The Freedom of 1,847 Blog Posts

After nine years of posting, thousands of hours of writing and over a million words in print, I’m joining Gapingvoid in a celebration
about what I’ve learned from the wonderful world of blogging:

Blogging teaches you
what freedom feels like
. Hugh Macleod writes in his new book, “Own your own
media and own your own platform, and you own your own career. Own your own
career, and you own your own life.” And in my experience, the power to say whatever
you want, anytime, without being edited, without the fear of corporate
fingerprints – and to legally own everything you say – is about as free as it
gets. God bless blogging and the freedom it provides.

Blogging teaches you
to adopt an incrementalist mindset.
It’s not about one key post that
changes everything, it’s about performing day after day, helping a few people a
little at a time, trusting that the accumulation of the work will bear fruit.
And because most blogs are abandoned a few months after creation, maintaining continuity
over the long haul separates you from the pack. The best way to beat the odds
is through massive output.

Blogging teaches you
to do justice to the things you notice.
The day you start blogging, you
start walking around like you’re holding puzzle pieces. You’re hyper sensitive
to the world around you. And you approach every encounter as grist for the mill.
This delicate sense, this posture of incurable curiosity, allows even the
tiniest experiences to inspire you. And it keeps the queue filled with things
to blog about forever.

Blogging teaches you
to choose your currency wisely.
Whether you value comments, page views,
conversions rates, reader interaction, online awards, ad sales, new business,
industry positioning, thought leadership or platform expansion, every blog is
successful according to its own metrics. And as long as you regularly revisit
what that currency is, nobody can judge how well your blog is doing but you.

Blogging teaches you
that every blog post is a product.
Every
post its own piece of digital merchandise, with its own launch date, target
market, social trajectory, leveragability and profitability. Some blow up, some
just blow. Some make a killing, some just make a thud. But as long as you show
up every day and post, you’re still in the game. But if you never click the publish
button, you’re just winking in the dark.

Blogging taught me to
give a daily gift to the world.
They’re not just posts, they’re
contributions to an ongoing body of work. They’re additions to my artistic
legacy. With every day that goes by, that reservoir grows bigger. And like a
forced savings account, when the time comes to make a withdrawal in the future,
there will be enough of a surplus to tap into and convert into something highly
profitable.

Special thanks to Hugh Macleod and Gapingvoid for restarting
the conversations about blogging and turning our obsession into a movement that
matters.

#Free­do­mIs­Blog­ging, indeed.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…

What have you declined this week?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…

For the list called, “21 Things I Learned While Spying on Myself,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

My job is to help companies make their mission more than a statement, using limited edition social artifacts.

Want to download your free workbook for The Brandtag Strategic Planning Crusade?


Meet Scott’s client from Nestle Purina at www.brandtag.org!

How to Stick Your Fingers in Your Ears

Listening is overrated.

History has proved this time and time again.

For example:

Henry Ford. If he listened to his customers, they would have asked for faster horse.

King David. If he listened to his family, he would have kept his job as a sheepherder.

Thomas Edison. If listened to his critics, we would still be going to bed at seven.

John F. Kennedy. If he listened to his generals, Russia would’ve deployed warheads.

Steve Jobs. If he listened to his pundits, we’d still be carrying cases of compact discs.

THAT’S THE SECRET: When you’re willing to stick your fingers in your ears, you can change the world forever.

Tired of listening to people? Consider these ideas:1. Safeguard your vision. Although you don’t need permission to dream, you do need protection to make that dream a reality. Otherwise the vultures will destroy your seed before you have a chance to harvest it.

The secret is to remain vigilant about the company you keep. In the book Ignore Everybody, Hugh McLeod explains:

“You don’t know if your idea is any good the moment it’s created. But neither does anybody else. The most you can hope for is a strong gut feeling that it is. And it’s not that your friends deliberately want to be unhelpful. It’s just that they don’t know your world one millionth as well as you know your world, no matter how hard they try, no matter how hard you try to explain.”

Stop gushing to people who are going to belittle your ambitions. Surround yourself will mirrors that make you feel beautiful. Are you listening to your voice or a program created by someone who doesn’t get you?

2. Learn to trust your voice. Feedback is useful when it comes from people who matter. But more often than not, feedback hinders performance. Feedback burdens your capacity to act. Feedback induces unnecessary self-doubt. And feedback forecloses your creativity’s full expression.

That’s why your fingers belong in your ears: It protects you from being swallowed by everybody else’s vision. It protects you from people who will try to dilute your core mission by injecting their views. And it helps you develop a chronic predisposition to persistence.

Decide that you’re on a mission and nobody is going to stop you. Otherwise the arena of feedback will be an exhausting and fragile place to be. Who’s stopping you from executing by offering irrelevant feedback you didn’t ask for?

3. Listen for the guilt. Being approachable means not afraid to be confident. It means dogged persistence in your own truth. It means you’re not haunted by the fear of standing for something. And it means you’re willing to stand up in front of the world and put yourself at risk. Even if people think you’re crazy.

The problem is, following your own heart might break everyone else’s. And that’s a hard reality to swallow. In fact, the guilt that lay within that reality is the culprit of a million dead dreams.

But you can be a prisoner of your own remorse. Better to follow your heart and fall on your face than swallow your voice and watch freedom escape. Besides, the people who love you just want you to be happy. Give them what they want. Is it worth making your idea ten percent better if you feel thirty percent less free?

4. Pick the path of initiative. You don’t need a map. You don’t need to wait for instructions. You don’t need permission to use someone else’s machine. And you don’t need to put your life on hold until someone more successful than you stamps your creative passport.

Lean into your dream. Forgiveness is cheaper than permission. Personally, I’d rather take action and risk being scolded than stand by for approval to do something great. Besides, the last thing you need is more advice that will force you to work against your instinctive grain.

You are the shaper of you. Don’t destroy yourself in response to an invitation from others to stop living. Battle that which blocks your free expression with everything you’ve got. Because in the end, that’s all you’ve got. What do you need to give yourself permission to stop waiting for?

REMEMBER: If you’re too busy listening to everybody, you’ll never hear the sound of your own voice.

Don’t deny what is central to your makeup.
Don’t let one piece of information fill your entire identity screen.
Don’t let people’s feedback define who you are or dictate how you see yourself.

Believe in your dream.
Believe in the availability of your own answers.

Stick your fingers in your ears.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who are you still demanding excessive reassurance from?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called, “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“I usually refuse to pay for mentoring. But after Scott’s first brain rental session, the fact that I had paid something to be working with him left my mind – as far as I was concerned, the value of that (and subsequent) exchange of wisdom and knowledge, far outweighed any payment.”

–Gilly Johnson The Australian Mentoring Center

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

A Young Artist’s Guide to Playing for Keeps, Pt 10

You’ve chosen an uncertain path.
You’ve adopted an inconvenient lifestyle.
You’ve embarked upon an unconventional journey.
You’ve felt the voice inside you growing more urgent.
You’ve committed yourself enough so you can’t turn back.

IN SHORT: You’ve decided to play for keeps.

This is the critical crossroads – the emotional turning point – in the life of every young artist.

I’ve been there myself, and here’s a list of suggestions to help you along the way:(Read part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here, part five here, part six here, part seven, part eight and part nine.

1. Honor thy ache. Anxiety is a right of passage. It’s a sign that you’re on the right path. And thankfully, it’s an effective form of self-pressure to help you get over – and stay over – yourself. Forget about trying to eradicate feelings of inadequacy. They’re not going away.

In fact, the more successful you become, the more those feelings will creep in. Truth is, anxiety is a fundamental human posture. And once you change your relationship to it, you can put it to work.

Instead of convincing yourself that your fears are a futile campaign, greet your worries with a welcoming heart. Accept them a natural part of the life experience. And understand that there is no art without an occasional crisis of doubt.

As Arthur Koestler once said, “If a writer loses his doubts, he’s finished. He’ll just go on writing the same book like an idiot.” What are you converting your anxiety into?

2. Break out of the deadlock. A book that every artist needs to read is called Mental Traps, by Andre Kukula. It explores how chronic indecision, monumental overplanning and endless anticipation cripple your artistic and earning capacity. Here’s a rapid-fire list of suggestions that flipped a few internal switches in my artist’s heart:

Stop attending to project when they’re not calling for your attention. Stop carrying around a scenario for everything. Stop scrubbing the world clean of surprise. Stop remaining perpetually ahead of yourself. Stop killing yourself trying to accomplish an outdated goal.

In short, the book reminds us that life isn’t one prefigured scenario after another. It’s not an endless stream of things to get over. Are you standing on your tiptoes to foresee the future, or grounding your heels into the earth and making love to the present moment?

3. Art that mirrors, matters. Botticelli was Davinci’s mentor. During an interview about his student’s work, he said, “It will reward the viewer from any angle.” Does your art meet people where they are? Does your art make people’s own experience available to them?

That’s the whole point: Art’s purpose is to remind people that they’re not alone. That they’re not the only ones having an experience.

Next time you sit down to create, don’t write, paint or draw – breathe life onto the page. Create an infection that leaves the viewer better. Turn your art into a mirror in which people can see their own reflection, and you will make your name dear to history. Does your art recognize the pain in its patron?

4. Quantity eventually produces quality. I write between four and seven hours a day. Not just because writing is my religion, and not just because I have a love affair with my art, but because value is a function of volume. My experience has taught me that if you want your voice to matter, if you want people to follow your thinking and if you want to make a name for yourself, volume is the vehicle for being heard.

It’s more important than accuracy, knowledge, winning, talent, popularity and influence. Simply by playing the numbers in a prolific way, quality eventually shows up.

It has to. Because the best way to have a great idea is to have a lot of ideas. Even if most of those ideas suck. Sometimes you have to slog through a sea of shit just to find the one diamond. If you tripled your creative output, how much better would your body of work become?

5. Confidence opens checkbooks. If you’re in art, you’re in sales. Period. You have to show the world your wares and ask them to give you money for it. Otherwise you’re just winking in the dark. And this doesn’t come easy for a lot of artists, myself included.

Personally, I hate the business side of art. I don’t care about making money. I could care less about closing sales. And the mere thought of quoting a price for one of my pieces makes me want to ram my head through a steel wall.

But selling is part of the job description. And if you don’t make peace with that reality, you will cripple your earning capacity. As George Plimpton observed in Writers At Work, “You can’t set art off in a corner.”

The secret is to get good at stating your fee. Whether you’re a performer, writer, painter or singer, here’s the rule: Speak with uncompromising language. Be unapologetic. State your fee confidently – then shut up. Otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life donating your work to charity auctions. Do you feel guilty for demanding compensation for your value?

6. Balance creative needs with survival needs. The art is essential. For the sake of your sanity, you must yield to the devout motions of the soul. But for the sake of your survival, you also have to yield to the devout motions of the mortgage. The secret is to hone in on which of your artistic efforts are the most income generating.

Not just fun. Not just cool. Not just creative. But the specific actions that physically put money into your bank account on a predictable basis so you continue to make the art you want to make.

And you have to prioritize those efforts over the majority of your daily endeavors, save your actual creative time. Otherwise you’re going to end up sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of your own work, eating beans out of a can with nothing to show for it.

You can’t just write all day. Eventually, you’ve got to get your ass out there and make some money. What consumes your time that isn’t making you any money?

REMEMBER: When you’re ready to play for keeps, your work will never be the same.

Make the decision today.

Show the world that your art isn’t just another expensive hobby.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you committed with both feet yet?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “52 Random Insights to Grow Your Business,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Stop Measuring and Start Mattering

Not everything can be comfortably quantified.

Yes, humans operate out of the need to control of their environment and actions. And they have a native desire to label, organize and make sense of their world.

But some things can’t be proved by objective standards.

Like the commonly used business phrase, “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter.”

How silly. How corporate. How left-brain.

MY THEORY: What can’t be measured, matters.For example:

1. Leadership is not a label. It doesn’t matter if you’re a leader. It doesn’t matter if you have a title. What matters is passion. What matters is expressing yourself freely, fully and relentlessly. What matters is how people experience you, and how they experience themselves in relation to you. Master that, and people will follow you. Where does your leadership come from?

2. Humor is not a condiment.. Humor is the only universal language. But it’s not something you just decide to use. Humor isn’t something you add – it’s something you embody. Instead of artificially injecting humor, just be funny. Discover your innate inevitable funniness as a human being, and people will laugh. Can you report accurately and clearly on funny situations?

3. Recognition is not an initiative. The universal motivation of human engagement is the desire to have one’s voice heard. As such, recognition is more than just praising people publicly – it’s being a stand for people’s greatness. It’s about giving them a front row seat to their own brilliance and while inviting the rest of the world to sit in the audience with them. How are you making gratitude palpable and recurrent?

4. Soul is not an organ. It’s the art of owning your gift, deploying intense humanity and exhibiting naked personhood. It’s about staying in touch with your own story, proudly showing people what’s under your fingernails and delivering something nobody can touch. And it’s about exposing the place where you really live, fearlessly opening the closed room and bring all of yourself to everything you do. Sound like you?

5. Caring is not an algorithm. You can’t bastardize caring into a technique. There’s no formula. There’s no handbook. There’s no seven-step system. What matters is your willingness to care, your awareness of caring, and consistency with which you do care. And, that you care for the right reasons. Do you really care, or just care about looking like you care so you can meet your sales quota?

6. Authenticity is not a strategy. First of all, if you have to tell someone you’re authentic, you’re probably full of shit. Secondly, authentic isn’t something you try to be – it’s something you allow yourself to share. Third, authenticity comes from the Greek authentikos, which means “original.” Which means being authentic is about standing on the foundation of your rarity. How’s your balance?

7. Happiness is not a goal. It’s a dividend. It’s the incidental consequence of the intentional commitment to fulfill your whole capacity for living. And when you focus your energy on that first, it just shows up. Because happiness isn’t the target – happiness is what you get for hitting the target. What will make you happy that has nothing to do with ego or image or status?

8. Creativity is not a department. Everyone is creative. The difference is, not everyone knows how to explode the barriers set in place by a lifetime of conditioning to express that creativity. If you’re one of those people, take Hugh Macleod’s advice: Bring new light to what life might be. That’s creativity. What parts of your life are you not giving yourself permission to live creatively?

9. Honesty is not a policy. If you have to tell your people to tell the truth, you need new people. Here’s the reality: If someone plans to live a dishonest life offline, there’s going to be a huge echo online. And their digital footprint will slip on the technological banana peel to destroy their reputation forever. Are you willing to live with the consequences of being honest?

10. Purpose is not a task. It’s the way you choose to live your life. It’s the amalgamation of everything you do and say, each day, which validates your existence as a human being. And if you’re not sure what your purpose is, no problem: Finding your purpose can become your purpose until you find your purpose. Get to work. What three things are you doing regularly that don’t serve or support your vision, calling or purpose?

11. Love is not a combination lock. There’s no how-to book. There’s no formula. If you want to make love stay, it’s simple but not easy: Never get lazy with people. Make love the question you answer with your life, every day, until it’s over. Because in the end, your life is measured by how well you love, not how far you get. What are you trying to figure out that can’t be figured out?

12. Humanity is not a crime. Being a real person is good for business. And companies that lack humanity leak profit. Naturally, I have no data to measure this. I have no research to prove this. I have no statistics to support this. Nobody does. But you don’t need to look very far to find evidence of the profitability of approachability. Is there enough evidence to convict your organization?

13. Integrity is not a buzzword. It’s a way of life, a way of being and a way of treating people. It’s what happens when your onstage performance mirrors your backstage reality. It’s what happens when the message you preach is the dominant reality of your life. And it’s what happens when your life enshrines what your lips proclaim. Are you smoking what you’re selling?

I’LL SAY IT AGAIN: What can’t be measured, matters.

After all, when it’s your heart, you don’t have to convince people that you can’t live without it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you spending your time measuring or mattering?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called, “153 Quotations to Inspire Your Success,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“I usually refuse to pay for mentoring. But after Scott’s first brain rental session, the fact that I had paid something to be working with him left my mind – as far as I was concerned, the value of that (and subsequent) exchange of wisdom and knowledge, far outweighed any payment.”

–Gilly Johnson The Australian Mentoring Center

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

A Young Artist’s Guide to Playing for Keeps, Pt. 8

You’ve chosen an uncertain path.
You’ve adopted an inconvenient lifestyle.
You’ve embarked upon an unconventional journey.
You’ve felt the voice inside you growing more urgent.
You’ve committed yourself enough so you can’t turn back.

IN SHORT: You’ve decided to play for keeps.

This is the critical crossroads – the emotional turning point – in the life of every young artist.

I’ve been there myself, and here’s a list of suggestions to help you along the way:(Read part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here, part five here, part six here and
part seven.

1. Be more selfish with your work. Everything I write is a conversation with myself. I write to me, and I write for me. And to my surprise, that’s precisely what makes it so readable. In fact, I once received an email from a reader who thought I was stalking her. She said my work directly related to her life, almost as if I was in the office with her on a daily basis.

Which is ridiculous. I only showed up once a week.

The point is, the more personal your material, the more universal your message. If you want to play for keeps, play for you. Life’s too short to enroll yourself in a system bent to the desires of others. Plus, when you’re selfish with your art, when you make it for you and nobody else, the passion you bring to the work will carry it to market.

And even if it doesn’t, at least you still like it. As Miles Davis once said, “An artist’s first responsibility is to himself.” Are you following the script people envisioned for you, or follow your own artistic inclinations?

2. Practice creative promiscuity. In the art world, volume is the only vehicle that matters. Prodigiousness is the only path that counts. That’s been my strategy since day one: Out execute the competition. Because even though I wasn’t the best, even though I wasn’t the smartest and even though I wasn’t the most experienced, I still deployed more work than anybody. And by virtue of volume, my brand automatically elevated.

That’s the advantage of contributing to an ongoing body of work: It doesn’t just create credibility, it enables access. It provides multiple entry points for your audience. And that’s when people in China start talking about your work.

Unfortunately, most young artists trap themselves on the treadmill of better. They let perfection become the gateway drug to procrastination. If only they thought like Stravinsky. He said, “I would go on eternally revising my music were I not too busy composing more of it.”

That’s how he constituted a respectable artistic output, even at a young age: By hunkering down, shipping imperfect work and moving onto the next piece. Be honest with yourself: Do you really need another round of edits on a book nobody’s going to ready anyway? Just get it done. Get it to where you can smell it. Otherwise it’s not real.

Remember: The infinite regression of better is the enemy of done. What are you waiting for?

3. Fight the forces that fragment your focus. From digital distractions to shiny object syndrome to excessive planning to attending pointless meetings with amateurs who do nothing but brainstorm art projects they’re never, ever going to execute, you can’t allow yourself to get sucked into the vortex of the inconsequential.

Otherwise, by the time you finally do sit down to create, you’ll be rendered powerless to express anything that matters.

The solution is to carve out a ritualized creative schedule, and commit to sticking to it every day. Even if you’re tired, sick, annoyed, blocked or busy – you still have to show up. That’s what it means to play for keeps. As Tchaikovsky said, “Composition is a daily function that I feel compelled to discharge. I compose because I am made for that and cannot do otherwise.”

What’s more, installing a daily artistic regiment has myriad benefits. First, you create a healthy amount of self-pressure. This keeps your accountable to yourself. Second, you establish a good working rhythm with your creativity. This helps you spot entry points for entering into flow. And third, you train your body to respond to your environment. This keeps you in tune with your surroundings, listening for what wants to be written, instead of deciding what to write.

Remember: Distraction is a highly addictive drug. Don’t fix at the expense of your focus. Is what you’re doing, right now, taking you away from your art?

4. Mash life into art. Don’t tell me there’s nothing new under the sun. The damn thing 864,938 miles in diameter. If you can’t say something new, you’re not trying very hard. Here’s the reality: If you can build a unique enough inspiration pool that nobody can replicate, your work will be unrivaled. If you can ask yourself a unique enough question, nobody else’s answer will be able to compare.

Fortunately, the world around you is just waiting to be sampled. You simply have to live life with your eyes open and comment penetratingly on what you observe. As Stravinsky once wrote, “I stumble upon something unexpected. It strikes me. I made note of it. And at the proper time, I put it to profitable use.”

Never forget: Creativity is the highest form of active listening. If you’re not inspired, you might want to have your hearing checked. How could you live your life in a way that your art naturally gets done over and over?

5. Create a mythology around your art. When brandtag was released, I worked just as hard on the promo video as I did on the art itself. And here’s why: People are buying more than just your work; they’re buying the humble beginnings that first ignited your work.

Did you live in your car? Traveled to Africa alone? Work tirelessly out of your garage with your business partner? Shack up with your parents for two years, eight months and twenty-nine days? Awesome. Find the unique experience that first fueled your creative work and package and deliver it. Ideally, in the form of a creation myth. This infects people with your vision, helps them see the world as you do and enables them to join your brand – not just buy it.

As cartoonist Hugh Macleod wrote, “We humans seem to need creation myths, somehow. They manage to articulate who we really are, somehow. The help explain our core values, somehow. And for whatever reason, really successful people are even more likely to have them, even more likely to need them, somehow.” What’s your Garden of Eden?

6. Remain a vivid presence. Toward the end of his career, the general public no longer gave Stravinsky’s music the enthusiastic reception of his early days. And even though he experienced frequent bouts with depression, he still said something that has always stuck with me:

“The attitude of the public never made me deviate from my path.”

Therein lies attitude of someone who plays for keeps: He’s willing to suffer quietly. He’s willing to persist when nobody shows sympathy or understanding for what he’s doing. And he’s willing to stand up in the face of hostile indifference and remind people that he’s not going away.

Along your artistic path, maintaining your presence will depend on how you respond this resistance. It will depend on what happens when you hear that inner voice of hesitation telling you throw in the towel. What would happen if you abandoned yourself during trying times?

REMEMBER: When you’re ready to play for keeps, your work will never be the same.

Make the decision today.

Show the world that your art isn’t just another expensive hobby.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you committed with both feet yet?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “52 Random Insights to Grow Your Business,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How Joinable Is Your Brand?

Good brands are bought — great brands are joined.

Here’s what I mean:

To join a brand is to connect with it on a visceral level. To join a brand is to engage with it on a human level. To join a brand is to unite with it on a personal level.

Otherwise people are just giving you money.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of ideas to help your brand become more joinable.1. Surrender is the new control. Here’s the mistake stupid brands make: Instead of satisfying a compelling need, they project onto the market what they think they ought to want. Like the startup that invests thousands of dollars creating an elegant solution to a problem nobody has. Or the non-profit that drains the entire budget conserving irrelevant resources that are going extinct anyway.

In short: People fall love with their own marketing without recognizing that it’s already engaged to someone else.

Sounds like a bad country song to me.

If you want to make your brand more joinable, master the art of sweet surrender. Enable people to take your idea into their own hands by openly embracing a fan mentality.

For example, Scott Adams allows any of his readers to mash up his daily Dilbert comic strip. And if they’re funnier than his version, he’ll publish them. This demonstrates trust, transfers ownership to the customer and leverages vulnerability into viability. Does your brand do that?

As I learned from Vicki Kunkel’s book, Instant Appeal, “People who exhibit some sort of visual vulnerability relax out defenses and get greater support for their causes and companies.”

Remember: It’s not your job to tell customers how to consume you. Their taste puts food in your mouth – listen to it. Are you willing to give up some control of your brand in exchange for being able to let grow and expand it better and faster?

2. Inbreak is the new outreach. Outreach is outdated. Brands that claim to “start with the customer in mind” are full of crap. What they’re really trying to do is figure out how customers fit into their nice little marketing plan so they can bother them into buying something they don’t need.

Nice try, Don Draper, but that approach is broken.

If you want customers to join your brand, here’s my suggestion: Actually start with the customer. Focus on how your brand fits into people’s lives. That’s inbreak. That’s joining people first. And when you take this counterintuitive approach, a few cool things happen.

First, you proactively meet people where they live instead of cleverly sucking them into your marketing vortex. This lowers the threat level of your offering. Second, you extend respect for people’s life situation. This demonstrates empathy, respect and boundaries.

Third, by joining people first, you make them feel seen, heard and participated in. This delivers the social gift of gratitude. And lastly, instead of proving to people that you’re the kind of brand they can live with, you allow people to show you that they’re the kind of person you can’t live without. Which of your customers are just waiting for you to join them?

3. Click is the new join. To make your brand digitally joinable, you have to make it accessible through multiple channels. The secret is to help big numbers of people join you in small moments of clicking, the aggregate of which strengthens your brand over time. Here’s a collection of options you might consider:

*Make your brand subscribeable. Syndicate your brain. How many blog posts have published?
*Make your brand followable. Recognize that you’re a writer. How many of your tweets are worth printing out?
*Make your brand friendable. Become a virtual extrovert. Whose life is better because they know you?
*Make your brand likable. Get a personal demo video. How easy are you to get along with?
*Make your brand stalkable. Establish greater photo equity. How many pictures have you posted?
*Make your brand clickable. Build remarkability into everything you publish. How many bloggers are linking to you work?

Remember: Small moments plus big numbers equals huge profits. How many digital options are you giving people to interact with your brand?

4. Show-up is the new sign-on. When I first arrived at my professional association, the president took me aside and unexpectedly told me not to join. “Just show up, hang out and ask questions. Worry about joining later. Cool?”

Well, that’s a relief, I thought.

So I took Richard’s advice. And it turned out to be a much smarter investment of my time, money and energy. Plus I didn’t have to deal with the awkward pressures of membership, dues, committees and the like. Thank god. That’s all I need: Another affiliation.

The cool part is, after two years of casually showing up, I eventually did join. Then became a board member. Then became chapter president.

Lesson learned: Sometimes the best way to become more joinable is to tell people that it’s okay not to join. What do you have to lose? Why not look them in the eye say:

“Look, we have no petitions for you to sign, no recruitment drives for you to mount, and no expectations for you to fulfill. Just relax, and enjoy hanging out with the one club that requires absolutely nothing of you. Cool?”

Who knows? They might tell everybody. Are you blinded by the illusion that everyone in the world needs what your organization offers?

5. Imperfect is the new brilliant. The customer isn’t always right – but the customer always loves being right. And if you’re so smart, why aren’t you making other people look smart? Truth is, brands that are willing to broadcast their imperfection, remain open to improvement and allow customers to make their business smarter are eminently joinable.

Netflix, for example, offered one million dollars to anyone who could improve the accuracy of their movie recommendation algorithm by ten percent. This program was called The Progress Prize. And although it earned criticism from privacy advocates – not to mention the Federal Trade Commission – you better believe it positioned their brand as more joinable.

My suggestion: Kick your addition to terminal certainty. Be smart enough to be dumb. Besides, perfectionism enables procrastination, blocks inventiveness, stains communication and slaughters playfulness. Exert your imperfect humanity and your joinability will skyrocket. Are you still laboring under the myth that you have to do everything right? 


6. Engagement is the new marketing. For the past decade, I’ve never left the house without nametags. Because everywhere I go, people ask me if they can have one. And I’m happy to pass them out. To strangers, to friends, to random kids at the ballpark, whatever. My brand doesn’t discriminate.

The secret is, I don’t pass them out to make people wear nametags — I pass them out to make a point: My brand is participatory. Personally, I don’t even care if people wear the nametags. A lot of them don’t. What matters is that they join me that spontaneous moment of authentic human interaction, infused with a sprit of humor, playfulness and connection. That’s my brand. And people’s life is better because of it.

Your challenge is to determine the level of participation garnered by yours. After all, brand perception hinges on human interaction. And the only thing people can make a judgment about is how engaging with you makes them feel. I challenge you to think about how your brand could become more participative. Because encounter you have with another person either adds to – or subtracts from – its overall joinability. Do customers see your brand as a one-way street?

REMEMBER: Your people need to connect with you on a visceral level, engage with you on a human level and unite with you on a personal level.

Because it’s not enough for a brand to be bought – it has to be joined.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Is your brand buyable but not joinable?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Ways to Out Brand the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who’s telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Behind the Brandtag, Part 2: Lessons Learned from Shipping Art That Matters

“It’s not about the art – it’s about the person you become as you create the art.”

That mantra rules my life.

As an artist.
As an entrepreneur.
As an evolving human being.

Especially this week, as I celebrate the launch of brandtag.

This project is the most exciting, most risky and most remarkable work of art I’ve ever executed.

Much of my inspiration for this project can be attributed to Gaping Void, namely, Hugh Macleod’s cube grenade. To him I owe a debt of gratitude.

AND THE BEST PART IS: After fifteen months of hard and frustrating work, I’ve discovered dozens of cool things.

Today we’re going to explore part two (part one here!) of lessons learned during the process:1. Mainstream is lame stream. Art isn’t a game of kickball. Thanks to the beauty of the Internet, artists no longer have to wait around to get picked to play. Instead, they just pick themselves. They create their own market by finding the tiny handful of people who are likely to buy.

My suggestion: Divorce your ego from the illusion that market size matters. It doesn’t. Instead of buying tickets for the starving artist lottery, go out and find the market for what you love. Forget about appealing to the masses and focus on kicking the asses of the tribe who loves you.

It’s easier, cheaper and significantly less frustrating than trying to make everybody like you. Remember: The only permission slip that matters is the one you sign for yourself. Have you voluntarily opted out of the mainstream?

2. Discovery is the dividend of displacement. The origin of the first brandtag comes from Tokyo. I remember the experience vividly: My stomach was full of sushi, my creativity was firing on all cylinders, and there was a minor earthquake during breakfast. Not a bad morning.

But that was the first time it truly occurred to me: Contribution is critical to my constitution as a human being.

And on that day, something inside me changed. I don’t know what. But my work was never the same after that. That’s when I started writing about mattering. Both how to matter and what to do when you feel like you don’t matter. Through that experience, brandtag was born.

And that’s why I had no doubt in my mind that the first limited edition series would be about mattering. It’s simply too important of an idea not to celebrate. I wonder what you could discover if you displaced yourself across the country. Maybe you’ll stumble into the idea that changes everything. When was the last time you took a trip across the world all by yourself?

3. Sing in your own voice. Each limited edition brandtag is autographed in nametag style. Interestingly, when I took the prints to my framer, her comment was, “Wait, you’re just signing the nametag and that’s it? But in the art world, that’s not enough.”

To which I replied, “In my world, it is.”

Feedback is highly overrated. It rarely reflects who you are as an artist. More often than not, it just projects the insecure concerns and character flaws of the person giving it.

My suggestion: Develop deeper trust in your own instincts. Unless feedback comes from the small group of who truly matter most, it’s nothing but a confusing, discouraging, stressful waste of time and tears. Don’t spend too much time living in other people’s worlds. It leads you away from your own voice.

Remember: Life’s too short to create art in response to demands of the market. How much longer will you allow feedback to bounce you around like a pinball?

4. Joinability builds profitability. The greatest artists aren’t icons people bow down to; they’re ideas people can latch onto. For that reason, your customers – that is, your viewers, readers, patrons, fans and listeners – are buying more than just your product. They’re also buying your person, your philosophy, your process and the problem you solve.

That’s why quality can’t be your sole signature. People need to buy the story you’re telling, too. After all, they respond to what you believe – not just what you create.

Your challenge is to persuade people to make time in their busy schedules to visit the world you’ve created. Without that, your work will never endure. Because good brands are bought – great brands are joined. Otherwise people are just giving you money. What meaning do people create for themselves in response to your story?

5. Listen to unintentional music. About a month ago, my dad stopped by to help me hang the very first brandtag in my library. Once the frame was straight, we stepped back to have a look. And that’s when he said something that changed everything:

“Scott, I think I found a typo.”

Get the hell outta here. My stomach dropped to the floor. At first, I thought he was kidding. But upon closer inspection, we actually found a misspelled word in the lower right hand corner. If you look closely, you’ll notice the word “values” was accidentally spelled “vaules.”

And I thought: You sonuvabitch. I can’t believe I missed that. Goddammit.

Almost in tears, I called my girlfriend immediately. And I told her about the typo. But instead of lamenting about the imperfection, she came up with an idea that saved the day:

“Scott, you should leave the typo in there.”

Yeah. That’s a great idea. After all, this entire brandtag project is about approachability and humanity. And what’s more imperfect than that? So we did. We left the typo in. And from now on, every brandtag will have one.

It’s the snag in the Persian rug. The wabi-sabi. The crack that lets the light get through. And the reminder that success isn’t perfection. How imperfect are you willing to be? 


6. Finished is the new perfect. In a recent interview, Ira Glass made a brilliant comment on the creative process: “Your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is a killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.” That’s a tough pill to swallow: Knowing that not everything you make will feel like a masterpiece.

In fact, I remember getting to that point with brandtag. The obsessive-compulsive part of me wanted to keep editing, revising, updating and improving the final piece. But the impatient part of me said: Just ship the damn thing. Declare it done. The hay is in the barn.

Without this crucial moment, you trap yourself in the infinite regression of better. And it’s more convenient to be a victim of resistance than to risk executing what matters.

My suggestion: Stop ironing out the wrinkles nobody is going to notice. By fixating on improvement, you’re missing what you already are. When will you realize that you’re the only person waiting to get everything right?

REMEMBER: It’s not about the art; it’s about the person you become as you create the art.

Stop waiting for permission.

Go execute something that matters.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How risky is the work you ship?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “10 Unmistakable Motivators of Human Engagement,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Behind the Brandtag, Part 1: Lessons Learned from Shipping Art That Matters

“It’s not about the art – it’s about the person you become as you create the art.”

That mantra rules my life.

As an artist.
As an entrepreneur.
As an evolving human being.

Especially this week, as I celebrate the launch of brandtag.

This project is the most exciting, most risky and most remarkable work of art I’ve ever executed.

Much of my inspiration for this project can be attributed to Gaping Void, namely, Hugh Macleod’s cube grenade. To him I owe a debt of gratitude.

AND THE BEST PART IS: After fifteen months of hard and frustrating work, I’ve discovered dozens of cool things.

Today we’re going to explore a few of lesson learned during the process:1. Infect people with your vision. Otherwise your dream will never make into their hearts. That’s what most people don’t know about brandtag: It took fifteen months to execute. And not because I was procrastinating.

Rather, because I was documenting every single phase of the creative process – then, privately sharing it in a twenty-minute slide show presentation – with people who matter to me. Partly to obtain their feedback, but also to infect them with my vision of what the world would look like when these art pieces finally shipped.

And to my delight, when brandtag set sail, those people were already on board and willing to help me paddle.

Remember: If people can’t see the passion in your face, they won’t hear a word that comes out of your mouth. Don’t just show them the way – show them the why. How will you inspire people to see the world as you do?

2. Bring your cause to life. According to Gallup’s thirty-year employee engagement study, disengaged employees cost companies three hundred billion dollars every year. The question is: How much of that money was lost by your team? And what are you going to do about it?

For example: Employee’s inboxes don’t need another boring, overextended piece of corporate communication that they delete immediately or, at best, peruse passively. If your words don’t speak directly to what’s important to them, you’re nothing but spam.

That’s why brandtag works: It’s custom designed to stop the financial bleeding caused by disengaged employees. By displaying the art within your company walls, your team, and the people they serve, are ultra aware of your commitment to them. And that’s how approachability converts into profitability. Are you delivering your story in a lifeless way?

3. Expand your role repertoire. When I first started my company, I had a book. That was it. A decade later, my business has evolved into a diverse, robust enterprise. Now, my clients can use me in eight different ways. And this not only diversifies my business and positions me as a valued resource, but educates my clients on the depth of my deliverables.

That’s why brandtag was so exciting to me: It was a new role.

A combination of artist, translator and consultant. Not just a guy who writes books. And if you want your business to accomplish the same, try this: Physically map out a chart of every possible way clients can give you money. By doing so, you’ll be able to better articulate the diverse offerings that emphasize your expanded role repertoire.

Remember: The goal is to transition from “Should we hire them?” to “How should we use then?” Do your customers truly know all the different ways they can engage your services?

4. You’re defined by what you decline. It’s a beautiful moment when you realize what you can’t do. After all, sometimes that’s the only way to free yourself to focus on what’s left. Like the boxer with a broken arm, you realize you have no choice but to develop your speed.

That was the hardest part about executing brandtag: I couldn’t draw a straight line if I tried. I’m an artist of the verbal – not the visual. And as much as my ego wanted me to be responsible for every part of the process, I eventually made the decision to surrender.

Thanks to the suggestion of my friend Matt Homann, I hired out the artwork to a brilliant letterpress shop called Firecracker Press. And to my delight, their craftsmanship was a million times better than anything I could have ever attempted. What are you afraid to let go of?

5. Safeguard your artistic vision. I kept brandtag a secret for fifteen months. That was painful. But as Julia Cameron taught me, “The first rule of magic is containment.” That’s why I only told a select number of colleagues about my art project. In my experience, there is a direct relationship between how many people you tell about your dream and how quickly that dream becomes a reality.

If you force your ideas to hatch before they’re ready, they’ll arrive to the world stillborn and lifeless.

My suggestion: Don’t blow the lid off your idea by telling too many of the wrong people about them. Not everyone deserves a backstage pass to your dream. Just tell the few people who matter most and then get back to work.

Protect your dream. Otherwise the vultures will destroy your seed before you have a chance to harvest it. Are you gushing to people who are just going to belittle your ambitions?

REMEMBER: It’s not about the art; it’s about the person you become as you create the art.

Stop waiting for permission.

Go execute something that matters.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How risky is the work you ship?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “10 Unmistakable Motivators of Human Engagement,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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