"The joy of being five.
You've got just 365 days to capture it".
Ok, now I get it. (goes to my soon to be 6 daughter and gives her a huge hug, and wish I have taken more pictures, and telling my wife I just got something stuck in my eye)
That essential truth has to be something that a large number of people can 'get' within two seconds on reading it and require no further context or explanation.
And it has to be patently non-obvious or cliched. It's not enough to say 'they grow up fast.' There are also tricks of the trade in the way he has structured the sentence that you're probably not even consciously aware of - such as the punchline of 'capture it' being left to the end of the sentence so you have to read the whole thing to understand it.
Or the simple, evocative 'The joy of being five', which brings to mind all sorts of associations and sets the context for the punchline. 'Imagine what it's like being a child' doesn't have the same impact, does it?
If that sounds simple - try doing the same with a random image from Google Images or something you've seen in the news. You'll find that it's not easy. Copywriting is an art like any other.
I liked his 'Surprise Theory of Comedy', used by the line above in fact.
A lot of great writers end up writing for comedy shows - if you end up in a writing team you get both the promise of a regular paycheck and a constant creative challenge creating lines around new news stories. The 'magic' of copywriting is really knowing maybe twenty really useful mental tools inside out, and executing on them the best way possible.
What you tend to find with copywriting is that everyone recommends the same seven books - Cialdini, D&AD etc, I guess like with programming where everyone suggests you read Code Complete - but a lot of them are quite long in the tooth, and have an annoying tendency to just hold lines up and say 'here, this is great copywriting', rather than really break down what makes lines work. That said if you're really brand new to it I'd recommend Hey Whipple, Squeeze This as a good starter for 10.
Online, ComedyWire is probably one of the best examples I've seen both for seeing great writers at work and practicing yourself. It's kind of like Hacker News for Comedy - people submit lines in response to news stories and the best ones get upvoted.
Being not-very-emotional, I always figured that "they grow up too fast" wouldn't hit me, but it has. There is so much more I wanted to provide my son (the oldest, age 7). I wish that I could just put his growth timeline on pause and continue to get to enjoy him, at least until I feel like I've gotten the TODO at least half-way cleared out.
7 years gone by, 7 more years and he'll be 14. Half of his childhood already slipped through the hourglass and I barely noticed it. Can't take it.
Same story with his siblings. It seems that no matter how much time you spend with them, it will always feel like it evaporated, and there will always be stuff you wanted to do but couldn't get to. I don't expect that to change, but the sadness in that slippage is profound.
I hope the future, where they're all old people, is somehow competitive with the present. Hard to conceive how that could happen right now.
Speaking of something in eyes...
However, Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam did write "Father & Son" - which brings tears to my eyes... when I think of my son and my dad.
It's difficult to even imagine how few people were thinking of such things when they were so far removed everyday life and culture.
Tim Berners-Lee I thought was much more well known for starting a revolution with the world wide web. I hate to say but the web seems a bit less of an insight when you know that Hypertext had already been so well established for almost 25 years.
Ted Nelson's idea was/is called "Xanadu":
The Xanadu vision is centered on a hypertext system, like the Web. But unlike the Web, it also includes such things as:
- A mechanism for embedding live documents within other documents ("transclusion": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transclusion)
- Bidirectional links, that updated themselves automatically when the address of the linked document changed (see http://dubinko.info/blog/2009/11/22/how-xanadu-works/)
- An addressing system that goes beyond just documents to let you link directly to any range of content you wish ("tumblers": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumbler_(Project_Xanadu))
- Automatic, redundant cross-network storage of all documents (a built-in Wayback Machine)
- A micropayments system for content creators to sell access to what they create
- Strong identity built in (a necessity if you want to also have payments built in)
... and much more.
Xanadu is (in theory anyway) a much more sophisticated system than the Web is even today, never mind the Web as it was when TBL first designed it. Back then it was so much more crude than Xanadu as to barely merit comparison.
But in a way that was TBL's genius, because, while the Web was much more crude than Xanadu architecturally, it was something that could actually be implemented with the early-'90s technology he had on hand. Xanadu, a much grander vision, was so much grander that it has defied fifty years' worth of efforts to implement it. (Back when Wired was worth reading, they ran a good piece on the state of those efforts circa 1995: https://www.wired.com/1995/06/xanadu/ It's still defying implementation today, more than twenty years later.)
So we ended up with the Web we have, which kinda sorta works except for all the ways that it really doesn't. (Paying content creators, for instance.) Ted Nelson saw all those problems coming, all the way back in 1960, and he tried to come up with a system that would head them all off. He hasn't succeeded (not yet, anyway!), but you have to admire both the vision and the attempt.
Though when dealing with people who reject "worse is better", remember that some people may not grasp the idea, but others may grasp it very well and just consider it a bad thing - a problem to work around.
> "Worse is better" has nothing to do with it. Stop saying it every time anything you think is bad comes up. It's incredibly arrogant, the way people basically spam "worse is better" like they're in Twitch chat every time C, Unix, HTTP, or anything else that they perceive as imperfect comes up.
It didn't occur to me that I was being offensive.
Both styles can offer so much to humanity, but I'd bet most entrepreneurs would go with Edison as a cofounder before Nelson.
Today an attempt at such a thing would probably be demonized as DRM..
I guess this is why you need imagination, and to not stifle it.
But for this to work, you'd have to have a history/scope of your current knowledge.
A nice example: http://www.telescopictext.com/
Off topic but why send text to Imgur?
I actually am a freelance copywriter. I probably fall pretty close to "If you need a freelance copywriter, you could phone me. Or not."
This may partly explain my poverty. Perhaps explosions and aggression is The Way.
Tao te Copywriting
Edit: He says he's flexible. Makes me think of this:
(I confess: I might be a former gymnastics student. Maybe.)
It's sort of like a job interview at a big tech company. Being qualified isn't enough. Lots of good people get turned down based on random factors like who got assigned the interview or what random screening question they got asked. But they might apply again later, get a different interviewer or question and get an offer.
He could have left off that last one ("hardest sale") and avoided the issue, but I think most people aren't aware of the issue.
SUDEP is a thing. Come on people: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_unexpected_death_in_epi...
It truly is about presenting those small wisps of childhood joy through simple stories. Unfortunately, only small projects are fit for that, as corporate staff generally loathes any risk or anything different from the "standard".
For example, I was once asked to do a Christmas video for a plumbing company and was shown the last year's version, which was simply shot after shot of the company's staff saying their names to the camera.
I decided to write an actual Christmas carol about a mouse that got stuck in the drain due to broken dishwasher hose on Christmas Eve and got saved by the company's employees. Though the client praised my writing skills, she said the script got rejected because the higher-ups didn't appreciate the thought of mice in customers' homes.
[EDITED to add:] Er, I was assuming that this was posted by the person who wrote it and that the latter is therefore reading this. But it looks like it wasn't, so maybe he isn't.
I've noticed that exercises in style (in writing or in visual art, comics, video games and what have you) and practices like constrained writing and their analogues in other media seem to resonate with a certain type of computer/math nerd. It affects even those who would rather not associate with anything described as "literary". I think being a nerd predisposes one towards enjoying a kind of formalism in art.
edit: following through the progression, it would not be hard to emulate this and get responses but then the problem comes back to your actual competence. Thanks for sharing this is helpful.
edit: would probably help to dissect this for visible-progression, but the pattern seems to be:
feel free -> if you need -> hello I'm -> then more and more dictating, not so much choice, you need to choose me.
One usability note: I would turn 'less / more hard sell' either side of the slider into links that move it forward/back as keeping my mouse pressed down on the slider reading through all the options was a little cumbersome.
You don't have permission to access / on this server.
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 - https://www.moo.com/uk/about/printfinity.html
Edit:...and it's back again.
I mean it just sort of reeks of advertising.
That and that website is really unoptimized.
Lingscars.com is arguably the worst money-making website on the Internet .
I'm also not sure if Apache is outdated, like I should really move to NGINX or Node/Amazon, I have yet to configure overflow handling (forwarding traffic in the event of a server not being able to handle it all) I was looking at public cloud before, kind of interesting, said something like $0.010/ or maybe $0.10/GB not sure if that was storage or bandwidth but yeah. I also wonder how hard/how you should create quick "copies" or "images" of your application and then be able to forward traffic to that.
when i viewed the page, the audio soundtrack was a rendition of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Beatles. maybe a better choice would be Helter Skelter.
It's not about the person, or his job. It's about the clever concept.