Friday, September 05, 2008

Every wanted to work with me? Now you can.

We take a break from our regular Sarah Palin coverage for this important message:

Hey folks,

I'm looking to hire a marketing manager to work closely with me on launching creative outbound marketing campaigns and programs for PBwiki. I would really love your recommendations on good people who might fit the bill.

PBwiki is a leader in hosted collaboration solutions for teams and organizations. PBwiki hosts nearly 600,000 wikis, its revenues are growing 400% per year, and I was one of the first outside investors in the company, so you can see that I really believe in this opportunity. PBwiki's other investors include Ron Conway and Mohr Davidow Ventures.

Whoever I hire will have the opportunity to prove their marketing skills by building on PBwiki's existing reputation and millions of users, and adding their own special oomph. He or she will be working with me on a daily basis as my right hand man or woman, and will have plenty of opportunities to shine.

PBwiki is located in San Mateo, halfway between Silicon Valley and San Francisco, and employees receive the usual baker's dozen of perks, including all the free food they can eat, gym memberships to work off the excess pounds from eating that food, weekly massages, and a grand piano that mysteriously appeared in the company's lobby one day. We will pay for relocation.

Anyone you know who is interested should go here to apply:

Here's the full listing:


If you love building, launching, and running creative marketing programs, we're looking for you.

The Marketing Manager will take charge of our outbound marketing programs, including everything from SEO and SEM to event and guerilla marketing. You'll have some incredible assets at your disposal (the ability to put messages in from of PBwiki's millions of users; lots of freedom and flexibility), and we'll be expecting incredible results.

What kind of person are you?
You're creative AND organized. You love coming up with ideas and brainstorming, but you're just as passionate about turning great ideas into concrete programs with measurable ROI. You feel perfectly comfortable with the entire range of marketing channels and programs, from trade shows to AdWords, and everywhere in between. You're a team player, but you judge yourself and others on the results they deliver.

Key responsibilities:
* SEO, SEM, Email, and Web marketing
* Social media and awareness generation
* Trade show, user group, and event marketing
* Overseeing Marcomm production
* Helping to shape overall marketing strategy and approach
* Creating, monitoring, and improving tools to monitor marketing ROI

* At least 2-3 years experience in product marketing, both online and offline
* Active participant in social media
* Techno-savvy, with experience working with developers
* Previous Marcomm and PR experience a plus
* Intrapreneurial, can-do attitude
* If you don't subscribe to TechCrunch and Slashdot in your feed reader, this isn't the job for you

Candidates should email their resume to and write about three programs they'd love to launch for PBwiki.

Paragraph of the Day: Conservatism

I'm sure conservatism will one day recover - because it is right about the main issues: government needs to be kept in its place, taxes should be low and budgets balanced, individuals should be able to pursue their dreams as free of government control as possible, families do matter and need to be free from government interference, free markets and enterprise are the only guarantees of prosperity, moral choices - and their consequences - should be faced by the individual responsibly, and we have to be strong in our defense and prudent in foreign policy. This is the conservatism I still believe in. Deep down, I'm sure McCain does too. But it will only come from the ashes of this fundamentalist, mean-spirited, parochial, arrogant, big-spending, irresponsible shambles of a party.

--Andrew Sullivan

Now that's a definition to conjure with: Smaller government, individual freedom, free markets, and strong defense. I'll buy into that.

Tragically, here's how the two current political parties stack up in this regard:

Smaller government:
  • Democrats: F
  • Republicans: D+ (Bush II threw away his party's hard-won rep for fiscal responsibility)

Individual freedom:
  • Democrats: D (Too enamored of the nanny state)
  • Republicans: D (Too socially conservative)

Free markets:
  • Democrats: D (instinctive socialists)
  • Republicans: C (too swayed by special interests)

Strong defense:
  • Democrats: D
  • Republicans: B
What's a true conservative to do?

Quote of the Day: Leadership

"There is one irrefutable definition of a leader, and that is someone people follow."

-Michael Maccoby

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Once American Decides Who It Likes, It's Hard To Change Its Mind

The recent attacks on Barack Obama and Sarah Palin show a fundamental ignorance of how America works. The bottom line is that once Americans decide that they like someone, they don't like to change their mind.

America decided that it liked Ronald Reagan, and no amount of liberal teeth-gnashing could dent Ronnie's Teflon popularity.

America decided that it liked Bill Clinton, and even an unseemly sex scandal failed to derail his popularity.

America likes Barack Obama. Even the Republicans have a hard time working up too much enthusiasm for attacking him, though they're getting up a pretty good head of steam.

What's intriguing is that America seems to like Sarah Palin. It's only known her a week, but so far, it likes what it sees.

If I were advising the campaigns, I'd avoid personal attacks on either of these two likeable candidates.

Sigh, it's enough to make a political junkie pine for the Hillary Clinton/Rudy Giuliani race that might have been. Now THAT would have been something to see.

The Road to the Presidency Runs Through The Remote

Every election since 1960 has gone to the candidate that was the superior on-camera performer.

1960: Kennedy over Nixon.
1964: Johnson over Goldwater
1968: Nixon over Humphrey
1972: Nixon over McGovern
1976: Carter over Ford
1980: Reagan over Carter
1984: Reagan over Mondale
1988: Bush over Dukakis
1992: Clinton over Bush
1996: Clinton over Dole
2000: Bush over Gore
2004: Bush over Kerry

Barack Obama is clearly the best television performer in the race; will Palin's charisma be enough to offset it? History suggests that the answer is no.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Palin Breathes Life Into McCain Campaign

Governor Sarah Palin's speech tonight was harsh, pandering, and full of factual inaccuracies. And it breathed life into the dying McCain campaign, which seemed headed for a landslide defeat.

It was only earlier today when MSNBC's microphones caught two leading conservative commentators, Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy, calling the McCain campaign "over," the Palin pick "cynical," and "bullshit," and agreeing that Palin was not the most qualified woman McCain could have picked.

Many commentators had raised the spectre of Eagleton, and suggested that Palin wouldn't make it to the end of the convention, and would be replaced by Mitt Romney.

What a difference a night makes.

Most of the criticisms of Sarah Palin are accurate. She isn't qualified to be president. She doesn't have any foreign policy experience. She has abused her power as governor. And she isn't squeaky clean when it comes fighting the system.

But by throwing the kitchen sink at Palin and demeaning her, the Democratic bloggers and pundits committed the same cardinal sin that McCain had against Obama--they had stuck their necks out too far, leaving themselves vulnerable to a counterattack.

(By the way, when Obama says his campaign was not behind the attacks on Palin, I believe him. The Axe and company are too smart to fall into McCain's trap. Too bad for them that the rest of the Democratic party are too short-sighted and undisciplined to follow orders. They've been given a once-in-a-generation gift in Obama's natural talent, and they're still trying to squander it!)

Palin sank the axe into their necks with gusto.

Here's what Obama supported Clive Crook of the Atlantic Monthly had to say:

Astonishing. It was a fine convention speech--but, reading the text, no better than very good. What was just sensational, far exceeding my expectations, was the delivery. After the thrashing she has received from press and television in the past few days, knowing what was at stake for the party and for John McCain as she stood at the podium, with a good part of the nation watching and waiting for her to trip, her composure and self-assurance were simply amazing. Who could fail to be moved by this? And it was even more impressive than it looked, because the waves of adulation from the audience kept interrupting her momentum: they did not know it, but at times the audience was making it harder for her. Yet she never looked hesitant or thrown. She paused when she had to and controlled the timing. She actually seemed comfortable. If ever there were a political natural, we saw one tonight.

That's my conclusion as well. The speech was a B+; it relied too much on simple-minded pandering. Palin's delivery was an A-; she started slow, and took some time to hit her stride. But in terms of effectiveness, it was a solid A, and just as strong strategically as Barack Obama's acceptance speech last week.

America had been hearing all week that Palin was unqualified, that she was a lightweight former beauty queen, and that she was a bad mother. What they saw tonight was a tough, eloquent, commanding woman with a loving family that most would envy.

Even more, what Palin's speech did was redefine the battle lines of the campaign. McCain had been attacking Barack Obama on experience, claiming he was a lightweight. While Palin continued this line of attack, she did so largely as a defensive measure to counter the criticisms of her own swift ascent.

Rather, what Palin did was shift the terms of the debate to moral and cultural grounds. Obama had been making hay from McCain's blunder in not knowing how many houses he owned. Palin scotches that because she, like Obama, rose from humble beginnings. Even better, she is a genuine moose-stewing hockey mom, a small-town girl made good.

As my friends in the Bay Area often forget, a good portion of this country believes that small towns are better than sinful metropolises, and that a local girl from Wasilla is more fit to lead than an egghead with a Harvard Law degree.

She also aimed straight at family values voters, with her ridiculously telegenic family providing the backdrop for a dream narrative: high school sweethearts, 5 kids, son getting ready to deploy to Iraq, other son providing a living testament to the pro-life movement. And when her youngest daughter licked her hand to pat her infant brother's hair back into place? Political gold. There was definitely some high-fiving in the war room when that happened.

Bottom line: Less affluent, less-educated white Americans don't like being called bitter, don't like hearing religion and guns disparaged, and don't like educated eggheads telling them what to do (even if the advice is for their own good). They'd much rather vote for a war hero and a hockey mom whom they can relate to than a big-city intellectual who thinks he's better than them.

My snap judgment when McCain picked Palin was that it was a smart, strategic move. In the wake of tonight, I'm going to have to upgrade it to "brilliant" and possibly even "game-changing."

Not only did Palin dispel any lingering doubts about her place on the ticket (at this point, there's a much greater chance that the Republicans would dump *McCain* than Palin), she also showed that she had the chops to go after Obama like a pit bull with lipstick. The skill with which she delivered insulting and slanderous attacks was astonishing; she slipped the knife into the ribs with a smile.

Just as Obama did a great job of attacking McCain (the disappointed tone when he said that McCain wasn't a bad man, just out of touch was masterful), so too Palin did a great job of reviving nearly every successful attack on Obama from earlier in the campaign.

If Obama is the liberal Reagan, Palin is the female Nixon, but with charisma.

(Those who mock Nixon fail to realize that he was a master politician who managed to win two elections as VP and two elections as President, something no other man or woman has EVER done, despite the handicaps of a modest upbringing, unimpressive background, a complete lack of charisma, and being hated by nearly 50% of the electorate for over 20 years.)

My reactions after Palin's speech can be summed up in four words: A Star Is Born.

Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican party. She has already eclipsed McCain, Huckabee, Romney, and Giuliani in the hearts of the activists. The sound you just heard was the death rattle of their collective political futures.

I expect Palin to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, setting up a true battle royale between her and President Obama.

The fact remains that Obama should be heavily favored to win the 2008 election. But Palin can use this election cycle as a launching pad. Absurd? So was the notion that just four years after being introduced to the nation during the Democratic National Convention, a previously unknown "skinny black kid with a funny name" would be on the verge of the presidency.

To quote Brooks and Dunn, "Only in America."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Framing the Democrats

Question for discussion: If the Republicans brand themselves as "Guns, Babies, Jesus," what have the Democrats branded themselves as, and is it working?

Here's my best stab: "Minorities, Welfare, Abortion." Hmmm, doesn't have a winning ring.

Some might argue for a different phrasing (say, "Inclusiveness, Equality, Choice") but that's just gilding the lily. If you were a Democrat, and you argued against affirmative action, aid to the poor, and abortion rights, you'd find yourself getting kicked out of the party pretty damn quick.

You can view Obama's campaign as one long attempt to rebrand the Democratic party. The question is, will it succeed? And has the leopard really changed its spots?

Quote of the Day: Guns, Babies, Jesus

"Palin = Guns, Babies, Jesus."

--Rush Limbaugh

Once again, evidence that Republicans are better at simplifying and framing than Democrats. Agree or disagree, you're pretty damn sure what they stand for.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Exploit eBay To Cheaply Reach Your Target Market

Seth Godin highlights a great marketing idea in his latest post:

What if your new rock group appeals to fans of the B52s? Or if your new book is just perfect for people who like Brad Meltzer? If you have a CD or a book or an idea that will appeal to a certain psychographic, it might not be so easy to reach just those people.

Dave came up with a super idea: go buy a bunch of B52s CDs. Then list them (brand new!) for sale on Amazon and eBay. Price them ridiculously low, like a dollar. The only people who are going to buy a copy are focused fans. Then, when you ship out the CD, include your new CD in the box as well. You've reached exactly the right people (purchasers! who spent money! who are fans!) at exactly the right moment. Why not include two or three in the box? Fans know fans, and they like spreading the good stuff around.

I love it. You're exploiting the targeted traffic available on eBay and Amazon to reach precisely the folks you want to target. Since they're designed to harvest value from sellers based on taking a slice of revenues, it's incredibly cheap marketing.

I'd include samples and coupons. Better yet, automatically sign them up for an affiliate program!

I'm reminded of the old story about the cowboy who led mule teams carrying bags of rocks through an enemy blockade. The puzzled soldiers would search the packs, then wave him on through.

"What are you smuggling for the resistance," his friend asked.

The cowboy just smiled. "Mules."