Posts tagged ‘Seth Godin’

June 7, 2013

not everything valuable can be measured #TheArtOf

(or, why I like Seth Godin)

one of the amazing speakers at the Art of Marketing conference was marketing genius Seth Godin.

I first came across one of Seth’s blog posts years ago – part of it had something to do with being environmentally friendly and how people were writing “think before you print this” as part of their email signatures in the hopes that people – wouldn’t, and save a tree. Seth said something to the fact that it works the opposite way. I dashed off a quick email with the usual love your blog, love this post and asked why he thought it wasn’t environmentally friendly and went on with my day.

Why isn’t it, you might ask? Because someone who is going to or needs to print an email is going to, regardless of what you put at the bottom asking them not to. And more often then not, an email signature pushes an email to a second page. So instead of being environmentally friendly, you’ve just printed two pages, one of which has no info on it, except a request not to print it.

How did I find this out?

He emailed me back within half an hour. I nearly fell over. Seth Godin emailed me back! I’ve followed his blog ever since.


His segment was great – and he said a lot of scary things. Things like “the public does not want to hear from us anymore that era is over they are better at hiding from us than we are at finding them” and  “all interruption is optional” which are scary things to hear when you’re trying to get people to pay attention, whether it’s for shoes or baby clothes or art.

And that the space in between “normal” and “weird” are changing. It used to be that you’d create your product to appeal to the largest (maybe lowest) common denominator. And now there are more options for weird than normal. Like mainstream indie music – (which is a category, BTW).

Some things he said relieved me a bit. Like the title of this post – “not everything valuable can be measured“.
Which can be looked at under the category of “Counting New Beans“.  And we try to do that in our tribe every day.

And the fact that we now live in a connection economy, as opposed to the industrial revolution. “we connect and create value – no one person knows how to make a computer mouse.
We do that every day in the arts – you bring the script and he’ll bring the set design and she’ll being the lighting design and she’ll sell it all as a package and everyone gets credit for their contribution.

And one that struck me – if you want to reach people, you have to have something they want.
What do we have that people want? And not what we want, or want them to want – what they want.

And please don’t say you don’t care what they want, and it’s your art and if they don’t understand it it’s their concern. Because the second you ask people for their time at 8 pm on a Friday, and ask them to pay you to give you their time – it is your concern.

Food for thought.

One question from the audience kind of threw me – a woman saying her creative team was exhausted and verging on burnout and she really wanted to know what to do about it.

Give them a break. Let the focus slide for a second. You know how it’s said that if you’re working on the computer, you need to look up and away every half hour or so to give your eyes a break? Do that for your creativity. Do something that is outside of what you normally create. If you write, then draw. If you draw, then knit. Go to a movie. I do that a lot – it’s a trick I learned from Don Draper on MadMen. Or another: (panel from The Oatmeal)



Or I go to a conference on marketing where nothing is expected of me except to learn.

May 17, 2013

Infographics and an Article or Two. Maybe three.

Quick Infographic on the Science of Pricing – things to think about while ticketing. No more dollar signs!

Excellent article here on website content, which technically can apply to all your marketing. From Paul Chato, we just finished working together on a Fringe poster, so it was nice to see this.

Another excellent blog post from Seth Godin – Who do You Know? Excellent thought here – “Connect with enough people and you can’t help but bump into something outside your worldview.”

I know. I know. It’s not here. I won’t post it. Check the Star for the articles you’re really looking for today – a Conservative trifecta in the politics of shame. In other news, at least the LCBO isn’t on strike. Have a great long weekend!


May 12, 2013

Sunday Roundup – May 12

Mother’s Day! It is whatever it means to you.

Last week – posters got designed and press releases went out and the Moose charged and ideas were hatched and will be nurtured. What else?

Goodbye Galas, Outside the Arts Box and The Critic Stumbles

What Is Your Goal?

It’s Our Anniversary!

Here’s a couple bonus articles for a Sunday read:

How theatres can make everyone fight for the arts
“But the approach – which sees itself as a movement, not a campaign – is a smart way forward in more ways than one. For a start, it changes the tone of a debate that often seems stuck in the confrontational positions and slanging matches between artists and politicians of the 80s as a result of arts cuts. It repositions the debate in a place where dialogue can remain open and ongoing between those working in the arts and those running the country. The coalition will not be in power for ever, so the conversation must be with every political party, and it has to be ongoing, not just taking place when threats to funding are imminent.”


Your manifesto, your culture
“It’s easy to write something like this (hey, even the TSA has one) but it’s incredibly difficult to live one, because it requires difficult choices and the willingness to own the outcome of your actions. If you’re going to permit loopholes, wiggle room and deniability, don’t even bother.”

April 18, 2013

The Promised Arts PSAs

PLAY-ProudI said yesterday that once I’d finished shaking my head, I’d be back today with a stack of art-type PSAs . Lisa and I have compiled  the following.
Actually, before we get to them, I wanted to tell you how immensely thrilled I am that Proud has been picked up by GCTC in Ottawa to open their 2013 season in September. So very, very pleased.

1) The Gladstone Hotel offers life-drawing classes almost every Wednesday night at 8 pm, usually in the Art Bar. Bring your own materials.

2) Call for Submissions: Applications Open for the Next Stage Theatre Festival – click here for details.

3) Seth Godin’s Field Guide to the Meeting Troll – we’ve all been in meetings with this person.

4) From Imagine Canada – Five Common Mistakes in Grant Writing

5) Call for Submissions: StART Mural Program, StreetARToronto and an excellent accompanying article about street art

6) The 2013 Fringe Festival is just around the corner, and having completed the first read-through of Dan Reddican’s musical It’s Always You  last week, the hunt for rehearsal spaces has begun. Luckily for us (and you!) the Fringe has compiled a list of rehearsal spaces around the city. It’s a reliable and comprehensive list with specific details about sizing and pricing, and it will depend on what suits your needs. Our top three spaces so far are COBA (585 Dundas St. E, Suite 130 Daniels Spectrum), the Bloor St. United Church (300 Bloor Street W) and Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington Ave).

7) And finally – further to yesterday’s post about your product and your brand – from courtesy a friend of mine – How to Communicate in the Midst of Tragedy.  Number Six is a doozy.

April 15, 2013

A 21st C Radio Play tells a story, so does your brand

Titanic_by_amadscientistHanging out for dinner with friends last night and one kept checking her phone – I asked what she was looking at, and she tuned me in to this extremely cool twitter feed  – Titanic Real Time – within minutes I was fascinated too. “Experience Titanic’s epic journey with minute-by-minute tweets as if from on board the ship itself. Created by @TheHistoryPress  – the UK’s largest local and specialist history publisher.

Utterly amazing – a live-tweeting (sort of) thread telling the  complete story of an event we all know quite well – the night the Titanic sank. It’s told from the viewpoint of  various individuals, during the sinking of the ship, all marked by hashtags  – #crew, #captain, #firstclass and so on. Absolutely amazing to read as a thread, and was completely riveting to watch as it unfolded in real-time. It made me think of a radio play, in that you couldn’t see what was happening, you were reliant on tweets from various individuals, and their perspectives of what was happening. I guess it seemed a combination book/radio play because you were getting the information of what was happening in 140 characters or less, without the benefit of Foley. Remember a while back I wrote about Sometimes Hearing is Believing ? It’s that same sort of feeling – pure storytelling.

What is this in aid of? History Press is the UK’s largest local and specialist history publisher. They’re booksellers. They have come up with what I think is a fantastic way to engage the internet/social media generation in their paper product.  Brilliant. It’s made me even happier to know that – excellent innovative way to marry these two things.

Anyway – loved it. They’re doing WhitechapelRealTime in August  – Follow the Whitechapel police investigations of 1888 from the perspective of the detectives, officers and Whitechapel residents  – and I will definitely be tuning in.

Speaking of stories,  post from Seth Godin – in class a few weeks ago I was explaining what brand is, and what brand is not. And here it is again.

Have a good Monday – the sun is shining. So far.




April 9, 2013

Quantifying the Qualifiable

A couple of thoughts.

I can absolutely appreciate anyone who doesn’t “get” social media and its value. I look forward to helping/facilitating them to get on the path to getting it. That’s a big chunk of my job. And I absolutely love seeing the nod, the light go on, the excitement about getting it.

What do they need to do?

Be willing to try to get it.  If you are not willing to try to “get it” – you won’t. And no matter what I say, explain, demonstrate – you won’t get it. And you will leave unsatisfied, and not getting it. You’ll be irritated, I’ll feel bad. Harumph.

Why do folks sometimes not get it? Lots of reasons: they’re in unfamiliar territory, they’re not quite sure, they’ve never really used it before, you name it. All viable reasons.

And some are trapped in quantifying qualifiable experiences. A horrifying place to be, I’ve been there, because they are counting beans, and we need to come up with some new ones to count. Because counting old beans with new counting mechanisms does not work.

Which leads to a  mashup repost today from two previous posts on this sort of topic.

Two articles from quite different blogs  – Seth’s Blog and Mission Paradox – that seemingly agree on the same thing – that unanimous is not an option and the devil doesn’t need advocates. Well timed.

An article for you to read on how to convince the AD/ED/GM etc that social media does work.

And a recommendation to pick up a copy of Counting New Beans. 

Or at least google the phrase to get an idea of what it means. Image and statement from the website. Hopefully it piques your interest.


We make art because we believe it makes better human beings. We make art because we believe it makes being human better. So why do we spend so much energy quantifying the economics of what we do, and so little time quantifying the impact?



March 31, 2013

Sunday Roundup – March 30

SNOOPYAnd with that, tomorrow is the start of April. And I know today is Easter Sunday but we remain on track for the website.

Last week was a quiet week on the blog post front, but a busy one on the Facebook Page and Twitter feed – not everything posted there (like info on ticket discounts, how to articles and political activism updates) winds up here so I invite you to check out either or both for extra content.

(Certainly not to say content here is going to drop regularly, it’s just something I noticed last week.)

About last week…

Our Work Is Never Quite Done an excellent letter to send to your councillor.

You’ll Find No Chinese Pandas In This Post – Just Canadian People – photos of the physical end of The Journey Of NISHIYUU.

Something else from last week:  New Money, New Opportunities from the Live With Culture site: In January, Toronto’s arts community celebrated City Council’s commitment of new funding for arts, culture and heritage. Council’s strategy is contained in Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto, but spending priorities need to be established and the City is looking to the arts community for input and direction. Public consultations have been arranged during the month of April in Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and downtown. Your input is vital.

Further to the live feedback an online survey will be available here prior to the first public consultation on April 6 (please check back and fill out the survey on the Live With Culture site).

I asked about the format of the sessions and was told The sessions will be round-table style and staff will collecting feedback. See you there.

And of course, when in doubt, The Mission Paradox had a great post last week Promise and Deliver. Take a look, think about what you can promise, and then deliver on it.

And finally Seth’s Blog had something to think about this morning as well about not having just the good parts

If you’re wondering what Snoopy is looking at in the image above, it’s the link below. Happy Sunday!

March 6, 2013

More Video, Artist Earnings, Retrograde Mercury and Media and Patti Smith

Fantastic video from The Whipping Man, a Harold Green Jewish Theatre production in association with Obsidian Theatre – director Philip Akin. At the bottom of the post for your viewing pleasure.

An excellent article from the National Post on artist earnings, specifically indie musicians, and I agree with a friend who said it was possibly one of the best written articles on a stats report she’d seen.

Mercury is in retrograde til the 17th. Whether you believe in that stuff or not, enough people bring it up and blame it to have an effect.   Mercury is the planet of communication in all forms.  This includes verbal, email, phones, internet, written, signing papers and electronics.  It can also affect mechanical issues such as your computer or your car.  In retrogrades, communications are affected negatively. It was in retrograde through Pisces.

Mercury in retrograde with Pisces. Planet of Communications (also my ruling planet) in retrograde with the sign for artistic endeavours. I spent yesterday afternoon juggling six interviews with three newspapers with four actors on two shows. It all worked out in the end.  Wanna dance, Mercury?


Speaking of media – great little post from Seth Godin on Understanding Local Media

Tonight I’m off to the Patti Smith exhibit at the AGO .
There’s a talk after, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s obviously been a delightfully theatre-centric few weeks, but sometimes you need other art to sustain you, perk you up and juice up your creativity from another angle. It’s like a dill pickle after days of bread.


March 1, 2013

Recommended Reading and My Class Starts Monday

this weekend I’m cleaning up my blog roll – any suggestions of who I should put up there?  Mission Paradox is definitely one of them, and below is a recommended reading of their posts. Showed up in my inbox the other day.

Canada Council deadline today, and grant is ready to go, all but the signing. I’ll wave bye bye as I immediately have to hunker down and start creating a course rubric because I start teaching on Monday –  Jacoba and I have come up with a course that is practical boots on the ground with case studies and projects so that you’ll come away with useful advice, not just the theory of arts marketing. Today is the last day to register I think.

I’ll also be working again with PACT to get the word out about World Theatre Day, coming up March 27.
And a reminder that Laws of Motion opens tonight!

Get your grants out the door, your paperwork done because it is indeed Friday and we can’t have that hanging over our heads all weekend. And enjoy the following from The Mission Paradox.

1.  Uncommon Service – I truly believe that the ability to define and deliver superior customer service is going to be the thing that separates strong arts organizations from those that fail.  This book provides a good framework for understanding and implementing service.

2.  The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin has long been one of my “invisible mentors” i.e. someone whose advice I have respected and followed for years.  If you don’t read this book, we can’t be friends.

3.  Harvard Business Review – I particularly like the case studies because they present difficult problems with no clear/easy solutions.

4.  Presentation Zen (blog/book) – The ability to effectively present an idea is often the difference between it happening or the idea dying.  Garr Reynolds blog and books are a great guide toward presenting idea effectively to an audience of one of 10,000.

5.  Authentic Arts Marketing – Yes I wrote it, so I’m a little biased but I’m proud at how the little ebook has held up over the years.


January 17, 2013

b[ART]er workshop last night and upcoming teachings

So I had a fantastic time speaking at the b[ART]er  – Social Media Edition last night –  a great group of people with questions and answers and my co-speaker Ricardo McRae (Wedge 15) was ever so smart and a blast to work with too. You should follow them on Twitter @bARTerSEC to keep up on their events.

How much was it to go? someone asked me. It cost two hours. In other words, no money exchanged hands, but in the world of artists and entrepreneurs, two hours is an expensive thing, and I thank the participants for spending it with us.

I was also delighted to see four people there who took the same OSEB course as I did – I refer to it here as “Entrepreneuse School” so congrats to the latest group of grads and best of luck.

We kept recommending things to read and blogs to follow so here are the two main ones we talked about Mission Paradox and Seth Godin.

Had a meeting yesterday with the folks at Ryerson (The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, to be very specific) about a course called Communication and Promotion for the Arts (CDAM 101) that Jacoba Knaapen and I will be tag-team teaching in March/April. Here’s the official blurb: Understanding and researching the components of a marketing strategy is vital to positioning individual art, a creative service, or an organization. This course covers pricing the creative product or service; identifying, reaching, and engaging an audience; required human and financial resources; and how to evaluate efforts for improvement. Social media and digital technology are incorporated along with traditional techniques.

As soon as registration details are available, you shall have them.



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