“I really hope people keep buying it a lot, so I can have shitloads of money”

Reading industry stuff, what with the social media revolution and the Facebook and the Twitter and the hey hey hey, one of the things we hear constantly is the need to marry remarkable content with easy access through pull communication. IOW, you need to have stuff so good that everyone comes to see it of their own volition. And then you use the social media platforms to allow people to share it and then you win.

One of the irritating things about this advice is that it’s so repetitive because we’ve all heard it a gajillion times. The more irritating thing, though, is that this advice is often very abstract. Everyone can talk about kick-ass content but no one knows what that actually will look like and whether it will succeed ’til you apply it to a discrete campaign. Of course, there are tips that’ll make your content more likely to succeed (sharable, variety of appearance, distinct voice, humor, etc) but the bottom line is that the rhetoric about this technique so often seems so detached from concrete, real world examples.

Which brings me to Louis CK (via Mistermix). Here’s the summary on BJ:

Louis CK started selling his latest show on a website four days ago for $5.  As of yesterday, he’s made $200K on the deal.  He financed production costs via ticket sales, and the download is a DRM-free high definition video that you can watch on your computer or burn to a DVD without restrictions.  The website is, in Louis’ words, “simple, optimal and humane experience”.  For example, it asks you if you want to join his mailing list, and the default choice is to opt-out, not opt-in.  In other words, he did everything that large commercial media doesn’t do, yet he was successful. His latest write-up on his experiment is well worth reading.

Here’s what Louis wrote, which is, as Mistermix says, well worth reading:

I really hope people keep buying it a lot, so I can have shitloads of money, but at this point I think we can safely say that the experiment really worked. If anybody stole it, it wasn’t many of you. Pretty much everybody bought it. And so now we all get to know that about people and stuff. I’m really glad I put this out here this way and I’ll certainly do it again. If the trend continues with sales on this video, my goal is that i can reach the point where when I sell anything, be it videos, CDs or tickets to my tours, I’ll do it here and I’ll continue to follow the model of keeping my price as far down as possible, not overmarketing to you, keeping as few people between you and me as possible in the transaction.
(Of course i reserve the right to go back on all of this and sign a massive deal with a company that pays me fat coin and charges you straight up the ass.). (This is you: yes Louie. And we’ll all enjoy torrenting that content. You fat sweaty dolt).

This is awesome. And I don’t have to tell you it’s awesome using a bunch of irritating hype words from the PR industry. It’s considerate, it’s easy, it’s honest, it’s funny and it’s a good deal. It’s a great instance of someone using the principles that we spend so much time pontificating about.

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