New social network Ello's signature is No Advertising. It even has a manifesto about those anti-promotional values. Here in Bloomberg Business Week, Brad Stone reports on Ello and interviews its Chief Executive Officer Paul Budnitz.
Ello's positioning is not new. Even in the heyday of "Mad Men" in the advertising industry, there was the cultural antipathy against the art of the hustle. So influential was that ethos that Harvard Business School professor Ted Levitt wrote his own manifesto. That's the now classic "Marketing and Its Discontents." It was folded into Levitt's book "The Marketing Imagination."
There will always be the turning up of noses against all forms of marketing. Only the ways of criticizing changes. Budnitz frames Facebook as a platform for advertising. But so are glossies Vanity Fair and Vogue. Yet readers, who pony up money to buy the ad-heavy magazines, love the whole experience. From the ads, and how designers configure them, I get ideas about how to make my own clients stand out. Differentiation is everything.
Can Ello survive with alternate modes of funding? Sure. It could be a subscription entity. It could continue to attract investors and donations in crowdfunding. But, the odds are against that. Once the cool factor cools, it could be scrambling to pay its bills.
The art of the hustle was what I grew up with on the mean streets of Jersey City, New Jersey. At age 11 I was peddling Wallace Brown greeting cards, becoming a high producer in Hudson County. Along the way I had to learn to sand down the rough edges. Currently, at age 69, I am among the few Baby Boomers, without a pedigree, who is running a growing communications boutique. I see no shame in promoting, including myself.