Friday, December 23, 2011

The dilemma of free

MarketWhy Free Changes Everything

I've been blogging, and networking, and using every means possible to generate revenue online.  I've also participated deeply within the open source community.  I started browsing the Internet in 1994, so I've been using the Internet for 18 years.  Through all of these experiences, there's one thing that is consistent. People love free stuff and the Internet is an infinite supply of free stuff.

The combination of computers and the Internet drive the price of every product they touch to $0 (free).  This observation is at the heart of the problems with the music, newspaper, magazine, and publishing industries.  Before computers and highly capable software were so easily obtainable, each of these industries competed in a scarce economy. Not everyone could publish a book, make a CD, or produce news. Now everything online exists in an abundant economy.  It's a very challenging problem to have, but that's not the dilemma I'm most concerned with.

When consumers get a taste for "free" a few things happen:
  • The first thing that happens is that quality is no longer a threshold. We will accept any free version over one we have to pay for.  Ever watched a recently released movie recorded with a camcoder?
  • Logging onto the Internet or turning on a computer is a trigger which immediately makes us assume everything should be free.
  • Free becomes a habit. Once you can download Open Office or GIMP, then we get into the habit of expecting everything else to be free too.
The Paradox of Free

The dilemma of free is that when no one wants to pay for anything, then the only alternative left is advertising. And boy do we love advertising, am I right? So from open source advocates to independent authors or movie makers, we're all struggling to produce a good product. Since we're not Seth Godin or Mozilla, then we start pricing everything for free. When we try to move up the value chain and charge for our products we get little or no support. I've been sharing Amazon Associate links for 8 years. I've gotten only 16 click throughs, and no sales. I've got Google Adsense running on half a dozen websites, and I'm lucky if I meet the minimum once a quarter.

We easyily drop money on the stupidest of things offline, on vacation, at the fair, or at a Disney on Ice show. However, when we fire up the Internet, we close our wallets and expect everything for free. Going out drinking with your peeps on Friday after a long week of work, we will spend $20, $50, or maybe even a $100. When we conduct these transactions, we rarely thing twice. What is so different about online commerce?

Every company, every project, every artist(author) needs money to survive. Yet, we commonly entertain ourselves with their products for free. How are they supposed to find the money they so desparately need to continue producing entertaining or useful products, if no one wants to buy their products? Don't want to buy, then what about donations? Nope, we rarely do that either. When was the last time you made a donation to an open source project while using their products all the time?

Crying in my Coffee

As we are in the holiday spirit, I'd like to make one wish. If you find something on the Internet for free, and it entertains you, or makes you more productive, then find a way to compensate the producers of said product. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If they have products for sales and you've enjoyed their work, please make a purchase. If you already got it for free, then buy it and give it as a gift to a friend.
  • If they accept donations, then make a donation. Come on, if you're using software from an open source project, cough up a little money to show your appreciation.
  • If they only have advertising on their sites, then by all means click on their ads. I suggest this a lot and most people will say that's cheating.
How Advertising Works


Here is another example of the paradox between offline and online behaviour. When you buy a magazine or newspaper, there are a lot of advertisements. Sometimes there are products in those advertisements, that  you may never buy, ever. Yet the publisher collects their payment for putting that ad in front of you. Do you feel guilty or like your cheating those advertisers for not looking at their ads? Of course you don't.
Yet, when you see ads on a website that is providing something valuable, you don't click on them. If that is the ONLY way for the website owner to get paid, why don't we want to show our appreciation for the effort of making something valuable available for "free?"

Still leave a bad taste in your mouth?

The only option


We vote with our money. When we pay for something we say,"I want things like this." If we never vote for the products we enjoy by buying them, then we are subconciously saying I want to see more advertising. We are still in the infancy of the Internet, so it's hard to predict if a different model will emerge. Unfortunately the only option other than advertising is opening our pocketbooks and exchanging money for value. Let's make the Internet the global marketplace it has the potential to become.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The proof is everywhere: We are not alone

#StayActive

I'm still reeling from an outstanding "TEDx San Juan," but here's another Puerto Rican who has committed himself to making a difference. I met another one this weekend at our annual Christmas outreach to the less fortunate in the Condado area. We are everywhere, and if we can grow together, we'll become even more productive and effective; through unity we can reclaim our future.

I'm pleased to be working with Jose Alvarado, from Humans Engaged in Learning Procedures. He's dedicated himself to staying: focused, positive, and active to generate a life-time of self improvement. Enjoy this speech he recently gave at Toastmasters Puerto Rico:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Five actionable items to do today to get more traffic to your blog and website

Based on the max-strategy theory and the conversational model.

How dimensions are there?
Here are five actionable items that you can do right now to get more traffic to your blog and/or website:
  1. Locate a tool like TweetDeck, HootSuite, Postling that allows you to post messages to all your social media at once: Facebook, LI, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, etc. Tweetdeck and Postling are my favorites.

    This is a simple multiplier-affect activity. You may have only a short-time to send out some exciting news, so look for tools that give you a multiplier affect. The best strategy comes from doing something once, but having the same message AUTOMATICALLY posted to all of your premium social networks. Write one clever post and multiply it's reach by spreading as widely as possible in simple action.

  2. SEO, SEO and SEO - Learn these three important tricks:
    • Choose your title very carefully. Most blogging platforms use the title to create the permanent web address for your blog post. So use as many important keywords as possible.
    • On your individual blog posts, use HTML tags like A, B, H1, H2, EMPHASIS (italics), U (underline) on every occurrence of the keywords in your blog posts. This is SEO attraction bait. By highlighting these keywords with special tagging, you're giving the search engines a hint as to what is most important on the page. Blogger does this for me with keyboard shortcuts.

      There should be at least one use of the word or phrase within the post as there is for the tags, labels, or keywords used for the post
    • When you link to your own posts, always use keywords as the text and not something useless like 'here.'

      Better: Say visit the boldest flash fiction ebook series of flash fiction is now available from Mis Tribus' new "20 in 5."
      Than: You can find our new ebook here.

  3. Setup a TwitterFeed from your blog's RSS. That way, once you post, it automatically sends out a message to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

    This is another wonderful multiplier tool. Essential tool for every blog.

  4. Blog as much as you can. Daily for sure, but more is better. Use a variety of content. Try to vary short, medium, and long entries. Use shorter posts if possible.
  5. Aggressively grow your social graph. The combined connections of all of our social networks is our social graph. Implement a daily search for connections based on your most important key words. Add as many as a specific social network will allow.

    With each new connection you make, you exponentially increase the value of your social graph.
Bonus action item: Search for blogs with good SEO for your keywords (you do have a very clear set of keywords, right?). Go to those sites and interact. Leave a comment. Let them know you're passionate too. Whenever possible, leave a link back to your blog.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mis Tribus eBook Store - Now Available

Just wanted to drop everyone a quick line to inform everyone of the new store we created for the books we've published so far. We've been busy focusing on publishing our own material, but that's because we become experts at publishing books. We're going to continue to follow that approach as both Gil and I both have quite a backlog of material to get publishing.

But don't get us wrong, Mis Tribus is not about Gil and I. We're merely learning how to be expert publishers so we can teach other independent authors to do the same. Soon we will be launching an author submission campaign for "20 in 5." Then during 2012, we'll be looking for Puerto Rican authors to branch out into more and more genres and niches.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Barnes and Noble Partnership

Over the next few weeks, I'll be recounting Mis Tribus' achievements this year. There are quite a few, but one I'm particularly proud of is a contract and partnership with Barnes and Noble. First of all, I believe we are the first publisher in Puerto Rico to have a contract that enables us to publisher directly into their ebook catalogs.

Secondly, we've also joined with them as an affiliate partner. Before the end of this quarter, we'll have a new site up featuring a Barnes and Noble eStore with all things about Puerto Rico. In the meantime, if you're doing some Cyber Monday shopping please consider Barnes and Noble:

Barnes&Noble.com

Announcing "20 in 5" monthly ebook series

20 In 5

Twenty stories you can read in 5 minutes each.

Volume I -- December 2011

Published by MisTribus Publishing
Publisher: Kevin Shockey
Editor-in-Chief: Gil C. Schmidt

The Editor's Minute
Welcome to the first collection of 20 in 5. This monthly e-book/app will feature a wide range of flash fiction, stories of between 500-750 words, perfect for reading over a cup of coffee, tea, chai or some multi-syllabic confection you order from a barista. Or for reading in bed, just before entering your world of slumber.  
Wherever you may be, we hope you find these mini-breaks in your day an enjoyable spicing, a mini-trek into someplace else and a welcome addition to your digital device. 
Thank you and we look forward to your comments!
To buy directly from Smashwords: 20 in 5 - Vol 1 - December  2011

To buy from Mis Tribus directly with Paypal:  inaugural ebook edition of "20 in 5." 

20 In 5 -- Volume I

MRS. LANSING
FOOD FOR LOBO
GIRL IN SEARCH OF TREE
FENCING, NOT BOXING
TELLING TIME
WAGES OF WAR
SILENCE IS GOADIN’
NAME THAT TIME
THE FINAL LETTER
IN SEARCH OF YORK
WHERE ANGLES TREAD
SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION
WEIGHT OF DARKNESS
REFLEX ACTIONS
ART IRRITATES LIFE
EVIL HEART
SOULMATES
A MORNING AT ROSSGEN
BIRD CALLS
SEE BOBBY LAUGH

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Long-term value per engagement

Over time, I'm sure you'll become sick about hearing about the people that have most inspired me to take Mis Tribus to where it is now, and farther as we move into a very exciting 2012. But I'll always try to boil down their ideas into the diamonds that shine the most.

It's those diamonds that offer the most value for small and medium-sized companies. With these diamonds, business owners will hopefully be able to see a new way of looking at technology. My challenge is: compress the millions of pounds of coal into ideas that bring direct value into businesses. Infinite complexity only confuses in-experienced Internet users the most.

We've already heard from Kathy Sierra and Doc Searls, now I'd like to introduce Seth Godin. I've been a long-time fan of Seth's and have learned a lot from him. I credit him with all of the research I've done on permission-based marketing.

Long-term value per engagement

In his latest blog post, Seth picks up a line of thinking that he has been promoting since "Unleashing the Idea Virus." Let me try to break down his basic thinking:
  1. Advertising is noise.
  2. ∞ ads is almost like no advertising (Click through rate CTR is close to 0)
In an infinite market space means that we are unable to predict:
  • who are our customers (fans), 
  • where I will find them
  • what products they will buy
  • what are they're passions.
Our only hope as storytellers and brand managers, is to focus on:
  • Perception: Are you perceived as an annoyance, an interruptor--or are you a valued sponsor, a trusted friend, someone who is making things better?
  • Interaction: Are we focusing on maximizing our share of attention/customer? We've got to focus on giving more value than we're receiving. Share of attention will lead to a share of customer spending.
I'm very thankful for Seth's leadership over the years. To me he seems to be among a handful of writers who has a realistic grasp on what's happening in the early years of an infinite marketspace. Casual persuasion built upon a long term relationship based on trust is the only hope we have to break through people's bullshit filter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Doc Searls on Markets are Conversations

Have you ever found that it takes some background research in order to understand some concepts? I know that I'm that way. Even when I think I "know" something, I think it is important to keep an open mind and revisit concepts, just to be sure that we still understand them.

"The Cluetrain Manifesto" is one of those pivotal works, that I keep returning to study. I find that as our research advances on the conversational model and max-strategy, it is also important to revisit key concepts to see how our interpretation of the information has changed. When we take into consideration the rapid pace of change and innovation, it's important to revisit key concepts and center ourselves.

If you don't have access to the "Markets are Conversations" chapter, here is Doc Searls explaining the basics:



Part of an ongoing series of articles describing Mis Tribus's Conversational Model. All of the Conversational Model posts are available in this special section. To learn more please consider attending our seminar on the Conversational Model on the 28th of November.

Conversational Model - Markets are Conversations

In the early years of the Internet, a couple of visionaries collaborated to produce "The Cluetrain Manifesto." The book swept through the Internet community and become a viral sensation. One of the key observations of the book was that the Internet was changing advertising.

Further, they suggested that markets were conversations. This suggestion was based on the concept that word of mouth was the ultimate target for all marketing. The authors of "The Cluetrain Manifesto" foresaw that the Internet was going to become a powerful enabler of conversations.

Today, social networks have become one of the primary locations for conversations. Daily, millions of people are sharing and commenting on millions of links, photos, and videos. In a metaphorical sense social networks have become like the markets of olden times. While there still isn't a lot of commerce taking place, there is a infinite number of conversations taking place.

Our challenge as business owners is to gain peoples trust in such a way that they feel comfortable talking about our brands, products and services in social networks. We want them to share our information with their friends and to mention us within as many of their conversations as possible. It is a big challenge to establish that kind of trust, but we have to try. We have to join the conversations that are already taking place everywhere on the Internet, all with the hope of positively influencing those conversations.

Part of an ongoing series of articles describing Mis Tribus's Conversational Model. All of the Conversational Model posts are available in this special section. To learn more please consider attending our seminar on the Conversational Model on the 28th of November.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Social Media Is Not About Me Or You Either

In preparation for the pending launch of Fanz.ly and my upcoming seminar on the conversational model, I'll be filling in as much of the background for Mis Tribus, our Conversational Model (previously called the Revenue Growth Model), and Fanz.ly.

I've been a fan of Kathy Sierra ever since I attended her tutorial Creating Passionate Users at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention back in 2005.  But I have to admit that some of her key points never hit home, until today. Even though I watched her give this keynote presentation at the Tools of Change for Publishing conference, I never really understood how to make my readers kick ass (as she puts it).



Fast forward nine months of in-depth research on Twitter and social media and things couldn't be clearer. Social media is not about me. It's about how much value I create for my followers, friends, and connections. Of course, social media is many things to many different people, but I think in the arena of content creation, it's all about your users; or as Kathy puts it: "It's about my audience's audience." Ok, I get it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seminar: Conversational Model for Social Networks

Ever wonder how to squeeze the most juice out of social networks? Then you should attend the master class I will be giving on how to employ Mis Tribus' Conversational Model using Social Networks on Novemeber 28, 2011.
Participants of the seminar will receive a practical guide for using social networks. Many companies are encountering limited results with social networks, this seminar provides a simplified approach that:
  • generates more likes and followers
  • generates customer leads
  • converts leads into customers
  • reduces the time and money spent on advertising.
After years of research, Mis Tribus has made a breathtaking new discovery. Through a combination of tools and techniques, the Conversational Model produces more social engagement. In this seminar, participants will learn:
  • why social media marketing is so challenging
  • what are the 3 strategies that any social media marketing campaign must use
  • what is the Conversational Model
  • which freely available tools work together to produce the dramatic improvements of the Model
  • how to implement the Model
  • what 6 daily tasks power the benefits possible by the Model
Finally, as an added special bonus, each participant will get a free account to Fanz.ly. What is Fanz.ly? Fanz.ly is Mis Tribus' social media engagement platform. Based on the Conversational Model, Fanz.ly is an even simpler method to generate keyword (SEO) driven engagement on the Internet. Currently in limited invitation-only beta, Fanz.ly will become a critical asset to any company's Internet marketing efforts. This offer will not be repeated ever again, aso ct now to claim your free Fanz.ly account.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Social Media Head Fake

Last night I gave a class on what I would call version 0.4 of my theories from Guagua Pública.  It was a real honor to work once again with Francisco Santana, Founder of ASOPYMES.  In my opinion, he is a great friend to all small and medium sized businesses in Puerto Rico.  If you need someone to help you save money in your business, he's the man to talk to.

The session was entitled "Como Generar Nuevo Ingresos Usando Twitter" (How to generate new revenues using Twitter).  Per request of the audience, my class was in Spanish.  I hope to give a newer version of this speech soon, but in English.  But hey, give the people what they want! Right?

Speaking of giving an audience what they want, if you haven't watched the "Last Lecture" you should stop everything and do it. You can thank me later.



For me, one of the things about his lecture that has always stuck with me, was the head fake. Anyone familiar with sports knows what the head fake is.  It's where you you get an opponent to guess what you are going to due by looking at your eyes and head.  Of course once they've done that, it's too late. A talented athlete will show you what they are going to do next with their eyes and head, but make their body do something else.

Randy makes reference to the head fake near the end of the lecture, I quote:
"But did you figure out the head fake? It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you."
If you'll remember from the beginning of the lecture he explicitly tells the audience that this is NOT about his family. That's the real head fake. For who has the courage to give such an inspiring speech thinking about the family he would soon leave behind. He adds
"Have you figured out the second head fake? The talk’s not for you, it’s for my kids."
Social Media Head Fake 

For those of you who attended my class last night, have you figured out what my head fake was? Sure while I think I connected with people by focusing on generating revenue, I also introduced them to the complexity of computing, social media being just one of it's multidimensional components. While everything I said was right on target, I was really pleading to everyone to recognize that focusing your business strategy around informatica (computers and automation) is the only way to truly generate revenues today. The business environment has become too complex to approach any other way. The standard solution of throwing people at a problem isn't an option, when you don't even understand the problem!

Update: I found a copy of the transcript of the "Last Lecture", just in case you need it. Did you catch that the video on YouTube has closed captioning? How freaking awesome is that?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Social Media, Revenue Growth, and Silver Bullets

You probably know that if you want to use the Internet to market your company, then you've got to use social media.  How could you not? It's pounded in to our heads in almost every media that we consume.  It's hard to miss the inclusion of social media in our favorite television shows, our favorite radio stations, the movies we watch, the magazines and newspapers we read.  Are you beginning to see how social media has slowly penetrated nearly every aspect of our lives?

What if you could approach social media with a plan to make money from the Internet?  Wouldn't it be amazing if you knew what to do after getting your company on the Internet and involved with social networks?  Surely, there must be something more to social networks?  There has to be a simpler way to use them to grow your company's revenue.

As you are thinking about how you're currently using social media, then let me share with you a little secret about social networks and Internet Marketing.  Simply, social media is not a silver bullet. Marketing on the Internet is not a single step process.  It takes much more than simply setting up a website, a Facebook Page, and  a Twitter account.  It takes a consistent strategy that you stick to day after day. Sure we all WANT to believe that marketing on the Internet is something you do once, then forget about it. Of course, as anyone who has spent any money on Internet Marketing and NOT reaped it's benefits will tell you, it just doesn't work that way.

After you have read this blog post, you will feel like you want to learn more about social media. You might even say to yourself, "I want to use the Internet more effectively to market my company, but there has to be an easier way to do it." Next Wednesday, I'd like an opportunity to share with you, what I think is a simpler way to think about Internet Marketing. I'd like to invite you to a FREE seminar that I'll be giving in association with ASOPYMES. The seminar will focus on social media marketing, and provide a Twitter marketing model that will increment your company's revenues.


By the way, have you ever wondered where the expression "something is not a silver bullet" came from? The silver bullet myth comes from the legends of werewolves. According to werewolf mythology, the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet. Over time, the mythology of the silver bullet grew to the point that people started to believe that there were solutions to other problems as simple as a silver bullet. The theory went, with a silver bullet your problems are eliminated in one swift action. And that would be true, if your problem was a werewolf. While the Internet and social networks are pretty scary, they are most definitely not werewolves. So if you're interested in improving your return on investment in Internet Marketing, then I'd recommend you join me next Wednesday as I take the fear out of Social Media.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Infinity, Culture Convergence, and Revenue

Contemplating mankinds ability to understand infinity, or even very large numbers, the complexity of today's IT needs approaches the inifinite. Every company HAS to committ to big data to provide the cirtical metrics to drive success. Once you begin to measure and manage around metrics, you instanly become a a big data company. Very few people on earth can understand the complexity of a state-of-art data center providing support for massive amounts of data extraction, collection, and management.

So if we can accept that very few people can grok the inifinite, the rest of us reach our limits. This point may be different for everyone, but after that point we must rely on our fath that what's beyond our understanding is consistent with our beliefs. However, we must confess that beyond that point, we really have no proof that those beliefs are true.

Culture Convergence

The complexity of other aspects of our businesses are also reaching the inifinite. They are: lead generation, marketing, and sales. For me, there is no way to disprove that ultimate culture convergence will produce a problem so complex, that we will not be able to understand it. At the very minimum, once again, probably only a handful of people on earth willbe able to wrap their minds around media convergence with social media. 

I don't believe anyone can tell me what the implications of all of our main cultural channels growing into one glopy mesh of media. Nor can they provide any proof that this convergent point is any more real than a quasar in the outer reaches of space.

Metcalfe's Law

Early on in the creation of what we now call the Internet, The inventor of Ethernet, Bob Metcalfe observed: "the usefulness of a network increases at at an accelerating rate as you add each new person to it." 

Typically most industry experts believe Metcalfe's Law works in favor of the owner of the network, but I believe that this is a narrow view. It misses out on the fact, that we each now "own" our social network. So it follows, that if our social network becomes more useful with each person we add, then every company must strive to have as big a network as possible. this is something I've been trying to accentuate recently. 

Now I can't prove that Metcalfe's law applies to social networks, partly becuase I think our understanding of social networks is very narrow and. What I can say is that Metcalfe's law has been proven to fit in nearly every case of a highly successful network. 

How do I increase revenues with socila media

If I could summarize the grand challenge of social media marketing, it would be: "Will using social media increase my company's revenues?" Frankly there is very little evidence that this is true. And come to think of it, if I had that evidence, it might be something I don't want to share too widely.If you know what I mean. ;-)

All I can really answer is that based on my understanding of convergence culture and social media, it has to! I don't have the proof, yet; but we'll get there soon. What I do know is that some of the main ways to generate more revenue follow from these strategieis:

  1. Advertising
  2. New products, services, pricing, or packaging
  3. Acquire customers from competition
  4. Increase production
  5. Cust costs.

I think an exploration of how social media can increase revenues must assess how social media helps in each of these five strategies.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What is this?

I wanted to take this post and bring any new visitors up to speed on what Mis Tribus is, why I think it is important, and what I'm doing to turn my vision into reality. So, it's kind of obvious from just looking that I've just started pulling this site together, that's mostly because I'm busy conducting research on my theories as well as conducting testing. I really would have liked this site to be more complete before attending TOC, but I got caught up doing investigation.This reflects the reality that most authors face, we're too busy and find it difficult knowing what to spend our time on. At it's heart, that's what Mis Tribus will solve.

So what is Mis Tribus?

Mis Tribus is a direct to fan community for cross media authors. By providing tools, utilities, process, and coaching I believe that I can help authors solve three of the most critical challenges we face: reach, shipping product, and monetization.

By reach I refer to the process of disseminating your information as densely as possible within the social media cloud. In my opinion, this is really the most important challenge of them all. If people can't find your, your work, or your products, then it really doesn't matter how many products you've "shipped" nor your plan to monetize them. I'm not trying to be over simplistic, nor restate what everyone hears from the social media experts. One of favorite quotes from Guy Kawasaki: "Ideas are easy, it's execution that's hard." Throughout my entrepreneurial career, except for emphasizing the need for extensive market research, this is by far the most important idiom. It's one thing to say you have to exploit social media to it's fullest advantage, but it is quite another thing to actually do it. I intend on creating a process that makes this easier to do and in less time, hence the active research.

Shipping product is pretty clear, but once again it's all about execution. Again, an author's ability to ship product will be directly related to how effective of a process they use to guide them through the cycle of   identifying, creating, and finishing products. Finally, monetization, for me is the objective of all of my research. In his "Building a Successful Direct Channel" tutorial yesterday at TOC, Allen Noran from O'Reilly talked about creating as big a funnel as possible. At the bottom of that funnel is monetization. Everything an author does to spread his message across the Internet, and all of the products she ships should all lead back to one location which asks the engaged fan to spend some money.


So where's the beef?

As I mentioned above, I'm currently researching all of the tools and processes that I think will help an author "get louder." I'm actively sharing that research on another website, Guagua Pública. Let's call it GP for now. GP is the code name for the research I'm conducting. Once I've worked my way through the research phase, it's my intention to publish my findings in a book that will lay out the theories and processes that an author will be using on this site. I've decided to do it that way because of Steve Blank. In his work Steve emphasizes the need to discover your customer long before you build or design software. So that's what I'm doing. I'm busy talking with authors, publishers, and especially freelancers to understand what they need. Only until I believe I have what Steve calls a minimal viable product, will I begin to flesh out Mis Tribus. Again, it doesn't make any sense investing time and resources in building software until I'm much more certain that what I'm building is something that authors will use. The days of the "Field of Dreams" are long over.

Why is this important?

With all of the turmoil in the publishing industry I want to make sure that there will always be a place for freelance authors to go where they can understand what needs to be done, how to do it, in order that they can buy some "cheese sandwiches." By founding a community instead of a pure startup I hope to foster the notion that united as a community we can all help each other become and remain successful. By the way, if you're interested in learning more about me, my personal blog has a wealth of information.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Margaret Atwood and Cheese Sandwiches

Margaret standing on a chair for the Book2Camp conclusion
So yesterday I participated in the pre-TOC Book2Camp event hosted by O'Reilly and OpenSky. It was a great experience and I'm really thankful to our hosts for their support. The highlight of the event for me, and many others in attendance was the participation of Margaret Atwood.



This became very real for me, when halfway through my session she walked into the room. It was a real honor to have her attend my session, and she really made her presence felt almost immediately. Even though she missed my introduction she quickly came up to speed and begin peppering me with very piercing questions.

Her questions were very good and I think serve as a wonderful reminder for everyone involved in the publishing industry. She reminded me that the struggle to get paid for your artistic endeavours was not a new one. She recounted that through out history there were some very well known strategies:
  • Find a benefactor
  • Obtain a grant
  • Marry money
  • Inherit money.
She added, beyond that, it was really the creative's responsibility to find a way to pay for your "cheese sandwiches." She went on to explain that what was most important was being a good writer. By that, she emphasized as an author, you needed to create a world that would capture a readers imagination and provide an engaging experience. She put it this way: "You have to make the reader get past page five." She felt that if an author could do that, then they would be on their way towards getting themself some cheese sandwiches.

I have to confess, it was invaluable advice and I appreciate her spirited participation. With a long and successful writing career, anyone would be ill-advised to ignore her perspective. We all build the future on the backs of those who've went before us. It's interesting to me that even though she had never heard of transmedia, she succinctly summarized the challenge for a transmedia franchise, successfully creating a world which is compelling enough to attract attention.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

As good as any place to start a business

I was working on the design of the site, data relationships and all that jazz, when I stumbled across my brother Russell's game of Pog. It came to me while we were cleaning out his public housing apartment after his heart stopped. My youngest wanted to help me work so she was drawing using my diagramming templates and we stopped to look through some of the pogs. I came across this one and thought: "if there was one thing I would want people to remember about me, it would be this." I wished everyone could live by this rule: Never Fear!

Ladies and gentleman, fear is the mind killer. It is the most negative force known to man. In wiser words than I have never known:
"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."
―Yoda — Listen (file info)[src]