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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The 10 Stupidest Marketing Mistakes I've Ever Made

This may surprise you, but I tend to dwell on the negative. Here are the ten cringe-inducers I spend the most time pondering. In chronological order, no less:

1990. I went to law school. OK, it wasn't a marketing mistake, but it cost me several layers of stomach lining. Law school also nearly killed my ability to write.1995. I decide to start Portent Interactive, but name it The Written Word. For the next 5 years, people ask me if I print bibles (I was going for Shakespeare).1995. I test my first web crawler on the network of a client (with their permission). I crash the network and earn myself the title "Bringer of Death" from the head of IT.1998. I aim Portent at client service, instead of affiliate marketing, thinking the search engines will kill the whole spam thing within a year. I think I had a head injury.1999. For reasons I still don't understand, I sell my company. The next 8 months include a bout of pneumonia, total professional melt-down and at least one instance where I witnessed one of my new fellow employee groping a receptionist in the hallway. I don't know either.2000. Back on my own again, with zero confidence, I sell my services for something under $30/hour, and can't figure out why I can't make a living.2000. I decide pay per click is a flash in the pan (really) and advise 3 clients to skip it before one of my staff slaps me so hard my eyes rattle against the back of my skull.2004. A company offers us cash plus stock to do a project. I accept it. I still have the stock certificate as a placemat.2007. Thinking I can Be The Hero, I take on an entire development project on my own. The result resembles three spastic ferrets in a blender. My staff bails me out.2010. I lose my temper with a client. Justified? I dunno. But the fallout is personally and professionally excruciating. We're only human, but the lesson, as always, is to take a walk before you talk. We've since begun working together again.

And yet, Portent's going well (knock wood) and we're all still here. I think there's a lesson there...

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