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Shiny Rocks and Anrgy Mobs: Also known as Black Friday.

You know that thing when you try to describe something by using a term used

to narrate a completely different story..

And it sticks?

No?

Well, it’s a real thing..

And Black Friday is proof that it’s real.

How come, pilgrim?

Because the term “Black Friday” was used for the first time in 1870.

To describe the day the gold market collapsed.

Gold was a big thing back then..

Like startups today..

but with lumps of shiny rocks 🙂

Here’s a link from the NYTimes archive in case you like history and facts.

It’s a cool little story.

So, here you go!

(The link will open a .pdf from the NYT archive, by the way..so don’t freak out).

And then, almost a hundred years later, “Black Friday” re-appears.

In Philly.

The day after Thanksgiving.

By a bunch of frustrated police officers.

Trying (without much success) to handle the shopping crowds,

avoid minor injuries,

and keep the peace and order.

So they gave the name “Black Friday” to describe their frustration.

And it sticked.

Up until today..

And just like every year since then, Black Friday came and passed.

And this year, internet sales crushed it.

A staggering $5.03 Billion in online sales, 16% higher than last year.

On the other side, retail stores saw a 1% drop in sales.

And Macy’s story helped to reach this number.

I mean, what a terrible thing to happen.

Right?

To lose your credit card processors, on Black Friday?

To have to fight a falling share price (half of what it was last year),

to deal with the raise of internet sales..

(You know, the ones that just made Amazon’s Jeff Bezos worth over $100 billion).

..and then this?

C’mon!

I guess, that’s only a natural result of where things are heading..

Less shopping at stores, and more button-clicking on our mobiles and tablets.

So, those were the things that caught my attention on this year’s Black Friday.

I learned the origins of the name, read some stories of success and failure, and saw all sorts of creative, and ridiculous promotions all over the world.

‘Till next year,

Be safe everybody!

Leo.

Snow Chains and Open Rates

So many lists..

Lists for blog posts, for emails, for anything you can imagine.

And people are subscribing and unsubscribing faster than the blink of an eye.

Mostly because business posts and business mails usually serve one function.

“Sell, sell, and sell some more”.

But if you think about it, a selling mentality is just the tip of the iceberg.

A bigger problem is what are you selling and to whom.

It’s like using different tires depending on weather or driving conditions.

Sure, you can drive on normal roads and country roads with the same set of tires.

But it’s not very safe. Is it?

You have to drive slower..

Your tires and shock absorbers get damaged easier..

You risk a flat tire or even worse, an accident.

So, you go on a trip to the mountains..in the winter.

And there’s snow on the road.. lots and lots of snow.

And the brand new “all-weather, kick-ass” tires you bought didn’t deliver.

But that’s what the salesperson at the shop told you.

-”They are good for all conditions”.

-”No worries, these babies will get you anywhere”.

-”No man, you don’t need a pair of snow chains. Just buy these tires”.

Is this how communication should look like?

Are we communicating things that our readers/clients want?

Things that make their lives easier? Or not?

Maybe they think I’m just another “salesman” out for their money?

It’s a really fun exercise to do, you know..

Discover what your audience needs and just offer it to them.

Not like a greedy, money-hungry barbarian.

A transaction is implied most of the times, anyway.. no reason to be a jerk about it..

So why not being a bright spot in their day..

The guy who sells a pair of useful and life-saving snow chains, instead of a super expensive set of useless all terrain tires.

Wouldn’t you like to be served by THAT guy?

So maybe, do it like this.. Talk and sell what your tribe wants,

and stop worrying about people abandoning your lists.

Make people be HAPPY to hear from you, not being SICK of hearing from you.

Be safe everybody,

Leo.

The “Bird Man’s” lesson of Storytelling

Today, while driving to pitch a prospect, I remembered a guy from my hometown.

His name was Elias, but everybody knew him as “The Bird Man”.

Every afternoon, he would hold on his shoulder his old, big, silver, double cassette player.

And then he would walk to the middle of a crossroad.

Different one, every day.

Then, he would press play.. and manage the traffic passing through.

We called him “bird man”, because his cassettes were filled with sounds of birds.

You see, every morning, he would wake up at sunrise.

Have some breakfast,

and then he would go out with his portable cassette recorder,

(we only had cassettes back then, kids)..

and record all kinds of birds chirping inside his garden.

He would then put the cassette into his big double cassette player,

and go to “perform” his “civic duty” of managing the traffic in our town..

With the cassette player resting on his shoulder the whole time..

playing all those sounds at max. volume!

It was the coolest thing you could see!

I mean, if you were new to the town, or just passing through,

you would be shocked..

But for the rest of us, it just felt good to see this guy.

In fact, we were looking forward to it.

So, drivers would honk and wave at him,

as a thank you for his..service.

A thank you, to a guy listening to the sound of birds..

and helping people drive safely through the crossroad.

Someone who never asked for anything.

Money, a gift, a cup of coffee.. nothing!

No agenda other than make people’s lives better.

So today I remembered Elias, and I thought..

“What a great way to tell a story or share a message”.

How much better your life would be if people were actually looking forward to reading your post, or click-through your video.

Not because they are your colleagues and they “have to”,

Not because you have the best product or service,

But simply..

because you make their lives a little better than before they met you!

How can we all be the “bird man” in our lives?

Be safe everybody!

Leo.