Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Not Waving But Rolling

Marketing guru and general brain box Seth Godin did two pieces a month or so ago on the subject of "picking yourself". The point being that it is an increasingly risky strategy to try and get someone else to pick you for a key job. Your pitch is drowned out by millions of others, and the key people actually have less power now to help you. Good stuff, and well worth a read.

But he finished off with the snide jibe: "the Grateful Dead or the Bay City Rollers?".

Let me add my small voice to the avalanche of outrage at your sneer at Scotland's premier boy band.
Especially as they actually illustrate your advice rather well. They picked themselves and spent five years building up their local following before they were ever seen by Tam Paton. And if they hadn't been picked, there is no reason to believe that they wouldn't have carried on as semi pro musicians entertaining the locals for many years. Which I would consider a success.
Of course, the phenomenon of Rollermania was more about clever marketing than music. And that was very actively planned and executed. And had very little to do with the band.
Or was that your point: that when you're picked you become someone else's product?

If so, I apologise for being dense.
Will Ross
It's always as well to check your facts before you enter the fray. My intensive researches on Wikipedia confirmed my memory of seeing Bay City Rollers  on the walls of the South Side of Edinburgh well before they shot to fame on Top of the Pops with their tartan accoutrements and general Scottishness. Imagine my delight when I also discovered that the Longmuir brothers started out in 1966 as Saxon. Having suffered throughout my school years as a Sassenach I feel a Mystic Bond.

The name apparently came from Bay City, known for its rolling waves, or Bay City Rollers. And indeed, the wave of pop history rolled on leaving the boys high and dry.

The last word must of course go to Godin. He summed up the aching pointlessness of getting picked for a ride in the locomotive of someone else's gravy train:

Seth Godin May 1
to: me
alas, you were the only one