Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May 8th, 2008


So… in a perfect world, I would occasionally bring you a bit of insight or two from Seth Godin’s blog every few months or so, but the world is far from perfect. Hence, here we are: Two pieces from Seth’s blog in as many days. Sue me for wanting to share. Here it is:

Just got some work back from a new copyeditor hired by my publisher. She did a flawless job. She also wrecked my work. Totally wrecked it.

By sanding off every edge, removing every idiom, making each and every fact literally correct, she made it boring and dry and mechanical.

If they have licenses for copyeditors, she should have hers revoked.

I need to be really clear. She’s not at fault. She did exactly what she was supposed to do. The fault lies in the job description, not the job. If the job description of your lawyer or boss or editor or client is to make sure everything is pure and perfect and proven and beyond reproach, they are making things worse, not better. (Unless you’re in the vaccine business).

Almost everything you do has some sort of copyediting filter. It might be the legal eagle or the graphic supervisor or the customer service police. They’re excellent at making round things fit perfectly through round holes.

Boring and ignored is fine with them, because no one complains.

Fortunately, copy editors have a remedy. It’s a word called STET. Which means, “leave it alone, it was fine.” Time to teach that to your editors, wherever they may be. Maybe there should be a t-shirt.

If all you want is safe, have baby food for dinner. Just leave me out of it.

Seen it happen. I’ve never had to punch anyone in the eyeball for sanding off any of my work’s edges, but I’ve spent many a sleepless night re-writing pieces or reworking images or layouts that a subordinate or contractor completely stripped of any semblance of an edge… or style… or voice. It always sucks. And you always end up feeling sorry for the poor kid who screwed the pooch, because ultimately, maybe it wasn’t entirely their fault. (How the hell are they supposed to know how to write like me or edit images the way I envisioned it when I shot them?) Design is a very personal thing. Designers are usually control freaks for a reason.

And workaholics.

And compulsive perfectionists.

I feel your pain, Seth.

Read Full Post »

Seth Godin wrote something smart and cool again the other day (he tends to do that):

Make big promises; overdeliver.

If you can define great marketing in fewer words than that, you win.

“Big promises”: treating people with respect, improving self-esteem, delivering results, contacting as often as you say you will but not more, including side effects in your planning, delivering joy, meeting spec, being on time, connecting people to one another, delivering consistency, offering value and on and on. Caring. The stories involved in your promises matter. That’s often what people are buying.

This is the first place that the equation breaks down. Marketers often make big promises that appear to be unrealistic or are delivered in ways that don’t match the worldview of the prospect. Marketers get carried away with themselves and focused on their greatness and forget to tell a story that people enjoy believing.

And sometimes, they make promises that are too small to get our attention. Boring promises are hardly worth making.

“Overdeliver” means doing more than you said you would, which is the secret to word of mouth.

Here, of course, the pitfall is obvious. You made too big a promise and you did your best, but no, you didn’t overdeliver, not really. You didn’t amaze and delight and yes, stun me with the incredible results of your offering.

Just because it’s only four words doesn’t mean it’s easy!

Bake this into your qwan.

(Don’t ask me what qwan is. Please. Just don’t.)

Read Full Post »

Some jackass tried to take out a group of 50 cyclists with his car today – and pretty much succeeded.

From the Sunday Morning Herald:

Witnesses to the crash have told smh.com.au the group of about up to 60 professional cyclists were riding south on Southern Cross Drive, just south of Dacey Avenue, Mascot about 6.30am when a driver, agitated with being held up, accelerated in front of the pack and then slammed on his brakes.

One of the group said the motorists was “worrying” the rear of the pack, then overtook, pulled in front and slammed on his brakes, giving the riders no time to stop.

The resulting smash forced a semitrailer to lock up, jackknife and screech to a halt behind the cyclists while cars had to swerve to avoid them.

“Everyone’s slammed into each other … there were broken bikes – wheels busted and wheels snapped – and people lying on the road.”

“Three female cyclists took the brunt of the accident, careering into the back of the braking vehicle, several of them being thrown into the air landing on the boot and roof of the car.”

The best part:

It is understood (the authorities) know who the driver of the car is, and are attempting to contact him now.

It is expected he will be charged, including with failing to stop at the scene of an accident and negligent or dangerous driving.

There was no doubt the driver of the dark blue Ford Falcon – described by other witnesses as in his 30s with a female passenger – had done it deliberately, she said.

That’s right. The dude sped off and left the scene of the accident.

Read all about it here.

I hope to god that son of a bitch gets charged with 50 counts of attempted murder, not just negligent driving. I can understand road rage, but this is just insane.

I’m sure that if some nutcase decided to mow down a crowd of pedestrians for the same reason (they were in his way and he was in a hurry), the authorities would be just a tad more outraged.

Negligent driving. Give me a break.

Hat tip to Gavin Heaton.

Read Full Post »