A few weeks ago I was invited to join a very special tribe, The Domino Project Street Team. The Domino Project (TDP) is a partnership between Seth Godin and Amazon and a completely new way to look at the book publishing model. In this model, proven authors can tap into a closed network of socially active book enthusiasts by genre (aka the Stream Team). The Street Team engages with the author, gaining access to these proven authors (and potentially other value) and generating interest around the books in return (at the individuals discretion).
TDP promises drastically improves an author's speed to market while slashing overhead, leveraging Amazon as a direct sales channel.
In the case of Poke The Box, last week about 20 Street Teamers and members of the TDP team met up in-person, our first time as a group. Seth joined, gave out free copies of his book to everyone, and facilitated an intimate discussion around TDP and Poke The Box. As a longtime Godin fan, I left on a high and immediately started writing this post. (I guess this access play really works!)
While we are only on our first book, I can't wait to see how the next few authors challenge themselves to generate increasingly unique and compelling ways to activate the Street Team.
Leaving this meeting, I still don't quite understand the full workings or vision of TDP. However, with a new appreciation for the challenges of the publishing industry, I would like to suggest the following:
TDP is not the publishing house of the future.
It's the future beyond the publishing house.
Why You Should Buy, Borrow and Gift Poke The Box
The first book to come through the TDP solution was Seth Godin's Poke The Box. Much like Seth's more recent books, Poke The Box is refreshingly short and strongly focused. The central message of Poke The Box is as follows: in an age where there is plenty of plenty, the scarcity is those willing to challenge the accepted and take action again the challenges. Now go Poke The Box.
Like many of his recent books, Seth made everything about the book itself conversation-worthy. For example, the inside of the front cover contains a list of names from Seth's tribe. By graying out and darkening certain names, Seth has embedded the words "Go, Go, Go" across these names. In yet another brilliant move, Poke The Box will be offered in packs of 5 and 52 for those who want to gift it or resell it on their own. And there is more... trust me, there is more.
This book isn't for someone looking to learn the art of marketing or the secret to social media. If you're looking for one, trust me, there is no shortage. However, in keeping with his central theme, Seth explores a much needed but little supplied manifesto on productive, active provocation. This book is great for someone looking to take the next step in their career, someone who has ideas but needs the drive to take action. This book won't tell you what to do or how to do it, but it will poke at you regularly, gnawing at your brain until you take that leap and poke the box yourself.
Reflections on The Domino Project Thus Far
What most amazed me about this project isn't their radical new approach to publishing - both analog and digital - but the strength of the community. Even before we knew what it meant to be a member of the Street Team or what TDP was all about, there were dozens of people talking about it, both in the private community and in public on their blogs. As a community, there is a genuine excitement to be connected around our shared passions. The community has a vibe that is simply incredible. I never would have thought that the sheer act of connecting - without a destination or objective - around a shared passion and the promise of an unknown participation would have been quite so powerful.
This just goes to prove - Seth not only drinks, but he pwns his own kool aid.