Have you come a long way?

I promise to remind myself how far I've come. Clockwise from upper left: me ca. 2006, my wedding in 2011, me in 2012.

I lost 75lbs and have kept it off for 6 years.


The Meta-Battle for SKUs

Apple's identity (account and Touch ID) stategy comes into focus here in this Chart via BusinessInsider.

The meta-battle is now: 

# of exclusive SKUs, Total SKUs, and ease of purchase.  Apple might have the digital content piece (apps, movies etc) but Amazon and Paypal have the physical (and second-hand) universe on lockdown.

TouchID certainly is going to help with ease of purchase, and the rest of the battle is: how can we get consumers to buy ____ with Apple.


The November Project

"Now, i'm going to ask, Are you good? And you just say back, F*ck yeah!"

"Are you good?"
And we all respond, "F*ck Yeah!" 150 strangers fill the stadium with our unified voice. We are ready.

I got up at 5:45am, to go to a workout I'll never forget at a place I have never been. It was kind of like crossfit meets fight club.

Taking up the charge to avoid gym memberships and motivate peers, the November Project seems well-suited to Boston's cold winters. On a temperate Wednesday, I joined the Harvard Stadium workout and it was both exhilarating and utterly abusive.

A key point, we are encouraged to hug the person next to us, even better if it's a stranger, and say, "Thank you for being here" I imagine Jack Shepherd and Desmond having the same conversation on LOST. If it was just two people in the November pre-dawn, can you imagine that gratitude that your buddy wasn't a no-show? If you have ever been the person who showed up, you know what I mean. And that gratitude is displayed at scale: we give thanks for the community. I hug a fresh-faced 20year old.

Exhilarating- what a great community. A lot of brands try to be everything to everyone, and it takes true courage to say, "we are from the midwest and we wanted to create a community where you can make actual eye contact and have physical contact with other people.  If you aren't willing to hug a stranger this morning, this might not be for you."

A brief lesson in the numbers;

A Full Tour is the 37 sections of the horseshoe-shaped stadium, for a total of 1,147 steps. Newbies start separately and do their workout beginning in the middle and working out from the ends. Run up, walk down, repeat. Half take the sunny side, half take the shady side.

I decide to listen to their boom box easily filling the stadium with rock and high energy.

I bound up the first 20 or so steps, and then my legs start to scream. I slow down to step ups, make it to the top and pause. What have I done? There are people of every fitness level. Some determined walkers, and equally persistent Atlassians who are running up the steep grade faster than I run downhill.


As a Cornell alumnus taking his first visit to the Harvard campus, it is as though I must climb a step for every time I called the Crimson's goalie a Sieve at Lynah Rink. It is all my fault.

I take my punishment in about 35 minutes. I'm determined to do so, grateful as I reach the top step and terrified of the next section. My legs stop working. As I walk back along the path under the uppermost bleachers I see small groups doing sit-ups and other core work. I try to run and can barely trot.

I make it back to Section 19 for the group photo. I meet a blogger for the and introduce myself to Bojan. He's intense, fit and positive. His energy is infectious. I learn that he did his workout at 5:30!!!! I stand still and my legs are shaking.

What a morning. As a marketer, it was wonderful to see community building for its own sake. The level of ritual helps inculcate shared values and aspirations; simple enough to grasp and eventually you know you belong.

I'll be back.


Thank Ten Customers Today

About a month ago, some of my customers got upset that they were ineligible (US sweeps rules being what they are) for a promotion I designed around an event they planned to attend.  They complained on Facebook, and I thought they had a good point.

I looked them up in our database and sent them a handwritten note and some brand swag, just thanking them for being a Facebook fans and customers.

The couple hours I spent on that was 100% worth it. One of them even posted an Instagram photo of my note on our brand page.

Every marketing manager, VP, or exec should try this.  But don't wait for a reason to apologize.

Sit down and thank 10 customers.  They'll love it.  Reflect on why you do your job, whether you really value their business,  and keep that moment close to you.  

Relatisonhips matter, and having a great relationship with every customer should be your goal.


Monetizing the Point of Sweat

I went on a nice little bike ride this weekend.  It was memorable, because it was my first with a road bike. You know, the ones with the thin tires, and the potentiaal to cost many thousands?  I rented a Felt Z85, and was pretty happy with it. I took my iPhone along for the ride.

I mapped my ride with the MapMyRide iPhone app.  After the ride, something crazy happened - I became a marketing opportunity. Hey, I just wanted to map my bike run! A women's antiperspirant had other ideas! 

Interesting- why in the lord's name would I tweet their hastag?  I'm dripping with sweat!  My legs are shaking!  I am a man, BTW, and I have never heard of your product!

I tapped "Close" on the ad  - and started looing at some of the details. I tapped "Route Details" and up came another ad.  Well, at least this one was for men...


As an athlete, I would never have wanted to see these ads. What could they be offering? However, being in marketing, I am accustomed to trying to find out. As my wife set about cleaning her bike, I lingered on the driveway, still dripping in sweat from an agonizing final climb. I tapped the Gilette ad.

Interesting. I signed up for a half marathon Training program...we'll see how they take it from there. Nice setting of my expectations on when the plan will arrive.

As an athlete, I can't think of anything I wanted less than those ads. The targeting for the first ad was hopelessly off, the second execution mystified me because I had to interact with what looked like an ad in order to egt what I want: content.

 The utility and content of MMF is what keeps people engaged - but what happens when all you see is ads?  When monetizing the "point of sweat" - content goes further than interruption.