THE COOLHUNTER

By Mark Lewman

I prepare trend reports for fortune 1000 companies.
I am paid to play
the disenfranchised against the disrespected
make the F1000 feel connected
to the cognosumers who reject them,
stuck in the cultural crosshairs.

I package the questions and organize the answers,
emailing the butcher, blackmailing the baker,
sharing the bone marrow with clandestine video game maker.

I tell them about funky black barbers in Memphis
using fire to cut hair.
Swedish teens bored to tears
soaking their tampons in vodka
to get juiced in school.
Crispin Glover joins the Wu Tang Clan
and nobody bothers to understand
but everybody says
dude that’s cool.

The revolution
is a bunch of white kids
addicted to database pollution
yelling slogans, brandishing upside down crosses
bearing inverted icons;

Pillsbury wants to update the dough boy and make butter ‘younger’,
stick that fucker with a fork and call your mother,
scrape the lard from the fat of the land
and leave it smoking in the pan.

And some guy in a conference room in Ohio says into his speakerphone:
“Tell me more about the Krautrock movement and the abstract bands.”
I spit out details to counteract,
and wipe my face with my cuff,
generating more fluff,
without concentrating on the end result,
just the next step which is an orchestrated effort to tap into tech step

to sidestep the fact that all packaged goods are the same,
only the name changes.
and the game rearranges and the world Wayne lives in
can be divided into stages, phases, trends, fads, and crazes.

Declare a war on a demographic,
paying top dollar for a guerilla campaign of street posters placed in prime places
where kids congregate and pedophiles masturbate to juvenile faces,
services provided by an eco-terrorist graffiti artist specializing in revitalizing heavy metal.
His brandalism spreads the viruses we peddle:
Kids in custom vans should crave candy and chemicals, rejecting morals and resting on their laurels,
making fun of Pauly Shore
as they get addicted to death and keep whoring for more.

And some guy in a conference room in Ohio will smile. “This is teen cool AND mom cool.”

What’s hot, what’s right, what’s not in the spotlight?
Hold a focus group and retool, train the pilots to tame the planes and get ready for a midair refuel.

Do kids really think black is the new brown?
or is platinum the new black?
Who do we assassinate, and what era is ripe for a comeback?

Do you trust me to keep the world on track?

Where do you find the best online marketing blog posts for 2007?

Techipedia, that’s where.

Tamar Weinberg has put together a phenomenal list of over 250 blog posts from 2007, covering everything you need to know about marketing online. Blogging, social networking, viral strategies, social media – you name it.

Here it is – Truly a great list that will have you reading for hours.

2007 has been rather quiet here at my blog, and posting has been scarce. It’s been a busy year for me, changing jobs (on 2 occasions), getting married, buying a house and starting a business. Not sure if 2008 will be any calmer, but I hope to blog more in the new year. Thanks for reading!

Friends with Facebook

There’s no doubt hottest thing online right now is Facebook. As I type, I’m sure that someone is either inviting you to join Facebook, adding you as their friend, poking you or writing on your wall.

For those who haven’t heard about Facebook, I’m willing to bet that you will have by next week. It’s the latest social networking phenomenon. What started as a website for American College students has now become the next big thing. This month, the number of Facebook users reached 30 million :: and that’s users who are visiting the site at least once a month.

What makes Facebook so addictive, and so viral, is that it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends, work colleagues and anyone else you know. God knows what it has done for workplace productivity, but if you want to connect with your mates and reconnect with old ones, Facebook is the place.

When someone says 30 million users, you can smell the marketers that are trying to cash in on the opportunity. Of course they are. But traditional marketing, via ‘banner advertising’, won’t work here – Valleywag has reported that Facebook is very poor performing, based on click through rates.

I’m not surprised. After all, Facebook is about the connections of friends. And when friends are connecting with friends, they’re not in a frame of mind to be advertised to.

In fact, an application like Facebook proves exactly what The Cluetrain Manifesto promised – that the internet isn’t another marketing channel, but a place for global conversation to thrive. Friends are connecting with friends on Facebook, and everywhere you go you can see that the human voice is alive and well.

So can Facebook be used as a marketing opportunity? And how does one tap into it?

I have a few ideas on the subject, which I’ll talk to you about soon.

PS – Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, is 23! Check him out here at the recent Keynote address that he did. Utterly inspiring and (for a 30 year old like me) totally depressing all at the same time.

Greener Apples, but are they good enough?

Back in January I wrote about Greenpeace’s amazing campaign to make Apple go green, which encouraged Apple users to work together to persuade the company to improve it’s nasty environmental record.

Now, it seems, they are listening. Steve Jobs has announced that Apple will be removing toxic chemicals and introducing recycling programs (in the US anyway). From his announcement:

It is generally not Apple’s policy to trumpet our plans for the future; we tend to talk about the things we have just accomplished. Unfortunately this policy has left our customers, shareholders, employees and the industry in the dark about Apple’s desires and plans to become greener. Our stakeholders deserve and expect more from us, and they’re right to do so. They want us to be a leader in this area, just as we are in the other areas of our business. So today we’re changing our policy.

This certainly is good news. Apple have shown that they do listen to their customers, and are willing to become a more environmentally friendly company.

But is this enough? I don’t think so.

We are entering a new marketing era. The truly excellent green marketers will be environmentally pro-active, designing and manufacturing products and services that are green to the core. Not just because their consumers ask for it, but because really, it is the only choice. Apple’s decision to go green may be a step in the right direction – but it’s still a reactive move.

We’re going to see some amazing new companies that are hugely successful by launching products that are irresistible and green (yes, the two can exist together). Doing anything else just wont cut it anymore.

Cool community of characters at Mojizu

mojbob.gifOK, I'm a sucker for illustration and social / community websites.

So when Michael Arrington reviewed the cool new contemporary character site, Mojizu, I was bound to notice.

mojboss.pngMojizu is a great little site where you can upload, showcase, vote for and rate user-submitted illustrated characters. I could waste hours on this thing rating monsters, aliens and robots.

Sites like this are a clear sign that social media websites are appearing in more and more niche areas. They're really taking off. First there was links (del.icio.us). Then photos (flickr). Then music (last.fm). Then books (librarything), then clothes (Stylehive), then wine (cork'd). Now there's cartoon characters.

mojninj.gif"Where's the business model?", I hear you ask. Mojizu receives it revenue through Mojishop, which it shares with the artists. So while it is mostly for fun, there is some money to be made.

mojfist.pngBut does it always have to be about business models?
I think all sorts of people are seeing the social benefits of the second internet revolution. Some are working out how to make money from it. Others, like Mojizu, are just having a bit of fun.

10 ways

Now for something a little more upbeat.

Getty Images have a project, 10 ways, which looks at 10 different ways we can look at photogaphy. This is by far the coolest thing I've seen online for a while. 

Last.fm sounds like innovation

OK, it’s official. I am completely addicted to last.fm. It looks like you are too. From Alexa:

lastfmgraph.jpg

Of the huge influx of web2.0 products and services, this is one of the rare few that stands out.

If you haven’t seen this site yet, get yourself over to http://www.last.fm straight away. Set up an account, and last.fm starts learning what music you are into. It develops a profile of your music tastes, and based on this it reccomends new music that you will like.

This is what they say about it:

You get your own online music profile that you can fill up with the music you like. This information is used to create a personal radio station and to find users who are similar to you. Last.fm can even play you new artists and songs you might like. It’s addictive, it’s growing, it’s free, it’s music.

From a music lover's perspective, it completely eliminates the need to listen to crap music any longer. The music that is recommended to you istop-notch. It gives you the chance to try before you buy a new album. And it will introduce you to new music that you would have never found. Legally.lasttail.jpg

Being un-tech minded, I'm blown away by the technology here. And it's truly healthy for the music industry. It gives punters like me a new-found thirst to find good music. You can even filter by obcrurity with this nifty little long tail slider.

The entrepreneur in me is excited too. Last.fm has totally changed the rules of how we listen to music, much like the iPod did not that long ago. It's also breath of fresh air online. Where many of the new web 2.0 applications are beginning to seem the same, last.fm truly delivers something innovative. I'm hooked. You will be too.