Monthly Archives: January 2015


Some links I have lying around

bezos 7 quotes business insider

good post smashingmagazine – improving the online shopping experience pt1 candy crush referrals / clean plumber (USP) / retargeting / twitter piggyback / yogurberry large-size-only /

Some thoughts… where do I start? I start with whatever works best for me, whatever helps me in my situation. What would help me…? Think.


Stuff To Read / Analyse / Process #todo one line about each thing


why does coke still advertise

I think it’s interesting how some of the best and brightest marketing minds in the world end up working for Coke, because they’re such a powerful and prestigious brand. The brand itself is built off of selling sweet, sugary drinks– and they make it an event, an occasion that you share with a friend, something you treat yourself with. You associate emotion with the fizz and the crackle, and it’s Christmas time, and it’s fun and joy and delight.

Very interesting stuff.

Marketing is a nebulous concept

Marketing is a nebula. (Originally, nebula was a name for any diffuse astronomical object.)

Marketing is massive and it’s diffuse. It covers pretty much everything. Anything can be marketing.

This makes it  impossible to have a universal theory of marketing that applies in all circumstances.

Rather, we need to recognise precisely whatever it is that we’re trying to achieve, and then figure out how to make that happen.

Marketing is simply customer-origin thinking (while Innovation is product-origin thinking). The two overlap and converge.

changed my view of marketing

Marketing Is The Most Work You Can Do Entirely Inside Your Brain

I’ve always been a marketer, even when I didn’t quite realize it. Actually, I’m not so sure I like the term anymore. I’ve always been a person obsessed with words, with language, with ideas. I’m enchanted by how we can change things just by changing the way we’re looking at them. It’s the most amount of work you can do for the least amount of actual effort.

You Won’t Believe How Different Sex Becomes With One Weird Mental Trick

Think about what it would mean if we switched from using the term “lose your virginity” to “make your sexual debut”. Then think about what would happen if we used pizza as a metaphor for sex, rather than baseball. (There’s a TEDtalk about that one.) Apparently heroin use went down in Zurich when they changed their campaign from “drugs are bad for you” to “drugs are for losers”. The book Made To Stick by Dan and Chip Heath dramatically changed the way I thought about this.

That’s great marketing. And by marketing, in this case, I’m talking about the way you frame something to change people’s minds. Marketers in this sense are like movie directors, but we’re not directing movies so much as we’re directing experiences. And we have a lot of limitations to work with. Limitation number one being Reality. We can’t just make something up and hope it works.

Marketing is dramatically different for different agents playing different games. Marketing P&G is completely different from marketing Tesla Motors, which is completely different from marketing Shopify, which is completely different from marketing a blockbuster movie, an indie film, so on and so forth.

The P&G Ad That Changed My View Of Marketing Forever

I recently rewatched the P&G ad, Thank You Mum at the 2012 Olympics. It’s really heartwarming, hits you right in the gut. I’m pretty sure I cried. But I wasn’t going to switch from Energizer to Duracell, or from Colgate to Oral B. So naively I think to myself, Ha Ha, P&G, you just wasted your marketing dollars. You’re not getting a penny out of me.

I realize on hindsight that my interpretation of the situation was very naive. According to Wikipedia, P&G had 121,000 employees in 2013. Do you know what it’s like to run a company with 121,000 employees? I have absolutely no idea. But I bet that that P&G ad made those employees a little more proud to work at P&G. I probably would’ve been. They’re a publicly traded company, which means that they have shareholders to care about. (This also made me think about Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi talk about how she wrote to the parents of her employees.

Sheryl Sandberg speech at Harvard Business School 2012

Full transcript

  1. World is becoming more connected and less hierarchical. Everybody has a voice, etc.
  2. Traditional career paths are shifting as well– Google CEO Eric Schmidt said to focus on getting on a rocket ship. When companies are growing quickly  and having a lot of impact, careers take care of themselves. When companies aren’t growing quickly or their missions don’t matter at much, stagnation and politics come in. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.
  3. Don’t tell people what you’re good at. Ask them what their biggest problem is, and how you can solve it for them. what Lori Goler did- HBS ’97, marketing in eBay.. (Sheryl’s biggest problem was recruitiing.)
  4. Careers aren’t ladders, they’re jungle gyms. Look for opportunities, growth, impact, mission. Build your skills, not your resume. Evaluate what you can do, not the title they’re going to give you. Do real work. Take a sales quota, a line role, an ops job, don’t plan too much, and don’t expect a direct climb. If I had mapped out my career when I was sitting where you are, I would have missed my career.
  5. You will not be able to rely on who you are or the degree you hold- you’ll have to rely on what you know. Your strength comes from trust and respect, not place on org chart. Talent, skill, imagination, vision, but more than anything else, authentic communication that inspires others. Listen so you learn every day.
  6. All orgs have some hierarchy. One person’s performance is assessed by someone else’s perception- not a setup for honesty. People don’t say they disagree, or that something seems stupid. They beat around the bush.
  7. As you get more senior, people speak less clearly to you + overreact to the small things you say.
  8. Interesting experience/implications with No Powerpoints rule. Sheryl meant “no powerpoints with me”, people interpreted that to mean “no Powerpoint with clients”. “Next time you hear something that’s really stupid, don’t adhere to it- fight it or ignore it, even if it’s coming from Sheryl or Mark.”
    1. Good leader recognizes most people don’t feel comfortable challenging authority, so it falls upon authority to encourage questions. Easy to say you’ll encourage feedback but hard to do, because it doesn’t always come in a format we want to here.
  9. Google Interview Story: Sheryl used to interview everyone in her team at Google. Started with 4, grew to 100. She realized she was taking longer to schedule, so she suggested at a meeting of direct reports that she should maybe stop interviewing. She thought they’d say “no, your interviews are critical part of the process”, but they appluaded and fell over themselves explaining that she was the bottleneck. She was embarrassed, then angry and quietly fuming. Why didn’t they tell her? Why did they let her go on slowing them down? Then she realized- “If they haven’t told me, it’s my fault. I hadn’t been open enough to tell them that I wanted that feedback.”
  10. Trick: Speak really openly about the things that you’re bad at, which gives people permission to agree with you rather than pointing out in the first place. For eg, Sheryl gets anxious when things are unresolved. Nobody ever accused her of  being too calm. So she speaks about it openly. If not, would anybody say “Hey Sheryl, calm down, you’re driving us all nuts?” Unlikely.
  11. It’s all professional and it’s all personal. You can’t really separate the two.
  12. Women at top c-level jobs stuck at 15-16%- not close to 50%. Need to acknowledge openly that gender remains an issue.


Elon Musk is always talked about as a tech/engineering/business type genius. He’s also a PR/marketing genius:



  1. Liking Principle: Attractive things work better… When you wash and wax a car, it drives better, doesn’t it? Or at least feels like it does.
  2. Personality: Everything has a personality: everything sends an emotional signal. Even where this was not the intention of the designer, the people who view the website infer personalities and experience emotions.
  3. Utility + Story: If functions are equated with cognition, pleasure is equated with emotion; today we want products that appeal to both cognition and emotion.
  4. Total: It’s the total experience that matters. And that starts from when you first hear about a product… experience is more based upon memory than reality. If your memory of the product is wonderful, you will excuse all sorts of incidental things.
  5. Beauty: It is not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and, yes, beauty to people’s lives
  6. Design: The argument is not between adding features and simplicity, between adding capability and usability. The real issue is about design: designing things that have the power required for the job while maintaining understandability, the feeling of control, and the pleasure of accomplishment.
  7. Taming Complexity: The world is complex, and so too must be the activities that we perform. But that doesn’t mean that we must live in continual frustration. No. The whole point of human-centered design is to tame complexity, to turn what would appear to be a complicated tool into one that fits the task, that is understandable, usable, enjoyable.
  8. Self-explanatory: Any time you see signs or labels added to a device, it is an indication of bad design: a simple lock should not require instructions.
  9. Conceptual Model: What makes something simple or complex? It’s not the number of dials or controls or how many features it has: It is whether the person using the device has a good conceptual model of how it operates.


More (from Quora):

  • “Design for error… allow the user to recover from errors, to know what was done and what happened, and to reverse any unwanted outcome. Make it easy to reverse operations; make it hard to do irreversible damage.”
  • “People will often project improper mental models onto products: thermostat example — people turn up the temperature higher than it needs to be because they think it’ll heat faster. The system actually only has an on or off state.”