If you trust the naysayers…

…you will never have success. I read this at Guy Kawasaki’s blog today:

What do you think would have happened if founders listened to pre-release comments about selling used printers online (eBay), creating the tenth search engine (Google), building personal computers for hobbyists (Apple), enabling people to tell their friends that their cat rolled over (Twitter), or rating whether people are good looking (HotorNot)?


If you believe in something, go for it. This is the only way to really find out. Mathematically, the naysayers are right 95% of the time, but believing you’re in the 5% is what makes entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs.

Trust your instincts. You will fall on your face quite a few times, but that’s learning too. Without falling over lots of times, you’ll never learn to run.

Make your ads so cool that people would want to see them

“FireTreToEn” is the new ad for Norwegian bank DnB NOR. It’s made like a movie trailer, with lots of action and some of the most popular actors in Norway, Pia Tjelta and Nicolai Cleve Broch. It’s open ended at leaves with some questions. “We don’t know what happens”, “We don’t know if the woman in the window jumps”, “Because this is not a movie”, “It’s advertising”. “And we don’t know what happens”, “Just like in real life”.

Pia Tjelta

Vi vet ikke hva som skjer.
Vi vet ikke om gutta kommer levende fra det.
Vi vet ikke hvem som kutter tauet.
Vi vet heller ikke om hun i vinduet hopper.
Vi vet ikke hva som skjer.
For dette er ingen film.
Dette er en reklamefilm.
For DnB NOR.
Og vi vet ikke hva som skjer.
Akkurat som i livet.

(Nowegian text at the end of the movie)

Very clever. I’m curious to see if they are brave enough to NOT show it on tv. Just use the site and the viral world to spread it.

Why? Because TV advertising is STINKING expensive. And why hassle people with ads on tv if they come to see it on your site because they WANT to see it?

Volunteer to get killed – get paid

Norwegian crime author Jørgen Jæger wants to kill you in his next book. But only if you want to. And you’re getting paid. Here’s what he says on krimjager.com (in Norwegian):

Kjære krimvenn!
Jeg sitter i disse dager fordypet i skrivingen av neste års kriminalroman om lensmann Ole Vik. Handlingen tar til på Korsneset syd for Bergen, men vil forflytte seg til andre deler av Norge etter hvert som krimdramaet skrider frem, og selvfølgelig til mitt fiktive paradis, Fjellberghavn. En del av handlingen vil også finne sted i utlandet. Boken vil omhandle mennesker med ulik sosial bakgrunn, alder og yrke, noe som gir meg en herlig frihet i valg av skjebner. Dermed åpner det seg en unik mulighet for deg som leser: Kunne du tenke deg å bli drept i denne boken?

Med en snedig begrunnelse, en spennende historie eller en artig fortelling om deg selv, kan du bli skrevet inn i evigheten, bli berømt og få en flott nekrolog lenge før du selv dør. Det er ikke mange forunt!

De fleste boklesere ønsker å lese om spennende mennesker og deres skjebner. Din skjebne i boken er å bli drept. Kanskje skjer dette nettopp på grunn av en av dine helt spesielle sider? Skisser gjerne hva som er spesielt ved deg i svarskjemaet nedenfor.

My English translation (and do feel free to correct me, and make a better translation!)

Dear friend and crime lover!
These days I’m writing next year’s crime novel about police officer Ole Vik. The novel takes place at Korsneset south of Bergen [Norway’s second biggest city], but I want to move parts of the plot to other parts of Norway as the drama thickens, and of course to my fictitious paradise, Fjellberghavn. Parts of the book will also take part abroad. The book will have people with different social backgrounds, ages and professions, something that give a wonderful freedom when picking destinies. Which opens an unique opportunity for you as a reader: Would you like to get killed in this book?

With a good reason, an exiting or fun story about yourself, you can be written into history, get famous and get a great necrology a long time before you die. Not something that happens to lots of people!

Most readers wish to read about exiting people and their faith. Your destiny in the book is to get killed. Maybe you’re killed because of one of your special behaviours? Tell me what’s special about yourself in the form below.

How about that? The winner will be killed in the book, and some runnerups will get book prices. He as already gotten over 200 entries, so be sure to enter before 1. May.

I’m not sure if you have to be Norwegian? I would guess so, even though the rules doesn’t say anything about it.

I just thought this was a wonderful way to get interesting content for a book. And what a great way to market your future book. Brilliant.

Make a promo for “The Office”

NBC is already making clever use of it’s new strategic partnership with YouTube. Join the competition to make a promo for “The Office”, upload it to YouTube. See YouTube announcement or on NBC’s The Office pages.

The promos will be judged on “…originality (30% of score), creativity (30% of score), and ability to generate interest in watching “The Office.” (40% of score)”. The winners will appear at the end of selected episodes of “The Office” and on NBC.com.


[rant_mode on]

Here’s a promise: I will not shop at XXL more. Period.

XXL is a chain of huge shops with sports equipment. They sell shoes, sportswear, bikes, skis, tents, helmets, rackets, balls etc. They have a quite good website at XXL.no where you can buy sports equipment online. Almost every week all households around their shops get a 10-20 pages thick “newspaper” with the latest offers.

XXL claim they’re the cheapest on the market in Norway, and also have the biggest selection (which explains the name).

So far, so good.


So I get their latest ad, and head off to buy shoes for the kids. Empty. “We’re sold out”, “It was extremely popular”, “It’s saturday” (what??), “We sold many because of the ads” (no really?), “We have lots of them at Sandvika” (30 kms to drive), “We didn’t get enough from the importer”, “It hasn’t arrived yet. You’re too early” (I’m too early????)

I’m so fed up on their lame excuses. The best one was the one I got today: “It’s saturday”. Ok, that explains everything. On friday nights, shoes go into their little shoecaves, deep below the mall, and don’t come out again until monday morning.

Shopping wisdom for free

So to help the managers at XXL and others selling sports equipment, here’s some wisdom from yours truly. It’s for free. And you can copy and paste it and publish it as much as you want.

  1. When you advertise a product, people will come to buy it (especially if you put your ad in the mailboxes of 1,5 million people
  2. People shop on saturdays. Yes, the day the shops are open, and most people don’t go to work.
  3. Some shopping malls have 25% of their weekly sales saturdays between 14 and 18.
  4. if your shelves go empty on saturdays, you will lose lots of customers.
  5. If your normal trained staff have saturdays off, and all the people working in your shop on saturdays are 14 year old kids, you will also lose lots of customers.
  6. Saturdays are chrunchtime. This is where the best show where they are made of, and the loosers loose (XXL has lost every saturday I’ve been there).
  7. If you are selling footballshoes (that’s soccer if you’re in the US), you will always sell more of the sizes used by the “first-time players”. Here in Norway most football schools start at 7 or 8, so naturally you will sell more shoes of that size.
  8. If you work in a shop that fails to deliver on saturdays, pleeeeease give customers a decent answer. Not “we sold many because of the ads”. Try “sorry, but our shop manager doesn’t know how to plan ahead. I’ll promise to tell him how stupid this is.”

[Rant_mode off]

Most stupid ad ever made

If you have a blog, MySpace, LiveJournal, whatever… DO link to the most stupid ad ever made. And feel free to call the link “most stupid ad ever made”.

Here are the slogans that ends the first of two 60-second “masterpieces” (you can see both of them on the page as both QT and WMV).

Carbon dioxide. They call it pollution. We call it life.

I can’t find words for how UTTERLY stupid this is. It’s like someone at Comedy Central or Saturday Night Live made a parody, but couldn’t make it funny enough. And just forgot about the whole thing. But these people mean it. Seriously.

Most stupid ad ever - by Competitive Enterprise Institute

(still from the most stupid ad ever made)

You should think that people in an educated country as USA should be smart enough to not produce plain stupid things like this. But no. Amazing.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is an end product in organisms that obtain energy from breaking down sugars or fats with oxygen as part of their metabolism, in a process known as cellular respiration. This includes all plants, animals, many fungi and some bacteria. In higher animals, the carbon dioxide travels in the blood from the body’s tissues to the lungs where it’s exhaled.

Carbon dioxide content in fresh air is approximately 0.04%, and in exhaled air approximately 4.5%. When inhaled in high concentrations (about 5% by volume), it is toxic to humans and other animals. This is sometimes known as choke damp, an old mining industry term, and was the cause of death at Lake Nyos in Cameroon, where an upwelling of CO2-laden lake water in 1986 covered a wide area in a blanket of the gas, killing nearly 2000.

Nikon Stunning Gallery

Nikon has started a new campaign called “Nikon Stunning Gallery”. It works like this: You upload your picture(s) to Flickr and tag them “nikonstunninggallery”. A team from Nikon looks through all pictures tagged “nikonstunninggallery”, picks out the best ones (preferably the ones taken with Nikon cameras I hope!) and publishes then on the Nikon Stunning Gallery website.


There’s also a Flickr user called Stunning Nikon on Flickr, that has all the ads as images (one of them – featuring Kate Moss – above).

If you want to check out likely candidates for the Nikon Stunning Gallery the next days, use Flickr’s own “Interesting” feature. See the pictures people have tagged for Nikon rated by how interesting they are. There are over 3 000 photos tagged as of today, and some of them of very high quality, even if some users seem to have tagged every photo they ever have taken…


This is clever marketing by Nikon. The fact that I’m writing about it proof in itself. But the smartest thing about it is this: Right now hundreds, maybe thousands of photographers all over the world are looking through their photos thinking “Which one would be good enought for the Nikon Stunning Gallery site?” Or “Which photo in my stream is good enough?”

And when people see that excellent photographers like Mark Burdett, Nils K. Windisch and Roger (NJ Dodge) have “nikonstunninggallery” in their tags, they will click and find out what it is. “Hmmm… These guys are all using Nikons…”

There’s also a companion site called Stunningnikon.com, with some ads, (way) too much Flash and Kate showing some more skin with a beat to it.

Kate Moss Nikon Stunning Images

BTW, here are the ones I have “dared” tagging for the gallery

The paradox of choice

Spend an hour watching this (An hour???! Are you nuts? This is the net, 20-seconds chunks is the most we can comprehend). Anyway, spend an hour watching this:

If you read brilliantdays.com from a news reader, you may have to click through to this article, to see the video. Or use this URL:

“The Paradox of choice”.

The speech is by Barry Schwartz, and is about what Schwartz says is a significant problem in people’s life in general: Too much choice.

You have more choice than ever – which is a good thing. Or is it? Schwartz looks at some of our assumptions about choice, and it’s a real eye-opener. Highly recommended!

He talks about phone services, health care, physical appearance, romance and how to choose your salad dressing, education, workplace and lifepartner. How everything now is your choice, and if you’re unattractive it’s your fault. How you’re always on.

And how too much choice sometimes paralyse you: You can’t choose.

What to learn?

If you give customers too much choice, they don’t choose. One of the examples Schwartz uses is retirement funds. As I understand it, American employers have to save money themselves to finance their pensions (unlike other Western countries like Norway, where I live). So employers give their employees a choice of funds to put money in. But the more funds employees can choose from, the fewer will actually choose anything. For every ten more funds to choose from, 2% fewer will pick a fund.

So if you want to have your employees start saving for their pension, give them few choices.

I would guess the same applies to webpages: If the average surfer are given too much choice when coming to your site, they will simply leave. Not making any choice.

Simplify! Take away choices. Or hide them where powerusers still find them. Which make the average surfer happy – and being able to choose. And the powerusers will find what they want.

Why choice make people miserable

Four reasons, accoring to Schwartz:

1. Regret and anticipated regret
No choice is perfect. If you choose between two products, there’s a high chance you picked the right one. If there are 200, it’s very likely you picked the wrong one. Anticipated regret is that you are so sure to regret, that you don’t pick.

2. Opportunity costs
You make a choice, and find out that other choices was better in terms of costs: The other car had better mileage, the other computer had more storage etc.

3. Escalation of expectations
When you choose between loooots of products, your expactations are so much higher. If your jeans store has 80 pairs of jeans, you expect the one you chose to be perfect. But even high class products fail your expectations if your expectations are “perfect”. So you end up feeling miserable with what normally would be a good choice.

4. Self blame
When you pick the wrong product when there is only two choices, it’s the world’s fault. But when you choose between 200 products, it’s your fault. That’s what people feel, according to Schwartz. This self blame makes people feel sad.

Best or good enough?

So you try to find the perfect restaurant, perfect car, perfect phone, perfect pc, perfect girlfriend or boyfriend. In a world of unlimited choice, how do you know if you got the best? You have to examine all the possibilities. But that’s not possible. There’s unlimited choice. So you pick a selection and pick the best of those. Then it turns out that you didn’t find the perfect. But if you only had searched a little bit longer or better, you might have found it…

On the other hand: If you’re looking for something that’s good enough, you look at the choice in front of you, and think: “Is this good enough for me?”. If it is, you choose it, and you don’t look back.

This might be some of the most important things I’ve heard for a long time.. Picking what’s perfect and what’s good enough. I notice that “good enough” has a bad sound in my brain. What about you? Why? Good enough means something that holds up to your standards, so why should picking what’s good enough have a bad smell to it?

Getting your things done

Why do you feel that you don’t have enough time? Because of all the things you have to do? Why do people feel time pressure? Most people believe that it is the pressure of all the things we have to do, the mile-long todo-list.

Two groups of people were told to make lists: Group one made a list of all the things they HAD to do, all the chores etc. The other group: A list of the things they would LIKE to do. A much smaller list.

Guess which group felt the most time pressure?

The one with the LIKE to do list. All the things I would like to do, and have to make difficult choices about.

Cartoons – and the book

BTW, he refers to cartoons he shows, but these are not in the video, probably because of copyright.

Barry Schwartz has written a book about this too, The Paradox of Choice : Why More Is Less.