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2 Notes

He Has Millions (30 million to be exact). Soon, He’ll Be 18. Here’s his SIMPLE SELLS case study…


Here’s a note from 17-year old Nick D’Aloisio on his website on March 25, 2013:


Yahoo! agrees to acquire Summly

In true Summly fashion, I will keep this short and sweet.

I am delighted to announce Summly has signed an agreement to be acquired by Yahoo!. Our vision is to simplify how we get information and we are thrilled to continue this mission with Yahoo!’s global scale and expertise. After spending some time on campus, I discovered that Yahoo! has an inspirational goal to make people’s daily routines entertaining and meaningful, and mobile will be a central part of that vision. For us, it’s the perfect fit.

When I founded Summly at 15, I would have never imagined being in this position so suddenly. I’d personally like to thank Li Ka-Shing and Horizons Ventures for having the foresight to back a teenager pursuing his dream. Also to our investors, advisors and of course the fantastic team for believing in the potential of Summly. Without you all, this never would have been possible. I’d also like to thank my family, friends and school for supporting me.

Most importantly, thank you to our wonderful users who have helped contribute to us receiving Apple’s Best Apps of 2012 award for Intuitive Touch! We will be removing Summly from the App Store today but expect our summarization technology will soon return to multiple Yahoo! products - see this as a ‘power nap’ so to speak.

With over 90 million summaries read in just a few short months, this is just the beginning for our technology. As we move towards a more refined, liberated and intelligent mobile web, summaries will continue to help navigate through our ever expanding information universe.




Nick saw a problem. Fewer and fewer people wanted to read long news articles. They wanted to get the summary, fast… and move on. He pin-pointed a frustration… and entrepreneurs are born out of frustration.

You see, Nick created an app that makes the news… SIMPLE. Then he delivered this app in a SIMPLE way. People love simple. How many people…?


How well did it work? He Crushed it. He got a deal from Yahoo for, ready for this, $30 MILLION.

What you get:



You get full control:


Even sharing… make SIMPLE:



Nick gets Simple.


And now he’s all over then news…

He Has Millions and a New Job at Yahoo. Soon, He’ll Be 18.

Just do it, says Yahoo’s teen app millionaire

Teen Makes News with $20 Million Yahoo Deal…

Whenever possible, keep the solutions to problems simple.


Art Jonak

15 Notes

Case Study: Lessons from “Employ Adam”…

In an attempt to get a job in, or a brazen attempt at self promotion, Adam Pacitti has built himself a website and taken out an ad which has gone viral.


Adam Pacitti’s tweet about spending his last £500 on a billboard in London has been re-tweeted over 12,300 times… in less than 24 hours.

Click here to see Adam’s Tweet

Adam’s rather sweetly self-deprecating video has already been viewed over 8,000 times on YouTube… in less than 24 hours.

Click here to see Adam’s YouTube video

Adam’s story has already been picked up by the news… in less than 24 hours.

The Mirror | MSN News | Jobs & Careers | Madmoizelle | Your Listen

One reason Adam is having success? He’s keeping it SIMPLE and SIMPLE SELLS.


THE BILLBOARD: Simple… on many levels.


Clean: Very little clutter. Simply a picture of Adam, a headline and a call to action.

Easy to read: Dark background and lettering in the two colors that are the easiest to read: white and yellow (think road signs).

Clear call to action: “Please Give Me A Job.” Followed by his website.

Tells A Story: One of the most effective ways to sell, is to share a story. His story is simple: “I spent my last £500 on this billboard. Please give me a job.” Simple stories often sell best.

Includes His Photo: By adding his photo, it makes the ad real. Note that he didn’t use a fancy studio photo that made him look like an actor or the ‘perfect employee.’ He used a photo that looks real. Transparency sells. It makes him empathetic and approachable. It also makes him relateable, which makes it easier for others to share his message.

Makes The Website Address Easy To Read: Since Adam used all CAPS, EMPLOYADAM.COM could be difficult to read/understand. The solution, make EMPLOY in white and ADAM in yellow. Problem solved.

THE WEBSITE: Again… simple.


Effectively Simple Website URL: It’s simple, easy to remember and clearly states it’s purpose:

Clean layout: Hard to get lost. Friendly intro, “Hi, I’m Adam Pacitti” followed by a short (3 min 51 sec), entertaining, informative and self-deprecating video. Videos are SIMPLE. Click and watch. No reading required. Simple. Effective.

Clear call to action: Please Give Me A Job. With a secondary call to action: “Please Share This Website” and “Follow Me On Twitter.” Again, simple.

Makes it easy and simple for the press: Adam wants the power of the press, the news cycles. And he also realizes that reporters are b-u-s-y people… with deadlines. So he makes it SIMPLE and EASY for them to get the word out about him.

Here’s a screen shot:


Adams write:

"If you are interested in featuring my search for employment in your newspaper, on your television show or on your blog then thank you. If nobody sees this website then it won’t be much of a success, so I really do appreciate it.

Below are a few high-res images which you’re welcome to use wherever you like. Just click on the image you want to use to open the larger version.”

Again, it’s simple. Two paragraphs simple.

He hits on three mediums: NEWSPAPER, TELEVISION and BLOG.
He gives thanks, twice: "…then thank you." and "I really do appreciate it."

He makes it easy to get the photos:

  • He makes the photos available.
  • He provides them in high-resolution, knowing the press prefers high-res photos.
  • He gives them permission to use the photos.
  • He provides clear directions on how to save the photos.

Here’s  a screen shot of the bottom of his press page:


He writes:

"Below are a few images of the billboard I booked in London. If you would like to send your own photographer to the billboard, send me an email and I’ll give you the address."

He provides high-resolutions versions.

He makes them easy to download

He provides FOUR different versions: Three with him in the photos and one that has a more candid news feel. (The Mirror chose to use the one without Adam in the photo).

He offers to provide the exact address of the billboard to any reporter who wants to go take their own photos.

NOTE: I would’ve provided the exact address of the billboard directly on the website, with a Google map. This way anyone, not just the press, could go and get their photos with the billboard. I believe people would do it as novelty… and then post their photos with the billboard on their Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc accounts.

The Contact Page. Again, SIMPLE.


Adam does not even use a contact form. He simply posts two emails, one for each of his highest priorities: 1) Potential employers and 2) The Media (more press).

THE VIDEO: Simple.


Short: 3 minutes, 51 seconds. Done.

Story: The video is done in a story format.

Entertaining: The video is not just Adam sitting there, talking for nearly four minutes. He uses props, graphics, cuts to his previous projects and above all, uses self-deprecating humor. Humor sells. Entertainment sells.

Weaves in the facts: Adam cleverly weaves in his resume, in a non-boring way. The video isn’t just entertaining, like a “cat blooper” video, and it actually still fulfills it’s purpose: To showcase Adam.

About: Adam keeps the ‘about’ description simple:

Please visit the Employ Adam website for more information:

This way when anyone shares his video on Facebook, etc, the description tag clearly states the purpose along with his website.

NOTE: I would posted the website with capital E and A, as in: This would make the website ULR easier to read.


Interaction: Adam is ‘interacting’ with his audience. Notice he is taking the time to reply to some of the comments, giving thanks, showing appreciation, even using humor “It’s knackered.” This makes him real, approachable and “one of us.”

TWITTER: Simple…


Simple Tweet:
To the point. Billboard. Please RT (retweet). Help me find a job. Includes the picture.

billboard is up in london. please retweet this and help me find a job.


Again, Adam is being social. He is engaging those who are tweeting about him, he’s posting updates and in return he’s getting many offers from people who are willing to help spread his message.


Consistent: Adam keeps the message consistent. Notice his Twitter headers is the photo of the billboard. That is now his current branding.

i make films and wrestle. i’m also looking for work.

He keeps the message at the forefront: “I’m looking for work” followed by a simple call to action, his email address. All the while he still incorporates humor, “i make films and wrestle.” :)

Affordable Billboard:
Adam did not have to pay for a high-traffic billboard, which could have cost him multiples of £500. He simply found one that served it’s purpose: To get the photos and start his “online” campaign. He knew that if his idea worked, hundreds-of-thousands of people would see his ‘billboard’ online, which would be hundreds-of-thousands more people than would walk or drive past the actual billboard in person. Again, he kept it simple.

Purple Cow: Adam tapped into several of Seth Godin’s Purple Cow principles, one of which is: Create something remarkable, something people will WANT to talk about.

The purpose of an ad is to create a phone call. This has been a mantra of many great print-media marketers. The purpose of this billboard is to get people to Adam’s website and create some social media play. In this case that includes potential employers, the media and other people (social media).

Where are the benefits?
I can see marketers saying: "So the ad is all about him … what would you think if he actually gave a benefit of hiring him to his potential reader? I would say in this case what benefit Adam offers the employer is for the employer to figure out based on Adam’s body of work (which he showcases on his website along with his resume).

Tap into an existing trend: Of course Adam taps in an existing trend: Unemployment. Specifically youth unemployment. Unemployment is already a big part of the existing news cycle and impacts a large percentage of the population. This makes his message relevant… and thus much more likely for people to want to share it.

With nearly 1 million 18-24 year-olds out of work, and wanting to break into one of the most competitive industries around, perhaps investing in a clever advertising campaign to show of your creativity skills and fortitude isn’t such a crazy idea.

The Telegraph: Youth outlook: “We have no future, says one in five youngsters.”

So, go on, give Adam a job, just don’t ever let him take you out on a Karaoke night. ;)

When selling… and yes, Adam is selling… remember, simple sells. :)

Art Jonak

PS: A quick note about haters and linchpins

HATERS: There will always be haters. So what.

LINCHPINS: Artists and creative people should pursue their passion because it is rare and thus will be worth even more in today’s world. Here’s a brief interview with Seth where he touches on this topic:

YouTube Link:

Look at those who have done amazing things in life, a huge majority of them did so by actually living their purpose, their passion, by following their talents and desires. Most were not born into a rich family, they simply had the courage to follow their purpose.

A great book on this topic (and one every creative person looking for a job should read, especially in this day and age) is called LINCHPIN: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin.’

Bottom line: ignore the haters. For the most part they don’t have a clue about today’s economy and the dramatic shifts in employee/employment structures.

If you do get a job, look for an employer who gets the idea of the “Linchpin” - it will be a much more rewarding job with a faster move towards higher pay.

And, consider that ‘getting a JOB’ may not be your only option… especially if you have “linchpin” type qualities :)

Peer Haters: With any bold stroke, you will get your haters. Remember the saying, “Let your haters be your motivators.”

Based on their reply to Adam, here are four people I would not employ. (These are just four of many).





Potential Employer Haters:
Keep in mind that many employers live in the stone-age, they live in a ‘system’ that is broken. Those who hate on you are probably not the ones who you want to work for anyway.

Here’s just one example of someone who is probably not looking to employ and reward ‘linchpins’ …



NOT getting a JOB may be your best bet! I have to agree with this tweet — perhaps Adam’s skill sets are not best suited as an employee, but more as an entrepreneur or with an employer who seeks and understands the value of Linchpins.


John Myers is on the money. Smart-thinking, linchpin loving employers would LOVE Adam’s initiative.


Fellow Marketing Haters:


Doing always beats criticizing. Adam’s message is simple, to the point, social and has already proven effective. :)

Focus on the positive! Looks like Adam is easily getting a 3:1 positive vs negative response. It’s easy to let the negative affect you, don’t let it. Focus on the positive. Here are just one of the hundreds of encouraging tweets I’ve seen so far (and this tweet has already been retweeted over 700 times)


Creating Awareness:
Through Adam’s action, he’s touching other people in similar situations. Maybe simply to feel they are not alone, or perhaps to inspire them to do something creative… to become Linchpins. You just never know.

I’ve seen dozens of tweets similar to this one in response to Adam’s “Employ Adam” campaign:


If Money Where NO Object…

And, if you’ve made it this far, you are probably searching for a path, a way ahead. I leave you with this inspiring and thought-provoking video from Adam Watts:

"What would you like to do if money were no object?"
"How would you really enjoy spending your life?"

Watch On YouTube | Watch on Facebook

"Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way." – Adam Watts


"911. What’s your emergency?"
“Y’all hiring?”


Case Study: Could we become #1, without increasing the number of stores?

Entrepreneurs are usually born out of frustration. And if they can add a dash of innovation, and a lot of simplicity, that’s usually a winning formula.

Here’s a great case study from Tesco in Korea. Taking a frustration (busy lives, no time for grocery shopping), using innovation (smart phones, virtual displays in subways) and simplicity (name change from Tesco to Home Plus… and well, just watch the video to see how simple they truly made it).

The results (shared in the video) speak volumes for simplicity.

It’s simple. And remember, when marketing…

Simple Sells.

Art Jonak


Marketer, Dictator, CEO or Citizen. Everyone can learn from the “Kony 2012” case study.

The video below was posted on March 5, 2012. Two days later it has over 7 million views. Three days later it has over 36 million views. But that’s not why I want you to watch it. As a marketer, I want you to study it.

The Kony 2012 video and campaign are brilliant examples of how to effectively get your message out in today’s attention-deficit marketplace. And they do it with a not-so-short 30 minute video… go figure.

Campaigns like this are redefining the propaganda we see all day, every day, that dictates who and what we pay attention to… and creating a new form of propaganda.

The lessons to learn from this case-study are many.

  • Social marketing;
  • Casting a vision;
  • Creating a goal bigger than any one individual;
  • Telling a story;
  • Viral marketing;
  • Culture casting;
  • Videography;
  • Viral messaging;
  • Piggy-backing on existing trends;
  • Simple call to action;
  • Involvement;
  • Keeping the messaging simple;
  • Making it social;
  • Creating a plan with a due date (twice);
  • Providing the tools to get the word out;
  • Potentially masking the real agenda;
  • Collecting money without even having people question why or where it goes;
  • Possibly changing the world…

And that’s just the short list of potential lessons.

These are all RELEVANT to you, the marketer, especially if you want to get your message out effectively in today’s market. Study the lessons carefully… and implement as many as you can into your own campaigns.

The Kony2012 call to action. Simple.

Let’s take a closer look at just one of the lessons: their call to action.

There are three things you can do right now

1. Sign the pledge to show your support.

Yes, they are collecting your name and email address to be put on their update list. They are not using a “free report” or “bonus gift” as a bribe to get on their list, instead they appeal to your emotions. Who wouldn’t want make a pledge to bring this evil man to justice… simply by entering your email and postal code? Smart marketing move. As a marketer, get on their list and study their emails. Also, think about why they want your postal code.

2. Get the bracelet kit and the action kit.

Here are just a few basic thoughts on this. There’s more, but it’s deeper level-type marketing.

It’s $30. Yes, revenue for them. (You can get the kit free with a minimum $15 monthly commitment, do the math). Once you commit, you’ve got an emotional tie to the outcome (getting the evil Kony by 2012).

Wearing the bracelet constantly reminds you of the campaign. Entering your unique bracelet number into their social media machine, you instantly get connected to the ‘community.’

Going out on April 12 with your friend to use your kit will actually make you feel like YOU helped capture Kony. Now you are fully invested in the outcome. ALL IN. Smart politicians use this type of marketing as well.

3. Sign up for Tri to donate a few dollars a month… and join our army for peace.

Just a “few dollars.” Notice the clever, yet effective language. Even at just $15 a month they get $180 per donator. Not bad. This does not include poster sales, t-shirt sales, etc.

And who can resist “…join our army for peace." I mean really, you don’t want peace? Of course you do, so join the army! Again, brilliant marketing.

That’s a brief closer look at one of the lessons, the call to action. As a marketer it’s up to you go back and study as many lessons from the Kony2012 case study as you can.

The Hashtags. Simple

If you’re on social media, you’ve most noticed the hashtags #Kony2012, #JosephKony and #MakeHimFamous flying around like crazy. This campaign is flat-out working.

The Website. Simple.

Let’s take a quick, yet brief closer look at the website.

1. Lead capture. Simple.

I covered that above. The first thing you see, and unless you scroll down, the only thing you see, is a lead capture. Simple, important and brilliant. See the screen shot above.

2. Watch the video. Again, simple.

You don’t have to go to another page or click anything. You simply scroll down the page to see the video. Three options, “watch the video,” “give” or “get the kit.”

3. Use “YOU POWER” to make a difference right now.

Click your favorite “culture makers” and immediately get taken to twitter, with a pre-written tweet to tweet.

For example, click on Angelina Jolie, and you can immediately tweet this:

Help us end #LRA violence. Visit to find out why and how. #AngelinaJolie join us for #KONY2012

Notice the clever use of hash tags, even hash tagging #AngelinaJolie, and their website.

And of course it’s just a simple and easy to do the same with the “Policy Makers.”

4. Call to action.

And finally, restating the call-to-action. 1. Get the goods. 2. Donate. 3. Get out there and spread the word.

Keep everyone updated… simply.

If you follow Jason Russell (featured in and creator of the video) on InstaGram (jradruss), you’ll see one way he keeps his growing “tribe” (see Seth Godin’s book Tribes) updated.

He shares pictures via InstaGram.

1. Take a picture with a smartphone on Instagram: Simple, quick and instant.
2. Post it across all the social media networks. InstaGram makes that simple too.

Here are two examples of photos Jason recently posted via InstaGram.

March 7: “So far, These 5 Culture Makers have tweeted about #KONY2012. WOW. We await their much anticipated video statements to unlock their page.”

March 7:“So far, These 5 Culture Makers have tweeted about #KONY2012. WOW. We await their much anticipated video statements to unlock their page:”

No need to make it complicated. Take an existing piece of literature, turn to the page with the Culture Makers, write a check mark on those who tweeted about #Kony2012, take a picture with your iPhone, InstaGram it to the world. Three minutes… DONE. Simple.

Complex thinking. Simple Messaging.

As you can see, it’s pretty darn simple from top to bottom. The strategy, the thinking, the implementation are complex… but the end result to the masses is a simple message that’s easy to act on, get behind and share with others.

It’s simple. And…

Simple Sells.

Art Jonak

PS: For the record, this post is for case study purposes only. As with all things, there are pros and cons (for example, here’s a KONY 2012 viewed critically blog). If you want to get involved with Kony2012 or not, that’s entirely up to you. Use your critical thinking. The marketing and messaging is powerful, and powerfully simple.

PPS: The video launched on March 5, 2012. Here are the view stats:

Day 1, March 7: 7 million views
Day 2, March 8: 36 million views
Day 3, March 9: 59 million views (Friday)
Day 6, March 12: 74 million views
Day 9, March 15: 79 million views

As a marketer, ask yourself… what happened to the momentum and why?

2 Notes

Case Study: Simply Square. From $2 billion to $4 billion in five months.

Mediocrity Crusher★, Thought Leader ∞, Leadership Mantra Maker►►, Globe Trotter✈ (75+ countries), Entrepreneur☍, Life Experience Creator✔, Speaker☄, Dreamer☁, DubStepper♫, Optimist☼, Fanatical Foodie♨, Simplicity Seller☑, Master 140 Character Conversation Creator ✍ & luckily married ♥ guy who helps create entrepreneurs for a living. Can’t complain☮. Often imitated, never duplicated.✩


Case Study: From Cloud (not simple) to iCloud (simple).

Success Formula: Identify a problem people have and present a solution that is simple to implement and simple to understand.

The problem.

With one simple product, one simple marketing message, Apple solved two problems people have faced for years:

  1. Upgrading devices: Moving all my files over to the new device sucks.
  2. Multiple devices: Installing all my files to each device sucks.

Here’s how they did it.

Not Simple: Cloud computing.

Look up Cloud on Wikipedia and you’ll find:

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).

Cloud computing provides computation, software applications, data access, data management and storage resources without requiring cloud users to know the location and other details of the computing infrastructure.

Simple: One word. One Sentence.

Apple took a difficult-to-explain technology like cloud computing and turned it into a simple, easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly product.

One word: iCloud. Simple.

Steve Jobs explained iCloud in one sentence:

iCloud stores your content in the cloud and wirelessly pushes all of it to your other devices.

Sharing what iCloud is in one sentence, that’s making it simple.

So how do you explain this simple concept to the world?

Enter the iCloud commercial, where “seeing is truly believing” comes into play.

  1. It’s short. Just 31 seconds.
  2. It’s universal. Not a single “word” is spoken, it’s 100% visual. This means no translation into multiple languages necessary.

Again, keeping it super simple.

Steve Jobs and Apple have been working for 10 years to get rid of the file system (headache), and they’ve succeeded by making the replacement (aspirin) simple.

Not only is iCloud a simple implementation of the cloud concept, it’s presented in a way that even Forrest Gump could understand.

In a sentence, Apple makes things you don’t have to think about.

In a word, simple.

… and Simple Sells.

Art Jonak

Mediocrity Crusher★, Thought Leader ∞, Leadership Mantra Maker►►, Globe Trotter✈ (75+ countries), Entrepreneur☍, Life Experience Creator✔, Speaker☄, Dreamer☁, DubStepper♫, Optimist☼, Fanatical Foodie♨, Simplicity Seller☑, Master 140 Character Conversation Creator ✍ & luckily married ♥ guy who helps create entrepreneurs for a living. Can’t complain☮. Often imitated, never duplicated.✩