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Stone Soup Marketing Method: How Grass Roots Can Beat Big Budgets!


Stone Soup Marketing and a Few Words on the Power of Unified Group Economics

Growing up in my family as it was, afforded me a great many benefits. Chief amongst these benefits has to be growing up under the tutelage of the entire family, but my Grandparent\s Hurd in particular. My Grandparents on my mothers’ side were great lovers of history, and all the grandchildren were constantly inundated with the wisdom, stories, and lessons my Grandparents’ found in the history books; specifically early American history and Civil War Era history. One such story that survives from that era is the tail of “Stone Soup,” which my Grandma Hurd (What we called her.) would often recite for me.

For those of you, who have missed out on this still very relevant American classic please allow me to supply you with the cliff notes from that story, and how I believe the moral of this story bears a direct relation to this groups stated purpose. So back in the Colonial days, the King of England issued a “Boarding Soldiers” order on the colonies. For any legal buffs, this order would later bear on the minds of the drafters of our Constitution in relation to the Fourth Amendment. What this King made Proclamation said was that by law, all colonists must open their homes up to the soldiers of the King to feed and shelter “His Majesties Troops.”

Skipping ahead the story goes that three soldiers walk into an American town, after an especially heinous battle, which found them tired, hungry, and separated from their main detachment. I can’t remember if the soldiers were blue or red coats, but I remember the towns’ people were afraid of the soldiers and would not supply the soldiers with any food. The reason the towns folk wouldn’t feed the soldiers, is supplies were running very low throughout the town due to the war. The towns people were in fear of starvation themselves, as they only had available to them the food and supplies they could grow or make themselves.

After several rejections in the town by the towns folk to requests of food or a meal, the soldiers hungry as they were, found a large iron caldron, filled it with water, built a fire beneath it, and then placed three stones in the bottom of the large cooking pot. As this was done in the town square, all the towns’ folk bore witness to this, and were completely baffled. “Did these soldiers mean to eat stones?” “Didn’t they realize that no matter how long one boils a stone, it will never be fit for human consumption?” The towns’ folk were utterly confused.

When asked about what they were doing, the soldiers replied “Why, we’re making stone soup of course, which is the most delicious sort of stew of all.” The towns-folk were still just bewildered by the soldiers’ actions. However, at the same time these were professional soldiers, “Surely, there had to be something to this stone soup, as the soldiers wouldn’t waste their time otherwise.” When the towns-folk asked the soldiers, “May we try some of your stone soup when it is finished,” the soldiers replied “Surely, as long as you have but a little bit of ingredients to help make the stew a heartier one.”

Even though the towns folk, who were near starving themselves, and had their doubts and apprehensions. The towns’ folk became convinced about the stews heartiness, because of the way in which the soldiers tellingly believed in the heartiness of this stone stew they were making. Therefore, the towns’ folk just simply had to try some themselves, if for no other reason than to prove that the soldiers had gone mad. Therefore, in order that they may taste the soldiers’ stone soup, slowly but surely, one apprehensions and disbelieving person at a time, the townsfolk began contributing what they could to the stones soup. No one living in the town had a large bounty of food, and all the towns’ people had very little ingredients they could contribute and spare. None the less, the towns’ folk put into the pot what they could. Some put in carrots, some could spare a bit more and added a chicken or two, some put corn in the pot, and some still even offered some spice, which was very rare and special in those war weary days. Separately, no starving home in the town could afford the amount of ingredients, which were spared for the stone soup that day. Finally, the stone soup was done cooking, much to surprise of the towns folk the that stone stew was not only the heartiest stew any of the towns folk had had since the beginning of the war. Moreover, there was enough stone soup for every townsperson and the soldiers whom had the recipe, to even have the hearty stew for the next two days to eat.

In all honesty, as a kid the moral of the story was lost on me, and I couldn’t get passed the soldiers benign trickery of the towns’ people. However, as an adult, and more importantly a businessman concerned with the furtherance of any project the moral of this story becomes highly relevant. Just in case you’re still a bit fuzzy on how this story can serve as a motivator for our group project, please allow me to tell you a real life story. I have many different jobs and positions, strung together, in what on a monthly basis I usually find myself praying to the economic God’s allows me to pay my bills and eat. One of these positions is as a security guard, at the all night underground parties, which the Bay Area and especially San Francisco is so famous for amongst younger adults.

This passed Halloween weekend I had the pleasure of working a two day event from 10PM to 7AM, at an undisclosed industrial area of San Francisco. Now what made this particular event so special and amazing for all parties involved, is it represented the first time a group of five to six usually independent party promoters and DJ’s decided that instead of competing against each other for the Halloween Weekend, they would pool resources and throw one big party more grand then any one of them could ever muster. The result was nothing short of stupendous.

Usually, on big weekends like say New Years, each of these independent party promoters (The term given the person whose capital, resources, and time actually go into throwing one of these parties that charge $20.00-$40.00 at the door.) would and has thrown their own parties individually. This has the effect of there being five to six underground parties through-out San Francisco or the Bay Area on the same night. These parties while fun never reach full capacity, and crowds are normally torn about which party to attend based on where their favorite DJ is spinning that night. However, when these five to six promoters pooled their individual resources, each bringing their different and unique strengths, experiences, and resources towards the advancement of the joint venture or goal, they were able to throw an underground party so grand they were able to compete with a large “Corporate sponsored” party named “Ghost Ship” which was across town.

This of course was a first time ever experiment that had the intended effect times ten, which all involved parties had hoped for. We packed the house, two nights in a row, and literally sold out at the bar (Meaning we literally sold all the booze we had, and we had shipped it in by pallet.). I’ve been working these events for years, and bars never get sold out… EVER!!! The profits and crowds, have made the experiment a “surely going to do it again” thing, as all parties benefitted from their collaboration beyond any of their expectations. We were reportedly more packed then the “Corporate sponsored” event, which had the benefit of radio air play advertising, posters through-out the City, and such ticket distribution companies as Ticket Master. Whereas our lose arrangement of Federated Party Promoters merely used on-line resources and marketing tactics, mixed with word of mouth exposure utilizing smaller and less know “E-Ticket” distribution companies. When all was said and done, everyone who attended or involved, stood in awe of what had been accomplished by closing at 7am Sunday morning.

Speaking with one of my bosses at the event, he said “We’re decided to stop competing against each other, and compete against the “corporate event.” That stuck with me, as I immediately thought about our current enterprise, and what it is we as independent book authors and seller/publishers are seeking to accomplish with our Independent Authors and Publishers Marketing Group. If the obviousness in relevancy of these two stories if still lost on you, one of them a true to life experience taken from my own life and shared with the group, then you may in fact be in the wrong group; as you can’t grasp what it is we’re truly hoping to accomplish with this “experiment.” As for myself, I have found a greater appreciation and sense of conviction, about the fact that we are on to something potentially huge with our group. At the same time, my Grandmother’s history based wisdom she blessed me with as a child, has oddly proven to have a new and greater meaning and relevancy in my adult life at the age of thirty-six than possibly even she could have ever known herself.

I thought I’d share with the group, a bit more about myself, and what I believe we can possibly achieve with our group. I am personally more excited and sold on the power of Collaborative Systems Processes (Trademarked. Loll.), as a business model, marketing model, and even as a way to create one hell of a hearty stew for our tiny on-line village populated with independent authors and publishers. I look forward to meeting in person every one, as well as hearing about your ideas and collaborative systems processes success stories in your life. Has anything from your life or any experiences you’ve had led you to believe that our collaborative marketing plan will be as successful as I believe it to be? If so, please tell us why, by sharing your experience with the group. In so doing, you’re also displaying your stylistic prose of pen with your peers (Not that we want anyone to be nervous here. Think of sharing as more or less having a captive audience of likeminded friends, very interested in what you all have to say, and of course the manner in which you say it.).

In other news, it looks like November 8th is in fact a Saturday, and we’ll be moving the time to 4:30 pm, to allow for the location space to actually open its doors. I would personally love any meeting ideas or topics people would like to have discussed in particular. Remember we’re all equals here, and this is a safe and sane place to share and be shared with. Thank you again for joining, and I look forward to seeing you all there.

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