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Rare RE post from one of my newsletters.
These two posts are from one of the few ezines/newsletters I still subscribe to...it is reprinted just as I rec'd it.
I'll post beneath the second part (because it was too long for one post) what I think the very IMPORTANT point for you to consider.
Gordon Jay Alexander
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Battle-tested selling "formulas" that work:
COPYWRITER'S ROUNDTABLE #521
June 28, 2011
The "Information Age" Is Over
How to Make Money Online (Without a Product):
"The secret to creativity is
knowing how to hide your sources."
- Albert Einstein
If you're finally looking to the promise of the
"Information Age" as a whole new world of wealth
and opportunity... it just might be too late.
Anyway, I'm reading a book that makes that case.
It's called "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink. And
if you haven't seen it yet, you should check it
Says Pink, it's not so much that the "Information
Age" is dead. But that it's evolved into something
that's well beyond what a lot of people imagined it
No longer do we live to know. Instead, we aim to
understand. That's an ironically cryptic statement,
so let me explain.
The "Information Age" and the wave of e-book
sellers, online marketers, e-letter writers, blog
authors, and e-service providers that have spilled
out of your computer monitor these last dozen years
or so all got their start by giving you, well,
Today, we're drowning in it.
So much that we no longer crave more data. It's
just not rare enough to be crave-worthy (think
about it... is there ANYTHING you couldn't find,
right now, with Google and a few savvy keywords?).
What we now crave instead, says Pink, is context.
We want to know not so much "what" but "why." In
short, we want someone to come along who can shut
down the noise, exclude the extraneous, and tell us
what it all means.
That person, possibly, is you.
By the way, says Pink, this is about a lot more
than just the selling of information products. It's
about the selling of everything. And the careers we
choose... or should no longer choose... to follow.
Let me explain it this way: How did you do on your
SATs? If you're outside the U.S., you might not
know what I'm talking about -- the SATs are
standardized tests Americans have to take to get
We also have the LSATs for law school, the MCATS
for medical school, the GREs for other kinds of
graduate school, plus a whole lot more I'm sure I'm
forgetting. In other countries, they certainly have
Frankly, I did pretty well on the SATs.
But, says a study cited by Pink, guess how much
high standardized scores like these alone predict
your college or career success these days.
Would you believe just 4 to 6%?
The problem is that the tests only reveal high
levels of what you and I usually know as "left-
brain" thinking. This is the analytical, detail-
gathering type of stuff that used to make you a
superstar doctor, lawyer, or person-who-really-
That's all good stuff.
But, says Pink, we're moving into a world where
you'll get a lot more mileage out of more developed
"right-brain" skills. Things like being able to
conceptualize the big picture and come up with
creative new solutions to conventional problems.
Is this really something brand new for poor,
slobbering working stiffs to learn... or just an
old skill that we'll need to dust off for use in
the next new world?
It's yours to say.
But Pink makes the case that big changes are gonna
come, if they haven't already, due to at least
three big, new things.
FIRST, says Pink, you've got the problem of
abundance. It might not feel like it right now, in
the wake of the worldwide economic bust. But fact
is, millions more people have access to lots more
stuff than they have at any other time in history.
There's a great quote from the book:
"The paradox of prosperity is that while living
standards have risen steadily decade after decade,
personal and family life satisfaction haven't
budged. That's why more people, liberated by
prosperity but not fulfilled by it, are resolving
the paradox by searching for meaning."
In other words, for awhile there, you could soothe
itch inside your mind and that salivating center of
your soul by buying a new flatscreen TV or
splurging on the leather seats for your new car.
But no longer.
Says Pink, "In an age of abundance, appealing only
to rational, logical, and functional needs is
woefully insufficient... if things are not also
pleasing to the eye or compelling to the soul, few
will buy them. There are too many other options.
Mastery of design, empathy, play and other
seemingly soft aptitudes are now the main way for
individuals and firms to stand out in a crowded
SECOND, he says, is Asia.
Think about this: For about $15,000 a year, you can
hire a top-notch software programmer in India.
That's not even a starvation wage here, but about
20 times what the average Indian makes.
In the U.S., it used to cost about $75,000 annually
to get the same kind of software talent. Now, more
than half the Fortune 500 companies farm that work
overseas. Meanwhile, India alone graduates another
350,000 software programmers per year.
And it's not just software.
Accountants in the Philippines do U.S. audits for
Ernst & Young. Russian engineers design chips for
Intel and Cisco. Architects in Hungary draw up
basic blueprints for firms in California.
Even Wall Street is hiring overseas number
crunchers and, yes, writers to cover markets and
create financial reports on the U.S. market.
The "Information Age" that replaced our
"Manufacturing Age" is literally going the same
route, to cheaper workers overseas. And yes, all
THEY need is an online connection and a laptop to
make it happen. The dream exists the way it was
promised, but for someone else.
THIRD, says Pink, is automation.
Used to be that you had to pay thousands of dollars
to an accountant if you needed anything beyond a
simple tax filing. Today, you can pay about $39 and
get fancy financial footwork out of a software
Lawyers are seeing it too. People used to pay
billable hours for lawyers to hunt down legal forms
-- now you can do that online, free, and pay only a
fraction of the original cost to get help filling
Even doctors aren't immune (did you see what I did
there, with the word play?. A lot of a doctor's job
has been ticking off a checklist of symptoms and
narrowing down on a possible diagnosis.
But computers can do that. And sometimes, a lot
more efficiently. Doctors don't like it when you
look up your own symptoms on the Internet. But I
haven't been to one once in the last 15 years who
didn't eventually come around to agreeing with what
I'd already found online.
Point being, with all these huge shifts, you'll see
a lot less in the "knowledge" jobs that seemed to
matter so much in the last era... and a lot more
opportunity in what might seem like more soft,
That is, if you're the type who can figure out what
other people care about... if you're good at seeing
the big picture... and if you're good at explaining
it in simple, interesting terms... you're in luck.
Because that's where we're headed.
Pink didn't say this, but you have to wonder, is
this need for that aura of meaning a possible
explanation for the new opinion-saturated spin of
news networks these days? Is it the reason Apple
has a near-religious following for their products
or why millions of mainstream Americans have taken
I'm guessing yes.
And if this keeps going, it's going to
revolutionize -- among other things -- selling. In
a lot of ways maybe it already has.
Good selling today already tries to connect on a
higher level than features alone. It is why, for
instance, emotional pitches connect best.
But like everything else, it's looking more clear
that we'll all have to up the ante. You'll have to
find that persuasive deeper meaning in everything
you write copy for, be it a life-changing program
or a packet of crackers. In a word, sell
Or risk getting left behind.