All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Why Is Everyone Busting On A-Listers?

There seems to be something new going around these days. I call it the “build yourself up by busting on someone else” syndrome. Frankly, unless you have a good reason for busting on someone in particular, I find it distasteful. However, when the only reason you’re busting on someone is because they happen to be successful, you look petty.

via Flickr

In this case I’m going to talk about the concept of A-list people. On the internet we know who these people are; Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Matt Cutts, John Chow, on and on and on. These are people that have and are making pretty good money online, get invited to speak here and there, and end up talking about how they make money and the like. Okay, maybe Matt Cutts doesn’t belong on the list for that reason, but I’ve seen people saying things about him that aren’t all that nice either.

In the book Secrets of the Millionaire Mindicon by T. Harv Eker, he talks about how people perceive those who seem to have made it as stuck up and only into themselves and how the hatred eventually comes to them, and how he used to think the same way until he started seeing things in a much different light. He saw how many of these people were really generous with their time and their money and saw how just because someone had money and success and influence (did I use that word again?) and it didn’t necessarily make them bad, and there wasn’t anything wrong with them actively trying to pursue these things. By the way, that’s an affiliate link to a book I highly recommend you check out; it’ll illuminate your mind.

What got me initially thinking about this was a guest post on Danny Brown’s blog titled Why The A-list Conversation Hurts Us that I totally disagreed with. In essence, the author stated that we the people should just stay away from these guys and break them down so everyone else has a chance at some kind of success. I totally disagreed with the premise because in my mind if these folks fall someone else will eventually become the A-listers and then another person will come along and say we should beat these people down as well. It’s a cycle I hate, one that I not only refuse to be a part of, but in a perfect scenario I know that most of us, if given the chance, would love to have the opportunity to get there.

Yeah, I know, I hear all of you now saying “oh no, I wouldn’t want that.” Please, let’s be truthful. We write because we want our words out there. We want someone to read them and react to them. We’d love to have more and more people see what we have to say, agree with what we have to say, lament because we don’t say enough of it, and then start throwing money and accolades our way to get us to write more, give them more, and let them love us. Okay, a bit extreme, but you know what I mean. I’m not saying everyone wants this, but I know the majority certainly do.

We want to share our knowledge, do it the old fashioned way. We want to be honest with our message, whether we entertain or pontificate or garner support or whatever it is we do. We want to get there on our words and our passion… just like the A-listers did. We want to be of the people, but we want the people to elevate us… just like the A-listers did.

Just so you know, this isn’t a new thought of mine. Our friend Sire wrote a post back in 2009, the most visited post of his blog ever, titled Why I No Longer Link To The Likes Of ProBlogger And John Chow, where he stated that those folks get enough love from others so he’s not going to give them any, and I stated (first comment actually) that I would be continuing to follow those blog because they gave good information, and they occasionally respond to people as well. As a matter of fact, on that post Sire had a nice conversation with Darren Rowse, which I thought was pretty classy of Darren to show up. Sire actually promoted my blog on that post, which was also cool, but he also had to deal with a few people who thought he was using the other people’s names just to raise his own profile, which may not have been fair but man, it definitely worked as his blog took off from there.

And see, that’s one of the points here. I know it’s not what Sire did on purpose, but it’s my belief that so many other people are really just trying to drag someone else down by going after them to inflate themselves. In my mind, if they can do it to those people, they could come back and do it to me. And I don’t want it done to me I don’t know that I could stand on the sidelines and take it without griping to a degree; I’m like that. lol

But maybe I’m just the sensitive type, so I’ll ask you these three questions; this will prove who reads and who just posts drive-by comments and moves on. One, if you were on the fast track to being an A-lister, would you turn it down, shut down your blog and never write again? Two, would you go out of your way to beat someone else down just to build yourself up, no matter what? And three, if you were succeeding at something that you’d worked for, would you like it if someone came along and suddenly started putting you down mainly because you’ve made it, even if they said it was something else (trust me, you’d know)?

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Non-Blogging Folks Ain’t Gonna Budge

Often I talk on this blog about this concept of influence. I talk about how important it is to try to attain influence because influence ends up helping you achieve many goals you can’t attain without it. Influence is money; influence is power. Influence makes you a player in the game; that is, if you want to be a player in the game.

I have worked on trying to bridge the gap between my perceived online influence and the lack thereof of any type of offline influence. I’ve tried in some ways to merge the two because I’m of a mind that they can and possibly should be merged in some way. I mean, I know the power of social media and have experienced some of it first hand; I also know that social media means nothing to certain people, even if they’re somewhat in it themselves, unless you bring it to them in a way they just can’t ignore.

Okay, I’ve set up the premise; now on with some details.

I have talked about a few local tweetups and other local events that have taken place locally. Whenever I write those stories, I’ve also highlighted many of the people who participated; at least as many as I can remember, which most of the time is almost everyone. I’ve done that for a few reasons.

One, most people love seeing their names as part of a story. Two, those folks have something to offer, so it’s a way to promote them in some fashion as well. And three, because one would think that if people saw their names in a story they might actually comment, give thanks, share their piece of the story I wrote about in some fashion… participate.

Folks, that just doesn’t happen. Pretty much like writing about your spouse in a blog post, if people aren’t predisposed to read and comment on blogs you just can’t do anything to get them to do it.

For instance, I wrote a recent story on my local blog about a kickball tweetup we had at one of our local lakes. I mentioned a lot of people in that post. I made sure everyone that played saw it because I posted the link on Twitter and sent some of them the story directly. There’s only one comment other than my response on that post, and it was from my friend Scott, who wasn’t even at the game. No one cared that they were in a story; no one wanted to contribute at all. Sure, on Twitter some of them said “thanks”, but that’s it.

In January I wrote about a different tweetup, one that turned out badly in my opinion, and I named names on that one as well. On that post, one person did respond to the gripe, while a couple others decided to write me direct messages on Twitter instead of open themselves up on the blog; in that case I better understood, but that post at least got comments.

However, another post I wrote some weeks back did garner a lot of attention. That was the one on 21 Top Black Social Media Influencers. That one got a lot of pop, and most of the people mentioned in that one commented here. Thing is, most of the people that commented were true social media people, which means bloggers for the most part, true bloggers. These were people who understood that it’s not just enough to say you write a blog, but that you also have to participate in the process in order to be, well, a top social media influencer. And a lot of other people also got into the game; that was nice.

To me, I think a major point has been proven, but one is still out there in a fashion. One, you’re just not going to get people who aren’t really bloggers, or “true” social media people, to contribute to the process of a blog, no matter what you do. Two, you may still be able to at least reach them and get them to see what you’ve done, even if you get no real feedback from it.

Which one is more important? I’m not sure there’s an easy or single answer for that one. I’m going to say “it depends”, kind of a wishy-washy response, then ask you what you think about it all. I mean, is it worth trying to bring those folks into the fray, or just forgetting about them and sticking to the community in general, maybe every once in awhile causing an itch in someone not really into the blogging game and garnering a momentary interest in what you have to say before going back to whatever they deem more important?

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Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Finale Review

Almost two weeks after the movies opened in the United States, I’m finally ready to write my review. Okay, spoiler alert; I loved it so much I saw it twice!

You know, often you go into movies after you’re read the book knowing exactly what’s going to happen. Since they broke this book up into two movies and since the first book stayed so close to what happened in the book, I thought I would know what was coming in this one as well.

For the most part… I was wrong. Sure, some things followed the book fairly well, but one has to imagine that it must be difficult allowing the types of speeches and conversations that happened in a book that was almost 1,000 pages long to translate word for word into a movie would be, well, a headache. So, the movie takes many liberties in the movie and totally changes some things around to keep the action going; after all, they wanted the movie to be able to appeal to everyone and not just Harry Potter fans.

Even so, many of the action scenes took place differently than they do in the book, just like in the 6th book. That’s okay as well because I understand for spacing purposes you’d lose a lot if you expanded the field of battle as well. However, in the book the battle between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix LeStrange goes on much longer than it does here, and in the book Voldemort has a long battle with many wizards at once, which doesn’t happen here.

Harry’s entrance into the castle goes much different in the movie than in the book, and his encounter with Professor Snape in the movie never happened in the book. And some people might recognize that Malfoy has one friend different than the same two friends he had in the first six movies. That’s because the actor who played that part got arrested a couple of times for drugs and they had to replace him. Of course, one of the actors still in his role never quite developed physically into the behemoth he was supposed to be so his part always had to be written differently from the books.

And the kiss… yes, the kiss between Ron and Hermoine. Actually, this is why I had to go to the movie a second time because I missed it the first time. They moved it around in the movie and, because they didn’t have it when I expected it to come, I went to the bathroom; major mistake! Glad to see it the second time around and it made sense putting it where they did once I saw it again.

In general, this was enjoyable; then again, when I know it’s going to be something I like, I’m an easy grader. I saw it the first time at the midnight showing, 3D, and the second time a week and a half later in a regular theater, where the guy gave me the senior discount; maybe I shouldn’t shave before I go to any movies anymore. lol The theater was packed the second time as well, and almost everyone that reviewed this movie has said it’s fantastic, and it’s gotten a 96% positive review from Rotten Tomatoes; those folks usually hate everything. Even Roger Ebert gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars; when’s the last time that happened for a film that people actually saw?

I’ll be waiting until both movies come out together before buying this and, as long as it is, I hope the movies include way more footage. Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment, but I really want to see more, just as I did with the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I purchased it. Great stuff. Don’t be a curmudgeon; go see this!

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10 Things People Do Wrong Concerning Blogs

Often when I write one of these types of posts it seems like I’m picking on one particular group of some kind. Today this is a little bit different. I’m picking on a group, but the group isn’t as specified except for one thing; it concerns blogs. And it’s what I see “people”, and when you see what I’ve written you’ll understand why I went that route, doing, well, wrong, or badly, or whatever; just not good. lol Here we go.

1. If you’re not trying to live what you write about then you’re wasting your time blogging. Now, that sounds harsh, but I’ll tell you what I mean. Right now, if you look to the right of this post you’ll see a post I wrote on my business blog about “trust leadership”. In that post I highlight 9 blogs I visited on Sunday. I found it interesting that all of those blogs talked about leadership in some fashion, some of them talked about building trust, yet 8 of them moderate comments, one of them adding captcha to the mix. To me you reap what you sow, and if you’re telling people up front that you don’t trust them, then why should they trust your content?

2. Your blog platform is, well, lousy. Of course this is just my belief, and for once I’m not talking about different commenting systems. Lately I see a proliferation of blogs on places such as Typepad, Tumblr, and other sites like these. I don’t count these as regular blogging platforms, although I know the Typepad people will say it is. Any platform that begins by pretty much telling me if I don’t sign into it you’re not going to honor things from outside such as Gravatar, and that you’re not going to send me messages if I comment unless I sign in (I’m not talking about a different comment system, but in this case it’s a part of the site) then it’s a lousy platform. As for Tumblr, it seems to be set up for instant messaging thoughts; in other words, you’re thinking “kill my landlord, kill my landlord” and thus you say it. Or you saw an image of puppies being cut up and you thought it was neat so you posted it. And the comments you get back are “neat”, “wow”, “cruel”… If that’s basically what’s being promoted it’s a lousy platform.

3. You leave lousy comments. Okay, this one I’ve touched upon before, but in this instance I’m not talking about people having to write great comments, and I’m not talking about spam. I’m talking about people who leave comments that never address what the topic is about. Sure, some of them might mean well, but if it doesn’t advance the conversation then what’s the point? Of course there are times when one can be funny with a one liner that actually pertains to the content, and if you’ve built up that type of equity with the blog writer then it’s fine. And if I put up one of my Muppet posts I really don’t expect anything other than “I love/hate the Muppets”; course, if you hate the Muppets you’re a cruel person. 😉

4. You don’t at least try to do a good job of writing your blog posts on a regular basis. I think I’ve written only one post in all these years that I should have checked over before I put it out, and that was when I used my Dragon software without going back to read everything. None of us are perfect, thank goodness, but most of us are pretty good. If we invite people into our space the very least we can do is have a nice place for them to sit.

5. Don’t leave “please contact me” comments on blog posts. The only time one can validate that is if the person who owns the blog hasn’t given you any contact information anywhere else, and if you as a blogger hasn’t put an email address somewhere on your blog so people can contact you, do it now. I have this type of thing happen to me all the time when people want to write guest posts or contact me for some other reason, but I have an About page on every blog that has at least an email address that you can reach me at.

6. If you read any of the “page” information that people have let instructions on make sure you read it if you have any questions. Of course most people will say they don’t have questions, but sometimes they do. If someone has written a comment policy it probably means you should read it if you’re thinking about leaving a fake name or one of those keyword names to see if the person whose blog it is likes that sort of thing. If not, you may find your comment gone or that you’ve irked the blog writer.

7. Let me expound on the “information” part of pages. I have a high number of people that want to either write guest posts for me or buy advertising on my finance blog. I created a page where I tell people which email address to write me at AND to use my name; if my name isn’t in the email it tells me you didn’t read what I had to say. It’s very simple to follow, and any time I get an email without my name on it I just delete it without reading it. Could I be missing something? Yes, but if you don’t stand by your standards then why have any?

8. By the way, if you’ve written any “pages” that you hope people will see, at least make sure they’re understandable so you don’t confuse people. There shouldn’t be any question as to how you want people to act in your space if you’ve taken the time to put something together.

9. Be nice. So far I’ve popped on some things I don’t like. Just asking, but in saying what I’ve said, have I been anything but nice? I always figure there’s a way to get a gripe across and still be nice. One doesn’t have to be too forward. One doesn’t have to use bad language. One doesn’t have to name call. Yeah, there are things that irritate me, but anyone you meet will tell you I’m a nice guy and, in my own way, a straight shooter. When I work directly with people in more of a coaching or training role, I give them options of things to do and my belief on the consequences of those actions rather than just tell them what to do. If someone asks me an opinion and I know they’re going to disagree (yeah, I often already know that) I’ll rarely be forward and tell them that, unless it’s the only way to get them to leave me alone (here I’m talking about things like religion; don’t go there with me). I want to be treated nice and courteous, and Dr. Phil says you teach people how to treat you by your actions. Yes, I watch Dr. Phil. lol

10. Guest posting; give your best and then try to give something different. I just wrote a guest post for someone I know locally. She said I could write on anything. I took a look through her blog to see the types of things she wrote about, then I wrote this post titled Why I Call Out “Isms”. One of her passions is the rights of others, and I tend to agree with her on this. In my mind one doesn’t “mail in” a guest post. You give it your all, try to turn it into something you might not always do for yourself, and go that extra route. I hope you check it out to see what I mean. It’s a topic I might write about here every once in awhile, but it’s not the type of post I’d write here; at least I don’t think it is.

And there you go; I bet you thought I wouldn’t be able to come up with 10, did you? So, share your thoughts, as always; after all, if I didn’t want to hear them, I wouldn’t put them out there.

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Criteria For Hiring – A Rant

I’m going to admit something up front; I’m writing angry right now. I’m angry for a business reason, not a personal reason, and I don’t believe my anger is misdirected. However, it’s something to think about overall, which is why I’m writing about it.

For close to two weeks I’ve been working on landing a project out of state. It would have been a big project that could have lasted upwards of six months or so. Overall it’s the kind of project that can make or break a good financial year.

It started out strangely, seemed to end but didn’t, then picked up steam once more. I have the credentials for the job. I have the skills for the job. It was supposedly me against one other person, and the other person’s skills turned out to be lacking; seems she’d never done any of the work they needed to have done.

But I have, multiple times. I’ll tell you that it was a health care project, and I do have the skills for it. Let’s just say that I helped one hospital earn an “extra” $736 million in one year, and I actually created the product that was needed in my field for a 5-hospital system in another country some years ago. I’ve been doing this particular type of work for almost 25 years; I’m easily qualified.

On Wednesday I spoke to someone about the gig and it went really well. You know, whenever you speak to candidates about something you just get a feeling on how it goes. I knew my stuff; heck, she knew my stuff. We discussed tactics and the like and what the overall scope of the project was. She said it was a lot and she couldn’t handle it; I said I could.

Once that happens you have to wait. And I did, all through yesterday and into this morning. I knew that if the call came through I was going to have to scramble to get everything collected because it was going to be kind of far away. But I was mentally prepared for anything.

Except not getting it. Just a little while ago I heard that I didn’t get it, and for what I’d have to say is a very stupid reason. My qualifications aren’t in question as to whether I can do the job. What’s in question is whether my skills can translate to a larger organization like theirs.

And you know what the kicker is? The person that made the ultimate decision has no clue what I do. He works in a department that has nothing to do with what I do, but since they’re missing the person in the position that would normally make this decision he made it. Pure idiocy, and I’m angry.

I get it; people make decisions every day on stuff they don’t know anything about, or may not know much about. The reasons we do this is because we need stuff but can’t know about everything. I know nothing about plumbing, roofing, electricity, etc. So I have to hire someone I don’t know, whether I get a recommendation or not.

At the same time, I understand that there are sometimes other, outside factors that might lead us to not want to hire someone or to work with someone. If they’re unkempt and work a job that doesn’t keep them that way we might be hesitant. If they smell or seem creepy, and y’all know that happens, I got it. If you get a bad vibe and the Spidey senses are telling you to beware, that makes sense as well.

But if you don’t have those issues, and all things are equal, at least make sure your criteria is sound. I’ve given leadership presentations to as few as 10 people and as many as 250 at a time. Does that mean I’m not qualified, if I got lucky enough, to speak in front of 500 to 1,000 people at a time? If the message is the same and the information is the same do the numbers really mean all that much?

So let me ask you this. If you needed services and a person’s qualifications were sound and you checked references or previous work and it all came back stellar, but you didn’t really fully understand what these people were going to do for you (kind of reminiscent of our SEO discussion some months ago) would you just make up criteria based on a flawed perception or would you take into account what someone with the skills and knowledge (like the woman I talked to) had to say about it?

Yeah, I’m at the end and I’m still mad, but less so now. lol

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