Happy Mother’s Day

Rejecting the brash commercialism that Mother’s Day has become, I did a little DIY for the two main moms in my life. I don’t remember where I initially saw this, but I was immediately attracted to the idea of making my own $15 Mont Blanc pen.

It is very simple to do. I got my supplies at OfficeMax buying the two-pack Mont Blanc for $10.99 and a 4-pack of Pilot G-2 Pens for $4.99 (so my per piece price was $7.50). As the instructions lay out, you only need to cutoff the little nub at the end of the Mont Blanc cartridge to make it fit in the G-2 casing. I bought the ones in with clear case so you could see through.

If there is any question about the appropriateness of the gift, my wife has an engineering degree and an MBA. My mom is an accountant. I am assure you they both appreciate fine writing instruments.

To the rest of you mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!

Being Open

I scheduled a call today with someone who I thought was doing some cool stuff. I told him I had read about his company recently and wanted to find out more.

“Are you writing a story?”

“No, I am just interested.”

I told him I had a similar idea for publishing.

“We work with authors too.”

I said that it wasn’t really the same thing. I explained a bit and said I just wanted to know what sort of things he had learned through starting the company.

“Before we go any further, are you looking to partner with me or set-up some kind of consulting.”

I said again that I wanted to know more about his business.

“It would be great to sit here and throw around ideas with you, but my time is really limited.”


And I thanked him for his time.

I guess I have gotten use to talking about ideas freely and openly. It is such a natural part of the blogsphere.

Ideas that are shared, flourish and prosper.

Not everyone shares that view.

Citizen Lawyer

The Internet is allowing people to take back control of journalism and marketers. How about law?

The Wall Street Journal has a great story [sub. needed] of exactly that today. Susan Hudock was fired from Aventis on medical grounds that she could no longer do her job. She suffers from shingles and was dealing with the condition by taking pain medication. This made is difficult for her to drive to see doctors as a drug rep. She asked for long term leave based on American With Disabilities Act and was denied.

This started the four year legal battle. She start with a lawyer helping her and had to go it alone after the legal bills became to large. The article details the trials and tribulations of representing yourself in the legal system. Some of the resources she used included FindLaw, the Cornell University Law School site, and episodes of Law & Order: Trial by Jury.

Hudock lost the case in trial, but will be again by representing herself as she appeals the verdict.

Social Customer Manifesto

I wish there were less manifestos, but I think you might want to subscribe to Christopher Carfi’s Social Customer Manifesto.

Here is his customer manifesto:

  • I want to have a say.
  • I don’t want to do business with idiots.
  • I want to know when something is wrong, and what you’re going to do to fix it.
  • I want to help shape things that I’ll find useful.
  • I want to connect with others who are working on similar problems.
  • I don’t want to be called by another salesperson. Ever. (Unless they have something useful. Then I want it yesterday.)
  • I want to buy things on my schedule, not yours. I don’t care if it’s the end of your quarter.
  • I want to know your selling process.
  • I want to tell you when you’re screwing up. Conversely, I’m happy to tell you the things that you are doing well. I may even tell you what your competitors are doing.
  • I want to do business with companies that act in a transparent and ethical manner.
  • I want to know what’s next. We’re in partnership…where should we go?

LEGO gets customers involved

I absolutely love this story from Think by Peter Davidson. LEGO is allowing customers to download software, design their own building set, and then upload the design for competition against others. LEGO is going to put the winning designs into production. Winners will be awarded with design credit on the box, free sets of their design, and royalties.

Talk about getting your customers involved!

Love it!
Love it!
Love it!

This is getting closer

I have read the article Open Source Marketing from Hans Peter Brondmo at clickz a couple times as people have been linking to it. It took James at the Modern Marketing Blog to pull out the best part and for me to finally notice it.

Open-source marketing encourages openness and discussion, facilitates debate and idea sharing. It encourages free downloads of the finished ad and the “source code” — all the storyboards, video clips, raw animation, text copy, sound files, and other components — used to construct the advertisement. Open-source marketing enlists the audience to take a message, an image, or a jingle and “improve” it by creating derivative works. It encourages consumers to not just consume and critique, but to engage, improve, and redistribute improvements if the original doesn’t work or measure up.

This is getting closer to the definition of what I think open source marketing is.

Open Source Management

Inc. Magazine takes a stab at open source business in their December Issue. The article is titled “The Secrets of Open-Source Managing” [not online yet]. They use Valve Software (makers of Half-Life) and Van’s Aircraft as good examples. The author used the resistance of Netflix to talk with HackingNetflix.com as a mistep (read about it here ). The article also quotes open source experts Eric Raymond (The Cathedral and the Bazaar) and Steven Weber (The Success of Open Source).

The mandatory takeaway box included the following advice:

  • Pick the right problem (to get help with)
  • Respond quickly to your community
  • Be clear about goals and expectations
  • Respect the Community
  • Be sure to recognized those in the community who brought the best ideas

I thought it was a basic article of the topic. As you can see, I am getting interested in the topic again. I added a new category to capture this stuff.

Open Source Campaign

I like what Joe Trippi has to say. If you are not familiar, Trippi was Howard Dean’s campaign manager. He is one of the few in politics to understand what the Cluetrain Manifesto is getting at. I am just finishing his book “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, The Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything.” and would recommend it. The book starts with some biography on Trippi, a lot of the story of Dean’s campaign, and it ends well with what he thinks the future has in store. Read the intro here.

Trippi has been out talking to folks. IT Conversation has audio from PopTech where he spoke and participated in a panel with Andrew Rasiej and Adrian Wooldridge. The topic was Connected Politics.

You can also find him being interviewed by Mitch Kapor at Of By and For. I thought this discussion was a little more partisan in nature, but still worth listening to.

When I think open source business…

When I think of transparency and operating as an open source business, I think of what BzzAgent is doing with their blog.

The latest example is the post asking where they ask their stakeholders “Who Would You Hire?” They provided descriptions of the two finalists’ backgrounds and looked to readers for their feedback. This week Bzzagent announced the person they hired and gave reasons for the decision.

Back in May, they shared an internal memo that included their cash burn rate and plans for obtaining additional capital.

I think what they are doing is bold.