January 2007

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There’s a fantastic interview on the 37Signals blog where marketing experts/authors Seth Godin and Mark Hurst discuss (wait for it) marketing.

As has been the case with a lot of my recent posts, there’s nothing overtly related to music or the music business here (they never talk about either; in fact, they spend a lot of time talking about JetBlue), but I find what they have to say wildly applicable to anyone trying to get people to hear the music they create or have a vested interest in. Here are some quotes from their discussion that jumped out at me:

…but what i was going to say about jetblue is that pretty much ANY company or team can put that to use: find the key unmet needs of your customers, and build the experience to deliver on those.

In every company that I’ve ever seen that gets it right, it’s because someone WANTS to get it right. It’s not easy (if it were, everyone would do it) so the game goes to people who are willing to make sacrifices to do the hard work.

I’m consistently amazed at the lack of cognizance “marketers” often have of their customer’s needs. More often than not, sadly, they don’t really think about their customers at all. You people in band’s, how often do you think about your customers’ (fans’) needs?

Additionally, I often am discouraged by the mercurial nature of “entrepreneurs” today. Perhaps it’s because it’s too easy to start a business today. This is perhaps particularly true for web-based businesses, because it just requires an idea (however hare brained it might be), a website, and a paypal account to be in business. Of course, starting a band (which, whether you want to admit it or not, is a business), requires even less of an initial investment. Have some songs…you’re a band (in theory).

So, that second quote I’ve pulled really hits home for the music business today. In order to succeed you have to want to get it right, and be committed to getting it right. The two work hand in hand. You gotta want to know your customers (fans), and work hard to satisfy their needs.


My last post introduced the idea of GTD (getting things done), and specifically, the efficiency philosophy espoused by David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done, as well as via sites like 43Folders and Lifehacker.

Well, to get you started, I thought I’d bring to the discussion one of the most profound techniques from Allen’s GTD: the two-minute rule. This deceptively simple technique basically attempts to get you in the habit of clearing out the small, annoying, tasks (frequently things you think about more than once but do nothing about) that have a habit of cluttering up your brain and disallowing you to get to the bigger issues (Allen refers to these as “Open Loops”).

What you do is first purge all of the things you have floating around in your brain (ideally into a system like kGTD), and then identify any of these things that you can accomplish in two minutes or less. These things might include, answering certain emails, returning a phone call, paying a bill, etc.

As I said, this is deceptively simple stuff. Once you sort of institutionalize this practice so that you routinely and automatically knock off those little two-minute details, you’ll find yourself with moments of real clarity that will allow you to get to bigger things: write that song, write that marketing plan for your CD release, etc.

As we’ll see in future posts, this two-minute drill is foundational, and will be built upon in other elements of the GTD system, but, for now, just go and knock down some annoying open loops.

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