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I did the contest wrong quickly

Some of you noticed that I put a contest up yesterday for the story about the worst marketer—the one who most needs to learn to do it wrong quickly. (Thanks, Marshall for telling others about it.) But I realized that in putting together this contest, that I did it wrong quickly without even planning to.

First, I had an idea for a contest, but it was different from this one. I thought I’d ask people to contribute success stories where they did it wrong quickly and fixed it. But, in talking to Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, they advised me that people don’t always want to talk about themselves—it seems like bragging, or their company doesn’t allow it—but people love to vent about things that went wrong.
So I changed the idea. I had talked to someone and they gave me some feedback about what was wrong, and I listened. If I had just kept mulling it over without sharing it with anyone, I’d have probably gone with my original idea (and maybe I’ll do that one someday), but this one seems better to me.
Then I thought about how to implement the idea. As an inveterate IT person (not sure what a veterate IT person would be, but oh well), I started listing off how the system should work. You need a way for people to post entries that other people can comment on, but can’t change. And I didn’t want to have to authorize them ahead of time to be allowed to post. And I didn’t want the same people posting over and over again.
So, I assumed that I could find either a wiki or a blog that could be set up this way. I quickly found that all blogs are designed for the authors to be known ahead of time, so I turned to wikis. I spent hours comparing wikis hoping that if I was lucky, not only could I find a wiki that met my requirements, but one that was hosted and free.
No such luck. I never found any that could do what I wanted (or at least not without a lot of programming). So I decided to do it wrong quickly. I posted a Web page and will have entrants e-mail their stories to me and then I will post them on a blog that everyone can comment on. It’s more manual work and less sexy than what I wanted, but it will basically work. And for a two-week contest, I didn’t want to do that much work. (If anyone has a better idea for what I could do, I’ll fix it.)
So I posted everything last night, and this morning Steve Gehlen contacted me and told me that I hadn’t used the correct name of the conference whose winning ticket is the contest’s prize. (Oops.) That isn’t a stellar example of “do it wrong quickly”—that’s just carelessness—but I could at least fix it quickly with no major damage done.
Now, I could have just given up on the idea because I couldn’t do it right. Or I could have slaved over it for a while to make something happen in a few weeks. But I think this way is better. I’ll put it out there, let people tell me what’s wrong with it, and fix it if it makes sense. The contest is up faster, it’s better than if I kept it to myself, and I can easily fix things I got wrong. Sounds like a good subject for a book

Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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