Category Archives: Weekend Reading

Ads on Napkins, Becoming a Consultant, and Get $1,000 to Quit

This site has moved. Go to to read Ads on Napkins now.

I’m a little behind on sharing some great reading, but here are some highlights from the past couple months.

  1. Finding an extra 15 hours in your week. Seems the Marketing Minute posted all the great marketing blogs out there, and the next question became “How in the world do I find time to keep up with all that?” Here are the answers. Pooping productivity is especially key.
  2. Turning Points: How I Became a Consultant. Steve takes a look back at the moment he realize it was time to do it himself. The entire post is excellent and enlightening, but I believe this quote sums it up: “If I was going to fulfill my professional desires and drives, and add maximum value, I had to “create it myself,” and not vainly hope that someone else would conform their business to my ideals, or custom-create the perfect position for me.”
  3. Early Retirement is a False Idol. The norm is to slave away during our “working years” so we can finally enjoy life later because we don’t have to work. However (as quoted in the post): “Why does the idea of work have to be so bad that you want to sacrifice year’s worth of prime living to get away from it forever?”
  4. Focus on the Goal, Not the Mechanics. If you’re requesting the help of a designer or other creative service, don’t micro-manage the process. You obviously aren’t an authority to begin with, or you wouldn’t be asking for help. Be the champion of the end-goal, make it clear to your partners, and let them, the messengers, craft their message. As Jay Moonah is quoted in the article: “If you are working with an agency, what you need to help your agency partners understand is WHAT you want to accomplish, not HOW they should do it.”
  5. Here’s $1,000 to Quit. John cites a post on the new-hire policy of Zappos, a growing online shoe retailer. They offer any new employee $1,000 to quit within the first week. Why? Read the post. It’s smart, and probably quite cost-effective.
  6. Did You Know? – Brand Loyalty. Insightful quick stats on the price and profit of increased usage by repeat customers. Fascinating. For example, did you know It costs 7 times more to get a new consumer for the brand than it does to get a current consumer to make an incremental purchase?
  7. Not Even Cocktail Napkins Are Safe. Advertising on napkins at bars? C’mon . . . .

Words, Links, Innovations and Giant Leaps in Wine Labeling

A few noteworthy posts I’ve stumbled on over the past few weeks . . . .

  1. Yes, Words Matter: So when do you use “more than” instead of “over?” Better yet, when does it matter? CommonSense PR has a take on it.
  2. Link/Comment Baiting: Ed’s listed his favorite marketing-ish blogs. I’ve hit a few links, but plan on digging in over the next couple weeks.
  3. 5 Steps to Becoming a Buff: You just can’t go wrong with the ‘Seinfeld on Marketing’ series, but this is one of my favorites. I wanna be a buff!
  4. What Corporations Need from PR in a Web 2.0 world: Lee summarizes a keynote by Mike Moran that makes me feel better about not knowing everything that’s going on in the Web 2.0 world. My favorite Moran quote: “You have permission to sip from the new web 2.0 world, rather than drink from it like a fire hose.
  5. 10 Signs You Should Be Charging More as a Freelancer: A lighthearted but practical guide into making more out of making it on your own.
  6. 7 Things Innovators Do That You Don’t: My favorite one is that innovators aren’t afraid to communicate their crazy ideas.
  7. Peel-off Wine Label: Now this is too simple to be as smart as it is. Why hasn’t this been thought of before?
  8. Why Does Big Mean Bad?: Paul Williams details the process of moving from small to big, and that parts that may be inevitable. Why are people shifting away from Whole Foods now?

Hourly Rates, Eliot Spitzer and Formulas for Follow-Up: 9 Links Worth a Read

Great reading from the past few weeks – enjoy!

  1. Charging By Project, Not By the Hour: If you keep up with my blog on a regular basis, you know I’m anti-hourly rates. The Freelance Switch, one of my favorite new blogs, nails it on the head in this post. In Skellie’s words, “Setting up timers and staring at a clock can feel a little like office work.”
  2. Spitzer Can’t Communicate His Way Out of Sex Scandal: Common Sense PR captures the uselessness of damage control in the Eliot Spitzer ordeal. As Eric begins, There are times when the public is willing to forgive the indiscretions of public figures. This ain’t one of them.”
  3. The Power of Free Samples: Interesting study using instant formula samples given free to new mothers as they left the hospital. I’m not convinced this translates well into many other industries, but it’s still intriguing.
  4. The 8 Types of Creative Directors:FUNNY! I actually like the 8 Types of Bad Creative Critiques more.
  5. The Proper Way to Throw a Golf Club: Because we all need to get better at this.
  6. Advertising’s Legendary Letter by Bill Bernbach: It was 1947, and a young creative director saw the writing on the wall for his now big ad agency in an industry that was still in its adolescence at best. Very inspiring, and still very relevant. My favorite quote: “The danger lies In the natural tendency to go after tried-and-true talent that will not make us stand out in competition but rather make us look like all the others.”
  7. 11 Ways for Web Designers to Gain Exposure: Useful, common-sense tips on how to get the word out if you’re a web designer.
  8. 6 Reasons to become Self-Employed: Wisebread shares some pretty good reasons for doing it yourself in the business realm. I think the most appealing to me is no vacation days.
  9. A Simple Formula for Follow-Up: Ever get stuck in copying and pasting a follow-up email to prospects and clients? Ilise thinks you’re missing out – here’s some good advice on little things that could make a big difference.

Similar Posts on Brett’s Blog:

Recession Marketing, Super Bowl Ads and Lesssons in Forgiveness

Excellent weekend of reading – enjoy

  1. Healing and Mercy: This is an excellently written story of a high school girl who was raped in 1989 and how she’s coped with it since and managed to find forgiveness and mercy. This happened in my home town when I was in middle school, so it definitely h it home to me. It’s a four part series – here’s a link to all the stories.
  2. Help! My Company is Replacing Me with a Doorstop: Too many executives see their jobs as to simply “keep the doors open.” Which is the very reason the doors are continually closing. Ubereye points out the importance of passion and vision from a business’s leaders.
  3. Pharmer’s Market: I’ve just discovered Tom Fishburne and his excellent cartoons. This one hits home to me, as I’ve often got hot opinions on the pharmaceutical industry, especially advertising something that requires a prescription. Don’t get me started . . . . .
  4. How to Correct an Evangelist: Most of us are dying for people to speak favorably about our product. But what happens when what they say isn’t exactly right? Jackie’s got an excellent model to follow on this post.
  5. 5 Tips for a Successful Freelance Writing Career: I’ve been browsing lots of posts lately on freelance writing – it’s just something that’s always interested me. These tips from Anna make sense.
  6. The Super Bowl in Review: Paul posts his takes on this year’s Super Bowl ads. I’ve got more coming on this topic myself, but this post is an excellent summary and commentary.
  7. Should You Lower Prices During a Recession: This is another one I’ll be writing on more in the future. So, we’re in a recession. What’s that mean for marketing? Most will make a mad dash to the being the cheap choice, but Drew cautions us in this post. As did Mark in advising that, during a recession, we “don’t drink piss.”
  8. Marketing Lessons from School Lunch: It’s important to realize that you’re marketing to a lot more people than your target audience, and they all have some form of influence over the other members of the group. This post explains this principle in an easy-to-digest way that might even be pegboard worthy.

7 Sins, a Lack of Logic and Wikipedia-Haters

Here are a few great links my mouse happened to find this past week:

  1. How to Make a Living Writing: This is an excellent series on writing with some practical tips from a successful but obviously approachable writer.
  2. They’ve Ruined Wednesdays: Jim makes a great point on when the best day to send emails is. You gotta zig when they zag!
  3. The 7 Deadly Sins of Management: There’s a lot of power in reading through this short little list. All of us will read it and think it’s obvious that you should do this. But would your direct reports agree that manage that way?
  4. Human Talk: Values: The Marketing Fresh Peel comments on when corporate gets conversational, and just how refreshing it is. Here, it uses Whole Foods as his example.
  5. Why Logic Doesn’t Always Work in Marketing: What’s it mean when a cosmetic product that doesn’t work actually does better than one that does? And for that very reason? Read the post.
  6. Encyclopedia Salesmen Hate Wikipedia: Seth Godin strikes again with another poigent commentary on the mix of business and technology, and which one wins when push comes to shove.
  7. Best Business Advice (short and sweet): Entertaining and helpful collection of one-liners of wisdom. I added my two cents to the original post, but I love the advice on this link to “not be intimidated. You’re smarter than most people, you just don’t know it yet.”
  8. Off-Target Blogging: Did Target really say they don’t consider bloggers part of their core guests? Should I be offended, or just disappointed in the stupidity to even publish something like that?

The Best 9 Blog Posts I Read All Weekend

Enjoy this week’s version of Weekend Reading:

  1. 20 Reasons Why Corporate Sucks: This is a pretty complete list. My favorite is the commentary on sick days.
  2. The Power of “I Don’t Know”: Why does it feel like we’re failing when we admit we don’t know something? As this post explains, there’s actually more power in admitting to it than faking it.
  3. Thought of the Day: A couple quotes by chemist Linus Pauling on ideas.
  4. Newton’s Laws & Marketing 3.0: A simple thought that makes a lot of sense. Don’t just be a little better than what’s out there now. Be the complete opposite.
  5. McDonald’s Taking on . . . . Starbucks? Looks like the Golden Arches aren’t as concerned with Burger King and Wendy’s as much as they are Starbucks. Will this work? My gut says no, but then again, my gut normally says no when it hears “McDonald’s.”
  6. Agency Relationships Are Like . . . .: Ed posts an excellent analogy of what working with a agency is like. The short-term experience, the long-term familiarity, and the inevitable time of moving on.
  7. University on Wheels: This just makes sense. Granted, I have a hard time tuning out the local sports talk radio, but how much can you really take on the Cowboys?(Especially now!).
  8. Dallas Cowboys By the Numbers: Great post chock full o’ stats on the Cowboys. The numbers between this year and last are VERY close, but I still don’t think there’s any doubt the Boys were better this year. Even with the disappointing loss tonight.
  9. Top 5 Things to do While Stranded at the Airport: This is just good, entertaining reading.

Check out all of the Weekend Reading Series.

Weekend Reading, Dec. 14-16

Here are some great posts I found over the weekend:

  1. Top 15 logos of All-Time: StartUp Blog offers these time-tested logos. I find it interesting that the cross tops the list, but it makes sense. However, there are a few on there that I definite question, like Swatch, Quicksilver and Woolmark.
  2. Parcells’ Impact on the Cowboys: With all the jawing between Keyshawn and T.O. this past week, it makes sense to stop and give credit where it’s due. To me, it’s simple: Parcells was great for player development for the Boys, and not a good fit as a coach.
  3. Could It Spread?: Here’s #2 from Start-Up Blog, a nifty idea on spreading the word about a new site. I love watching the guy breakdance – it makes me start looking for my parachute pants. I give the tactic 2 thumbs up.
  4. The Short Life of the Chief Marketing Officer: Read this in the BusinessWeek from November 29. The main point: CMOs avg. 26 months at a job, the shortest of any executive. I’ll have more on this in a separate post, but for now, give it a read – it’s good.
  5. NY Times Readership Jumps 64%: Amazing what happens when you don’t charge people to read your website! And just think of all the ad revenue that will no doubt eclipse any revenue they got while charging readers.

Related Posts: Weekend Reading Tag on WordPress.

Weekend Reading, Dec. 7 – 9

Good reading from a good weekend:

  1. Take Home Bag vs. Fake Home Bag: Ed puts things in perspective a bit about taking work home. Why are you doing it? How often do you really do it? Do you really have to do it?
  2. SES Session: Landing Page Optimization: Search Engine Marketing is fascinating to me. Part of it has to do with how constructing a strong landing page dedicated to a key benefit of your product and/or a key search term provides a microcosm of how all marketing should be. This post explains it better than I can – just apply it to all your tactics.
  3. Taking the Shine Off Viral: Raw Stylus comments on a recent post by TechCrunch on the “dirty” work behind a successful viral marketing campaign. I’m torn between the two stances. On the one hand, something does feel a little bit shady about the way the writer describes the steps in making a video take off. On the other hand, it seems like just a little push to get the ball rolling.
  4. All the Things, Part 5: I stumbled upon this new blog that I think I’ll check out for just a while. I like this only because I had a similar revelation about the 4 things that seem to be present to some extent when life is happy. That’s what Matthew has done here. Ironically, my four areas were writing, teaching, music and leadership.
  5. Monday NFL Thoughts: a nice collection of opinions from a fairly interesting weekend in the NFL.

Weekend Reading, Nov. 30 – Dec. 2

As always, here is some great reading I stumbled upon over the weekend.

  • Dissecting the 2008 Presidential Logos: The New York Times critiqued the logos of the major players in the race. Pretty interesting, and pretty sad how many of them look very similar.
  • “Dying” to be the market leader: In a continuation on his ‘shades of grey’ commentary, Ubereye tells a story of a business that understands how to stick out in a busy, jam-packed market. I thought their idea was simply brilliant.
  • Shopocalypse Now: Here’s a great article from Sunday’s Dallas Morning News that argues that atheisim and the like is not the real enemy of Christmas for Christians, but commercialism is.
  • 5 myths about art and genius: Another article in the Morning News. Interesting to read how some of the geniuses of our times have not really done anything to warrant such a moniker until after their 50th birthday.
  • Starbucks: Because and Affect: Don’t know if you’ve heard, but Starbucks is launching TV ads this season. Which is causing quite a stir, since they’ve been celebrated in year’s past for not doing that. But does it matter? This post is an excellent back-to-earth commentary on what’s going on.
  • Out of Luck: I found this take on forgiveness at John’s Blog revealing and refreshing. Not only is forgiveness that right thing to do, but it’s also a commandment.

Weekend Reading, Nov. 9-11

  1. The Internal Blog: I’ve thought about doing this a few times. Not for anyone else to see, so much, but for my own sake. How many ideas do you have that get lost, either from your memory or in the midst of having to do everything else?
  2. Improve your vocabulary, and feed the hungry at the same time. I scored a vocab score of 30 in about 5 minutes, and generated about 240 grains of rice. Thanks, again, to Seth.
  3. Pay-Per-Click Basics: Here’s a quick and informative read on using optimizing your PPC campaigns. It’s a series of 3 posts, so start with this link and then continue on.
  4. The 7 Bad Email Habits that Make People Want to Kill You: Hands down the best advice I’ve ever read on avoiding the pitfalls of email communication.
  5. NBC Gets Green: Here’s someone who expressed what the rest of us were thinking.
  6. Tom Brokaw and the Generations: Nice commentary by Ron on Tom Brokaw’s comparison of ’68 to today’s generation. My comments are on the post.
  7. PR is useless: Good post, even though I’m in the middle of finding someone to help me with PR at work.
  8. Steven Colbert Video: A good bit of humor from South Carolina’s, and maybe the country’s, new favorite son.