The Curse of The Pioneer


Sometimes, it sucks to be first.

Apple launched the iPod in October 2001. It wasn’t exactly a wild success out of the gate.


Graph from

It was a few years – nearly three – before sales really took off.

The iPhone was launched in the summer of 2007. Not everyone predicted it would be a hit.

“There’s no chance the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.  No chance.”  Steve Ballmer, CEO/Microsoft, 2007

Apple was a pioneer.

So was Brian Epstein, who managed a guitar group called The Beatles in the early 60s. He brought his band to Dick Row at Decca Records for an audition on New Year’s Day, 1962. Dick wasn’t impressed.

“Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr. Epstein.”  Dick Row, Decca A&R, 1962 to Beatles manager Brian Epstein

Sometimes it sucks to be first.

If you’re breaking new ground and changing the game, you will inevitably have disbelievers.

You will face opposition.

You will be mocked.

And at times, it will suck.

The Jacobs Media Blog posted a great article about proving the pundits wrong, and it inspired this blog post.

Be prepared for the hate. But never, ever let the bastards bring you down.


Order your digital or paperback copy of Brand Like a Rock Star now at Amazon!


Apple, The Beatles 330 Comments

Your Jimi Hendrix Moment

volume knob 2


It is hard to argue the musical genius of Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix was the guitar player that everyone else wanted to be. People tried to perfect the Hendrix sound so often that Jimi was quoted as saying “I’ve been imitated so well that I’ve heard people copy my mistakes”.

Yet despite all of the attempts, nobody has ever matched the brilliance of Jimi Hendrix. There was, and will only ever be, one Jimi Hendrix.

In rock ‘n’ roll and in business, there are leaders and there are followers.

You can spend your time trying to be just like someone else, or you can be Jimi Hendrix. But nobody notices the imitators and wanna-be’s.

The only path to real success is to do something truly unique… and do it so well that everyone else tries to imitate you.

You might think you’re weird.  You might think people will laugh at the “real” you. So you want to conform and be more like everyone else.

But the true rock stars among us reject conformity. They do their thing, their way, like nobody else. It takes guts, but it is the only path to real rock star success.

The moment you throw away conformity and embracing being dramatically unique is your Jimi Hendrix moment.


With one click here you can order Brand Like a Rock Star and start putting the strategies of rock legends to work in your business.

You can also advance order Start You Up, applying the rock ‘n’ roll approach to your personal brand and career, making you happier and wealthier in your chosen field. The new book comes out May 20.

Jimi Hendrix 148 Comments

Only Two Opinions Matter (And Yours Isn’t One Of Them)

DMB south africa

Dave Matthews Band in South Africa image from


Your brand isn’t what you think you are.

What you think doesn’t matter much.

Your brand is what they think you are.

Your brand is defined by the perceptions of two groups of people: brand lovers and brand haters.

Everyone else is irrelevant.


Brand lovers matter most because they drive your profits. They are your loyal fans. They’re the ones who will drive across town to buy from you, or pay extra because of the special service you provide. They tell their friends about you, follow you on Facebook, and generally give a shit about you and your business (which is rare, but really cool). You need to know what these people think and what drives their passion for your brand so that you can build upon it. When you know what drives them, you can do more of that.

Brand haters matter second-most because you have successfully branded yourself to these people, and you need to know why. They hate you and will never be your customers, yet they have a strong opinion about you. When a person dislikes a brand and knows exactly why they dislike that brand,  you’ve succeeded in branding. Understanding these people is important. Ideally, they dislike you for some of the same reasons your brand lovers are so attracted to you.

Think of it in musical terms.

Some people, we’ll call them Group A, think the Dave Matthews Band is pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, hipster crap. These are DMB brand haters.

Other people. Group B, think the Dave Matthews Band is smart, intricate, peaceful, and inspiring music. These are DMB brand lovers.

Every time that Dave Matthews records an album that pisses off Group A, his true fans in Group B are thrilled. They will buy more.

Group A is never likely going to buy a Dave Matthews song, no matter what he does. They have deeply formed opinions of him and those opinions are not likely to change. But if Dave wanted to appeal to those people by recording less pretentious pseudo-intellectual music, he would alienate the very people who love him… in an attempt to reach fans who are highly unlikely to ever care.

Common business practice is to attempt to attract people who don’t like you, the brand haters, by changing the very fibre of what makes you attractive to your current brand lovers.


Yet it happens time after time, day after day. And businesses wonder what the hell happened when the customers stop coming.


Click here to instantly order the marketing book Brand Like a Rock Star now and start using the strategies of rock legends to build a stronger business. You can order the digital download or have the paperback sent directly to your home or office.

PS – I’m in Group B. My wife, however, is solidly in Group A.

Dave Matthews 186 Comments

The Best Superbowl Ad You Never Saw


Either Kiss sucked, or they were the best rock band on the planet. There was no in between.

People noticed them. People paid attention to them. People knew what Kiss stood for.

No ambiguity.

Great branding is about inspiring an emotional reaction, removing ambiguity, and creating a powerful point of differentiation.

Savannah, Georgia personal injury lawyer Jamie Casino took out a full two minute ad on the local affiliate station during the Super Bowl. And in it, he made a bold statement.

You can love him or hate him, but you can’t avoid having an opinion.

You’ll know what Jamie Casino stands for and why he practices personal injury law.

Yes it is over the top. It is bombastic. It is self-important. Jamie Casino knows it, and he’s okay with you thinking it.

What I truly love about this ad is that it adheres to the rule that the risk of offence is the price of clarity.

Jamie Casino is willing to risk that some people won’t like him in order to achieve clarity in your mind as to what his brand represents.

So many businesses fail miserably in that way.

If you create a brand that nobody hates, you’ve created a brand that nobody loves.

KISS 173 Comments