"Direct Marketing by the Numbers", "E-Mail and Online Marketing", "Marketing Writing: The Art of Persuasion", "Copywriting That Gets Results", "Sales Lead Management", "Power of Market Research"...reads the list of courses when I flip open the UC Santa Cruz Extension in Silicon Valley catalog lying on the dining room table.
I scan the abstract for "The Power of Market Research" (historically one of my favorite marketing tasks) and a few bullet points pop out:
- Assessing and defining market trends: segmenting the target market, trends driving user demand, market risks and opportunities and market forecast
- Profiling the customer: surveys, focus groups, user perceptions of products and demand for specific features
- Using market research to drive the business plan: investment analysis, program risk, profit plan
A new course piques my interest:
NeoMarketing (new!) ...explores the emerging paradigm shift from traditional push marketing to consumer-driven, anytime-anywhere pull marketing... Participants will learn about new techniques (online word-of-mouth marketing, viral marketing, and social networking) and new tools (forums, wikis, blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, and wireless). Based on the fundamental principles of marketing, NeoMarketing utilizes new technologies for even greater competitive advantage. Emphasis will be placed on how to integrate the new techniques and tools into traditional marketing plans and how to measure the results..."
I close the page, and set the catalog down. Glumly.
I'd royally flunk these courses. Purposefully.
I don't market many of those ways anymore.
And that probably explains why I'm not writing much these days about marketing. I enjoy doing marketing but not explaining hows since.... I'm on the lunatic fringe.
That's not necessarily meant to be a derogatory term, the lunatic fringe catches onto future trends way ahead of the alphas and the alphas adopt ahead of the bees whom really spread the buzz (according to The Anatomy of Buzz-speak) to the mainstream.
Lunatic fringe: kinda edgy and hip-sounding, but let's face it, everyone thinks you're looney as they sidle away (as if it might be contagious).
Eccentric, witty artist to me at Web 2.0 party last week: You're probably the only person here who'll talk to me for any length of time.
Me: Probably right.
Lewis Carroll's imagination took flight I imagine precisely because he didn't give a hoot if you thought he was looney. He mastered a coy blending of logic and fantasy that slipped in confoundments and startlements.
Carroll always leaves me feeling saner in a world that irrationally worships the rational. Carroll always leaves me questing: Is the universe a comedy?:
"“Its jam every other day. Today isn’t any other day, you know”, said the Queen.
“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “Its dreadfully confusing!”
“That’s the effect of living backwards,” the Queen said kindly. “It always makes one a little giddy at first … ”
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“But there’s one great advantage in it … that one’s memory works both ways”, said the Queen.
“I’m sure mine only works one way. I can’t remember things before they happen”, remarked Alice.
“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked." - Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll via Crossroads Dispatches' reader (at least that how I think we met) Michael Gisondi's motivational newsletter
If you would ask me what kind of death sends shivers down my spine -
it is not a demise from an illness like cancer, nor being hit by a bus,
nor being mauled by a shark, nor being bowled over by the freight train force of a tsunami.
Nope, none of those. I have a fear of being burned at the stake.
The only salve I have found to keep this fear at bay is to hang out more with artists - they're all loonier than I. (Don't restrict yourself to living artists in your hood. Try Salvador Dali. Jack Kerouac. David Lynch. We could go on and on.) In their presence, a welcome mat unfurls, "Finally, girlfriend, where have you been hiding?"
one a.m. in December, wyatt texts: whoA! slow down...endorphins!
me: what r u talking?
wyatt: movies in my head gotta write to music
Ah, so it works the same way for others too.
I saw the stunning Chasing the Lotus at X-Dance Film Festival last week. I knew right then and there that surfing was my true heart's sport. (In my tangible life, my sports have mainly been endurance-related: ultrarunning, hiking and backpacking, river running.)
When I changed my blog's descriptor a few months ago, I don't think it was an accident that I used the words "from the surf's edge on innovation, design, marketing, the art of living and anything that screams Life."
radical: from 1970s surfer slang meaning "at the limits of control."
The etymology of radical also means getting to the root, going to the essential. The essence of.
With 20/20 hindsight I realize it's been my saving grace that I'm too lazy to mess around with focus groups and stats and playing the numbers game (whether that's tossing out 10,000 flyers or scoring a link on Engadget's blog or an invite to Oprah). So I stumbled onto a marketing that suited me and a marketing that distilled to essence. A marketing that got ultra-specific right down to the individual human rather than sending out blasts in hopes that 2% of someones, anyones, might bite.
So I haven't gotten around to answering the thin-slicing your brand, thin-slicing stores, tag (yet). Because I don't thin-slice. ("What we feel as intuition is really the result of unconscious rapid cognition", opines Paul Marsen's summary of Blink. Thus thin-slicing is a 'neat cognitive trick'.)
About six years ago I took a course on intuition because I honestly didn't know what 'intuition' really meant or how it really operated in my own life. I was guided by my intellect and rationale and control and will. All I knew going in to the course is that I must have really been out of touch with my intuition and ability to 'read' people when I took the dot-com CTO position with founders that wildly blind-sided me.
So maybe Blink is about rapid cognition. That's a fine subject.
But that's not at all what I'm doing. Ease is my byword. Sounds so easy, ease.
Ease sometimes finds me surfing the edge between exhilaration and terror (as if screaming through the roller coaster ride does anything). Oh, yes, the Queen foretells that living backwards (that's the codeword) will be giddy at first.
And radically, dude, I'm ceding control more and more often to a non-cognitive (yet not supernatural) intelligence that I cannot define. Let the ocean do the work, man, rather than bracing myself at the limits of control. (Drag is decidely not ease.)
Neat cognitive tricks are just that. Far far too much efforting. I am a supreme surf bum, alright. I'm not killing myself manufacturing waves when there's gorgeous blue swells coming to me all the time.
Steven aka Vaspers the Grate has no idea how much I fully think he comes close to hitting the mark with his e-book (intended as a parody, hmmm...): Spiritual Slothfulness: Laziness as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life. As if this doesn't come straight from the mouth of a surfer, I don't know: "Achieve tremendous mystical powers and insights, by doing next to, or exactly, nothing!"
Anyhow, not like I'm going to reveal my radical looniness all in one swell, but this is a bit closer to how my intuition works in practice:
"...Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again." - from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
"Oh, dear! What nonsense I’m talking!" she mumbles to herself. "It's high time to bid adieu and hit the waves."
p.s. Probably not the smoothest post I've ever written. But considering I started off typing this post with tremoring hands and hyperventilating, well...
One can never be certain that burning at the stake is passé even in this day and age.
images artist Lovisa Ringborg's "following the white rabbit"...Lovisa says, "in my work I am interested in the borders between fantasy and reality" - lovely, do yourself a big favor and check out all her ethereal work; artist allibee's "High Priestess" tarot card; artist Sophia Dixon's "Burning at the Stake"; "Alice down the Rabbit Hole" by Fleur Palau
Bonus: "Thin-slicing is a neat cognitive trick that involves taking a narrow slice of data, just what you can capture in the blink of an eye, and letting your intuition do the work for you... Evolution has honed our social intelligence, allowing us ‘read’ people accurately based on fleeting first impressions – which is why the current trend of speed dating might actually be a good idea. In fact, we don’t even need to actually meet our potential future partners in the flesh; just a quick peek in their bedrooms is enough to accurately guess their key personality traits...
[Actually very very few people 'read' others accurately. Typically one sees your own projections reflected back. Although I've spent the last five years working on recognizing my projections, I've yet to 'read' with 100% accuracy.]
Blink draws from cognitive psychology to explain how our powers of thin-slicing intuition have nothing to do with the supernatural, and everything to do with our naturally evolved ‘adaptive unconsciousness’. Our conscious mind is just the tip of the cognitive iceberg and what we feel as intuition is really the result of unconscious rapid cognition, fast and frugal information processing that goes on subliminally." - "Speed Thinking: A Review of 'Blink' by Malcolm Gladwell", by Paul Marsden