Welcome back.

Have you thought about subscribing? It's free.

Bad poetry

There's a lot of it.

One reason: it's easy to become a poet. Easy to announce you're a poet, easy to get a pencil and a paper, easy to publish your work online.

There's a lot of bad tweeting, bad marketing, bad facebooking, bad emailing and bad music now as well. No barrier certainly leads to a lack of selectivity.

Surprisingly, though, amid the bad art, we actually find more good art. A barrier to entry isn't the only thing that improves quality. Sometimes it's sufficient to let artists do their work without a gatekeeper.

The overwhelming fear of being wrong

She didn't vote because she was afraid her candidate would lose.

He complains that the blog is being published too often and doesn't want to read some of the posts if he's not going to be able to keep up with all of them.

They don't want to buy insurance for their business because the policies are too complicated and they might buy the wrong one.

The family doesn't travel by plane any more because the whole endeavor is filled with apparent pitfalls.

He doesn't want to buy the book because he might not like it. It's better to waste two or three hours doing something he's certainly not going to like instead.

She calls a meeting and then another meeting because it's easier than committing and just saying 'no'. Or 'yes.'

Better not to hire a coach or go to a therapist or even pick a doctor, because you might discover that you've been doing something wrong.

They sell more wine in places where there aren't so many wines to choose from, because complicated selection processes make it easier to buy nothing.

It's far easier to be guy #8. Not your fault.

Almost every marketer I know underestimates how widespread this fear is. It is the lone barrier almost every product and service has to overcome in order to succeed.

“Why wasn’t I informed?”

Information is tricky. Sometimes it's delivered to you. Often, you need to go find it.

There's no blame in not being aware of something you had no idea you ought to be looking for. If you've been using the same brand of aftershave for five years, you're forgiven for not Googling it regularly to find out if it contains a carcinogen. That's information we'd like to come find us, not something we need to be on the alert for.

On the other hand, I'm stunned when someone enters new territory without doing a modicum of research. Consider the yutz who goes on vacation to a foreign land, only to discover on arrival that they're in the middle of monsoon season (happens every year around this time!) or that there's a civil war going on.

Or perhaps the small businessperson who launches an expensive marketing campaign without investing a few hours in reading up on what works and what doesn't.

Or the email novice who forwards an incredible email to her entire address list without checking Snopes first.

The rules are now clear: no one is going to inform you, but it's easier than ever to inform yourself. Before you spend the money, the time or the attention of your friends, look it up.