Category Archives: Marketing

A boy, a starfish, the sea and me


While walking along the Marine Park beach in Fairhaven one evening, I was reminded of the inspirational story about the old man, the young boy, the starfish and the sea. Here is my [unauthorized] adapted version for anyone who is not already familiar with the inspirational tale.

An old man was walking along an expansive beach one summer evening. In the distance, he saw a small figure running up to the water’s edge, throwing something into the sea and running back onto the beach. After watching the figure repeat this course for some period of time, the old man became curious about what was happening.

Eventually, he approached and found that it was, in fact, a young boy. The boy was bending down, picking up a starfish from the wet surf, running to the water’s edge and throwing it as far as he could back into the sea. When the boy returned for his next starfish, the old man stopped him and asked,”Young man, may I ask what you are doing exactly?”

The young boy replied, “I’m saving the starfish, mister.”

The old man looked around, and, noticing how many starfish were washed up this particular evening on the beach, said “But, young man, there are hundreds of starfish on the beach here, and thousands more along the coast. And this is just one beach among hundreds of beaches in this one small area…

…Surely you don’t think that you’re really going to make a difference by throwing one starfish at a time back into the sea!

With that, the young boy bent down, picked up another starfish, ran down to the water’s edge and threw it, with all the strength that his little frame could manage, as deep into the sea as he could. When he returned, he looked up at the old man and, with a grin, said “It made a difference for that one.”

There is something timeless about this motivational story. It inspires us because of the universal, but often forgotten, truth it holds.

Every day we live, every thing we do, every thought we have makes a difference — even those days and things and thoughts that we (or others) might think are so incredibly insignificant at the time matter.

When you get frustrated by the enormity of something that must be done — when you feel that you won’t be able to make a difference all on your own — when you think that your individual effort and small contribution to the world is insignificant in the grand scheme of things; remember the boy and the starfish.

Great civilizations, great companies, great solutions, great adventures and great relationships don’t happen overnight. They are built slowly over a history of small events that unfold one after the other on a long journey of effort and exploration – one small moment at a time — one small effort at a time.

Tomorrow is just another day.

I am incredibly optimistic about it!

Are you?

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How 2 Creative Teenage Minds and Lil Wayne Proved that Newsletter and Email Marketing is Still PHAT

Mind 1 and Mind A aka Matt Schlicht and Mazyar "Mazy" Kazerooni

Meet Mind 1 and Mind A (a.k.a. Matt Schlicht and Mazyar “Mazy” Kazerooni)

Since they were 15 years old, they have been setting the Internet ablaze by creating memes and making stuff go viral via their enthusiasm, creativity and social media mastery.

They played a big part in helping Ustream grow from 5 employees to over 150 by doing things like streaming a dude playing Halo 3 for 72 hours straight and providing direct support for the Soulja Boy Ustream channel and then asking him to ask Bow Wow to consider switching from to Ustream (which he did.)

Lil Wayne Email Marketing Strategy

Meet Lil Wayne

Via Ustream, Mind 1 and Mind A met Lil Wayne and shortly afterwards helped him to attain over 30 Million Facebook Fans.

So what does all of this Social Media Thug Wizardry have to do with email marketing?

Recently, Matt and Mazy launched, an artist promotion [slash] fan management [slash] social media optimization [slash] multimedia publishing [slash] attention-getting app for Facebook, which includes, among other things, a Love button that fans can click if they want to receive email and other notifications when new tracks,  videos or events are shared by their favorite artists.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Aren’t Lil Wayne’s fans already notified by Facebook when he posts new songs and videos on the site?”

Well, yes, but when they click the Love button, the Facebook app is installed and their email address and other contact information is collected by the artist. This allows the artists to notify their fans inside or outside of Facebook about new material or events.

“Email travels over the walls of Facebook. Beyond the Twitterverse. Outside the circles of Google Plus. Email is a bridge between the variety of social media, networking, website, blog, forum, video, peer to peer and mobile platforms. It is the ubiquitous standard of messaging that links everyone and everything together — to include, as Lil Wayne’s marketing team seems to understand, the artist and his fans.” – Tom O’Leary Facebook Love button

When asked about the importance of the Love button on Facebook, Matt Schlicht said

“Artists have built up big fan bases but don’t have a lot of information on fans, not even their emails” – Matt Schlicht

So how much love is there?

According to an article published today in Forbes, quite a bit.

“The first day ran a campaign for Lil Wayne more than 100,000 people signed up, giving their name, email address, gender and other information.” – Tomio Geron

Talk about an effective email mailing list acquisition strategy.

That’s SICK (you know, in the good way.)

You can keep up with Mind 1 and Mind A on their blog, Creative Minds 1 and A

…And, YO! Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy and Bow Wow; HOLLA if you need some PHAT newsletter and email marketing software Yo!

Is Hotmail Anti-Permission?

Recently, I wrote about Hotmail creating “graymail”, a term used to define that email which is sent by legitimate senders but which does not comply with the rules that Hotmail also created to identify graymail; and how Hotmail then waged a war on this graymail that they created.

Here is Hotmail’s Definition of Graymail
(my emphasis in bold)

What is graymail?

The problem with today’s inbox is that it is easy for it to get filled up with mail you don’t want. It could be newsletters you signed up for and forgot about (but keep getting), or it could be newsletters you get when you join a new service (and forgot to uncheck that pesky box that says “send me lots of email!”). Or it could even be updates you get from a social network or website. What really characterizes graymail is that the same message that one person thinks is “spam” could be really important to another person. It’s not black and white, hence the name.”

So, with this lack of definition for the term they created, Hotmail decided it would be most appropriate if they decided for you (because it is all rather obscure, really) and take control of your inbox, ironically, with or without your permission.

So, is Hotmail anti-permission? Do they honestly feel that they should be able to decide which newsletter subscriptions should or should not be delivered to your inbox?

Did you give Hotmail permission to do this?

I didn’t.

Related: Recently, I aired some of my frustrations about how antispam is becoming more annoying than spam ever was.

The Psychology of color in email and websites

What’s your favorite color?

“…Obviously, if you ask this question to a group of people, you will get a variety (or spectrum!) of answers. Colors affect and influence people in different ways, and much research has been published to ascertain what emotional response different colors provoke. An effective communicator always takes her audience into consideration when preparing a message. Vocabulary, tone, length of material, and style are all adapted to each particular audience. But how important is color really, in terms of communicating a professional message? Isn’t content all that matters?

According to, psychologists estimate that the response to color can account for 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a product or service. Modern communicators who use design elements in their messages must consider what colors are appropriate for their audience. When considering color in the context of your message, you must take into account the cultural, gender, and age difference of your audience…”

For a very interesting article on the psychology and meanining of color in email and on websites, read The Psychology and Meaning of Color in Email and Websites