Blogagon Smack Down

8 Aug

Before the UFC wherever beer and testosterone intersected in sufficient quantities, a question was likely to be asked.

Ali or Lee?

Meaning of course, who would win in a rumble between the GOAT Muhammad Ali and Bruce “The Dragon” Lee.

The beauty was the issue could never be settled.

It lent itself to the most hyperbolic hyperbole and much hilarity all round.

Today, maybe the question would be phrased in terms of Couture or Liddell?

Somehow, it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Then again, the UFC doesn’t really do it for me.

I’m up for it when they’re on their feet but I lose interest as soon as they hit the floor.

I know they’re skillful athletes, but when they’re rolling around the Octagon, it reminds me of so much dodgy wrestling

An equally intriguing question is who comes out on top in the Blogagon?

Because when marketing or advertising folk and beer intersect in sufficient quantities the question is likely to be asked.

Godin or Trott?

Meaning, if you were marooned on a desert island and had to choose one, who would you choose?

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Blogagon Smack Down.

In the red corner blogging out of Hastings on the Hudson, New York – Internet entrepreneur, author and speaker Seth”Godinzilla” Godin

{My brain's gone nuclear}

In the blue corner blogging out of Poplar, London – author and advertising legend Dave “The Trottinator” Trott

{I'll be back with another great blog}

And remember, two men enter one man leaves

At first glance the case for Godin seems overwhelming, with over 4100 posts, 12 books and 103,560* Twitter  followers against Trott’s unknown (by me) number of posts 1 book and 5536* Twitter followers .

However, popularity bears little relation to merit, hence: Kim Kardashian – 8,715,859* Twitter followers.

Stats aside, these blogging behemoths bang out brilliant blogs by the book load.

Godin, following some rhythm detectable only to him, alternates between short and long posts.

The short posts are pretty accessible with a nod towards pop culture.

The longer posts can be more academic.

Sometimes he short posts twice daily, as if to say I’m thrice as smart as you’ll ever be.

And he probably is.

To paraphrase Voltaire, if Godin didn’t exist mankind would have to invent him.

Trott, on the other hand favours a more classic long-form approach.

His references are widely drawn, history, formula one racing, boxing, football, science, travel…

But everything this magpie mind writes about is accessible.

Actually, it’s the epitome of accessibility.

You’d have to be very dumb indeed to not get Dave.

While Seth is a bit of a smartass:

“Give up control and give it away… The more you give your idea away, the more your company is going to be worth.”

Or: “If you can’t state your position in eight words, you don’t have a position.”

He gets away with it because he’s such a mind-bogglingly smart smartass; smarter than a paint store.

His best insights are uber geek chic.

As befits a man with a degree in computer science and an MBA from Stanford, he really gets digital, both the scale of change the digital economy has wrought and the hows and whys of a new way of doing business.

Trott, in contrast is more of an everyman, if every man has a record of building a string of successful agencies; from seminal 80s agency Gold Greenlees Trott to CST The Gate and a career that illuminates advertising history.

He’s up to speed digitally, but believes the idea takes precedent over the delivery system.

And if some people think this makes him a bit of a dinosaur, he doesn’t give a monkey’s.

His writing has a haiku like quality and sometimes verges on the metaphysical:

“For me, the best writing takes complicated things and makes them simple.

So everyone can understand them.

If it’s really great, it also takes simple things and makes them powerful.

So everyone can feel them.”

The infuriating thing about his writing is it’s so deceptively simple, sooner or later you think, why can’t I write like Dave Trott?

Well it’s best not to try, because you almost certainly can’t.

Whereas Godin tends to make you think, why can’t I think like that?

And again, you almost certainly can’t.

Especially when he’s on:

It’s impossible to have a coin with only one side. You can’t have heads without tails.

Innovation is like that. Initiative is like that. Art is like that.

You can’t have success unless you’re prepared to have failure.

As soon as you say, “failure is not an option,” you’ve just said, “Innovation is not an option.”

But he also excels at more complex analysis, like this insightful piece on:

The game theory of discovery and the birth of the free-gap

Trott tends to stories that illustrate ideas, whereas Godin is drawn more to pure ideas.

Here’s one of Trott’s best, it’s structured like a classic short story with a wicked twist at the end: The Train is Leaving the Station.

At his best Godin dazzles with the breadth and speed of his thinking and a head that’s not wired like yours or mine.

Although sometimes he comes over as an overbearing headmaster, it’s hard to dislike him when he acknowledges the fault so honestly.

“This attitude gets me in trouble sometimes. Perhaps I shouldn’t be pushing people who want something but have been taught not to push themselves. Somewhere along the way, it seems, I forgot that it’s none of my business..”

Trott is more of a humanist.

As such, he understands not only that he’s not always going to be right, but as the title of a recent post of his puts it:

There’s Not Always a Right Answer.

He may possess awareness and compassion, but he’s definitely no mug:

See, I don’t think my mate lost his visa for taking drugs.

I think he lost it for being stupid.

Did he really think that if he admitted taking drugs they’d admire his honesty and give him a visa?

Well, knee-deep in sweat and adjectives it’s crunch time here at the Blogagon.

My money’s on the Trottinator.

Of course your verdict may differ.

But isn’t that the beauty of it?

Or perhaps the real beauty is we get to read both.

* All Twitter stats as of August 3rd

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