Archive for the Marketing Category
Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify. How did they turn a $100,000 prize into $12,000,000 in transactions?
In the world of magazine articles, one of my all-time favorite headlines is “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Meta” from the MIT Technology Review, a feature about billionaire programmer, Charles Simonyi. Charles designed Microsoft Office and is outstanding at looking at programming as different layers of abstraction.
How can we raise our perspective from 5,000 feet to 30,000 feet to learn a few things? This post will do that with competitions.
Today, Shopify, a start-up I have advised since 2009, announced the winners of their Build-a-Business Competition, featuring a grand prize of $100,000 cash. Winners were determined by combining their two highest-revenue months in an 8-month competition window.
I want this post to show two things, and the second is where meta comes in:
1) How the competition winners won and key lessons learned in taking their products from ideas to profitability. This includes manufacturing, marketing, PR, and just about everything in between. I’ve looked at these types of lessons before.
2) How Shopify has used these competitions to build their own business several-fold and cross the chasm from early-adopter to mainstream. This is something I’ve never written about… Read More
I first met filmmaker Adam Patch, courtesy of David Brundage on Facebook, over Thai food in San Francisco.
It was a warm evening in the Mission district, a good omen and unusual blessing. The goal of our meeting was simple: to see if we clicked and, passing that hurdle, to plot the making of “the best book trailer ever made.”
Whether we pulled it off or not, that ambitious mission statement was necessary to survive the many all-nighters and hiccups that would follow.
August of 2010 was the starting point.
On November 30th, the end product was a 59-second trailer, which debuted on Huffington Post Books. It immediately took The 4-Hour Body from near #150 to #30 on Amazon, where it later climbed to #1.
The launch was initiated by a simple poll post, which was followed by an analytical second post. Due to its high production value, the video then made the jump from online to offline, eventually making it to national TV for The Dr. Oz Show (see the clip at :40).
This post will explain exactly how the trailer was created, including early concepts, tools, the team, and more… Read More
Charlie’s job entails many things. Feeding tigers not excluded.
Charlie Hoehn first reached out to me through Ramit Sethi in 2008. Almost three years later, he is still working with me.
Here is his initial e-mail routed to Ramit, which I think is instructional for those looking for mentorship of some type:
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Charlie Hoehn
Date: Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 11:25 PM
Subject: Re: Response requested
To: Ramit Sethi
Below is the email I wrote up for Tim Ferriss. Thanks again so much for your insight on how to approach this, and for your willingness to pass it along. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Also, I’d be willing to help you out in any of the ways I outlined below.
After visiting your site countless times since May ’07, I’ve come up with a few suggestions that could improve your readers’ experience. Here are two of the things I think you need… Read More
Let’s start with what you think you want.
“I want to get on Oprah eventually, and we’ve been pitching The New York Times, who’s interested.”
Good news or game over?
I hear some version of this on a weekly basis from start-up founders. Sadly, most of them aren’t prepared for national media and do more harm than good with a premature (and non-strategic) jump into the spotlight. The New York Times doesn’t often do two major stories on a single company, so that first — and possibly only — appearance is what counts.
But what of lack of media attention? Indeed. There are two main media challenges:
How do you get media interest? Big media interest?
How do you ensure you’re prepared when a big opportunity presents itself?
In both cases, you chart a course and execute. In this post, I’ll show how I went from my first real TV exposure to appearing repeatedly as a guest on national TV shows. I’ll also share the exact e-mail pitch that led to a Wired feature, as well as recorded radio interviews.
Media coverage isn’t magic, and it need not depend on luck. It can be a step-by-step process… Read More
Two days ago, I saw the following tweet:
@tferriss so self-promo by referring to yourself in the third person can work. It’s ironic given the content of this http://su.pr/3BZbFL
This was in response to my tweet, which read:
Inc. Magazine – Tim Ferriss on the Pitfalls of Personal Branding: http://su.pr/3BZbFL
Ironic? Not really. Let me pose a question: what does a follower need to do if I write “My take on the Pitfalls of…”?
Before they retweet it (even with “RT @tferriss”), many will feel compelled to rewrite “My” as “Tim Ferriss’s” or “@tferriss’s”. Editing means fewer retweets. The same logic applies to some blog post titles, like this one, both for ease-of-sharing and SEO… Read More
(Image: X-ray Delta One)
Some of you have no doubt noticed that I’ve been experimenting with advertising for several months, whether at the top-right, through skyscrapers in the sidebar, or even under posts on a rare occasion.
It’s been a learning experience. Sometimes, it doesn’t turn out totally awesome. Case in point:
I think I can do better. I also have an incentive: the new book, The 4-Hour Body. But then I realized, I think you all can be FAR better. Collectively, I think you can be AWESOME.
So, I’m running a competition. Here are the prizes:
1) The fantastic North Face Prophet 65 Trekking Pack (Retail: $319)
2) A round-trip anywhere in the world Star Alliance airlines fly (or $1,000 cash)
3) All 4-Hour Body revenue via ads on my site for two weeks (potentially every post ever written), using your Amazon affiliate code. Untold riches.
4) Fame, public credit, and eternal glory for being the best.
The deadline for the competition is next Wednesday, 10/20, at 10pm PST. It pays to get started as soon as possible. Here’s the idea… Read More
The infamous Tucker Max, self-proclaimed asshole. (Photo: Randy Stewart/blog.stewtopia.com)
Preface: I’ve debated doing this post for a long while. Today I bite the bullet. Part of my job is introducing you to valuable lessons and interesting people you might not find otherwise. “Interesting” takes many forms. Keep that in mind, and keep an open mind, as you read on.
I rolled over in bed to grab my cell phone. This time, I didn’t mind being woken up. The text message read:
“You hit the list. I $%ing said you would.”
Just after 9am PST meant the newest New York Times list had been received by publishing’s insiders. The insiders and one other person: Tucker Max.
He was the only person who, play-for-play, predicted how I would hit the printed list of the New York Times.
I first met Tucker in 2007 at a panel (he’ll explain), where he greeted me with “Who the fuck are you?” Usually, this is a conversation killer, but — instead — I answered him and we ended up drinking later. Why did I brush it off and make the effort? First of all, I expected him to respond like that. Second, Tucker is a veritable genius.
He made his first book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, a #1 New York Times bestseller with no outside support. Furthermore, a large proportion of the English-speaking world hates Tucker, which is reflected in media mentions and reader reviews. To wit… Read More
There is an art and science to getting blog posts to travel like wildfire.
This post will look at both, based on number crunching with 281 posts, 39,000+ comments, and almost 2,000,000 click-throughs via my Twitter profile and Facebook fan page in the last six months.
Here’s what I’ve found to work well… Read More
What do the economics of publishing look like… really? (Photo: thinkpanama)
(Special thanks to my agent, Steve Hanselman, and my anonymous sources within the world’s biggest publishing houses)
Print is dead!
This has become a popular headline, and a great way to get quoted, as Nicholas Negroponte has shown. Iconic author Seth Godin, after 12 bestsellers, just announced that he will no longer pursue traditional publishing, and the writing seems to be on the wall: the e-book is the future, plain and simple.
But what are the real concrete numbers? How are established authors actually making money, and what should new authors do? Go straight to e-book?
In this post, I’ll look at real-world numbers to discuss some hard truths of publishing, explain economics and pay-offs, and provide a few suggestions for aspiring authors.
To start, some contrasting numbers… Read More
Sumo stable in Tokyo, Japan: you don’t need to be a superstar to use the Superstar Effect.
The following is a guest post by Cal Newport, MIT Ph.D and all-around whiz on competing against the odds.
His discussion — and suggested uses — of the “superstar effect” and corollary are mirrored in what I tell first-time start-up founders:
Most of the time, it’s not enough to be better. You need to be different.
Enter Cal Newport… Read More