Hindsight

Today is the last day that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is publishing its print edition. It will reduce its staff of 140 down to 20-25 employees as it moves to an online only newspaper. Three years ago I received the letter below from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (click the image below to view the letter). It notified me that I didn't get accepted to their internship program. Around this time, I got the same types of letters from editors at Newsweek, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and many other daily newspapers and magazines. Hindsight has allowed me to realize that I applied to these types of internship programs for the wrong reasons. I had no vision; I didn't know what I wanted to do or become. I was denying the fact that newspapers were a dying industry, even though the writing was on the wall. I was applying because it was safe. I had worked at magazine for 4-5 months and was a J-school student. In retrospect, I was glad I caught on at a startup company called BuySelf Realty, and had the opportunity to change the way people sold their homes. This was in May 2006, around the time that flat-fee real estate services were becoming popular, and the housing bubble was in full swing.  I learned more about business there than I would have doing fact-checking at the P-I.  The takeaway When you don't get what you were hoping for, try to remember why you wanted it in the first place. Is it truly what you were looking for, or were  you trying to convince yourself it was what...

Examples of Well-crafted Headlines in a RSS-centric World

After seeing this headline, Obamas juggle inaugral balls, in my RSS tab for CNN.com, it made me think about headlines of articles I've read via via RSS recently that I can remember as having interesting titles. Hats off to Fast Company. I remembered four FC articles with interesting titles in particular. Also, 37Signals got in on the action. * = Interesting article– = Headline was better than the article& = Great advice on customer service% = Mildly interesting The five I recalled were articles I've read in the past day, all via RSS. *  Paper House for Disaster Zone Makes Three Little Pigs Jealous – FC*  Wireless Electricity is Here (Seriously) – FC&  The Bullshit of Outage Language – 37Signals – Signal vs. Noise blog% These Cars are so Green they should be recycled immediately – FC-  A House Optimus Prime Would Love –...

Pictures, Images and Graphics

I often get asked where to find images for presentations and marketing collateral. There are a number of free and pay-per-image resources on the web. A few that I use are: Stock Xchng – Free and Paid Options Stock Vault – Free and Paid Options Flickr -*Free Getty Images – Paid To get free images on Flickr, with a creative commons license, do an advanced search. Make sure that the image licenses allow for commercial purposes if you plan to use someone else's work on a web site or...

Think of Marketing like you would a chain

Like a chain, your marketing is only as strong as your weakest link. Here are some examples of things that are easily overlooked or  moved down the priority list, but can be corrected easily. Web site formatting/spacing issues. Cleanliness of lobby and offices that customers see. Cleanliness of delivery trucks. Bathroom cleanliness. Quality of your PowerPoint images. The slowest responding or least informed customer service rep, salesperson or receptionist. Your neglected storefront. Your misused logo. We all overlook things that we see or interact with every day. A can of paint, and a fresh set of eyes, can go a long way to making your company more customer...

Surprising Search Results

Just now I wanted to find out what the most up-to-date odds were for Big Brown to win the Belmont Stakes. So, I searched "Belmont Stakes Odds". The surprising thing is that no gambling sites have search campaigns including that search phrase. It's three hours before the race. Seems like a missed opportunity. Click the image on the right for larger screenshot. By the way, he's a 2-to-5 favorite — meaning you'd have to bet $500 to win $200. Enjoy the...