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Death of a myth?

There are plenty of myths that have far outlasted the data that showed them to be wrong. “The Earth is flat”, “Heavy objects fall faster than light ones” and Noah’s Ark all come to mind. The most expensive myth around today, though, could be the $220 Billion (with a “b”) spent on unmeasured advertising every year.

Check out mlife for a rare post-dotcom-crash example of big spending for a web launch. Here in New York you’ll see them on taxi tops, posters, big ads, the whole nine yards. Visit the site and it won’t even say what they do until they launch next week. Go figure.

Randall Rothenberg is almost always right, and he’s correct again in the start of this column. Entire media companies are about to bite the dust because advertisers are just now (fifty years later) realizing that almost all ad money is wasted… but now, they can tell which part works.

Myths make people emotional, of course, and there’s bound to be plenty of angst before this argument is settled. I mean, I just bought a lot of ads for my new book, but I did it with my eyes opened and my accountant’s eyes clearly focused on the results we generated. I don’t think direct advertising is in any danger of going away…(like it or not, spam appears to be here for a while too), but I just don’t get the whole Super Bowl commercial thing.

What’s the Frequency?

If you’re hearing a buzzing in your ear, it may be all the wifi radiation out there. A simple in-office networking technology has morphed into a low-cost wireless ISP technology that’s spreading pretty fast.WiFi Metro.com shows you one example. (Though I’m told there are other options in the NY area that are a little more streamlined for sending mail.

The basic idea is to use 802.11b (aka “wifi”) to do something it wasn’t intended to do. Basically, it’s like using cordless phones outside of your house. By putting repeaters all over the place, it’s possible to paste together a wireless network that truly works.

So, here’s the question: what happens in two years when every single device can cheaply and easily be hooked up with a pretty wide and fast connection to the Net? Brand new world, a lot faster than some people expected.

Opt out nationwide?

Congress is getting closer to mandating a nationwide opt-out list that would make it a crime for a telemarketer to call you at home during dinner if you’ve taken the time to register your phone number.

Readers of Permission Marketing know that I’d much prefer an opt-in list (and that I believe an opt-in list is ultimately more profitable) but this is a fine start. How could anyone be against such a common sense, highly efficient idea? Well, the DMA is opposed. Go figure. The Direct Marketing Association

A Neat Ideavirus

No real business model here, but it’s organic and it’s growing like a weed. Thanks to Joel Kotarski for the tip. Click here to see The Human Clock

I think the lack of smoothness is part of the appeal. Daniel, the creator of the site, isn’t trying too hard. It’s a neat idea, and if you want to share it, go ahead. No prizes, “tell-a-friend” buttons or much of anything else.


Don’t know if you read the column I wrote about passion and One Handed Molly in Fast Company but if you did, you know how impressed I was by this up and coming band.

They’re giving a free (short) concert in New York City.

1961 broadway (at 66th street)
5:00 PM

Anyway, I’ll be there and if you spot me and ask me for a book, I’ll be happy to give you a signed copy. I’ll bring about a dozen with me. See you there. For those outside of New York, you can buy CDs on their site and you can buy a copy of Survival at your local bookstore or by clicking here.

Free eBook

Buy a copy of the new paperback edition of The Big Red Fez and I’ll give you a free copy of the worldwide bestselling ebook Really Bad Powerpoint by email. All you have to do is buy the paperback of Fez from Amazon or a local bookseller and send me an email at this special address and subject line and I’ll send you the ebook by return email within a week. No proof of purchase necessary. I trust you.
By the way, the ebook for The Big Red Fez no longer exists. My publisher, Simon & Schuster, made a significant donation to charity (all proceeds from this project have always gone to the JDRF) for the paperback rights and they asked me to remove the ebook. Since my goals for this book are to spread the word and help the JDRF, it made sense to me. So if you got the electronic version, it’s now officially a collector’s item.

Free Quiz

Find out if you zoom. My friend Red did an amazing job on the Do You Zoom quiz, which is a bunch of psuedoscientific nonsense masquerading as a personality test. The best part of the quiz is that you can send it to your co-workers and friends and find out how they rank as well. For those who are fans of ideavirus, it’s interesting to note that similar quizzes on thespark.com (but funnier than mine) have had more than 5,000,000 users. Maybe this one will spread…


Survival is Not Enough. hit #4 on the Denver Post bestseller list last week and has stayed in the top few hundred on Amazon since publication. I appreciate your willingness to buy it sight unseen… and thank you in advance for telling your co-workers if you liked it.


I was stranded today. I had to spend hours in Nyack, just over the border from New Jersey, so I shopped. Actually, I TRIED to shop, but I failed. I spent two hours at the mall, and it was boring.

Having done most of my shopping online lately, I’d nearly forgotten how boring it is. Every merchant alive needs to read Paco Underhill’s book, Why We Buy.

The only store I saw that didn’t bore me was the new Apple store. If you haven’t been, it’s worth a visit. Sure, it will be boring soon too. That’s because our tastes evolve faster than retailers allow their stores to.