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8 Lessons Bloggers Can Learn From Sony

Posted By Darren Rowse 6th of March 2008 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

In this post Evan Carmichael shares a few lessons that bloggers can learn from Sony.

Since Darren is a fan of digital photography and the Sony Cybershot DSC-H5 made his top 10 list of point and shoot digital cameras, I thought it would be fun and valuable to see what lessons bloggers could take from one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs: Sony’s Akio Morita.

1) Believe in yourself. Akio Morita’s family had been in the sake brewing business for 15 generations and he was expected to continue the tradition. Instead, he decided to go out on his own and build what would become of the world’s most recognizable brands. Don’t let people hold you back with their expectations of what you should be. Believe in yourself and create your own Sony.

2) Start small. Great businesses and blogs are built one step at a time. Morita started Sony with only $350 and worked in a bombed out building that had been abandoned after the Second World War. Keep building your blog momentum every day. Even though you may be facing terrible odds and are running out of money, find a way to continue and don’t abandon your dream.

3) Pick a good name. Morita originally called his company the Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). He later realized that to reach the American market he would need a better name. Sony was a combination of sonus – the Latin word for ‘sound’ – and Sonny – a mainstream American nickname. Does your blog have a name and domain that will help you gain recognition and credibility or are you being passed over?

4) Trust your gut. Morita did not believe in doing market research. His advice was to “Carefully watch how people live, get an intuitive sense as to what they might want and then go with it. Don’t do market research.” As an example, his team wanted to change the name of the Sony Walkman to Soundabout but Morita refused. He trusted his gut that Walkman was a better name. Today the word “Walkman” is in almost every major dictionary. Part of being a successful blogger is trusting your gut and going with what you think will work despite what the data and “experts” are telling you.

5) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. According to Morita, “Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.” When you are blogging you are going to make mistakes. It is part of being a risk taking and developing new frontiers. If you are afraid of making, you will miss countless opportunities before you. The more mistakes you make the wiser you will become and the more successful you will be.

6) Build a quality product. Morita once commented that “Advertising and promotion alone will not sustain a bad product or a product that is not right for the times.”Darren has blogged at length about the importance of having quality content if you want to stand out as a successful blogger. Quite simply, if you aren’t writing material that is new, different, and offers an interesting perspective, you won’t get readers, sponsors, or links to your blog.

7) Be different. When Morita opened the first Sony store in America he hung a huge Japanese flag above the entrance. World War II had just ended so it got people talking. Journalists and hundreds of consumers came to see what the story was behind the flag. Is your blog different and standing out or are you using the same tactics as every other blogger? Can you answer the statement: My blog is different and unique because _____________ ?

8 ) Create the market. Morita knew that his success would come where there was no established competition. He created products for markets that did not yet exist and as a result received tremendous recognition. For example, in 1972, Morita was awarded the fist ever Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for a product – the Trinitron. Is your market filled with too many bloggers already? Can you create a new market and dominate it? Become the expert for your niche and get known as the leading figure in your field.

Akio Morita had no money, no experience, no external support when he started his business. He worked out of a bombed out building and the only asset he had was the passion to build his company. His passion and perseverance paid off and in 1998, a Harris survey revealed that Sony was ranked the number one brand name by American consumers, ahead of Coca-Cola and General Electric.

By following the 8 lessons from Sony (and by continuing to read ProBlogger!) you can also take your blog from a startup idea into a successful, internationally recognized, award-winning enterprise.

Happy building!

Evan Carmichael is the owner of www.EvanCarmichael.com, the Internet’s #1 resource for small business motivation and strategies.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Some great tips. I really liked the fact that you connected a successful player with blogging. Quite intuitive.

  2. Hi Evan.

    Thanks for sharing these great tips. Following the well laid out rules is easy as well as extremely difficult…sometimes you end up paying a heavy price by just toeing the line of those who have succeeded in their respective fields. It is always better to chart your own paths and write your own story of success.

  3. Without a doubt the best post on a blog that I have read in a very long time. Stop trying to copy everybody else. Be yourself. Be original. Go out on a limb. Try new things.

  4. ///3) Pick a good name. Morita originally called his company the Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). He later realized that to reach the American market he would need a better name. Sony was a combination of sonus – the Latin word for ’sound’ – and Sonny –

    Knowing the American tendency to use Acronyms – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation – would probably become TEC , which in a sense would have been a lucky coincidence

  5. #9 Install a root kit on your readers systems to hijack their browsers to your blog.

    Just kidding! ;-)

  6. I’m glad you enjoyed!

    I’ve always been a big believer in modeling the strategies of the most successful entrepreneurs. You can prevent a lot of mistakes by using strategies that you know have worked for others.

  7. Great tips. I believe most of tips are common to successful people, but it’s good to put a face.

  8. Sony could do with learning lessons itself of late:

    1. Don’t fight progress
    It is coming whether you like it or not. Embrace it and develop new products and models leveraging your brand and customer base.

    If you don’t somebody else will and no amount of legislation and stubbornness can stop it. (Sony music, DRM)

    2. Develop for customers
    Don’t deliver what partners or subsidiaries want pushing
    but what your customers will want to buy.

    Again if you don’t deliver it somebody else will. (See Sony’s loss of the portable music player industry because they wouldn’t embrace MP3 but chose to keep pushing DRM’ed ATRAC until it was too late for a perfect example).


  9. Great tips. I’ve never heard of Akio Morita. Was he talked about at Ted or something? ;)

  10. He he i had a class on my colleague today about Sony, and their best company vision/mission on world!

  11. Some great tips and valid points expressed here. Akio Morita had a vision and made it real, although Sony has made their share of mistakes along the years (read: 8-track, betamax – and potentially blu-ray).

    But that’s not the point. The point is, this is a great analogy: if right after the war Morita could turn his $350 into one of the world’s leading electronics corporations, on today’s Internet someone who puts their mind to it should be able to take $350 (or even a tenth of that) and turn it into a niche-leading blog as well.

  12. I agree fully with lesson no 5. When working with a fear of making no mistakes, growth stops. In fact many inventions were the result of making mistakes.

  13. Living in Japan i found this great post even more interesting, nice work Evan!

  14. Evan,

    This was really good stuff!

    I’m a new blogger, but have hit the ground running. I have three blogs (I’ve never been one to do anything small). Which means I’m totally not doing what #2 suggested. However, I DO believe in myself (#1) and feel my bloggings are the right and WRITE thing to do.

    Thanks for bringing this to us. 8-)

  15. Great advice…but you make it sound so easy – if only it were!

    But too many people are afraid to fail – that has to be the best piece in here.

    Some great bits on Sony that I never knew – thanks.

  16. Thank you for reminding us of the connection between the internet and “real business”. Too many people online seem to believe that standard business principles need not be applied to internet based businesses in order to be successful. I absolutely love the E-myth by Michael Gerber and Good to Great by Jim Collins. If you’re serious about making and maintaining long-term income from your blog, you absolutely have to treat it like a real business (with a business plan, organizational chart – even if you fill all the positions, marketing plan, budgets, and projections).

  17. I used to buy a lot of Sony products until I noticed that almost all of them that I owned would have problems or would die prematurely. The brand name that I used to seek out is now one that I avoid. It’s a shame really. Maybe Sony has rested on its reputation too much.

  18. These tips are really useful, especially for someone who has been blogging as a hobby and secretly hoping to turn it into a career.

    Coming from the technology industry, I appreciated the use of Akio Morita.

  19. useful tips for me.thanks

  20. Yeah.. This can give more motivation for new blogger or not loser blogger like me to achieve and gain more knowledge..
    Action must be taken from now…

  21. Japanese is right about their hardworking effort to make things done.I so much admired Japanese spirit in their life on how they can get such through too many ways.

  22. “Sony was a combination of sonus – the Latin word for ’sound’ – and Sonny.” didn’t know that.

    The tip with the pick a good name is kinda hard to get because almost good domains are already taken :(

  23. This was an interesting article. I never would have thought of comparing blogging with Sony.

    I think the biggest challenge for many of us is number 7, to be different. The internet and even the blogging world is so huge that it sometimes seems impossible to do anything that hasn’t already been done before. Being unique and different is a big challenge we all face. My blog is about Self Mastery. I thought about ways to narrow it down but then I end up with things like “Self Mastery for Left-Handed Males Born in March.” or some other strange iteration of the topic. We keep hearing the drumbeat of “finding your niche” but how narrow do you tweak it down?

  24. Two things not mentioned was don’t think you can keep a reputation by making a crappy product later for low end consumers looking for a prestigeous name brand. Sony has really sullied their reputation with low end consumer electronics.

    Secondly, don’t piss off your consumer base with threats of lawsuits.

    No matter how either one of these makes your bottom line look they are PR nightmares that you don’t easily bounce back from.

  25. 9) Try to build an iPod competitor, and load it with so many restrictions that you can only play proprietary the ATRAC8 format.
    (Just kidding)

    I enjoyed this post. There are quite a few things to learn from Sony, as well as a few things you don’t want (don’t install rootkits on your blog readers PCs!).

  26. very encouraging.

  27. This is inspirational!! great post!!

  28. Great success story. Certainly, there is more to this success story?

    Jessica Bond
    Medical Careerist

  29. Hello Jessica!

    We’ve actually done a complete profile on him that you can read at http://www.evancarmichael.com/Famous-Entrepreneurs/1158/summary.php

    You can also check out what wikipedia has at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akio_Morita


  30. “2) Start Small”

    Just what I needed. Thanks!

  31. never heard about evan and morito before.

  32. Just came across your blog on Google. Interesting post, you bring up a few good things to think about. Good luck with the blog.

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