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Thinking about what Bob Zelin said...

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Ron Lindeboom
Thinking about what Bob Zelin said...
on Jan 12, 2010 at 3:51:55 pm

In the thread just below, Bob Zelin made a comment regarding how the leadership of the COW must be nervous seeing everyone collapsing around them. (Or something to that effect.)

It's actually a pretty powerful thought and I have had a few hours to mull it over and burn a few calories and route some neural electricity into the thought.

2009 was the COW's greatest degree of success. Following a Q4 2008 strategy in which I had the entire sales effort of Creative COW focused on annual contracts for 2009, our competitors found 2009 lean pickings. One magazine, Studio Monthly (who had not said a word about going all-digital and with no lead up whatsoever), released a January 2009 issue that had seven pages of 3rd party advertising as I recall, and announced they were going all-digital in February. As Gomer Pyle used to say: "Sooprize, sooprize!" In October we learned that Millimeter would be going all-digital in 2010.

But rather than fall back on our butts and think that we've arrived or something, 2010 will be our greatest year of change. We are working on a web interface that is nothing short of revolutionary and -- while it will preserve the classic interface that many know and understand -- those that come in from search engines or are willing to be more adventurous in how they use the COW, will find a new interface built around artificial intelligence-like processes that will take this community to places that we have never seen in any other web interface.

Why are we working even harder when it's clear that we have been kicking our competition's butt? Because we live in a time of such chaotic change, that we would be fools to think that we can think of our recent success as some kind of award or something. In today's world, market dominance and $2 will get you a small cup of coffee at McDonalds. (You'll need to learn to pronounce the word "Venti" and have an extra buck if you want Starbucks.)

REDEFINITION: it's a word we have lived by here at Creative COW, and even more so, today. When we were but a calf, we gambled everything on a tradeshow, Creative COW West 2003, and it raised our profile, paid some bills, and helped establish that we weren't just playing around. Many in the market learned from COW West that we were deadly serious and meant business. Then, in December of 2005, we announced we'd be going into the magazine business. A gamble for sure, but it had to be done if we were ever going to be more than a cute logo and a company at which huge major sponsors scratched their heads and wondered what we were. Our competitors get bigger and bigger with each climb up the ladder and we are focusing 2010 on the biggest changes this company has ever seen.

We have some surprises that will exemplify the kind of "marketing to the chaos" thinking that we have been talking about for years. We hope you like them. But if you don't, we'll change again -- never mind, we'll be doing that part anyway. Why? It's way harder to hit a moving target.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Gandhi

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Bob Cole
Re: Thinking about what Bob Zelin said...
on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:04:37 am

Your post reminds me of a business book I read too long ago to remember who wrote it. The big thought was: if you have a great product, do everything you can to kill it, by making an even better product. Because if you don't... your competition surely will.

The American automobile industry obviously DID NOT READ THAT BOOK.

Glad you are working so hard to make a great product better, Ron.

Bob C

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Tim Kolb
Re: Thinking about what Bob Zelin said...
on Jan 21, 2010 at 5:51:08 pm

[Bob Cole] "
The American automobile industry obviously DID NOT READ THAT BOOK."

Microsoft's one of that company's guiding principles.

Cannibalize your own markets...because someone is going to...

Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

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