Self-promotion and marketing: black and white -- or color
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at 07:57AM
Political Mammal in Entrepreneurship, Personal, Values

There is in me something highly resistant to self-promotion and marketing. For years, I have been comfortable—to a fault—with anonymity for myself and with a low profile for my company. It took me years to move from a plain black and white business card to one that had two colors. Most of my company’s business proposals have been simple one page black and white letters. The user-interface for our software and the format of our software manuals have been as unflashy and monochromatic as possible. We have not produced fancy marketing material to sell our products and services. I do not wear a suit and tie to a demonstration. In somewhat the same vein, my humor tends toward self-deprecation. I have wanted success to come from the substance of our work, not from our presentation skills. And it has.

I have looked askance at other people—and firms—who boast, overstate their value, blow their own trumpets, claim to be the workers of magic, make flashy interfaces with fancy graphics, and who are somehow the self-pronounced best at what they do. I think less of those who parade like peacocks. I have hoped that others can see through the bullshit.

I see this character trait of mine as a positive when I view it as a discomfort with the egocentric, the inauthentic or the affected.

The negative side is something akin to inhibition. Something that will not let me dance through life, something that will not let me present myself and my company at its best, consistent with the authenticity and honesty and straightforwardness that I want to maintain.

What I do not like is when I discover that my discomfort with marketing has costs. When my presentation skills let someone or some other enterprise win out over my own. When I see other companies doing something similar to what we do, but not as well, but making it look better on the surface.

So I am looking now for more balance. One step on the personal side in this has been to start this blog. To try to talk about who I am and where I came from, little by little, even if no one reads it, to practice self-expression. Putting my picture on it, and my name, was a big deal to me, and maybe someday the picture will be in color.

And, on the business side, there will be a revised presentation of my company coming soon as well.

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