Monday, April 23, 2007

Booknotes: Unleashing the Ideavirus

Booknotes: I read the book, took some notes, so you don't have to. But you should. Really.

Author of Permission Marketing and the more recent, Small is the New Big, marketing guru Seth Godin unleashed his virus of a book in 2001.

Quite fascinating concepts. Some are obvious and I'm seeing more of his theories put in practice. So did Mr. Godin come first and they've adopted his ideas or did he merely observe and jot down trends? Guess it doesn't really matter.

1. "We live in a world where consumers actively resist marketing. So it's imperative to stop marketing at people. The idea is to create an environment where consumers will market to each other.

2. Two questions before you launch an ideavirus: A) Is it virus-worthy? (No room for boring ... "If it's not compelling, it will never lead to a ideavirus. B) Is is smooth? (Easy to spread?).

3. "An ideavirus adores a vacuum."

4. Find the right "hive" (niche). Dominate it. There's a far drop from being #1 to #2.

5. Get to a "powerful sneezer" -- influential person who can spread your ideavirus. [reminds me of the case of Harry Knowles and Ain't it Cool News site. He was a classic case of powerful sneezer that turned into promiscuous sneezer -- one that lost his credibility. Where is he now?]

6. Money Paradox: "The sooner you ask for money, the less you make. " Asking for money introduces friction into the system. "Many marketers require people to pay the most when they know the least."

7. eFax plan: "get people hooked on the system a free system. ... then upgrade to a paid system. They do this by: "1. Fill the vacuum; 2. Achieve lock-in; 3. Extract revenue."

8. One of the best ways to facilitate adoption of your ideavirus is to find a bestseller list that makes sense and then dominate it. If that's impossible, figure out how to create your own bestseller list and popularize that!"

9. When creating the cover, the outside package..."Boring is probably the worst offense."

10. "What are you the best or the most at? How can you refine and amplify those traits to create a Wow! product...a world's record that worth mentioning?"

11. "If you're not facing a vacuum, you've got to be ten times better than what's already there, if you're going to start your own virus."

12. "Targeting isn't enough. Being a world record holder isn't enough either. You also need to dominate your hive."

13. "Maybe it's not easy to find or as easy to reach, but there are powerful sneezers in the audience for almost every idea. Finding these sneezers adn giving them a sample of your idea for free is a no-brainer."

14. " way to make your digital media valuable: keep it fresh."

15. "If you catch yourself asking this question about a new business model innovation ('How would we make money?') you're headed for trouble. The Internet doesn't care how you make money. The Internet isn't going to wait while you figure out how to react.

16. Unleasing sequence. 1. Invent a virusoworthy idea; 2. Make it smooth and persistent; 3. Incent powerful sneezers; 4. Get their permission to follow up.

17. Word of mouse.

18. "It's obvious that marketing to people who want to be marketed to is more effective than interrupting people who hate you."

19. "Step by step, Ideavirus tactics.
A. Make it virusworthy.
B. Identify the hive.
C. Expose the idea.
D. Figure out what you want the sneezers to say.
E. Give the sneezers the tools they need to spread the virus.
F. Once the consumer has volunteered his attention, get permission.
G. Amaze your audience so that they will reinforce the virus and keep it growing.
H. Admit that few viruses last forever. Embrace the lifecycle of the virus."

I Want My BMW

Time for an upgrade on the 11-year-old BMW. The heart wants what the heart wants. And the heart wants another Beemer, this time a 5-series. Now, as a concession to the practical side, I'm not looking at the brand new models, just the year to 2-year ones.

The wife is the voice of reason and practicalness. She wants a fuel efficient Japanese car. Either a Prius or Camry. Her Practical reasons (and my practical side agrees with her 100%):

1. Cost: we're talking about $10,000-15,000 difference.
2. I drive about two miles a day. Do I need a fancy car for that?

Here are my Heart's reasons:
1. We can afford it.
2. I'm tired of being practical. Life is too short for that. This could be my mid-life crisis car.
3. I don't want just a car. I don't want to just get from Point A to B. I want the transportation equivalent to an Ipod.
4. I'm trying to think rich. Drive rich.
5. I don't even know what the 5-series gas mileage is. And I don't care.

So yeah, right. Kinda of lame problem to have, but it's mine. It's my life.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Booknotes: Zero to Zillionaire

Booknotes: I read the book. Took some notes. So you don't have to. But if you're intrigued, you should buy the book. You become smarter, the author gets richer, Amazon pays me a wee little bit of referral money.

  1. Say and think positive. Do your daily positive money affirmations.
  2. I.e. “People love to give me money.”
  3. Monitor your thoughts: write down negative thoughts on one side, then the exact opposite on the other. Focus on the other positive stuff.
  4. Sending ships analogy. In Columbus’ day, the rich invested and outfitted ships. They send them out to all parts of the world. Some came back to port, laden with riches. We have to do the same. Send out a bunch of ships, big and small.
  5. Write down a Magic Money Wish list. What you really want if money was no object. Kind of like the Lottery Fantasy game.
  6. If you charge money for services, be confident and comfortable saying your rate. Practice saying it. Practice saying double your rate.
  7. Rules of making money: a) Do what makes money now; b) Do what makes money soon; c) Do what makes money later.
  8. Recipe for depression: A) Think about yourself; B) Think about what you don’t have; C0 Think about what you’re afraid will happen.
  9. Recipe for happiness: A) Think about helping others; B) Think about everything good that you have; C) Think about your next “I can hardly wait.”
  10. The story of the Boy Scout Good Deed Coin – “Put me in your left pocket in the morning, then move me to your right pocket when you’ve done your good deed for the day.”

Author bio: former actress turned bookkeeper turned business owner. She faced foreclosure, bankruptcy, alcoholism and turned it all around with positive thinking and her Financial Stress Workshop. She also wrote the Wealthy Spirit.

Why Do We Need Guns?

My response to the tragedy at Virginia Tech is ... Please, please, answer for the me, the following ...

1. Why oh why do we need guns? [The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution states we have the right to bear and keep arms.]

2. Why do we need to have auto- or semi-automatic weapons? [Other than law enforcement officers, why would anyone ever need to be able to shoot 13-15 rounds per clip?]

3. Why are non-U.S. citizens (people with Green Cards) allowed to carry guns? What is the thinking behind this, other than more gun sales?

4. As parents, we child-proof our homes. Why can't we follow the examples of Japan and the U.K. and gun-proof our nation?

We say rogue nations like North Korea should not have nuclear power.

5. Why can't we say ordinary citizens cannot the have (nuclear) power to kill 33 people in one morning? ["Guns don't kill people, people do." "Guns don't kill people, bullets do."]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In Praise of BMW Bob

Bob is my BMW mechanic. I took my wife's non-BMW to him the other day. One of the tires looked nearly flat.

He checked it out, said there was probably a nail in there, but couldn't see anything. He inflated that tire and the other three so I could make it to the dealer appointment two days later.

Total time: 20 minutes

Total cost: $0. That's right. Zero. Zilch.

This is not the first time he has done this to me. He's honest and charges a fair price for his work. A rare find of a mechanic.

Seriously, when he retires, I'm going to have a hard decision: find another mechanic or buy a different brand of vehicle.

One Good Deed a Day

That's my latest goal. To do one good deed a day. It can be a small or big deed. Here some examples:

1. Letting someone change lanes in front of me while I'm driving.
2. Holding a door open for someone with a baby stroller.
3. Helping an older person with their computer.
4. Giving a compliment.

And so on.