How do you succeed quickly? Fail faster!

Our new favorite motto around the office comes courtesy of one of our favorite entrepreneurs and (arguably) founder of a very important Web phenomenon, Mr. Jimmy Wales…


That’s what he told us. But who really wants to fail? I certainly wish I could go through life performing everything perfectly the first time. We all think our ideas are brilliant, of course, and we don’t want to be proven wrong. We want success. We strive for it and will go to the ends of the earth, and our financial means, sometimes dragging out the inevitable because our ego is too vested in the project to give up on it that easily and admit a defeat. Continue reading

What I learned from the founder of Wikipedia

DSCN1532“I have to say, the exams I had to pass to earn an honorary degree aren’t nearly as tough as the ones you guys had to pass. I did have to write a 15 million page thesis, though. But luckily, other people wrote it for me,” jived Jimmy Wales yesterday as he took the podium in the gymnasium of Stevenson University in Baltimore, Maryland.

As keynote speaker in the 57th graduation ceremony for the small, liberal arts school, we expected Wales to lay some experiential wisdom on us, offer a metaphorical pat on the back, and leave us with inspirational insight as we embark on the harsh realities and unprecedented opportunities of the real world. You know, the typical graduation stuff.

“Luckily, the president just gave you that stuff. I’m a lot less fancy,” said Wales, as he adjusted the freshly bestowed hood and medal signifying his honorary doctorate degree from Stevenson. Less fancy? Yes. But inspirational, practical, relevant and entertaining? Definitely! The crowd loved him. And as a group of graduates in which many admit to be graduating only because of Wikipedia, we were compelled by his advice.

Listening to the stories of his numerous missteps, a few accidental successes, and a passionate, entrepreneurial spirit, I was comforted and inspired by what Wales has proven – the notion that one good idea that brings people together, built on social interaction and interdependence, can grow, and it can change the world. But also that failing is part of the process, and not every idea will make it big. Even Wikipedia guy has had some blunders.

Here’s what I learned about being successful from Jimmy Wales, the guy who changed how we see, use and interact with the Internet, and how we learn:

The BIG ideas don’t always work. He had three brilliant ideas. They all flopped. His first attempt at social revolution was trying to start an online food ordering system. The Internet service would connect downtown lunchers with area restaurants, and prevent the need for leaving the office during the lunch hour. It failed. Wales said restaurant owners looked at him like he was from Mars when he talked to them about the Internet in 1996. Continue reading

How to go BIG like Associated Content did

You’ve heard of Yahoo, right? How about Associated Content? Well, you will soon.

Yahoo, the world’s largest online media company – you know, the one that’s destination for more than 600 million unique visitors every month – just bought Associated Content, a media company barely six years old but worth more than its weight in SEO keywords. Actually more than $100 million, to be exact. Wowza!

For a startup that’s still in its formative years, that’s not half bad! Associated pays freelance writers for content on any subject imaginable, and then advertisers pay to have their brands linked to the articles – a little idea that creator Luke Beatty came up with and called “search advertising.” Brilliant! Continue reading

Why marketers should party like it’s Youtube’s birthday


Happy birthday to Youtube! Five years ago this month, the self-broadcasting Web site that we’ve all come to know, love and add to our favorites went live with a 19-second video featuring one of the site founders on a trip to the zoo. It was surprisingly entitled, “Me at the zoo.” Creative, guys!

So, what have we learned from the completely accessible, omnipresent pop culture phenomenon that has allowed ordinary people to either make fools of themselves or become superstars literally over night, and created a linked and attentive world audience? We’ve witnessed the sheer and undeniable power of the viral thread. Well then, how do we use it to our benefit? Continue reading

Marketers, meet your new consumers!

So, how about this economy, eh?

OK, so we’re tired of hearing about the depressed economy already. We know! We also know that a tight squeeze for some companies doesn’t have to mean hard times for you. Actually, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain market share, create loyal customers, and grow like a weed. And how the heck do you do that?

One simple way is to get in touch with the future of the consumer market – the people who will spend the country out of the red and back into the black. So which big spenders will you be seeing a lot more of? What groups with a disposable income should you keep an eye on? Who will drive the economic recovery?

Who is……Gen X and Gen Y!071005_consumerforum_bruce-temkin_edited_v3

Gen what now? The X-ers are people generally born from 1965 into the late 70′s, and Y-ers (or Millenials) came next, born between 1980 and into the 90′s.

A recent report from PricewaterhouseCooper and Retail Forward points to the affluent segments of these groups with the disposable income to make a difference. The “up-market affluents” of the Gen X market will also be influential in the economic comeback, the report says, because of their stage in life. About 60 percent of this age group has attended college, but unlike the Baby Boomers who preceded them, Gen X “may work to live rather than live to work.”

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The 10 Commandments of Twitter, one of our favorite sources for the newest trends in social media, did some research on Twitter use and abuse by marketers, and compiled a list of ground rules that every company ought to follow while working in the Twittersphere.

Remember one of the grounding principles of marketing – look through the eyes of the consumer. Even the best marketers seem to forget this concept when caught up in the ease of self-aggrandizement and tempt of self-promotion in every Tweet of the enter key. Mashable went to real Twitter users, the general public who has engaged with brands on Twitter, to find out what consumers are really looking for in a brand Tweet.

What did they find? Well, surprise: people know that brands aren’t people. They hold brands to a standard different from the code “normal” users should follow. Here are the most fundamental rules Mashable has compiled. We like to think of them as “The 10 Commandments of Twitter”

  1. Thou shalt not show off! Want to talk about your features, and even better, your benefits? Great. Should you mention special deals you’re running? Definitely. Tempted to post links to your latest press releases, articles your CEO wrote or extravagant claims full of superlative adjectives? Don’t do it! This isn’t the place. Ask yourself this question: “If I didn’t work here, would I really care?” If you wouldn”t care, then they won’t care. Continue reading

The logo your logo could look like

Grab a business card with your company’s logo. Look down at it. Now back up at our logo. Back down at your logo. Back up at our logo. Back down at your logo. Sadly, your logo isn’t our logo. But if you know the power of an effective logo, it can be just as memorable as our logo. Look down. Back up. Where are you? You’re on a boat, handing out your professional new business cards with a logo that your logo could look like. What’s in your hand? Back at me. It’s brand recognition that’s surpassing your marketing goals. Look again. It’s credibility, identity, brand image, a long-term impression. Anything is possible when your logo looks professionally designed and not like clip art. We’re on a blog.

Persuasive, right? OK, so still not convinced that a professionally designed logo could set your company miles ahead of the competition? Think about how many times you’ve met a potential contact and offered over your business card. It’s the simplest piece of collateral for your company; the little thing that holds the big job of representing your business when you’re not there to swoon the crowd. Continue reading