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Passion, People and Principles

Minnow or Whale?

post # 113 — June 20, 2006 — a General, Strategy post

Well team, we’re famous.

The discussion last week on the blog, which started with my posts on Creating Awareness and Marketing Complexity, spread out through the blogosphere with posts by Joseph Thornely of ProPR, Scott Baradelle of Media Orchard, Dave Lorenzo of Career Intensity, and Sean-Paul Kelly of The Agonist, and generated a huge conversation in the comments here at Passion, People and Principles.

Now, our conversation has been picked up…by the June 20, 2006 edition of the Times of London:

Websites transform minnows into whales

By Richard Susskind

This is short-sighted because websites increasingly play a pivotal role in recruitment, in winning work and in shaping the market’s perception of their providers.

While I’m not sure how to take being called a minnow, it is certainly true that smart use of Internet tools can make any professional or organization look like a whale.

Thank you to everyone who so generously shared your suggestions and experience in the original conversation on creating awareness. If the proof is in the pudding, then your advice must be absolutely right – look at this publicity. Keep the great ideas coming!

And thank you also to Richard Susskind, a longstanding friend, for his very kind words about my site.

Of course, I hope you will continue to encourage colleagues, clients, subordinates, managers and friends to register on my website to receive my future articles, podcasts and blog posts. Because at the end of the day, generosity, reciprocity and building relationships are still what even Internet marketing is all about.


Leo Bottary said:

Very nice. Congratulations! Now that your a U.S. citizen, I think they’re trying to win you back!

posted on June 20, 2006

David (Maister) said:

I appreciate the congrats, but as Bishop Berkeley once asked: “If a tree falls in the forest, and no-one hears, did it really fall?” My thanks to everyone for not just being a passive audience but for joining in. Let not those trees fall in vain!

posted on June 20, 2006

scott said:


posted on June 20, 2006

Dave Lorenzo said:


Keep at it David.

It just takes time and patience. You have great content.

The crowds will come.

posted on June 20, 2006

Bill Sherman said:

I’ve waited for years for large companies and consultancies to recognize how much the internet has changed the face of business and competition.

Some consultancies have a very limited number of actual target decision makers who buy their services. They cut their deal on golf courses, and then they sponsor golf competitions and advertise in airport banner displays. That’s a great approach for a narrowcasting brand with a small audience that you have to reach.

If you have a website, you are competing globally. Your company’s website is the gateway to your global presence. You can look like a mom-n-pop company or a global thought-leader. While it takes time, resources, and dollars, a single consultant (or a small consultancy) can now create a thought-rich website.

David, you’ve long talked abuot the “Trusted Advisor” mindset. A great content-website allows you to establish credibility through generosity. Essentially, with a great website, the consultancy says:

“Here are some cool thoughts and ideas we’re willing to give away.” Visitors have a chance to evaluate if you’re a good fit for them. The visitors also get hooked, because they want more—the “grey hair” knowledge that you’re not giving away for free.

A small, generous-minded consultancy with a strong web-focus can dance nimbly around their larger competitors on the web. That’s been true for the better half of a decade, and the big firms still haven’t woken up.

posted on June 20, 2006

Joseph Thornley said:

David, your post and the subsequent conversation and pick-up by the Times of London has just become a case study in my “power of social media” presentation.

Congratulations on a great example of viral marketing.

posted on June 20, 2006

Bruce MacEwen said:


Richly deserved and honorably earned.

I’m sure your readership spans the English-speaking world, and that there’s really only one reason they come to (and come back to) your site: Your demonstrated ability to form a community of like-minded (or at least respectful!) professionals engaging in open dialogue about fascinating, valuable, thorny issues you raise and discuss.

Whenever an impatient blogging newbie asks me how to achieve the prominence of sites such as yours, the answer is: “It’s the content, stupid.”

And I’m sure your experience is mirroring my own: By far the most gratifying (intellectually and emotionally) aspect of creating and maintaining your site is the on-line and off-line community you’ve created and people you meet.

Keep it up! But of that, I have little fear.



posted on June 20, 2006

Leo Bottary said:

I’m not sure of the exact quote either. I did a very quick check at Oxford, but no cigar. The question should be, if we do find the exact quote, will it make a difference?

posted on June 21, 2006

Leo Bottary said:

I always heard the quote as “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears, does it make a sound? Or something to that effect. When I read Naked Conversations the authors try to make us bloggers feel better by saying it’s not the quantity of people reading your blog you should be concerned about, but the quaility. Realizing my own blog’s relative obscurity, I try to hold on to that thought. I’ve heard you speak and have enjoyed reading your blog. I believe you are certainly making a sound with your readers. Thanks!

posted on June 21, 2006

David (Maister) said:

So much for my attempts to remember precise quotations! I guess I should not be lazy and should check my quotes. Is the Oxford dictionary of quotations on-line?

posted on June 21, 2006