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Can a big company do it wrong quickly?

I’m back from vacation and I am overwhelmed at how many blog posts I must read every day—you really notice it when you try to read two weeks’ worth of them at once. So, for the next few days, you might see me commenting on stuff written a while back. Today I came across a post from a few weeks back from Chris Anderson on how he handles the conflict between working for a big hit-oriented company and espousing The Long Tail.


Chris takes head on the notion that a large company can pursue the long tail and also the idea that companies must choose to go after hits or go after the long tail, but not both. As he points out, Conde Nast does both, and does both successfully.
Small companies can live off the long tail but large companies often must pursue hits also. Even examples of companies clearly benefiting from the long tail, such as Amazon, still rake in lots of revenue from hit products. Too often, we believe that big companies somehow are intrinsically different from small ones in every way, and we overlook that the changes brought about by the Internet affect all companies, albeit to different degrees and in different ways.
I also like the way Chris highlights failure in the post as something to be valued, because it reveals experimentation, And he correctly points out that we must distinguish between failure caused by sloppy execution rather then by experimentation. That is what “do it wrong quickly” is all about and it is every bit as important for large companies as for small ones.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for 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 serves 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, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com 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 is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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