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Blurbs and Cows

Little known fact: The guy who wrote the famous Purple Cow poem also invented the word Blurb. Even better is this little bit of reader mail.

“I have an IDEA! Whether it’s worth anything is up to you. I read your book “Purple Cow” and loved it! I had also previously read the “Tipping Point” by Malcom Gladwell and thinking of these two books is where I came up with a “possible” title for your next book. I was glad to see a link to Gladwell’s website on your “IdeaVirus” site leading me to think there may be some point of collaberation between the two of you. I think you should call your next book “Tipping the Purple Cow”, subtitle…”Going Beyond the Pail”. I’m hoping you know what cow tipping is… it’s an actual pastime of bored people in Wisconsin! This is not a joke…I think it would be a great title for a follow-up book to your “Purple Cow”. Let me know what you think of this idea when you have a chance.

PS we just hit #8 on the NY Times bestseller list.

Live and in person

I’ve been hired to do a few seminars with a company called Corp Net. You can find details on dates around the US here.

Also, don’t forget the seminar in my office, June 24. Purple Cow: Workshops

The problem with “self-regulation”

Is that it’s usually “no regulation.”

I was at the local Modell’s sporting goods store this morning, killing time before an appointment by buying some socks. As I was checking out, I saw a display of liquid-filled rubber yoyo balls on the counter.

I’m intimately familiar with the toy, since they were all the rage at the local school, then summarily banned. NEWS.com.au | Yo-yo ball banned (May 21, 2003). The ball has been banned in countries around the world, because it’s just plain dumb.

I said to the clerk, “Did you know that this toy has been banned and it’s very dangerous? You shouldn’t sell it.” She shrugged and called over the manager. The manager said (I’m not making this up), “Oh, I’ve heard they’re dangerous, but I haven’t received a recall letter.” I pointed out that he could very easily put them below the counter until the letter got there. “Nope,” he said, “I have to keep selling them.”

An hour later, I got yet another spam (I get a lot, what a surprise). It consisted of a link, together with the line, “This is a legal adv, if you got it by mistake, please email back.” (aside: never email back, because you get put on the list of suckers who read and respond to spam–then they can sell your name for more). Anyway, “Luella Crawford” knows that what she’s doing isn’t RIGHT. She knows she should self-regulate. But she doesn’t. She doesn’t because it’s more important to her to make $1 than to save millions of people from having to invest five seconds each on the delete key.

In both cases, these law-abiding citizens would probably stop if they were required to.

If it’s important, the community should say, “stop it.” Relying on the conscience of strangers is a long shot, imho.

Does a simple form matter?

I’m going to a conference in July at The St. Regis – In order to get a room in the hotel, I’ve got to fill out and fax back a form.

The form is on blue paper (?), it has lots of capital letters. It has tiny little lines for including my information, it doesn’t include a phone number, an email address or a way to register online. It’s also a little cheesy looking.

The reason this matters is that harried consumers of all stripes (especially business to business consumers) have nothing left but tiny cues to decide if something is good or not. A piece of email might be great, or it might be spam… and it’s just a few spurious characters in the subject line that set them apart. A hotel might be truly wonderful, or it might just have a really nice facade and website. A telemarketer might truly be raising money for a legitimate charity, or she might be keeping 90 cents on the dollar.

In a world filled with fraud, the little cues are suddenly the most important ones. Design matters a lot. Design, amazingly, is pretty cheap. For $100, this form could have been amazing. It would have cost them perhaps a penny a reservation over the next year, and it would have communicated an awful lot about the hotel.

True Story

I’ve seen autographed copies of my books on eBay–and they sell for LESS than unautographed copies…

However, if you persist in wanting me to sign a copy for you, Jack Covert has roped me into providing a bunch. You can find them here: 800CEOREAD.com – Purple Cow – Autographed Copy

Maybe you should change your name

Okay, so 55% of searches are done with Google. And most people no longer use the phone book.

The bad news is that just about everyone is quite bad at searching (did you know that one of the 100 most popular searches at Yahoo is “Yahoo”?)

What this means is that when you launch a product, people are going to go to google, type in its name and expect to find it. What it also means is that when people want to find YOU they’re going to go to google and try to find you.

Apple, who should know better, recently launched Keynote a worthy replacement for Powerpoint. But just try to find information on it in google. If you type in “keynote”, you get a mess. If you type in “Apple keynote” you get tons of articles about Steve Jobs.

Owning a great domain is no longer the game. The way to win is to have a unique name, one that shows up early and often when someone searches for you.

Thanks, mom, for not naming me Scott.

Price War!

After Purple Cow became a NY Times bestseller, the competition among booksellers really started heating up. Jack Covert at CEO READ is on a mission to spread the word, so he’s now a buck cheaper than Amazon. Plus he’s offering a money back guarantee. 800CEOREAD.com – Purple Cow.

Moooo York Times!

The New York Times (yes, the New York Times) just put Purple Cow on their bestseller list!

#13 on the coveted how to and miscellaneous hardcover list.

Wow. Gives me chills. Thanks for the support.

Half sold out

I’m having a reprise of the supersuccessful all day Purple Cow workshop we did in my office last month. June 24th is the date, at my loft outside of NYC. You can find details here. Not sure when the one after this one will be…

Just what I was thinking!

CNN.com – Chief Justice Rehnquist: What a doll It’s that weird bittersweet feeling when someone validates a great idea that was itching in the back of your head… and runs with it. For the right audience, it’s pretty purple.