What Well Over 10 Years Of Blogging & Consulting Have Taught Me

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you lived and lived well.”  That provides strong principles and values, a useful framework, to live by but is it a useful definition of purpose?  I offer a simpler take:

The purpose of life is to find your true purpose.

This article will explore my journey, not for the sake of mere self-indulgence but for the purpose of helping you on your own journey and perhaps getting to know each other better.  I hope that, by the end, you’ll realize just how valuable and accomplished you are.  If you’re at a crossroads in life, this may be the article for you.  If you have any thoughts to share, please don’t be shy.  This one will be quite the journey!

This epic collection of stories and scattered thoughts will cover a lot of things, including, but not limited to:

  • How writing can be a tool of self-discovery and self-improvement
  • What I’ve learned through running Y3B as a vehicle for consulting
  • Going beyond establishing expertise and credibility
  • Toxicity and the dangerous brand of knowledge (i.e. bad advice)
  • Why culture/personality fit trumps technical knowledge and experience

Tomorrow, on April 6th 2017, Y3B turns 11 years old and it will mark an over 20-year journey.  While I’ve dabbled in just about everything and worn many hats, writing and technology have always been passions.  The challenge is translating those passions that into what Mark Schaefer calls sustainable interests, a concept that I have long taught and believed in before the book “Known” was published.  That said, you really should read “Known” and check out the discussion groups on it.

known-book-mark-w-schaefer

I believe blogging is still one of the most powerful tools for those wishing to be known.  On a greater scale, if you wish to establish credibility and visibility, the written word is still one of the most compelling ways to do so.  Writing forces you to really think through your ideas in a way you may not do on a podcast and certainly not video, where you may be more preoccupied with production quality instead of the relevant, uniqueness, and importance of your message/stories.  Writing is easily the most powerful form of communication and it is something everyone should strive to improve upon, if for no other reason than to structure your ideas and self-identity better.

 

I’m Not A Blogger, This Is Not A Blog

When folks have asked me over the last few years what it is that I do, I never answer with blogging.  It’s not my focus or core competency.  I believe that calling yourself a blogger diminishes the value of what you do; furthermore, your blog should be a catalyst for bigger things.  The term “blogger” has become synonymous with hobby or passion, not profession or purpose.  That’s fine if your blog is truly a labor of love but, if it can be so much more, why wouldn’t you develop it as such?

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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 (DIYBlogger.net))

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!

Y3B’s 50th Post And My Plans As A Writer, Gamer, And Entrepreneur

Hey guys and gals: this is my 50th post on Y3B – WOOHOO!

Now it may not seem like much to the more prominent bloggers, writers, social media rockstars, and master promoters out there but I’m pretty darn excited! I started Y3B as a sort of hobby but, when I realized just how much I love blogging as an extension of my passions in writing, marketing, video games, and creative pursuits thereof, I saw the urgency in ramping up my efforts. Here I am, world!

Prepare for one of my usual long-winded ramblings but, please, let me know if you can relate!

Finding The Perfect Balance In Blogging: Making A Living While Remaining Authentic

One thing I’ve tried to do, almost to a fault, is provide very detailed articles with little or no “content borrowing”. This is a raw, sometimes chaotic, all-original blog and, if I may say so, it’s more than most of the junk out there. Sadly, I don’t have the numbers to show for it but that is my fault. The problem I’ve also discovered is that, in covering all the bases, I leave little left to discuss. Considering the aforementioned, a big focus for me and all “creative engineers” is engaging our audience in ongoing conversations (in other words, retaining our visitors).

Blogging, like many creative ventures (i.e. video game and web design), is a delicate balancing act. We are charged with the responsibility of managing expectations and delivering on our promises. Our readers come to us because they found something they like and to NOT continue building upon that is a wasted effort, whether you’re trying to monetize or just do it for the love and passion of the experience. To that end I say, “Why can’t you do both?” Continue reading

Google EVIL Panda Algorithm Update: Even Greater Urgency For Us Little Guys

UberGizmo recently posted an awesome article about the terrible Google Panda Algorithm Update (thanks to Brinked.com site owner, Will H, for sharing). To say the least, this article was not a good birthday present for me. April 19th 2011 could very well mark a turning point for all of the Internet.
 
The news about Google’s search engine changes comes with some revelations I’ve gathered over the past few years, especially recently. Several sources indicate that around 70 to 99% of (search engine) traffic goes to 1 to 5% of the web sites out there. Whatever the actual numbers are, the lesson remains the same: us little guys are in a real hard place. The minds behind Triberr, a service which helps like-minded people promote their Internet “things”, say that this is a shame because some of the best content can be found outside of “the top”, which I agree with wholeheartedly!

The problem here is that the Google (EVIL) Panda Algorithm Update essentially rewards technically-savvy web sites that lack creativity, heart, and innovation. As UberGizmo so effectively illustrated, someone can take original content, not even crediting the source, and out-rank the originator. WTF?

Google EVIL Panda

Is Google the big bad bear now?

 

I already had plans to ramp-up my creative efforts and create greater urgency for my fellow writers, marketers, and entrepreneurs but now we REALLY have to motivate! With these new rules in play, what can small businesses, bloggers, and innovators do? I have a few ideas… Continue reading

To Niche Or Not To Niche? The Urgency In Focusing On The Few, NOT The Masses

Today, I caught a tweet (one that was actually useful) leading me back to the Make Money Blogging article by BlogBuildingServices.com – GREAT read!  It got me thinking: do you REALLY need to have a “niche” to be successful as a blogger (or heck, even a writer)?  The short answer is NO..  But it certainly makes life easier.

If I compare my two main blogs, Yogizilla’s Blankity Blank-Blank (An NoF Portal) and Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Pass Online (DPO), DPO is certainly the winner in terms of performance and visibility.  On a slow day, DPO gets 80-100 visitors and that’s regardless of whether or not there have been recent updates.  Yu-Gi-Oh! is the main focus of the site but I discuss anime, manga, and video games on DPO too!  Certainly, those topics are all things that have avid fans.  Anime, manga, and Yu-Gi-Oh! are certainly niches too.

It would seem that having a more diversified blog is not worth the trouble, right?  Not at all.  When I get hits on this blog, they are more quality hits.  Less spam, more real visitors, more returning traffic..  This is great for SMO purposes..  SEO, not so much.

Really, that’s where the magic happens with blogs: optimizing for social media and search engines (SMO and SEO, respectively).  Razor-sharp focus on a single niche can help but, if your focus is TOO small, you can over-optimize your content.  What I like about having two different blogs is that I get to use different writing styles; better yet, my Yogizilla-branded primary blog allows me to go off on tangents and somehow connect everything with often-subtle underlying themes. Continue reading