Blog: Eric Cedo

Eric Cedo is our guest blogger this week. Eric is the founder of BrainGain Marketing and the former executive director of CreateDetroit. He blogs frequently on BrainGain's Michigan-focused, a site dedicated to the local creative community.

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Photograph by Dave Krieger

Eric Cedo - Most Recent Posts:

Post No. 2

We knew this day would come…the natural "Dip" of painful change and the awkward place of transition. Moving from the most highly trained manufacturing workforce in the world – during the industrial age – to a highly skilled workforce in the information age takes painful change and transition. Think about that time in your life…usually somewhere around high school graduation… that point of boldly declaring what you’re going to be when you grow up. Now think about the journey to get there. People all lined up at your graduation party, card and money in hand giving you tons of moral support in your effort to be the next great brain surgeon or Bill Gates or maybe even Bill Clinton – God Forbid. Then came that one course.

As Seth Godin writes in his recent book, "The Dip" for pre-med students its Organic Chemistry. All the great intentions and well wishes are out the window when it comes to passing Organic Chemistry. It’s the natural barrier that we as a society put up between a yahoo for a brain surgeon and a brain surgeon for a brain surgeon. The Dip eliminates the meek and the mild, the faint of heart.

I recall back in May of 2004 when nearly 2,000 people stood up at "The Max" and declared at the inaugural CreateDetroit event "I AM DETROIT." It was the new economy working class’ rallying cry, the bold declaration of unity and solidarity as we marched toward that vision of a new Detroit prospering from the knowledge and creativity of the masses. You would have thought you were back in the 30’s during a union rally or something. The whole concept was formed from the work of a book entitled "Rise of the Creative Class" for goodness sake.

But then for some strange reason we all went back to work the next day. Back to the grind in our region that was built for a different past age. Since that time some have continued to journey, continued to live out the dream of moving to a knowledge economy. I drank the Kool-Ade and I’m trying to do my part. After all it just takes every person in the City to do the same, that’s all. It’s not easy, necessary change never is.

The question we must ask ourselves as a region: Do we have what it takes? Are we the yahoo or we the tough gritty hardworking never quit people that we’ve always claimed to be. Organic Chemistry is our current course. Report cards are coming home soon. Are you ready to give up or are you just starting to dig in?

Post No. 1

As a self-proclaimed marketing guy, I often find my way to the sales and marketing section of the local Borders to find what’s being touted as the latest and greatest book that’s guaranteed to improve sales and drive more traffic to your brand or business than ever before. Upon a rare occasion I actually find something that has at least a bit of useful information. More often than not the latest Seth Godin title is such a book. So is the case with his recent work "The Dip."

"The Dip" not only has some useful information about marketing and entrepreneurship – when to quit, when to stick, how to tell the difference between the two – it has a message I feel would resonate well in Southeast Michigan. The message is – be the best or get out of the game.

As the title of the first chapter of the book so aptly states "Being the Best in the World is Seriously Underrated." We should identify what areas, we as a region, can make the bold claim "We are the best in the world."
Being like someone else - or in this case some place else really means a cheap copy of the original. Mediocre at best. Think the recent release of the Microsoft Zune…the mp3 player game is over. As a matter of fact when is the last time you even used the term mp3 player? It’s so over that we don’t even refer to mp3 players as mp3 players – they are iPods. Game Over. Yet all the might muscle and marketing dollars of Microsoft couldn’t get the Zune in the game. According to a recent Bloomberg Report, the iPod has about a 69% market share with all mp3 players compared to Microsoft Zune’s 2.5%. Some of you may ask “Why would Microsoft try and compete in a space that has been locked up for some time now?”

The better question is what are we doing in business, in life, or as a region that’s merely an attempt to be just like _____?

The Dip is a reference to the time between starting off with a bang and then naturally slumping for a season. In sports they call it the sophomore slump. The city is all abuzz over a wildly successful Super Bowl and then BANG – job losses at the Big Three and declining marketing share send us back into The Dip. The reality is that low point is not only an essential place of decision, it’s the necessary step between being mediocre and being the best. Those that endure The Dip will come out winners. Many great ideas die in The Dip. Many average ideas take off and become best in the world because of someone’s ability to endure and persevere.