Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cronyism Kicks Out Good Attorneys at Justice Dept

Yesterday’s New York Times has a very informative–and very depressing–article documenting the firing of several highly competent Justice Department attorneys, including Carol Lam, who got the guilty verdict in the Randy “Duke” Cunningham Congressional corruption scandal.

It seems that loyalty to the Republican party and willingness to play cronyistic games are more important than competence, if this article is accurate.

It continues to amaze me how the Bush administration gets its fingers into every little corner of things, always with the message that independent thinking and action are disloyal, and often with the message that competence is not valued as much as who your friends are. In one case, the times article claims that another very good prosecutor was kicked out to make room for some friend of Karl Rove’s with minimal legal experience.

Seven attorneys have been let go in the past few months–compared to just three in the preceding 25 years!

Says Adam Cohen, the article’s author:

It is hard to call what’s happening anything other than a political purge. And it’s another shameful example of how in the Bush administration, everything — from rebuilding a hurricane-ravaged city to allocating homeland security dollars to invading Iraq — is sacrificed to partisan politics and winning elections.

He then goes on to speculate on three possible reasons, none of them good.

And one more shocker that really crosses the line:

Even applicants to help administer post-invasion Iraq were asked whom they voted for in 2000 and what they thought of Roe v. Wade.

Is there no aspect of government that these thugs won’t wreck?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Do Book Sales Channels Manifest The Books’ Contents?

My sixth book, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, challenges a lot of my assumptions in 12 years as a professional book promoter. Librarians respond positively to it in a 1:1 interaction, but not so much to fliers, etc. (I was quite pleased to discover last month that Denver Public Library stocks both Principled Profit and my earlier Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, since I had dropped in on the librarian on my previous visit). The mainstream media show very little interest, yet e-zine editors seem to love it. Bookstores don’t want to know it exists, but actual *readers* literally grab it out of my hands and buy it on the spot (it’s happened over and over again). It’s been much-blurbed (78 at last count) and much-reviewed.

If I can “go mystical” for a moment–here’s some speculation.

Thinking about it today, I’m wondering if the universe in some subtle ways responds to the content of books. One of several key principles in Principled Profit is marketing by building ongoing relationships, and another is that marketing is something much deeper and more powerful than the techniques discussed in most marketing books (including my own Grassroots Marketing). Principled Profit does really well when people meet me and see it.

Another principle in the book is the idea of abundance coming back to you when you are open to it. And I can trace a number of ways that has worked for me with this book:

  • Almost immediately, I started attracting a better class of client–including several who have gone on to have me shepherd their books from manuscript through production (at least two of my book packaging clients specifically cited the ethics approach as why they chose me)

  • * I have begun to attract well-paying speaking gigs on this topic

  • I became a regular columnist for a year and a half for Business Ethics magazine, which paid me to appear before my key core audience

  • I’ve just gotten my first assignment for Success magazine, about business ethics, and if they like my work, they’ve promised more

  • By contrast, The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant’s Pocketbook got phenomenal media attention (Reader’s Digest, three mentions in Woman’s Day, Bottom Line, home pages of MSN, Paypal, and AOL, among many others)–but it was a slow seller. The content of that book was all about how to afford all sorts of great lifestyle stuff without having to buy it. And just maybe the universe was saying to me, “ok, if that’s how you want to be about it…”

    The idea that the universe manifests the type of energy (and results) that you feed it is certainly not new; it’s in dozens if not hundreds of books, and is the key principle of the movie “The Secret.” But it was only this morning that I put it into focus in terms of the sales results with my own books.

    “‘Tis a puzzlement,” as the King of Siam would say.

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Yes! A Radio Station With a Spine

    Alelujah! A journalism organization that understands that it is NOT the role of a free press to disseminate government propaganda without questioning it or evaluating the sources:

    It is the policy of KSFR’s news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an ‘unnamed’ U.S. official.

    This was reported in Editor & Publisher, a well-respected trade journal for the media, and mentioned in the always interesting Weekly Spin e-newsletter.

    I find this very refreshing–especially as the administration continues to ever-more-loudly beat the drum for war against Iran (apparently they have learned nothing from the Iraq debacle).

    Count on the Politicians–the WRONG Way

    Count on the Politicians to find ways around every ethics rule ever introduced. Sigh!

    PRWatch found a New York Times story that shows the latest scam: legislators accept lavish gifts worth thousands of dollars, but they channel these gifts through PACs and fundraising committees. And at overpriced federal government prices, too–like $2500 for a pair of concert or theatre tickets.

    Talk about meeting the letter of the law while completely violating the spirit…Is it any wonder why there are always cries to “throw the bums out”?

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Haven’t We Learned Not to Rely on Unnamed Sources Before Going to War?

    Huffington Post’s Eason Jordan nailed the problem with recent Iran “revelations”:

    After weeks, if not months, of US official planning to present a damning “dossier” of incriminating evidence against Iran, and after this same US administration presented us with lopsided, erroneous information about the capability and evil intentions of the Saddam Hussein regime, the best the US government can give us today is incendiary evidence presented at a Baghdad news conference by three US officials who refuse to be quoted by name?

    That’s disgraceful and unacceptable.

    Yeah, you got that right. Disgraceful and unacceptable. There’s a book coming out about the coming war with Iran: “From the Wonderful People Who Brought You Iraq” by Craig Unger. I was listening to him on Democracy Now this morning, along with General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff–in other words, a major big cheese in the US military–who doesn’t believe the “evidence” incriminates the Iranian government (of which I am no fan, and nor was I a fan of Saddam–but that doesn’t mean we go charging in with guns blazing and brains left behind).

    Scary stuff. Once down that dangerous and foolhardy road is apparently not enough for the Bush League. Or for the New York Times, which ran a Page One story yesterday with the unsourced allegations–by none other than Michael Gordon, co-author with Judith Miller of some of the worst pro-war propaganda in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.

    To its credit, today’s Times features a much more skeptical article:

    Even so, critics have been quick to voice doubts. Representative Silvestre Reyes of Texas, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested that the White House was more interested in sending a message to Tehran than in backing up serious allegations with proof. And David Kay, who once led the hunt for illicit weapons in Iraq, said the grave situation in Iraq should have taught the Bush administration to put more of a premium on transparency when it comes to intelligence.

    “If you want to avoid the perception that you’ve cooked the books, you come out and make the charges publicly,” Mr. Kay said.

    The article goes on to quote General Pace, who also gets his own article on the subject.

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    President Obama?

    Chris Owens has a really interesting blog post about Obama and Giuliani, about the power of an individual who thinks for himself and surrounds himself with advisors who raise questions versus the mentality of groupthink where advisors aren’t willing to question

    As a black American, Owens also discusses–and dismisses–perceptions in the black community that Obama is “not black enough.” Fascinating.

    I’m certainly not ready to make my choice just yet, but it’s early. Still, I see a lot of hope in the Obama candidacy–because he at least says all the right things (though his record doesn’t show so much leadership), he will attract capital and media, and he is a clear alternative to the warmongering, Patriot Act-supporting Hillary.

    Democrats take note: If Hillary is the candidate, I and probably a lot of other progressive Democrats are likely to vote Green. The right will come out in droves to vote her down, but the left will not show enthusiasm, and she’ll be buried.

    The candidate who most closely represents my own politics is Dennis Kucinich. I was thrilled to vote for him in the ‘04 primary and will probably do so again. Unfortunately, he was ignored by the media and wildly underfunded. In short, his candidacy was utterly marginalized, to the continuing shame of the American media.

    Hall of Fame? My Vote would be Hall of Shame

    Among some very intelligent calls, such as the inventor of the life-saving MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has named John E. Franz, inventor of the herbicide Roundup.

    Pardon me while I puke.

    Roundup has been linked to cancer and many other diseases, as well as some severe pollution issues:

    Roundup is toxic to earthworms, beneficial insects, birds and mammals, plus it destroys the vegetation on which they depend for food and shelter. Although Monsanto claims that Roundup breaks down into harmless substances, it has been found to be extremely persistent, with residue absorbed by subsequent crops over a year after application. Roundup shows adverse effects in all standard categories of toxicological testing, including medium-term toxicity, long-term toxicity, genetic damage, effects on reproduction, and carcinogenicity.

    This kind of “fame” we can do without. Infamy is more like it.

    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    Jigsaw: A Puzzle that DOESN’T Fit

    I knew there was a company called I assumed it was for puzzle lovers. Then I stumbled on my colleague David Batstone’s blog entry about it. (Author of the WAG newsletter and the Right reality blog, David is another blogger on corporate ethics; I’ve been on his newsletter list for a couple of years.)

    To say I was horrified is an understatement. This company actually pays people to gather business cards and punch the information into a for-sale database!

    I don’t know about you, but I find that extremely creepy. I give a business card to someone because I’m interested in facilitating that person’s ability to stay in touch with me. As public as I am, and I’m pretty public, I don’t really want people exploiting me by selling my contact info. As it is, I am cursed, as an early adopter on the Internet, with the dubious honor of being included on every blankety-blank list of contacts that spammers buy and sell already.

    Let me say categorically that if I ever find out that someone has mined my information in that way, I would *never* do business with that person again. It is an invasion of privacy and a very bad business model.

    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    Book Publishing: Fast Lanes and Slow Lanes

    Well, my seventh book, Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers, is finally done, at the printer, and due to ship back to me shortly. Finally.

    My original expectation was that I’d have copies in late July for an official publication date of September. Ha! The universe had other plans in store for me, apparently, and even delaying the official date to March 15, I’m only coming in about a month ahead–far closer than I’d like.

    The good news is that much of that delay was involved in making the book better. This was supposed to be an “easy” book that I could spin off quickly from my 2000 publication, Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World. But as soon as I started writing realized it was going to be a whole different book. I simply know too much about book marketing to shoehorn it into an excerpted little box. Still, every aspect of this project kept dragging on–tearing up the cover I thought was done once I got (very negative) peer feedback on it, demanding that the indexer do a far better job on the index than was represented in her irst draft, and on and on in went.

    I guess I’m spoiled because book #6, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First–a book that I think could actually change the world–really was on the fast track. Even though I didn’t even have a title until the manuscript was finished, and it took two months to get an appropriate cover, and I lost six weeks having to switch printers unexpectedly, it was still just ten months from the time I wrote the first word (and about six months after I completed the first draft) until I held finished books in my eager hands. Without the delays, it would have been eight and four–phenomenally fast by publishing industry standards (not counting barely-edited “instant books” that surface within weeks of some event like Princess Diana’s death). Yet despite the fast timetable, that book has gone on to win an Apex Award, be sold to foreign publishers in India and Mexico, and gain over 70 endorsements.

    The new book has been getting great reviews and endorsements, from some of the top names in the independent publishing world–among them Dan Poynter, John Kremer, Fern Reiss, Marilyn Ross… I’m sure it will do well. But I think I’ll wait a while before I tackle another book–and when I do, I’ll try to be more realistic.