April 4, 2006

reboot 8


Looks like I'll be speaking at Reboot.

Thanks to Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, as always, for setting up the grooviest mashup in Europe, bar none.

Hoping to do a panel with myself, Rick, Doc, Scoble [if his boss lets him come], Preston and Jason.

Subject: The Global Microbrand.

Here's my schpiel: A lot of the blogosphere's big success stories seem to come mostly from the usual suspects: techies, internet developers, journalists, media folk and consultants.

I'm interested in how we get more success stories from other sources.

There's no one answer to this. But it's an ongoing conversation that utterly fascinates me.

How about you?

[Reboot 8: 1-2 June, 2006, Copenhagen.]

Posted by hugh macleod at April 4, 2006 11:53 AM | TrackBack

I'm struggling with writers (serious fiction/lit fiction) understanding the effects of blogging. I think a few get the push-button nature of blog publishing. The problem is -- my problem -- what do readers expect from serious fiction writers? Perhaps one solution blogging provides is cutting down on emails from fans (some of which want their novel/story read and editied for free, etc.). I suppose this is a benefit and makes the conversation more efficient, only it feels not wrong but not right. Besides when the writer's next book is coming out and where and when the writer's next appearance happens, I am not sure what the fan wants or expects.

Posted by: Scott Smith at April 4, 2006 1:02 PM

Greatly interests me, and there is no single answer. The other sources you mention are most likely to provide real answers, untainted by the opinions of 'the usual suspects'.

And validation of the medium for everyday businesses, of which there are a great deal more than those the size of Amazon.

Posted by: Jeremy Ballenger at April 4, 2006 1:06 PM

Hey Hugh,

I've been looking for these stories in other sectors myself - and for lack of finding many, am working (from the inspiration of the global microbrand) on creating my own, with my wife. She's in a decidedly low-tech field - dog training. She's also in a decidedly huge (and growing) market: Pet products. It just seemed to make sense to leverage her experience in public speaking and adult education (from former, but real lives/careers) in this sphere.

But since I can't get her to write or blog, I have to put a mic on her and record the gems. We've started to give away her most popular class as a podcast. Not in the hopes that she won't have to teach it anymore, but because she feels that this info being out there is more important than the limited amount of people she can teach/reach in a sitting.

The early results: With a zero marketing budget (I am a volunteer at this point) audience is growing exponentially on a daily basis, and all of a sudden we've got eyeballs and revenue opportunities that we need to figure out how to capitalize on. It's very exciting, and I'll be happy to keep you up-to-date on how things progress.

Check her out at:

I'll be interested to see how our non-tech blogo-story develops. Any others out there?

Posted by: Stace at April 4, 2006 2:50 PM

Check out: http://www.sme-blog.net/sme_blog/

Phillip tells me social computing is transforming the business. It is early days. No metrics yet. It is making his life hell in one sense but interesting nonetheless. There's stuff going on behind the scenes that is capturing partners' attention. Knowing what I do about resistance to change generally among this profession, that's astounding.

Posted by: Dennis Howlett at April 4, 2006 3:24 PM

I'm definately interested as well - blogging is a vital part of a business plan I'm currently working on. As a furniture designer who wants to set up my own micro-manufacturing outfit, I see many obvious (and not so obvious) benefits the communication possibilities a company blog would give over the typical "top secret" business practices of furniture companies. It baffles me that so few designer/manufacturer companies (furniture or otherwise) utilize the internet beyond a flashy website, much less a blog.

Feel free to shoot me an email - I'd love to discuss this further.

Posted by: Aaron at April 4, 2006 4:38 PM

you happy with important people in a cool place.
blog is for bastards.. ssometimes.

Posted by: Simo at April 4, 2006 8:23 PM

As usual, Hugh, you are on to the next big thing. I think it is vital that we get blogging to cross the chasm and become a standard communication tool for more creative individuals (and firms?).

While you, Doc and Scoble work at the top levels, I'm trying to develop a self-sustaining model that works in any locale where there is creative talent that can benefit from better marketing tools.

I have started a series of open forums on blogging for local artisans, businesses and craftspeople to see if it is possible to promote widespread blogging and monitor the economic results for a specific area, in this case Floyd, Virginia.

For want of a better term, you might consider it an effort to impart the benefits of grass-roots microbranding through self-replicating UNforums.

It is already beginning to generate interest outside the area. It will be interesting to see how far it will go.

Posted by: David St Lawrence at April 4, 2006 8:34 PM

I'm just doing a bit of research for a blogging idea that I have. The short survey is at www.vanspot.com would appreciate anyone doing it.

Posted by: Geoff at April 5, 2006 12:15 AM

My big project right now is working on designing a simple interface and template for blog stores. I've got interest from TypePad if I can get them to believe the market is there for thisÖ (a simple way to sell stuff coupled with tags, categories and link-love? you bet there's a market!)

The screen grabs and such will be on the blog soon. In the mean time, read a bit more about it here: http://www.typepadhacks.org/2006/04/so_who_wants_bl.html

More and more, my income filters almost totally through my blogs. I sold art to both coasts last week without even having to think about it. And my first UK order came in yesterday. So, I guess that makes me feel like the GMB Koolaid is probably spiked.

Posted by: john t unger at April 5, 2006 7:37 AM

Success stories from other sources? You tell me. Iím a fashion designer in the Bay Area, aka the Peopleís Republic of All Things Geek. My boyfriend told me to blog and here I am blogging. But heís geekerati so of course he thinks itís a good idea. Me, Iím not convinced. Iíve had random readers email me with business propositions, as well as some crap swindles, but I could get that partying in L.A., which is what happened in my past life.

Of course, Iím not scoffing the networkingóIím just impatient. (Iím Korean, I canít help it.) Fashionistas just donít sit in front of the computer, and when they do, itís definitely not to read the rambling musings of another fashionistaóthey shop. Blogging works for geeks because they explore the web through links. Garmentos barely check their email. I fax people more than I email at work! Fax! Gah. Itís all word of mouth in my industry. How do you transfer that word of mouth mentality to the web for this industry when most days my boss forgets to turn on her printer and asks me why her printerís not working? Because the reality is, outside Geek Island, this is how most people are with their computers.

Posted by: verbalcroquis at April 5, 2006 8:09 AM

You've obviously not read English Cut, Verbal...



Posted by: Hugh MacLeod at April 5, 2006 8:27 AM

Actually, I've read English Cut, but I don't consider him part of the fashion industry. (He probably wouldn't either.) When you're talking about something as rare as true bespoke, people will go looking all over the place for it, including the internet. Also, his idea of booming success is cutting 100 suits a year. You're also talkng about someone who had his own business to start with.

Not to sound crabby--we're just talking 2 different ball games here. I wish I could take EC's success story and find hope in it, but it's just too different.

Posted by: verbalcroquis at April 5, 2006 3:05 PM


Posted by: Robert Bruce at April 5, 2006 5:19 PM


That's definitely a huge conversation there.

At the best of my research I haven't found any example in Suisse romande (French speaking Switzerland, 1.5 million people) yet that have fully taken the power of blogging to establish a Global Microbrand.

Blogs are just starting to be the hype in local media. Two free blogging platforms have opened in the last six weeks. Counting today 4317 and 3408 new blogs. Let's see what is going to emerge.

Keeping you posted.

Posted by: Anne Dominique at April 6, 2006 8:06 PM

Verbal, you seem to be suffering from what I call a "self-imposed limitation" ;-)

Anne, I agree, the conversation is potentially huge.

Posted by: Hugh MacLeod at April 11, 2006 3:04 AM

I have spoken to Verbal Croquis about this issue but I would like to add my own two cents here.

The world operates on narrative. A really good story compels us to expand our horizons. No matter what the subject matter, if the story is intriguing people will listen and success will follow.

I obviously do not have a professional career to chronicle like Verbal Croquis do on my blog but I believe Almost Girl has succeeded as a blog because I believe in the power of stories, both my own and others.

I have recently started a project called Coutorture (coutorture.net) with fellow fashion bloggoer Millionaire Socialite (wwww.millionairesocialite.com) as a way of promoting the many incredible stories and personalities that populate the fashion blogosphere as a way to bring us together better as a community.

In that sense, while you can't always quantify success as say the business growth of Tom Mahon, you can realize that your story adds value and inspires the many members of your particular community, in Coutorture's case fashion.

As we all learn to operate in a more connected world the value community begins to grow as your story starts to circulate. The right communities begin to find each other and as we do we begin to create even larger and more complete ventures together.

As Marriane Williamson said, the key to finding peace and love in this world is finding your people. One way to do so is by blogging.

Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion Incubator has really inspired me because her blog brings together designer and consumer in ways never before seen.

I feel like blogging is the first tentative step in a very powerful kind of co-creation between story teller and audience, designer and consumer, artist and art lover.

While I realize nothing I have said is particularly concrete I think that perhaps you can appreciate the emotional impact of what I am saying here. We are all together now, and the more we can reach out to others in our community and support them the more likely it is that business of the future will be more sustainable, more ethical, and more community minded.

That to me is the definition of success.

Posted by: Almost Girl at April 11, 2006 7:13 PM