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Homage to 43 Folders – where it all started

This will be short but sweet.  Hail to Merlin Mann and his site, 43folders.com.  The long story on discovering all about Getting Things Done, GTD, came about through Merlin’s site.  His clever, witty, dry sense of humor is all we need in this world to put a wry smile on your face, whatever the time of day.  

Best of all, Merlin leads the way – not only is his material fresh and welcome, he has recently updated his site to include more material more bloggers and a great interface.  He gives hope to mere mortals that one day all us amateur bloggers might one day aspire to his level and fame.  

Play Doh Marketing

No, I don’t work for Hasbro and no, I’m not one who sits and plays with Play-Doh all day.  Truth be told, I’m not particularly fond of the feel and how it gets dry if you leave it out.  What I am fond of is the concept of what I call Play-Doh Marketing.  If you’ve never heard of PDM, it’s a new and exciting form of marketing.  So, congratulate yourself for having discovered the latest form of marketing that just might change the way you approach things.  
Before we get too far into this, let’s give credit for where credit is due.   One of my favorite blogs, www.43folders.com, is based on the writings of David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.  Merlin Mann is quick to give credit to Mr. Allen,  So, like Merlin I must give kudos for PDM to its real founding father, Doug Hall, the author of How to Jump Start Your Brain.  This concept and example using Play Doh is actually in one of his chapters and has changed my life in many ways.
If you crave creativity and creative ideas, you may seek it in the most desperate of places… OK, alright…yes, I admit I watch a lot of TV and it was there last year or so that I found the show American Inventor.  Like American Idol, inventors came on the show, got judged and the winner was able to take his invention, develop it and make gajillions.  Doug Hall, the instigator of PDM, was the Simon Cowell of the show, the harshest of critics, but highly successful nonetheless.  Now that you have this useless point of reference, let’s get on with it.
PDM is the use of external means to create.  Many that I have worked with are gifted with the means to just come up with a wonderful idea, the Michael Jordans of marketing.  Others, like me, have a little of that talent, so to offset it I enjoy seeking out ideas from multiple sources…and then making them my own with a subtle tweak or taking a few jumps to the left or right.
If you’re still with me, PDM traces its real routes to the creative toy of childhood choice – Play Doh.  Imagine a container of it is in front of you right now.  Close your eyes (after you complete this sentence) and imagine it’s really there.  Can you see the small can, imagine the cardboard body, the plastic top and the metal bottom?  
OK, now open it.  
What do you do?  
While some may simply dig in, I would wager many of you would do this – you’d smell it. Perhaps inhale it.  And if a can of Play Doh were really in front of me and I took in the aroma, I’d be able to transport myself back into the time of my life when anything was possible – 7 years old.  Can you go there yourself?  Sometimes a perfume smell may remind you of your wife or loved one.  An odd smell may remind you of that time you tried something new on the menu and frankly you should have stayed with that Big Mac you were going to get in drive-thru.  So, allow yourself to go back in time to the most innocent of times – your childhood.  Childhood allowed you to create and childhood allowed you to ask a ton of questions so you could understand.  And if you didn’t understand, you simply made it up.  Anything was possible.
And, when anything is possible, the nay-sayers of the boardroom brainstorming sessions don’t exist.  That supervisor of yours who has no imagination isn’t there to tell you no.  This is your time.  And while you’re in this euphoric state with a can of Play Doh still in your hands and the world has become a different place, you need to immediately grab a pencil and start writing down ideas.  Good ideas, bad ideas – it doesn’t really matter.  Just start writing them down.  We’ll deal with what to do with them later.   Remember anything is possible.  Budgets don’t exist, resources are plentiful and any staff you might need are all there for you.  You can make it happen.
This is the basis of PDM.  In this blog I will give you other ways to create, other ways to open your world.  It will be a journey that I look to enjoy with each of you.  Until next time, go to your closest toy store, Target or Wal-Mart and buy a 4-pack of Play Doh.  Sit it close to your desk and when you’re struggling for the next best idea, pop open a can…and inhale.

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