Neil Gaiman on character, motivation and plot

The next [building block of story] is the characters. Who are they? What do they want? I’m going to harp on a lot about what characters want. I’m going to harp on about what characters want because over and over again you’ll find that when you’re plotting, when you’re putting something together, it’s the only question that opens the door…

Crossing bridges

There’s a reason that most marketers advise us to sell things to people who are already buying: getting something important into the hands of people who have never had it – and doing it in a way that makes a sustainable difference – is difficult. An incremental improvement on a single axis is unlikely to be enough: You’ll need to…

Bread and butter: unbundling complex products

There is a place (a big place!) for custom work – people pay more to get difficult jobs done well, and the craft required gives you an opportunity to do work that people will notice and “cross the street for.” But if everything you do is complex and nuanced, such that every quote is a custom quote, and every sale…

Resource: Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” distilled – the science of persuasion

Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” is a really useful tool for understanding some of the key building blocks of persuasion, and is a marketing classic. This video contains Cialdini’s own summary of the book. Disclaimer In his words, “understanding these shortcuts and employing them in an ethical manner can significantly increase the chances that someone will be persuaded by your request.” (emphasis…

Clayton Christensen on why customers pay a premium, or: bad products are expensive

If you hire a product to get a job done and it doesn’t do the job well, then you have to take it back, or throw it away, or give it away, or repair it, and go out and find something that will do the job well. And if that doesn’t do well then you have to test it, and…

Clayton Christensen: Jobs to be done (1)

Here’s a great insight from Clayton Christensen: people don’t buy a product or service because of abstract needs, but rather when they have a specific job to do. So people don’t use public transport, or cars, or taxis because they need transportation in general, but when they need to go and do something specific at a specific time. All people…

No shortage of money

There is no money shortage. It might not be where you’d like it, and there might not be people lining up to give it to you for whatever you think it would be well used for… but there’s plenty of money. Whose money? It’s usually best if the money comes directly from the people you’re serving – call them customers,…

Marc Andreesen: Edison vs Tesla (“Whose fault was that?”)

Brian: How do you talk to people though who have that chip on their shoulder, like, they look at someone like Elon as like, “Well, hey, that guy’s just as a showman!” Do you know what I mean? Like, not him specifically, but they almost feel like it cheapens what they do; like… Marc: Oh, this is actually interesting. Elon actually used…

DriverlessSpecodile (The DC Podcast Spec)

This is an attempt at speccing the DC podcast using questions from Seth Godin’s This is Marketing. 1. Audience: Who do I seek to serve? What is the world view of the audience you’re seeking to reach?  The Driverless Crocodile podcast is for people who believe that the world can be better – in big ways or small – and…

As powerful as a smile

Real marketing is built into what you do and why you do it. It’s part of your story, something that you do organically when your business is aligned with your mission and values. Kept promises, free returns, obsession with the details, returned emails, clean tables, and attentive staff – all of this is your real marketing. Real marketing creates a…