Tag Archives: marketing

Keeping out of the gutters

I was struck by a piece by Scott Walker a few weeks ago on the use of the gutter in comic-strips and relating it to transmedia storytelling. I identified with it immediately because I know that the space you leave between the things you articulate are hugely fertile places – our minds are great at filling in the gap between A and B. Storytellers have exploited this by setting the audience up with a series of scenes that lead you to a certain conclusion and then revealing something that was left out that turns the plot around completely. In great detective novels for example the truth becomes clear when we find out exactly what happened between B and C rather than what we’d taken for granted and therefore Y to Z makes perfect sense.

I’ve applied this to Tuttle. When we started I made up some simple boundary conditions that I wanted to hold and I reinforced them over time: minimal structure; no-one grabs attention; regular meetings; as free at the point of access as possible; it isn’t for everyone but it is for anyone, etc. and theen I let you all make up the “rules” or ways to behave that make sense to you. I think this is the best way to make co-creation work.

And with Tuttle it still works: it leads to conversation that draws out and articulates what we can agree on – just such a conversation happened this week about moving Friday mornings to another location, out of which came the insight that maybe Tuttle needs a social space to feel comfortable in. We’ll keep this conversation going. It isn’t finished – that’s because the gutters are fractal – everytime you fill the gap between A and B with X you actually create two new narrower ones A-X and X-B and so we continue on.

So my favourite advice to people thinking about co-creation is “Pay as much attention to the gaps you leave as to the structure you build”

But this brings to light an error in how I’ve unconsciously applied this to everything I do, particularly in the narrative I create about myself when marketing the things I do. I realise that it’s not obvious how Tuttle arose out of my previous work, nor how Tuttle the meetup relates either to Tuttle Consulting nor to Tuttle2Texas – it’s clear perhaps that I’m involved, but how are they Tuttle things – and what’s all this art stuff about?

So there’s more to say on each of those than fits in a Monday morning blogging session. However, I offer the following observations relating to keeping wide gutters between things:

  1. Some (maybe lots of) people just give up trying to work it out, it’s too hard – this means they give up on the story altogether.
  2. People make up the stuff based on their own experience and that can have positive and negative consequences for someone trying to maintain a narrative.
  3. People vary in their ability to give up a bridging idea that they’ve constructed, but most hold on pretty tight.

PS I recognise that I might not have completely recovered from this – ie I’m leaving holes that might be too big for you to traverse right now. Sorry, one blog post at a time 🙂

PPS there may be some more clues in my soon-to-be-launched newsletter – sign up here

Do as I say…

07012009799How do you change the world without telling people what to do? Forget changing the world even, how about getting anything done or created at all? I guess that’s one of my big life questions.

Because telling people what’s good for them and what’s best for all of us and what they should do that I’m not already doing – isn’t that the only way it’s going to work? Isn’t that what marketing and politics is all about? Don’t people need to be told how to live better lives, what things they need and what they don’t need, what they really ought to stop doing straight away? Otherwise, then what would happen?

It does seem as though there is no other way. Except, oh dear, we have a rather major blind spot. There is no other way as long as it’s me or my pals who are doing the telling, but the moment that you’re telling me what to do, you’re telling me how to live my life then I will resist – to put it mildly. Sometimes I will resist violently, sometimes more subtly, in fact sometimes so subtly that even I might not notice that I’m resisting, but nonetheless I will resist.

Oh yeah, and I’m quite good at recognising when you try to make me think it was my idea in the first place.

Aren’t I?

Bonus audio: Vinay Gupta’s lecture on Infrastructure for Anarchists (70MB) at the Temporary School yesterday

Silly Lists, Silly Games

This evening, my attention was drawn to the fact that I wasn’t on the twitter grader “Twitter Elite in London” list.

Oh Noes! Wot a calamitee!

So I checked out my location setting and found it to be “London, UK” – it’s a free-form text box so you can, and I did, temporarily, change it to “Up My Own Arse” if you like, but there isn’t a list for “Twitter Elite Up My Own Arse”… yet.

Changing it to London, slipped me quickly into the list at #12 although since others have noticed the same thing and changed their locations, who knows where I’d be? Hey it gave me another opportunity for cheap sexual innuendo. I’ve now put it back to what it was, simply because I think it’s more accurate and useful. Take a look at the disambiguation page for just London.

These lists *are* silly, the games we play with them, once we’ve noticed them, are just games. Is there anything here other than vanity and the fleeting fun of gaming a system by tweaking it’s parameters? Well scroll down a bit and you’ll see that this list is just a way of grabbing attention in order to point people at the services of Hubspot and “inbound marketing”, ie SEO specialist. It’s us, our vanity, our envy, our play, being used for someone else’s marketing campaign. No thanks. Unfollowing @grader (though I understand that doesn’t stop me being included in the lists)

To Bicester Village

06112008525I spent this afternoon at Bicester Village, the Disneyland High Street of outlet stores in Oxfordshire. Equal parts weird and fascinating. Most frequently overheard was “darling, can I get you this sweater/bag/pair of shoes for Christmas?” You know, the sorts of people for whom all shopping from mid-October on is a part of Christmas shopping. There are a hundred or so (yes we were given lots of figures, but I wasn’t paying full attention) stores there, mostly clothing, but also homey places like Le Creuset, Bose and Wedgwood, a Books etc plus a Starbucks & a Pret. Lines are all last year’s with between 30% and 60% discounts.

The day was facilitated by Helen Keegan (brilliantly, I have to say, even though she’s one of my longest-standing friends, everything just worked without any fuss), who’s working with BV on their online marketing strategies and there were a range of other tuttlers there. We were given a nice goodie bag including a 10% off card (though that was refused me at L’Occitane on purchases less than £25) and a generously endowed gift card. I found it quite strange, going shopping, going shopping in luxury brand stores, going shopping in luxury brand stores having been given money specifically for spending there. But somehow I managed to make some purchases. I had to have a good walk round first, and probably popped into every store except that very posh one at one end of the village that’s so posh that they don’t want us to talk about the fact that they’ve got a store at BV. I then had to go and sit down with a cup of coffee before I ventured out to actually buy something – it showed me how conservative I’ve become in my wardrobe choices (or rather, just stuck, there was plenty of conservative clothing but not what I’d want to wear). I tried to get some chino’s in Ralph Lauren but they didn’t have anything in my size. I had to ask one of the foppish young men assistants to explain the labelling because I couldn’t believe that some of the trousers had 38″ legs, but it was true, I unfolded one pair and if they’d hung right at my ankles the waistband would have been tucked under my armpits. There was only one pair in anything resembling my size according to the label, but either I’ve got tubbier or they’d been cut on the small side – I fear the former is far more likely.

In the end, I settled for some smelly stuff from L’Occitane, some notelets from Smythson and a scarf from Jack Wills. The last purchase took me very slightly over the limit on the gift card, which proved quite a trying experience for the poor girl who was serving – she had to work out 10% off, then get two of her colleagues to check how to make the till understand the combination of gift card and my debit card. All part of the entertainment.

All of the assistants in the stores I visited seemed to be county boys and gels either working through college or in a gap year, I got the feeling they were all quite excited to be there, presumably they get even more of a staff discount on the discount on the discount.