else?

There’s about a zillion fonts already loaded into Word and InDesign, and if that’s not enough, there are people out there who make and sell their own. Cruise through Veer to see some really great examples of unique ways to show words.

And just today, Springwise pointed to Fontstruct – a free place to go create your own fonts and download the creative works of others.

I even know a certain graphic designer who is so geeky about fonts, she has her favorites and is even a member of some ‘secret’ Veer society.

Crazy, eh?

Of course, there are some rules in the font world. I don’t know them all, but here’s mine:

  1. If nobody can read what you’re trying to say, that’s bad. Don’t annoy people who are giving you a portion of their time.
  2. In general, stick to sans serif fonts on the Web.
  3. Newspapers and other printed docs often use serif fonts and believe it makes them easier to read, although I’m not sure how much I buy that.
  4. Big is good. Small can be good too. Use common sense.

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Harvesting creatives

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this clip on how creatives are “harvested.”

Well done, and cheers to Paul McEnany for pointing to it.

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How did you spend your stimulus check?

Have you seen this site yet?

How I Spent My Stimulus.com is a pretty interesting look into our economy at the moment.

There’s people who’ve used the money to teach art in Nicaragua alongside those who’ve bought large murals of Van Morrison.

Personally, mine went into my bank account and it’s probably well gone by now.

How about you? Planning on spending yours on any giant paintings of rock stars?

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Tomorrow’s brands and the death of layers

As more and more companies begin to realize how ineffective mass, blind advertising is, significant focus will shift to the identity, voice and social value of the organization itself.

Although, the title of this post is a bit misleading because this isn’t happening overnight. At least not for most of the big guys – or none of the boring guys. There’s simply too many brands that have invested so much in the traditional brand tactics of bombarding us with vague messages and building layers between us that the tactics themselves have become part of the brand.

For example, we look forward to the show Budweiser puts on during Superbowl breaks. This is a brand built on a mass message. This is a part of them.

And so it’s weird when Comcast has representatives on Twitter. This is a fundamental shift from the brand itself. And while it’s not impossible to open up, to remove layers and to converse – it can be awkward and painful.

And it can be a downright failure if the brand itself isn’t in alignment.

But this is the future. I don’t know what tools we’ll use, or what medium we’ll be in – but we will know brands in a personal sense.

Layers won’t work anymore.

So if you’re just starting out, you actually have an advantage – don’t bother building them.

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