Unmarketing by Scott Stratten Book Review

I first heard of Scott at the 2010 Blogworld in Las Vegas when he leapt (almost literally) onto the stage to give one of the keynote presentations. Having never heard of him before, I quickly wondered how I had gone so long without hearing of him, as his presentation was full of a kind of energy and electricity that completely filled the auditorium.

I bought his book at the Wiley booth, and at the end of the conference vowed to read it, “Get Seen” by Steve Garfield and “ATTENTION!” by Jim Kukral as quickly as I could. Well, things didn’t quite happen as I predicted and they sat unread on my shelf for almost a year, until this week.

I’m a skeptic. If you read through these blog posts you will find that I am very critical of the “hype” certain “social media experts” tell their followers. Followers is actually a pretty good term for many Twitter users, by the way. Just saying.

Anyway, I started reading the book, which I expected to be the same, dry social media book I am used to. I was again surprised and delighted to find the book was not only entertaining, but a quick read. When writing this post I hesitated on using the term “quick read” because that should not at all be linked with “unengaging” or “useless” information. I got it. And it was clear Scott “gets it.” The tone of the book had me curious, and later I found out he partially used a text-to-speech program to write the book. I could tell, as the book closely resembles his in-person personality.

The chapters are short, but memorable. There are several parts I immediately related to. First, it may sound like something simple, but if you aren’t going to promote and be a cheerleader for your brand (or yourself – or maybe you are your brand) then nobody will. How true! You can’t expect the disgruntled employee in cubicle 512 to be your social media presence and be engaging if they hate their job, hate talking to people and hate hearing people complain. If you aren’t willing to speak up for your company 100% or 200%, then just don’t do it. Don’t expect others to refer you if you wouldn’t even refer yourself.

Another comment that I identified with was one I have posted here on my blog and causes a ruckus every time I mention it – that a large percentage of the social media experts make money only by selling a product on how to make money. Every time I mention this to my friends who have IM products, they get all fidgety and say I’m just paranoid, or Im just a natural skeptic. But its true. “For only $5 I can tell you how to make a million dollars on the Internet, $5 at a time.” that is the subtext of a good majority of information on how to make money on the Internet.

I have bought ebooks, online teleconferences, attended real-world conferences, and even spent close to $1,000 on a series of DVDs – and I am still in the same boat as I was before I bought them. The exception being Joel Comm’s Elevate Seminar, which is always valuable and inspirational to watch. It isn’t on the elevate seminar DVD’s, but if you haven’t yet, you have to see Joel’s “penny” demonstration from back in the day when he was talking about Adsense. Classic demonstration, and there is also a sub-story about Wells Fargo and ACQUIRING the pennies for the demonstration that is valuable in and of itself.

If there is a downside to this book, and many others it is that it assumes the reader is actually empowered to make changes at a company. In fact, many of these types of books are written for entrepreneurs or solopreneurs (when is that going to be in the dictionary?) and are not written for the average worker pulling the 9-5 at a company.

I highly recommend “Unmarketing” if you are serious about rethinking your social media mindset. I know that sounds like a pitch or the back of the latest guru book, but it is true “Unmarketing” will get you to reconsider all the “push and pray” marketing your company is doing. Goodbye yellow pages, goodbye trade shows with flyers on the counter, goodbye 30 second spot, goodbye mass mail (or even email). We’ve all heard about engaging customers, this is about engaging fans.

Get it.

(note, I have been an Amazon affiliate since 1996, and I will receive a small, minuscule commission if you buy the book through my link.)

Find Me in the Age of Conversation 2

I’ve been busy this past week, but I am finally able to fully post about a project I have been involved with called “The Age of Conversation 2.”  It is a book comprised of 237 authors who each contributed a chapter on various topics surrounding the theme of “Why Don’t People Get It?”
The book, a second edition is called

  • Age of Conversation 2
  • Several of the authors are local to Des Moines
  • You can buy (hardcover or paperback) or download a copy
  • All profits (after expenses) go to Variety, the international children’s charity, and the 1st edition raised $15,000

Pricing for The Age of Conversation 2 is:

  • e-book: US$12.50 ($10.00 going to charity)
  • paperback book: US$19.95 ($8.02 to charity)
  • hardback book: US$29.95 ($4.60 to charity)

The venture was overseen by Des Moines marketer Drew McLellan and Australian Gavin Heaton.
Other authors include:
Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Reginald Adkins, Vandana Ahuja, Ozgur Alaz, Armando Alves, Francis Anderson, Todd Andrlik, G. Kofi Annan, Mike Arauz, David Armano, William Azaroff, Steve Bannister, Ryan Barrett, Cam Beck, Jordan Behan, Connie Bensen, Rohit Bhargava, Susan Bird, Toby Bloomberg, Jon Burg, David Berkowitz, Mark Blair, Ed Brenegar, Chris Brown, Deborah Brown, Duane Brown, Tim Brunelle, Wayne Buckhanan,
Pet Campbell, Becky Carroll, Paul Chaney, C.C. Chapman, Katie Chatfield, Thomas Clifford, Gary Cohen, Stephen Collins, Tim Connor, Peter Corbett, Hillel Cooperman, Ed Cotton, Chris Cree, Dave Davison, Luc Debaisieux, Jeff De Cagna, Dino Demopoulos, Geert Desager, Rishi Desai, Pete Deutschman, Matt Dickman, Vanessa DiMauro, Jeanne Dininni, Brent Dixon, Mark Earls, Sue Edworthy, Jay Ehret, Gianandrea Facchini, Anna Farmery, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Jeremy Fuksa, Seth Gaffney, Bill Gammell, Deanna Gernert, Cedric Giorgi, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Phil Gerbyshak, Scott Goodson, Mark Goren, James Gordon-Macintosh, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Susan Gunelius, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral,
Jessica Hagy, Mark Hancock, Ann Handley, Douglas Hanna, Steve Hardy, Nettie Hartsock, Doug Haslam, Gavin Heaton, Paul Hebert, Jeremy Heilpern, Alex Henault, Darren Herman, John Herrington, Susan Heywood, Adrian Ho, G.L. Hoffman, Daniel Honigman, Uwe Hook, Sean Howard, Cathryn Hrudicka, Robert Hruzek, Sam Huleatt, Richard Huntington, Shama Hyder, Paul Isakson, Tim Jackson, Dustin Jacobsen, George Jenkins, Kevin Jessop, Mitch Joel, Stanley Johnson, Timothy Johnson, Spike Jones, Amy Jussel, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Ryan Karpeles, Douglas Karr, Gareth Kay, Lois Kelly, Christina Kerley (CK), Chris Kieff, Thomas Knoll, Katie Konrath, David Koopmans, Derrick Kwa, Michelle Lamar, Stephen Landau, Kenny Lauer, Bob LeDrew, Tammy Lenski, Mark Lewis, Phil Lewis, James G. Lindberg,
Brett Macfarlane, Lori Magno, Angela Maiers, Valeria Maltoni, Louise Manning, Tim Mannveille, Mike McAllen, Becky McCray, Matt J. McDonald, Paul McEnany, Mark McGuinness, Drew McLellan, Robyn McMaster, Doug Meacham, Jenny Meade, Terrell Meek, Efrain Mendicuti, Sreeraj Menon, Gaurav Mishra, Doug Mitchell, Corentin Monot, Scott Monty, John Moore, Matt Moore, Ernie Mosteller, Brandon Murphy, Eric Nehrlich, Jeff Noble, Andy Nulman, Andrew Odom, Jason Oke, Simon Payn, Branislav Peric, Neil Perkin, Eric Peterson, David Petherick, Steve Portigal, J. Erik Potter, Dennis Price, Joe Pulizzi,
Veronique Rabuteau, Arun Rajagopal, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Ryan Rasmussen, Connie Reece, Brian Reich, Cathleen Rittereiser, David Reich, Sandy Renshaw, Nick Rice, Steve Roesler, Fernanda Romano, John Rosen, Roberta Rosenberg, Troy Rutter, Mike Sansone, Sheila Scarborough, Dan Schawbel, David Meerman Scott, Sean Scott, Andy Sernovitz, Bernie Scheffler, Asi Sharabi, Ron Shevlin, Jamey Shiels, Brad Shorr, Sonia Simone, Charles Sipe, Dan Sitter, Jon Swanson, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Stephen Smith, Phil Soden, Aki Spicer, Sheryl Steadman, Rachel Steiner,
Paul Tedesco, Seni Thomas, John Todor, Scott Townsend, PJasmin Tragas, Jonathan Trenn, Kate Trgovac, Karl Turley, Tim Tyler, Yves Van Landeghem, Mario Vellandi, Steven Verbruggen, Greg Verdino, Jeroen Verkroost, Dylan Viner, Roger von Oech, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Ellen Weber, Hugh Weber, David Weinfeld, Scott White, Gordon Whitehead, Andy Whitlock, Keri Willenborg, Casper Willer, Paul Williams, Chris Wilson, Craig Wilson, C.B. Whittemore, Steve Woodruff, Troy Worman, Piet Wulleman, Faris Yakob, Joanna Young, David Zinger,
[TAGS]Age of Conversation[/TAGS]

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Despite Success

First, I would like to thank Chris Brogan for directing people towards one of my recent posts regarding a label printer, and all that it represented.   I have received  emails, comments and tweets about how my story of the label printer resounded in their own lives – that many of us have rationalized that a single, truly insignificant “thing” could somehow be the difference between success and failure.
But there is another feeling that can be equally as troubling – imposter syndrome.
I may be naive, but I first learned of imposter syndrome about a month ago when a co-worker brought it to my attention after one of my tweets.   I googled the phrase and came u p with a definition that really made sense:
From wikipedia:

The Impostor Syndrome, sometimes called Impostor Phenomenon or Fraud Syndrome, is a syndrome where sufferers are unable to internalize their accomplishments. It is not an officially recognized psychological disorder but has been the subject of numerous books and articles by psychologists and educators.
Regardless of what level of success they may have achieved in their chosen field of work or study or what external proof they may have of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced internally they do not deserve the success they have achieved and are actually frauds. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they were more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

For the past couple of years, despite my success as a programmer at the web site company I work for, I have been plagued by a feeling of being a fake.  That sure, I do the high-profile projects and complicated things, but I’m just faking it.  After all, PHP and mySQL programming is always “a lot of the same” and code is reused here and there.  Anybody can do it.   If I’m ever found out, I’ll be fired.
This fear caused ups and downs in my mood, resulting in a lack of self-confidence, even in the midst of extreme accomplishments.
It is also a part of baggage I have been carrying since being laid off as a result of the AOL Time-Warner merger in 2001.  Up until the layoff, I had left jobs on my own terms, now suddenly I was told to go.  The dot com bubble had burst, and I limped back to Iowa where I got a job doing tech support at an ISP, answering phone calls.
I’ve also come to realize, thanks to reading an article on The New York Times Web Site that people exhibiting imposter syndrome:

adopt self-deprecation as a social strategy, consciously or not, and are secretly more confident than they let on.
“Particularly when people think that they might not be able to live up to others’ views of them, they may maintain that they are not as good as other people think,” Dr. Mark Leary, the lead author, wrote in an e-mail message. “In this way, they lower others’ expectations — and get credit for being humble.”

Not taking credit for my accomplishments now makes sense.  I can now fully realize that yes, this is exactly what I have been battling the last few years.   Overcoming this is will be difficult and it won’t happen overnight, I just need to realize what I have accomplished in my short career:

  • Got a job at Warner Bros. studios while still a senior in college at Iowa State
  • Worked on some of my favorite TV shows like Babylon 5, Friends, Third Watch, Drew Carey, 7th Heaven, and others
  • Worked my way up the ladder at Warner Bros. and eventually started and managed the community division of the company.
  • Worked on the original Harry Potter web site
  • Was a senior programmer for the Warner portal Entertaindom
  • Attended several movie premieres, walking the red carpet
  • Worked with several young actors, actresses and musicians who are now adults and in their prime
  • Earned my Screen Actor’s Guild card
  • Went back to college while working full time and finished my degree
  • Wrote and published a book on helping kids get started in the TV/Film industry
  • Became 1st Vice President of a community theater and directed 2 productions
  • Worked my way up the ladder again at a web development company, going from tech support to lead programmer
  • Became known in podcasting circles due to a “Troy Needs an iPod” publicity stunt
  • Helped build the Des Moines Renaissance Faire into a great festival
  • Programmed the back end of two high-profile web sites for the company

Overcoming imposter syndrome will take some time, and although I recognize it, it is still affecting me, even making me question myself more about my label printer.   But knowing this about myself can only help me to realize that I really CAN be a leader in my industry again.   I get hard on myself because of all the “notoriety” I lost.
Being a leader in your field has to start with yourself, you a) have to WANT to be a leader and b) have to think that you ARE a leader.  If you think for one moment you can’t do something, you’ve already lost.
So to you, my new friends with shiny label printers…  I say let’s do this.   Take something that you have been terrified to start and do it.   Buy your label printer, unpack it, set it on your desk and get to work printing out the best damn labels you can.  It can get sticky, but let’s do it together.
[TAGS]importer syndrome, AOL, Time Warner, Warner Bros. label printers, self-confidence[/TAGS]