|+Taylor Swift (middle) and me (third from right) photo by +Sony|
Can you manufacture scarcity?
|“Variety of Scarcity” by bryanesque is licensed under CC BY 2.0|
Recently I was reading an article my dad sent me about +Bobby Flay and his new mission to open a new restaurant in Manhattan–a city with plenty of restaurants already.
It got me thinking. Something like 80% of small businesses fail, and a large number of those are restaurants. So, if a certain type of business has a shelf life, why don’t we exploit that and build it into the business model?
What I am pitching here could be a billion-dollar concept, assuming you can figure out how to lower overhead and control costs. What if you opened a restaurant with an incredible chef, trendy decor, fresh menu items and everything that food critics are clamoring for, but then tell the world that the restaurant will only be open for 9 months. Can you manufacture scarcity?
After time, the restaurant is doomed to fatigue, grow out of its honeymoon period, wither and become stale. People will stop talking about it, and the food costs will rise as the revenues subside. However, if you knew that you could only keep that concept vibrant for a certain period of time and exploited that by telling the world, could you keep the place packed before it was time to close up shop?
What are you known for?
|talk to the experts by Mai Le is licensed under CC BY 2.0|
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday serves as a great day to ask yourself, “what are you known for?”
No, we won’t all move mountains. We won’t all change the course of human history. We won’t all make it into the history books, but we all have the opportunity to make a change in the world. It can be something small, something big, or something that only affects a single person.
Regardless of what you want to be in the world or what you want to do, people will always associate you with certain things. If you work with them, they might just see you as a co-worker, if you bowl with them, they might just see you as a bowling partner, if you do great things though, they might see you for your accomplishments.
One of my biggest struggles as I have created my personal brand identity, is to figure out exactly what I want people to think of me as. Do I want to be a SEO expert? Nah. A community management expert? Maybe. A social media guru? Definitely not. A storyteller? Probably.
The challenge of trying to define yourself as a topical expert of one particular niche is important if you want to be a known authority for that particular subject. But, what if you’re like me and you’re interests are all over the place? What if you love consumer electronics, but also have advice for how small businesses can better use social media to attract new customers? What if you like debating issues like social media platform design and application user experience?
Can you truly be the master of anything if you enjoy so many different things?
I have been watching quite a few characters on Google+ recently, and I’m starting to notice a trend. The people that are regarded as topical experts post a lot about their given topic. However, a large number of them seem to cross over, post and comment on things that might be tangential to their focus, but not necessarily their blockbuster topic.
The bottom line, though is these people always return to what they do best, and because of that, they are known for that. +Mark Traphagen is on top of everything related to Authorship in SERPs. +Ronnie Bincer knows every technical aspect of Google+ Hangouts, Hangouts on Air and YouTube interface. +David Amerland has established himself as an expert on semantic search while +Dustin W. Stout is leading the wave on fresh, purposeful content and engagement. Need to know anything about Google+ on the whole? +Denis Labelle and a slew of others likely have you covered. Android news? +Derek Ross is all over it.
These examples are people that have chosen to focus, and because of their focus, they are rewarded with being known for their focus. Those of us that chose to be interdisciplinary won’t achieve the same recognition of these individuals, and won’t stand out in a crowd for being the best at any one particular thing.
By diversifying your interests, you have the ability to learn so much about so many different things. However, in doing so, you can sometimes sacrifice the opportunity to be known as an expert. Regardless, though, how important is it to be known as an expert of one particular thing?
As I look to shift my career, I’m learning that ambition is no match for hard work and years of experience. Hiring managers and companies looking for consultants don’t just want someone that knows what they’re talking about, they want someone that can prove that they have consistently performed. These individuals, by choosing their focus and continuing to teach and share have done exactly that.
For the rest of the year, I am going to be asking myself, “what am I known as?” But until I figure it out, maybe you can help, what do you know me as?
To Share +1's or Not to Share +1's
Yesterday I was perusing my stream on Google+ when I noticed that +Dustin W. Stout had +1’d a post by +Taylor Swift. Now, I couldn’t help but think it was out of place for someone as savvy as Dustin to broadcast his interaction on a post with a mega celebrity that doesn’t have much at all to do with his realm (being awesome at the Internet).
When I privately alerted Dustin of what I thought must have been a mistake, something that he had overlooked, I got a reply that made me totally reconsider the way I thought about sharing +1’s.
Within minutes of seeing Dustin’s reply, I noticed this post in my stream by +Chris Jenkins that had been “vetted” by +Mark Traphagen, +Derek Ross and +Eli Fennell (three people that I highly admire).
Prior to the screen capture, I didn’t have +Chris Jenkins in my circles. In fact, if the three people that I trust so much hadn’t +1’d the post and had their accounts enabled to show +1 recommendations, I never would have seen the post appear in my stream.
When the +1 broadcast feature was initially released, it was met with two schools of thought. One was that those that decided to turn the broadcast on, would either self-censor themselves or “over-share” and possibly +1 things that didn’t fit their brand or niche. The other school of thought was that by enabling the feature, you would allow your followers to be open to a whole new world of content and creative people.
Sadly, at the time of the release, I bought into the first theory. I didn’t want to censor myself by changing the way that I 1+ content. I wanted to +1 whatever the heck I wanted to, and not worry about someone else seeing it appear in their stream. I wanted to show everyone I was following that I was listening.
I guess at a certain point in your Internet presence, that school of thought is okay. But, with a large audience comes a bit of responsibility (at least in my mind) which is why I think I should take the opportunity to share what I find interesting with the rest of my followers. Starting today, I’m going to think about what I really enjoy reading, watching and engaging with. As I find things those things, I think it’s time to reward the people that took the time and effort to create and share those things.
Thanks, +Dustin W. Stout, for making me change the way I think.
I'm betting 2014 will be the year of long-form content.
Social media changed everything.
For a long time now, we have been conversing in short sentences. Curbing so many of our communications to under 140 characters, that some bloggers have taken to curbing their content as well, trying to hold onto whatever sliver of the American’s attention span that is left.
Do we all have ADD? Are we all incapable of reading a few paragraphs and getting through the entirety of one’s thoughts before forming our own opinions? Have we been reduced to exchanging memes and animated GIFs as each one of us tries to get wittier than the other?
At some point or another, it all needs to stop. We need to get back to what writers do best: sharing stories.
No, I’m not talking about the Cliff’s notes or the 15 second video. I’m talking about the 1,000 word essay, the 45-minute documentary, the high resolution portfolio that took months to perfect. I think it’s time for us to step away from the “quick and easy” and focus on investing some time an quality in the content we share.
The reason that so many of us create content isn’t because it feeds our family or keeps a roof over our head. The reason most of us create content to share freely is because we enjoy doing it. So what’s better than being the best at what you enjoy doing?
I think we are heading into a time where people focus less on the “idea of the moment” and start to hone in on the “concept that lasts.” Sure, we’ll still exchange puns and funny images that mock our popular culture, but those that are interested in creating things will focus less on the quick and easy, not so much on instant gratification but more on creating ideas and artwork worth spreading.
As everyone becomes an expert in “social media” the value of being a social media expert in cheapened. We have all figured out how to communicate with each other online. Some of us perhaps better than others, but we’ve all learned that creating an account, building a presence and carrying on a conversation isn’t all that hard. What’s really hard is creating a conversation that lasts.
I may be stepping out on a limb, but I really feel that this next year will be the year of carefully-curated, meticulously thought-of and passionately perceived long-form Internet content.