When shrunken heads were hot...
Some of the scariest true tales I'm aware of are the stories of headhunting cannibals...
Tribes which practice headhunting may still exist today in the highlands of Papua New Guinea... And maybe also deep in the jungles of Borneo...
One of the most gruesome modern tales is that of Michael Rockefeller, who was the grandson of John D. Rockefeller. He was an anthropologist, and disappeared on a trip to New Guinea in 1961... He is believed to have been captured, cooked, and eaten by one of the then still-cannibalistic tribes.
Which brings us to this...
This is a shrunken head! E. Joseph Cossman (Joe Cossman) tells us in his books that when he was selling them, they sold like crazy!
It was probably more plausible at that time... the death of Michael Rockefeller would have still been fresh in the public consciousness...
Makes you wonder... what "crazy" items would be "hot" today?
The irony of Cossman. He really made money, when he retired.
Oh, my. I had all that stuff as a kid. I loved the JOHNSON-SMITH Nolveties catalog.
Anyhow, Cossman. He actually sold the company to his brother in law, and it wasn't until Dan Kennedy, got involved via Guthy-Renker.
Well, it was a hot day in Indian Springs, where Cossman was and where Greg Renker met Bill Guthy at a club, racket ball, I think.
The magic happened when Dan Kennedy came in, and BOOM, Cossman made millions, Guthy-Renker exploded to astronomical heights.
Although he did OK in business, he became really wealthy selling courses from infomercials.
Selling the tools to the miners, if you will.
And Guthy-Renker got rich, I believe, just off of all the stuff I bought from them, I was a cassette course addict.
A powerful, profitable takeaway from Joe Cossman...
Thanks for sharing that!
The book "Making It!" by E. Joseph Cossman and William A. Cohen (published in 1994) was the very first book I bought about entrepreneurship. (I would have bought a copy around 1995 - I still have my copy, and it's right now sitting in front of me...)
I feel the following are probably some of the biggest "take-aways" those who are studying Joe Cossman can come away with to turbo-charge their business ventures...
They are his ideas and experiences on what were later called "toll positions" (though Cossman doesn't seem to use that phrase)...
Instead, Cossman talks about ways to "protect your ideas," and also how to get "exclusive rights" to products. These are all examples of "toll positions" or of "toll booths"...
He applied these ideas too.
He got exclusive access to a product with his contract for "Fly Cake" with the manufacturers (the actual contract he used for Fly Cake is in "Making It!", pages 86-88).
He had effective exclusivity by buying the tooling for the spud gun... (A version of the "spud gun" story is in his book, "How I Made $1,000,000 in Mail Order," chapter 10...)
He used trademarks (such as for the "Ant Farm")...
Using these strategies cuts out your competition!
This is very valuable knowledge to know - even years later... The principles are still the same!
Would it not be safe to say, J. Cossman taught Harvey Brody about tolls?
We need to have more discussion here about tolls, and maybe we focus on Intellectual Property to get started?
Sure, finding molds, dies, stored value assets is cool, but creating or ACQUIRING IP, and building a toll booth, may be the best thing for SowPubbers.
IP, Gots some???
It's the source...
Gordon wrote... "Would it not be safe to say, J. Cossman taught Harvey Brody about tolls?"
There's no doubt Harvey gathered these principles from those "money making geniuses" he worked for (like Cossman).. He put a name to it, and clarified it, and even expanded it...
As the saying goes, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." (Isaac Newton)
I think that also goes for you and me, and for all of us here... :)
Today's facebook groups and their gurus...
I really don't know how today's followers measure success, some think that guys like Russel Brunson/Frank Kern are the greatest marketers of all time.
So, where do guys like Ben Suarez fit into their thinking? OLD OLD school? OLD methods?
A question was asked in a very popular guru group who was the best direct response marketer of all time? Well, a spurious question at best, but what are the metrics and parameters for measurement?
So, I say this. Show me your best and compare to Ben Suarez, 50+ years of continuous success, with several BILLION dollars in sales, of thousands of different products, employing thousands of people over the years and is still CRUSHING it today. These followers of gurus love to talk about crushing it.
I think SCI and all of its parts and pieces easily make more in a month than most revered gurus of IM do in a year.
Now, I may not be a big fan of the man himself, for my own reasons...but it is hard to argue against the very VISIBLE success in direct response marketing he has made.
Who knows, maybe Russell and Frank will still be at it 30 years from now?
Hard to get excited these days about the latest guru and his many minions of followers. Good for them.
Not so good for me.
I need to hang out more in other groups, like with only one other member...oh wait, I do that here.
What makes their writing more compelling than the writing today?
I definitely have an affinity for what they call "old school"... In many ways, I feel it is better and more effective...
Even the writing was better.
There's something about sales and marketing books written, for example, in the 1940s and 1950s, compared to most books today... There's something seemingly more "readable" about them to me...
What could it be that makes it so?
Here's a passage from Elmer Wheeler's "Tested Sentences That Sell" (chapter 6)...
~~~~~I was asked by the Barbasol Company, in the person of F.THE STORY OF BARBASOL
I just picked this story at random - there are a ton of them... Somehow, I feel if this research was presented in a book today, it would be dry and boring and put the reader to sleep... :)
We've lost something we need to get back!
Okay, I went off track a little... But what is it that makes such writing more compelling than most of the writing today?
P.S. Gordon, your stories have the same "compelling" quality...
Re: When shrunken heads were hot...
Old school didn't have all the bells and whistles we've got now - maybe photos or illustrations but no videos or social media interaction.
So it had to paint the entire picture.
More recently, I remember the days of multi-page ads for personal computers because they had to explain everything.
Why home computers used to be considered a part of the family...
I remember those multi-page computer ads! They were great! (I was really into computers back then...)
Now, this is not the same thing... But you may remember some of the early home computer ads in the magazines...
I don't know why, but family and friends always seemed to gather around the computer...
Clearly, this was how they used computers back then!
Even those who couldn't see the computer screen somehow had fun... :)
I'm not sure why, but parents and siblings used to gather around smiling whenever anyone used the computer... :)
It seems strange to us, but back then, for some reason, the home computer was sometimes even included in family photos...
I got those photos from the following web page, where there are a lot more wild photos of early home computer ads!
Me & My TRS-80: Kids And Their Computers in the 1980s
Best wishes, :)
Re: When shrunken heads were hot...
Thanks Dien - interesting flashbacks.
The real fun (of course) was typing in the program listings from the magazines and hoping things saved to cassette before something crashed. That and adapting Basic for a different computer (hmm - wonder how I got started in programming!)
One weekly computer magazine here in UK had a one page cartoon advert on the back, partly created by Mel Croucher who wrote this very readable book about one of his games.
Different times indeed!
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