advertisement advertisement Mark Coker is the CEO of Smashwords, an e-book publishing and distribution platform. Coker recently won a highly publicized battle against PayPal, which briefly refused to work with Smashwords unless Coker removed certain naughty titles from the site. Fast Company caught up with Coker and learned, among other things, that writers of incest erotica can be very articulate. FAST COMPANY: What is Smashwords? MARK COKER: We’re probably the world’s largest distributor of self-published e-books and e-books from small independent presses. We were founded in 2008. A writer comes to Smashwords, uploads a Word document, which we instantly convert into multiple formats to be read on a Kindle or other device. Those are then available for sale at Smashwords.com at a price set by the author. 85% of all proceeds go to the author, so we flipped the compensation model upside-down. In traditional publishing, in the best case, an author earns 17.5% off an … [Read more...] about PayPal, You’ve Met Your Match: Erotica Writers
Heard about all the things youve done
I was recently speaking with some founders about their fund raising process. They had received a term sheet from a VC and were wondering whether to work with this firm. I personally had three separate data points from entrepreneurs who took money from the firm that said “never again.” advertisement advertisement I really try to stay out of the middle of these things so I softly said to the team, “maybe you should contact these companies and see how their experience went?” From there I figure they can both figure out what to discuss–or not. One bad comment doesn’t always scare me as there’s often two sides to every situation. But three from different, independent sources? Pattern, me thinks. This experience made me want to dig into my archives, re-write & publish this piece. I often tell people that raising venture capital is more difficult than getting married. In marriage if you’re unhappy you can at least get divorced (in … [Read more...] about Why It’s Critical That You Reference Check Your VC
Whenever I ask managers and business leaders about their most pressing problems at work, I’ve been a bit surprised to hear from so many who say they are struggling with a “bad boss” or a hopelessly toxic work environment. advertisement advertisement A bad boss is a big problem, and not easily fixed. In fact, front-line leaders are the primary drivers of employee engagement (or lack thereof) and apparently there are a lot more of them out there than I realized. If you are working for a bad boss I suggest you try these tactics over a three- to six-month period. 1) Make sure you aren’t the one with the problem. Have you always thought your boss was an idiot no matter where you worked? Do your teammates seem to think the boss is OK? Any chance you have unrealistic demands? Or maybe the boss slighted you years ago but you’re holding onto that grudge like a dog on a bone? Are you negative all the time, about everybody? Don’t let … [Read more...] about When You Work For A Jerk: A 6-Point Plan For Dealing With A Bad Boss
Have you noticed how similar some products are becoming? A Tesla and a Lotus, that’s an easy one. But I’m talking about the similarities between seemingly disparate objects, like an Audi car and Oakley sunglasses, a 3M stapler and an Alessi teapot, or a Starbucks café and your bank lobby. Consumers love cool design, and, in case you haven’t heard, companies are catching on. Investing in the design process can be a sustainable business advantage, because it tends to lead to five things: creative collaboration, innovation, differentiation, simplification, and customer experience. advertisement advertisement For starters, designers tend to collaborate with each other, other disciplines, and users to generate new ideas, explore alternatives, and create new stuff (products, websites, brands, stores, etc.). The process of design thinking, co-creation, and design as creative collaboration can help companies move beyond their norms and create new markets. … [Read more...] about What Good Does Design Do For Business?
When it comes to beer advertising, heritage is one of the common tropes that the viewing public is subjected to (along with the category toppers “regular-guy-gets-improbably-hot-girl” and “fun-party-times”). You know the ads: cascades of fresh barley and hops, a brew master next to giant copper kettles, flowing beer. Sure, the flowing beer part looks tasty but the rest of it disappears into the cacophony of competitive advertising. The reality is, as a selling feature, heritage just isn’t that interesting to a wide swath of people. advertisement advertisement But what about when a beer’s heritage is based on a Northern English town whose inhabitants are known for their cutting wit and no-BS outlook on life? That’s the kind of heritage you want to tap into. Which is exactly what Newcastle Brown Ale did when it developed its “No Bollocks” brand positioning. Borrowing the Geordie (as those from Newcastle are called) … [Read more...] about How Newcastle Brown Ale Cut The Crap To Cut Through the Clutter