Curate, Gamify & Love

Marketing’s “Hero’s Journey” Sourcing the World

June 14, 2014
Startup Journey Graphic on Curagami graphic “Web Incubator” Sourcing The World

A cool new startup from London called PitchSwag prompted thoughts on G+:

Curagami had an amazing experience at Triangle Startup Factory, but we are Internet marketer so we think about the mesh at all times. The other day we wondered, “If AirBnB has more rooms than Hilton or Marriott WHY are we trying to create a company with the view that the most important network (for us) is here in Durham, NC?”

Pitchswag Online Incubator logo graphic

All Startups need several kinds of fuel including:

  • Knowledge & Expertise.
  • Coaching & Championing.
  • Testing & Validated Learning (FAST).
  • Mentoring & Investing.

What if we think like The Mesh author Lisa Gansky ( ) and think about of all startups everywhere? Doesn’t the “startup fuel” required get exponentially bigger with just a tad more work? The web means 10% more work & investment and we can scale to the stars IF that is the journey we are on, the way we are thinking.

Working with Moon Audio and other great “inbound marketers” we discovered interesting new marketing challenges:

  • Business Bubbles.
  • Personal Bubbles.
  • Startup Bubbles.

Business Bubbles

Every from Fortune500 to SMBs (Small To Medium Sized Businesses) need:

  • Feedback loops that accurately assign value to every contributor creating ROI (good luck with that btw).
  • Less CONTROL and more collaboration.
  • Enough content creation to have authority but no so much it crushes UGC  (User Generated Content) is depressed.
  • The 3 Cs (Content, Community, Conversion).
  • Something BIGGER we can JOIN, love and share.

There is a new altruism impossible to sell but happening anyway (read ‘s David Amerland’s prescient What If We Had A New Value System for Goods & Services). Old approaches to growing a business or branding aren’t just OLD they are damaging.

But there’s a bubble.

This bubble is keeping OLD ideas alive artificially. The bubble so distorts what businesspeople see dead ideas persist and seem viable despite their “dead man walking” reality. One of those “old ideas” is thinking your competition is across the street or over there somewhere (half way around the world).

Not so much.

Everyone selling or creating anything has the same MASTERBLASTER competitor – TIME & ATTENTION. When five companies and a dog did or do what you do then competition is easy to understand. When anyone can do what you do in an instant competiton isn’t a THING. Competition is asynchronous as as everything else. Up is down, black is white and if you aren’t thinking sideways you aren’t in the game. You may be in a “game”, but you aren’t in THE GAME.

Filter Bubbles graphic on Curagami with Friends

Personal Bubbles

Upworthy’s founder is no dummy. Eli’s Ted Talk about filter bubbles should be required viewing for any marketer doing anything. Team Curagami’s take on Eli’s ideas is there is only one marketing left – Friends of Friends Marketing.

In a ubiquitous time we are wrapped in so many layers of cast iron bubbles we (any consuming group for any brand, idea or product) are UNREACHABLE except via our existing network of friends.

Startup Bubbles

Startups exist in a bubble too. You would think if ANYTHING embraced, rewarded and taught an asynchronous approach it would be startups.

Not so much as it turns out.

Can you teach disruption? Are disruptive ideas ever accepted at first. YES is the answer to both questions, BUT the number of gifted teachers like Chris Heivly and Dave Neal (Triangle Startup Factory in Durham, NC) are RARE due to proximity.

Why does proximity matter anymore?

I think that is one of the great questions the clearly talented founders of Pitchswag (London based online startup incubator) are abut to ask. The other question seems to be, “How can we source the WORLD?”

Every business must “source the world” now. Sourcing the world without MOVING it too is only half a victory. Creating the emotional connections required to JOIN a movement, idea, meme is HARD, but moving people to JOIN and ADVOCATE is today’s “real marketing.

Winning Hearts and Minds.

I learned just how hard when we created Surely crowdsourcing cancer research in order to cure cancer is an instant winner. When everyone has a hand out and up there are NO “instant winners”. In a skeptical age, and life can’t get much more skeptical, where ASKs abound and we (consumers) are in a content shock coma even curing cancer is a long slog up a steep mountain.

The fault is mine.

I thought Cure Cancer Starter were sufficiently asynchronous to WIN, be understood, embraced and shared. Not so much as it turns out. The core ideas remains valid = startups, businesses, brands, memes, ideas and products MUST find disruption and then do a better job communicating SHOCK OF THE NEW than Cure Cancer Starter.

Here’s the PitchSwag rub.

If OR ANY startup could “source the world” finding the magic key, the one that opens the locked door between early adopters and the great breadbasket of acceptance (to quote Crossing The Chasm) would be the journey we take, the “hero’s journey”.

This is the true quest team Curagami discovered EVERYONE is on from Fortune500 to SMBs (Small to Medium Sized businesses). We quest for the magic key.

Be sure to signup for Pitchswag!

Why Brand Scores Are Key To Content Marketing Curagami “Office” Pictures Triangle Startup Factory Durham, NC
Why Brand Scores Are Key To Content Marketing
Curagami “Office” Pictures Triangle Startup Factory Durham, NC

About the author: Martin Smith
Marty is a cancer survivor, 15 year Internet marketer after consumer products goods marketing & sales training with P&G, M&M/Mars & NutraSweet. He started 4 companies including Found Objects, Dada Box, Scenttrail Marketing & Curagami.


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