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Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin’

I’ve been thinking about magic. Even though I’m reading Joan Didion’s memoir about the year she spent pondering how she might reverse her husband’s death, I don’t mean that kind of magical thinking.

black cat by A.AshmanI’m talking about context. In its absence, everything looks like magic.

David Blaine’s recent TEDmed talk reveals the training behind the endurance-artist’s 17-minute feat of holding his breath under water. Rather than illusion, the magician relied on science.

“What will the world be like 10 years from now?” asks the Shorty Awards interview. (I’m honored to be nominated this month for producing 140-character, real-time content). I’m afraid the future will be divided: digital-natives and -immigrants on one side, and the other group mystified how we know so much.

In much the same way, philosophies about our interconnectedness will also separate us. Look at the release of marketer Seth “tribes” Godin’s latest book this week. Among a hundred positive ones by people who donated to the Acumen Fund to receive advance copies — resulting in a slew of pre-publication synergistic footwork among his tribe — the top critical review on Linchpin’s first day suggests the Amazon review system has been gamed.  Shillery.

When we invest in research and relationships (with online alliances even more invisible to the unconnected) our results can seem like wizardry.

Which magic are you going to think more about?

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Growing up in a countercultural town, the presentation and packaging tactics of Madison Avenue and Hollywood, and the protocol of the diplomatic world seemed like subversive tools of the establishment. I often think of a brilliant local character known as a founding father of California’s rich architectural history who wandered the streets of Berkeley barefoot, his red beard and hair wild, beer belly protruding from a ripped t-shirt. Where might his speaking career — and wind of Berkeley’s astounding architectural heritage — have taken him, if he hadn’t appeared to be a vagrant?

Recently marketing futurist Seth Godin talked about the decisive role of cultural wisdom — or sophistication — in business, and asked why we don’t take it more seriously.

I polled my online contacts, asking Is poor presentation a death sentence for a good idea? LinkedIn said yes (66%), to be successful an idea demands professionalism. “Presentation is EVERYTHING!” effused one person. Facebook was split, debating what professionalism means and the harm of over-marketing, with craftspeople and small business owners shouting “Hell no!” Commitment ranked as the top factor in success. One pragmatic man observed “Professionalism works in dull markets,” while a fellow Berkeleyan admitted we have to ”be able to engage with the status quo enough to be able to transmit a new concept.” Here at WordPress, 50% thought if the idea was winning people would forgive a shaggy package and one respondent likened presentation to the booster rocket that gets the Space Shuttle in to orbit.

Is superficial accessibility superficial? Or are movements we think of as “fringe” on the periphery not just because their beliefs are minorly held, but because they refuse to persuade from within general convention?

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