Ever wonder what gives certain ideas, businesses, or careers unstoppable momentum? Are you looking for that spark to turn your small ideas into a huge success?
Mark Schaefer talks about his new book, Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds on this episode of Social Media News Live.
Jeff Sieh: [00:00:00] Welcome to social media news live. I’m Jeff Sieh and you’re not. This is the show where we keep you up to date on what’s happening in the world of social media.
[00:00:08] On today’s show, we have Mr. Mark Schaefer here to talk about his latest book, the cumulative advantage, how to build momentum for your ideas, business, and life against all odds. And we also want to do a big shout out to our sponsor. It is . If you’re wondering how we’re doing these amazing graphics, bringing in comments, switching cameras, it’s all done with ECAMM.
[00:00:31]If you’d like to find out more about them, make sure that you go to socialmedianewslive.com/ecamm, If you can dream up your live show, they can make it happen. Once again, socialmedianewslive.com/ecamm, and I wanted to introduce, the amazing Grace Duffy. Tell us a little bit, I know you’ve got a new gig too.
[00:00:47] So talk a little bit about that.
[00:00:50] Grace Duffy: [00:00:50] I do well when I am not producing. And co-hosting this really fun show with my friend, Jeff, I am the virtual events manager over at restream and restream is the technology we are using to get this onto Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Amazon live, which is just through a few of the 30 plus destinations online destinations that you can stream to using restream.
[00:01:15] And with our pro and premium accounts, you can actually save the recordings and then download just the audio, which is what allows us to turn this into a podcast. So I would, we just had a new product update, high Rez sound in the restream studio. So now your viewers can experience smooth. Two 62 56 kilobytes per second.
[00:01:38] Audio. I can’t always say
[00:01:39] Jeff Sieh: [00:01:39] numbers. I had to look it up. I can get it. Yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah. It’s high quality. So anyway, let’s introduce our guests. I’m so excited. We teased them at the beginning of the show. The amazing Mark Schaefer author of Cumulative Advantage. So if you don’t know who Mark is, which is.
[00:01:52] Amazing if that’s not true, but he is a globally recognized author. He’s a speaker, he’s a podcaster and a business consultant, his blog and podcast, the marketing companion are at the top of the charts. So you need to check them out there. If you are into marketing, check out both of those things. He is also the best selling author of nine pathfinding book books in Cleveland, including the first ever book written on influence marketing return on influence.
[00:02:19] He’s also the author of known and the marketing rebellion. And he is here today with us to talk about his latest book, cumulative advantage, how to build momentum for your ideas, businesses, and life against all odds. Mark, welcome to the show. My friend.
[00:02:35] Mark Schaefer: [00:02:35] Oh, I’m so glad to be here. I’m actually streaming it 570 kilobytes.
[00:02:41] Oh yeah, just the upgrades. Okay. All right.
[00:02:46] Jeff Sieh: [00:02:46] So
[00:02:47] Grace Duffy: [00:02:47] you’re coming in crystal clear and you’re very shiny.
[00:02:51] Jeff Sieh: [00:02:51] You’re glowing. Yes, exactly. So let’s, I want to jump right into this book because I you’ve written so many and they’re all great, but I really like this one. And we’re going to walk through it a little bit because we really want to get your thought process on this.
[00:03:04] But at the very beginning, you outlined this really complete framework about building your own momentum, throughout this book. And you started with this concept called humility of advantage. So can you give us a bird’s eye view? You can describe what is cumulative advantage.
[00:03:19] What exactly? Why did you pick
[00:03:21] Mark Schaefer: [00:03:21] that term? I’d like to take credit for the term, but I can’t it’s a term that’s rather famous in sociological. Circles. There was very famous research that created this term that we’re not familiar with because let’s face it. Who can name any famous sociological research.
[00:03:41]And the reason I wrote this book was because I think this is so relevant to all of my friends in the social media world. That it’s just so hard to be heard today. It’s so hard to stand out and Like you Jeff, or like you, Jeff and grace, I’ve been in the, the social media world for a long time and it’s harder and harder to get our message out.
[00:04:05] I think the one thing we’re all striving for is to be heard, to be seen, to be found against this tsunami of noise, especially now I was reading how content, for example, on LinkedIn has almost doubled since the pandemic started. So it’s getting harder and harder to stand out. And one of the answers I believe is momentum.
[00:04:28] If you’re doing great work and you’re still not getting to that next level. How can we create momentum? And so I went down this rabbit hole and really there are, there’s a lot of research on this. There are patterns to momentum, but it’s never really been applied in a practical way to our lives and our ideas and our business cumulative advantage comes from research that started in 1968 by a guy named Robert Merton.
[00:04:56] He’s one of the most famous sociologists ever. And what he found through his research, starting with Nobel prize winners. And this has also been proven in athletics, in business and technology and entertainment and in wellness and health that have used start out with some small advantage in your life, in your business.
[00:05:18] That, and if you play your cards you can build unstoppable momentum that creates this gap between you and your competitors. And then he teased us saying that this will continue unless there are countervailing processes. So I became really interested in this to know what are these countervailing processes?
[00:05:39] What if we’re starting from scratch? What if we don’t have a million dollars? What if we don’t have an Ivy league education? How can anybody create momentum for our business on social media, with a podcast, with a blog, with a video series, how do we create momentum? And so I went down this deep rabbit hole and found a way to identify this pattern and apply it in a very accessible way for all of us.
[00:06:11]Grace Duffy: [00:06:11] That’s. That’s amazing. So you start off this book by comparing your first book, launch the return on influence with that of Tim Ferriss’s first book launch. Of course, Tim Ferriss, the author of the four hour work week and successful podcast, all that. And as you note in your book, friend of Oprah, right?
[00:06:29] So I found this incredibly charming and an excellent example to walk us through the framework that you outlined in the book, which we’ll get into those steps. But I just had to know, did you talk to Tim Ferris at all as you’re writing this book or after you’re writing this book? Did you talk to him at all?
[00:06:47] Mark Schaefer: [00:06:47] I think it’s quite significant that even Tim Ferriss won’t return my calls, I’m going to add him. I wrote a freaking book about him and it’s really interesting because since I wrote the book about how Tim built this momentum he backed off and he’s he’s like going through this shift in his life where, 12 months ago the man was everywhere and everything.
[00:07:15] And now he’s just saying, I need to reflect and reprioritize things in my life. And actually I talk about this in, in, in my book. So on his website, he has this thing and he said, I really don’t return it. I don’t have, I’m not responding to email. I’m not responding to phone calls.
[00:07:34] If you want to connect with me, send me a tweet. So I did. So I said, Hey, I’m writing, book about you let’s talk. And all these people chimed in and they saw my tweet and they said, Oh, this is great, Tim, you need to talk to Mark you two are my favorite authors. And it was like, Oh, all this momentum was building and I never heard from him, but that’s all right, because I think, I’ve done him justice in the book.
[00:07:59] I, I think I celebrate him in the right way and I think, I’m sure he’ll see the book at some point and I think he’ll nod his head and smile.
[00:08:09] Jeff Sieh: [00:08:09] Yeah. Yeah. I agree. One of
[00:08:11] Mark Schaefer: [00:08:11] the things is weird though. Isn’t it?
[00:08:15] Jeff Sieh: [00:08:15] You get a tweet back.
[00:08:17] Mark Schaefer: [00:08:17] He wouldn’t return. My tweet would return my calls.
[00:08:21] It’s just, it’s pointed at this point yet. I read this month.
[00:08:27] Grace Duffy: [00:08:27] Yeah. I read this article a few months ago or a few weeks ago. I don’t remember, but it was basically like Tim Ferriss. Isn’t doing the Tim Ferriss thing anymore and that was the headline. So I think he’s probably, I think he’s taken your advice and illustrate in the book, so yeah.
[00:08:43]Let’s get into it. Jeff, what was your,
[00:08:46] Jeff Sieh: [00:08:46] you unlock and illustrate this really cool, five step process. And we’re going to talk about those a little bit at a kind of a high level. So you had the identify, the initial advantage, discover a seam, create a Sonic boom of awareness about your product, reach up and constancy.
[00:09:02] And I think it’s really interesting because one of the quotes that you said is we’d like to believe that exceptional strategy planning, leadership are drivers of success because that’s, what’s taught in school. All of these things are definitely important, the truth is success is far more random than we believe.
[00:09:19] And you said that I think it was on, we have it here, page 45. If you want to reference that if you guys are following along at home you talk about acting on curiosity. And that it’s not something that bowls you over. It’s more a gentle hand. So how do you know what to pursue?
[00:09:34]That’s the question. I think a lot of people are they have these skills, they have these interests and we always hear follow your passion, but what do you really pursue?
[00:09:43]Mark Schaefer: [00:09:43] There’s a lot of ways to really look at it. And certainly I think passion does, I think it is important in a way, because if you’re going to pursue an idea, you need, you’re going to spend a lot of time with it.
[00:09:57]But I think the most important thing is to think about what are your ideas, what are the competencies that you have that have a place in our world today? And it’s, so it’s answering your question by combining step one and step two, step one is that we are constantly bombarded with opportunities.
[00:10:24] And what I show in the book, I highlight research by a man named Frans Johansson, a brilliant man and author and researcher. He wrote this book called the click moment, which sounds like an SEO book, but it has nothing to do with SEO. What he shows is that. Behind every successful person, every big idea, every successful business is something random.
[00:10:49] It’s this click moment. It could be a conversation that you have. It could be being in the right place at the right time, seeing something in a new city that you never saw before. It could be something you read in a book, something that you hear on a podcast that clicks in you and said, wait, there is a new idea here.
[00:11:10] And this really happens all the time and momentum doesn’t really start. Until we pursue that idea. We, there are millions of good ideas out there, but the real key to beginning momentum is pursuing the idea. Now, how do we know if it fits? Sometimes it’s easy to know, and sometimes it’s not, sometimes we just need to try, but what comes next is what I call the seam.
[00:11:39] It’s a new way to look at strategy where strategy used to be. You pick your path and you stay in that path and you plow through this thing for years. And you’ve got a 50 page document and a five-year plan. What strategy is really about today because the world changes so fast is looking. It’s a combination of speed and space and time, and you’re looking for shifts, right?
[00:12:03] The status quo, an obvious one is the pandemic. So the pandemic has been horrific. It’s been sad, but it also represents an incredible number of. Business opportunities. So let me give you an example of my own in my own life to answer your question. When the pandemic hit, I got sick. I had COVID right. I was in the haze for about a month.
[00:12:31] I wasn’t getting enough oxygen to my brain. I had hypoxia. I couldn’t think I couldn’t read. Couldn’t write. And what I woke up, I realized that my business had crashed. I’m I’ve gotten, the speaking gigs are gone and my consultant gigs are gone and my college classes were canceled. And Oh, I was in this disorientation about who am I and what do I do?
[00:12:53] And I realized that my core competency, my core skill is teaching. I am a teacher in everything that I do. And so I realized that I just need to apply these skills. To this seam, to this fracture in the status quo. And so I stopped creating content about marketing and social media. And I started creating content about teaching people.
[00:13:23] How do we get through this thing? How do we handle. This disorientation. I created a lot of blog posts about how to deal with uncertainty and how we need to focus on the things we can control. Right now, these were very popular posts. The traffic to my website doubled I compiled these posts into, to an ebook called fight to the other side, just gave it away for free.
[00:13:48] Didn’t even ask for an email or anything. Turn that into a speech. Went out to my audience saying, look, I’ve got this cool little speech I can do in your leadership meetings. And that started the momentum going in a different way. I started a whole new business based on applying my idea, my core skills to a fracture in the scene, and that saved my business essentially.
[00:14:14] And there are little fractures like this all the time, and here’s the one thing I guarantee. For anyone that reads this book, and I’d like to hear your views on this, but I think when you read this book, you’ll never see the world the same way. Again, you’ll start seeing these patterns in every person you meet and every business that you hear of.
[00:14:36] And you’ll see, yes, I see how they built this momentum. It fits this pattern. And the exciting thing is that you don’t have to be rich or well connected, or have an Ivy league education to do this stuff. Anybody could do it. You just have to be aware of how it works.
[00:14:57] Jeff Sieh: [00:14:57] All right. So I have some, a couple of followup questions on that because I love the idea of the seam and I never heard of it, approached that way before.
[00:15:04] So how do you know
[00:15:06] Mark Schaefer: [00:15:06] I made it up, man? I loved it.
[00:15:08] Jeff Sieh: [00:15:08] I loved it. I like the trailer. Yeah, there’s a whole, yeah, I should. Yeah. But how do you know when you’ve completely mined a seam? And it’s time to move on. So like when do you pivot? I guess so mainly Pinterest steps. Should I quit doing Pinterest because it’s, I’m done with it.
[00:15:26] I should move on to others. When do I know that I mind something to its fullest and it’s okay, Jeff, we were onto the next thing.
[00:15:33]Mark Schaefer: [00:15:33] I think you have to look at a number of different things. What my whole book about is what my whole book is about, is getting to that next level of attention to get the momentum going again.
[00:15:49] And so if you’re plat towing, I think there might be things to think about in my book to say, all right, have I really plateaued? Or is there something missing? And let me give you an example. I heard, I had this nice feedback from someone who enjoyed my book and he S and he wrote he’s a mid-level manager at a pretty big company.
[00:16:11] And he works in marketing there. And he said, Mark, when I read your book, it became apparent to me why we’ve, we’re losing steam. We’re stuck at this certain level. We’re gone through step one, step two, but we really need to work on step three to build more momentum. So I think number one is if you’re enjoying what you’re doing and it’s meaningful to you.
[00:16:41] I think before you pivot, you need to say, look is, am I doing everything that I’m doing to move to the next level? And that’s something I constantly reexamined and me and how I approach business and how I approach content. There, there could be a time. It’s just, I use this analogy in the book about American football and the seam occurs in football.
[00:17:08] Whenever the, the coaches are looking at the field above the field and they’re trying to find a weakness, is somebody on the other side, tired? Have they been, are they in the wrong assignment? Are they in the wrong place? Are they over-matched. And can we take advantage of that opportunity to create a hole and run that football through as fast as we can, as long as we can.
[00:17:32] And that’s what businesses like today and because of the speed of business, it is true that those seams could close and you have to be looking for the next one. So number one, you’ll consider, can you apply ideas from this book to keep your seam open and build new momentum to what are my core competencies?
[00:17:56] What are my core passions? Can I apply this to a new scene and start growing in another way? And is there another way to look at what I do to realize is the same closing because the competitors are just too big and strong, or is there something I can do to hold that seem open a little bit longer for myself, by the way, that’s how I define marketing in this book.
[00:18:21] Really marketing branding and your personal brand is a way to hold that seem open longer and continue to distance yourself from your competitors. That’s great.
[00:18:34] Jeff Sieh: [00:18:34] Now I know that. I know that grace has a question mainly because I didn’t want to say this word, but there’s this interesting word that, so I’m going to let grace ask the question, cause I don’t want to say it.
[00:18:43] So you do it. Great.
[00:18:44] Grace Duffy: [00:18:44] This is what happens on the show. So in this chapter, you do talk about this Japanese concept called icky guy. And can you explain what he guy means and how it relates to finding those opportunities alive? Because it was a beautiful framework and it was surprised because I was reading and then I see this and I’m like, Oh, light bulb.
[00:19:02] So tell us all about it.
[00:19:06]Mark Schaefer: [00:19:06] It’s funny because this concept in a way, it’s almost like the centerpiece of the book, everything surrounds this framework. And we just were talking about Tim Ferris has changed his life and his approach to business. And I think what’s happening is Tim is trying to find his eeky guy.
[00:19:27] And so what this is about, it’s a, it’s an ancient Chinese principle, which is becoming more popular in Western culture. Now that talks about this harmony between your passions and what you love and what you believe in and what the world needs. And is this sustainable? Is it something that people will pay you for?
[00:19:49] And when you meet. When all of those things meet, you have this harmony in your life. And I think the irony is in the book I have this whimsical little race between myself and Tim Ferris. Who’s going to become the most famous and Tim ultimately wins. And I don’t think this is a spoiler alert, but but the reason basically I drop out is because that’s not what I wanted.
[00:20:22] That’s not what drives me. That’s not what makes me happy. I love trying new things. I bounce around from new ideas. I love. Intellectual challenges, new challenges, and dreaming about what’s next. I don’t want to stay really in one path. I reinvent myself every few years. And so I’m made a decision, even though I had a seam, I could have made a lot of money in that scene.
[00:20:51] It wasn’t part of my life. It wasn’t in the middle of that eeky guy for me, I think we’re starting to see that with Tim, where he is maybe in a place of disharmony where he’s famous now is getting a lot of attention. And I think he’s reflecting on, I’m not sure this is what I want. Where do I go next?
[00:21:13] And that’s healthy for everyone. And I think that’s great for Tim and I wish him well with that. So
[00:21:20] Jeff Sieh: [00:21:20] we have a good, a question in this kind of falls in this category. And this is from Sean. He asked this, he goes I’m enjoying what I’m doing. I’m not enjoying who I’m doing it with. We used to be a great together.
[00:21:32] Now, relax strangers. Can you speak a little bit to that?
[00:21:39]Mark Schaefer: [00:21:39] That can be really toxic. And first of all, I want I’m not the kind of person that would say, look follow your dream. And everybody, has everybody should be trying to be remarkable and everybody should be working on their personal brand. I recognize, especially now.
[00:22:03] That we have realities in our life. Maybe we’re taking care of a sick child, a sick parent, maybe we’re recovering from a financial crisis. Maybe we’re just trying to get by and land on the other side of this pandemic. And that doesn’t leave a lot of time to be remarkable. And so I honor that doesn’t mean you’re not worthy.
[00:22:29] I honor everyone. And the decisions they have to make now Having said that if you’re in a place where you need the money and you need the job maybe you just need to stick this out a little more, but I do think that toxicity is going to add up for you and it’s going to affect you in every aspect of your life.
[00:22:50] It’s going to show up in your relationships. It’s going to show up with your enthusiasm for your work. Eventually it’s even going to show up in your health. So it is something you’ll need to address in the longterm. But certainly I honor you. If it’s something you just need to bear right now, because you need the work.
[00:23:08] There’s 20 million people unemployed in our country. I have a lot of friends in marketing right now that are. That are unemployed and in between jobs and I’m trying to, help them as best I can, but we’re in a period of transition. I’m optimistic that things are changing. There’s a lot of news right now about this current, this, things are starting to boom a little bit on the economic front, so we’re almost through this thing.
[00:23:34] And so I hope that helps Sean.
[00:23:37] Jeff Sieh: [00:23:37] Thank you for that question. I appreciate that. And for your transparency on that so I want to move on to the next section where you broke into the, what you called the Sonic boom, and a quote that I highlighted that I really liked. It says don’t confuse what you sell with what people really buy.
[00:23:51] And I thought that was really good. You wrote the book on influencer marketing and here we are, Years later, and we’re still struggling with creating effective influencer marketing campaigns, the blogging, the podcast and social media and all that stuff has changed.
[00:24:05] It’s like you mentioned earlier, it’s harder to, stand out expectations of change and even your relationship with brands. And we’d talked a little bit on clubhouse. I think it was on Wednesday. And you said this, you said engagement is a poor metric engagement. Doesn’t translate into business value.
[00:24:20] And I thought that was really key. And I want to jump into that again. How do we, and this was a question when I sent that quote to grace, I said, look at this. And she goes ask him this, how should we be using, how should we evaluate influencers if we can’t do it with engagement?
[00:24:34]Some of these things, have evolving or have a little evolution. How do we do that now? With the social media, with this
[00:24:40] Mark Schaefer: [00:24:40] engagement metric, Yeah this is a big topic. We could literally devote a whole show to this and maybe I’ll come back someday and week and we can do that because it’s a vital topic.
[00:24:55] And so I wrote a blog post maybe about a year and a half or so ago. Cause I went, I did a lot of research to figure out what is the business value of engagement? Is there some connection between engagement and ROI? Because in my life look I’ve been immersed in this social media world for 12 or 13 years now, and I’ve seen a lot and I’ve done a lot.
[00:25:21] And a couple of observations that I have is that when I’m in a period where there’s a lot of people engaging with me, it’s a time suck. And I want to be respectful and I want to engage with people, but I, if I write something that goes crazy and I get lots of commentary and lots of engagement, Oh my gosh, it’s becomes a full-time job.
[00:25:45] And it’s taking me away from things that are really making me money. And in the end, my experiences, nothing really happens from the business thing. It just takes a lot of time. My other observation that sort of led me to do this investigation and write this post was that all of my business leads the people who were saying, we want you to do a consulting project for us or a workshop for us.
[00:26:13] I never heard of them before. They’re not engaging on my blog. They’re not tweeting me. Perfect example was there was a fellow who started reading my blog years and years ago. I didn’t know he was reading my blog. And because of that, it led him to read one of my books. Three years later, he loved the book.
[00:26:36] He wrote me a note and he said, Mark just want to let you know, this is, marketing rebellion. It’s one of the best business books I’ve ever read. Okay. Now he’s been following me for three years. This is the first time I ever heard of the man. Turns out he’s the CMO for GE life sciences eight, a year later he says, I’ve got a workshop on recurrent trying to create this content marketing competency.
[00:27:03] I want to hire you now. That was a process of, five years that he was consuming my content. And I was obviously influencing him. And, but there was like zero engagement. I didn’t even know he was there just to bring this back to your question about influencers and measurement. I did an experiment this time with an influencer agency.
[00:27:30] And I’m not really ready to talk about all the results yet because we’re still working through it. But I did this experiment with micro influencers and these are people that might have 10, 15,000 followers on Instagram, something like that. And generally speaking it didn’t really work very well.
[00:27:52] And what I was observing is that these people they’re trying to get to the next level of being an influencer. So they really want to do a great job. And I suspect that a lot of the engagement was manufactured. I think there’s a system going on there and they know that their engagement is being measured.
[00:28:14] Engagement is easy to game. So there’s a lot of problems with engagement as a metric. There are, there’s a lot of development going on right now. There’s tons of money being spent in this space. There’s a new technology where you can save images on Instagram and that is being seen as an intent to purchase.
[00:28:38] I think that’s huge. There’s other new technologies coming. I think it’s going to be, I think it’s going to evolve. I predict in the next 18 to 24 months, we are going to see huge developments in the ability to measure influence marketing, because it’s not going away. It’s just starting. And so we’ve got to crack the code on measurement.
[00:29:00] I just do not think engagement is going to be the right thing. Long-term.
[00:29:05] Jeff Sieh: [00:29:05] Yeah, that’s fascinating. So we will make sure what we’re going to have you back for this, but we’ve got some and people are loving the conversation. I want to bring up Abby’s question. A friend of ours. She goes, love Mark Schaefer.
[00:29:16] It’s so great to see him sharing on his new book. I’m starting to read it early next week. It’s on her list. So that is cool. Yes, Abby
[00:29:24] Mark Schaefer: [00:29:24] is amazing. So I do want to thank you. Yeah, so
[00:29:29] Jeff Sieh: [00:29:29] she’s a Dallas native as well, but I wanted to, the way we’re able to bring up these comments, I want to, the way we’re able to have awesome people on Marcus through our sponsors.
[00:29:37] And we want to give them a shout out. If you’re wondering how we’re bring up the comments, doing all this cool stuff we’re using Ecamm, and you can find out more about it. socialmedianewslive.com/ecamm. And it works perfectly with restream and that’s how we’re going out across all the interwebs to YouTube, Amazon live all those different places and you can find out more about restream at socialmedianewslive.com/restream
[00:30:00] Now. Grace. I know you had a question for Mark about the next section, so let’s dive right into
[00:30:05] Grace Duffy: [00:30:05] that. Yes. So the next section it’s called reaching out and reaching up and Mark, you talk about mentorship and I have to tell you, this was one of my favorite chapters. There are several of my favorite chapters, but this is one because it’s so drastically changed a belief that I long-held.
[00:30:22] So I’m going to read this quote for our audience mentoring consists of, so this was an old definition. Mentoring consists of a longterm relationship, focused on supporting the growth and development of a mentee. The mentor becomes the source of wisdom and teaching. So you wrote about this and the folk.
[00:30:37] I wanted to focus on that long-term relationship part, because that was something that early on, early on in my career, I, I. I latch onto, because you think about that long-term relationship and just having this person, that’ll just guide you, like like a master and a student.
[00:30:51]And this is very much what I grew up thinking, but you redefined that in this chapter and I’d love for you to tell our audience how you’ve changed that definition in a way that really changed how I perceive things.
[00:31:06] Mark Schaefer: [00:31:06] I just think the whole notion of mentoring is anachronistic. And I’ll give you an example.
[00:31:13]I went to a West Virginia university. I continue to do what I can to support the programs at West Virginia university. Especially they have a graduate program there in integrated communications. And so I’ve spoken at their events and they started this mentoring program and it’s you had, like I said, okay, I’ll do it.
[00:31:36] It’s like you had to sign a contract to be a mentor. And you had to agree to all these things and you had to go through, I’m not kidding. You had to go through training. To be this mentor. And then you had to agree. You had to see you to, have the meetings with these students, every month at a certain time.
[00:31:57] And then you had to fill out all these documents. I thought this is insane. This is not how I want to help young people, how I want to help young people, because look, I don’t want another job. What they’re basically saying is, and this is the common definition of mentoring today is, Oh we want this long-term relationship and we’re going to meet with you on a schedule.
[00:32:22] You know what, that’s a job. I don’t want to take on another job. But I will gladly if there’s something going on in your life and you’re at a crossroads and you need help. Pulling something together. I’m going to help you. If you say Mark, I’m stuck at a certain place and some young person and I can think of a person I could introduce them to, or a door I can open.
[00:32:49] I do this every day of my life, but somehow that’s not considering mentoring because I don’t have a long-term relationship. I think we need to blow up that definition and it’s good. It’s going to be better for the mentors and it’s going to be better for the mentees is just to say, look, let’s just be friends that help each other.
[00:33:10] And this is so important. I think it’s the most important step in the book, because if you are stuck someplace in your life, in your career, in your business, The best way to get that lift to the next level is to have someone come alongside you and say, let me see what I can do to help it works.
[00:33:35]And it’s so powerful and we need to reframe the whole idea of mentorship in this context of momentum. That’s what it’s really about. It’s not about teaching. If you need to learn something, go to YouTube, you can learn anything you want. I was on YouTube this morning because there was this at the stupid light fixture in my bathroom.
[00:33:58] I couldn’t figure out how to open it, to change a light bulb. So I’m going on? I don’t need a mentor for this. I need YouTube. It’s the same way with marketing, social media, read a blog, listen to the social media news show every day, right? That’s what you need. You don’t need a mentor. You need a mentor. To help you create momentum.
[00:34:20] So let’s think about this in a new way. And I grace, I’m so delighted that you love this part of the book because I think it is important. I think this reframing and re-imagining this idea of mentorship can help so many people.
[00:34:36] Grace Duffy: [00:34:36] I want to tell you how it changed things for me personally, I never really considered myself a mentor.
[00:34:42] Like I always feel like I’m always having to learn the next thing. Maybe it’s imposter syndrome. Maybe it’s this. Maybe it’s just like I’m I know I’m always like reaching up and then it wasn’t until I read your book. And I’ve been doing some other things, of course over this pandemic everyone’s mindset has changed that I realized it’s time for me to reach down.
[00:34:58] I have skills and I’ve always been helpful. I’ve always anyone asks me anything. I’m always connecting people, but I never really thought about that as mentorship, because I was so chained to this idea of like long-term relationship contract meeting every Tuesday, that kind of idea.
[00:35:14] And you outlined some really great examples of some stellar mentor relationships within your book. But I want to ask for our audience, how do you establish this relationship with a mentor? Of course you don’t ever want to go Hey, can I pick your brain or let’s, send an email right. Or reach out to LinkedIn.
[00:35:30] Like I thought I could add you to my connections. That’s that doesn’t work. Tell
[00:35:35] Mark Schaefer: [00:35:35] us what does you know the greatest, one of the greatest examples of great stories in the book is I’m so fortunate that a few years ago I met a fellow named Matthew Sweezey. Matthew has one of the best jobs in the world.
[00:35:50] He’s a marketing futurist for Salesforce. We’ve become very good friends. And he was one of my facilitators. I have marketing retreat called the uprising. And at this event, we talk about the future of marketing and what is our role going to be? And Matthew gave this amazing presentation because the subject was relevant.
[00:36:17] How do we remain relevant in this chaotic fast changing world? And he talked about his almost scientific process of how he finds mentors in this new way, by the way that I’m talking about and how he connects with them and everybody in the room, I’m just blown away. And so when it came to, to write this part of the book, I had to include Matthew and not only does he contribute a story, he actually narrates his own story in the audio version of the book.
[00:36:51] So it’s not to be missed. And the guy is just brilliant at job, basically made a science out of attracting mentors. And I think the most important idea is you want to establish a mutual benefit. Nobody wants to hear. Oh, can I pick your brain? It’s like, when I hear that, it’s it sounds to me like, you’re just using me.
[00:37:23] You just, you don’t respect me and you don’t respect my time. And what Matthew does is intensely study people who he admires people who he aspires to be. He’s tries to look at everything about them. And then he thinks, what are the questions? These people want to be asked? What are the subjects? These people are dying to talk about that nobody’s really asking them.
[00:37:52] And then he creates a PR a proposition and says, look, I’ve studied you. I admire you. This is how I want to connect with you. It’s not a long-term thing. I just want to. Talk about a few things and he puts together a plan. He said, here are the things I want to talk to you about. And he’s been able to establish these amazing relationships with people who are, let’s say way out of his league.
[00:38:20] And so it’s it’s a beautiful thing. It really is. It’s a beautiful thing. I learned a lot from Matthew and I was so delighted. I was able to include these lessons in that chapter of the book.
[00:38:32] Jeff Sieh: [00:38:32] Yeah, that’s awesome. And by the way, if you are interested, if you’ve not heard of this book, make sure you go to Mark’s website, that’s the best place to get it.
[00:38:39] Yes, you can get on Amazon, but I think he gets credit and stuff more. If you go to business, grow.com a businesses grow.com forward slash cumulative advantage. So go check that out. If you’re interested in any of this stuff we’ve been talking about today, it’s an excellent book. I highly recommend it. So go to that address there on your screen or businesses grow.com forward slash cumulative advantage if you’re listening on the podcast.
[00:39:02] So I want to talk a little bit about one of my, so I say favorite chapters, but I don’t know if it’s because it made me think I’m basically a shallow person, but it really made this chapter really made me think of but it’s the last step in your framework and it’s called the constancy of purpose.
[00:39:19] And so can you elaborate what that is and what that
[00:39:23] Mark Schaefer: [00:39:23] means? I think this really goes back to your previous question, Jeff, about some of the things that might be going on in your career with Pinterest as you’re evaluating, do I keep on going, can it create new momentum? And whenever we pursue an idea, start a business when we’re building momentum for a career, here’s the one thing I can guarantee something will always go wrong.
[00:39:54] And in the last 12 months, we’ve had so much go wrong. And this is the thing we need to think about. How did we get here? What was that event that drove momentum in the first place? And we can’t lose sight of what brought us here and we have to avoid what Jim Collins calls the doom loop.
[00:40:22] And the doom loop means that when something goes wrong, we panic and we start grasping at anything that can get us out of this spiral. And I’m not saying we can’t, we should not be aware of our circumstances. I gave the example in my own career when I hit the wall of the pandemic, how I needed to reframe, but I didn’t change my competency.
[00:40:49] I reframed my relevance based on the new seams that were opening. So I didn’t panic and say, I’m going to become the Facebook ads guy, that would’ve been panic. What I did was I reframed and said, look, I’m a teacher. This is what I, and this is why people love me. This is the value that I bring to the world.
[00:41:11] I just need to teach something else. And so I adjusted and I stayed. With my competency, I didn’t get into a doom loop. So that’s really what constancy of purposes is about, is just not to get into panic mode. And I’ve got a series of questions in the book that can help you determine is it time to pivot?
[00:41:36] Is it time to switch? And and I think that’s really relevant to the time we’re in right now.
[00:41:42] Jeff Sieh: [00:41:42] I agree. And so I wanna, this is another this is from, I don’t know who this cause it’s coming up as a Facebook user, but Google plus communities mentored me in my early days. So many generous people, no contract required.
[00:41:54] And I, that went perfectly with this question that I came up with this morning when I was going through my notes of, and I told grace, I’m going to throw an audible and ask this one. So let me do a little setup on this. I was pondering this morning and I’ve been, I’ve been blessed and privileged to be like the producer and editor of guy Kawasaki’s podcast.
[00:42:12] And so he interviews people like Jane Goodall, Arianna Huffington, Steven Wolf from these heavy hitters. And so I get paid to listen to incredible conversations and a lot of people would love to have a gig like this. And I was thinking back after reading your book, like trying to understand how I got this opportunity.
[00:42:29]And. I think I traced it all the way back to that. I made a simple comment on peg Fitzpatrick’s post who has guys she’s run his accounts for 11 years. And I did it on Google plus of all places. And so I guess my question, do you Mark it as, am I just lucky or is it because of constancy of this?
[00:42:50] Like maybe building relationships? So what are your thoughts on
[00:42:53] Mark Schaefer: [00:42:53] that? It represents momentum, man. Look you are a wonderful talent and it comes from pursuing your ideas and pursuing this advantage that you have. And so the opportunity was guy Kawasaki. It was a door that opened, it was it was your seam and you ran through that scene and you’re going to make the most of that as long as you can. And now if you develop that competency, Maybe it’ll open up other scenes with other people that need to have their podcast produced. So I just think that really blends in perfectly with the ideas in the book.
[00:43:36]And one of the other things that I struggled with that hope comes, becomes clear to people in the book that consistency is so important. This is something I talk about in all of my books in known and marketing rebellion is that consistency is more important than genius. And look, you would not have had that opportunity with guy Kawasaki.
[00:44:00] If you hadn’t worked and worked and worked, and you were generous and you connected with peg and you’re generous by just commenting on her content. And you’re out there and you’re, you’re establishing your personal brand. And so you would never have an opportunity like that.
[00:44:18] If you wrote one blog post, or if you did one podcast episode, right? This advantage builds over time. There is no shortcut. There isn’t a, there’s a graph in my book that I think I hope it teaches everybody a lesson. I’ve had lots of things in my life go viral. I’ve had blog posts, just go crazy.
[00:44:44] But if you look at the number of subscribers to my blog, it looks like this right. Slow, but steady, slow, but steady. And year by year, as my reputation grows, I get bigger opportunities. And as my reputation grows, I get bigger opportunities, but it’s because I don’t panic. It’s because I’ve just kept working and working and helping and teaching and good things will happen over time.
[00:45:19] And that’s a big problem because people expect, we expect fast results and companies expect fast results. That’s not how the world really, it’s not how the world of social media works. It’s not the world. It’s not how the world of content marketing works. And everybody wants to go viral. Guess what?
[00:45:36] Doesn’t really work. And here’s something funny. I just thought of this. I hadn’t thought about this in years when I was just starting out in this business. I wrote a funny blog post about it was called. Why gout guy Kawasaki is the devil.
[00:46:00] Jeff Sieh: [00:46:00] That’s great. I’ll have to go look that
[00:46:01] Mark Schaefer: [00:46:01] up. And the reason I wrote this post. Was because if you remember, in the early days of Twitter guy, Kawasaki had a team working behind him, there was tweeting every 10 minutes. And his tweets would be here’s a frog that has five legs. And here’s why here’s why this tree is the oldest tree in the world.
[00:46:34] And it was just like random. It was just like random play and he wasn’t doing it. He wasn’t authentic. He wasn’t real, he wasn’t connected. It wasn’t him. He just, it was this machine of tweets. And I wrote this post called white guy. Kawasaki is the devil. And I actually, I photo-shopped like devil horns
[00:47:00] was stupid. I didn’t even Photoshop it. I think I did it on PowerPoint. I think I just rude devil he’s crude devil. Zaki STO guy Kawasaki thought. That was hilarious. Yeah. And he tweeted it, he retweeted it and the F and the thing went viral. It went crazy. I had more traction on that blog post, anything I’d ever did.
[00:47:29] What impact did that have on my business? Zero, zero. Look, this is the dream come true. You write a blog, post this tweeted by some celebrity and it goes crazy and it didn’t matter. It just didn’t matter, and what happened the next day, nothing’s changed. But I hadn’t thought about that in years, but that was my first. I got my, the biggest thing in my life is I got retweeted by guy Kawasaki and I got retweeted by Peewee Herman. Oh, wow.
[00:48:09] Jeff Sieh: [00:48:09] Not for the
[00:48:10] Mark Schaefer: [00:48:10] happened. Yeah. And
[00:48:12] Grace Duffy: [00:48:12] you had to go to work the next day. Didn’t you had to go to work right then ad copy,
[00:48:17] Mark Schaefer: [00:48:17] slow, but steady my friends slow, but steady.
[00:48:21] Just keep on doing better every day and it’ll work.
[00:48:25]Grace Duffy: [00:48:25] I would be remiss if we did not talk about the last chapter of this book. I know that we’re running up on time, but I really want to talk to you about this. This is one of the most moving chapters I have ever read. I think Jeff cried. Can I talk about
[00:48:38] Mark Schaefer: [00:48:38] right?
[00:48:39] I did. I did. Nope.
[00:48:43] Grace Duffy: [00:48:43] You mentioned at one point Mark, that you almost didn’t add it up. I don’t remember if it was an interview or something. Why was this chapter so hard for you to roll it? Tell us about the chapter first of all, and then tell us why it was a struggle for you to write.
[00:48:58] Mark Schaefer: [00:48:58] Oh first of all, thank you.
[00:48:59]It means a lot to me that the last chapter meant a lot to you. It was the last chapter of the book is the biggest risk of ever taken probably in my professional life. And the reason it was such a huge risk is that when I write a book, I’m learning to writing a book for me is like almost getting a new master’s degree.
[00:49:25]I’m reading and researching and studying and writing for two years. And one of the things that became apparent to me is that the foundational issues of momentum or not having momentum. Not having cumulative advantage, but having cumulative disadvantage is an underlying foundational reason why we have problems in our country social justice problems, economic disparity problems.
[00:50:03] And if we go back to the beginning of our discussion, when we talked about the idea of cumulative advantage, predicts that those with initial advantage will have unstoppable momentum and the gap between these people will grow and grow. It’s true. It’s true. This sociological research it’s true.
[00:50:27] And what I struggled with was, I think I’ve cracked the code when. Robert Merton wrote his famous initial paper on this. It was called the Matthew effect. He said that this will grow unless there are countervailing processes, which means that’s true in society too. So what are the countervailing processes?
[00:50:52] I think I got it right. And I became so obsessed with this because he didn’t tell us what they are. So I contacted his son. His son is ironically is a Nobel prize winner because he did his initial research on Nobel prize. It’s almost like he taught his son how to become a Nobel prize winner. He became a Nobel prize winner in economics.
[00:51:14] He teaches at MIT. I said, I’m doing this book about your dad, but he didn’t tell us what the answers are. He said I’m not the person to talk to. My stepmother was his research assistant. She’s the one. That did the research on this whole project contact her. So I was in connection with her and she sent me all these unpublished papers about how this really works.
[00:51:40] And so what I realized was every business book, every self-help book is elitist because it assumes you have the money to buy the book and its terms. You have the time to read the book and assumes you have the resources to actually activate this book. And when I wrote this book, I had two audiences in mind.
[00:52:08] It’s all the wonderful people who love me, support me and read my books. And then the other audience I had in mind was this family that I’ve worked with for the last 13 years in this economically challenged area. If you look at a map of the violent crime in my city, they live right in the middle of it.
[00:52:27] And I think can they use this book? And the answer is no, and it made me mad. It just, I didn’t want to write a book like that. It seems ridiculous to me, it just made me angry that these gaps haven’t closed. I have been looking at these gaps, my entire life, and it made me angry that the sociological research is true.
[00:52:59] How do we apply these ideas? I have in my book to us, what can one single person do to make a change? Is there something we can do? It took me three months to write this last chapter of the book. And part of it was like, should I say this? I’m a middle-aged white guy. Living in a nice house on the Lake.
[00:53:25] I have two master’s degrees and I teach at a university. Yeah. And finally I got to the point where it’s I would be a coward if I didn’t do this. And I just need to trust the world here. And I’m taking my own advice about changing my narrative. I have a whole section about this in the book that sometimes you need to step out of what people think about you or what the stories people tell about you or what expectations I had to do that I had to shed my skin and say, I’m going to say this.
[00:53:56] And I don’t care if people think it’s not my place to say it. I have to say it because I’d be a coward if I didn’t. And so that’s why it means so much to me that it had an impact on you. And you’re not the first people to say that. I had a tear in my eye when I finished this book and I never expected that.
[00:54:18] And the book is having a very powerful impact on people. And it’s a great feeling to see that’s happening. Yeah. I’d
[00:54:24] Grace Duffy: [00:54:24] like to tell you, I put it into action. I joined a junior league at the in our area a few months ago just to get social and get out there.
[00:54:31]Last night I had to choose all of our placements. We were supposed to be in these committees and I chose the ones that I thought would be the most impactful in our society. And I thought about your chapter and this book and what I had to offer, even feeling as I do is this, maybe I don’t, what do I know?
[00:54:47] I’m not the expert or whatever it did inspire me to put that in action. And I think it inspired a lot of other people reading your book to put your words into action as well, Mark. So thank you for writing the chapter.
[00:54:58] Jeff Sieh: [00:54:58] Yeah, it was very impactful. It made us think about ways we can change our future. Like you had mentioned in the book.
[00:55:06] So we would love it at the end where it at the end of our show, if you would take a minute and maybe read one of your favorite pieces. So just to us, I thought that would be a great way to wrap things up as a, and I’ll tell you one of my favorite things about this last chapter while you’re picking one out.
[00:55:20] One of the quotes that you said was I also really, when you’re talking about yourself and I resonated with it, it’s you said I also realized it was a lot easier surfing on a towering wave in corporate America. When almost everyone in your circle has surfed the same wave. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that really resonated with me.
[00:55:36] And then how we can take history and future and view that through the lens of cumulative advantage. So if you’ve got a favorite one, I’d love for you
[00:55:43] Mark Schaefer: [00:55:43] to read it. It’s funny because you asked me to read something. So I didn’t think about edit. It’s really weird how this is going to tie into exactly the flow of your show and the, and our discussion, because it’s about this idea of changing our narrative.
[00:56:00] It’s a small part of the book, but so many people have told me that this has meant a lot to them. So I thought I would read this. Your life becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, and you may not even know it. Changing your narrative can change your life. That life narrative might come from your role in a relationship, your position within an organization, and even childhood events that lock you in a place in a certain story.
[00:56:28] These made up roles and expectations can be self-limiting. When it comes to developing momentum for your life and your career. This issue came up in an individual coaching session. When a friend said she dreamed of writing a book, but felt this was impossible. Since she had been humiliated by feeling English twice in high school, she had put herself in a place where dream can’t be realized because of some historical narrative changing her narrative would be, I have lots of great ideas and an amazing story to tell my goal is to write a book.
[00:57:06] I’ll change my environment to support that, including prioritizing my time, learning the book, writing process, using technology that can improve my writing and finding the editing help that I need. Besides my high school English teacher was a jerk as I’ve been writing this book. It’s been eye-opening to reconsider the place I hold in the narratives of my family, my marriage, and even among my clients and social media audience, sometimes a role I’ve historically played led to esteem from others, but this role might also not be useful or even accurate anymore.
[00:57:46] Part of my narrative comes from being the oldest of six children. I was held in a place of responsibility and serve as a backup parent. For many of my teen years. I still have a lot of that narrative running in my life today for better or for worse. I don’t want any of my past to progress to be blocked because of what people think I should or shouldn’t do.
[00:58:09] The good news is I’m still discovering new opportunities for myself, even after all these decades. In the business world, you and I have a choice to either conform to that prescribed narrative or redefine how we view ourselves based on what is really true.
[00:58:31] Jeff Sieh: [00:58:31] Awesome. That is a perfect end to the show. We’ve had so many comments like Carrie here saying just love Mark and the way he shares his viewpoints, we’ve had multiple people in the comments saying they’re going to go by the book.
[00:58:44] So we want to make sure that you guys do that because it is a wonderful book. So make sure you go check that out. Mark. Where can we find out other than the address where we’ve mentioned before, but where can people find out about you?
[00:58:57]Mark Schaefer: [00:58:57] You’ve got the address, your businesses grow.com.
[00:59:00] And I also wanted to mention that if you go to businesses, grow.com/cumulative advantage the book page, there’s a lot of free resources there. There’s a free workbook. There’s extra content. There’s other ways you can get involved as you get to the last chapter of the book. So it’s not just a page about the book.
[00:59:22] There’s a lot of extra things I’m not asking for your email address. Nothing, just take all the free stuff I have and use it to build momentum in your lives. Businesses grow.com is my site. You can find my blog, marketing companion podcast. I do with Brooke. Celis all of my books and all of my social media connections.
[00:59:43] And I love to stay connected with everyone watching and listening today.
[00:59:50] Jeff Sieh: [00:59:50] Awesome. Grace. Thank you so much for co-hosting once again. Thank you all for being here as always. This is a show it’s also a podcast we’d love for you guys to go check that out. Leave us a rating and review. And the next show is on Friday, March 26th at 11:00 AM.
[01:00:05] Eastern time, 8:00 AM Pacific, and you can find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Amazon live. We’ve got a lot of people who said they’re going to buy the book over on there as well. So thank you guys so much for watching. We will see you next time. Bye
[01:00:18] Mark Schaefer: [01:00:18] everybody. Thank you
[01:00:18] Grace Duffy: [01:00:18] everyone. Thank you, Mark.