What My Five-Year-Old Son Taught Me About Marketing

image of kid dressed as groucho marx

You know that “inner child” we hear so much about — the one that’s supposedly deep inside of all of us?

Well, I live with it. As a matter of fact, I call him “Austin.”

In the five years I’ve been a parent, I’ve realized that the notion of the inner child is more than just a neat psychological construct. It’s very nearly a literal thing. As we grow up, we don’t change so much as drape layer after complicated layer of adult emotion on top of that inner child. The child doesn’t vanish; he just gets obscured and filtered.

You don’t get an evolved, new mature being. You get Austin with fifteen blankets over his head.

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How to Sell More Ethically

image of sleazy salesman

I keep running into this little conundrum.

One of the most important goals of copywriting is persuasion.

In fact, it’s kind of the most important goal, because if you’re not trying to get your readers to do something, you’re probably going to stop calling yourself a “copywriter” and just go for “writer.”

Writers can write without a call to action, but then writers also get to mull their words carefully while drinking tea. Copywriters can’t do that. They’re on deadline. They need high-octane espresso.

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Four Ways to Be More Interesting

image of interesting man

I’d like you to stop and think about something for a second.

Try to remember the last time you visited a site that had good, solid content but read like a technical manual. I’m talking factual and helpful, but not terribly compelling.

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What a Drunk Swiss Guy Can Teach
You About Handling Criticism

image of drunk man with lampshade

One of the most interesting lessons I learned about blogging happened in the basement of a Swiss pub on Christmas Eve.

Back in 1999, my brother and I went to visit our sister in Switzerland. Somehow, we all ended up in this basement room at a pub in Interlaken with some locals. For some reason, the lights started going on and off, and I caught this look on my sister’s face. There had been some groping during one of the dark intervals.

I went up to the offender and said, “Hey. You’re going to need to keep your hands to yourself.”

And he, quite drunk, puffed up and stared into my eyes. He said, “What are you going to do about it, friend? You’re a long way from home.”

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5 Grammar Mistakes that Make You
Sound Like a Chimp

laptop chimp

Writing can be really no-win. It’s not fair, but it’s true.

If you obsess over every grammatical and structural point, you can come across as stiff. But if you’re lax and make a bunch of simple errors, you’ll come across as stupid.

You make one mistake and a lot of people will let it go. Two and you’re making them suspicious. Keep that up, with your intelligence taking hits at each turn, and your reader will decide that you’re actually a chimpanzee — and not one of the smart ones, either.

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Confessions of a Comment Addict


My name is Johnny Truant, and I am a comment addict.

A large amount of my self-worth as a blogger is defined not by my traffic, or readership, or income, or buzz. It’s defined by the relatively meaningless number below each post that counts the people who fill out a form and click Submit.

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