June 11th, 2010


Oh, eh ... win a championship for once or something ...

So, this morning I get out of work at 8:30 and am presented with a challenge of how to get home. Why? Well, <=== that was about to break out, and bazillions of hockey fans were descending on the Loop, with all the usual bus routes being totally scrambled. Due to a strange convergence of factors (like my 30-day CTA pass mysteriously dying sometime between yesterday afternoon and when I needed it to get in to the Census last night), I ended up on Lake St. (fortunately, the CTA offices where you can get those replaced were a scant few blocks from the Census) so took the El from there over to State, then ducked around to Dearborn where the #36 bus was still running. The Girls are home today (school's almost out), and I was wanting to show them what had been delaying me ... and ended up spending the next 3 hours in a combination of napping and watching the victory party (which was pretty dang impressive). I don't recall the city shutting down Michigan Avenue like that previously, but it was a solid mass of people from the river (where the stage was) all the way on down to Randolph. Some of the Blackhawks players were up here yesterday doing a "pub crawl" with the Stanley Cup, and I'm sure it's going to be insane out there tonight!

Anyway, as you can tell by a look at the graphic and some minimal math, I'm a week late pointing out ===> that post in The Job Stalker, which was last week's "data dump" of links. As I've noted, these have been the most challenging to keep up because they're based on what I read in Twitter, and if I don't read much Twitter (as my schedule dictates these days) I don't run across interesting job search articles to share over there. Needless to say, I find this very frustrating, on an on-going basis. Fortunately I'm up to almost a "full week's worth" for today's post, and I'm hoping to block out an hour or so for that later to fill that up. Like you care.

Anyway, as always, the clicky-clicky is appreciated.

I recently have come to realize that I've become one of the "grey beards" over on the Trib's "Chicago Now" site, as when I took over penning the blog there the site had only a few dozen blogs, and they're now up to like four hundred. Of course, if somebody HIRED ME (for a "real job" that would not involved a whole other job of looking for a "real job" like the "temp job" over at the Census does), I would happily cease being the Job Stalker. Really.

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An oldie but goodie ...

OK, so I'm pretty much embarrassed that it's taken me this long to get around to reading any of Seth Godin's books, at least in context of my recent “expertise” in books of this sort as reflected in my scribblings on The Job Stalker blog. I would remind the too-quick-to-chide reader that I had pretty much avoided all “business books” until just the past year, and will use that excuse to justify my coming to this party late.

Unlike many of the books I've written about here in this particular genre, this did not come to me as a review copy, but was ordered used from Amazon, due to having head it referenced over and over again in other sources. Seth Godin's Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers is a classic, and is remarkably fresh for being over a decade old. The vast majority of the book would still be cutting-edge today despite its rather hoary vintage (within the Social Media genre), which really indicates just how visionary it was when published. To get a sense of just how old this book is, I present this quote:

Never build anything that isn't fun on a 14.4 modem

... that was, of course, 14.4 kilobits/second, not the 14.4 megabits/second of a good 3G connection on a smartphone! So, obviously, Godin didn't have a crystal ball (he was also predicting the immanent demise of banner ads on the web thanks to those new-fangled “cookie” things that had just been introduced).

Over-all, however, the message here of personal interaction with the customer is as solid now as it was then, and has, to a great extent, only been really implemented by the most savvy of the better marketers, with the greyforce drone army of MBAs still marching to the tried-and-true (as noted here: “nobody every got fired for running an ad”) rather than the better and brighter. As clear a case as Godin lays out here, it is remarkable how rare (and notable) the well-implemented Permission Marketing program is ten years down the line.

Frankly, having been immersed in Web 2.0, Social Media, and assorted cutting-edge web marketing technologies over the past 3 years, this book has a certain bizarre edge to it. It is, if anything, as up-to-date in its calls to action as anything that I've read in my recent spate of books of this type. However, so much of it (like the modem comment above) is incredibly dated, with companies he's trumpeting as “doing it right” being long-lost victims to other trends, and others he takes to task, chugging along with the same-old-same-old quite profitably still.

I would, however, heartily recommend Permission Marketing to all and sundry (OK, to all those with an interest in marketing and modern Internet culture), as it is such a clear-eyed look at how much better so much could be if we just weaned ourselves away from old habits. One of the more fascinating things in here is a general timeline he sketches out of how we got to the “advertising model”, from a century or so ago when most stuff we used around the house was hand (or even home) made, and not mass produced, to the evolution of mass production, “products” (the story of Crisco is particularly fascinating), and branding, and how advertising related to this all.

As noted, I got this via the Amazon new/used guys for a substantial discount (I ordered a “good” copy of the hardcover which I was very pleased to find was closer to “like new”), but it is still in print should you want to run out and pick up a copy at your local brick-and-mortar book vendor (and Amazon has it at a 34% discount). It's a classic, and some of the specifics are certainly dated, but the message of the book (and most of the techniques) is as solid as when it first came out, and this is certainly something that every web marketer/developer should have at hand.

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