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Today’s blue light special

I’m fascinated by audio books. So linear, so multi-taskable. Precisely the opposite of a book (except for those crazy people you see reading while driving). I’ve done some tracking on my Liars book, and discovered that a huge percentage of people who listen to it on Audible.com get all the way to the end. It’s onsale right now for about $10, thought you’d want to know.

PS  other titles at Simply Audiobooks too.

The future of affiliates and SEO?

Jaime can write, that’s for sure. Sorry for the late post of this link. adBUMb The #1 Online Advertising Source.

Review of the Big Moo

Thanks, Dave: Write On !.

PS if you hurry, he’s giving away one or two galleys.

Who’s side are you on, anyway?

At 4 am in the morning, it’s easy to be defensive.

I’m staying at the Kimpton Prescott in SF tonight, and, being unable to switch time zones, I’m awake. Have been for hours.

At 4 am, I went down to the front desk and asked to use the fitness room. When I checked in last night, I was told that the room opened at 6 am, but because the website says:


On-site free 24-hour fitness facility with state of the art cardiovascular equipment, Universal gym …

They’d make an exception and let me in.

So, early this morning, I presented myself to the night clerk and asked him to let me in.

Now, it would be easy for him to get defensive. He could quote policy at me, point out that he’d worked there two years and had never let anyone in, etc. For a brief moment, I felt the impulse pass through him.

Then he realized that there was a better way, an easier way, a way that didn’t require him to exert negative emotional energy in the middle of the night. He switched sides.

He became an advocate for my cause. He said, “Well, I’ve never done that before, but if that’s what the website said, let’s see if we can make this work.” Notice the “we.”

He called the bellman, explained what we needed. If the bellman pointed out it was impossible, it would be easy for me to trudge upstairs, foiled but not defeated, unexercised but not disrespected.

The good news was that the room was easy to open. The better news is that even though customers (and prospects) can be a real pain in the neck, everyone in the organization that wants customers on a regular basis needs to take a breath and realize that we’re always on the same side. The challenge (and the benefit) is in acting that way.

Link: The Prescott Hotel – A Kimpton Hotel in Downtown San Francisco.

Hard to be nice (easy to be mean)

Check out this restaurant review. Link: Chowhound’s Chicago Area Message Board: Lula Cafe and TAC.

Doesn’t it make you want to fly to Chicago and eat there?

It’s so easy to rip into someone or something. So easy to write a negative review. Raves like this are a lot harder to write, which is on reason they’re so rare.

Lots of publishing news today

Some of it worth a comment.

Amazon launches a short story series with well-known authors selling digital short pieces. ( reveries – cool news of the day.) I was asked by Amazon to jump in and I declined. The reasoning at their end is simple: they should be a publisher. They have every element necessary to be a successful publisher:
a. access to readers who want to hear from them
b. knowledge of what those readers want
c. infinite shelf space
d. cash to act as a VC for authors who demand upfront money

Barnes & Noble is secretly making a fortune as a publisher (check out the front of the retail store next time you’re there) and Amazon is way, way bigger.

Alas, I think digital and I think short are the two worst ways to start. The first two ways you know if you want to buy a book is to either read part of it or hear about it from a friend. Well, if it’s short and you read part of it, you’re done. And if it’s digital, your friend ought to just send it to you.

The third way to decide you want a book is that the author is someone you know and trust. But if that’s the only thing a publisher has to offer (the famous author) then the author gets most of the money in her advance, because, after all, it’s her brand not the publisher’s that’s selling the thing. Lots of online platforms are facing this very same challenge.

I’ve been pushing Amazon to become of a publisher of just about everything for five or six years now. Alas, I’m dubious about the success of this effort. I hope they don’t give up when it doesn’t take off.

The second thing is the New York Times piece that seems to think that free ebooks were just invented and might be the next big thing. Longtime readers will be surprised at this insight. Try this Google link to see what I mean: (ideavirus – Google Search.)

The third article also comes from the Times. Once a Booming Market, Educational Software for the PC Takes a Nose Dive – New York Times. It talks about the death of the educational software market. That was my very first job, in 1984, with Spinnaker Software, the firm widely credited with inventing the educational computer game. It was a very exciting time. The company grew 10x a year, and suddenly this was a real industry.

Like most industries, everyone thought it would last forever. It didn’t. They don’t. Yours probably won’t either.

The Big Moo ([poetically] reviewed)

A co-author passed on this note to me:

WOW, three days in the moo pasture and I’m in love….I feel in the
spotlight, not my spotlight, but the spotlight of innovation
–remarkable possibilities– in the making.

You spoke it and I took the message with me to [my Fortune 100 company]
“There is freedom to innovatively use the book/tour for any purpose”….the implicit
message: Let’s have fun in that discovery process. What would it mean
for us to be involved…what a fun question that is. Big Moo, by
definition, is FUN….

Now I don’t know Seth (in fact know little about him) except that the
book’s very nature is contagious. And — it’s about connectivity
(yours-mine-the authors- the sponsors- the world!) Inviting
sponsorship “to combine forces…to contribute, connect and celebrate”.

And look at what has happened in so little time: you invited me into
this…and now I am connected…and inside this celebration in the making.
Now that’s contagious. All from a little book…who would have
guessed….I can’t wait to reread it again and again. I am so excited
about what might, could, will unfold as a result of all this. Thank
YOU for inviting me in. Thank you for the gift;  inspiration is the
prize, the gift.

  If I were a cow, I might just moooooooooooo.

Sleepless in Albuquerque,

mari

: The Big Moo by The Group of 33:: Galley Offer.

What Bootsy said

Here’s some profound marketing thought from Bootsy Collins.

"You have to bring some funk to get some. You just can’t walk in a place and expect to get some funk. If you ain’t bring no funk, then you can’t get no funk… Another thing is, you can’t fake the funk or your nose will grow."

The best thing I never said

Mike Sellers (Terra Nova: Fun Is What You Make It) quotes me:

Seth Godin said something like "the good news is, everyone’s visible online. The bad news is, we’re all three inches tall."

Thing is, I love this quote. It’s the sort of thing I wish I had said. And in fact, I’m going to start saying it. However, to be fair, I can’t find the quote on Google or in my files. It seems like the sort of thing Lisa Gansky would have put on a t shirt in the old days.

So, if you know who really said it (even if it was me), please let me know. Am I getting old or is it my imagination?

Hurry!

There are two ways to catch a plane. The first, which happens to be the most common, is to leave on time, do your best to park nearby, repeatedly glance at your watch, and then start moving faster and faster. By the time you get to security, you realize that you’re quite late, so you cut the line ("My plane leaves in 10 minutes!" you shout). You walk fast. As you get closer to your gate, you realize that walking fast isn’t going to work, so you start to jog. Three gates away, you break into a run, and if you’re lucky, you barely make the flight.

The second way is to leave for the airport 10 minutes early.

The easiest way to deal with change and with all the anxieties that go with it is not to deal with it at all. The easiest thing to do is to allow the urgency of the situation to force us to make the decisions (or take the actions) that we’d rather not take. Why? Because then we don’t have to take responsibility for what happens. The situation is at fault, not us. The beauty of the asymptotic curve is that at every step along the way, running ever faster for the plane is totally justified. The closer we get, the more we’ve invested ourselves. The more we invest in making our flight, the easier it is to justify running like a lunatic to make it.

Years ago, I published a directory of law firms. No fewer than 70% of the firms sent their payment the night before it was due, by FedEx. Eight of the firms sent their payment by messenger–at an expense that was equal to about 10% of the entire cost of their listing. Obviously, there was no need to waste all that money. Law firms spend millions every year on last-minute deliveries because, like most of us, they confuse urgent with important.

Urgent issues are easy to address. They are the ones that get everyone in the room for the final go-ahead. They are the ones we need to decide on right now, before it’s too late.

How can you tell if you’re too obsessed with urgent?

Do senior people at your company refuse to involve themselves in decisions until the last minute?

Do meetings regularly get canceled because something else came up?

Is waiting until the last minute the easiest way to get a final decision from your peers?

Smart organizations ignore the urgent. Smart organizations understand that important issues are the ones to deal with. If you focus on the important stuff, the urgent will take care of itself.

A key corollary to this principle is the idea that if you don’t have the time to do it right, there’s no way in the world you’ll find the time to do it over. Too often, we use the urgent as an excuse for shoddy work or sloppy decision-making. A quick look at Washington politics (under any administration) is an easy way to understand how common this crutch is. No responsible business (or diligent family) would spend money and resources the way our government does when faced with an "emergency." Urgent is not an excuse. In fact, urgent is often an indictment–a sure sign that you’ve been putting off the important stuff until it mushrooms out of control.

The most important idea of all is this one: You will succeed in the face of change when you make the difficult decisions first. It’s easy to justify running for your plane when it’s leaving in two minutes and you’re only five gates away. It’s much harder to justify waking up 10 minutes early to avoid the problem altogether. Alas, waking up early is the efficient, effective way to deal with the challenge. Waking up earlier may seem foolish to the person lying in bed next to you, but when you enjoy the benefits of a pleasant stroll to the gate, you realize that your difficult decision was a good one.

Organizations manage to justify draconian measures–laying people off, declaring bankruptcy, stiffing their suppliers, and closing stores–by pointing out the urgency of the situation. They refuse to make the difficult decisions when the difficult decisions are cheap. They don’t want to expend the effort to respond to their competition or fire the intransigent VP of development. Instead, they focus on the events that are urgent at that moment and let the important stuff slide.

A quick look at the gradually failing airlines, retailers, and restaurant chains we all know about confirms this analysis. They’re all content to worry about today’s emergency, setting the stage for tomorrow’s disaster. Better, I think, to wake up 10 minutes early, make some difficult decisions before breakfast, and enjoy the rest of your day.

(Thanks to Rick Terrien for pointing me to this article. I wrote it more than a year ago in Fast Company, then things got urgent…)

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