Change This!

I want to point people to Change This! I think the project has a lot of potential. Most of the talk I have seen has been criticizing the format and not really talking about the ideas. I realize pdf files are not ideal, but the control over design that you have and the ubiquity of Acrobat readers outweighs the shortcomings. I also think they have done a great job of catering to bloggers by creating permanent pages to link to and trackbacks on those pages.

As for talking about the ideas, it will be interesting to see how that evolves. I think alot of blogs have a small set of topics that they talk about. You are not going to find political editorial on this blog. You are going to find business editorial and (more so lately) thoughts on the evolution of blogging. I think that limits in some ways the viral nature of these manifestos. I wonder if ChangeThis needs to create a medium where the ideas can be talked about.

The interesting part of the project is just starting though. ChangeThis! invites anyone to submit proposals. The proposals are put into the Slush Pile and everyone gets to vote. The most popular proposals move to manifestos. I think that is way cool. And it is very interesting to see which ones are bubbling up.

An Evangelism Q&A

Q: What company has designers mocking up what they think the next version of a product is going to look like.

A: Apple does.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog has two posts (here and here) on the latest design speculation based on a trademark that was filed in Europe.

Update: Engadget is having a contest to guess what is new is coming from Apple. There are prizes too.

My Apple Store Story

When I was in San Francisco last week, I made a specific point of going to the Apple Store. I thought it would be cool to see one of the flagship stores and see if something jumped into my hands that I had to buy. I walked into the store and immediately saw the trademark translucent staircase. I pulled out my camera and took a picture.

As I was putting my camera away, a store employee walked up and told me that no pictures could be taken in the store. He was very polite about it. I became pretty upset and I left the store.

I am sure there is a reason for no picture-taking. They probably want to be able to control the images that people see of their stores. The trouble is it stops customers and fans from talking about Apple and their stores. I wanted to share the experience of visiting the store with all of you. I don’t think this is the story Apple wanted me to tell.

Bzzz Bzzz Bzzz

Buzz.

Everyone wants it. It’s generally free. There is always people motivated to jump in.

I mean who wouldn’t want the buzz Clinton was getting last week. The National Journal has a good essay on that very subject. Writer William Powers’ question is “What if you can’t trust the buzz?”

Getting turned down

If you are interested in the evolution of business blogging, check out this post from Hacking Netflix.com.

There are going to be more stories like this as bloggers want to get closer to companies. Companies and more importantly the people in them don’t know how to deal with their evangelists yet.

[ via Dave]

More Signs Things Are Changing.

On the top of B1 in the WSJ today, there is an article titled, “For Big Marketers Like AmEx, TV Ads Lose Starring Role.”* Big companies are starting to spend their money in other places. This isn’t huge surprise, but the article give some insight into what the big guys are thinking. This from AmEx chief marketing officer John Hayes when he addressed NBC’s ad salesforce:

Your business model needs to change…It used to be that we bought time, shipped you the commercials, had lunch or a glass of wine together once in awhile; you took care of the quality of programming and we made sure the check did not bounce. We all sat back, checked the ratings , watched our business grow…those days are woefully over.

The article reports that TV ads now account for only 25% of total ad expenditures. Here are other ways they are spending their money: Jerry Seinfeld/Superman webisodes (here was my post on that from Brand Week), an touring photo exhibit of classic photos from past ads, and sponsorship of the Sheryl Crow Central Park concert.

*subscription needed

A Bzzing Business Blog

BzzAgent is a word-of-mouth marketing firm based in Boston.

They keep an interesting blog, which keeps customers and bzzAgents (people who create buzz for them) up on what is going on inside the company.

Their post today was a copy of the email they sent to shareholders and investors. I think it is pretty gutsy to tell the world about the angel funding you are looking for, who you are doing projects with, and who your big prospects are.

They are talking about me

The Church has a great post on an article from the Chicago Tribune. With the drop in young men watching TV, the newspaper went on a quest to find them and found out what they are doing.

The attitude they found describes me to a tee. When my wife and I give gifts, we are always looking for something unique, something that fits the recipient, and something that wouldn’t expect. That requires some searching (which I love doing) and requires keeping your ears open for suggestions from others.

At my other blog, getting opinions from others is the whole point. I posted a request for suggestions on a carrying bag for my new Powerbook and 14 people told me what they thought was good. After initially buying a bag, I returned it and went with one of their suggestions.

Word of mouth is powerful. Trust is precious. A lot of companies need to get on board.

Blogging on the Viral

I hope everyone has seen the Viral Marketing Blog. I originally saw the link on FC Now.

It only started in January, but they are putting up three or four posts a day. They find ideaviruses, and rank them on coolness, ease of passing on, and strength of marketing tie-in.

My current favorites:

  • William Hung – A True American Idol
  • 867-5309 for sale on Ebay
  • Barbie Take PR Cue from J-Lo