11 August 2006

Tribal Knowledge by John Moore

I just read a really good one: Tribal Knowledge by John Moore.

Sure - it's all about marketing, advertising, coffee, Starbucks. But it's really a book about passion.

If you're in business merely to sell any product or service, and you need to be kicked in the ass by all sorts of empty motivational fodder and marketing department rave-ups, Tribal Knowledge probably won't make much sense to you. You'd be better off reading books with titles like "HOW TO SELL ANYTHING TO ANYBODY" or "GET ON OPRAH and MAKE A $MILLION$ DOLLARS IN ONE (Yes, I said one!) MONTH."

However, if you're genuinely passionate about your offering, whether you're an entrepreneur tinkering in a garage or the CMO of a multinational, this book is for you.

I have a number of clients with passion for their products/services. Actually, most have it. But they don't know what to do with it. Some are embarrassed by their passion, and opt for a straight-laced, too-tight-tie approach. They don't want anybody to think that they're out of control. It wouldn't be very business-like. Then there are the unbridled enthusiasts who overwhelm you with their bubbly chatter, salivate as they babble about their product, and spray your face if you don't roll your chair back a few feet first. Much better to get their drool on your shoes.

Uptight or gushy, these are the people who are often business visionaries.

But being a business visionary and getting your vision off the ground, and keeping it hovering—first over three or four places, then over thousands—are two (or three, or four) very different things.

John Moore tells the story of Howard Shultz and Starbucks, and how the company corralled and funneled its passion (not only for a great cup of coffee but for the experience of a great cup of coffee) into a practical marketing plan. John says that the company kept reinvesting its profits. True. But between the lines you realize that what they really did was reinvest their passion. Over and over. Until … well, you know what happened.

Tribal Knowledge is primary source material. John worked there. He also worked for Whole Foods. These are two companies that created their own industries—not quite out of thin air, but almost. So listen to him.

The Tribal Knowledge Web Site.

Places where you can buy the book.

John's interview with Nettie Hartsock.

John Moore's more famous than my blog blog (and for good reasons), Brand Autopsy.

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