No Bull: Taking No Prisoners When Telling Compelling Stories

I have a TON of content in the pipelines but I think this is one of those emotionally-charged articles that simply cannot wait. I’ve been catching up with my social media optimization (SMO) and blogging efforts. In doing so, I’ve met some really AWESOME geeks that, in a few words, have reminded me why I love a good storyteller!

I want to talk about two of these awesome geeks, little-known (at least for now) rockstar bloggers and storytellers, the elusive JJ and the ass-kicking Spartan Dino Dogan. I’m not usually one for fanboy rhetoric, I deplore it actually, but these two are amazing bloggers, brilliant visionaries, and smart business people. Here’s the main reason why:

They consult and insult in a professional manner that drives REAL value, without hype or excessive bias.

In our a world full of opinions, over-zealous believers (in anything, not just religion), and blind fanaticism, we’re bound to offend some with our contrasting thoughts and beliefs. The stronger our convictions, the stronger the offenses. Julie and Dino realize this so they don’t bother to walk on egg shells. They simply share their positions and beliefs on things and then explain what brought them to formulate their overall worldview and principles.

When sharing information and opinions, you have to balance passion in what you believe to be true or right with being open-minded and sensitive. The latter is huge. If you make some strong statements, be ready to back them up and receive criticism, which leads me to the next point…

Criticism is a GOOD thing.

I’d like to think that I am rather humble and approachable, but even I get excited when buckets of accolades come pouring in. Everyone needs some degree of ego rubbing and I’ll admit it’s nice. Affirmation, motivation, and support keep us driven and there’s only so much you can do within yourself to meet those inherent needs. We humans are social creatures, even if some of us dislike the masses due to ignorance and chest-beating hypocrisy.

Paul Wolfe’s article on stopping comment luvin’ really drives home what may be uncomfortable truths to some. Here’s my own take-aways or, better yet, revelations from the article:

  • Not everyone likes you.
  • Most will oppose you.
  • You may be “flying blind”.
  • Your ideas may just suck.

Let’s be REAL here: it’d be a dreadfully boring world if we all agreed on everything. The things that separate us can also bring us together. If you’re mature and dynamic enough, you’ll learn and change, as needed.

The real rub here is that your truth may be someone else’s lie. The bigger you get (and the more pervasive your personal brand, or virtual resume, becomes), the more you will be inevitably scrutinized and insulted. This is a necessary evil if you want to improve yourself and evolve your ideas.

I’ll recycle one of my favorite quotes to put it simply (and less wordy than I usually do):

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. –Arthur Schopenhauer

What this means to you and I is that great thinkers and innovators will always be met with contention. There is a very thin, almost invisible line between genius and crazy. You may be the latter but you never know until you take the plunge. To that end, I like Chris Brogan’s painfully simple “Launch And Learn” system: don’t over-think or worry, just go out and do it!

A simple shift of perspective goes a long way. Instead of viewing critics as mere trolls, try to draw value from what they say, even if the message is muddled with insults and stupidity. Call me a silly optimist but every bad situation can be turned around into something good!

Don’t just disagree for the sake of disagreeing.

Sure, I just said it’s good to disagree or be disagreed with but now I’m contradicting myself? I’m such a hypocrite (that’s good too because it shows evolving thoughts and personal growth). Seriously, what I mean here is simple: don’t be THAT guy.

Who is THAT guy?

The guy in question is the elusive individual that some refer to as a know-it-all or proudly stupid. These are folks that may be too oblivious or self-absorbed to see that they are just ignorant. They may dress up their attacks with so-called good intentions but, really, they just like to get a rise out of people.

These same people make bold statements to draw fodder for their mental warfare. It’s all about trying to uncover supposed fallacy, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy. That guy likes to discredit people to steal their thunder. Quite often, it’s because they have no real good ideas so might as well shoot down those others share openly. Whatever their motives, they are dangerous because they use knowledge for selfish and/or destructive things.

Don’t be THAT guy, m’kay?

You. are. a. cunt.

Depending on who you are, you’ll either laugh at that or be grossly offended.

Marketing, creative works, communication, business, simple human interaction.. Everything that involves opening up, storytelling, and being a bit vulnerable has a scary risk: people will often resort to insults when you made them feel small. You may have done it on purpose or by accident. Either way, you have to deal with it. Ignorance set ablaze can be quite damaging, to say the very least.

Women particularly get a raw deal when it comes to “getting intimate” with an audience. If a man shares a strong opinion, he is considered insightful or revolutionary (insert synonyms and other buzz words HERE). When a woman does the same thing, she is merely opinionated.. Or a cunt.

If communication is at the core of your business, and it should be, you have to become a word maven. Be wary of words and their connotations. Some topics and words are hot-button items, sure to set someone off. On the flip side, don’t be easy to offend. Words are, ultimately, what you make of them.

If heated debate after sharing a compelling story is unavoidable, try the following:

  • Thank them for the participation.
  • Relate to their stance somehow.
  • Share a story and your findings thereof.
  • Be authentic and as civil as possible.

Being the bigger person pays huge dividends and it’ll make the other person look like more of an ass too, if the situation calls for it. Kill ’em with kindness, as they say. Sound like a plan?

Take no prisoners. Go for the gusto. Stir debate. RAWR.

Back to Dino and JJ! Did I mention I love these two geeks? While their target audiences are slightly different, they both excite me because they take no prisoners. Love them or hate them, they keep pushing onward. They go all the way, with no hesitation, stirring debate to provoke thoughts and sharing useful, valuable stuff every step of the way. It’s awe-inspiring!

They each have their own unique style, underlying themes, and target audiences but they both:

  • Tell it how it is, making no apologies about it. At the same time, they’re not looking to call people out or mud-sling.
  • Write in a hard-nosed, emotionally-stirring manner that still manages to be focused, direct, and objective.
  • Value their supporters in real ways, rather than merely patronizing them.
  • Avoid hype and excessive bias or spin, sticking to facts and figures.
  • Share stories we can all relate to somehow, even if the subject matter is a bit obscure to some.
  • Know when to rub egos or give you a dose of reality, as needed (SEE Insultant and Consultant in Dino’s House (

Last but not least, JJ and Dino are amazing at edifying their peers and supporters. This makes stories really hit home for a wider audience. Their creative works feel very warm and inclusive. They’re not creating little elitist clubs for mere self-gratification and that, on it’s own, is truly remarkable!

Tell your story and be authentic.

Let’s gather around the campfire…

Good storytelling is hard to come by. Authentic experiences are all the more rare. With all the faceless, soulless entities out there, it’s easy to stand out if you’re simply being REAL. Each and every day, I am trying to become a better storyteller because I know it’ll help me become a better person (yes, it sounds cheesy.. sue me). More importantly, I know I am providing unique, valuable content, not peddling propaganda, rehashed junk, and silly, empty rhetoric.

Simply put, being authentic means not being under-handed. Be direct with your ideas and forthcoming with intentions. Don’t try to be a salesperson. Just do something that people will want to talk about and good things will come.

I know I derailed here a bit but I urge you to read any articles written by Dino, JJ, and their friends. It’s almost always guaranteed to be a good read if you keep an open mind. Just remember: when you tell a story, talk TO me, not AT me. Remarkable stories turn into engaging conversations.

Let’s Discuss:

Think back to the last time someone told you a story. Consider what inspired you or pissed you off…

  • What makes you feel like you really connect with someone, even if only afforded a few minutes to interact?
  • Do you prefer a more preachy or serious tone, or something different?
  • What differentiates storytellers most for you (think businesses, web sites, blogs, and other stuff)?
  • How do you think a creative gets a message to really hit home with an audience?

Any other thoughts? Please share. If you disagree with me, even better. Let’s be mindful of the other guests: keep it clean and constructive. I look forward to your wonderful and thought-provoking ideas, folks!


11 thoughts on “No Bull: Taking No Prisoners When Telling Compelling Stories

  1. Hello Triberr friend!

    Interesting post – Pushed the envelope, yet made a point.

    I’m familiar with Dino, and I have to agree with you — He has a way of working with everyone. And working through the motions no matter the details or persona. I’m a fan of his work…he too pushes envelopes…and I like that.

    One phrase you used above I like:

    “Remarkable stories turn into engaging conversations.”

    This is true. Not enough people remember this. They’re too busy talking at people than to them, or with them.

    I like the word *with*.

    What about you?


    • Hi Keri!

      It’s funny you ask because I real wrestled with the phrase a bit. I agree that “with” is better, especially when my closing statement hones in on conversations, which are mutual experiences. I find that a shift from “selling” to “sharing” makes everything that follows far more easier. Not to mention you can qualify leads and determine if they are good sales prospects or something more!

      You are as perceptive as always, Keri! Pushing the envelope was exactly what I was aiming for.. Of course, I wasn’t trying to come off as a “screamer” or “shock jock”, either. My hope is that I personified the very styles and tones that I find compelling myself. I really wanted to illustrate why taking risks is necessary in the business world.

      In a few words, you can’t play it safe all the time. I think Dino does a great job with his “risky business” approach to things. Marcus Sheridan, Danny Brown, and many others are also good on that end. I also mentioned Julie Nutter, whom I feel will become a very influential woman in social media, modern marketing, and small business alike – check her out and tell me what you think!

      BTW, I like that quote too. I re-read the article five times and enjoyed it each time. Usually, I can be my own worst critic. *laughs* Working up from mastering storytelling to building conversations wrapped it up pretty well, I hope. 8)

  2. thanks a lot! I really needed to find more ways to eat up my time SMH. No seriously, great post! I read it in it’s entirety, clicked through your links and will now embark on further reading of stuff I wasn’t sure I would be interested in. You made me a believer on Dino (I can’t help but think of Fred Flinstones dog when I see that name).

    Of course his latest vacation article has links of its own that is making me want to embark to more reading and you get the point. An endless spiral of information overload awaits me.

    Still, good read all the same 🙂

    • LMAO! I think the same which makes him all the more cool: the man defies all preconceptions and assumptions. I mean, I was sort of hoping he was a talking dinosaur-dog but I’m glad he is not! ;o)

      Glad you enjoyed the read and the reads beyond the main text. LOL.. There’s so much content out there that I just try to pick-and-choose the most relevant stuff, rather than play catch-up; otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to reach out to every supporter and like-minded geek.

      Dino actually found me at first when I wrote a Triberr review a couple of months back. I liked but never really got into it until we got to talk. Now we have plans to do an interview together and maybe some other fun projects, like a no-bull raw, uncut tech-geek podcast. I love the guy.. In his podcast, the phone rings and the sound quality is terrible but it makes him all the more REAL!

      (Can you tell he’s my mancrush? LOL)

  3. I like this post – even though it has me in it ;]

    First (and only) Note: This post can be three posts. It’s not that you make too many points…it’s that you keep reiterating and redefining a point that has honestly hit home.
    The problem for me comes in the fact that you so beautifully made your point…and then you keep going. ;]

    You’re babysitting your readers and trust me, they don’t need it! If someone doesn’t catch on, leave em in the dust.

    (Something I do is when blogging is to make sure I’ve highlighted my points, and then go back to see what I can remove from my articles. I even did it with this comment.)

    So. Food for thought. (And sorry to be a pain in the ass; it’s what I do.)



    1.) Connecting
    I like people who are down-to-earth, firm in their beliefs because they actually have THEIR OWN opinions, and don’t accept the status quo. I don’t connect well with people who jump when they’re told to jump or believe something because someone told them to.
    I don’t even care if I agree, just so long as your opinions are truly your own.

    2.) Preachy or Serious?
    I prefer down to earth. Serious can be read as preachy depending on the interpreter. I just like the no-bullshit, take no prisoners BUT trying to get a point across in such a way that it makes people think and maybe even do a little independent research, if you know what I mean. *wink*
    Also, I define Dino’s style as down-to-earth, realistic, and fascinating. I want to be just like him when I grows up. =D

    3.) Storytellers.
    I don’t think most of us are, tbh. Weavers of words and ideas (going on Dino’s blog here) wherein we can turn anything (even a billboard) into a thought-provoking, MAKE PEOPLE THINK FOR THEMSELVES kind of adventure.

    4.)Creative message hits home.
    Psychologically speaking (and I hate psychology) it’s easiest to get a point to hit home when it doesn’t insult the reader’s belief system, ideals, etc, and is presented in such a way that it provokes thought as opposed to turning the reader to the defensive.
    I suppose that’s where creativity comes in.
    I should work on that. ;]

    • Bwahaha! Admittedly, I’ve been trying to stick to the regiment of regular posting to drive traffic.. I guess that goes to show that it’s best to focus on quality, after all. It’s also good to have an outside perspective in the editorial process as I did not catch the redundancy in the four times I re-read before publishing. Of course, I am too attached to the subject matter.

      In an ideal world, I’d “totally” (wink) focus on writing and programming work. It’s what I love.. I think quite a lot will change when I go self-hosted. It creates a whole new level of urgency, a more quality-focused, due-diligence type of mindset, IMHO.

      Regarding storytelling, Dino is definitely rare in that he can speak with conviction on any topic and turn anything into a story. But everyone has their own style, some better, differentiated, and more authentic than others. I sometimes surprise myself by looking at something mundane or random then thinking, “What can we learn from this?” Hitting those otherwise intangible things is certainly one of the most satisfying parts of storytelling! =oD

      Thanks for another awesome round of comments, JJ! ^_^

      • LOL.. A number of things had me on the fence with self-hosting but, basically, I know it’ll be high-maintenance. The initial setup is what has delayed self-hosting. I’ve been working on stuff for clients and neglecting my own babies. What can I say? A little bit of laziness there. =oX

    • Indeed it is! Sometimes you have to be crass to get a point across and you can’t always walk on egg shells.. But some folks need more of a filter. Sure, you focus on the message, not the messenger, but troll types rarely substantiate what is mostly irrational, emotionally-charged dribble.

      You hit the nail right on the head, with a Steel Mallet +10, mind you. Silly fanboys.. At least they are mostly entertaining to observe, if not write about. Bwahaha!

      Anywho, I have an interview coming up with one of the Internet’s masters of badassery, Dino Dogan. This may very well be my best work yet. Check back in next week (maybe sooner, I won’t stop ya), bud!

  4. Pingback: Your Success In Simple Terms (K.I.S.S. Revisited) « Yogizilla's Blankity Blank-Blank (An NoF Portal)

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