Five Ways You’ll Fuck Up 2009


Instead of a list of tips and tricks on how to extract the maximum Shamwow out of your new year, I thought I’d do the exact opposite. Actually I started off writing a list of things I wish I’d kept in mind in 2008 and thought they’d probably be applicable to you as well:

  1. Let a domain name expire. When was the last time you logged in to your domain registrar? Are all the email alerts that say ‘Your domain is about to expire.’ going to an active email? Do the alerts get sent into your inbox or relegated to spam? Does the domain registrar have a current, un-expired credit card on file? There’s nothing like the panic of knowing your entire online business could be collapsing without you even knowing it. Like the day Pamela Slim sent me a Skype IM to ask me if my site was down. It wasn’t down. I had just let one of my domains expire because I was an idiot.
  2. Focus on features instead of benefits. I should probably send a monthly tithe to Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero (and how can you not worship those red boots?). The most useful thing I have ever learned about marketing and writing salescopy is to focus on benefits. Engineers and designers LOVE features. It makes them feel useful – the same warm honey glow they feel when they are writing APIs nobody will ever use. But when you force people to focus on the benefits to the customer – the entire perspective of your messages, your writing and your products shift to be much more urgent and useful. I just wrote about this a few weeks ago.
  3. Sell shit nobody wants. When you create something really amazing and cool and expensive don’t be surprised that nobody wants it. I did this for a long time trying to sell blogging classes to people that didn’t know what a blog was. But if I use the phrase it as ‘fire your web-designer’ they pay attention.
  4. Lose all your data. Let’s say your house gets blown up in the cross-fire of some centuries-old tribal bloodfeud involving immovable fundamentalist fairy tales. How long would it take for you to get back up to speed? Losing data is about as much fun as a botfly.
  5. Not track your results. Because really, faith-based marketing is the way to go. By all means, don’t measure your hits or conversions or expenses. The Make-a-Wish foundation model is all the rage these days. I can’t shove another Infant of Prague in my hard drive.


  • Play ‘at’ your business instead of playing for keeps. Yeah I know your spouse makes enough money that you really don’t have to have a job-job so be sure that you spend more time talking about your business and less time actually trying to get results. Are you an entrepreneur or a houseboy?
  • Hide behind your perfectionism. Because if one pixel is off the world will know it and no one will buy. Unless it is absolutely finished and completed you shouldn’t show it to anyone or even consider making a penny off of it. A misplaced comma might – just might! – wreck your entire year.
  • Cling to hope. As Tyler Durden says It’s only after we’ve lost everything, that we are free to do anything. Lately I feel like I walk around with a little voice in my amygdala chanting Oh my god it is all so screwed up everything is so screwed up the center cannot hold what are we going to do. Hope is not a strategy. Hope is a commodity.

How do you hope (not) to screw up this coming year?

Group writing project!

Join the fun: Jane Clarey suggested I make this a meme so here ya go.

  1. Write up the five ways you hope to (not) screw up this coming year (scroll up to see mine).
  2. Choose five other people to tag and write it up and send them the link to this post

If you need banners you can grab the one with the Hindenburg and the f-word or one that uses the word screw instead. Can also use for a URL.

So I’m officially tagging Janet, Rob, Suzanne, Eric, Maryam, Sherman, Stowe, Erik, Chris, Pam, Michael, and Michelle.

DeBorah will not try to do everything herself.

Suzanne will continue to bribe herself with chocolate croissants and lattes.






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