Muhammad Ali Vs Parkinson 1974 by ExieEdmondson
Having launched my first book, with rather modest sales, after a bit of depressing navel gazing, I’ve grudgingly plunged into the opaquely murky world of marketing. As much as anyone I’m a fully paid up member to the nobody likes being sold to club. However needs must & I have been researching, the weird & wonderful world of Internet (aka digital) marketing including doing the FutureLearn course
The fact is three months later I’m not much the wiser, and indeed why should I be, as that would manifest some kind of miraculous genius, that sadly I don’t possess.
This much I know:

1) Internet marketing has reached unbelievable levels (of hype; Overpromise & Underdeliver).
2) No one really knows what is going on, it’s far too complex.
3) It’s probably better to provide the tools, than go gold prospecting.
4) A fool is soon parted from his money!
5) You need to do intensive research (not to difficult thanks to Google).
6) If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
7) Some of it works, but there’s a shedload of chaff lightly streaked with the slivers of wheat.
8) The swamp needs draining.
Got any guru …?

Other than that, I’m unsure. The market is saturated with self-ordained gurus, but what do these gurus really know? I was once told that the whole art of consultancy is knowing that much (he held up half a finger) more than the person you’re consulting, and some of these gurus don’t even have half a finger.

Crash & Squirm

It’s almost kind of amusing to squirm through their seminars or now webinars as they recite & recycle their B-movie cliches of high pressure techniques. The classic is a la Shepherds Bush market, where they introduce a ridiculous price for their dodgy products, only over the next few minutes to dismantle it to an reasonable amount. I call them the medicine men of the Internet as they cold-bloodedly hunt & enrol their gullible & vulnerable acolytes. The denouement of these live soap-seminars nearly always end in nauseating arm twisting third Acts, where several thousands of pounds are passed over at the back of the room …incredible in a economic situation where salaries have flatlined for over a decade.

Babylon brothers

Having investigated this sorry modern day Babylon, my mind was forced to reflect on Marketing in general. Which bit works? Can it ever be anything more than an exercise of delusional exploitation? A bit sheepishly, having sold several books to my friends, I concluded that yes, marketing has an over-arching primacy, which most artisans & craftsmen would despair at. I came across youtube material on the late Steve Jobs. Additionally from my own experience I had witnessed how he had turned a hobby into a world class business. A very flawed individual there were many duds along the way: Lisa, Newton, Next to name a few … but he also had several hits; AppleII, Macintosh and the ubiquitous iPhone.

The last marketeer

In a world that is hideously white, I had a bit of an epiphany when in the course of my research eventually I reflected Muhammad Ali. Né Cassius Clay, Ali was the hero for black people in the Sixties when we were largely considered sub-human; here was a black man, who insisted that he should be recognised for his talent, and abilities. At the time boxing was very much akin to racketeering, populated by a cinematic menagerie of gangsters and ne’er do wells. There was little money other than gambling, and boxer’s were routinely screwed by their gangmasters. Boxing is still a profession that devours its young but Ali completely transformed the sport to where he became the most famous man on the planet, and was roundly courted by Sponsors & kings … he soon became a millionaire. However whilst he boasted of his prowess, and often threw in a bit of rap & magic, his fights sold & with the advent of TV, the king was soon able to demand whatever price he wanted. Indeed the very uncharasmatic Oscar De La Hoya’s career could not have existed without the precedent of Ali, such has been the longevity of his marketing revolution.

No bum & more than a contender

This was the purest marketing, and thus I believe not only was he the greatest marketeer of the twentieth century, but his business model has more currency than the new wave of internet marketeers with their cacophony of likes & analytics. Ali literally put bums on seats regularly … how many of the new wave can actually do that. He was sometimes a little over zealous in the rigour of his approach, but allegedly Joe Frazier & him were eventually reconciled.
The second point he could deliver and did so consistently for years … it wasn’t just hype. Sadly for a man with little education, his fearlessness ended with him taking too many blows, and resulted in a withering disease that reduced his once beautiful physique to a shadow of his former self.
However the irony is that though he made many enemies, was stripped of his titles by the US for refusing to fight people he had no argument with , and openly rejected his slave ancestry by changing his name & adopting Islam, the whole of America if not the world mourned his passing in June.

Holden Trump

In a week where America has elected a reality TV phoney, I can only salute the passing of a great warrior, and learn from his innovative marketing style, in which he consistently backed up his actions. His refusal to hate despite his shameful treatment by that persistent rump that is redneck America, is in stark contrast to the new President.
The world seemed to enter a collective state of grief on Trump’s election, but I find Ali’s shining example reassuring. Fortunately life is not a reality TV show … it is just as much about delivery as marketing & the Apprentice has overpromised to the max & will receive his karmic kickback. As King Canute, he’ll find democratic leadership a tiresome plaything; let’s hope he runs back to Trump Mansion sooner rather than later!

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