Pay with a tweet or like

Cleartones make stylish ring tones for your iPhone. Obviously they want you to buy their tones but you
can get four free tones if you pay with a ‘tweet’ or a ‘like’ on facebook. A fantastic way to not only get people
talking about your product but also to reward them with a free sample. Very cool.

Published in: on June 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm Comments Off on Pay with a tweet or like

Thoughts on making it in music

I was writing an email to comosper David Norland who did the amazing sountrack to a great documentary – Anvil, the story of Anvil which you can hear on the audio link on his site. I was thinking about marketing music and how a composer could make a name for himself and that got me thinking about this amazing video by another ver talented musician called John Boswell.

What if scientists could sing?

What you’re about to see is amazingly poetic and beautiful – thanks to the wonders of Autotune (the technology that most popstars use to shift their voice when they sing out of key) you’re about to see boring physics lectures turned into something amazingly poetic.

John Boswell of Symphony of Science made this song featuring Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye.

Popstars should be banned from using autotune leaving autotune to the people who really do have something to say:

I was so impressed with this video that I donated to John via his website – he sent a charming email reply telling me that it takes about a week to make the magic happen once he has all the video clips he needs to make a song.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 8:48 am Comments Off on Thoughts on making it in music

500 Sodas

What this guy doesn’t know about soda isn’t worth knowing. The best bit is he owns a store that sells nothing but sodas – 500 different types of sodas no less. I’m not saying his store is a recipe for millionairedom but it is sure interesting and when you watch this video you can tell he’s passionate about soda – I like the cucumber soda and the fresh pressed rose petal soda from Romania. His insights into business are equally as fascinating as his knowledge of soda:

Visit the Galco’s Soda website. Oh yes, I’m BACK!

Published in: on September 7, 2009 at 1:36 pm Comments Off on 500 Sodas

Building TRUST instead of loyalty

I was thinking about branding and customer loyalty the other day. Hugh at gaping void pointed out that a brand wasn’t a thing it was a place… and that’s a pretty cool concept. But when it comes to business all we really want to do is get our customers to TRUST us… you don’t get loyalty without trust.

Kryptonite bike locks were a great example of a brand that had loyal customers buying their locks to keep their bikes safe. But when a video surfaced on the internet showing how to crack a kryptonite lock with a pen lid, people no longer trusted the kryptonite brand.

All that loyalty disappeared with a single video… you see, people TRUSTED kryptonite to keep their bikes safe.

People trust apple to make cool music players and laptops but when apple breaks that trust by DRMing music downloaded form its music store or their laptops overheat etc… then people lose their trust in Apple and start looking at someone else to trust.

You get the idea. A brand is a place people head to because they can TRUST the product or service.

McDonalds isn’t the greatest restaurant in the world but you can trust that the food will taste the same and the menu will be the same at any McDonalds around the world. And that’s why people go to McDonalds.

So when you’re building your brand you have to remember that all you’re doing is building trust. Don’t kid yourself that you’re building loyalty… you build loyalty with better products or services… you can try to buy loyalty with discounts, loyalty programs etc but that makes it easy for someone else to BUY your customers away from you.

Just some thoughts that might inspire a chapter in the book one day.

Published in: on September 7, 2006 at 2:34 pm Comments Off on Building TRUST instead of loyalty

10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big.

I have spent years developing online businesses. All the time my colleagues and I structure our business ideas on something that we think customers want or need. Turns out that maybe we’ve been too conventional in our thinking.

I wouldn’t have thought googles for dogs would be a big seller… but I’d be wrong. Check out Top 10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big Time. for a refreshing business idea lesson.

Published in: on July 20, 2006 at 12:27 pm Comments Off on 10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big.

How to make banking fun

Curious Lucre has a fantastically funny collection and description of bank notes from around the world. Here’s how they describe the note above:

And so the collection begins: with one of the uglier bills on the planet. No one on Argentinian money seems happy to be there. They’d all prefer to be elsewhere – it’s as if this is an imposition on their busy life.

This fellow is obviously a sharp character, and pressed for time. What do you want? My head is vanishing into my torso. I have no time for you. Spend me. Be gone.

A bank or a money transfer operation like Western Union, could easily have created something fun and entertaining like Curious Lucre but the underlying premise to big business seems to be that you can’t be entertaining or fun.

If you were a hotel chain, you could blog about things like Hotel Surplus … a site that sells surplus hotel art and furniture etc. But, the core business of a bank or hotel is not to be fun, they don’t seem to want people to visit their sites because they offer fun or entertaining stuff… they only want you to do business with them or be gone.

I wonder how much traffic and potential customers these big businesses would get if they focussed a bit more on entertainment with their websites instead of bookings and interest rates?

Published in: on June 8, 2006 at 10:32 am Comments Off on How to make banking fun

turn old junk into art


There’s something to be said for the way we used to make things… mass productiong takes some of the LOVE out of the products we make. Luckily the folks at Lost Found Art collect old tools, toys etc and turn them into art installations.

Thinking outside of the box has created a real niche for these guys.

Published in: on May 26, 2006 at 12:30 am Comments Off on turn old junk into art

What every video store needs

The idea of owning a video store is to rent movies right? So why is it you don’t see video store websites that allow you to rate movies you’ve seen and then generate a list of videos you might like based on your ratings?

I guess it’s because most video store owners are in the business for the money rather than their passion for films. Anyhow, check out Criticker – Home of the TCI as an example of a terrific video recommendation engine. In just a few minutes I had a whole list of videos that I either wanted to see or had never heard of.

Published in: on April 30, 2006 at 3:54 pm Comments Off on What every video store needs

Experts Vs Conventional Wisdom

I’d like to say I was smart enought to come up with this post on my own… but I’m not. The riff goes something like this:
The problem with conventional wisdom is there’s too much convention and not enough wisdom.

The wisdom of crowds fails in so many areas because they are conventional. Which is why a convention is made up of a crowd of people. Crowds are not counterintuitive but individuals are counterintuitive… or at least, they can be.

We see this all the time in business but also in my other life as a job expert. Most resumes look the same because there are certain conventions for formatting and defining skill sets. The reason why I can become an expert in job seeking is my approach was counter intuitive to what was being taught.

Being an expert is all about showing people what is possible rather than what is popular. Crowds make things popular but it takes someone to think outside of the box to give the idea life and create a niche.

Being an expert or standing out from the crowd is about having a depth of knowledge or understanding about a subject so you can see past the conventional wisdom of the subject.

It’s that concept that creates amazing business and amazing work opportunities if you’re an employee.

You can read more about this idea from the smart people at:
Businesspundit: The Wisdom of Crowds Niches: Why Experts Still Matter

Published in: on March 26, 2006 at 4:13 pm Comments Off on Experts Vs Conventional Wisdom

How to get more traffic to a shoe store


Seth’s blog pointed to a great site listing fancy ways to tie shoelaces. It’s fascinating stuff and I found myself lacing and unlacing my shoes for about 15 minutes.

If only a shoe store site had thought to do something like this… the amount of traffic would have increased significantly which should have some carryover in sales.

It’s amazing how we get so focussed in our thinking when it comes to our business and what we sell that we miss opportunities that don’t necessarily involve a sale but can generate traffic.

And yes, I know it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been busy. Our tag-along tour to Thailand was a great success and is an example of how a restaurant can step into travel as a way of building a relationship with guests and generating publicity as well.

Published in: on March 15, 2006 at 9:27 am Comments Off on How to get more traffic to a shoe store
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