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Dec 04, 2004


hugh macleod

Godspeed, Shel =)

Oops. Mea Culpa. You left a very kind comment on my blog earlier today. It got deleted by accident as I was clearing 300 comment spams.

Bloody things...

Sorry =(

The only part of Robert's proposal which made me nervous was the idea to auction off the book rights on E-Bay. Not that it's a bad idea, but I do think you should wait to see what kind of book you have before you sic the market on it.

I think writing the book "in public" is a great idea =)

Perry Nelson

Shel, I've posted a comment on Robert's blog and I wanted to let you know too that I support your effort wholeheartedly. I've even blogged about it this morning here, http://newstome.blogspot.com/2004/12/blogged-book-on-corporate-blogging.html. I'll be following the development of this project with interest.

Perry Nelson

Rats! The link got published with a period at the end, so here it is again, but this time without the period.



That's it - the latest Reality show: The Red Couch. Can Shel and Robert make a book? What publisher will they get? Who will be fired first?

Find out on the "next post" of the Red Couch....

Great idea!

Tim Harding

First off, let me wish you and Robert both the best of luck with the book. The really exciting thing about it is the opportunity for input you're going to have, like a comedian doing new routines in front of smaller audiences before performing them on HBO.

I disagree with your stance on the title. Who are you writing the book for? People about to fall asleep from watching golf on tv? You make the point that his title has nothing to do with the topic. Well, most song titles and movie titles share at best a tenuous link with their subject but that doesn't stop people from listening or watching.

You should go about it like making a good commercial: you're portraying an image, not a summary. What better place to establish image than on the cover of a book?

I'd call it "The Little Red Couch" with a picture of the couch, empty, on the cover. That gives you an image and a starting point for the first chapter.

Good luck!

shel israel


Thanks for the comments. The Red Couch seems to me to imply the book is about a promiscuous psychiatrist. Everyone responding seems to like it, but our target audience is corporate, many of them cautious about being or permitting blogging. My title "Conversational Marketing," is boring, as working titles should be. I think our final title will evoilve from what we write or from a blog reader suggestion.

shel israel

I think you are right about auctioning to publishers on eBay. My sense is that publishers want to keep royalty and advance negotiations tight to their vests and would hate making that number known publically. Robert has so many great ideas. It seems to me that this is not one of them.

Will Pate

If markets are conversations, then Conversational Marketing is redundant - not to mention too boring for even the most stuffed of shirts. At least give it something engaging like "Good to Great". A book on the shelf might as well be in the remainder bin - and that's where most books end up, so perhaps you should shoot for creating a meme.

How about "Red Couch in a Big Room"?

Thousands of customers are talking about you online. Imagine them in a big room where anyone can come and go as and pretty much say what they please. There's a big red couch in the room, the center of attention, and they're inviting you to sit in it and join the conversation. The couch is comfortable and the only prerequisite is that you loosen your tie and speak like a real human. Whether that sounds inviting or intimidating, this book will help you command that couch like you do the rest of your business.

shel israel


Don't hold back. tell me what you really think. I'm proposing the title, not as the final title, but as a working title. I think the actual title will come out of a conversation that gets underway when we start actually writing the book.

David Paull


I'm new to your blog and learned of it from reading about your book project with Scoble. I think what you guys are doing is fascinating and I commend you on stepping out of your comfort zone and going with the flow of some of Robert's seemingly "out there" ideas. Those are the very idea that will make this book explode. By the way, in my opinion, The Red Couch name is out there now big time and it's going to stick in one form or another. My advice (for what it's worth) is embrace it. With the kind of reach Scoble has, resistance may be futile. Anyway, best of luck - this is going to be exciting to watch and read.

Peter Cooper

Okay, "The Red Couch" isn't a great name, but it has a certain memorability/familiarity factor. People will blog about the "red couch" more than they will about "conversational marketing." I'm with Scoble. "Purple Cow" is a book title I'm never going to forget, but if Godin had called the book.. "Your Unique Selling Proposition", it wouldn't have stirred up half as much buzz as it did. Perhaps, as a compromise, you can stick with "The Red Couch" as a project name and get more sensible later on?

shel israel


I think you're right. I may be stuck with it. Robert has managed to brand something in less than a day. But I liked your comment about him as a Microsoft guy: Resistance indeed, may be futile.

Will Pate

Shel, that pretty much was what I thought :)

The Red Couch in a Big Room makes more sense to me, at least if you include some derivative of that blurb on the back of the book.


You said that Scoble's blog has "begun to soften the animosity that has made Microsoft, the tech industry’s most hated company."

The reason that Microsoft is so hated is its decades-long pattern of unethical and often illegal behavior. This pattern continues to this day, yet you seem very pleased that Scoble may be having some success in misleading the public into thinking Microsoft is a much better company than it really is.

You and Scoble are examples of why the public doesn't like pr people.

shel israel


I can see your perception of what I said, but what's key is that Robert, and other Microsoft bloggers, have softened the perspective not by smoke and mirrors but by displaying consistently high ethical behavior over a prolongued period of time. I have no comments on Microsoft's behavior over the decades but am pleased to see people at Microsoft behaving and such a candid and transparent level. For the record, Robert has not now, nor has he ever been a member of the public relations profession. I have. And I take no shame in it.

Shannon Clark

Shel - Good luck with the book! This seems like a great solution to some of what we talked about at Poptech earlier this year. I'm looking forward to the conversation (and to the eventual book).

A few further thoughts (I also posted a comment on the initial post to the rec couch blog, expanding a bit on Scoble's FAQ with some questions that occurred to me, perhaps too simplistic but I hope helpful nonetheless)

I think your audience is business professionals in general - not "just" corporate types. Given Scoble's 700k readship each day, it is unlikely that your jointly written book will fail to attract serious interest or a serious publisher, likewise its pretty unlikely it won't get read well outside of a small corporate inner circle. Instead, I would imagine that many businesspeople (and people who want to be in business) will read it and incorporate the suggestions into what they, in turn, suggest to corporate leaders.

I know that once it is written, I'll probably cite it in my own consulting practice - especially if it allows for a clear, concise, and documented set of both suggestions and case studies of the value of blogging.

Looking forward to the ongoing conversation!

Good luck!



I , for one, gonna make sure no money is made from this silly endeavor.

Use your imaginations, gents.


"I have no comments on Microsoft's behavior over the decades"

That is just the point. You either know that Microsoft has a bad record and don't want to admit it, or you don't know and don't want to find out. An awkward question comes up, and so you dodge around it and pretend it is not important. It just this that makes people angry at the pr profession. If you have no shame, well, that means you have a deficiency in your moral character.

"am pleased to see people at Microsoft behaving and such a candid and transparent level."

That again is the point. The great majority of the people who work at Microsoft are, as far as I can tell, quite decent. It is the people at the top who make the unethical and illegal decisions. What blogging does is help put a friendly face on the company, thereby distracting people from what it is really up to.

I am not saying that is the only thing blogging does. Microsoft is also using it for legitimate purposes. However, that is certainly one of its essential functions. It is impossible for me to believe that a person like yourself who is experienced with the corporate world doesn't see this.

By the way, since this is part of the reason for Microsoft blogging, it means that Scoble is functioning as a pr person (though that is not all he does), whether or not he has that title or is an official member of the profession. He knows perfectly well that Microsoft has been, and continues to be, an unethical corporation, and he knows that part of why he was hired was to make it look good.

Furthermore, Scoble is not always as honest and transparent as you portray him. For instance, take a look at
http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2004/11/30.html#a8781 and the conversation that followed. Look at how he tries to dodge from all the mistakes that were pointed out to him. And this is not an accident. Scoble was chopping Linux, and Linux is the most dangerous foe Microsoft has ever faced.

I am sorry, it is simply impossible for someone who works for a corporation to be consistently honest. You know that as well as I do.

By the way, you better get used to people calling you into question this way. That is the way things work on the net.
You are going to get called on lots of tricks you are used to getting away with.


I Love you girls


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