“I was a revolutionary who lost his ideals in heroin, a philosopher who lost his integrity in crime, and a poet who lost his soul in a maximum security prison. When I escaped from that prison, over the front wall, between two gun towers, I became my country’s most wanted man. Luck ran with me and flew with me to India, where I joined the Bombay mafia. I worked as a gunrunner, a smuggler, and a counterfeiter. I was chained on three continents, beaten, stabbed and starved. I went to war. I ran into the enemy guns. And I survived, while other men around me died. They were better men than I am, most of them; better men whose lives were crunched up in mistakes, and thrown away by the wrong second of someone else’s hate, or love, or indifference. And I buried them, too many of those men, and grieved their stories and their lives into my own.”

Some books are like an exquisite meal, meant for indulgence and slow enjoyment.  Shantaram is one of those – written by Gregory David Roberts, the book tells the story of his escape from a New Zealand prison, his subsequent arrival in Mumbai, a visit to village India, and his life in the Middle Asian underworld.  Although some of the events are based on the author’s life, it is technically classified as fiction since he merged different events and characters for narrative flow.

My favorite books are the ones that immediately draw you into their world and make you care about the characters, and this one accomplishes that marvelously.  A few more choice quotes:

“The past reflects eternally between two mirrors -the bright mirror of words and deeds, and the dark one, full of things we didn’t do or say”

“Astounding and puzzling images from the city tumbled and turned in my mind like leaves on a wave of wind, and my blood so thrilled with hope and possibility that I couldn’t suppress a smile, lying there in the dark…In that moment, in those shadows, I was almost safe”

This book makes me want to jump on a plane to Mumbai and embrace the chaos and energy of the city myself.  Highly recommend it.

From the Greek philosophical tradition:

Telos: All things have a purpose. Translated as “the purpose” or “the objective”.

Techne: The way this purpose is served, the abilities and actions required to accomplish said purpose. Translated as “the skill”.

Phronesis: The intuitive understanding of what the purpose of something is and why it is so. Usually translated as “practical wisdom”, Aristotle considered it the ability to determine a particular goal, decide how best to achieve it, and completely understand the effect that accomplishing that goal will have on your overall existence.

Applied to interactive marketing:

Telos – page #1 rankings for the long tail

Techne – a creative, well written, consistently updated blog.

Phronesis – a tool to harness the long tail, which is where the conversions are.

Telos – page #1 for competitive keywords

Techne – high quality backlinks

Phronesis – link aquisition done with focus on high quality, high PR, websites.

Telos – word of mouth buzz

Techne – clever video or blog

Phronesis – people talking about you and sharing your content without your direct involvement is one of the most powerful forms of marketing.

Telos – authentic communication with your market

Techne – social media presence

Phronesis – people want to interact with fellow humans online. people buy from people they have relationships with.

Telos – a permission marketing campaign

Techne – useful or entertaining newsletters and a website with a clear opt-in funnel

Phronesis – permission marketing is powerful and effective tool with a high ROI.

Telos – repeat traffic

Techne – constantly updated authority/entertaining/controversial content, consistent marketing message spread throughout the web (PPC/banners)

Phronesis – people who repeatedly visit a website are more likely to convert, so give your users reasons to come back

Telos – a good reputation and a particular image

Techne – PR and media relations

Phronesis – people work with and buy from people and brands they trust

Telos – a website that positively reflects your brand and drives conversions

Techne – a carefully designed, elegant website that makes people feel relaxed, comfortable, and even catered to

Phronesis – the human response to positive visual stimuli will ensure that your users do what you want them to do

Telos – reach a target demographic

Techne – creative banner ads on sites your target audience frequents

Phronesis – your message is communicated to your targets through appearing on places they already go online, and sparking their interest

And so it goes – it can be applied to every aspect of interactive marketing (it can really be applied to all of life if you want to get seriously philosophical). For every element of a campaign, we can determine on an objective(telos), isolate the skill/actions required to accomplish it (techne), and understand how it will benefit and how it fits into the overall campaign (phronesis).

In other news, I am a huge nerd.