The Story of The Age of the Customer

Feb 12, 2014 | Writing A Book

Full disclosure. I’ve know Jim Blasingame for a while. I’ve been appearing as a guest on his Small Business Advocate show for (gasp!) sixteen years. I was there yesterday, turning the tables on him, by asking questions about his latest book, The Age of the Customer.

Here’s the thing that intrigued me about this book. Jim doesn’t need another book to be successful. He’s got a popular internet radio show. He’s well known to people who care about small business and he can probably give as many speeches as he wants for a pretty good fee.

In addition, he’s already written two books. So why put in the effort to do another one? Here’s the story.

Jim talks to a lot of experts on his show who provide a stream of provocative comments that become material for Jim’s articles and speeches. One of his guests, Kirk Cheyfitz, told Jim how new technologies were transforming advertising and marketing.

Jim mulled that over for a while, coming to the conclusion that what was going on was important and a whole lot bigger than just advertising and marketing. He worked on concepts, by writing about them and road-tested them in speeches until a book started growing.

That’s how it is for most of the people I’ve talked to who’ve published more than one book. There’s usually a “Hmmmm, that’s interesting” moment. For a while they work on the idea in shorter writing and speeches and conversations. Then there’s the moment when they know, “I’ve got to do a book about this.”

First books usually get written for a purpose. Authors want to build their reputation or their fees. They want to gather together everything they’ve learned or use the book as a way to learn more. Sometimes they write that first book because, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.”

Most of the second and subsequent books are like The Age of the Customer. They grow out of curiosity and thinking and trying out ideas. They almost demand to be written.