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A Rocker, a Brand Doctor and GIVE & ASK at TED

Magic at TED

It never ceases to amaze. During a serendipitous conversation with Red Maxwell, the Brand Doctor, he did it again. The last time, several years ago, we were having lunch discussing my obsession with altruism in marketing.

Red began to share broad stokes of, “An amazing guy I just had lunch with at TED”.  I realized he was describing one of the three legs of my new altruism stool – Michael Shermer author of Mind of the Market. The other two legs (at that time) were Robert Wright’s NonZero and Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene (turns out the selfish gene isnot be as selfish as the title implies).

Today Red shared a great story about helping rocker Amanda Palmer. Red’s latest random share comes two days after I wrote a long a long post on Google Plus, a note to Amanda (below) and thanked my friend Phil Buckley (@1918) for sharing Amanda’s TED presentation on the ASK and the GIVE (embedded below).

The Ask and the Give

Red helped Amanda rehearse. I shared how confident and sure her pace was in the video, how calm. “She was scared to death,” Red told me humanizing Amanda. You see nothing but a beautifully paced, practiced storyteller at the height of her craft on the video:

Lessons For Every Marketer

“Cool and everything Marty,” I can hear some readers thinking, “but what is in this story of the rocker and brand doctor for my company or personal brand?” Red and Amanda created a nexus presentation, a presentation that beautifully connects themes let’s wrap and pack as Save The World Marketing including.

  • The line between FOR PROFIT and NONPROFIT is fading fast (core idea).
  • Everyone who used to only ASK will need to GIVE (implication 1).
  • Everyone who used to only GIVE will need to ASK (implication 2).
  • The NATURE of ASK and GIVE is changing fast (see David Amerland).
  • The TRUST necessary for ASK and GIVE is key (see Mark Traphagen).
  • When choice spreads toward infinity, we buy from those we LOVE (Me).
  • Be remarkable or be obsolete (Red Maxwell).
  • Give your art away and it comes back to you (Amanda Palmer, Seth Godin).

Trust, Love & ART > Money: Godin’s The Icarus Deception

Memories and hearts belong to LOVE and love is many things boring, ordinary and routine almost never.

Amanda Palmer Is An Artist.

Here is the quote from Amanda’s video I listened carefully to hear and copy after Phil tagged me on his Facebook share of Amanda’s TED Talk:

The perfect tools are not going to help us if we can’t face each other and receive fearlessly and more important to ASK WITHOUT SHAME”. (emphasis mine).

I would add, “…and give without expectation”. How do we eliminate SHAME and EXPECTATIONS? We need to rethink some core capitalist ideas such as:

  • Zero-sum – I win by your losing. (NonZero)
  • Competition – Can we collaboratively compete?
  • THEM and US – Lines are disappearing fast.
  • Control – Who is in charge here? A: The sentient mob.
  • ROI – What does a GIVE and ASK P&L look like?
  • Exchange – “currencies” abound how do we “pay” or get “paid”.
  • TRUST – How gained/lost in our Social + Mobile times?

Quite a list and I am sure I’ve left things important out. Good enough list to realize everything we KNEW or thought we understood is gone. I’m listening to REM’s End of the World as We Know It and it feels appropriate, on point and true.

The end of the marketing world as we’ve known it, and I feel fine.

I feel fine because Amanda, Red and friends with good brains and rhythm are singing a new tune, the song of GIVE and ASK.

Before Red’s wife called her tired husband, Red was in New York, I asked him to please assure Amanda Palmer I am not a stalker just have too much enthusiasm combined with too little time. Here is the message I sent Amanda on Facbook after being moved by her TED presentation:

Amanda my friend Phil Buckley shared your ted talk knowing I am working on Cure Cancer Starter, a crowdfunding platform for cancer research (I have leukemia).

I think Phil thought I would love that you were so successful crowdfunding on Kickstarter. I am as it gives Cure Cancer Starter hope for raising cancer research donations, but your eloquence on becoming comfortable with GIVING and ASKING hit home too.

Cancer is somewhat analogous to your experience as the 8 foot woman. Cancer Patients MUST ask for help. To do anything else is foolish and means we (cancer patients) exit faster. Like you I’ve NEVER been disappointed by asking.

This is not to say I’ve achieved everything desired. I rode a bicycle across America in the hope we could raise $50K for cancer research, we raised almost $30K. Am I disappointed? Not at all. I remember the doctor in Savannah TN who peeled a $100 bill of his cash and handed it to me, “To help with expenses” he said. And it did. There were expenses believe me. We were not unlike a touring band for 60 days living in an RV and riding a little bit further everyday.

The ASK and GIVE is always more generous on both sides than either realizes at first. Connection is more valuable than MONEY. I spent last week changing all the designations on my life savings to the Story of Cancer Foundation. Nothing makes an idea ring like a clear bell on a quiet morning as much as changing things that will happen when  you are gone (lol).

I am no Bill Gates. Allocating “retirement” funds to do good, THE GIVE, made not living until 80 feel meaningful. I don’t feel owed something I am unlikely to get but I am receiving something valuable I wasn’t owed. The GIVE without expectation of a quid pro quo return is grace.

Long note to say THANKS for your moving definition of what I’m going to do with the rest of my life – ASK and GIVE.

I like to tell my friends they ROCK when they do some amazing thing. In your case you do ROCK and in more ways than you know or realize.



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