No such thing as a quiet marketer

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I don’t know what it is, but I’m really tired today. And since I don’t want to post variations of “Oh, No!” every hour for the next 24, I think now is a good time to focus on finishing some work for folks, and the new code for this site.

I’ve decided to package the photo code up in such a way that it can be used by people regardless of weblogging system they use and whether images are stored at Flickr or not. By doing so, and making it both fun and easy to use, I’m hoping I can encourage more people to use it. A by-product of this use, then, is that it provides easily accessible rich, structured, metadata that can benefit all of us.

This is just going to revolutionize our lives. I am not joking — the next generation of the web is here, and I’m just so excited! It is going to be big, babies! Big! I am so going to punk the web.

And it started here, first! With me!

I need to call Dave Winer. I know he’ll want to be in on this.

Whoa. Deep breath now.

No, I haven’t been bitten by one too many tics. I’m trying find a way to inspire you all with my enthusiasm, without me being there to grab you by the shoulders and look you intently in the eye. I’ve used some of the same words you may have read elsewhere in the last month or so, for some new innovation or other. But where the words can fall naturally off of some folks tongues, like hail in a storm, the don’t feel like me.

I was inspired in this momentary exercise, in part, by Kathy Sierra’s latest humorous and well written post where she says we’re all marketers:

The late (and brilliant) comedian Bill Hicks was an early adopter of the “all marketing is evil” meme:

“By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. No, this is not a joke: kill yourself . . . I know what the marketing people are thinking now too: ‘Oh. He’s going for that anti-marketing dollar. That’s a good market.’ Oh man, I am not doing that, you f***ing evil scumbags.” (asterisks are mine)

I was about to protest, “Dammit Jim, I’m a programmer, not a marketer!”

But that would be a lie. In this new open-source/cluetrain world, I am a marketer. And so are you. If you’re interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on… congratulations. You’re in marketing. Now go kill yourself.

Kathy has a valid point, and one that isn’t lost on me. I’ve not been a particularly good marketer: of my skills, my projects, or the technology I use (RDF comes to mind). I mean, look how I started the post: “Hey, kinda tired lately”. What kind of marketing is that? It may be true, but it doesn’t sell people on an idea or a person.

It wasn’t as if leaving these words off would be a lie. We can choose not to say something, and doing so turn a quiet post into one that has zim and zingle. My problem, sorry, challenge, though, is that I’m not a zim and zingle type of person. Oh, I can get angry, and I can get passionate, but when I’m creating something important to me–be it software, writing, photos, or even a relationship–the more important it is, the closer it is to me, the quieter I get.

Later in her post, Kathy writes:

Remember — when people are passionate about something, and in a state of flow–and you have contributed to that by helping users/members learn and grow and kick ass–these are some of the happiest moments in their lives.

I agree with this, too–it is wonderful when you’ve helped someone, or someone likes your application (or photo or book or you). The thing is, you can be passionate about something, but quietly so and that’s what separates out the true marketers from all the people who love what they do.

Loren Webster writes on flashy flowers and one’s own garden in a post full of subtle innuendo–but how does that translate into RSS and hold up under an aggregator? You know, bright lights and lots of noise make it hard to hear a lover’s whisper; and if you’ve sandpapered your fingertips, it’s going to be hard to feel the veins of a leaf.

So where is the middle ground between the quiet corner and the jumping up and down we see so much in certain unnamed-weblogs-but-you-know-who-they-are? Is being passionate, enough? Or must we exaggerate that passion–emphasize it so it can be seen at a distance: paint with bigger brushes, more gadgets in the code, zoom in with larger lenses, use more exclamation points when we write, and scream more during sex?

More, brighter, louder. No wonder I feel tired.

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