Want To Join Seth Godin And Me For A CTRL ALT Delete Book Launch At Google In NYC?

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It’s actually a private book launch party for CTRL ALT Delete.

On June 17th, 2013, Google in New York City will be hosting the official book launch for my second business book, CTRL ALT Delete. This is a very private and intimate event for the industry and media (sponsored by Google and my publisher, Grand Central PublishingHachette Book Group) and it is by invitation only. The usual fare for these events is come in, mingle, have some cocktails, listen to the author wax poetic about their latest and disperse. In thinking about doing something different, unique and fun, I thought it might be more lively (and interesting) to have a fireside conversation about what’s in the book (and what’s not) with one of the people I admire most in this industry, Seth Godin (author of amazing books like The Icarus Deception, Linchpin, The Dip, Purple Cow, and on… and on). Seth graciously agreed to take part.

A special evening.

There will be some other goodies and surprises as well. In speaking with Google, they suggested that we invite 10 loyal Six Pixels of Separation community members/friends to come along (and a bring a guest). So, here’s what we’re going to do to give these ten slots away: in the comments below, answer this question: what company do you think has made a great reboot and why? We’ll comb through these comments and choose 10 winners who will be given a pair of tickets to attend this book launch event in NYC.

The fine print: 

  • Entries will be accepted up until 11:00 pm eastern on Wednesday, June 12th, 2012.
  • Winners will be notified via email.
  • Winners are entitled to bring one guest.
  • Winners must cover all travel, accommodations, etc… The only thing you are winning is a pass for two to the event.

So… take a shot!

Word is that the Authors@Google team will be on hand to film the event, but regardless this is going to be all new content and a fascinating conversation about the state of business, marketing and innovation. The event will take place from 5-7 pm and winners will be given the full details when they are notified. We’re hoping to make this a special evening to launch CTRL ALT Delete.

Over to you…


  1. My pick is New York City. Yes, it’s a city and not a company. But, it has undergone amazing changes in the past 5 years. Most recently under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg, it has created an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship that has been a source of inspiration and empowerment for millions of people. Tumblr, Kickstarter and Codeacademy certainly come to mind as an outcome of this ecosystem. There are also amazing brands such as Fab.com and Warby Parker who are forcing the retail industry to re-think their business model and how to approach customer service. And, there are hundreds of B2B technology startups that are giving existing businesses an endless number of options for bringing innovation to their business. Three or four years ago, there could be an argument about what region is second to Silicon Valley for innovation. That is no longer the case. NYC wins hands down.

  2. I have two old favourites:
    Nokia rebooting itself from a company that made Wellington boots into, at the time, the worlds biggest phone manufacturer.
    EMC – a company that once made office furniture into the worlds leading electronic data storage provider.
    The question is whether or not they can repeat the trick twice…

  3. I’m admittedly biased having worked there previously, but my vote for the company that “has made a great reboot” would have to go to LEGO. The 70+ year-old toy company lost money for the first time in 1998 and suffered several difficult years thereafter.
    However, in 2004, they hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and hired a new CEO, the first external CEO in the company’s history. Coincidentally, that same year they launched LEGO Factory at lego.com which enabled you to digitally create your own model and buy the LEGO elements required to build it. Ever since, the company has embraced their customers and vocal fan community, including bringing back classic sets as voted on by fans, and designing sets targeted to the most fanatical brand loyalists. Most recently, the largest model ever created, a 1:1 scale model of a Star Wars X-Wing, made of over 5 million bricks, was displayed in New York, and generated tons of great PR for the brand that everyone knows and loves. I just checked Facebook, and they have almost 5 million fans. Clearly, their reboot has paid off.

  4. The greatest reboot, to me, will always be Apple. How they went from a company on the brink of disappearing to what is known today as one of the most innovative, inspiring and powerful brands in the world.
    I’ve been reflecting on this quite a bit lately, as Apple is about to host their next conference and announce the new IOS. I will always miss Steve Jobs on that stage, but his legacy and brilliance will not soon be forgotten.
    Congrats on the awesome upcoming book launch, Mitch!
    Talk soon,

  5. Domino Pizza has great reboot. After, realizing it was so far down the favorite ranking they start over. First, asking what basic things needed to change in the way the did there recipe and challenging the way even how other companies did breadsticks. Then the redid there public image and had people take a challenge to see if the new recipe is working. I think they put a human face on pizza and showed the cooperation can care about what the customers are saying.

  6. American Express.
    The company started off as an express shipping service, but in the early 1900s, lost their monopoly when Teddy Roosevelt pushed for an opening of railway lines. That didn’t happen right away, but toward the end of World War I, Woodrow Wilson ended up commandeering the railroads. By all rights, AmEx should have gone belly up.
    But a generation earlier, the president of American Express, JC Fargo (who also founded Wells Fargo) was in Europe and found himself very rich but low on cash. He had letters of credit but there were few places in Europe which would honor them. He asked the company to find a solution and they developed the traveler’s cheque. American Express opened offices in Europe and other ports abroad in order to issue their new financial vehicle to travelers everywhere. (They had already begun issuing money orders about ten years earlier.)
    When World War I broke out — just a few years before American Express’ rail business would effectively die — the company ended up with a foothold in Europe, and was one of the few places that would honor letters of credit from stranded travelers. They rebooted the business soon thereafter, becoming a major financial services company in the process.

  7. HP. Few companies have had more drama in the past few years than HP. When Meg Whitman took over in 2011, she told investors it would take years to turn the ship around. It appears that Whitman’s turnaround plan, which includes laying off 29,000 workers, is starting to manifest.
    While stocks are still lousy, operating cash flow increased 44% in Q1 this year.

  8. My pick isn’t a company, it’s an artist and a representation of a HUGE reboot.
    Devendra Banhart.
    In his last 2 albums he has not been afraid to be “reborn again”, you won’t even recognize him on stage if you put side by side videos of him 7 years ago and now.

  9. I would have to say Research in Motion (RIM) with the launch of the new Blackberry Q10 product. This is a great recent reboot story.

  10. High Point University.
    It’s small private school in North Carolina that went from only having a student body of 1,450 students in 2005 to over 3,900 undergrads today. It is so admirable for investing hundreds of millions of dollars into technology and education for its students, all while most other universities are cutting back spending. They provide their students with amazing opportunities ranging from giving soon-to-be journalists unprecedented access at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to bringing music students on international tours to preform in the likes of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel.
    They have come from a school that many locals even knew existed to university that is quickly on its way to being on the front-lines of university attention. They have been recently ranked Number 1. in “Up and Coming Schools in Regional Colleges in the South” by US News and World Report. Only six years ago they were ranked number 15 on that same list. Just goes to show how even in a recovering economy some schools are still providing opportunities and growing at a rapid pace.

  11. The foundation for which I serve as executive director, Animal Farm Foundation. It is less about the actual foundation rebooting (although, we did) and more about how revising our mission statement and our language habits have given an entire industry permission to make the change they had been wanting to make all along…but they just needed somebody else to give them permission to change. We did that. We do that! And, along the way, we (the animal welfare industry and dog owners) have taken back the mic and taken back a brand that Seth Godin once said was hopelessly broken (It was in Aug 2011, Washington, D.C., No Kill Advocacy, brand is “pit bull”). But, as much as we love Seth, we wouldn’t accept that because if we did it would mean that we would have to give up on countless dogs and dog owners. So we didn’t give up, we just changed the conversation everybody was having! And it is working.

  12. Independent Book Sellers get my vote not only for staying relevant despite the mass movement of consumers to online booksellers but also for utilizing new business models and creating viable community spaces.
    So, even as Borders lost its battle and B&N closed several locations, smaller book stores have hosted local community events, featured curated selections, offered self-publishing services (McNally Jackson in Soho NYC), and have even been funded by the community they serve (Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn).

  13. I agree with Melissa Agnes, the best reboot has to belong to Apple. Consider the fact Apple’s IPO brought in more money than any other IPO since Ford went public. It was and still is a huge accomplishment. Apple then goes on to hire the former CEO of Pepsi, John Sculley, with the hopes he could elevate the company further than Steve Jobs could. As we know this did not turn out well. After cycling through a few other CEO’s and on the verge of going under, Apple decided decided to acquire another struggling computer company. This company was NeXT Computers. NeXT gave Apple great software to couple with their own hardware, but most importantly it brought Steve Jobs back to the company he started. Now, with Jobs guidance, Apple streamlined their operation but cutting down on the products they offered and focusing on personal computing. Now they are a multi-billion dollar company.
    Another notable reboot is Chrysler. Thanks to Fiat, Chrysler has bounced back from the recession and is pushing themselves further up the automotive ladder. A large part of their success can be attributed to to the Dodge Dart as well as the SRT program. The Dart is what Dodge needed to compete with the Focus and Corolla. Using creative marketing to appeal to the younger demographics with commercials featuring action sports hero Travis Pastrana is a good move and will help strengthen their fan base. Marketing 101 is grab your target early because the statistics show they will most likely stick around. This leads to the sexier SRT program with the assortment of SRT-8 vehicles and the SRT Viper. A natural progression for the successful college student who needs to replace their trusty Dart will be any of the SRT-8 vehicles. And then the Viper. So far Chrysler has been doing well for themselves.

  14. My first pick would be Apple, but since it has been covered above I’ll go with GM. Although they needed assistance getting there, they were able to make the large scale changes needed to survive and thrive. From more marketable designs, to an improved production discipline and smarter inventory management practices, GM has made inspiring strides in the automotive industry. What’s most impressive about their story is the scale by which they accomplished this feat.

  15. Mitch,
    This to me is an awesome idea, allowing us commoners the chance to partake in this really special day is too cool.
    My vote is for Nilofer, she has rebooted herself/company to an entirely new level with Social Era, TED, Walk – N- Talks, etc…
    I would love to join you guys, you & Seth are both sources of daily inspiration for me & my mission to serve my wife, my family, our folks at AirTight as well as our awesome customers.
    Take care & best of luck to you at the event.
    G. Crumpton
    Charlotte, NC

  16. Atlantic Media. If someone had told me at the beginning of the disruption of print media that The Atlantic would be relevant and — dare I say it? — profitable, I would have laughed. And yet the 154 year old magazine is vibrant and vital and profitable. It never talks down to its readers like so many other digital properties do to get eyeballs. It informs us of the things we should know as citizens living in a democracy. Bravo to them:

  17. Mitch,
    Would love to join you and Seth in New York!
    My pick for a Personal ReBoot is Elon Musk, not that he had to dig himself out of a hole by changing how he did business like most of the others mentioned here, but because he took a chance on doing something completely different.
    He left his old world behind and charted a new course into the unknown territory of Electric Cars and Space Travel, creating a new business model in the process for Space Exploration.
    To paraphrase a Famous Author, Elon Musk “shifted from just doing his job to doing the work that he was meant to do”.
    Mack McLaughlin

  18. The list of multinational, multi-million dollar companies in reboot mode is endless. Every fortune 500 company has had to refresh, revamp, revitalize and refurbish its business model on a regular basis to stay in the game. The business cycle is predictable. Unfortunately, the businesses that drive 80% of the nation’s GDP and employment stats don’t make the business front page news as they take the brunt of the hit and are having to make radical shifts in their business models to stay ahead of the game. Though they’re by far the most creative in their approach by virtue of necessity (very limited budgets force us to make the most of the least), the bell seldom tolls for the SME. On that note, I’d like to propose that one of the most notable reboots within this category is a local, fourth-generation, family owned iconic brand that has been serving its community for the last 133 years – Fraser Furniture. The name was steeped in tradition and had been synonymous with quality and luxury for over a century but lacked in the very element that Mitch puts forth as the most vital for future success: direct relationships with its clients. Much like the Monarchy, its modus operandi had become stale and irrelevant. So it was, on a spring day in March of 2011 that the process of re-evolution began (the shit hit the fan) and all else followed. The process of repositioning is a long and arduous one that would weaken the knees of even the hardiest entrepreneur but it’s well underway. That said, the most radical and exciting changes are slated for the fall of 2013. The motivation behind all this, you ask? Inspirational marketers like Mitch Joel and Seth Godin provide the insights that make like launch pads. Entrepreneurs make the leap. Six Pixels of Separation was instrumental in the thought process. Ctrl Alt Delete will be crucial to the final execution strategy. Thanks for investing in the future of the SME. Hope to be able to sit by the fire and chat with you and Seth in NY.
    Meantime, if you’re free to join us at the next pivotal step in our evolution, I would be honored to add you to the guest list for our Timothy Oulton launch party on Wednesday, June 12. Oulton himself will be there to share some of his Brit wit (www.timothyoulton.com). TTFN

  19. Mitch huge congrats and have fun with your launch – ! I can’t be in NYC on June 17th. But I’ll make a suggestion anyway: the State Department and specifically, the U.S. Passport Agency. I had to apply for a rush passport recently and I was gobsmacked at the efficiency, kindness and speed at which the agency operated. Notably, COMBINING email updates and a usable Web interface WITH a 24X7 phone line I could call for information. Doesn’t sound very sexy but it was a thoroughly satisfying customer experience. And made me realize that the U.S. government is functioning well. Have fun with Seth. xo

  20. BlackBerry is going through one of the most positive reboots in recent history right now. Given little or no chance for a comeback, they put their heads and hearts on the line and are going to be a player in a hyper-competitive category.

  21. In my humble opinion I’d have to choose Pinterest for what they’ve achieved in three years and the collective value added to peoples’ lives and the world in general, not to mention the plaudits I notice for Ben Silbermann who seems to command absolute loyalty, which in no small way says something about how he operates as a CEO.

  22. My vote for brand reboot? Ford.
    In the mid 2000’s Ford was all about the size of its cars (sorry, SUVs) and how much stuff you could lug to the beach. These behemoths sucked down more fuel per block than an unattended 9 year old in the Juicy Juice factory.
    It’s not just Scott Monty’s ability to lead the social charge but the way that Ford has been able to get their customers to talk about their products in new, exciting ways. (I wrote about it a few months ago & Scott Monty actually responded: http://ow.ly/lRfyD). They’ve empowered all of their employees to go to bat for the brand and answer questions regardless of where they’re facilitated within the company. They are constantly viewed as one of the bastions of social can turn public perception around.
    Ford has created a conversation that would make Steve Jobs proud by discussing the future of transportation, traffic, and fuel. With the world still trying to get a grip on the energy, Ford has made it a key sticking point to be in an open dialogue with its customers about the shift towards fuel efficiency as opposed to the Gas Guzzlers of the previous decade. They’re no longer shying away from cannibalizing themselves. Chairman and namesake Bill Ford talked about these things during his 2011 TED presentation (which is one of my all-time favorites and would the opportunity to speak with Mr. Ford someday on the subject: http://ow.ly/lRF1R)
    But of course, none of this is possible without their products being GOOD again. It’s now a welcome reaction when a neighbor or family member announces that they’ve, ‘bought a Ford’. It’s a become a ‘cool’ decision again. They’re eco-smart, tech-savvy, and packaged in elegant aesthetic. If I were in the market for a car, the Ford Fusion and Focus would be amongst my Final 4.
    For these reasons, I believe that Ford lives by and executes these principles of Ctrl Alt Delete exceptionally well, especially for such an established, employee-heavy brand. They have rebooted in a way that has given them the green light for the foreseeable future.
    Thank you for the chance to express my thoughts and meet you gentlemen in New York City!

  23. I’m going to say Google+. It’s not so much in what they have turned around, it’s in the quick way the Google+ developers adapt and fine tune the network to better enhance the users experience. I know personally that Google+ does listen to the users and does make the necessary changes. I feel that a company doesn’t have to be down to get back up, a company can be good and get even better. Hope you like it, and I’ll see you in two-weeks in NY.

  24. I think Old Spice did a great job of re-branding itself with the Smell Like a Man campaign using Isaiah Mustafa. They went from a brand that my grandfather would only use to a younger hip brand. Plus, they did an amazing social media campaign where Isaiah Mustafa answered questions in his Old Spice character almost in real time.

  25. My vote is for IBM. How many companies are going strong after 100 years? The company that merged into IBM started in the 1880s. It was at its height in the 1960s, sending a man to the moon and dominating the computing market. It weathered a major attack by the government in 1969 in an attempt to break it up and lost over $8 billion in 1993.
    Yet today it turns out about 3,000 patents a year, it continues to innovate and its stock has been a great investment over the last 10 years.
    Considering how often you have to reboot to stay around for over 100 years, I’d think that it’s amazing that they are worth more than any other company except Google and Apple.
    I work for a brand that is over 100 years old so I can appreciate what it takes to stay around that long: Continuous rebooting!

  26. Hmmm! This is a much harder question than it first presents itself to be. A company that has made a great rebooted? I don’t know of any established (or traditional pre-1995) companies that have done a “great reboot”. At least not in the context of what I think CTRL-ALT-Delete is about. Though, I must admit, I have not read it yet. I will get my copy when I see your talk on Wednesday at UofT.
    Many of the companies listed above by other readers, have reinvented themselves and some in very impressive ways. But in IMHO, they have not rebooted in the context of the new paradigm offered up by the “connected age”. They have not broken the mold and created new standards and new rules based on the emerging realities.
    So my vote goes to Google. No other company in recent history has rebooted media, and business in general, more than Google. They have reinvented the idea of media in many ways, and they continue to do so. My two main reasons are these:
    1) They have created new media based value models, the most innovative in decades.
    2) They continue to try new things, and risk public failure.
    They don’t shy away from either breaking established rules, or admitting failure. This to me is the ultimate reboot. Few traditional companies have done or do either.
    I hope the fact that they are sponsors of the event does not disqualify my answer 😉

  27. I’d have to say LinkedIn. They have purchased Rapportive, SlideShare and Pulse. They have focused on mobile with great success. Forbes has listed them number one on their list of the top 25 tech companies to watch. Their stock performance reflects their success.
    Cheers and good luck with the new book.

  28. Hyundai
    They turned a crappy car in the 80’s to a beautiful design with so much value in its features. It will surpass GM as the number one selling brand and its because they took a page out of Apple’s book and focused on the product.

  29. I vote for Domino’s too, because they had the corporate brass balls to buy a Times Square billboard and post live Tweets. If someone tweeted “This Domino’s pizza tastes like crap!”it was there for the world to see. Only extreme honesty and letting people see the unvarnished truth earns trust.
    Jeff Ogden
    Creator and Host of Marketing Made Simple TV

  30. Given the opportunity, I would live to hear you in NYC. Both you and Seth are mentors to me in my chosen career (Advertising and Marketing)…Spin Master is a spectacular privately owned Children’s Entertainment Company…They have evolved from a small toy company with one product, Earth Buddies, into a global brand. While they started off as a toy company, with perpetual run of hit products such as ‘Air Hogs’, today they are a fully integrated global entertainment company. Still run by the same 3 founders, the company has grown and evolved. Today they are quietly recognized as one of the largest and best distributors/ marketers of children’s entertainment products. From the outside looking in, this company clearly understands the value of CTRL ALT DELETE.

  31. Mitch- Thanks for doing this. In Ctrl Alt Delete you say, “Don’t broadcast – create content that touches customers.” For this, among other reasons, I want to nominate Netflix. A few years ago, they jacked up their prices and lost 800,000 subscribers (in addition to their stock falling 75+%). They were a laughing stock and looked dead to rights. Then, they turned to content creation and began focusing on original programming (House of Cards, Hemlock Grove and Arrested Development, to name a few). They went beyond their bread and butter of licensing and streaming, and suddenly, they had excellent content that you could only get if you were a subscriber. So far this year, they have picked up over 2 million new subscribers (more than HBO) and their stock is up over 130% since Jan 1! Netflix is the ultimate Reboot case study, IMO!

  32. Thanks for this opportunity Mitch.
    I think is easier to look from the outside in and give an opinion about any given company. So I will go the opposite way and provide my own hard earned reboot experience, the ‘Why’ behind my own CTRL ALT DELETE moment.
    I have built my own Tequila brand (3R Tequila) from the ground up without any upfront investment and have actually gone through two reboot moments. The first one came after the initial six months were we did what every traditional Tequila brand does, find a name, find some exotic looking bottle, hire a cheap designer and ask him to make something pretty out of it, the end result? A crappy product that would not had survived in the market. Looking at the facts and being brutally honest with myself I decided to throw the product concept into the garbage and start over, that decision alone made me run into two key books that changed everything for me: Emotional Branding by Marc Gobe and Purple Cow by Seth Godin, these were the basis for our current concept, an emotionally charged brand with the marketing built into the product.
    This first reboot made it possible to get a ton of attention from different distributors throughout the world, but as time went by many of these distributors always asked for the same things and the same path to market: sponsorships, tastings with the middlemen, same old not so “guerilla” tactics, print ads and with enough resources a TV commercial; and of course your heavy dosage of butt kissing to get a distributor interested in the first place. Pretty much conventional wisdom, follow the same business model of the biggest brands, but this is highly unadvised and with a huge risk for small brands, since there are not enough resources to throw around.
    This was the precedent for the second and final reboot, as in order to make it in the market I started following this typical path and mold myself and my brand to industry standards and try to be something I’m not, the result: “Better luck next time, you’ve just been played.” The game beat me and left my company in a critical situation. But not all was lost, this whole experience made it possible to find the true purpose behind my business and come up with strategies that will go against all conventional wisdom and the ‘status quo’. Call it karma or whatever but CTRL ALT DELETE came at the exact time this set of events took place and gave me the last piece of the puzzle, taking ownership of the relationship with the consumer, therefore having the middle guys come to me and potentially ride on the back of giants.
    Now I’m set with the right weaponry to beat the game and change it, instead of just playing it. These reboots might not be as big as some of the companies mentioned here, but I believe they are equally critical as they have one thing in common, disrupt the status quo.
    All the best,
    Marco Gallegos
    Founder 3R Tequila

  33. I’d love to join you guys, great timing for me as it’s the only week of the year I’m in NYC! 🙂
    I love the small business examples because the results can be so dramatic. One that stands out for me is Gary V and Wine Library. Gary took a traditional local business– a liquor store– and turned it into something (Wine Library, and Wine Library TV), that represents a courageous re-boot (it’s probably easier to re-boot a business that you didn’t start?)
    It’s really tough for business owners to focus on relationships first– like when Gary started saying regularly that they stocked sub-par products (or poorly reviewed) products on their shelves. He prioritized trust and relationships over the short term bottom line and the results speak for themselves.

  34. Too bad I will not be in the US on June 17! 🙁
    I just bought CTRL ALT DELETE and I will start reading it right now! It took me a long time to find at the bookstore (I live in Vancouver, Canada), so I sent a tweet advising them to change it from the bottom shelf to a better position! 🙂 I hope this helps!
    You can reed my tweet on @ceciliArchitect

  35. I decided to join the team at Trader Corporation few months ago mainly because I was inspired and amazed by the reboot they accomplished. Just few years ago the company was generating most of their revenue from magazines. The company decided to completely renew their revenue model to not only focus on the web and the mobile but by shutting down almost all their print medias. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trader_Corporation

  36. My vote is Nordstrom. Soon after the recession hit in 2009, consistent with their historical legacy of forming partnerships dating back to the company’s founding in 1901, Nordstrom began in earnest to plan for the future. By 2011 the company had successfully “re-booted” by forming key strategic omni-channel partnerships that resonated with a younger, tech savvy customer–the customer of the future. In 2011 they bought Hautelook.com, a private daily deal online site so they could learn the e-commerce business. They also rolled out 6,000 mobile devices to 200+ stores to determine how exactly the devices could best fulfill and improve the company’s corporate mission of providing superior customer service. In 2012 they made a major investment and partnered with Bonobos, a pure-play online retailer, adding its apparel line to their full-line stores and gaining expertise in email marketing and online branding. Also in 2012, a partnership was formed with Top Shop, a British fast fashion company with a younger demographic that is expected to add some freshness to Nordstrom, which has lacked a brand with such quick runway-to-retail turnaround. In an eeffort to try to discover the future of retail, Nordstrom developed an Innovation Lab consisting of a team of techies, designers, entrepreneurs, statisticians, researchers, and artists within their Fortune 500 Company. Nordstrom’s underlying strategy and goals in all of this are to drive sales, deprive rivals of goods, and make it harder for discount-addicted customers to compare prices.

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