this will make people remember you

the story of a famous email

Do you know Derek Sivers?

He’s that guy who wrote “Anything You Want”, which I remember being about the idea that you shouldn’t overthink it as an entrepreneur.

In 1998, he wrote a funny confirmation email for his company, CD Baby.

Every time someone purchased a CD, they would get this email:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 6th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

According to Sivers, this resulted in thousands of new customers.

People loved it so much that they shared it everywhere.

So how can you do the same?

The main lesson here is that you don’t really need my humor writing tips.

Among all the lessons I share, this is the one you absolutely must keep in mind: have fun and be yourself.

I’m guessing Derek Sivers didn’t actively learn how to be funny before he set out to write that confirmation email (which took him 20 minutes).

Okay, maybe he’s simply naturally funny.

But whether or not you’re “naturally funny”, you can do a lot to be remembered by doing these:

  • be yourself

  • have fun

  • subvert expectations

Most confirmation emails are boring and soulless.

He thought “hey, why don’t I make that a bit more fun?” and people loved him for it.

It made him more likeable.

As he said, it resulted in tons of new customers. But even if it didn’t… he had fun writing it, and people had fun reading it.

To me, that’s the most important.

You can read his blog post about it here.

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