The Age of Conversation: 100+ authors!

April 13, 2007

Ageconv Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Gavin and I are so excited — The Age of Conversation is going to be an amazing book.  We exceeded our goal of 100 authors (in less than a week!) and the topics they are writing about is going to blow you away.

We’ll be posting a complete list of authors in a few days (it’s going to take me that long to catalog them all!) and we thank each person for stepping up and offering their thinking/writing to this very cool project.

Again, thank you for helping us make this crazy idea a reality!  And for making the world a little nicer for kids across the globe.  Here’s what Variety is up to in Gavin’s neck of the woods.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Here’s to the Age of Conversation

April 6, 2007

Here’s how it all happened.

I posted about a project called We Are Smarter than Me which gives people a chance to help author a guest book.

In the comments of that post Gavin Heaton said “Great concept! And it sounds like it could be fun … but you know what, Drew? I reckon between a few of us we could knock out a short book…All we need is a theme and a charity …”

To which I said…“You are very right.  Let’s do it.  Watch for an e-mail from me!”

Two weeks later — here we are.  And we’d like you to consider joining us.

Conversationage_2And out of that blogging conversation and a few e-mails, Gavin & I concocted the idea for an e-book about this new era of communications we’ve all entered together. But not just any book. It has to be a quick book. Exciting.  Sharp. Inclusive. It had to be a book about community and conversation that came from that community and spoke the same vernacular. The title — The  Conversation Age.

And  that is why we are talking to you. Our idea:

  • 100  authors. We’re a few but need more.
  • The  overriding topic is “The Conversation Age” — where you take it is up to  you.
  • The items  are short – one 8.5″ x 11″ page — it can be words, diagrams, photos (again up to  you)  If it is words – about 400, give or take a couple.
  • We  write it quickly and get it out there. We publish electronically.
  • We  make it available online for a small fee and we donate 100% of the proceeds to  Variety the Children’s Charity  — which serves children across the entire globe.

If you’d like to write a chapter, here’s  what you need to do.  E-mail me with a commitment and a focus/topic that will fit under Conversation Age (first in gets to choose) by April 11th.  I’m going to keep the master list so we keep the content from getting too overlapped.

Your chapter will be due April 30th.

We’ve already got a few chapter authors on board.  Want to know who your co-authors will be?  (If I missed anyone — I apologize. Shoot me an e-mail.)

Gavin Heaton
Drew McLellan
Valeria Maltoni
Emily Reed
Katie Chatfield
Greg Verdino
Mack Collier
Lewis Green
Ann Handley
Paul McEnany
Roger von Oech
Anna Farmery
David Armano
Bob Glaza
Mark Goren
Matt Dickman
Scott Monty
Richard Huntington

We hope you’ll join us!  And a special thanks to Mike Sansone for creating our button for us!

UPDATE: Ann asks a great question.  Who is our audience?  Our intended audience is anyone who has to create marketing tools in this Conversation Age.  It might be a small business owner, a CMO, a marketing student, an agency type, a marketing blogger, or even a professor who is teaching tomorrow’s marketers.

UPDATE 2: We were waiting until CK was back online to make this announcement.  As most of you probably know, she lost her mom recently.  Gavin and I decided that one way this community could honor our friend CK and her mom was to dedicate the book to her. What I said to CK in an e-mail was “as you can imagine…many of your friends have already signed-on to write a chapter. So it felt right to make this community and conversation-focused book be dedicated to the woman who obviously taught you your values of community, listening, loving and bringing others into the conversations.”

And so it will be.  We hope that makes this project even more special to all the authors, readers and of course, our friend CK.

UPDATE 3:  The book is CLOSED!  We have exceeded our 100 author goal — thank you very much.  We are now a mere 17 days away from the chapter submission deadline, so we will  not be accepting any new authors.  Stay tuned for the author list — it rocks!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Want to author a business book?

March 22, 2007

Knowledge@Wharton  is announcing a novel initiative in book publishing.

The project, tentatively called We Are Smarter Than Me is an experiment to see whether a large community of business people can jointly author a book of the same name. Pearson will publish the book later this year.

The book focuses on ways in which companies are learning to leverage social networks and the power of communities to improve their performance by allowing customers or others to take over functions typically performed by experts.

Every contributor will be credited as an author, and will help direct royalties to charity. While several readers have already signed on, they’re  looking for more participants.

I’m going to jump on board — how about you?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

You need to read You, Inc!

March 18, 2007

Picture_4_2 Harry Beckwith gets it.  Marketing.  Branding.  Communications.  Relationships.  Not only does he get it — he helps his readers get it.

Short, concise 1-4 page chapters.  Each one punctuated with a summary lesson/thought.  Compelling stories.  And not just marketing lessons.  Plenty of people lessons too.

Harry’s most recent book, You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourself was just released.  It’s as good as the rest (see links at the bottom of the post.) of his offerings but a little different.  The earlier books took a more global, company-wide perspective.  This book shrinks the focus down to the reader. 

If you want to:

  • Communicate more clearly
  • Sell more — for the right reasons
  • Advance your professional stature and value
  • Improve your presentations skills and results
  • Find more satisfaction from your work life

then you need to read this book. 

Beckwith is a master storyteller who never leaves the reader hanging.  Together with his wife Christine (a much celebrated pro in her own right) he outlines very simple truths that  can have a significant impact on your  life. Professional or otherwise.

I’ve read some great business books already in ’07.  This one tops the list. 

Harry’s other books:

No business library should be without the complete set.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

A guidebook to reinventing the customer experience

March 2, 2007

Picture_2_5 I received a copy of Jonathan Tisch‘s Chocolates on the Pillow aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience and just finished it. 

Tisch is CEO and Chairman of Loews Hotels and his book is an insightful primer on crafting your customer experience.  Like Tisch, I do not believe a remarkable customer experience happens by accident.  It is the result of a deep understanding, an unfettered desire and a meticulous plan to actually delight your customer.

The book is a quick and enjoyable read.  Tisch draws from many different industries.  Throughout the chapters, he highlights key learning points in boxes marked Your Big Aha’s.

If you’ll give Tisch a couple hours of your time, in return he’ll share  insights like:

  • How to use technology to create intimate connections with customers — without losing the human touch.
  • Perfecting the art of the welcome in both physical and virtual spaces.
  • Finding the balance between transparency and the need for confidentiality.

I don’t care how good you are– there’s a tweak or two that you can make to your customer’s experience.  Let Tisch’s stories inspire you to do it a little better.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

A must read book on branding

February 11, 2007

Category This is a book that’s been out for a few years, but I think its still been "under-read" by people who need the information inside.

I believe 100% in the power of branding.  It is without a doubt, the most important and misunderstood aspect of marketing in today’s ecomony.  Joe Calloway’s book Becoming a Category of One is the branding book I wish I had written.  It’s that good and that on target.

Calloway is a gifted storyteller who helps the reader "get it" and understand how critical it is for them to brand their organization.  Every business owner/leader should be required to read this book.  It’s an enjoyable, quick read…but even if it wasn’t I’d make you read it.

I believe that branding is the only significant way we can differentiate ourselves from everyone else out there who sells the same things we sell.  Most businesses have no idea how to articulate their brand — if they even know what it is or how to uncover it.  I’ll tell you this much — it is not your logo or your sales theme of the month.

Check out Joe’s book and be prepared to be inspired to find and celebrate your company’s true brand.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Five Tips to Increase Online Book Sales

December 15, 2006

Book It seems like just about everyone who has written a book is pitching it on the web.  Even me!   Marketing sense tells us that the web needs to be part of any author’s strategy today.

Here are some easy and smart ways to juice your online sales.

  1. Create a blog on the same topic as your book.  I know I am probably preaching to the choir here, but it is worth saying.  Blogging is a place where birds of a feather gather together.   Gather your birds in your own nest!
  2. On your book’s/author website (or blog) include a calendar that outlines your public appearances, book signings and presentations/readings. And provide a place for people to request an appearance too!
  3. Post a sample chapter that can either be read or downloaded so they can get a taste of your style and how you approach the topic.
  4. Give the buyers lots of choices.  Don’t only have your book available on your site.  List it on Amazon,, 800CEORead, etc. as well.
  5. Identify some other authors who write in your same subject area.  rather than seeing them as competition, make them a co-conspirator!  Promote each other’s books, do some mutual giveaways and take advantage of each other’s fan base.

Rocket science?  Not really.  But you’d be amazed at how many authors think those books will sell themselves!  If you’re an author, give a couple of these a try and let me know how they work.  If you’re a reader…reward some of those authors and pick up a book or two for the holidays.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Ease into the week — An oops policy

December 10, 2006

I don’t know about you but Sunday nights are time for me to catch up.  On my reading, on my work, on my relationships — all with an eye on Monday morning and knowing that the 180 mph pace is about to resume.

Sundays also seem to be my day for deep thoughts.  I thought it might be fun to ease into the week together with a question that is sort of about branding and marketing but also has a personal element to it as well.  A chance to get to know each other AND talk shop.  Perfect for a Sunday night.

Oops No matter how good a company is, they’re going to make mistakes.  It’s a given.  The question to be asked from a brand perspective is how do you brand the fix?  How do you make sure your brand promise is present as you work to make that client happy again?

Tom Vander Well tells a great "brand fix" story about Best Buy’s geek squad over at his blog QAQnA.

So here’s the question:

What company best lived up to their brand when they initially disappointed you?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

A book worth snatching up

December 7, 2006

Bookcover_1 John Jantsch writes a great marketing blog, aimed squarely at small businesses. He’s gone one better and written a new book.  I have pointed you in his direction on numerous occasions, by linking to his blog.

To promote his book, he’s put together a big bushel of freebies that you can get if you pre-order his book here.

I have no doubt the book is well worth the price and the read.  John does not disappoint.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How do your customers shop?

October 26, 2006

Here’s one thing I know for sure about your consumers.  They are either men or women.  (Or kids who will soon evolve into one or the other.)  Especially in a retail setting, they  behave like completely different animals. 5298_040827_14828thm

Paco Underhill, founder of Envirosell, a market research company dedicated to examining consumer shopping behavior wrote a fascinating book, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping.  In the book, Underhill explores the shopping beasts by gender.


Here are a few observations Underhill made about male shoppers:

~ Men equally rarely ask for the department they want in a store. They’d rather wander around lost and leave if they can’t find it. 

~ If a man tries something on, he’ll buy it 65% of the time.

~ Only 25% of men will grocery shop with a list, as opposed to 70% of women.

If men shop this way – what clues does this give you for dealing with men in your environment?


How about the ladies, you ask?  Well…

~ If a woman tries something on, she’ll buy it 25% of the time. (Remember, men were at 65%)

~  At the supermarket, over 90% of women brought a shopping list.

~  Women particularly hate being jostled from behind and may leave a store without buying if aisles are too narrow.

Wondering what others are saying about it?  Secrets of the Male Shopper is a long but very interesting read about the state of the male shopper.  Check it out.  Smart thinking made even more notable because the author is an 18 year old student.

So, are your shopping habits typical of your gender?  How can you use these insights as you think about your customers?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]