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David Byrne on PowerPoint!

Actually, it’s probably better said, “David Byrne IN PowerPoint.”

The second breakthrough title on Powerpoint. I just ordered my copy.
Really Bad Powerpoint
. Still the #1 bestseller on the ebook charts, even though the hoi polloi keep giving it lousy reviews.

Information is where you find it

Not data, but real live information you can actually use. Check out this very cool way to track what’s hot (and what’s not) on eBay. August 15, 2003

I keep coming back to Cool News

Maybe because it keeps showing up in my ebox every day!

Tim Manners produces the smartest marketing newsletter I know. Every day or two I find a story I love. He was profiled in 99 Cows, but I thought I’d mention it again. Click here for more details: reveries – marketing insights and ideas

From my friend Marcia, a little Zen

The Master in the art of living
makes little distinction between
work and play,
labor and leisure,
mind and body,
education and recreation,
love and religion.
You hardly know which is which.
You simply pursue your vision of
excellence in whatever you do,
leaving others to decide whether
you are working or playing.
To you, it is always both.

No room left

The September seminar in my office (the last currently scheduled) has just sold out. Thanks to all who are coming… it should be a lot of fun.

(no, that’s not me. I’m cuter.)

So much for branding

Here’s an absolutely great article. Elevator pitches that don’t work. They took 17 big companies, scrambled up their one line elevator pitches and tried them out on 350 smart marketers. The goal was simple. Match the pitch the to company. eBay, of course, is “To help practically anyone buy and sell practically anything”. But which company, precisely, is “Continued investments in IT result in measurable productivity gains.”

I don’t think the point is that these companies need a better elevator pitch (the product offering is probably too broad.) The point, from where I stand, is that EXPECTING your ads to communicate ideas this complicated in a sentence or two is ridiculous. One more reason ads don’t work for complex offerings.

Best summary yet of Purple Cow

It’s easy to be mean

New trend in business journalism: muckraking, innuendo, schadenfreude, snide remarks and cynicism.

From today’s New York Times (Fast Company takes a senseless beating, including plenty of editorial opinion from the writer) to most of the leading business magazines, we’re seeing exactly the same thing. The search for the scoop. The rush to demonstrate journalistic chops by refusing to accept anything at face value. The division of the world into good and bad, mostly bad.

The thing is, this is lazy journalism. It’s lazy to take potshots at the head of a car company or to search for yet another one of Martha Stewart’s bad habits. The reason it’s lazy is simple: if you get your facts even close to right, the reader is with you all the way. It’s easy to persuade people to be negative, easy to get them to pay attention to gossip, easy to defend yourself as a crusading journalist.

This, of course, is the same sort of laziness that led the very same magazines and papers to overdose on the hype just three years ago. Those stories were effervescent and glowing, but they involved just as little real understanding as today’s “exposes” do.

Do you know what’s hard? It’s hard to be inspirational. It’s hard to really understand the lessons (positive and negative) in a story and present them in a way that actually persuades, not just titillates.

Are you ready to rush out the newsstand to buy a magazine that shows us, once and for all, how some Boston real estate was insanely overpriced or how Larry Ellison isn’t actually as smart as this very same magazine told you he was two years ago? I’m not.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for an article that actually educates, or even better, inspires. Inspires me to do more, try harder, dig deeper, be more positive and persist longer. C’mon guys, I implore my colleagues, don’t be so lazy. We deserve better.

[go ahead and forward this article to your favorite magazine! Here are some email addresses:
Business Week

So, who is Laci?

Every once in a while, the Net is magically clairvoyant. Take a look at CorporateAlumni for today’s example. This is a site that knows way too much about all the places you used to work, and who worked there with you. I did a search for “yoyodyne” and found names I had already forgotten.

But what’s the deal with Laci?

It says she was on my board, but gosh darn it, I don’t remember ever arguing with her or having her threaten to fire me or cut off my financing…

Anyway, a tip of the hat to Heath Row’s new blog, Fast Company Now for the lead. It’s only been up a day, and it’s great.

Talking to ourselves Too much

Too much blogging is about the blogger listening to himself rant. You won’t find that with Debbie Weil.

Debbie actually has a purpose… she’s collecting data and links and advice about using blogs for business. She also writes about copywriting. No reports on her cats, the weather or her mood, though. Worth a look. Blue walnuts, indeed.

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