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It's been something of an odd week here in yetilandia. That Tricks Of The Trade article I had in the Morning News went Internet Supernova, occupying the #1 spot on both Blogdex and Daypop for most of the week and receiving mention on usatoday.com, Metafilter, Boing Boing, Waxy and Kottke. All this for an article that I told my Morning News editor that I'd happily to scrap if he, like me, thought that "no one else would really be interested in this."

The strangest moment came while listening to the nationally broadcast NPR program "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and hearing Dr. Ruth Westheimer get quizzed on the article I wrote. (Yes, this really happened, and you can hear it on their website.) Surrealismwise, that's gonna be a hard one to top.

Anyway, since then I've been trying to figure out what to do with the hundreds of great Trade Tricks I received that didn't get used in the article. Just compiling them into a single, massive text file somewhere was an option, but I didn't think that would really do them justice. Plus, I haven't really had the time to edit, sort and format 300 entries in the last few days. But tackling one entry a day -- ah, now that's a project I can handle. So, I'll be posting the remaining submissions over at tradetricks.org, in handy blog-format.

Also, several people wrote to suggest that I turn the who kit 'n' caboodle into small book, and I think I might take a stab at that. So I'm now asking for more Tricks of the Trade. If you have one that you'd like to contribute, head on over here. Even better, get your spouse or partner to send one in -- a lot of my visitors have similar profession, but I figure if I can get entries from folks who are one step removed from my readership, I should wind up with a huge cross-section of occupations.

Finally, foremost, and again, thanks to everyone who responded to my original call for Trade Tricks -- I really appreciate it. (Also, if you submitted something for the article but object to my using it on the new website or in this we'll-see-if-it-actually-happens book, please let me know.)

Posted on September 01, 2004 to Tricks Of The Trade, Tricks Of The Trade


Blogger trick of the trade.....ask people to submit things to you and then compile it into a book and make tons of money!

Dang, why didn't I think of that.

Posted by: Duane on September 1, 2004 4:27 PM

Heh. yeah, that what I thought when I solicited ideas for the article. Actually, though, going through all the submissions, selecting 30, and then rewriting them all to get them in the same tense and voice turned out to take about three times as long as it would have taken me just to churn out another essay mocking cable news shows. So, I dunno ...

Posted by: Matthew on September 1, 2004 4:32 PM

You rule, Matthew. Keep up the good work. :)

Posted by: SJ on September 1, 2004 4:33 PM

One word:

Posted by: Karan on September 1, 2004 5:36 PM

Matt, I think a book is a wonderful idea. No worries, I'm fine with you using my proofreading trick anytime or anywhere, no strings attached!

Posted by: mr. grooism on September 1, 2004 7:07 PM

Don't let this put you off, but there was a BBC series in the UK called "Tricks of the Trade" where in each episode a number of professionals would demonstrate a number of tricks. This was then turned into a book available from Marks & Spencers (a retail chain that mainly sells clothing and food, but does sell other things as well).

Posted by: Anonymous on September 2, 2004 5:31 AM

Of course, not only did I forget my name in that last post, but I forgot to say that your article was funnier (and had a slightly different slant) than the TV series and book.

Posted by: Adam on September 2, 2004 5:51 AM

Wow - Making "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" - that's fabulous. Try to get Daniel Shore to leave an outgoing message.
word.com used to do a great thing on jobs, interviewing people about their work (whatever happened to them?)
Anyway, I vote for a book.

Posted by: Claire on September 2, 2004 8:23 AM

Matt - Hey -- if you're interested in humerous illustrations for the book, check my work out at my cartoon website. It would be fun to work on a project like this. Cheers, CM

Posted by: CM Evans on September 2, 2004 11:04 AM

Oh yeah, the link to the site? http://cmevans.magic-servers.com/main.asp

Posted by: CM Evans on September 2, 2004 11:11 AM

Your article also made it into Neil Gaiman's journal (scroll to the bottom of that entry) which I found terribly amusing.

Posted by: Sharyn on September 2, 2004 11:45 AM

I would buy that book. Also, congratulations - hope your server has stood up ok.

Posted by: Alexander Micek on September 2, 2004 1:39 PM

Nice one Matthew, only use your power for good(lovin')

Posted by: Nic on September 2, 2004 4:00 PM

Very well done agent X. The first step in our evil blogger plan to take over the physical world is complete. Now it's time for step two...

Posted by: Karlo on September 3, 2004 10:26 AM

I skimmed the metafilter discussion pretty quickly, but it made me think that it might be advisable to be very picky about food-service-related tricks. Too many people have been waitrons (and even more people are defensive about their tipping decisions) for any "get a bigger tip" trick to be (a) a true trick known only to a few, or (b) simply appreciated without an argument about its morality.

Posted by: Jonathan Ferro on September 3, 2004 12:27 PM

I only wish mine had been credited with my name (since I was one of the few who did include it). My one chance at renown . . . gone. [sniff!]

Posted by: Matthew Makous on September 3, 2004 1:47 PM

Here's an old bartender trick of the trade: when you notice a server using "Tricks" like blaming other staffers for their mistakes, put that server on your enemies list and do what you can to see that they don't last long enough to BLAME you.

Posted by: Anonymous on September 3, 2004 5:33 PM

I think that a book is a GREAT idea. I'd buy it. Well, I'd buy it if I could afford it on my Graduate Student Loans. Nah, I'm joking: I'd eat Mac'n'Cheez for a few weeks to get the book. What can I say, I'm a fan. Both of defectiveyeti AND Kraft Dinner.

Posted by: Dr. Teeth on September 7, 2004 2:01 PM