Ernie’s Laws of Marketing

I’ve just updated
Laws of Marketing
, a collection of
apothegms reflecting lessons learned while working at Apple
and Boston Consulting Group. I started collecting
them several years ago, making them my earliest attempt at applied

The most famous, if I may
use such a term, is my First

The First

Make things as vague as
possible, but no vaguer

It sounds
silly, but I actually find it almost as useful as Occam’s
in converging on an optimal solution. Which is perhaps
unsurprising, since mine is derived from Einstein’s related dictum on simplicity:
Things should be made as simple as
possible, but not any

While Googling for my laws
(ironically, I often find Google fastest way to track down my own URLs), I ran
across two related Laws of

First wasĘAl Ries &
Jack Trout’s book
The 22 Immutable Laws of
, as well as its sequel
The 22 Immutable Laws of
. I haven’t read either,
but I found the summary intriguing: Leadership, Category,
Ladder, Duality, etc. I think I agree with most of it, though I’m not sure if
first mover advantage is all its cracked up to
be; or rather, I believe being first only helps if you are wise enough to
efficiently capture the relevant learning and have the resources to stay ahead
of potential competitors.

Amusingly, I was even more impressed by Dr.
Ralph Wilson’s tongue-in-cheek tribute called
The Five Mutable Laws of Web
, which surprisingly
mirrored (and expanded upon) advice I gave to my father-in-law last night about
building his web
. I’m always relieved, pleased, and slightly disappointed to
learn that other people have had the same ideas I have, only