John Peterman, J. Peterman: Baseball taught him success – both how to fail (a .333 average – one hit and two outs gets you in the hall of fame) and how to dream. With his own business launching the J. Peterman catalog, he succeeded by breaking the rules, like putting only one product on the page, using longform copy, and using drawings instead of photographs.
Now: They just launched a website Peterman’s Eye, full of his intellectual ideas from around the world. Interactive is a big focus for Peterman now. From there it’s Peterman’s Travel and then Peterman’s Home. The sites don’t sell anything. (They do have Google ads.)
What’s funny with Peterman is that he comes off looking more like an old neighbor, not the worldly adventurer that he is. He’s a good storyteller though.
Craig Newmark, craigslist: Now Craig gets up and he’s wearing a blazer and tie, which seems off for craigslist’s Craig.
Well into his talk, he went on this fun historical rift referring to reformers like Martin Luther, John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson bloggers. I’m not sure the syllogism holds up though. Bloggers may be part of this self-publishing reformist movement and thus revolutionary in some way, but that doesn’t mean the reformers were all bloggers. Okay, it’s a metaphor. I’ll drop it. One last point though: Thomas Jefferson, to our knowledge, never wrote a blog in the voice of his dog.
Another fun fact: Craig shares his email freely, firstname.lastname@example.org, and doesn’t use any spam filters. I’d love to know how he manages his inbox because mine’s almost a lost cause. Craig’s response time is ridiculous too. I wrote him after the event asking if there was anything people could do about the real estate scam I blogged about (and blogged about again). After a bit of an exchange, he wrote, "David, I’ve spoke with the Secret Service, no new advice
or anything, really tough problem." I wish there was more I could do, but at least there’s SEO.
Roxanne Quimby, Burt’s Bees: Of major importance is monitoring how consumers interact with your products. She noticed, for example, that when people would check out a candle, they’d pick it up and look at the bottom. She never quite got why, but she made sure the bottom of the candle always looked as good as the top.
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Congrats, author David Vinjamuri on the launch, and kudos to Thirdway and NYU for putting it together and to Carolyn Kepcher, best known for The Apprentice, for moderating and speaking.