The Name Blog

So, we had this band. I started a band, and we did all this crazy shit, as you’re supposed to if you love it and are taking seriously enough to want to get somewhere with it.

The bass player had a van that was an illegally large size. The three of us all had day jobs at the psych unit of a local hospital. We used their copy machine to make copies of our show tickets that were outrageously large, or almost too small. The people working the door at clubs hated this.

After one year, we moved the band to England. Thought they might understand us. Some did. We gigged and recorded, and after six months, our visas turned back into a pumpkin. We went home.

We recorded and got college gigs, actual good paying gigs. We got interviewed on the radio.

Our drummer left. Another came in, and we went on.

Back in England, five teenage boys took their clothes off, lay down next to each other, turned their heads for the camera and smiled. They recorded. They called this a band. They used our name. People noticed. I’m sure I’m leaving some stuff out.

They began plans to come to the States. The identity and being that we had created was over in one shot. 

We panicked, then got hold of ourselves. We hired a lawyer. A very big and good one.

Their lawyers attempted to shame us with the fact that they had huge sales, compared to our our loyal following. Then one day, the story hit the tabloids, featuring the evidence that we had lived, gigged and recorded in their own country as Take That two years previous to their existence. Their lawyers suddenly recalled our lawyer’s phone number. We “came to terms”, as is said.

So, what’s in a name? Something well named speaks for itself. Ultimately, there is basic brain association. For us, Take That meant pop melodies hinged on traditional and progressive hooks; it meant edgy riffs, it meant determination; it meant stopping everything you are doing to say something.

It means something else to them, I’m sure. After all that, they never appeared in the States.

Following that band, I called all of my musical activity Sporkfly, believing I was fairly safe in not stepping into anyone’s domain, and knowing that anyone thinking of using it wasn’t too grounded psychologically.  You see it here and there, lifted for chat room ID’s. I like seeing it out there. 

I started an activity known as Question Of The Day in 2003. It became a book in 2008, and at the beginning of 2009, I was ready to put it out as an iPhone app. I did some research.

There was already an app called Question Of The Day. 

Oh, no. Oh, no; not that. 

I inhaled. I exhaled. I psychically thrust myself forward into a future life and yelled at all my neighbors and slammed all the windows shut, then came back.

“I have to get lawyers. I can’t get lawyers. There’s no money for it. I have a book; he’ll yield. He won’t yield. He doesn’t have to, it belongs to him. He’ll listen. He won’t listen. I have a book! It doesn’t matter. I’ll have a different app name. I can’t have a different app name, it will ruin everything.”

“I have to try to talk to him.” 

Social media, my ass. I’m going to have to have a conversation.

Ready for anything, I wrote to him:

I want to know if you would consider changing the name of one of your apps. I have a book called Question Of The Day that I will be developing an app for. I would like to use that exact name, but I’m ready to use a very similar one if need be. Would you be willing to consider changing the name of your app? 

I held my breath. I went for a walk. I dug a hole in the sidewalk. I went back inside.

36 hours later, I heard from him. He said, 

“I can change the name. I will try and do so next week.


And, it was done. It really is a different world now.

Ethan, you’re a good man. This one’s for you.

Find him at Ethan Productions.

(this post was reblogged from qofthedaybook)
(this post was reblogged from qofthedaybook)
(this post was reblogged from qofthedaybook)

The FREE Blog

I’m not a marketer. I don’t know anything about it, and I don’t want to know anything about it. I don’t care. It’s not what I do. I’m a musician. I have a book out.

Having said that, I know stuff. It was inevitable. When the book became an App, I had to do everything I could to make it work, make it happen. Spread it.

I recently told Debbie Stier about how much I learned in the one-month period last year when I was able to see presentations by Andrew Savikas, Chris Brogan and Seth Godin, in addition to meeting each of them at least briefly afterwards. She asked me what I learned, and I know I only skimmed the surface. I’m going to focus on Seth here, as his work has a special significance to me at this moment (and with no rights to call him by his first name, btw.)

Seth Godin appeared at Digital Publishing Group Meetup this past September (the group is now known as the Publishing Point). During his talk, he made a lot of points on the way things are done in publishing, what mistakes were made by the music industry, and how publishing could avoid them. 

My Context 

I came in as a self published author who made his book into an iPhone App, made the App free, then pay, then free again. It has been downloaded quite a lot, and charted very well. I wasn’t sure of what to do next, but I knew in my gut that it was a better thing for many people to have the App than for a few people to buy it.

To get the most from this posting, you really have to watch the video. 
Start the first video, and bring it to the 6:10 mark. You will hear my question begin the Q&A. 


The whole second video is excellent, but the important part for me is the first 0:48 seconds.


This made me feel like I was on the right track.. 

Assimilation and Riffing

Seth frequently cites the Grateful Dead and their fans in the context of what a Tribe can be. I am surprised that he never tied this all together. The amount of free content that circulated among Deadheads is pretty famous all by itself.. Shared tapes, tapes of tapes, 4th, 5th and 6th generation… I feel that it was a significant part of the culture. I like to say Free Content Is The Glue Of Tribes.

The Things You Love, The Borrow Phase

It seems to me that part of the kick-start to any passion in terms of music or film or literature was the classic Loaner Copy. Loaners, mix tapes, DVD’s, books, records and so on. A free copy of something was an integral part of the discovery. Think of your favorite artists, the things you borrowed, and the things you loaned out in return. 

The Four People In The Room, Only Some Of Whom Bought The Product

It’s all about enthusiasm; passion. The way I see it, you don’t need a Buyer to inspire the next Buyer. 

Let’s say you walk up to me and three others at a party, and you say that you are thinking of buying some Black Sabbath. We all rave about them. My body language changes as I start riffing on “Fairies Wear Boots.” You are convinced.

Dude, seriously. I’ve never bought anything by Black Sabbath. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to. That doesn’t speak less of them. That’s just the way it is. They are a radio band to me. And I do love their stuff; I crank volume for them. If you watched me listening to them, you would never know the difference. And I can speak facts and figures about them.

Two people in a room who own the same product  is a conversation. Four people in a room who have that product, by whatever means, is a buzz. Huge difference. The four people may be buyers and they may not be, but the bottom line is that there needs to be passion all over the place, and you need to do what you can to make sure that there will be.

All Facets

Here’s what I see: Seth Godin is encouraging publishers to become Trust Agents in this area. But, in addition, could they become the one-stop borrow and shop, both chief loaner and marketplace? In the iTunes context, there is already a way for people to rent movies that will then disappear. Can we get books to do this trick as well? 

The same principles apply to authors, pushing their products on their own. My own solution is simple, but specific to me: as an App, my book is free, and it always will be. If you want more of it, there will be content that can be purchased. Both versions will be improved upon in other ways.

Making your stuff free is not like opening up the Monetize faucet, from which cash will flow. Anyone can make their stuff free. As stated in the video, it has to be good to get a share of attention. So, it comes back to quality of content once again.


I continue to learn from Seth Godin. After consuming prodigious amounts of related free content, I bought Linchpin, his latest book. For me, it is something of an irony that, in the first two related interviews I listened to with him, both interviewers brought up Anne Lamott and Bird By Bird

AC #186: Seth Godin Interview on Linchpin | Accidental Creative

43 Folders - Interview with “Linchpin" author, Seth Godin | 43 Folders

For more on Seth and what publishers and authors can and should do in the iTunes/App world, this interview is the best I’ve heard.

The Reading Edge Podcast » Blog Archive » TRE 11 Seth Godin

Seth Godin is chipping away at things that have nothing to do with marketing for me. I would describe Linchpin as a  Cog Intervention course. His comments on the Lizard Brain are covered well by him and others elsewhere, but I will say that they are having a serious helpful impact on me personally.

So, that’s some of what I’ve been learning. It does seem that on the way to getting what you want, you get what you need.

As for marketing, I know nothing about it. I don’t care  :)

blog comments powered by Disqus