Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Bookshelf For February

February 4, 2008

I picked up a couple of books at Borders over the weekend:

  • Quirkology by Richard Wiseman – been wanting to pick this up for a long time. Wiseman explores some interesting behaviors like why we wouldn’t think much of a $15 discount on a $20 item, but might do so for a $15 discount for a $90 item, even though the absolute value is identical
  • Starbucked by Taylor Clark – supposed to be a good read.
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire – didn’t get to watch the Broadway show in New York, so I’ll make do with the next best thing
  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin – I’ve read numerous things by Seth, Meatball Sundae, Small Is The New Big, All Marketers Are Liars, but it’s time for the book that started it all, centered around a simple premise: Be Remarkable.

I’ve also started on The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. This has been on my shelf for a long time, about time I got started on it.

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Meatball Sundae Trends 1 and 3

January 22, 2008

I blogged just about a week ago about starting Meatball Sundae, unfortunately I got too bogged down with deadlines to read more, until tonight. Two trends struck me:

Trend #1: Direct communication and commerce between producers and consumers

Here Seth Godin talks about why permission is not up to you (the marketer), my favourite points:

  1. Permissions exists to help me, the moment the messages sent aren’t personal or relevant, you cease to exist in my world
  2. I don’t care about you. Not really, I care about me. If your message has something to do with my life, then perhaps I’ll notice, but in general, don’t expect much
  3. I demand your respect. I can get respect from plenty of organisations, so if you disrespect me (by mistreating me, by breaking your promise, by cheating or lying or by undervaluiing our relationship), then sure, that’s right, you’re history.

I’d say those are the reasons why various feeds are in my Google Reader, and I allow mails from Men’s Health, Amazon,, Facebook and the like to get to me, and almost every other email from clubs are automatically thrown into the spam box. (By the way, Google’s spam algorithm is amazing. I don’t even know why the clubs bother)

Trend #3: Need for an authentic story as the numbers of sources increases

Basically his point here is that whatever your company stands for should be conveyed by everyone, all the time, consistently. This reminded me of one nasty experience at Starbucks, where this staff went around telling anyone who looked like a student “Sorry, no studying in here” even before they sat down. I emailed this in and got a response of remorse, typical politically correct response.

The point here is that it doesn’t matter if Howard Schultz comes out and says that the Starbucks experience is commoditised, or that he intends to return it to its roots. As long as that isn’t believed, communicated and executed on by every single touchpoint in the company, it fails.

On a minor note, Seth also mentions John Moore over at Brand Autopsy as someone worth reading, and it humbles me that John took the time to reply to one of my posts that referenced him. After all, an SMU student probably doesn’t compare much to the people he rubs shoulders with!

Meatball Manifesto

January 17, 2008

If you’re unwilling to plonk down $30+ for Meatball Sundae, there’s a new manifesto on ChangeThis which will probably act as a pretty good executive summary for you. Also, there’s news on how to get your very own Seth Godin action figure (!!).

Totally Unexpected Find

January 17, 2008

This is really the whole idea of the Web connecting people/things/ideas come to life.

So first I open my Google Reader and see a feed from Brand Autopsy, with three links. One of them being The Pirate’s Dilemma. Sounds pretty interesting, so I click on that.

That brings me to a page talking about the book with a nice little video talking about the book. I actually think it’s pretty interesting, the premise being about how youth culture (hey, that’s us!) is driving innovation and changing the way things work. Actually this brings up a topic in Michael Netzley’s class today where he was wondering why locally, companies who set up websites still do it the old, Web 1.0 way when we’re in the age of Web 2.0.

And the answer is clear. From my time at MTV and visiting various companies in New York, the “old” people in charge of the companies can barely work powerpoint. They’d be scared into next year by the idea of “communication” or “trackbacks” or anything like that.

Anyway, after reading up a little bit about The Pirate’s Dilemma and adding it to Google Readerm I decide to check out the main page, and it brings me to the blog, and a post about JJ Abrams at TED. I love JJ Abrams for Alias and Lost (and in a few days, Cloverfield), and I love TED. So from all that unexpected linking, here’s an awesome TED video. (But then, aren’t they all?)

Edit: I’m sorry I can’t seem to embed the video. I know my html skills don’t suck, but still, something is wrong. Watch the video here.

Takeaway from today? Check your feeds often and follow the links. You’ll never know what you’re going to get.

First Book Of The Year

January 14, 2008

I finished Game Of Thrones, but before starting on the next book, I’ve decided to pick up Meatball Sundae instead.

Meatball Sunday, is Seth Godin’s new book (What? So soon after The Dip?), comparing Old Marketing (Meatballs) as one flavour, and New Marketing as the other (the Sundae toppings). What’s important in the book is probably the 14 New Marketing trends that he’s observed and comments on. I’m only at chapter one, but if you’re curious, Brand Autopsy has more.