Gone GoDaddy Gone

If you’ve never used GoDaddy for your domain names, let me try to describe the experience. Have you ever been walking down the street in NYC or Las Vegas and someone shoves a flyer in your face? Well, imagine that there were 400 of those flyer-shovers circled around you, flashing their ads in front of you (ADD .CZ DOMAIN FOR ONLY $3.99 FOR 2 YEARS!!) and obstructing your progress.

And now imagine that there is exactly one of those flyers that you really, really need to grab (so you can, like, renew your organization’s core domain name).

Not that there’s any bitterness here.

But, today, I made my escape! Thanks to a brilliantly simple post by Cord Jefferson at GOOD, I’m free. It took about 30 minutes to move 15 domains to the soothingly spare site iWantMyName. It’s easy, even for techno-dummies like yours truly.

Btw, if GoDaddy’s link-assault-factor isn’t enough to drive you to the exits, then may I suggest two alternate motivations: (1) here’s the swashbuckling GoDaddy founder killing elephants (but only to help the local farmers!); or (2) GoDaddy’s notorious marketing strategy (i.e., boobs).

Elevator pitch meets South Park

This is a funny satire of a buzzword-laden entrepreneurial pitch to venture capitalists. Be forewarned: There’s lots of bad language. (h/t Paul Hudnut)

How to get stickier

Communicating with more impact isn’t some kind of mysterious process. It just takes a framework for thinking and a little bit of effort.

I want to share with you some videos that show how quickly the effort can pay off. Backstory: Chip and I partnered with Decker Communications — who’ve taught 100,000+ people over 30 years to communicate better — to create a one-day course around the principles in Made to Stick. We wanted to give people a chance to practice making ideas stick.

Does it work? Check out these two videos on the Decker site. The first is from the beginning of the day at the Decker workshop. It shows an executive giving a pitch for a new product. The second video shows the same pitch at the end of the day. (BTW, I am grateful to the exec, Tamer, for allowing us to post his videos. I’m hoping that other participants will give us permission as well, so we can keep providing these real-world examples.)

What struck me about these videos is that, in both videos, you see an exec who is clearly smart and personable — someone who has no trouble talking spontaneously. But there is a pretty radical difference in the clarity and memorability of the two talks. It just took a little bit of practice.

(Most of the Decker courses are delivered privately to companies & nonprofits — but they’ve actually got two courses scheduled soon that are open to the public: Nov 17 in NYC and Dec 10 in San Fran. Register or see more details here.)

3 Questions for Brains on Fire

Brains on Fire book

The folks at Brains on Fire, an agency that specializes in creating movements, have just published a smart new book called Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements. To celebrate that, here are 3 questions for BoF “Courageous President” Robbin Phillips:

Q1: All marketers are trying to do something to rally passion around their products or services. What’s the #1 thing you see marketers doing wrong in pursuit of that goal?

The mistake I see most marketers making is focusing on the wrong things.

Frankly I am not sure the word passion is on the minds of most marketers. And it should be. Often they’re more concerned with creating a product conversation vs. supporting a passion conversation.

The shiny new technology tools in the room are also a huge distraction. Chris Sandoval, a technology expert with a large company says in an interview. “When it comes to technology, what’s exciting and shiny today will be frickin’ dead tomorrow.” If you find yourself in a room talking about your twitter strategy, start over.

When it comes to igniting movements (as opposed to creating campaigns), we won’t get anywhere until we stop focusing on ourselves (or technology) and focus on the people we went into business to serve in the first place.

It’s about people.

Q2: Are there some products or services that are passion-proof? I.e., have you ever had to tell a customer, “I’m sorry but there is not much we can do to build a movement around your Xtra-Klingee Kling-Wrap.”

First of all, if Xtra-Klingee Kling-Wrap is a horrible product, no amount of marketing is going to build long term success. But if it’s really awesome Kling-Wrap, well then we’ve got something to work with. Because it can make people’s lives better.

Your question actually illustrates the problem we see most marketers struggling with. Igniting movements is about the passion conversation, not the product conversation. It is the foundation of all that we have learned. I’m certain you can’t create a movement around scissors or checking accounts or Xtra-Klingee Klingwrap. Real people don’t sit around and talk about Kling-Wrap unless it is extremely remarkable and disruptive. So we have to stop thinking about the product first. And instead start looking for the authentic passion and people behind the product, like scrapbooking, creating a simple financial life, or packing sandwiches with love.

It’s about people.

Q3: One thing I admire about you guys at Brains is that you use your talents to fight for things that matter — for instance, your work sparking movements to fight teen smoking and sexual trafficking. It must be difficult to balance business imperatives with, for lack of a better phrase, soul imperatives. Any advice for others who are struggling to find that elusive equilibrium?

One of my favorite lessons is the bonus lesson at the very end of the book:

Movements fight an injustice.

Injustice is easy to spot in cases like Love146, where the horrors of child sex-slavery are obvious. For businesses it’s likely there, but has to be first found and then defined. For Fiskars, fighting injustice meant putting a stop to personal attacks on other’s work in online scrapbooking forums. The Fiskateers set out to change the negativity and ignite a movement to celebrate all levels of crafting by creating a safe place to share.

So, my advice — dig deep, find the injustice in your industry and blaze a trail to save the day. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Most of us want to get up in the morning and make the world we live in a better place.

And after all, it really is all about people.

The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer

The philosopher Peter Singer wrote a moving book called The Life You Can Save, which makes a powerful moral case that all of us should be doing more to help the poorest of the poor.

The video below provides a 3-minute intro to his thinking. (Disclosure: I helped to create this video, along with my friends Jeff Sims and David Hamburger.) You can learn more at his website*.

I desperately want Singer’s idea to stick: We can, and we should, save lives. If you agree, will you help me spread the word about his work?

Here’s a suggested Tweet*: “I’m IN to end poverty. http://bit.ly/ca490h

* Special thanks to Brains on Fire (and Justin Gammon) for their extraordinary work on the site. Also thanks to Paul Rand for the slogan.