everyone has a heart - use it

Getting to the heart of the matter

Some of the questions I hear most from clients sound something like this, “What new product should I sell? What niche should I go after? Do you think there’s a market for this?”.

I think they’re asking the wrong kind of question.

These are all product/market related questions – and if you’re asking these questions first, you’re likely to be looking in the wrong place.

In today’s world, a product seldom carries the strength to sustain a business on its own. Your product, your price point, your specials, your information – all of it has become commoditized. Even carving out a unique niche isn’t enough.

If you create a successful category, it gets swarmed by competitors with 100x your budget.

If you get traction based on product price, specials, search engine rankings, JV partners, etc., you will be copied. And if that was the only trick in your hat – you die.

Again a product itself seldom carries the strength to sustain a business. So, what does?

The companies that connect with their customers on the levels of emotion and experience will win.

I REPEAT: The companies that connect with their customers emotionally and experientially will win.

So, whether your [...]

Chatting with Gary Vaynerchuk: his next big topic – a big prediction for e-commerce – and the ratio game (?)

Interview Highlights

Who Gary spends his time listening to… What Gary wouldn’t be the same without… Why parenting is Gary’s next big topic… A brilliant prediction for the future of e-commerce… The ratio game (fun, fun, fun)…


Abhay: Hey everyone. I’m here with Gary Vaynerchuk. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, I strongly, strongly suggest that you get familiar with him. Google him, YouTube him. What he has to say carries a lot of value with it.

So, we’re going to jump into a 12 or 15 minute interview. I’m hoping to get to know Gary a little bit and get some information from him.

First of all, Gary, I just want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you. You’ve given me a lot of value, unknown to you. In my own life and my own career, I’ve taken a lot of what you said to heart and it’s really helped me. It’s pushed me along in my career and just made me better at what I do. I just want to thank you up front.

Gary: That means a lot to me. It really, really [...]

startup ideas

How to have startup ideas that’ll make your momma proud (maybe)

This blog is primarily about marketing, and more specifically about digital marketing.

That being said, there are some areas related to marketing that I will touch on regularly.

One of those areas is startup business, where I’ve spent a considerable amount of time consulting. Startups are exciting for certain reasons – one being that they are almost always centered around a compelling idea.

Before any of the branding, design, coding, or fundraising, a startup begins with an idea. That idea is all important.

The question then naturally comes, “Well, how do you find good startup ideas?”

Several people have addressed this question in different ways, including Paul Graham of Y Combinator. But, I thought that I’d give it a shot building on some recent insights that I’ve had.

According to my current view, there are three (3) core ways that good startup ideas come about.

1. Progressive technology 2. Novel application of technology 3. Organic insight

Progressive technology

Startup ideas in this category are generally arrived upon by people who are at the forefront of their particular field.

Insulin, for example, was invented/isolated by Dr. Fredrick Banting and his team at the University of Toronto. Dr. Banting was [...]


How to advertise with new media – awesomeness required

I spend a decent amount of my time working with companies involved in the areas of mobile and new media. If you’re in the space, you know that one of the topics that gets a lot of attention is advertising.

Advertisers are saying things like:

“It’s so easy for people to just avoid our advertising now. How can we get around that? How can we get their attention back?”

As always, in order to look forwards it helps to look backwards. In the past, what form did advertising take a for a particular medium, like Television? It took the form of a video, right?

What about radio? Radio ads took the form of audio.

In other words, advertising has always taken the same form as the actual content that is produced for that medium.

The reason that used to work is because content was non-user controlled. But now, everything has some level of control by the user.

Youtube: ads can be muted, tabs can be closed, etc.

Retargeting: users can turn off cookies.

TV: DVR is your kryptonite.

So, every piece of advertising that is identified as advertising is generally avoided in one way or another. Every unwanted, identifiable advertisement.

Users [...]

aww... the first time

The trouble with the first

This post has been more than two weeks in the making. I’ve had the intention to write it, but something has stopped me.

I have plenty of information I think is valuable that I want to share with you – but the fact that this post would be my very first was stopping me from getting it done.

But, why? What’s so different about the first time?

That’s the question I asked myself today.

Just like a little boy who’s nervous before his first kiss, I’ve been nervous before my first post. I think what’s common to these two situations is a fear. The fear of being defined.

The boy is worried about whether he’ll be defined as a lip-biting, teeth-knocking, romeo wannabe – or as a great kisser. And I’ve been worried about being defined as just another blogger, regurgitating info that’s available in another place – or as someone who really delivers value.

But what makes the boy just go for it, even though he’s nervous? What’s that feeling that pushes him through?

It’s belief. Self-belief.

He believes that he’s good enough. Great enough. He believes that she’s going to be happy that he did.

And, for me, [...]