Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Notes On Kawasaki's When Everything Is Free, Currently All Kawasaki's

The Most Important Things in Life Are Free

Guy Kawasaki (Alltop)

Oct 13, 2009 -

Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired and author of Free, recently gave a keynote speech at Garage’s Revenue Bootcamp. The main points of his speech were:


Digital economics has created a deflationary economy in which there is near zero marginal costs for distribution. Hence, content is getting cheaper and approaching free.

Today’s generation expects things for free because people have internalized these digital economics. Adults, by contrast, grew up believing that “free” is a gimmick—i.e. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” (Watch this panel of young people to see the accuracy of this observation.)

Quality is more and more defined by relevance and not price. Thus, you can’t use price to win market share when everything is free. You have to use product differentiation and relevance.

The challenge for companies is to create premium goods and services that they can sell to “free” customers. Companies need to offer people ways to save time, increase their status, or heighten their reputation and convert these ways to cash.

If you’re in a content or online service business, you’re well aware of the pressure to lower your prices to free. The key point is that what customers are willing to buy is far more important than what you’re willing to sell. To learn more about Chris’s concept, watch his keynote here.

HepCat Indstries . . .

. . . is a t-shirt company.

We are getting ready to launch a new product, in keeping with the monthly goals.

It's actually an old idea in a new package.

There's another old idea, needing approval, which will be coming forward in the next month, if not sooner.

Watch this space for more details . . .

All part of the general monthly--and ongoing--goal of staying fully focused on the work portfolio.

In an age of specialists, we hew to our goal of general expertise.

'Cause everyone else has abandoned that market.

Who'll serve the polymaths?

HepCat Indstries, that's who!

Vertically Integrated, For YOUR Convenience!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Not Just the Coolest -- the Best!

So, just what made the dollar that guy gave me the most honest dollar I've ever earned?

'Cause while the romance of it is undeniable, I'm not so sure it's true.

I mean, the guy strode purposefully across Washington Square, extended that bill my way with a big grin, so to say, “Yeah. That's what I'm talking about.”

That gut-level, spontaneous, grokking appreciation, the giving without needing to be asked, that's it.

Or was it?

I mean, what about every dollar I ever earned bringing music and joy to markets across America? My markets!

From that first door in Burlington, Vermont, evening 6/26/83, through the record-setting BoulderNovember "Heart and Soul" Weekend, through Eugene, Iowa City and Edmonton, to the last known rap, 7/11/95 in Ithaca, I simply walked, knocked, and said:

“Hi, my name's Jay Hepner. I'm a singer/songwriter working my way to California by playing songs I've written. I'm asking a dollar a song. May I play you one?”

Since when is asking for the order wrong?

Uh, never.

Still, the sincerity of that NYC dollar, the whole "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere" ethos underlying it all. The Neil tribute, lyric pointing the way . . .

Then the guy, a crucial Great Pumpkin to my Linus.

Yeah, still the most honest dollar I've ever earned.

But the most honest job I've ever worked, the coolest, the best, was the job I made myself, door-to-door troubadour, asking condign payment for bringing the good times to you, rather than making you go downtown to get it.

It was a good idea then, It's still a good idea. And my customers got a good deal.

What they didn't get was my hitting the big time. There was no follow up album, though clearly, this was front-end marketing in support of back-end product at a premium.

Next time, I'll make sure I get a band lined up.

Maybe Monsters of Folk . . .

Something to do in November.

So what do you think? Which was the more honest dollar earned? New York, New York?

Or any dollar ever earned in exchange for an original song on a front porch or in a living room?


PS Special shout out to Anastasio, Gordon, Fishman and McConnell. Holdsworth and Daubert, too.

Hey guys, Burlington, June 26-27, '83? Did I play on your porch? If you can confirm, please do: JHepCat72@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hey Hey My My! aka The Most Honest Dollar I've Ever Earned

Mayhaps I should wait till March 25th, the 28th Anniv of this event, and as those playing along at home already know by now: your 28th birthday is the same day of week as day of birth, 'cause calendar just straight up analogs every 28.

So, I'll be sure to write 'bout this then, too.

Today I'm writing about it for a couple reasons:

a) Because it's me being me, which is what Penelope is talking about in today's post.

And, after all: Ain't that why y'all tuned in?

b) It should be a nice springboard to tomorrow's post: The Coolest Job I've Ever Had--Big hint: It's referenced in the earliest days of this blog. What makes it the coolest? Well,you'll just have to come back tomorrow to find out.

Film at 11 . . .

c) OK, this is more than a couple things. Tip o' the Pin, as Griffy says, to you literalists out there. But this is the Reader's Digest condensed version. Whoops! There I go again, skewing 1962!

Let's at least bring it to 1979, when Neil Young releasedRust Never Sleeps

--a quintessential lyric from which co-names this post.

Wikipedia tells us it was released June 22, 1979, a day I found myself in Okanogan, Washington--and here's the education/training/career connection--getting fired from my job with Longyear Extraction for securing myself to my safety belt rather than immediately throwing the drill bit down to my boss/coworker below. There was a pulley involved, so throwing may not be the most accurate verb. (Got a better? Send it along!)

It was a Friday.

I was picking apples by Monday. Thinning them, to be precise, for too early in the growing season that far north. Thinning involves popping three or four off a cluster of 5 or 6, in order to give most room to the biggest, most promising young fruit.

I wasn't terribly quick about it, so received my hiking papers Thursday, on the road Friday, Seattle-bound: The Return Tour.

But I digress.

Therefore I am.

Point is, though released in June, I didn't find out about Neil's watershed album till October.

And it's October, 30 Years Later. Happy Anniversary, Rust Never Sleeps!

Anyway, by spring '82, Rust Never Sleeps, with its half folk/half hard rock dichotomic delivery, stood as Neil's signature album.

The death of John Belushi--and my status as unemployed sandwich maker--convinced me that ". . .the time ha[d] come / To give what's mine," and so headed for New York City to become the next Not Ready For Prime Time Player.

Got the interview, not the job.

But in Washington Square,

lunchtime next day, I jumped, jived and wailed one of Neil's most trenchant lyrics:

"Sedan Delivery is a job I know I'll keep / It sure was hard to find."

Guy came up to me, handed me a buck.

Most honest dollar I've ever earned.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Short is Sweet

If there's one thing I know about writing--and there's at least that many--two are:

a) I don't know nearly enough, and

b) Due to a hyperextension of my Dickens in childhood, I have an overweening propensity for prolixity; incorporating both a sufferant surfeit of formality and a Victorian tendency toward overwrought verbiage.

Like I said . . .

But Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is only 271 words, only 20 of which are more than two syllables: six iterations of "dedicate/d;" two each of "consecrate/d" and "devotion" leaving, among the other ten, "Liberty," "government," "continent," "unfinished," and "remember."

Guy before him talked for two hours. 13,607 words worth.

You remember him, "Ol' What's-His-Name?"

Point is, one thing I do know about effective writing: The truer the thought, the fewer words needed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day '09

My first job out of college was with Clean Water Action Project, canvassing door-to-door to raise public awareness--and funds--to protect the eco-balance.

From Clean Water Action, I moved on to the League of Conservation Voters, working hard to elect members of local legislatures, Congress and even the President of the United States--who sometimes must have to stand naked--based on their record when confronted with environmental legislation and stewardship.

In his NY Times column last Monday, Paul Krugman re-made the same points we at Clean Water and League of Conservation Voters were making all those years ago: Mother Earth spins round, but her needs can't be spun, anglesd, twisted, or re-framed. When it comes to earth, it's all about the science: it's only biology, chemistry, and physics that determine what kind of world we live and will live in, 'cause Mother Earth can't be lobbied.

Well, in re-reading Krugman's essays of 9/28/09 and the above-cited, from 10/5/09, I'm finding no such quotes vis-a-vis the biochemiphysical reality of our planet.

No matter. All energy.

Point is, Krugman is saying--again--things my colleagues and I were saying, as were Al Gore's professor in '76, and then Gore himself:

Climate change is real, and it's happening now. It won't get really bad till the end of this century, but that doesn't mean it isn't bad now.

It also doesn't mean we can't do a lot now to avert worse. And that it doesn't have to wreak economic chaos.

As Krugman explains, "First, the evidence suggests that we’re wasting a lot of energy right now. That is, we’re burning large amounts of coal, oil and gas in ways that don’t actually enhance our standard of living — a phenomenon known in the research literature as the “energy-efficiency gap.” The existence of this gap suggests that policies promoting energy conservation could, up to a point, actually make consumers richer.

Second, the best available economic analyses suggest that even deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions would impose only modest costs on the average family. Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis of the effects of Waxman-Markey, concluding that in 2020 the bill would cost the average family only $160 a year, or 0.2 percent of income. That’s roughly the cost of a postage stamp a day.

What's holding us back, boys and girls, is that, according to Krugman--and I agree--" the campaign against saving the planet rests mainly on lies."

The right, and some who claim the "centrist" mantle, are so focused on "Waterloo-ing" President Obama, that they're willing to sit idly by while the Becks and the Limbaughs, the Heritage Foundation, "and the rest," ditch intellectual honesty in favor of perverting President Obama's--and America's--forward progress.

Just a reminder:

"Just say, 'No!'"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Monthly Goals for October '09

Today begins a new chapter in The Pragmatic Alternative: A very public monthly goal setting, in conjunction with Brazen Careerist's Monthly Goal Meet-Up Group.

1. Learn how to write faster! Seems I spend more time contemplating what I'm going to write, rather than writing it. Whether it's due to slow keyboards, uncomfortable desks and chairs, or merely my dyslexic typing, seems always to take minutes of contemplation, often with the best thoughts lost down the thoughtplex path.

Need to get the work done, and worry about the results later.

Better to tap, tap, tap, and dance on the keyboard, than to think about what to say.

Hopefully, I don't press publish too soon.

2. Overhaul Pragmatic Alternative. As some of my facebook friends may have noticed, I'm going to be taking Andy Wibbels's Build a Better Blog course. No, wait, that's Darren Rowse's course.

Dag! Not that Andy didn't teach Darren a thing or two, but not the point.

Andy's class is called: Using Blogs and Social Media for Instant Global Impact.

3. Build a HepCat Industries blog analagous to Wibbels's Andymatic. Develop the HepCat Industries brand through snappy funny phrasing, quippy insights, and the dry irony people have come to expect from HepCat Industries. Or will come to expect from HepCat Industries.

Remember, at HepCat Industries: If it's not funny--Don't believe it!

4. Build my Let's Play SAT! brand and blog, by regularly updating with real tips for SAT success. Not that that's the only success you'll want or need. Rather, that a little bit of practice, and a little bit of knowledge about the test and its administration go a long way toward assuaging SAT anxiety.

Treat the test like the game it is, then play to win!

5. Before I set the goal of clearing my plate of too many competing interests, I need to note the goal of regular work on my novel, Autobiography of a Young Adult. I'm lucky enough to have been paired up with a coach who I believe will get what I'm talking about, and knowing he's out there ready to encourage, critique, consider, then encourage some more is invaluable.

6. Keep these goals in the forefront each month. There may be new paths and offshoots, as plants are wont to sprout while growing, but these constants need to be reconnected with, connections made across, daily.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why Laughter Matters

Why'd the turtle cross the road?

So he could tortoise how.

"We called him "tortoise" because he taught us. . . ."

And, scene . . . .

* * * * * * * * * * *

In a recent discussion on Facebook. a friend of mine commented on my disappointment with digital TV:

"Sorry dude, it's still a whole lot of channels of nothing to watch."

Now, my anti-TV cred is pretty high.

From November of 9th Grade through November of sophomore year of college, the only TV I watched was selected old movies, Washington Redskins football games, Alfred Hitchcock Presents repeats, and Lily Tomlin specials.

The latter were noteworthy for a couple reasons:

1) They were the only NEW TV I was watching during that time period, and

2) They were produced by Lorne Michaels, who also produces the show that made me a TV watcher again for once and for all, Saturday Night Live.

3) Then I started reading Tom Shales, and the rest is history . . .

In the meantime, I defy you not to laugh at these men dressed as women:


Whaddaya know! Another Lorne Michaels production.

Laughter = Joy, and Joy is that force you feel when for some ineffable reason--and a few effable ones, lemme tell ya--you just plain feel GREAT to be alive, "For the good and the love and the thing and the do," as Martin Short channeling Jerry Lewis might put it.

'Cause it's GREAT to be alive!

Where there's joy, there's laughter.

And you know that can't be bad.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Free Blogging Course

Free blogging course

Wait, the course isn't free, but the intro call is.

I've known Wibbels since I started blogging, back in '06.

My copy of BlogWild! is on the bookshelf next to me, easy to get to.

I've decided to go for a little help in my blogging career, and am turning to Andy to provide it, 'cause Andy really is all that. And a bag of chips: your choice. Here's mine:

Advantages of the course are many:

Content is available for download to your 'puter or 'Pod or Zuma, or whatevah!

Also, course is repeatable for free.

There's even a money back Guar-ON-tee, so you can't go wrong.

Wibbels is your ground floor guru. He knows his stuff. Here, I'll let him tell you:

Hi, I'm Andy Wibbels (that's me showin' off the guns at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco). I'm an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. I've been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes and other national and international media as a recognized expert in blogging and social media. I am also a contributing author to Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars and Business: The Ultimate Resource. For nine years I've been blogging and have taught companies all over the world how to use blogs to save time, make money and increase visibility. I'm currently head of blogger training for Six Apart, one of the global leaders in blogging.

Life is relationships, the best, strongest businesses are dedicated to building the best strongest relationships, turning customers into clients, and clients into friends.

I'm really looking forward to getting started with Andy, and really dedicating myself to studying SEO and Google Analytics to bring The Pragmatic Alternative more of the kinds of insights you've come to expect.

Won't you join us?