Sprinkle in a little viral pixie dust?

It happens all the time.  I’m meeting with an entrepreneur, who is telling me about a really innovative product idea for a consumer website.  And I’m liking it.  We’re going back and forth on product ideas.  And before I know it, we’re approaching the end of our meeting.  I then ask them, “So, how are you going to acquire customers.”  And that’s when it happens.  That’s when I realize that they’ve spent all their time focusing on the product/site, and aren’t nearly as innovative when it comes to their customer acquisition plans.  They view marketing as something they can “bolt on” afterwards.

The most disappointing answer is when they say “Oh, we’ll just make it viral.”  As if virality is something you can choose to add in after the product is baked - like a spell checker.  Let’s imagine the conversation at the marketing department of the wireless phone companies.  “Let’s see.  Should we spend $4 Billion on advertising this year…or should we just make it viral?”.

Virality is something that has to be engineered from the beginning…and it’s harder to create virality than it is to create a good product.  

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Cold call emails: how to get your email read

  • Personalize it. Don't send a generic email all about yourself. Focus on what you and the recipient have in common. Mention the group you found her through on LinkedIn or something specific you know and admire about her company.
  • Demonstrate value. What do you have to offer the recipient? Be upfront about what you can give her and why she should respond.
  • Include a call to action. Tell her what it is you want her to do: email you back, reach out to set up a call, or forward your email to someone else.
  • Keep it clear. As with all email, make it clear, articulate, typo-free, and to the point.
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    The customer isn't a human being

    Mindbending stuff:

    "Innovation isn’t about creating novel products or services. An innovation is a stimulus that causes a novel and stable pattern of human behavior to emerge.”

    Exhibit 1: Search vs Googling


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    Disclosure on Paid Tweets

    Liz Philips (@iizLiz):
    11/24/09 7:20 PM
    Disclosure & relevancy important! RT @unmarketing: RT @problogger My Opinion on Ads on Twitter [or Sponsored Tweets] http://bit.ly/4ZCh9z

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    10 Great Corporate Blogs

    Blogging is tricky. It is part information, part personality. Part entertainment, part education. There are so many directions to take a blog, many of which are not that entertaining or informative. One key stumbling block is we all like talking about ourselves, a lot, and as Chris Brogan points out, we might be addicted to giving our own opinions.

    What do I like to see in a corporate blog?

    • self deprecation
    • humor
    • photos (please add some life to your posts)
    • video
    • interaction
    • update more often (I assume you guys come to work every day?)
    • talk about me not you (AKA solve my problems)


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    Google’s SideWiki Shifts Power To Consumers –Away From Corporate Websites « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing

    Control Over the Corporate Website Is Shifting To The Customers:

    • Customers trust each other more than you –now they can assert their voices “on” your webpage.Every webpage on your corporate website, intranet, and extranet are now social. Anyone who accesses these features can now rely on their friends or those who contribute to get additional information. Competitors can link to their competing product, consumers can rate or discuss the positive and negative experiences with your company or product.

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    UserVoice - Customer Feedback 2.0 - Harness the ideas of your customers. Build great products. Turn customers into champions.


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    This is the air I breath

    Embedded everywhere, without a thought. Every app is a banner ad linking back to the mother ship.

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    The Future of the Social Web: In Five Eras « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing

    Shatter your Corporate Website: In the most radical future, content will come to consumers –rather than them chasing it– prepare to fragment your corporate website and let it distribute to the social web. Let the most important information go and spread to communities where they exist; fish where the fish are.

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    The Viral Expansion Loop


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    Kevin Smokler on Plain English

    Great to listen to this talk on the Importance of Language again after all this time. I met Kevin at WebVisions a few years back:

    Will Hertling posted in a Tweet: "Strategy plan recognizes 90% of SW jobs in Portland are firms of <20 employees."

    Fascinating to scan through the City of Portland's official economic plan:
    The city of Portland is home to over half of region’s 15,700 software jobs employment was located in Portland in 2007. Software contributed $3.2 billion in aggregate wages to the regional economy in 2007, with average annual wage of $67,764. In addition, 90% of the firms in this cluster have 20 or fewer employees.

    Shapeways | passionate about creating

    Welcome to Shapeways
    • We want to be a fun, inspiring place where you make your own 3D designs come to life using 3D printing.
    • You can then keep those 3D printed models for yourself, give them away as a gift or even sell them in the Shapeways Shops.
    • You can get started by uploading your own designs or by rating and commenting on other people's in our gallery of designs.
    • You can also customize existing designs using our Creator.

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    Ponoko – Buy Make and Sell Almost Anything

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    Backwards Beekeepers

    Avocado honey!

    How fascinating... DIY honey!

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    Microsoft's vision of the future (parody)

    Sent from Mobile

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: "Denton, Jim (Experience Design Lead)" <jim.denton@hp.com>
    Date: May 20, 2009 4:20:28 PM PDT
    To: "Denton, Jim (Experience Design Lead)" <jim.denton@hp.com>
    Subject: Microsoft's vision of the future (parody)

    Funny parody, although also some interesting brainstorm-ish concepts.


    Jim Denton
      Experience Design Lead
        Sr. Interaction Designer
          HP San Diego

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    Cut your cable!

    Computerworld - As part of my transition to semi-nomadic living and gadget-consolidation project, I canceled my subscription to cable TV and returned the cable box and remote.

    I assumed tradeoffs in this arrangement: I would end up with an inferior TV experience, but save money. What I discovered, however, is that the overall experience is actually better. Much better.

    Finding a show is easy: Just Google it.

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    Space Legos

    30 years later .... and still kickin' butt!