Episode 20 - Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image on Power Speaking and Personal Branding
Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image on Power Speaking and Personal Branding
Announcer: This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com.
Susan Bratton: Welcome Dishy Mix. I’m your host Susan Bratton. I’m glad you tuned in this week. On today’s show we have Mitch Joel. He’s the president of “Twist Image” a digital marketing agency out of Canada. He’s someone that has been recommended to me to be a guest on this show from multiple people. I like to go with things like that.
On today’s show we’re going to talk about power speaking secrets, building audiences, Widgets and Facebook Apps, motivational books you might like to read, “Six Pixels of Separation” and Motley Crue; and that’s with an umlaut.
Mitch Joel: So I guess other people would look at it and say, “Wow, it’s fairly impossible that a guy like that did that.” Versus, I guess for me it’s about really setting what you think might be unachievable goals, and then being pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
I even sat down with a stand-up comic, and I went through my whole thing, and I said, “Where’s the humor in it? Is there stuff I could do? Are there mannerisms I could change?” So the first thing was practice, practice, practice; but get good help. And what I realized, especially watching people like Bill Clinton speak is, he gets up on stage with literally three lines of notes. That’s it. Those are his guideposts, and it’s about telling a story; beginning, middle, and end.
And what are the things you can do to illustrate things that will engage people? And that’s really what it’s about. It’s about understanding three conversations; it’s really about marketing yourself. People say, “Well, you know, I’m not here to sell myself;” but we all are. All of us want to be better family people, want to be better in our community; we want to do better at work so we can make more money and connect more. Those are all about your personal brand and how it’s perceived out there in the quote unquote, marketplace; or as I like to call it, the world.
Susan Bratton: Hi Mitch!
Mitch Joel: Hey, how’s it going?
Susan Bratton: Good. How are you?
Mitch Joel: I’m awesome.
Susan Bratton: Good, I’m glad. So now you’re based in Montreal. Is that right?
Mitch Joel: Beautiful Montreal, absolutely.
Susan Bratton: And you are part of IAB Canada.
Mitch Joel: Yes. I sit on the board of the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada. Which is a great place to be. It’s a lot of fun. I love helping out the community. Community works is one of my many involvements.
Susan Bratton: And you’re also big in the Blog world; “Marketing Magazine” called you the “Rock Star” of digital marketing.”
Mitch Joel: Yes.
Susan Bratton: How did you love that?
Mitch Joel: Yes, I guess there are far worse things to be called.
Susan Bratton: I think that’s a great thing to be called. I wish someone here would do “Rock Star” stuff. That’s sounds really fun.
Mitch Joel: It’s a lot of fun.
Susan Bratton: And really that’s because you’ve been focused on blogging. You’re a blogger and a Pod Caster.
Mitch Joel: Yes, ultimately I do both of those. I have a blog and a pod cast. They are both called “Six Pixels of Separation.” But I’m really a marketer who is passionate about helping my clients connect to their consumers. Probably, and more importantly, empowering their consumers to connect to one another. And that’s really where it comes from. That’s what gets people at “Marketing Magazine” and associations and getting out there and speaking and see they are really excited about the space.
Susan Bratton: Well one of the things that is in your bio, that I absolutely have to ask you about and it’s too good to pass up. You wrote, “You’re a believer in doing the impossible.” Tell us something that you did that your clients thought, or you thought, or your Mom thought, or somebody thought was impossible.
Mitch Joel: You know it’s funny. I actually stole that line from somebody. It’s such a clever, cheeky line to put in there. If you get to know me you’ll see I’ve actually got a lot of humility and I’m usually embarrassed by stuff like that. You can’t see through the phone but I’m actually blushing.
I think the impossible means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Even if I were to reflect on my life and think back two or three years ago; let’s use public speaking as an example. It was just a stretch goal. It was one of those things that were always on my plate, that I loved to do; I love to teach, I love to meet, I love to connect with people. I had this thing in my head, “It would be great one day to just retire and speak to people and write.” That type of feeling.
Fast forward now just a couple of years and see I am represented by a “Speaker’s Bureau.” I’ve been able to share the stage with people like Bill Clinton, Tony Robbins, and Dr. Phil and on and on. It’s been pretty amazing. So I guess other people would look at it and say, “Wow! It’s fairly impossible that a guy like that did that.” Versus, I guess for me it’s really about setting unachievable goals and then being pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Susan Bratton: You told me in your first real speaking gig you shared the stage with Dr. Phil in front of 5,000 people. Based on that single speaking event you signed on with “Speaker Spotlight” your speaking bureau that represents you. Tell us how that all happened.
Mitch Joel: It was really sort of a surreal thing. If I was to realign my life and think about “Twist Image” when I got here; the company already existed. I had two business partners at the time and one employee. We’re now four business partners and over 50 people. But back then, I was really in charge of sales and business development.
I felt, I need more skills, I need more skill sets now that I’m back to being an entrepreneur again having been working for several companies in many different capacities and spaces prior to that. I thought one of the things I can do is self educate. I never really did well at the university, believe it or not. I am a drop out. This is ironic because McGill University, which is a very large university up here in Canada, I sit on their faculty of education, board of advisors. It’s sort of ironic that little twist and turn that happened to me there.
I just started looking for things I could do. I started doing a lot of reading, a lot of research online. I thought well these events have got to be good to go and see speakers and get their tactics and attend seminars and stuff like that. One of the events that happened to be running around this same time was called, “The Power Within.” Typically they were doing full day of leadership and motivational type speakers. They were running a half day sales mastery course with four or five speakers that I thought were really good because I had read some of the books on them. I thought, “I’ll invest.” I’ll take the money that I really didn’t have at the time. I’ll buy a ticket. I got in the car really early and drove to Toronto, which is a six hour drive from Montreal. I attended the conference and didn’t want to stay over the extra night and pay for the hotel. So I actually drove back to save money.
But doing that really changed my perspective on how to conduct myself and what I wanted to do in business. I was very fortunate that the way “The Power Within” worked was, you actually do speak to a salesperson. You don’t just buy a ticket as if you were attending an event or huge concert. I got to know the person that was my sales rep, pretty much; really nice person. He introduced me to the owner of “The Power Within.” Again, this is a company that is headquartered in Toronto. They do events all over the world; Canada predominantly, but they do all over the world.
What was happening was, as my business was growing, so was “The Power Within.” They had just moved to a great new location in Toronto and they prepared for expansion but they weren’t there yet in terms of staff. So what I would do when I was going in on business, the owner would always say, “There’s a couple of desks here, there’s a desk here if you need it. You can just plug in to the internet and just do what you need to do.”
One day, literally, we were talking about branding and marketing; talking about at much smaller levels, local, not-for-profits and charitable groups and he said, “We’ll why don’t we put you on stage and see what happens?” It was literally that. Next thing I knew, “I said yes.” I think it was on the flight back when I started to question, “What have I done? I’ve never really done this. I’m not really sure about the contents or message. He just wanted me to speak about marketing or branding or something.”
I thought about personal branding and what it means, and how important and how relevant it is in my life and what I’m doing online and how “The Power Within” collides with “Twist Image.” So my first “The Power Within” was unproven. I hired, at that point, a bunch of coaches, got some great advice and had some friends who had some good presentation skills help me out. But literally, that was it. It was trial by fire in front of 5,000 people and Dr. Phil. It was pretty awesome.
Susan Bratton: Did someone from “Speakers’ Spotlight” see you there and sign you?
Mitch Joel: Well it was kind of a unique scenario because “Speakers’ Spotlight,” which is one of the largest speakers’ bureaus in Canada was there in attendance. What happens is, after you speak they bring you to a merchandise table. I didn’t have merchandise but, you sign autographs. They have you sign the programs. There’s a long lineup of people to sign programs and take pictures with, which was surreal in and of itself.
And one of the people comes up to me and she’s like, “How long have you been doing this?” And I said, “This is my first time.” She said, “I know this is your first time with ‘The Power Within’ but how long have you been doing this?” And I said, “It’s actually my first time.” [laughs] I could see her jaw sort of drop on her face. She said, “I’ve got to introduce you to my president.”
The company’s also headquartered in Toronto and he’s speaking in Edmonton. And when I met the president, oddly enough he had already heard my name through IAB of Canada. It was sort of like this perfect flow. He was very excited by the content I was talking about which are two. Digital Marketing is one of them and personal branding was the other. It’s just been a great relationship. It’s a young person and his wife who started the company out of school. We just get along great. They’ve been amazing.
Susan Bratton: I have a couple of tangent questions I’m going to ask you here. I want to come back to personal branding because that’s really interesting to me.
The thing that I wanted to know was if you could share a couple of really powerful presentation, power speaking secrets? Things that you might have learned by speaking in the same docket as Bill Clinton or Anthony Robbins, or Dr. Phil. Obviously you have seen these speakers address these big audiences and you’ve been able somehow to incorporate some things you’ve seen. What did you learn, what did you incorporate and what can we do?
Mitch Joel: Yes, I think, and I say this with all humility, it was more validation seeing great speakers speak that I was doing the right stuff. But I think by saying that, one of the first things I would recommend is get help. Get a coach and probably most importantly, join “Toastmasters.” Just try this stuff out.
I was very lucky. I am the type of person that says, “I need to pull all of my resources together to make this work.” And literally, I had a friend of mine that was running “Toastmaster”, never attended a session, but she was willing to open up her group to me. So I was able to practice it twice in front of them and get their feedback. I had a friend, one of my business partners actually, who had worked with a coach in Toronto who coaches companies on how to pitch. So I went there and did a session with him. I had a friend of mine who is pretty much one of the leading consultants out there. She goes out and she’s the type of person who gets invited to “The Hague” making sure people are self-governing themselves effectively. So I created this team and even sat down with a stand-up comic and went through my whole thing. I asked, “Where is the humor in it? Is there stuff I could do? Are there mannerisms I could change?”
The first thing was practice, practice, practice; but get good help. So I was really fortunate that great forces came to my aid. Some I paid for but some were friendly contributions from acquaintances. So get the help. What I took from that is, “You need to tell a story.” I think all too often we have what I call, the Power Point crutch; where you put these bullet points up that people can read anyway and you feel that’s the safety. Stick to the bullet points and it will get my message clearer.
What I realized, especially by watching people like Bill Clinton speak, is he gets up on stage with literally three lines of notes. That’s it. Those are his guideposts. It’s about telling a story; beginning, middle, and end. What are the things you can do to illustrate that will engage people? So that was a big thing for me too.
The other component was, and this was a really tough one for me, I do practice it every day and I’m sure you’re hearing it now. You want to be yourself for sure, but you want to be a little bit more excited than you normally are. And you do have to put that on a little. It’s not something that’s natural because, a lot of times, even like right now if I’m not in a great mood, I turn it on because I know it’s being recorded and it’s going out there. Also, a really big lesson for me was to be yourself totally but just a little bit more excited than you usually are.
Susan Bratton: Plus it up 10%.
Mitch Joel: Right. Exactly. So that was really good. There were a lot of great lessons I never took like speak slowly. “I just, I can’t. I speak fast.”
Susan Bratton: [laughs]
Mitch Joel: And that’s part of it. Or, I do use a lot of visual aids, what I mean by that is, “I love Power Point but there’s no bullet point.” It’s big images, or big words, or big numbers and I sort of make the associations to that. People tell me I have way too many slides; you have to think in terms of a slide per minute. I realized for me that wasn’t really good because I clipped through them a lot faster. I used them almost as wallpaper in the background to keep people excited and engaged.
Part of it is also trying to do something a little bit different than your average speaker that you see. It was things like that where I was just, even now that I’m thinking about it, there was the standup comic and I asked, “What do you think? Do you have any jokes you can give me?” And he said, “Absolutely not because if I give you jokes, it won’t be you. I want you to be authentic.” That being said, he took four or five components, like if you could say something like this because it’s your style; it might come out clearer or more effective.
The last component is body language. Folding arms, hands in the pockets, leaning on a podium; it seems natural, and I think when you’re doing it live or even presenting a small board room, or on a huge stage, you think that you’re letting the audience know that you’re comfortable; but what it’s really is, “I’m closed, and it looks uncomfortable. And those are sort of just some basic stuff I like to look at. Then obviously huge things like eye contact, making sure you understand who you are speaking too and how you’re connecting to them. That’s really challenging because I go from rooms of 12 to 15 people to rooms of 6,000 7,000 people. So it’s challenging because you really have to adjust to it.
It’s practice. It’s getting out there and trying things, and having fun with it.
Susan Bratton: That’s great. A lot of the things you said, in a way could be construed as something you could read in any public speaking book. But what I got out of what you said is it’s a combination of actually forcing yourself to do all those things and doing them through practice that could make the big difference in becoming a person who can be a “Rock Star”.
So I want to go back to personal branding. That’s a subject about which you speak.
We have to take a break in just a couple of minutes. But I would really love your advice for our listens who, in today’s world, “Who in business doesn’t need to have their own personal brand?” With things like the vanity experience of things like our Facebook pages or our blogs or our Pod Casts or whatever we might be doing. Tell us how to marry personal branding in today’s world with some of the technology applications.
Mitch Joel: I think a lot of the things to just clarify; a lot of people think I need a personal brand or need to develop a personal brand but that’s actually not really the case scenarios where the toothpaste is already out of the tube. It’s got a personal brand, it already is. What I tell people is, “If you’re not working on your personal brand, other people are for you.” And that’s really what it’s about. It’s about understanding who you are.
I know what happens. When I say personal branding I know people are going to thinks, “Oh he’s going to give me a bunch of tips and tricks to connect and it’s totally the opposite. And I think that’s why my personal branding message seems to be resonating with bigger and bigger groups.” Because what I’m trying to say to people is, “Find out who you truly are and what you’re really about; your values, your goals, beliefs.” That’s actually part one of what I talk about.
I have three conversations when I tell people what personal branding is about. The first one is your internal conversation. What are your values, goals, and beliefs? What do you stand for? Two is your one to one conversation. How do you connect that to people? And this is where it gets tricky because people think about networking and their elevator pitch. Those things are really important but they’re not good if they are not based off of your internal conversation or based off of authenticity. What I tell people is, if you’re really introverted and shy that’s fine. You’re goal is to actually connect with people who are like you. You’re goal isn’t to try and get you out of there because it doesn’t really work long-term. It’s not a good long-term strategy.
The third conversation, which is the one you are actually asking me about; is what I call the one to many conversation. Traditionally, marketers were the only people that could have a one too many conversations by advertising campaigns or they would do PR. So they would be able to connect their message onto millions upon millions of people. Now through the web and all these individual channels, people like you and I can express our personal brand or get our message out there to millions of people for practically nothing. It is things like blogging, and Pod Casting or social networking. You are absolutely right. They are amazing tools to connect.
But what you need to actually figure out is, “Where are the right communities of people I am trying to connect with?” Is it Facebook? Is it Linked In? Is it both? Is it one or the other? Or it’s a My Space page or maybe it’s not online social networking. It’s having your own domain and creating a blog on it on the kind of thing you are interested in creating. And that is really what it’s about. It’s about understanding that these three conversations are about marketing yourself.
People say things like, “I’m not here to sell myself.” But we all are. All of us want to be better family people, better in our community, better at work so we can make more money and connect more. All these things are all about your personal brand and how it’s perceived out there in the quote unquote marketplace that I like to call the world.
I leverage these channels because they exist. They are very very powerful. Never before could I have met people who are interested in hard rock music, public speaking and digital marketing. But now I am connected to 1000s of people who like the exact same stuff that I do and we are intrinsically connected. It’s an amazing experience.
I would say, “Shame on the person who thinks they are too old for the internet or they don’t get it.” It’s so simple and it’s so easy to use that there really isn’t a barrier to entry at this point.
Susan Bratton: Well when we come back from our break I’d like to talk to you about building audiences, over a thousand members just on your Facebook group alone, not to mention readers of your blog, listeners to your Pod Casts which I want to talk about as well.
So let’s take a break because I have great sponsors and I want to make sure they get their air time. We’ll be right back. I’m your host Susan Bratton and we’re talking with Mitch Joel. He’s the president of “Twist Image” out of Montreal, Canada. Stay tuned.
Susan Bratton: We’re back. I’m your host Susan Bratton. We’re with Mitch Joel of “Twist Image.” When we left for the break we were talking about building your personal brand. I thought, Mitch, you did a really good job of getting some perspective on who you are and how you present yourself to the marketplace. One of the things you have done a really good job with, a continuity around who you are with your “Six Pixels” moniker, and creating your Facebook groups. Let’s talk about Facebook groups and let’s talk about how you’ve built audiences for various things; blogs, Pod Casts, Facebook, etc.
Mitch Joel: Yes. I have a really different perspective on it. When people come and see I have over 1,000 friends or over 1,000 people in my “Six Pixels of Separation” Pod Cast as a society group they ask, ”Why? Why would you want to be connected to that many people?”
It goes back to having a very early in the internet game, very early on. And what I learned, very early on, being a journalist and having content published all the time was that; I pretty much resigned my privacy. [laughs] It’s just out there. It is.
What I learned from that, in terms of the blog and Pod Cast about Facebook is, “I am actually a media channel. All of us have become media channel. Every time you post a picture in Facebook, every time you post a link, an event, a group, you are broad casting that to your entire network. That is your personal brand and that is your media. It’s who you are.”
So I actually use Facebook as a media channel. Like a TV station is looking to get audience members, I looking to get people that want to be part of my community. I am looking for people who are interested in digital marketing, digital branding, public speaking and those sorts of things. It is actually pretty easy. Part of the reason why it is working for me is because I’m a very community centric person. It’s not actually about me. It’s about the community. So what I actually do is act as a connector.
I think that’s probably one of my best gifts. I presume my parents gave that to me as a value or belief system. But my goal isn’t to get the benefit for me. My goal is to help two other people get the benefit from that. I think the dividends I’ll receive from serendipity and other things that will happen and what I call, “Givers gain” make it that much more powerful for me. So, I look at it really differently. My job and role in all of these online social networks is to help more people connect. And if they are doing it through me, then that’s just amazing.
Susan Bratton: So how did you get 1000 people to join your “Six Pixels, Facebook” group?
Mitch Joel: It was pretty easy. I had originally gone through my profile and I said, “Who in my profile that I am connected to as a friend, is interested marketing, communications, advertising or the digital landscape?” And I invited them. I guess what happened from there is, it’s in your feed. The couple 100 people that jumped in saw that. It was proliferated through their feeds and obviously promoting it through my Pod Cast that was really it. I didn’t really talk about it much on the blog. In fact it’s not even a permanent link that’s mentioned anywhere. I do mention it at the beginning of every show. It’s not about getting a link to my Facebook group. If you want a place where there are 1000 people connecting about marketing and communications they are there.
Now what you do with that, that’s your own. That’s whatever you want to do with it. But that’s really what it is. “I built a little sandbox and anybody who likes the stuff is welcome to come in and play or build something.”
Susan Bratton: OK. I appreciate that. I want to talk about, just briefly, Widgets and Facebook Apps, and your perspective on that. Since we’re talking about Facebook and you’ve created a group of opportunities for other personal brands to market themselves or major brands to market themselves; utilizing that technology.
Mitch Joel: Yes. I think Widgets are very very unique. Because what we are seeing is another step in what this guy Evan Akashic [phonetic], who is the lead evangelist for google analytics calls the fluid web. I believe in it intrinsically, which is getting away from page views and clicks and such moving towards environments where people are either downloading something to their desktop. They are using it on their mobile device or they are using an application that appears on a website like Facebook. It does provide a fluid web experience where it is just constantly there, constantly feeding back and forth. It does a give and take environment. I strongly believe that that is where we are going in terms of web play. It’s how things are going to come together.
I think there are some great stuff that I am seeing. I am seeing some really smart individuals who are creating great affiliation programs. I have no affiliation to it but it is the virtual bookshelf which is where you go in and choose the books you have read, which is powerful for me because I love books and I’m sure we’re going to talk about that, but people can see what books I’ve read. Now if you click on that book and you buy it from Amazon, whoever created that little application is getting their affiliate money. My understanding is they are doing quite well on simple basic applications, but that is what happens.
It’s early, it’s new so people are trying new stuff and seeing how it goes, but there is another side to it as well where people are buying a bunch of stuff and there are some privacy concerns that I have. If I get invitations to a whole bunch of things and I get email notifications to things I never signed up for. I think it’s very very new. We’re all playing with it. We’re all trying to figure it out. But obviously at this nascent level I can see the applications from businesses. I was shocked it wasn’t Amazon that came up with the virtual bookshelf idea. There are some great applications from major brands and companies and even people you wouldn’t even expect. There are some really interesting things there. It’s a beautiful time for experimentation.
I tell people it’s not just about the big brands. I think the real opportunities are for the small and medium enterprises to do it, to do it effectively and to really own that space.
Susan Bratton: You have made really easy segues for me on this show, which is like you are doing my work for me which is really good. I have had this crick in my neck for a week, this morning, before I sat in the studio to do our interview today; I had an hour and a half massage. I’m probably only good for about 50% of my normal intelligence. [laughs] So you are making this so easy for me. I love this about you.
You have another Pod Cast in addition to “Six Pixels” called “Forward Thinking.” You love motivational books. I love motivational books. On almost every show, I’m always asking people what they are reading. You know that’s how we get our next book to read on the airplane. What are some of the books you would recommend to us right now?
Mitch Joel: Wow. There’s just so many. Right now on my bookshelf is a book by Joseph Jaffe called, “Join the Conversation.” He’s a great friend of mine and I got an advance version from Wiley. So I was very excited about that. “Forward Thinking” is actually sponsored by Harper Collins Canada which is also great because Harpers’ has some great books. One of the books is by Robin Sharma called “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” but his new one called, “The Greatness Guide” is absolutely amazing.
We moved to a much larger facility for “Twist Image” and we bought a copy for all our employees and it was on their desk when they came in. It is very inspirational and there are very short chapters so it’s really easy to read one a day and get a feel for it. Another one that I’m really loving is John Wood. John is the founder of an amazing organization called Room to Read.
John’s is a very unique story. It’s called “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” and that’s actually what he did. He literally left a great senior position in Microsoft and started this thing called “Room to Read”. He actually went to Nepal and saw how bad the scenario was there in terms of their education and libraries. He got very passionate about giving these children proper libraries in their villages. He’s gone on to amazing success. He was actually just on Oprah. His story is incredible. He’s actually opened up more libraries and schools than Carnegie. It’s a pretty amazing story.
Susan Bratton: Yes, his book is doing great.
Mitch Joel: And he’s just a loveable guy. What you hear on the Pod Cast is a great teaser to the book. It just seems like a friendly conversation and then talking on the couch about stuff that’s going on.
One of my favorite ones is by Jim Fannon. He wrote the book called “Score for Life.” Jim is bases, in I think Chicago, and he is the leading coach for getting people in the zone. So when an athlete is botching things on error in front of a million people they usually call Jim to have him coach that person. Jim took all of his tactics and techniques and put them into “Score for Life”. He’s just a personal mentor for me. We’ve actually shared the stage a few times.
There are so many amazing books as you can tell by me rattling them off. I could go on and on and on. So don’t let me.
Susan Bratton: We’ll, that’s OK. I actually want to give a little plug to one of my sponsors and that’s “Audible.” Most of the books you have mentioned, and in a couple we talked about before we got on the show, “You Incorporated” by Beckwith, “Rigged” by Ben Mezrich. All of these are available for free by from “Audible.” The way you would get your free book is to join the “Audible Listeners Club.” You essentially pay $14.95 per month and then you can download one book a month. When you sign up for the program of course you get your first book free. You get that by going to AudiblePodCast.com/Dishy.
That way I get the credit, my sponsor is happy, they know you are listening to the show and signing up for the program and you can keep up with all these great books I’m recommending; that Mitch is recommending [laughs]. Sometimes we don’t have time to read but they are great to listen too on the airplane or on the subway or walking our dogs.
Mitch Joel: I love “Audible.” And we didn’t talk about it.
Susan Bratton: No we didn’t!
Mitch Joel: But I absolutely love them. One of the things I tell people is about “Audible” is, “How do you catapult your career to the next level?” It’s going to be one the people you meet and two it’s going to be the books you read or listen too. I tell this to people all the time because they ask how I read so much and I actually don’t. I go to “Audible” and I download stuff. I listen to it when I work out and I listen to it in my car. An IPod is actually really, really cheap now, you can get a wireless device and listen to this stuff. There’s really no excuse not to check some of this stuff out. “Audible” has been a huge lifesaver for me.
Susan Bratton: Wow, that’s great, me too. This show is airing November 2007 and of course my freebee deal for your first free download is a limited time offer. Go check out AudiblePodCast.com/dishy and thanks for that too Mitch.
I want to end with Motley Crue. I want to get that in here because I want to end with Tommy Lee. You have a book coming out and I want to hear about “Six Pixels of Separation.” I want to hear about that.
Mitch Joel: The book for me has been my Mobey Dick literally. I’m going after this whale with tartar sauce and a fork here. It’s been a huge challenge. My background is in journalism, 15-20 years doing music journalism, technology journalism and then blogging every day. I’m left with this daunting task of reading all these books and thinking, “What do I have to say?”
What I realized really quickly is that we live in an amazing world where we’ll have brands that will rival or be bigger than most corporations. So the book is really a highbred of how people are connecting, all these marketing channels on the web and things like that. But it really is amazing. We’ve got people in my space that have 1,000,000 plus friends and they have their own communities and they have huge personal brands. I think the implications are bigger than we are making them right now. I do believe these are all happening because of individuals and their power. My book is really going to be about that freedom. It’s about highlighting how the next level of marketing is all about the personal brand.
Susan Bratton: That makes perfect sense. I’d really like to read that book. When can I have it?
Mitch Joel: Whenever I finish writing it.
Susan Bratton: You are not giving me a date are you?
Mitch Joel: We’re still working on the details of writing it. A couple publishers are really excited about it. So we’re working on all of that at the same time. We’re really excited about it.
Susan Bratton: Let’s finish up with your fun personal experience. I just wanted to verify, your first real job was interviewing Tommy Lee from Motley Crue. Here’s a guy that’s a public speaker, running “Twist Image” but you started out in the music industry and I’d like to hear what it did for you. And, I want you to end my show, this will be my last question, by giving us something inspirational, give us a thought for the day and I want you to tie that to the impact of meeting with Tommy Lee.
Mitch Joel: It’s a tall order. I was one of those freaky kids, I was probably 9 or ten; I remember reading “Faces Magazine” or “Circus Magazine” and seeing Gene Simmons from “Kiss” on the cover. I was like, “Wow, this is so crazy.” I just remember wondering, “How did this person get to interview Gene Simmons?” At the time I thought, if I had just one job I would love to do, it would be to sit around and interview rock stars.
It’s funny because people see the movie, “Almost Famous” and they ask me if they made that movie about my life! Because, it was literally my life. I was a young person. I was 17. I was into music and CDs. Back then, it was a retail environment here in Montreal. Somebody was actually renting CDs, this was before the government came in and said you can’t rent that stuff people will steal it. That person after the government did come started working at a record store and for some reason met the owner of one of the largest teen magazines in Canada called “Fan Club.” It was available in English and in French; because we live in a bi-lingual country up here. So there’s a big distribution, very glossy, very very cool type of publication.
I kind of prodded the editor saying, “Let me write! Let me write!” And the guy eventually said , “You can write. “ And this guy called me back and said, “Remember me from the CD store?” I said, “Sure.” And he knew me because I was into computers really early on and I had been cataloguing his CDs for him on an Atari 800 back in the day. He said, I don’t even know how to type. If I paraphrase to you what I want to say can you type it for me? Then I can submit these articles. And I kid you not, that was how I started.
What happened was as a thank you for doing all these articles, which I thought I was just being friendly and nice, we took a road trip to Toronto on New Year’s Eve to some concert where he had to do an interview. And sure enough, on the trip he got a call that Tommy Lee was going to be in Toronto. He was going to launch “Dr. Feelgood” In 1989 and they were really hot back then. It was the pinnacle of hugeness for them. And he turned to me and said, “You got to do this interview. I don’t know anything about Motley Crue.”
And so I got to the radio station, to the largest radio station in Toronto T107, and I just remember seeing him through the glass thinking, I can’t believe I’m doing this, it’s crazy. And I interviewed him, turned it into an article and I submitted it. The actual editor of the magazine went to the middle guy who I was doing the articles for and said, “You didn’t write this.” They asked, “Who wrote this.” And they introduced me; I think I was 17 or 18 maybe. And that was my first foray. Next thing I knew I had the cover story with Gene Simmons for “Circus Magazine.” So there you go. You’re life comes full circle when you pursue your dreams and think about them and focus on them.
I guess what I learned in this 15 years of interviewing literally everybody in the music industry and entertainment industry is that creative people aren’t necessarily marketers and marketers aren’t necessarily creative people but in and of themselves they had a real uniqueness to them. Whether it was rap or rock or heavy metal or whatever it was, each person had a really, really, unique character. So you see if you tie that into something a nugget of truth or something. It’s a very obvious to me. It’s Oscar Wilde line. Oscar Wilde said, “Be you, because others have already been taken.”
Susan Bratton: [laughs]
Mitch Joel: It’s so true, when I teach digital marketing or I teach digital branding for clients all I’m asking is, “Others are already taken, let’s do something unique. Let’s try to stand out or not stand out. Maybe being unique is not standing out. And so I would say be you because others are already taken.”
Susan Bratton: I love it. Well you did an amazing job with my request of tying it back into something inspirational and back into your personal branding. You are a good web weaver. I like it. Mitch, it’s been really fun to talk to you. That half hour flew by, flew by for me. Thank you and I know it did for everyone listening. It was really fun to get to know you and it was a content rich experience. Thank you so much for being on DishyMix.
Mitch Joel: Thank you and keep the Pod Casts coming.
Susan Bratton: Thank you so much, I really appreciate that. And thanks to all of you for listening today and to Mitch Joel. I hope you have a great day and I will talk to you next week.
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