How to Pass off as a French Person

Monday, March 31, 2008

Having just gone to Paris, I learned a few things about French people and French culture. Here’s the 10 requirements to passing off as a French Person : Don’t Smile Be Skinny Drink More Wine Than Water Don’t Wear a Beret - contrary to popular belief, very few French people wear berets. During my time in Paris I saw [...]


Letter from a Reader…

FYI, I’m in LA right now at Yanik’s Underground Seminar, all I can say is that I’m TOTALLY blown away! I’ll give fill you in on the details when I get back. Anyhow, here’s a letter I recently received from a reader in China : “Dear Amit, I kept reading your blog everyday since you started it [...]


SES NY Session: B2B SEO Tactics

B2B Search sessions (both organic and paid) can be few and far between, so any time it exists I’m sure to plant myself in the front row.  The B2B Tactics session was moderated by Jeffrey Rohrs, VP, Agency & Search Marketing, ExactTarget Speakers included: Patricia Hursh, President and Founder, SmartSearch Marketing Barbara C. Coll, CEO, Inc. Adam Goldberg, [...]


Telling Graph of United States Budget and Gross National Priorities

Have you ever wished there was an easy way to tell at-a-glance how your taxpayer dollars are spent? I'd venture a guess that most Americans are unaware of just how much of our taxes are funneled into the military. A man after my own heart, Jesse Bachman spent close to a year in scouring official documents to get the facts where the American government spends our taxes.


Customer Service - Key To Business Success

Customer service is one of the greatest keys to your business success. It can literally make or break you. This is so because your entire business, marketing, sales and profits depend on your customers. You're in business to generate profits by selling your products and servcies to people who need and want to buy. Customers want to know how you can make their lives better or easier and/or how you can relieve them of their pain.


Magento Ecommerce Literally Giving Away the Store

magento_chicklets_03.pngEcommerce platforms be afraid. Be very afraid. Today I stumbled on a brand new ecommerce solution under development by the extraordinary team at Varien. On top of being free and open source, the platform looks to rival the functionality of longer established, (much) higher priced ecommerce solutions on the market.


What's the Point?

I'm constantly amazed at how my purpose for this site keeps shifting. MerelyHuman was originally intended to be my mental warehouse of sorts. The philosophical depths of which you could lose yourself in. As a professed blogger, the only thing I'm losing is my mind as paper keeps proving itself to be the more accessible medium. It'll get there, I suppose, I'm just coming to terms with the idea that it'll take time.

So on paper my best ideas remain, until I can master this particular juggling act. For now, I'm just going to have to settle for putting out average length blog posts. Don't cry, unless you're emo.

Blogging is hard. My advice to you if you have nothing to say: Don't Blog.


Pettiness Is A Corporate Condition Too

So, in todays news...That's some shit over at

I can think of more than one community besides the bloggers that could greatly benefit from an organization which supports individuals through incidents of corporate strongarming, much as the ACLU mounts efforts against government agencies and corporations which perpetrate social injustices.

As it is, almost noone emerges victorious from a legal battle against a large corporation without more than a few wounds. A watchdog organization, rallied for the public good, could grant individuals access to the kind of legal resources that give large corporations a decided edge in legal matters.

When push comes to shove, the public can and will mobilize heavy forces.

This isn't the last we'll hear about this sort of thing. Rather, it's a sign that the system is just starting to adjust to the integration of powerful new technologies into the cultural fabric. The Blogosphere's going to get very interesting in 2005.


Start Your Engines

Since business is so misunderstood, I feel it's the responsibility of people who 'get it' to take pot shots at the pravailing wisdom until something happens and then spread those ideas which promise to have profound positive implications for people in commerce. I'm going to try to do that here on this blog.

Plus I will even create some original works of my own: Practical programmes and procedures for growing your business enterprise and honing your business acumen. I'll release useful aids, dispense free advice and eventually launch a weekly periodical.

All here on this blog for your convenient access and timely edification.

In the coming weeks, the information rollout will be fairly swift. Don't get too excited if there are days when three or four bits of content get posted. This initial spurt of updates is meant to attract the search engines and establish some positive momentum. After that I'll relax my posting to a level that's comfortable for everyone.


Anyone Need a Yahoo 360 Invite?

Of course you don't need one. But you sure want one!

Yahoo 360 remains pretty unexciting at this point, but they promise a lot of cool features in the coming months. You'll probably want to get on the ground floor regardless, being that this is Yahoo! and they're almost certain to deliver a good combination of features and usability.

I only have 50 invites left to give out and I want them to go to people who appreciate their value. Please don't ask for one if you're only nurturing a short-lived curiosity.

Hopefully Yahoo! will replenish my Invites once they're all used-up, however since you can't be too sure you should think about grabbing yours now! If you like the idea of getting in on the action early, Email me. I would definately be interesting in getting back some links to Merely Human in exchange for free Yahoo! 360 Invites. 


Don't Pay For Philosophy

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blogs. RSS. Information aggregators. Human-friendly content management and delivery systems. These trends and more are a formula for the rapid proliferation of information and knowledge. Taken to it's logical conclusion, it's not hard to see how in the future all--or most--information will be freely obtainable from more than one media source.

There are too many gurus pushing the same information products. Too many books to read, magazines to buy, websites to check. Selling "make-more-money" information products is fast becoming a losing proposition because the information wants to get out.

What does that mean for people in knowledge-based businesses? Get out of the way and let it. People are suddenly in the market for execution. They're realizing that despite their best efforts to keep up with the knowledge curve, they aren't getting anything done by themselves. They want to bring in impact players who can do the things they read about.

Which is the basis on which I'm going to build my consulting practice.


Breaking News: Will This Man Bring Legitimacy to the Blogosphere?

Ok, you might be wondering what this is about. Believe me, you don't want to miss this one.

Today the blogosphere welcomes it's biggest marketing celebrity since Bob Bly. Jay Abraham, one of the most respected minds in marketing is officially launching his blog.

The reaction in the blogosphere could, and probably should, be bigger than when Bob Bly, renowned author, copywriter and savvy businessman in his own right, started his blog. The difference it appears--and why "business bloggers" should pay attention--is that Jay is coming out of the gates with a game plan for making money out of this venture--and he has a really good track record of succeeding.

Will we pay heed and watch as one man co-ops the emerging architecture of the internet to geometrically expand his empire at almost frightening speeds? Will his efforts bring legitimacy to the dream that blogs can be richly profited from? Or will this prove to be another half-baked scam dreamed up by a marketer desparate for a piece of the action?

Whatever the case, the future commercial applications of blogging will be generously informed by the outcome.


Them Solutions Are the Magic Bullet

There is in fact a magic bullet in marketing that will virtually guarantee your sale. Pay attention. It is a performance-assured solution to an acutely felt problem or need.

A marketing message armed to the hilt with sensitivity to a person's pain hits home every single time. It's just that some professionals get so absorbed in the smoke-and-mirrors aspect of promotion that they neglect the simple notion of Supply and Demand (should be redubbed Demand and Supply for the modern era. More on this later) that has driven  commerce forward since day one.

Fortunately, it doesn't take exceptional powers of discernment spot a humongous need. The marketer's job has been simplified with the advance of internet technologies. Many and populous communities of people across the net have organized for the expressed purpose of telling you what's missing from their lives.

Don't do self-indulgent advertising. The magic happens when you're attentive to other people's problems.

Now you know -- lock and load.

Tip: Your window into the market's collective conscious are high concentrations of critics. If you want to tune into their frequency you are handicapping yourself if you aren't paying attention to and other feedback enhanced portals.


Making Sense of the Blogging Phenomenon One Blogger At a Time

I have spent some time over the past two years researching blogging. And the longer I immerse myself the more convinced I become that blogs are merely a symptom of something much bigger happening on the web. No, let me restate that...happening TO the web.

Nobody's completely figured it out yet, but every day we are nearing closer to an approximate understanding of what their impact will be. The only thing we can conclude is that the question of what a blog IS isn’t so important as the question of what a blog CAN BE.

None of the conventional definitions of a blog are altogether wrong, but they are limited. And for anyone who has worked inside the industry, they will agree that the public advent of blogging represents so much more than just another distribution channel in a marketers toolbox.

In fact, I would venture to say, marketers at large are falling behind in their collective grasp of the evolving internet. Their pockets may be well-lined, but they have impoverished models of the new world.

Today, blogs are a still a blank canvas. Their uses are by no means set in stone, nor have all their possible applications been explored. I challenge people who think they really "get it" to stop concurring about what blogs are and start discovering what blogs can be.

Over the next couple of months I will be rendering my observations as lucidly as I can.


Back to Square One

It seems like only yesterday that I signed up for a fledgling Squarespace and started writing for Merely Human. So many developments in the year leading up till now and yet I've done such a poor job reflecting them to my readers.

Well, it's back to blogging full-time. Three things have held my attention of late:

  1. Human Potential & Psychology
  2. Business Applications of Blogging
  3. Starting A Marketing Consulting Firm

Between these three items my focus is a fairly even split. I've been wanting to separate my business blogging and consulting conversations from my human potential related one for a while now. Trying to encompass all three conversations here, on a single blog, while giving each one the coverage it deserves has been very limiting. Therefore, I'll be partitioning these conversations into three separate blogs.

Insofar as the first is concerned, there are going to be some changes around here, marked by shorter, more frequent posting habits. I'm one of those people who suffers from too-much-to-say and sometimes my mind gets clogged up with a zillion disparate conversations all clamoring to come out first. Overlay my perfectionism you have a recipe for full-on writer's paralysis. So the only way for me to continue writing for Merely Human is to narrow down its focus.

My goal is to give you more high-quality information on this blog than you would otherwise be willing to pay for. My whole gripe is that certain people on the net are aggressively pushing lame products and unoriginal content onto ignorant markets, thereby doing a disservice to all of mankind. Thus the "Don't Pay for Philosophy" philosophy behind my latest activity. Certain institutions and gurus must be exposed and I'm ready to talk smack.

Then, very soon, I will be announcing two new blogs which will serve as companion sites to this one.

PS: In the future I will try and tighten up my paragraphs for easier reading. As I finish writing this, I realize mine are the Esuvee's of blog entries.


Trying to Be Everything to Everybody?

That's your problem -- Defining your industry as say "Media" is too broad and not specific enough. Taking the opposite approach would be more advantagous to your company in the shorter and longer term.

For example, spinning off a unique sub-category of  "advertising" will yield far better for your brand than broadly trying to encompass the concept of  "media",  which has already been divided and sub-divided into many distinct categories (err... industries) in the minds eye of the consumer.

Much easier to divide and sub-divide your market indefinately than it is to collapse it all together under a single brand, which is what you may be trying to do.  Don't.

Even if consolidating your industry is what you're ultimately driving at, you must know that a market can't be collapsed under a single brand until you own numerous positions within that market.

It can't be an accelerated process and it takes an extremely savvy strategist at the helm to execute. It's highly doubtful even the Big Two-or Three  in your industry have this person, yet it's the kind of undertaking you should fear most by your competitors.

Vast resources and mass market acceptance has placed your industry's top-guns in the enviable position of being able to deploy customized solutions as and when new market opportunities crop up. Before less developed companies can organize a response, big companies have subsumed all viable niche opportunities into themselves. Sadly, the majority of advertising agencies operating today belong to but a handful of holding companies whose evil purpose it is to control everything.

Small businesses like yours have no such initiative of scale. Fortunately for us guys, most attempts by large companies to consolidate the market in such a manner fail. Despite succeeding in advertising, trying to concentrate on too many targets usually leads to hitting none. Therefore your marketing mandate is to deliver a more complete argument to narrower audience.

Your absolute best chance of dominating anything is to paint yourself into a corner. Stake out a niche and own it. Do everything in your power to make competition with you impossible. You can't succeed in that if you're trying to be everything to everybody--you must patiently cultivate authority and trust within a small crowd possessing well-defined consumer needs. Only after you own your segment totally can you think about encroaching on someone else's.


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