Let’s recap what has happened so far: Last week, I introduced myself, rambled on a bit about NBA basketball and the artist now once again known as Prince, and finally decided to cover a few thoughts on marketing. All in all, I thought it was a good piece — and apparently so did a few of you (my neurotic inner demons thank you). But I must admit to a surprise — not a bit of pushback on the ClickZ editorial front.
Normally, when a writer submits a piece that’s — shall we say — edgy, he tends to get a slight nudge back from an editor. I was expecting that to be the case with my first piece. So much so, in fact, that after I sat down, wrote the piece, and sent it to ClickZ, I immediately went fishing for seven days. I figured being unreachable was the best defense.
In any case, the fact that my piece slid through the ClickZ editorial staff gauntlet has to make me wonder: Am I losing my edge? Are my thoughts going mainstream? Am I gaining acceptance by the masses? Are zombies running ClickZ? I mean, what the hell is going on over there?! So far, the managing editor has seemed nice; but who knew he was crazy enough to let me spew nonsense?
All of these questions become even more pointed in the face of the final point I raised in the first piece: Namely, speaking with a real voice means appealing to fewer people.
Did anyone actually read that part? The implication is clear: The growth of a business has natural limits. Not only that, but you’d think that such a statement might have some impact on a site such as ClickZ — fairly dependent on vendor sponsorship, a method intent on reaching the fat part of the bell curve. I mean, is it just me, or did I not question the very business model around which ClickZ is built?
So now I’m thinking: OK, the lack of response from the ClickZ editorial staff is them throwing down the gauntlet. It’s their way of saying*, C’mon Norlin. Ya ain’t so tough. Not jus’ that, but ya ain’t none too smart neither. I am now of course completely enraged and ready for the challenge. No one — I repeat — no one publishes my edgy work without a fight.
Thus it is that I am proud to bring to you fine folks a very public and very personal experiment. I am — before the eyes of millions — about to undertake a strategy aimed at getting me thrown off ClickZ. That’s right — I’m going to speak with a voice — my voice, a voice known to offend vendors, sponsors, and advertisers of nearly every ilk. This column is hereby dubbed The Frankenstein File, cuz it’s alive, baby!
What do I have to lose? Well, not much, as ClickZ doesn’t pay me for this literary bravado. What do they have to lose? Well, me as a total pain in the arse, I guess.
What do readers have to gain? Simple: We are about to venture onto uncharted shores. We are sailing bravely away from the fat part of the bell curve — determined to rest on the outer edges of statistical tails. In doing so, we will show marketers the way to a brighter place — a place filled with personality, intelligence, lexiconical diversity, and humor.
Our first step: a bold declaration of our intention. We turn to the immortal philosophies of Plato and Popeye and scream: I am what I am. In so doing, we thumb our nose at the readership. And you know what — I bet you’ll still read anyway.
Second: I’m issuing a challenge to the vendor community: Show some cojones and fork over the cash to sponsor this column. I mean, really, you probably won’t have to pay for very long… And wouldn’t it be cool to be involved in something cutting edge right at the very moment when your competition is experiencing involuntary contractions of the lower descending colon brought on by the fear of an economic downturn?
Third: I expect — no, I demand — that some other columnist get involved in debunking nearly everything I say. I’m going to publicly nominate Nick Usborne, because I know Nick disagrees with me a lot, plus I can drink him under the table, and he’s one of those annoying Brits that now lives in Canada. C’mon Nick, bring on the heat.
Last: I’ll be accepting reader suggestions. Normally, I don’t do this, as I find most readers lacking good suggestions, but I think the people reading ClickZ just may be the exception to the rule. Do you think you have a good idea I should address? Fire away. Our operators are standing by: email@example.com.
So there it is. Not since Ali and Frazier has such a match taken place — me versus ClickZ, or internet.com, or whoever owns this thing now.
*Editor’s note: What this here young’n Norlin don’t git is that ClickZ, from the very beginnin’, has let the columnists speak in their own voice. What he’s just figurin’ out — speakin’ “in a real voice” or speakin’ in tongues or in super-duper code or whatever it is the NSA had him doin’ — we been doin’ since day one. Kinda fun, ain’t it, when young’ns think they’s discov’d somethin’ new… ?