Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mitch Joel connects the digital dots in Control Alt Delete

Control Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It.
By Mitch Joel

Published by Grand Central Publishing - Hachette Book Group (2013)

Two years ago, a 15 year-old Brit named Nick D'Aloisio developed a mobile news app called Summly. This past March, his story made headlines when he sold his startup to Yahoo for a reported $30 million.

After reading that story, words like 'fast,' 'bright,' 'nimble,' and 'simplify' popped into my head. These are the same words that appear throughout Mitch Joel's instructive new book, entitled Control Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It.

These are words that could also describe many of today's hottest new technologies, businesses and movements. In Control Alt Delete, Mitch delivers a passionate plea for businesses and individuals to re-think how they are using digital tools and platforms. He argues that many companies exist in a digital Purgatory: they may claim to have thousands of followers on social media, but if they aren't actively engaging those followers with good, useful content, opportunities are being squandered.

For savvy businesses like Zappos, Apple and Salesforce.com, it's all about being authentic, transparent, and adding value. When companies focus on providing a great user experience, they will be rewarded with increased attention and relevance. Companies that continue to 'push' stale messages into the marketplace using traditional (or new) media will not connect with their customers, and they will lose business.

In learning how to connect with customers, Mitch uses the apt term 'utilitarianism' as it applies to the end user:
"What is 'utilitarianism marketing? It's not about advertising, it's not about messaging, and it's not about immediate conversions. It's about providing a true value and utilizing something consumers not only would want to use - constantly and consistently - but would derive so much value from it that is would be given front-and-centre attention in their lives."
Control Alt Delete is divided into two parts: the first part examines how businesses are utilizing new technologies to leverage their messages and brands; the second part focuses on the power of the individual to connect with the wider online community. The book reads quickly, but it contains treasure trove of anecdotes, ideas, and advice on harnessing new digital tools and technologies.

Today, it's never been easier to start a business or to deliver a message. If you've got a great idea, and the skills to bring that idea to market, there are countless resources available online that can help you to fund, develop, promote and distribute your products/services not just locally, but globally. Mitch talks about the so-called gatekeepers (talent scouts, agents, publishing  houses, et. all) who once controlled the destinations of aspiring artists and businesspeople.

Nowadays business owners and artists of all stripes don't need gatekeepers to achieve success. They can launch their own products and careers using digital platforms (many of which are free). They research new ideas and explore new markets with relative ease and for nominal costs. Indeed, the phrase 'fail quick and fail often' has become something of a catchphrase for a new generation of risk takers and entrepreneurs in today's digital universe.  

Mitch's tone is personal and disarming (meaning it's free of digibabble). Control Alt Delete is a handy guide that will appeal to anyone who is interested in learning how to better understand and use digital tools and platforms to increase their reach and relevance. That  means large corporations, small and medium sized businesses, solopreneurs, artists, philanthropists, students, administrators, working professionals - in short, anyone who wants to gain a foothold and an advantage in the online world.

In addition to reading Control Alt Delete, readers would be wise to check out Mitch's Twist Image blog and his weekly Twist Image podcast. Mitch is a thought leader who continues to inspire and dazzle audiences with his insights, observations, and his incredible knack for connecting the digital dots.  


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