A story about trying to find a watch in Mexico, or a preliminary post to my review of ‘The Blue-ocean Strategy’

Audio recording of ‘A story about trying to find a watch in Mexico, or a preliminary post to my review of ‘The Blue-ocean Strategy”

In preparing for travelling outside my home country I made the decision to not bring any jewelry with me. This seemed like a safer alternative to potentially leaving my jewelry in one of the places we were staying or potentially getting mugged. Now that it has almost been a month being away from home, I have never once found my self in the presence of someone who would mug me. Ain’t paranoia a funny thing?


Without any of my jewelry on hand for this trip I have been travelling without the use of a watch. Yes, I know that my smart phone has the time on it.  But there is something very useful to having a watch, much in the same way that working from paper is very useful too. Your brain works differently with physical environments than with virtual ones.

So as I was going about Mexico’s many markets, of which most of them sell what I call “The Stuff” (I’ll cover this later), I had been looking for a vendor who sold watches (rolejeria).  And when I asked people where to find watches for sale, I would look at their wrists to see if they wore a watch. Most, if not almost all, of the people that I came in contact with did not wear a watch on their wrist. To me, I thought this was interesting.

The thought here went something like this. In a place where the weather is nearly always the same, the waves come in and the waves roll out, the tourists fly in and the tourists fly out, and the shop doors have to be opened at some point and then closed later on too, what use is there in knowing what time it is?

I experienced this most when I was in Mexico City (CDMX), but the same kind of sentiment was seen all over Mexico. Not  considering the corporate businesses (OXXO, Soriana, or Government buildings), it seemed like vendors would arrive at work when ever they felt like it, work for as long as they felt like, and would do business only with those that they liked by charging high prices to the unsavory and low prices to those they preferred. And still, nearly no one that I encountered wore a wrist watch. I imagine that this is true back home as well, but it had never been so apparant to me until travelling out of country.

But finally I found someone who sold watches and was open in Cancun. The rolejeria was in a market where every other vendor sold the same t-shirts, dresses, hari braiding, leatherware, novelties, tequilla, and tourist packages (“The Stuff”). Every single vendor in cancun seems to sell the same as the next one, with very little variety, and so when we found the rolejeria, I was taken aback.

He was a nice man who was working on repairing a watch and on the walls of his shop were framed, hand-drawn pictures of his grand-children. He seemed tired of the heat, tired of his work, and tired all the vendors around his shop hawking the customers of the market. So when I asked him for a watch to buy, he seemed disinterested in helping a customer who would probably think his wares were crap because they were “The Stuff”.

To my furthered surprise, he had a watch face that I didn’t mind and so I offered to buy it as long as he had a band to fit the face. He offered me plastic bands and leather ones for the stainless steel face, to which he was surprised that I would want a metal one. My guess is that he sees so many people wearing plastic or leather watches with HUGE watch faces that he didn’t expect that a customer would want a simple watch with a simple metal band.

The watch cost me 650 MXN, or 32.50 USD. I didn’t even try to haggle with the guy, even though he expected me to. And while it isn’t the most beautiful watch I own, or the most expensive, the vendor who helped me into the watch was joyous that he made a sale and helped me into a watch. I was pretty stoked too – I was glad to see that my purchase was so appreciated, albeit honored, and my search for a watch was over. But there was something special that I was going to tell you, my gentle readers, a lesson in this that I have been dying to tell you.

Never succomb to the temptation to sell “The Stuff” like everyone else. What’s more, strive to help your visitors into what they want and not “The Stuff”. They are trying to find you, they want what you have worked so diligently to labor over, they want you to make it custom for them, and they will pay whatever price you charge because they know you will charge fairly. Lastly, treat each sale with the gratitude that comes from receiving a fine gift from a friend or family member, and you will be be immortalized in the eyes of your customers.

What does Seth Godin mean This is Marketing?

I used to wonder what was meant when someone said they were a marketer. I used to get this image in my head of a guy or gal tucked away in some cubicle making presentations for their bosses to either heckle to death or herrald as the next big thing.

When I got into my career as a Realtor, I thought of marketing as copy and paste. Copy the corporate message, paste it all over the internet. And if you’re lucky (which means putting in a lot of hours pasting the content everywhere you can), then someday someone just might buy it.

As you might imagine, I didn’t experience much success marketing this way. And so I became frustrated, and upset. I was doing everything the company wanted me to, why wasn’t I seeing success?

So I turned to the coaches of the company, to see what advice they’d give me. They’d say  I needed to put in more hours, do more cold calls, imitate what he successful people are doing in the company.

And wouldn’t you believe it, I spent hours doing cold calls, I spent days posting corporate messages over the internet, and I changed everything about myself so as to look just like the top producers. From the social media channels I worked years on to make look just like me, to the very words I was saying to the people I know, love and trust… I was living in cognitive dissonance.

As you might imagine, I experienced very little success. Performing at about the same level as any average agent and completely deluding myself into thinking I was a top producer, I absolutely hated where my life was going. What’s more, I had almost nothing to show for it.

In spite of my best efforts to change who I was, there was something I could not change about myself: my desire and passion for writing and the written word.

It didn’t matter how much I replicated the corporate message over the internet, my hand written journal was a sacred space. It didn’t matter that I intoned scripts day after day, I still had genuine conversations with myself as I walked to work. And in spite of all of my hard work to fashion myself into something I wasn’t, I still felt the truth of each day as I read the works of other authors .

Now, for those of you who are new to the site, I read a lot of books. And for those who aren’t new around here, you know that I report on the books that I’ve read. It’s a passion of mine. I’ll probably do it for the rest of my life.

So when I encountered the title of Seth Godin’s book, I felt a strange allure. Aside from its look-at-me orange cover, and it’s bold but simple statement for a title, I felt that there might be an answer to my woes as a marketer: This is Marketing.

Seth Godin Talks the Importance of Seeking the Smallest Viable Market
This is Seth. He is pretty freaking profound when it comes to stuff.

Come to find out, lots of folks have woes with marketing. They feel that marketing is synonymous with advertising, which Godin artfully discusses as being plainly untrue. Advertising is one way to get your story heard, he offers several strategies and principles that may just work better than advertising only.

Now seeing as I’d rather you read the book then have me report on every little detail of it, I mean Godin does a wonderful job educating his readers of a more enlightened path to storytelling than what can be confined to my book report, I do want to share with you a checklist of items that you might want to consider the next time decide to tell a story.

You see marketing is essentially artful storytelling. You have to consider who you’re talking to, and what you’re saying. Who you’re talking to will determine how you say it, and what you’re talking about will determine whether it is of any value to them at all. Advertising generally, doesn’t care who it is for. Advertising is built on the idea of interrupting you early and often, and hoping you’ll buy. When you’re talking between friends, it’s okay to interrupt when you are excited, but between strangers it’s an insult.

The next time you find yourself wanting to tell a story walk through the list below, it might be the difference between having no one here your story or going viral.

Seth Godin’s Simple Marketing Checklist

  • Who’s it for?
  • What’s it for?
  • What is the worldview of the audience you’re seeking to reach?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What story will you tell?
  • Is it true?
  • What change are you seeking to make?
  • How will it change their status?
  • How will you reach the early adopters and neophiliacs?
  • Why will they tell their friends?
  • What will they tell their friends?
  • Where’s the network effect that will propel this forward?
  • What asset are you building?
  • Are you proud of it?

Now I know that was a lot. And it doesn’t necessarily make sense to go through the checklist every time you want to talk to your friend about some cool restaurant you went to, or a neat business idea that you have. The purpose of the checklist is to review internally what you’re trying to accomplish, who you’re trying to change. As Godin might put it, if you’re going to show up at least try to make things better. That checklist serves as guide rails for when you decide to show up.

Are you ready to start making things better? Which of the items in the checklist will help you make things better?

So you wanna read CRUSH IT! by GV?

Live review of Gary V’s Crush It

This was an awesome book to read but I think it would be a way better book to here Gary V read aloud. Acutualy, come to think of it, he dictated the whole book and had it transcribed and published. So….

I really enjoyed getting some notes out of it and so here were the big things, the highlights if you will.

  1. Use Passion to tell stories
  2. Offer Products through your content
  3. Use your blog to house all of your stories
  4. Use social media to get the word out
  5. Be honest and be you
  6. Everyone can smell a bullshitter
  7. Quality is the filter, don’t be afraid of everyone else
  8. What you don’t see in immediate revenue will impact your profitability down the road
  9. Use tools and tech to duplicate your message
  10. Like what I am doing right now bay taking Gary V’s Little Cheat sheet list and duplicating it for you to use.
    1. Identify your passion.
    2. Make sure you can think of at least fifty awesome blog topics to ensure stickiness.
    3. Answer the following questions:
    4. Am I sure my passion is what I think it is?
    5. Can I talk about it better than anyone else?
    6. Name your personal brand. You don’t have to refer to it anywhere in your content, but you should have a clear idea of what it is. For example, “The no-bs real-estate agent,” “The connoisseur of cookware,” “The cool guide to young-adult books boys will love to read.”
    7. Buy your user name—.com and .tv, if possible—at GoDaddy.com.
    8. Choose your medium: video, audio, written word.
    9. Start a WordPress or Tumblr account.
    10. Hire a designer.
    11. Include a Facebook Connect link, Call-to-Action buttons, Share Functions, and a button that invites people to do business with you in a prominent place on your blog.
    12. Create a Facebook fan page.
    13. Sign up for Ping.fm or TubeMogul and select all of the platforms to which you want to distribute your content. Choosing Twitter and Facebook is imperative; the others you can select according to your needs and preference.
    14. Post your content.
    15. Start creating community by leaving comments on other people’s blogs and forums and replying to comments to your own comment.
    16. Use Twitter Search (or Search.Twitter) to find as many people as possible talking about your topic, and communicate with them.
    17. Use Blogsearch.Google.com to find more blogs that are relevant to your subject.
    18. Join as many active Facebook fan pages and groups relating to your blog topic as possible.
    19. Repeat steps 12 through 16 over and over and over and over and over.
    20. Do it again.
    21. And again.
    22. When you feel your personal brand has gained sufficient attention and stickiness, start reaching out to advertisers and begin monetizing.
    23. Enjoy the ride.

If you have any difficulties with this stuff, hit me up. I will help you get over any of these obstacles.