Fun with Co-Writers

Fun with Co-Writers

I’ve been busy.

I know. We’re all busy.

But I have a plan I have to stick to, and I can’t do it if I completely drop off the map.

So! I have teamed up with two writers, and a long time behind the scenes collaborator, to bring you new stuff.

Basically, I’m giving them the ideas and doing some light editing, and they’re doing the writing. So if you’re like, “This stuff doesn’t sound like you!”, I know.

K. Thor Jensen, who recently put out an interesting new graphic novel called “Cloud Stories” is working with me on proving (or disproving) a theory about “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” You can catch the first article, “The Gentle Art of Judo” here on LinkedIn.

Some of you might have seen the Marie Claire story where my ghostwriter (now co-writer), Jaclyn Schiff, got namechecked. Once she’s free we’ll work on some more marketing-focused content that’ll pop-up on some other websites you’ve probably heard of. (Not here, though.)

My long time collaborator, Amanda King, and I will be bringing back the book summaries here on this website. I realized after I wrote an 11-page one for “Start with Why” that I should work with someone to help crank these out faster and keep them manageable for those of you who don’t have time to read 12,000 (or more!) words about a book that you can probably read in that time it’d take to read through my notes.

Those summaries will run either here or on a new website. I haven’t decided yet. Until then though, enjoy the new stuff!

 

Moving on to the Next Thing

Moving on to the Next Thing

If you count March 2016 to March 2017 as one year, I’ve had the roughest year of my life personally and professionally. So much so that I think I went and undid any and all progress I made since my book came out in 2012.

Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.

So, I’ve decided to do something different. I’m shutting down work on “The Internet is Magic.”

I can’t seem to crack it as a book. I don’t feel I’m the appropriate person to write a self-help book given where my life and career is right now (the toilet) and that I’m in therapy and getting my OCD treated.

The second part of the book, which acts as an updated version of “Social Media Is Bullshit” could be great, but there’s not enough in there for it to be a book on its own. A series of excellent articles, for sure, but not a book.

Besides, I can sum up that second half of the proposed book like this:

-I told you so.

-“Content Shock” and “Peak TV” are not a thing because most content sucks.

-Everything I said from the last book still holds. Just swap out some of the names of those old platforms with names of current platforms and it’s still the same deal. (See: Snapchat’s most recent IPO, Facebook flat out lying about video views, and the increasing number of news stories about bots generating fake traffic.)

-Most marketing people are clowns that shouldn’t be trusted. You can tell who isn’t a clown based on what they read and who they quote.

-Barring a revolution in the advertising, marketing and media industries, nothing I say matters because we’ll just jump from one hot mess to another. See Chatbots and AI right now. Nobody knows anything, everyone with a financial interest is going to exaggerate, the tech people are (mostly) assholes taking advantage of media, marketing, and advertising people who have developed tunnel vision to ensure job security. The bullshit cycle will continue in perpetuum.

(That’s fancy asshole speak for “forever.”)

That brings us to the third, and final, part of the proposed book, the advice.

There’s certainly a framework I can present to you that can increase the probability of your success. Note the key word here: probability. There is NO guarantee of success when it comes to this stuff. Every situation is entirely subjective, and there are variables that you may have to deal with that someone else won’t.

For example, if you’re an afro-Peruvian jazz band, how you’re going to promote yourself is going to be different from a rapper or a rock band. You have different audiences with different expectations and different tastes, and even though you’re all musicians, the tactics the jazz band is going to use are going to be distinct from the rapper and the rock band.

And that’s just within the music industry!

Are there some things you can all do that might work? Maybe. Facebook ads do work, they’re just expensive and become ineffective the longer you run them. SEO is something everyone can do, but most SEO today is just good PR. And social is driven by offline word-of-mouth and what the media is talking about (usually), which means that it too is an extension of PR.

That means you have a PR book on your hands. That’s not quite something publishers want. At least, I don’t think. And it’s also not something I want to write. If you want to be good at PR, all you have to do is read books by Edward Bernays and know how not to bother a reporter. (In other words, pitch the reporter by email, wait a week, follow-up once, and then never bother them again if you don’t hear back. And when possible, always see if someone can introduce you to the reporter instead of pitching them cold.)

Good news: Edward Bernays has been dead for a long time so that you can find his books out there at the library for free.

Bad news: Nobody wants probability. Everyone wants solutions. And that’s not their fault; it’s the fault of decision makers chasing bogus metrics to justify their existence and tech companies justifying the billions of dollars they’ve raised.

The question you should be asking is not, “How do we hit our traffic goals?” The question is, “how do I deliver legit, high quality, repeat traffic to my advertisers and build a relationship between us as content providers, the sponsor as the people who keep our lights on, and the audience as the people we serve where everyone is happy.”

Hint: Auto-playing videos, ads that invade and abuse a users’ privacy without their permission, full-page takeovers, and other units that make browsing the web (regardless of browser or device) a horror show are not the answer.

“Less, but better” traffic is a hard sell. I haven’t encountered many people in the corporate world that want to hear that.

So given all that, I’m throwing in the towel on the book front. When I have something interesting to say that can justify an entire book, I’ll let you know.

Until then, I’m going to post everything that would have gone in “The Internet is Magic” here.

If you have not read my first book, don’t worry. Just email me at bj@bjmendelson.com, and I’ll hook you up with a free .pdf of it. The only thing I ask is that if you like it, feel free to pass on and share the .pdf with anyone you want.

I know this will be disappointing news for like the three people who care about what I write, but I think it’s the right choice.

You don’t get rewarded for being right. Instead, you get to spend years after saying something that was right watching people attack you, and then those people completely flip their positions and repeat what you had to say on their own as if you didn’t exist. And then when the industry does catch up and absorbs the ideas you’ve put out there into their system, it doesn’t correct itself. It just keeps plowing ahead while everyone winks and nods and goes, “Yeah I know it’s all bullshit, but our boss loves it, so what are you going to do?”

The answer is that you move on to the next thing.

That is not the only change I’m going to be making given the past year I’ve had, but it’s the only one I’m ready to talk about at the moment. I’ll have more news eventually.

Funny Summaries of Business Books

Funny Summaries of Business Books

Hey!

It’s been awhile, huh? This post says it was created in July, but I’m actually updating it right now for November.

I just spent two years ghostwriting a book for someone in the tech world. Then I did some freelance writing as a transition back to writing my own stuff because I had to get out of their voice and back into mine.

While ghostwriting, I was talking about doing a startup that is basically “The Khan Academy for Marketing.”

That project is now in motion. I’ll say more about it once the website is ready.

But that new project created a dilemma for me: What do I do with this website if I put all my marketing stuff over there, and keep my comic book over on its own website?

Then, inspiration struck.

Funny Summaries of Business Books

Back in March, I was talking with someone about how nobody has time to read the hundreds of business books that come out each year. Also, most of those books suck, so why would you want to read them in the first place?

Me? I read everything. Right now I’m reading Anna Karenina to impress a girl who has zero interest in me. That’s the kind of thing I do. You name it; I’ve read it. Possibly for ridiculous reasons. So what I’m saying is, I’m reading all these dumb business and marketing books anyway. Why should you waste your time reading them when I can do it for you?

You might be asking, “Do they have to be funny summaries?” Yes. They do. It’s the only way I can do this consistently without wanting to blow my brains out. How do you know they’ll be funny? Because you’ve all told me I’m hilarious. Hey, if I can do a presentation that’s being translated into three different languages, and everyone laughs at the jokes I’m making? I know I’m funny. I can say that with confidence.

So here on this website, I’m going to do funny summaries of business books. If you want Vengeance, Nevada, you know where to find it. (It’s here!)

If you want to hear or see me be (somewhat) serious about marketing, you’ll have the new project website once it goes up in a month or so.

Expect the first funny summary soon. It’ll be Pre-Suasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini. You can purchase a copy to read along with me here.

(P.S. Yes, that’s an Amazon Affiliate link. Yes, there are ads on this website. If you purchase a copy of the book, or any book linked out on this website, I make a small bit of money on the transaction. Ditto with the ads below each post. Making comics ain’t cheap. Your book purchases and clicking on the advertising I have here makes Vengeance, Nevada and my other comic books possible.)

(Photo Credit: B.J. Mendelson / University at Buffalo campus)