A random selection of marketing, business, and personal development resources

As I’ve mentioned before, my current study focus is marketing. Marketing naturally drags along with it a penumbra of related topics, including business models and work on personal focus and productivity.

When I’m studying a new topic, where I don’t even have a lay of the land,  the first phase of my research typically takes a “scatter-gather-cull” form.

  • Scatter: follow any and all leads, traversing multiple hops of connection, in order to identify a wide sampling of resources on the topic.
  • Gather: make some kind of weak connection to the resources that seem even marginally relevant and trustworthy. This often means signing up to a mailing list or subscribing to a blog feed.
  • Cull: as I become more familiar with the kind of information offered by each resource, slowly weed out the ones that aren’t giving me a lot of value.

I was talking to my friend Suzan yesterday about this process, and she asked me whose work I’ve been reading. This gave me the idea of writing up a quick list of the marketing-related mailing lists I’m currently subscribed to. If nothing else, it’ll be something interesting to look back on once I’m further down this path.

There is absolutely nothing comprehensive or systematic about the following list. It simply consists of people, organizations, and resources that I happen to have stumbled across so far. And that I haven’t yet culled.

One thing that’s notable about this list is that it doesn’t contain anyone who focuses specifically on catering to the software development industry. There are some fine “marketing for programmers” gurus out there. But I’ve been interested in learning from people beyond this one little niche.

Also, none of these should be interpreted as an endorsement beyond “they haven’t annoyed me enough to unsubscribe yet”.

In my summaries below, I’m mostly referring to the stuff they write about on their respective mailing lists. To get on any of these mailing lists, just go to the linked site and look for whatever freebie-in-return-for-an-email-address they are currently offering.

Jessica Abel

Smarm factor: 0/10

Jessica gets pride of place because among all these resources, because her voice is the least “markety” of any. I think a lot of that stems from her background: a lot of “gurus” in the marketing, business, and personal development space are very “meta”. E.g. a professional marketer selling courses about building courses. Or a professional writer who sells books about writing. But Jessica’s background involves, among other things, writing graphic novels. As a result, she comes across as someone with one foot firmly outside of the marketing and personal productivity bubble.

What she’s selling: The Creative Focus Workshop.

Copyblogger/Rainmaker Digital (Sonia Simone, Brian Clark, et al)

Smarm Factor: 1/10

The CopyBlogger crew has been around for longer than just about anyone in this field. They more or less invented the modern “content marketing” game. Their level of establishment really shows in their writing: steady, professional, and not the least bit over-caffeinated.

At this point I’ve worked my way through most of the free books at my.copyblogger.com. Highly recommended. Also, their podcasts (especially any of them with Sonia Simone) are superb.

What they’re selling: membership in the Authority community, and in the Digital Commerce Institute community.

Joanna Wiebe/Copyhackers

Smarm Factor: 1/10

I got turned on to Joanna by a freebie e-book she wrote about landing page optimization. She’s a terrific resource on copywriting.

What she’s selling: Assorted copywriting-related stuff, I think.

Marie Forleo and Laura Belgray

Smarm Factor: 2/10

Marie Forleo is an overall life coach/motivational speaker/lifestyle business guru type person. But what got me interested in her work was the “Copy Cure” course with Laura Belgray.

What they’re selling: Copy Cure course.

John Carlton

Smarm Factor: 3/10

Grizzled old-school copywriter. Writes about marketing, business advice, and overall life advice.

What he’s selling: Various business and marketing books.

Ryan Lee

Smarm Factor: 4/10

Ryan Lee writes about marketing, lifestyle entrepreneurship, and info product business models like creating courses and membership sites.

What he’s selling: membership in FREEDYM.

Danavir Sarria (copymonk.com)

Smarm Factor: 4/10

Writes about sales copywriting. His daily emails often have good prompt for thought.

What he’s selling: Copywriting e-books.

Sean McCabe

Smarm Factor: 5/10

Writes about growing audience, creating courses and membership sites, and productivity stuff like daily writing.

What he’s selling: membership in his “seanwes” community.

David Siteman Garland

Smarm Factor: 6/10

Claim to fame is the popular “The Rise to the Top” podcast. I find his style a bit off-putting, but I got some genuinely useful ideas from a free teaser presentation he did on creating courses.

What he’s selling: a very expensive course on making courses.

Danny Iny

Smarm Factor: 6/10

I think I found Danny through Sean McCabe’s mailing list. Writes about building courses, and other business stuff.

What he’s selling: another very expensive course on making courses.

I know I’m leaving some folks out, but I’m out of time. If you have any recommendations for other resources in this vein, feel free to post them in the comments!



  1. Thanks for putting that list together, sales and marketing is something I enjoy reading when there’s spare time, it’s nice to have some extra resources. Good addition with the Smarm Factor, that’s a great way to describe it.

  2. Thank you for this list, Avdi! Although, I am curios, you’ve been writing/speaking about technical stuff for years, I guess it was the main reason why people subscribed to your blog. It is your target group which buys your products (books, screencasts etc). But, recently, you’ve started writing about marketing, I assume you are trying to find another target group, am I wrong here? I can imagine that some people may unsubscribe from your blog as they are only interested in technical articles.

    Personally, I like marketing articles as well. In general, developers understanding marketing might be more valuable, because developers and clients will speak the same language.

    1. It has nothing to do with who I want to reach. I write about what I’m learning, and right now this is what I’m learning.

      A while back I asked on Twitter whether people would prefer I put this stuff on a separate blog or keep it on the developer blog. The overwhelming response was that I should keep it on the devblog. So, here it is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *