Jason Falls is an author, keynote speaker, and CEO. He continues to be a name that surfaces at or near the top of conversations and lists among thought-leaders in the emerging world of social media marketing, and it’s for a good reason. He is one of the few industry professionals who has awards for his social media strategy skills, including the 2009 Sammy Award for his work on the Jim Beam “Remake” project.
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- “If it happens once, shame on it, if it happens twice, shame on you.” – Jake Bell
- Jason lost a HUGE account due to his lack of connection with it. It is a mistake he will never make again.
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- Relationships: that’s what it’s all about in the social media world. Be real with people, and their generosity will repay your honesty ten fold.
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- No Bullshit Social Media by Jason Falls and Erik Deckers
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John Lee Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply electrified to introduce my guest today, Jason Falls. Jason, are you prepared to ignite?
Jason Falls: I’m always prepared.
John Lee Dumas: Alright!
Jason Falls: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: Jason is an author, keynote speaker and CEO. He continues to be a name that surfaces at or near the top of conversations and lists of thought leaders in the emerging world of social media marketing, and for good reason. He is one of the few industrial professionals with awards for social media strategy under his belt, having won a 2009 Sammy Award for his work on the Jim Beam “Remake” project.
I’ve given Fire Nation a little overview, Jason, but why don’t you take a minute? Tell us about you personally. We want to get to know you. And then take another minute and give us an overview of your business.
Jason Falls: Sure. This might be a unique one for you because my business just shifted, but let me give you the backdrop a little bit. I am a writer sort of by craft and calling but a public relations guy by trade. I did about 15 years in sports journalism and sports PR. I was a college athletics sports information guy is what they called us. What that meant was is I kept stats at ball games, I coordinated coverage of our athletic events with the media and then wrote ballgame stories and then developed media guides and press releases and media game notes, and then eventually got into developing websites, which was sort of the precursor to what I do now because I was always managing my own websites and online communications for all these athletic departments I worked for.
And then when I got out of college athletics in 2005, 2006, I landed at an advertising agency called Doe-Anderson in Louisville, Kentucky, which is quite a fascinating place and has been the agency of record for Maker’s Mark Bourbon for a long time. If anybody’s ever encountered an advertisement or a communication from Maker’s Mark, they know that it’s got a very unique look and feel and there’s a real sort of cool vibe that comes from that brand. So I got to actually work on the Maker’s Mark brand for a while, but I was a PR guy who had a background in digital marketing and had been experimenting personally with social media, blogging and so on and so forth. And so I started asking those questions, why aren’t we talking to our customers via blogs and social networks and whatnot, and nobody really had a real firm grip on what I was saying, but my CEO, Dave Wilkins at the time, and then his successor, Todd Spencer, who’s now the CEO of Doe-Anderson, both said to me, “Man, if you can sell it, you can do it. So figure it out and make smart recommendations to our clients and you’ve got yourself a new job.”
I went from PR Account Manager to Director of Social Media to VP and Director of Interactive in a span of about probably two years. It was a very fast explosion because our clients were saying, “Hey, we want this social media stuff. We don’t know what it is, but keep bringing it to us.” And so I went from basically nobody having a clue who I was to people across the social media world knowing who I was because I was not only doing some cool things with clients, but I was also doing it in the spirits industry which is regulated and that sort of asterisk that hey, this guy is doing this in a regulated industry sort of made conferences start to take note and say, “Hey, why don’t you come speak to us?” and all that kind of stuff. So I was just trying to do smart stuff for my clients, and all of a sudden I turned around one day and I was a social media whatever you want to call people like me – expert, [bag]. I don’t know. I’ve heard a lot of different explanations of what we are.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Jason Falls: But I was consulting. I was working with clients on social media, and then in 2009, I decided that I wanted to go out on my own and build my own business and be an entrepreneur around the concept of being a consultant/speaker/author and then parlay that eventually into building an agency, and so that’s what I’ve done. So Social Media Explorer, which is my business or was my primary business – now I have two, and I’ll explain that in a minute – basically started out as an independent consultancy. When I left Doe-Anderson, it was the name of my company. It had been the name of my blog so it technically started out as just a blog.
John Lee Dumas: Right.
Jason Falls: So I started advising clients and whatnot, and then last year I partnered up with Nichole Kelly who had her own consultancy and we sort of formed an agency around social media and digital marketing and have started to grow that. And then I realized – and this is weird because the timing is so compressed because Nichole and I had been partners for about nine months when I decided, you know what? Nichole is the right person to actually build this agency. I’m not best suited to do that. Of the two of us, she is much better suited to build the agency, so I actually stepped aside as the CEO of my own company and said, “Nichole, take the reins. You grow it, you build it, and let me sit back here and contribute in meaningful ways, but stay out of the way” because I felt like I was going to get in the way and it wasn’t going to be as successful as it could be. That sort of coincided with a really cool opportunity to join the team at CafePress, which many people have heard of. It’s a large place where you can go and customize and personalize the clothes you wear…
John Lee Dumas: Swag.
Jason Falls: Swag, yes. Lots of different things. I mean you can put your own logo on a piece of jewelry, on a T-shirt, on a mouse pad, coffee mug or whatever, iPhone case, etcetera. And so they were building out a full corporate headquarters here in my hometown of Louisville and they came to me and said, “Hey, we’d like to talk to you about helping us” and that conversation led to, “Okay, we’d like to talk to you about helping us on a fulltime basis.” And so I’m now VP for Digital Strategy for CafePress Inc. which oversees CafePress.com and several other properties and I’m still involved, although in a much smaller way, with Social Media Explorer.
John Lee Dumas: Man, those are some powerful insights, Jason. I just love how you shared with us how you stepped to the side as the CEO of your company because it wasn’t exactly your strengths and you let Nichole Kelly step up and really take that to maximize the productivity and the efficiency, and that’s just such a difficult move for many people to take, but it’s just such a smart move in your situation. It’s allowed you to go on, expand your horizons and get involved with something like CafePress which is such a powerful place. I’ve been there before and I’ve used it with EntrepreneurOnFire. You can create your own store, you can have your own webpage people go directly to where they can actually shop at the EntrepreneurOnFire store, so to speak, or whatever business you have. So it’s just a really exciting on-demand place and I definitely look forward to delving into that and more things later in the interview, but before we do, let’s take a step back. We love to start EntrepreneurOnFire off with a success quote, something to get the motivational ball rolling. You’ve already done that on this interview and I really appreciate that. So let’s continue that ball rolling down the hill of motivation with your success quote.
Jason Falls: Okay. So my success quote comes from – as you might imagine, all my years in college athletics, I was around a lot of coaches.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Jason Falls: And coaches are great motivational speakers, typically, and they always are pulling quotes or making up their own. So I worked with a gentleman, he was one of the great bosses I’ve ever had. He was the Athletic Director of a little school in Kentucky called Georgetown College. It’s a small private Baptist Liberal Art institution. He was the Athletic Director there and many people may remember. Jake Bell was his name. Jake was a longtime Southeastern Conference Basketball referee. So if you were a big SEC basketball fan or a basketball fan in the south, you probably saw Jake back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He was a legendary official. So he was my boss at Georgetown College and he used to say when someone would make a mistake, “If it happens once, shame on it. If it happens twice, shame on you.” I’ve never forgotten that quote. It just is emblazoned in my memory because we all make mistakes and we make them on a regular basis. I make probably 20 a day, and still to this day. As refined and as mature and as experienced as I like to think I am, I am continually making mistakes. Obviously, I have a much better attitude about making mistakes now because I know that mistakes help you learn, they help you get better and so on and so forth, but when you’re young, when you’re in your 20s, you’re afraid of making mistakes.
So especially for you younger folks out there in the audience, I think if you remember that quote, “If it happens once, shame on it. If it happens twice, shame on you,” it holds you accountable for learning from your mistakes. If you do it twice, it’s your fault. If you do it once, it just happens. That happens. We’re all going to run into those and mistakes are not always something that you can point a finger at and lay blame on and you don’t need to all the time. But man if you do the same thing twice, yes, that’s going to fall back on you.
John Lee Dumas: Well what I really want to pull out of that, Jason, is that even at this point in your career with your experience, knowledge and expertise, you’re still making mistakes, and that’s just one thing that entrepreneurs need to grapple with and really need to accept, is that you’re going to make mistakes everyday as an entrepreneur, and if you aren’t, you better check what you’re doing because if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not pushing the envelope. You’re not really testing your limits as an entrepreneur with your business and that means you’re not going to evolve because we evolve by making mistakes – learning from that, getting the feedback from the customers, the support that we have around us. So thank you for sharing that with Fire Nation. It’s such a valuable topic and it’s a perfect lead in to our next topic, which is failure, which are challenges and obstacles that we have to overcome as entrepreneurs on a daily basis. Take us to a point in your journey as an entrepreneur where you failed, where you came against an obstacle that you had to overcome, and then share with Fire Nation how you overcame that obstacle.
Jason Falls: Sure. Oh man, a couple come to mind, but probably the biggest one, I had a really good client, and this was when I was an independent consultant so I didn’t have a team of people that I was managing and working with at that point. It was just me.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Jason Falls: This was a year-and-a-half or so ago. My first book was about to come out. I was getting ready to travel quite a bit to support that book. I had a really good client that I had a really good relationship with. I developed a strategy for them. We had started to launch some executions of that strategy and everything was going great. And then I sort of said, “Okay. Now I’m going to be traveling a little bit for my book, so we’re going to have to do a lot of virtual, a lot of phone calls, etcetera, etcetera instead of face-to-face stuff, but we can manage this.” And so I made the mistake of assuming that they understood what those implications were and they were comfortable with it. So I went on my book tour, and about a month or so into the book tour, I was doing my weekly phone calls with them and everything was going fine, and then all of a sudden, one weekly phone call got rescheduled, and then I tried to follow up and I couldn’t really get a hold of anybody, and before I knew it, three or four weeks had passed and we hadn’t had a real good working session, and I didn’t think much of it because all of the metrics coming back from the campaign were good. And so I thought, well they’re just satisfied, right? The web traffic is up, the conversions are up, they’re getting the exposure they want, everything that we predicted would happen has happened positively, and so I have a satisfied customer.
I came back home off of one of my short little jaunts to promote the book and had an email waiting on me to let me know that I’d been relieved of duties, that they no longer wanted to work with me. It was a real shock to my system because I thought, why? The metrics are great. Yes, we’ve missed a couple of weekly phone calls here, but that’s part of working through sort of the virtual thing, and they were just really uncomfortable with me not being present and accounted for in the flesh. And so that’s part of the learnings that you have to go through when you are a virtual employee or a virtual consultant and you have to kind of get a good feel for whether or not the organization is really comfortable with that environment, and these folks weren’t and they didn’t have a real good way of expressing it. So I lost a really good client and lost, quite frankly, quite honestly, a fair amount of money every month too from that client. I mean I survived. It wasn’t a huge financial impact on me, but it was really more that it hurt my feelings because I really got along with them and the ideas that I had for them were good and they were successful with them.
So I think the lesson that that taught me or that it reminded me of because I probably knew that lesson – this was probably one of those if it happens twice, shame on you things for me.
John Lee Dumas: Right.
Jason Falls: But the lesson that it sort of reminded me of was you can never assume that the other person is happy. You have to ask those questions. You have to have checks and balances in place to make sure that your assumptions and that your anecdotal observations are verified and it’s not just seeing a hockey stick on the Google analytics. You’ve got to sit down and talk to them and say, “How are we doing? Is everything okay? Is there anything we’re missing? Is there any questions I haven’t been asking that I need to be asking? Is there any information that you guys have that I don’t that I need to know? How can we get better? How can we make sure everybody’s really happy here?” and having those sort of human sit down face-to-face touchy feely meetings from time to time, especially in a client situation, they’re necessary and you can’t avoid them, and if you do, you’re going to lose your clients.
John Lee Dumas: Jason, let’s use that fail that you had to transition to our next topic, which is the other end of the spectrum. Just like every entrepreneur fails and makes mistakes on a daily basis and has challenges, we also have these aha moments every day that inspire us, that propel us forward, that make us pivot as we’re getting feedback from clients, customers, our target audience. Share with Fire Nation an aha moment, a light bulb that went on in your head at some point in your journey when you said, “Wow! This is going to resonate with my target audience, with my fans.” Tell us how you actually implemented that aha moment and turned it into success.
Jason Falls: Very early on when I was advising some of the spirits clients that I worked with on social media, these were traditional old school marketers and they were continually pushing these buttons on we have to have reach and exposure and there has to be revenue generated because of our social efforts and so on and so forth. I think the aha moment for me, specifically with regard to social media and social media marketing, was when I had a new product launch and we did a little blogger outreach to kind of get this new product, this new whiskey in the hands of bloggers and media members and influencers and whatnot, and one of the bloggers just absolutely destroyed the whiskey. Their review was just horrid and the brand was in shock. They turned to me and said, “Okay, this is a blogger so this is a social media person. So we need to let Jason handle it.”
Fortunately, they let me handle it instead of a traditional PR person who at the time probably wouldn’t have really known how to do it, but I actually responded to that blogger with a private email and I said, “Hey, your review was unfair and here’s why.” I was very honest, but polite. I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t emotional. I was just very fair, honest and polite and I said, “Look, your review was unfair and here’s why it was unfair and here’s what I want you to understand from our perspective that will I think convince you that you might want to rethink this.” I sent that email and then two days later, the blogger actually posted a new review of the product where he basically came out and apologized for the first one and said, “I was wrong. I judged this brand before I even opened the bottle and that was the wrong thing for me to do. This brand was marketed and positioned for an audience that was not me and I didn’t take that into account, and if this product is marketed and branded for this particular audience, then here’s my real honest assessment of it,” and it was a fantastic win.
So that aha moment for me was that it doesn’t matter how many things you sell. It doesn’t matter what your reach and what your goals are. Marketing is always and forever about relationships. The fact that I reached out to this guy personally and established a personal connection, even though it was a confrontational one at first, and said, “Look, this is a problem. We don’t think this was fair. We don’t think this was honest.” Bridging that gap and having a human interaction with this person, not treating that person like an influence or a target audience or even a consumer target audience and treating them like a person, having a conversation with them, was a huge win for the brand because it made the brand through me seem like a human as well and it made them sort of approach the information a little differently. So as much as you want to talk about reach and awareness and how many ticks you have on your turnstile and so on and so forth, marketing is always and forever going to be about relationships, and I think that has been a big driving point in how I think about not only working with clients up until a few weeks ago, but now working through CafePress and understanding how we communicate with our audience.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a powerful insight, Jason. On that note, have you had an I’ve made it moment?
Jason Falls: Holy crap! No. Well, I mean I’ve had a lot of little ones, but every time I have a little I’ve made it moment, I look around and say I’ve got so much more to do.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Jason Falls: I’m never satisfied and I think that’s one of the things that drives success in just about everyone, is once you get to the point where you think you’ve made it, you see something else that you want to get to. There was a time in my life when I thought my goal is to get a good paying job that is not in college athletics. That was when I transitioned out of college athletics PR and wanted to get a job in the mainstream marketing PR world. Now keep in mind, I had spent 15 years in sports journalism and public relations, which is a very niche industry and very different from the mainstream. So I was really worried. I thought, will my skills set transfer? Do I have what it takes to work in the mainstream? Am I always going to be limited to this sports niche industry? So at one point in time, my whole goal was to just get into the mainstream and work at an ad agency.
And then I got that job and I looked around and I thought, hey, wait a minute. My skills set does transfer. I can do a lot more than this. So now my next goal is to really earn a lot of credibility and whatnot for our clients and/or I’m going to start throwing these social media ideas out and see if that does something because we’re not talking about social media to anybody. Once I started to see pickup on that, I would move that bar a little further down the road. So I’m one of these guys who is constantly thinking, what’s next, what’s next, what’s next? And I think that prevents me from stopping and saying, “Okay, I’ve made it” because the minute I sit here and think, okay, I’ve made it, then my natural human tendency is to want to throw my feet up on the desk, kick back, stick a cigar in my mouth, have some bourbon and think, okay, I don’t have to work hard anymore.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Jason Falls: The minute you stop working hard is the minute you fail.
John Lee Dumas: Jason, your initial reaction to this was classic and it’s the exact reason why I ask this question, because it always catches the entrepreneur a little off guard and I always get different answers. Some people say, “John, every day, I have an I’ve made it moment.” Others say, “John, I will never have an I’ve made it moment.” For me, I just really stress to Fire Nation it’s so important to enjoy the journey and when you hit milestones in life, which we all hit as entrepreneurs if we’re driving forward, if we’re working hard, you need to appreciate those moments and just enjoy them for what they are. Jason, what’s your thought on the journey?
Jason Falls: I’m glad you framed it that way because I think it’s easy to get, especially if you’re like me and you’re constantly moving the bar a little bit further down the road, it’s hard to remember to stop and enjoy where you are and enjoy that journey. It’s easy to get lost in the minutia of what’s next, what’s next, what’s next? And never stopping and going, “Hey man, I worked my [Expletive] off!” I mean think about this. Okay, just for me personally, and this probably doesn’t have a big impact on other people, but just as a microcosm of what it might look like for someone, in the past two years, I have – actually, let me go back another year. In the past three-and-a-half years, I’ve started my own business, I’ve built it to the point that I acquired two other agencies as part of my business, I handed that business off to a trusted business partner who is growing it in not quite exponential form yet, but will probably be exponential at some point into a stratosphere of success that I never thought imaginable for my business. I’ve written and published two books and not self-published on my blog. I’ve written two books that have been published by an actual publisher. I’ve gone from being asked to be on panels at a couple of conferences to being paid fairly good money to go and speak at conferences. All these have happened in three or four years for me. And so if I didn’t take a couple of seconds now and then to step back and go, “Damn, dude! Things are good!” I would probably alienate all of the people around me that have helped me get to that point. My wife, my children, Kat French who is my Operations Manager here who I brought with me from Social Media Explorer and who worked for me back at Doe-Anderson. The people that have helped me get to where I am are the ones that you alienate if you don’t stop and go, “Hey, you know what? Good job! Good job by me, good job by you, good job by the team. We’re doing some good stuff here and we need to celebrate that.”
So whether it’s taking a half day off, whether it’s taking your staff out to lunch, whether it’s buying your wife something cool or taking your kids on a cool vacation, you’ve got to be able to step back every now and then and say, “You know what? Success comes in increments. It’s not a big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So let’s celebrate those increments along the way so that the journey is very satisfying.”
John Lee Dumas: Jason, my Fire Challenge to you is at some point in the next three months, I want you to kick back, put your feet up on your desk, rip a cigar open, and then just have some bourbon.
Jason Falls: You’re going to see that happen because I’m going to be 40 next month. So I’m going to celebrate 40 with a big cigar and a nice glass of bourbon, and I might even light one up. Well I probably can’t light one up at work, but I might light one up in an inconspicuous place, and if someone yells at me about putting out the cigar, I don’t care.
John Lee Dumas: I love it, Jason! We’re going to use that now to transition to your current business or just your current mindset because you have so many exciting things going on right now. CafePress, Social Media Explorer, you name it, you’re doing exciting things. Pull out one thing for Fire Nation that’s really exciting you right now.
Jason Falls: I think the one thing that is really lighting my fire right now is trying to figure out – and this my current challenge here at CafePress – trying to figure out how a big e-commerce online retailer that has been extremely successful since its founding in 1999, figuring out how to integrate the world of e-commerce and online retail and the world of social marketing and social business. How can we integrate social into the online shopping experience in a compelling way? Some people have tried, oh, okay, you can share this deal on Facebook. Well those are little tactical executions. What I’m trying to figure out is how do we really incorporate this sense of community and sense of sharing and enthusiasm for just being customers of a company. Not just CafePress, but any company. How do we put our finger on that pulse and empower that community to turn around and say, “You need to come and be a part of what we are over here because this is a cool place to be”?
That’s a significant challenge and I don’t know that in the e-commerce space anybody has done it in a compelling way. So I’m trying to figure out big problems, or really not problems. Big opportunities in the world of online retail and social marketing, and that challenges me because those two, a lot of people would say those two worlds are like oil and water. I’m trying to figure out how to make a really good olive oil out of them.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Nice analogy. Jason, thank you for sharing with Fire Nation what’s exciting you and your vision of turning that excitement into fruition. It’s just really powerful stuff. We’re going to use that energy to move into my favorite part of the show, the Lightning Round. This is where I get to ask you a series of questions and you come back at us, Fire Nation, with amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Jason Falls: No pressure. Okay.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] What was holding you, Jason, back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Jason Falls: Fear. Fear of am I going to be able to pay my mortgage and am I going to be able to support my kids? Quite frankly, when I left Doe-Anderson, the day after I left, I was scared to death that I was going to fail, but at the same time, I took the plunge. I had one client kind of in my back pocket so I knew I wasn’t going to completely fail, at least in the short term, but I knew I had a lot of work to do to be able to be successful. But that fear I think is what drove me in the first probably nine months of my business. I had to figure out how to build a consistent revenue stream so that I could feed my kids.
John Lee Dumas: On that note, Jason, if you’re an entrepreneur out there that’s about to make that leap and you’re not feeling fear, then something’s wrong because that is exactly what happens to every entrepreneur when they make that leap. It just ignites that fire, it gets that adrenaline going. It’s that natural, innate survival mechanism that makes sure that we have that extra drive to make things happen.
Jason Falls: Absolutely.
John Lee Dumas: Jason, what’s the best business advice you ever received?
Jason Falls: Wow! The best business advice I’ve ever received? I think I’ll have to go back to Bill Samuels Jr. who was the CEO of Maker’s Mark when I worked with him. He was big on personality and understanding what makes people tick from a personality standpoint. He basically gave some negative feedback to someone in a meeting one time and the person said, “Well, Bill, you don’t have to get upset about it. I’m blah, blah, blah,” and Bill interrupted him and said, “Wait a minute, I’m not upset. This has nothing to do with emotion. This is an honest assessment of that idea or it was not a criticism of you. It’s a criticism of that idea.” So I think in understanding people’s personalities and how they intermingle with one another and understanding that you can be critical of an idea without being critical of the person, that has really made communicating in the workplace a lot smarter for me.
John Lee Dumas: I love that, and that just is another lesson for entrepreneurs. You can’t be married to an idea. You have to be willing to be flexible and to take feedback and criticism and to get that product out there and to pivot as need be. It’s such an important aspect that successful entrepreneurs definitely have.
Jason, if you could only choose two websites to obtain all the information needed to succeed, what would they be and why?
Jason Falls: Goodness gracious, that’s incredible! I think in the context of what I do, I think I would choose Internet Retailer as one because it’s a world that I have yet to master and I need to for my current role. I think in terms of marketing smarts, I would go with MarketingProfs because it is absolutely a fantastic community of incredibly smart people. It has a little bit of a B2B lean, but there’s certainly good B2C stuff there too, but there’s a wide range of smarts available on that website and it’s a really, really good resource for people.
John Lee Dumas: Do you have an Internet resource like an Evernote that you’re just in love with that you can share with Fire Nation?
Jason Falls: Well I definitely use Evernote and it’s hard for me to cope without Evernote because it’s absolutely where I track everything from what I do with my business to blog ideas that I want to jot down and keep later, plus the mobile app is awesome. But I think if I had to throw out one other, I cannot tell you how many times that Dropbox has saved my [Expletive].
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Jason Falls: Having a cloud-based file storage and being able to access those files on any computer anywhere, and then I literally, three months ago, had the hard drive on my laptop crash. Had I had all those files and documents on that laptop not synched with Dropbox, I would have been dead in the water because there was nothing anybody could do to save the hard drive. It was gone. I had to have it completely replaced. But all but about three or four video files that I had sitting on the desktop on that particular computer were saved because of Dropbox, and so it’s a utility I can’t live without.
John Lee Dumas: If you can recommend one book for Fire Nation, what would it be?
Jason Falls: Besides my own… [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: Which will be linked up in the show notes.
Jason Falls: That’s cool. Yes. I mean I think books on social media has a lot of context for people and a lot of advice for people in this world, but I think if I had to recommend a book – in all fairness, a book besides my own – God, it’s tough because there’s so many good ones out there, but I will tell you this. If you are not yet sort of encumbered and inundated with social media marketing, digital marketing, public relations understanding, David Meerman Scott’s book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” which is now I think in its third edition, so it’s a few years old, but that book has been invaluable to me. I’m handing it off to clients who need to have a better understanding of sort of the new world of social media and digital marketing and how it’s changed from the traditional. If you’re a traditionalist or you’re an MBA and all you’ve been really taught is the traditional way of doing things, The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott is a powerful, powerful read.
John Lee Dumas: So Jason, this is going to be the last question, but it’s my favorite. It’s tricky, so take your time, digest it, and then come back at Fire Nation with an amazing answer. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have, your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next seven days?
Jason Falls: [Laughs] Wow! A laptop and $500, and I didn’t know anybody? My goodness! That is an incredible question! Alright, here’s what I would do. I would take that $500. I would buy a premium membership to LinkedIn. I would fill out my profile. I would connect my blog or go create a blog and connect the blog into Twitter and all that good stuff and I would take that $500 and I would invest it for a year’s worth of premium account on LinkedIn and I would devote myself a couple of hours a day to writing personal one-on-one letters with anybody I could find that was related to my field so that I could grow my network because if you don’t have a network of people that you can trust, that you can bounce ideas off of, that you can reach out to when you’ve got something to promote, etcetera, etcetera, you don’t have a lot in the world we live in. I can’t tell you how much value and revenue I’ve derived from LinkedIn and my LinkedIn contacts over the course of the last four or five years. Without it, I would have probably had to have jumped back into the corporate world a long time ago.
John Lee Dumas: Man! That was actionable advice, Jason. You’ve given us incredible actionable advice this entire interview and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one parting piece of guidance, then share with us how we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Jason Falls: Best advice I’ve ever gotten, never look up with your mouth open.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Jason Falls: [Laughs] I’m on Twitter @JasonFalls. I’m also Jason Falls on most social networks – LinkedIn and so on and so forth. Facebook, of course. The blog where I share marketing thoughts and whatnot is SocialMediaExplorer.com. I have a personal blog too, but that’s rather irrelevant, but if you want to read my funny stories and see how I make fun of my family, it’s fallsofftherocker.com.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Jason, thank you for being so generous with your time, with your expertise and with your experience. Fire Nation salutes you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.