A Note from the Publisher: I’m at My Tipping Point! By Peter Bennett

August 15, 2011
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Paul Revere's networking helped win a Revolution.

Paul Revere's networking helped win a Revolution.

My editor (he may not know he has that title, but he does now) just sent my “Life Lessons of a Harvard Reject” manuscript back to me this week with corrections and suggested changes. That means I’m one step closer to publishing it.

I was thrilled and exhilarated for about a minute, before realizing that I still have to market this monster. It got me thinking about why some things – books, movies, restaurants – blow up and other projects, just as good, if not better, hardly cause a stir.

The answers are networking and adoption by the all-powerful media.

Let me give you three examples.

Example No. 1

 In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, which itself became a wildly popular book a decade ago for rehashing some old truisms that Gladwell put a new spin on, the author asks why every school kid alive can recall Paul Revere’s midnight ride to warn the colonists that the British were coming on April 18, 1775, but hardly a wit can recall that William Dawes also set out that same night to sound the alarm.

Gladwell argues that the gregarious and intensely social Revere was much better networked than Dawes, a simple tanner. Revere was a fisherman, a hunter, a card player, a theater-lover, a frequenter of pubs, a successful businessman and someone who had an uncanny genius for always being at the center of events.

Meanwhile, Dawes had none of Revere’s social gifts. “Once he left his hometown he probably wouldn’t have known whose door to knock on,” Gladwell wrote. Dawes got booted from the history pages because he was a lousy networker.


Example No. 2


A few weeks, I drove out to Burbank to try some “Snookies Cookies, put on the map more than a quarter century ago, when the owner of the fledgling cookie company sent a bag of chocolate chips to then No. 1 SoCal disc jockey Rick Dees, who declared on the air they were absolutely scrumptious and that all of L.A. should rush over and buy some. And they have been buying them ever since even though I swear Crane’s Cookies are better.


Example No. 3.


A few months ago, Colleen and I drove to west L.A. to visit our oldest son. He suggested that we try a hot new burger joint on south La Brea, called Umami. He had Yelped it and liked the buzz it was generating. The small, plump burgers were good, but expensive. One bite cost more than a whole double-double at In-N-Out. Well, if you saw the L.A. Times Food Section last Thursday, you read how that one burger joint now pulls in $2 million a year on owner Adam Fleischman’s $40,000 investment. By the way, Fleischman looks like a rollier-pollier version of NBA Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and seems to have Cuban’s same golden touch. What draws people to Umami Burger? He laces the meat with kelp, parmesan cheese and shitake mushrooms, celestial seasonings that are supposed to make for a more savory burger.


But here’s the kicker. Not longer after we stumbled on Umami, some “GQ” , magazine writer arbitrarily declared the Umami burger, “the burger of the year” and copycat Yahoo (that’s how the media work) featured the GQ article on its front page, which led to 200-million hits on the Umami Burger web site alone. Now an investment company is funding the rollout of 35 more Umami Burgers.


Back to my book …


While others are riding to fame and fortune, I still have to sift through the pages of “Life Lessons” one more time to clean it up and it up. Then I will shift my entire focus to marketing the book. All the while, I’ll be keeping examples of Paul Revere, Snookie and Fleischman top of mind while I devise my marketing plan.


I’ve got a few aces up my sleeve. After all, I’m a guy who once streaked the Golden Gate Bridge and followed the bulls to the Pamplona arena (I wasn’t about to let them chase me), so don’t count me out. After all, that’s what “Life Lessons” is largely about, chasing dreams and finding them.


If you’ve got any crazy marketing ideas, please send them my way. Until then, have an Umami Monday!


My best,


Peter Bennett, pubisher/editor, LaVerneOnline.com





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