Your Stuff is Really Ugly

I work with a lot of small businesses.  I own a small business.  My friends are fellow 8pm Warriors too.

I see a lot of stuff.

Unfortunately, your stuff is really ugly.

I know, I know I know.  It sounds mean.  That’s why I was too nervous to tell you directly.  I feel bad.  If you found this article on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin, your friends probably feel the same way.  Everyone (including me) is afraid to tell you, so they nominated me to be the bad guy this time.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • The visual elements on your website look old and worn out.
  • Your logo looks like it was designed on Microsoft Paint 10 years ago.
  • The fonts you’re using say more than the words you’re using.
  • Your videos look like a 13 year-old made them with a webcam and iMovie.
  • Your background music is cheesy.
  • Your clever designs aren’t clever.
  • Your photos are dark and grainy.

Your stuff is really ugly.

It used to be endearing….a right of passage for new entrepreneurs. “Just design it yourself,” they’d smile and say.  I was an enabler, nodding in agreement while adding:

“Entrepreneurs can’t afford great design.  Creative people are too expensive for small businesses!”

However, that is poor advice in an online world dominated by Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other visual media sites.  I’m embarrassed to share your site. I don’t want to buy from you because I mistake your ugly stuff for a lack of competence.

Good design is achievable for the average small business now. All you need to look good is put an ad or two in Craigslist, use countless crowd-source design websites, rely on templates, find hungry design students willing to intern, or look up tons of design companies that are slow right now.

Your stuff doesn’t have to be so ugly.

With so much ugly stuff out there, it is a crying shame that there are so many creative 8pm Warriors unemployed or underemployed.  I see them everywhere I look…I get resumes upon resumes.  We had to take our career page down. I feel bad.

For you.

This is your chance to look like a million bucks without spending it.

There is no excuse for ugly stuff.  It hurts my eyes.  It hurts your reputation.  It hurts your business.

Get a decent designer tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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Learning From and Loving Internet Trolls

I’m not saying I like trolls (angry commentators on the internet).

I just wonder if listening to and loving trolls will make the world a better place.

Ahna Hendrix interviewed me last week and wrote a very generous biographical piece about me. I was very honored.

Then today, the editor emailed me this comment asking if he should approve such a nasty comment:

Joseph Rolland says:

“This guy is a fake, along with his media company. I just checked out his Twitter, it’t not hard for someone with a mild knowledge of modern social media to see that this man is nothing he represents in this article.

With a follow to followers ratio of 1-1 having 10,000 followers means absolutely nothing when you follow over 9,000….nice branding strategy Aaron? Not to mention the videos him and his company seem to be associated with (Corey Pieper) have purchased views, disabled statistics and minimal comment interactions, it wouldn’t surprise if the same was done for his twitter account. Not to mention on the Attention Era Media facebook page each post is followed up with comments from himself (he’s first to comment and like his own posts) comments from his partner Ryan and the few others that work in his company. Its the same 4-5 people on each post. Check it out for yourself on their page. Rarely is there a real interaction with someone who isn’t directly associated with the company. And to top it all off the quality of the work is not breaking any barriers and is hardly different then the boring media you get working with minor studios. I appreciate what this guy is trying to do but I just don’t appreciate an article like this promoting someone who is faking his way into things. I hope that people will see this comment and take it into consideration.”

I told him to approve it.

The comment wasn’t fun to read and parts of it stung a bit, especially the stuff about my team’s Attention Era Media facebook page (which was partially correct). However, stuff like this happens when you put yourself out there.

It is true that I’m not very important in the world.  That’s why I’ve set a high goal for myself.  I’d like to make a big difference with my life someday.  Obviously, I’m not there yet.

I appreciate Joseph’s reminder.

Something tells me that Joseph needs a hug.  I assume something is really wrong in Joseph’s life for him to take the time to inspect and analyze so much of my work just to write this sort of comment.  Maybe he was genuinely disappointed in me after reading Ahna’s article.  I’m not really sure.

Regardless, we need to look forward.  It’s Christmas and the beginning of a new year soon.

Let’s each hug a troll and help make the world a better (and more encouraging) place. Something tells me we’re gonna need it.

Have a  Merry Christmas,

Aaron @Biebert

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Google Loves Twitter Bio Links

Apparently Google really loved my link to 8pmWarrior.com I had on my twitter profile.

This is what happened when I changed it from 8pmWarrior.com to help support our video portfolio at AttentionEra.com.  I thought you might find this interesting:

Despite the link remaining on the dedicated 8pm Warrior Twitter account, traffic from search engines has almost completely dropped off from almost 1000 views a week (even though I wasn’t posting much) to basically nothing.

A couple lessons here:

  1. Twitter matters if you want web traffic.
  2. Community size matters too.  Apparently 2200 followers on @8pmWarrior isn’t enough.
  3. Maybe there’s something about having two twitter accounts use one link as the Twitter bio link.
  4. I probably need to post more and let sharing be the traffic driver, not SEO.

 

Let me know if you have any other ideas.  I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Have a great night,

Aaron @Biebert

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Social Media Myth Busters

My friend Phil Gerbyshak (@PhilGerb), along with some of his friends (including my buddy Robert Caruso aka @Fondalo), just produced a free e-book to bust a couple social media myths.  It’s called “The Naked Truth of Social Media” and I enjoyed the quick read.

Here are a couple of the myths busted:

Myth: Every business should be using social media.
Myth: Nobody cares what you had for lunch.
Myth: There is a “right way” to do social media.

Some of the brilliant myth busters involved in this project:

  • Susan Baroncini-Moe
  • Chris Reimer
  • Erika Napoletano
  • Brian Clark
  • Keri Jaehnig
  • Jason Falls
  • Tom Martin
  • Ari Herzog

They certainly provided some interesting viewpoints that are worth discussion.  If you’re interested in this quick read, you can download the e-book here at SocialMediaNakedTruth.com.

Have a great night!

Aaron @Biebert

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There is so much I don’t know…

Some days I feel like I’ve got it all figured out.

I know what I need to do.  When I need to do it.  How it should be done.  Sometimes I even think I know what others should do.

Other days, I remember the truth…I honestly don’t know that much.

What I do know, I will use.  When I use what I know, I will learn new things.

What I learn, I will share.

 

If you share too, we’ll all learn more quickly.  It’s the power of team.  The power of social media; of “us” versus “me.”

It’s the power of our 8pm Warrior community.

Share something tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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Why @GaryVee Should Not Stop Tweeting at His Groupies

Gary Vaynerchuk and I had a long discussion last night about responding to people on social media.  Click here to see the conversations. Gary makes some great points, but it got a bit heated at times.

It’s all Jeff Bullas’ fault.  (Jeff, I’m just kidding)

If you prefer my leadership posts, this one might not be for you.  It’s a bunch of social media theory related to a brilliant guy who has a following of around one million people on Twitter. It will apply to anyone using social media who is crunched for time.

Let’s get started.

Why should Gary Vaynerchuk NOT stop tweeting at his groupies?

 

The better question is, “who cares?”  It’s none of my business.

Gary likes it and they like it.

It’s a win-win.

 

Gary sells more books, gains more followers.  The groupies love the little tweets back.

Everybody seems happy.

Who the heck am I to question that?

My only reservation is that this is just one example of how social media is killing real communication.  I think it’s a relevant topic for any leaders that are strapped for time, even if they don’t have that many people following them.

He thinks he’s caring by responding the best he can (I would agree), but I can see how he would feel trapped into a world of meaningless activity.  My main thought for Gary was that maybe he should publicly announce a step back from responding to 70% of tweets and focus on building more quality relationships.

Three reasons why:

1) Quality over quantity


I’m having a hard time seeing how hundreds of ultra quick twitter responses is worth much to the non-groupies out there. Gary can tweet at least 10 times per minute. Are connections being made?  Would we even know who we’re tweeting at? Honestly, I sometimes find myself doing the quick responses, thank you’s, etc and I only have 8,500 connections.  I don’t feel good about that when it happens.

Rather, I’d say pick a couple people each day, get to know them a bit, and have deeper conversations that lead somewhere.  You can’t please everyone.

Otherwise, it’s like walking through a busy town of people who all know you and all you do is nod, smile, shake hands, wink, and say hi.  More like a politician than a normal person.

2) Reputation


If you build a reputation on responding to people and valuing them, then you have to do that.  However, when I first reached out to Gary a long time ago, I didn’t get responses and it was irritating because he wrote in his book “Crush It” (highly recommended) that he would respond to anyone who tweeted or emailed him.

Because of his brand promise, I felt like he was being fake for not responding to me.  I like building relationships, not chasing stars around like a groupie.  Successful people don’t enjoy feeling like groupies.  Therefore, it will limit the type of following that he will have.  I don’t follow celebs back because I know they can’t engage.  I don’t see Gary as being any different.

When building relationships, it’s key to under-promise and over-produce.  This seems like another good example.

3) Time


It may not seem like much, but a couple words to 1000+ people a day takes up a TON of time.  I can see why he’s not able to respond to everyone.  It probably doesn’t help that Gary and I spent 4 hours chatting on Twitter last night.

Since we’re both business leaders, we have to consider the opportunity cost of random chatter on Twitter with people we won’t remember.  Our conversation was enlightening, fun, and a bit entertaining (especially the haters below), but I wonder if the same benefits apply when tweeting back the quick smiley face, three word phrase, or “thanks” to a couple hundred people per day.  Probably not.

I’m all for responding to everyone who talks to me.  I think it’s rude otherwise.  (Yes, sometimes I’m rude and don’t respond)

However, Gary has almost 1,000,000 followers just on Twitter.  Gary is a fellow 8pm Warrior, but regardless of how hard he works, how little he sleeps, or how fast he types, he still has 1440 minutes in each day…just like you and I.

At some point you run out of time.

You also run out of brainpower.

I believe Gary is a brilliant guy.  However, no amount of passion and effort will lead to quality relationships with 1000’s of people.

We’re not wired that way.

 

Most scientists say that we have the ability to maintain relationships with about 300 people, max.  Everyone else is in one ear and out the other.

Sound like a worthwhile relationship?  I can’t see how.

That’s why I don’t follow celebs, weblebrities, pro athletes, etc.  That’s why I wasn’t following Gary until today.  They are literally incapable of carrying on meaningful relationships online with most new folks like me.

They’re overwhelmed, sold out of attention, and don’t have time to respond. Classic example of Attention Era challenges.  I was shocked when Gary responded, and he’s known for trying his best.  People like Jeff Bullas and others who have 100,000+ followers usually don’t respond at all and I don’t blame them either.

Each person only has so many minutes in  a day.  I’d rather have them enjoy fulfilling relationships rather than spending every minute of free time sending winks, haha’s, lol’s, etc.

That’s just my humble opinion.  What’s yours?

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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The Problem with Yellow Pages

If you’re paying money for Yellow Pages ads, but not investing in new media…you have a problem.

The same goes for newspapers, direct mail, and so many other forms of media that half of the country doesn’t even know exists.

Watch how these two young men treat the Yellow Pages. It’s an alien.

Makes me feel old.

I remember having classes in school on how to use the Yellow Pages. Now it’s a joke.

The average person pulls out their phone and searches for a business using the internet. Younger generations have never used the Yellow Pages, rarely read the newspaper, and hardly open their mail.

The world has changed. Those who haven’t, now have a major problem.

Spread the word. The Yellow Pages are dead. What’s next?

Learn something new each night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Warning: Social Media is Killing Real Communication (and Relationships)

I remember the good old days when people called friends on their birthdays or hung out.

Now they post a message on their wall, shoot them an email, or leave a voicemail if they have time.  I’ve watched people text each other from across the room and once found out about my nephew’s baptism via Facebook pictures.  It was 20 minutes away. No society should have families randomly discovering important family events.

If this keeps up, our society is in real trouble.

Social media is cheap communication.


The problem with communicating primarily through social media channels is that it’s primarily deferred communication (more here).

No one actually knows if it’s being seen, and increasingly, it’s not. People are overwhelmed with the number of emails, updates, tweets, pins, messages, videos and other stuff flying their way.

Yet, so many times I hear from friends (especially the younger generations) asking me if I saw their latest update on Facebook.

Nope.  I didn’t.

Study after study I see shows that young people overwhelmingly prefer deferred communication to live conversation. It’s easier.

I believe there are three types of communication:

  1. Concurrent Communication  (Instant feedback)
  2. Deferred Communication (Focused, but delayed and distant)
  3. Broadcast Communication  (Maybe you’ll see or hear it)

How can you truly know someone or build a lasting bond without seeing their smile, hearing their tone changes, or getting instant feedback during your discussion?

The problem is that concurrent communication is so much harder than deferred or broadcast communication.  It requires scheduling. Social media channels make it easy to feel like your communicating with others.

We’re not.

We’re faking it and it’s tearing apart traditional relationships.  Especially among young people. As we get overwhelmed by deferred communication, stuff is missed.  Divisions are formed.

When “friends” aren’t seeing our updates, people feel lonely.  I’m seeing more suicides from very “social” people and the average number of close friends per person has fallen from four to two.

Something must change.

 

We need to develop real connections with our social media contacts.  We need to invest in human relationships.  It’s time we meet our fellow Warriors.

With that call to action in mind, I’m going to do something about my concerns.  I may disconnect from immediate family members on Facebook so we actually have to talk. Communication between families and friends should be deeper. The same goes for clients and partners.

Also, in the coming months I’m going to host several free live events so we can all meetup.

I just got back from the East Coast, but hopefully you can meet me at one of these remaining events.  It’s worth the investment of time.

For the good of our society and as an example to young people, let’s bring our online relationships offline and our family members and friends back where need to be:  in front of us, talking, laughing, crying, or smiling.

Social media is only a start.

Let’s find a way to build or rebuild personal relationships tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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