A great giving proposition. How 'made to stick' meets social gifting.

How do you get a product to appeal to a certain market, get your brand to stick at once, and then make people proud to wear it? One of the better reads I had this year was the book Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath, who also write in Fastcompany monthly. The book focuses on how to make ideas ‘sticky’ and memorable. The authors would love the business model being followed by the company, TOMS Shoes.

The company sells great looking shoes, but then again, so do many cobblers. The key ingredient in the success of the TOMS Shoes brand, is the great social affirmation that comes from buying a pair. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company’s owner, Blake Mycoskie, delivers a pair to a needy child.

Simple. Emotional. Concrete. Winner.

Buy these shoes, and a poor child no longer walks barefoot. It is incredibly sticky, and a great badge of honour for those walking around in the Western world sporting a pair of TOMS.

We deal a lot with the idea of ‘badges of honour’ at World Vision – trying to find a way to give people a feeling that they belong to a tribe when they support one of our causes. The white armband is a good example of this, as ripped from the Lance Armstrong ‘Livestrong’ from years ago. (Do you know they sold 52 Million of those LIVESTRONGS!!!! amazing!). The TOMS messaging will re-appear I’m sure in a world where social conscience is a key pillar of a persons image. By social gifting, in return for purchase of a product, companies can allay their customers world guilt whilst at the same time, create a tribal community feel to their brand. ‘I’m a TOMS wearer…therefore I am.’

Livestong…52 million times!

The Pmarca Guide to career planning…get on it!

Okay – if you have been reading this blog you’ll know that I am trying to live the Brand Me life. I started this blog mainly to try to capture my portfolio of projects going on, how I was juggling the opportunities presenting themselves in each one, and to start conversations with other who were also trying to live this way.

Get ready for the next installment. If you have not already, get on to Marc Andreessen’s blog and read his guide to career planning. It’s gold…a great conversation is now set to open up about Project Life and career development not focused on HR Functions, Line Promotions and boring 9-5ers.

A few pearls from the article…

Pearl #1: Career Planning = Career Limiting.

I can’t agree with this more. I once met a guy called Bill Horman. Bill had progressed through life leading many different cool govenment projects (oxymoron?). He started as a cop, simply did a great job, always took on more than he could handle, and as a result has never been for a job interview. Every 3-4 years, he would get a call from someone he had worked with, offering him another position. Bill is now the General Manager of Crown Casino’s Community Affairs, loving trying to make great things happen with, quite honestly, a s**t load of money.

He lived (lives) his career in the moment, and is ‘on fire’ in the Melbourne Community. I have, since meeting Bill, tried to live a my life a similar way. This blog title, The Squiggly Line, denotes a life and career that are one and the same. One that doesn’t travel in a linear fashion but…well, squiggly.

But, as I posted previously, sometimes Part Time People = Part Time Results, which leads to the next pearl…

Pearl #2 – Living the portfolio life

Marc points out the importance of not planning every step of your career, but instead having an attitude more befitting of a stockbroker. I love this point – and try to pay attention to it often. I think a career is more like a portfolio, and myself being a younger person, my portfolio currently includes a start-up and undefined junior position at WVA, doing some really cool innovative thinking and projects around how the largest non-profit company in Australia can do stuff better.
Pearl #3 – Get some ‘great skills’

Finally, Marc also points to skill development vs career development. I, again, agree with this completely…but would like to take it a touch further. I think skill development is crucial. I would like to consider that I am developing a skill set primed for innovation and making things happen. This is where I take things further. Skills are good, but, observing Napoleon Dynamite, sometimes your ‘great nunchuk skills’ do not get you as much payoff as you would like. I think it’s important to have a larger, unquantifiable but guiding goal to help drive your skill progression. Case in point, mine is to Make Stuff Happen. It has a real meaning for me, and when faced with different opportunities I ask myself the one simple question – does it help me build skills to Make Stuff Happen?


Napoleon…had “great nunchuck skills”, but didn’t get him far with the ladies

If not, then I leave it. If I can see the skills I would improve by being part of that project as a key ingredient to ‘making stuff happen’ then I take the opportunity, add it my portfolio, and start the learning.

Any other thoughts? Please, do comment or share! How do you manage your portfolio?

Dopplr – is anyone part of the top 100?


Check out this post this morning from the folks at Dopplr. I’m not cool enough to be invited to anything like this, and to be honest, I am no global traveler (would like to be, but still working on it). I am more interested in seeing what the marketing/PR potential is for a Web 2.0 product like Dopplr, especially to better connect supporters of different brands and companies together when they are out and about around the world. It’s the Twitter principal, only global.

Not really sure what’s going on with the product, other than it is yet another, more niche, social network – aimed this time at Global Trekkers and their friends. I would love to have a looksy – is anyone employed by the list of 100 companies and if so can you sign up and give me a blow-by-blow of what the bloody thing is!!!

I got this screen shot from flickr…can anyone do better?

Documents so far..think free or something else?

I thought I might open this one up…I had an email from Ross (so far, commenter #1!) outlining that whilst the thinkfree.com site was alright, Scribd might be a better and more social, web2.0 option for sharing docs. Looking at their site, they seem to have better intentions, namely creating the worlds largest open source library of docs (very google!).

Does anyone know of any other sites out there that can log and store docs, and provide easy access for people following links?