December 20, 2002 spout

Keep On Cookin’

I got a very nice email today from Ross Lambert:

I’m a new fan of yours, both in terms of your technical abilities and the down-home honesty of your columns in The Spout. I loved Of Eggs and Omelets’, mostly because I could identify with it. My own career has been littered with a lot of broken eggs. I ran my own little software company for nearly 10 years, writing and selling developer libraries for Macintosh developers. Needless to say, the ups and downs of that market were fairly impossible to survive.

So now I am enjoying the Dark Side, as Mac folks would say. I’m a total  .NET-head, hence my fairly recent acquaintance with your work.

Anyway, all that to say Don’t let the turkeys get you down.’ I was a pretty decent marketer; I still write ad copy for different folks from time to time. It was the only way I could manage to survive as long as I did. For what it is worth, I think your approach is innovative and fun. A few anal people will object (it sounds like they already have), but I’ve come to the conclusion that about 2% of the population actually enjoys being uptight and offering angry complaints. You’ll never make those folks happy, and it is just as well to give them a reason to bail out early in the game.”

Thanks for that, Ross. While Of Eggs and Omelets speaks of breaking eggs as metaphor for the negative feedback I’ve gotten from my recent series of marketing-related emails, in truth only a tiny fraction of folks complained. In fact, almost 10% of my newsletter subscribers responded to my inquires in some positive way, which is about 50x the number of people that had something negative to say. According to the marketing guy, getting a 10% response was about 3x what he was hoping for (although he didn’t tell me his expectations until *after* the results were in… : ). Even more telling was the large number of people that actually thanked us for asking. Apparently expressing interest in their wants and needs was unique for a surprising number of people. Further, the shear number of people interested in the various ideas we proposed (like the .NET War College and the WinForms PhoneCon) was only overshadowed by the number of people with good ideas that we didn’t even think of (which is what lead to Ask The Wonk).

So, while I may have broken some eggs, and every one of those emails physically pained me (how do spammers do it?!?), Ross and tons of others have encouraged me to keep on making my omelet.