11/28/08

Advice for pirates


first off, let me just say to all the pirates off the coast of somalia, you know, kudos. you've successfully attacked hundreds of ships this year alone, including the saudi oil tanker loaded with $100M in oil. you obviously know your job well. but what you clearly don't understand is marketing. fortunately, i'm here to help. neither you nor i have the time to start with the 4 Ps, so let's just jump to a few relevant pieces of advice:

1) Organize. if we've learned anything from the Bloods and the Crips (and we have - we've learned so, so much), it's that strong organizational structure is key to strong business success. you have a successful operation currently, but is it scalable? right now, you look like a bunch of lone wolves out there. if you got your acts together, surely, there are other coasts where you could open franchise locations, no?

2) Get A Spokesman. give us a face, a leader, SOMETHING. right now, your wikipedia page features a montage. a MONTAGE? from blackbeard to johnny depp, piracy has thrived on the image of individualism. you're ruining that. and practically speaking, let's think ahead here. 2 years down the road, you've signed a book deal to talk about your experience. who's the author? "the guy on the left with the bandana on his face"? good luck gunning for the nyt bestseller list with that.

3) Speed It Up. it's been weeks since you bagged the saudi tanker. you just released another ship that you captured in august. has no one on your well-armed dinghy ever heard of the 24-hour news cycle? operational issues are always the least glamorous to tackle, but yours are costing some valuable pr.

4) Design A Flag. seriously, if ever (o.k., when) i turn to piracy, designing a flag is the VERY FIRST THING i do. it's not just about merchandising. it's about pride and identity.

and of course, it's about marketing.

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