SOBCon09 Session 1, With Chris Brogan and Julien Smith #SOBCon

( — I’m at SOBCon09 in Chicago with @lizstrauss and @starbucker. I’m taking notes as people talk, so there will be typos; deal with it. Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) shaved his head and it’s throwing me off majorly. Looks good, but very different. Julien Smith (@julien) is his same adorable self.

Why is it that some people are successful on the web and some are not? Why do some feel like they’re just turning their wheels, and others feel like they’re doing very little work. Here are…


1. Make your own game. Stop playing by other people’s rules.

Many try to at first, but stop. Perez Hilton has more traffic than Time Magazine, and he’s a doughy gay man who usually has pink hair. He’s slaughtering mainstream media because he’s not playing by their rules. It’s far more profitable because you make yourself an immediate leader of your category. Example: Tim Ferris (the 4-Hour Work Week guy) is a “lifestyle designer.” Be constantly inventing your own space. If you don’t invent your own space, you’re automatically playing by someone else’s rules. What you need to be is the damn best small biz marketing consultant in the whole wide world (Becky McCray), the absolute anti-brand (Jeff Livingston), etc. Do all these different things that make you the person who owns your game. It’s about standing out. Stop trying to be someone else because they’re already taken. Just be yourself.

(Slide changes. Julien: “This is just a dog with a shotgun.” Everyone laughs. I nearly spit yogurt on my computer.)

If you like one thing and you like a second thing, find the intersection between the two things. There is a system to everything. Discover it and profit.

(Julien decides to take off his coat. Chris announces wardrobe changes throughout the presentation and says he will later take off his pants. Catcalls abound.)

2. Be one of us. Membership has its privileges.

Outsiders do not influence insiders. Trust agents are embedded inside of communities they care about. Influencers convince themselves, too. Insiders forgive each other more and forgive each other faster. Julien says he has an internal process that tells him that when he is in a group with other people, he helps those people. It’s about belonging. Those who belong are powerful. THose who don’t are not.

Oh my God, Chris Brogan is beatboxing.

3. The web is the ultimate leverage engine; use it or be used.

Banners were first. E-commerce had mixed successes. We use the web for leverage: blogging, twitter, relationships for a cause. Smart companies aggregate; smart people also aggregate. Less work = more time. Put it on paper. The web is so powerful because you can do it once and have it work over and over again. It works for a sales pitch, any page you write, everything you do online. We’ll be speaking this weekend, but if we don’t write it down and put it on the web, we’re wasting our time.

Video of Free Hugs campaign with music by Sick Puppies.

Video from Where the Hell is Matt of him dancing his stupid dance all around the world. “Nobody was in the dancing stupidly with millions of other people all over the world game. Turns out, there was a job opening! Who knew?”

Principle: Never do work twice. Never begin from nothing.

4. Agent zero. The web is a network; the network is all powerful.

Be the center of the network. Certain companies — the smart ones — only have groups of 150 people or less because after 150 people, you stop caring. The web is a powerful network. if you want to be successful on the internet, be like the web. Be part of a lot of 150s. LinkedIn sucks, but the principle is amazing; it does not facilitate good network behaviors because it only give you two groups (industry and location) and no way to demonstrate affinity. It’s a starting point to understand that there’s a pile of people out there.

Be helpful. Be humble. Share. No one likes people who talk about themselves, but everyone likes people who talk about them. When you talk about them, you learn a lot. When you talk about yourself, you learn nothing.

5. Be a human artist.

Some people need to work on their social skills. Don’t be “that guy.” It’s really about empathy, thinking about more than just how YOU can benefit. Think constantly about how other people feel, whether they’re comfortable, how you can help them. Reciprocity. It’s about understanding. Marketing to people you don’t even know: “It’s like I’m reaching out to shake your hand and you stick your tongue in my mouth.” Know when to be visible and when to ghost. Good leverage is building great karma. Bad leverage is pyramid schemes. Reputation comes from empowering others, not just being amazing — you build a reputation by being amazing at empowering others.

6. Build an army; use the power of many.

Empower other people, go from craft to craftsperson to cottage to factory. It’s amazing how little an individual needs to do so long as a group does it. Example is Digg, Reddit; voting up is such a tiny thing, but on a massive scale it creates incredible acts. Finding out how to leverage it is key. It’s about mass. But then the transition from factory to cafe, it’s about mass customization. We can do small things better.

The people who are successful on the web, trust agents, are successful at one or two of theses things. You don’t need to be good at everything, just a few. As long as you can do that, you’ve got something great that you can feel great about, support your family with, all kinds of different stuff.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

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