Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Shiny Object

I got a great email from a reader today. He's a good friend of a good friend, and we've corresponded about the blog and the startup project before, but he took it to another level today. He convinced me that he'd do us all a service by starting a little unaccredited journalism project of his own.

He was eating dinner with some marketing people, and the conversation drifted toward social media and its marketing implications. He was the non marketing guy at the table, so he was tentative at first, but, after a while, he got right into it.

He brought up this blog. He explained its role as a companion to a startup project. And, the next thing he knew, everyone was discussing its potential as a marketing tool.

Apparently, he thoroughly surprised himself:

I hadn't thought about your writing and your blog itself in a marketing context before, which I guess is due to the fact that I've always thought that the internet is only for porn, copyright violations, and fantasy baseball.

But there is a marketing context to explore. I certainly can't say the blog's primary purpose is marketing. I write because I want to write. I write because I like the discipline. I write to organize my thoughts. I write in order to give the people that are emotionally close to the startup project but geographically far from me a window into my brain and opportunities to yank me back on track. But I also write because I want to have a donut shop: I want to attract strangers to my startup-related ideas, make friends with them, and, hopefully, eventually, turn them into beta users.

No question that the internet is primarily for porn, copyright violations, and fantasy baseball. Because it does those things so well, however, and because there's no one I know that doesn't love at least one of those things, the internet is full of people.

Those people have ideas. They have opinions. And, if I can swing the right shiny object in their peripheral vision, catch their attention, entertain them a little bit, and tell them I'm interested in hearing what they have to say, I think some of them will be happy to share.