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The Last Original Idea: A Cynic's View of Internet Marketing Paperback – December 16, 2010
An in-depth history of the Internet & the marketing tools it brought to the marketplace. With carefully researched facts, a fun romp through time, with clarity about how to proceed as a marketer. --Gillian Muessig - President & Co-founder SEOmoz
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While reading the book, you receive many facts and anecdotes that are all related and you know where it's heading. The final chapter brings everything together in a wonderful example of a company that really got the concept of how to do marketing with different technologies. The company profiled, Gun Dog Supply, should be an inspiration to small businesses and marketers who have lost their way in the world of marketing with technology.
The book would certainly receive 5 stars if the proofreaders had done a better job. When you get to page 58 and 59, you will see 2 sentences in a row that don't quite make sense. Apparently there is a bit of text that is missing. I contacted the author about this and he kindly replied to me that the text should read like this:
"As technology moved forward a new Internet related service was born - "The News Downloader". These applications, originally released in 1996 (Pointcast and Marimba) allowed users to program them to automatically dial-up to the user's ISP and then download a news update including stock news on a scheduled basis (every 30 minutes, once an hour, 3 times a day etc.). The updated news feed would then serve as the user's screen saver to push the news to the users once the screen had been idle for a few minutes. The user no longer had to go and pull down the news. It was pushed to him to be read at will. These technologies became an immediate media darling. While on paper this idea seem good, when employees at companies on mass would install these programs and multiple downloads would occur at peak hours, corporate networks would grind to a halt. In essence it was the popularity of these types of programs that in part caused their demise. The programs were very complex and very few corporations wanted to spend the money required to host the news feeds locally. Yet years later, the appearance RSS feeds would take their place as the next darling of push technology."
The authors of this book take the reader through a brief history of marketing and communications dating back to Biblical times. It's a quick read (I read my copy on a plane coming back from a conference) and there's number of humorous anecdotes that will make you pause and chuckle as you think of your own experiences of being marketed to.
The book is an interesting course through history showing how things we accept as general practices in marketing are simply variations of themes which have been around for years; for centuries in some cases. The authors give many examples showing that communication and marketing really haven't changed all that much. While tools and means of communicating may change and things become more efficient and faster, the messages we exchange are very much extensions of those our ancestors exchanged.
This book is important because we, as modern marketers in electronic media, need to understand the past, learn from it and move to greater success. If you can't remember a time when there were less than ten channels on the TV, or back to when a computer in the home was still somewhat of an oddity, or back when music was played off 12-inch discs or *gasp* bulky tapes then this book is for you.
The last part of the book is an example of success in this web marketing age. The authors grab a lesson from the folks at Gun Dog Supply to show how these ideas from history can be successfully implemented in the "modern age." It's a great lesson which I use to teach people about success in web marketing.
It's an easy, quick read with lots of humour and great lessons to learn.
Brett Tabke, CEO of Webmaster World recently said something like, "People have always communicated by any and all means possible." After you read The Last Original Idea I think you'll agree he's right.