Yesterday I received this comment from Christian on my blogpost about the Zen of Return on Involvement.
Er det ikke netop såkaldte social media experts som dig der gør at der bliver pisket en stemning op og at det er blevet en fuldstændig flad selvudnævnt titel hvor det at skrive blogs og udgive sin egen bog som man selv sælger, er i sin verden nok til en “titel”.
Det virker mig mærkeligt at man først løber rundt med benzin og lightere til folk så de får sat ild til noget, og så et år senere skal man finde på noget nyt og løber rundt med brandslukkere og beder folk slukke ilden man selv var med til at starte.
“Isn’t it so-called Social Media Experts such as yourself who are stirring up the waves around social media so it becomes a flat self-proclaimed title, were writing a blog and self-publish a book is enough for this “title”?
I think it’s weird that you first are using gasoline and lighters to get people fired up about something, and then a year later asks them to turn off the fires that you helped to start.”
A part of me wanted to shout “you’re not paying attention” here. Another part wanted to show him my CV. Anyway I decided to write this blogpost/ a large part of my story, so you can all hear it and judge for yourself whether or not I should be used as a self-proclaimed expert.
I must say, it hurts when people get the wrong perception of me – but of course people are entitled to their opinions. I don’t think it will change, but I think I deserve a shot at defining why I do what I do – and why I continue to work around digital business development.
I have published blogs since 2005 and I have published e-books and books since 2007-ish. Including my own book “return on involvement” that did get a publishing deal – but honestly, getting a publishing deal where I get 15 % of the sales and an advance of 40.000 just isn’t my idea of a good time – especially not when the publishing houses don’t really seem to do anything to promote and market their books. I decided that I would rather:
a) Write the book I wanted to write without having anybody shaping it into something that wasn’t “me”.
b) Invest in the book and the layout myself – so I could get all of the money for myself. what I invested in my 1200 books (almost all sold by now was around 50.000 kr + my own time (and ok it was a lot of hours). I got it on the bookshelves and in the library, and I marketed it myself.) And I am really proud of that achievement because I did a better job selling a book than any publishing house in Denmark did. And I am doing a second edition that I do and sell ALL by myself. Call me a non-believer of the danish publishing system – it just doesn’t work for me.
And for the other things about only publishing books and blogs and being selfproclaimed? here’s my somewhat full story – then judge for yourself: I started my carrier in relationship building in 2003 while working for betbrain.com in London. See finances was pretty hard to get at that time, so the marketing budget was a big zero. What’s a newly educated marketing economist to do ? She starts to think more creatively. If I don’t have the budget to market to all of them at once, I need to use my time market to them one on one. In the forums. talking to peers of betbrain. Talking to punters. Doing affiliate marketing.
I quickly decided to focus on the forums and the communities because that was the most exciting and the most fun. Found out there was something called weblogs. Got pregnant and moved back to Denmark. Used my pregnancy and maternity leave to research and read forums and blogs and started to set up my own (now deceased – my first blogpost was a picture of a system of down t-shirt where they had gotten the tourlist wrong so the t-shirt said “Copenhagen, Sweden”). During that time I Attended Reboot 7 – met awesome people and decided that I was on the right track. Started writing horrible blogposts (yeah they where pretty bad back then) – set up henrietteweber.com. Started to talk to people about blogging in 2005 and 2006 and did a lot of lectures and network speaking for red wine. A lot. had some small online marketing gigs, for artists and websites that I met at network events that thought this was a brave new world, and this would change businesses. Attended les blogs 2 in Paris (now known as Le Web) attended several london geekdinners and decided to take geekdinners to Copenhagen – which i did every third month for around 2 – 3 years. ( I did a tøsebloggerdinner together with Trine Thorendal – where the site was hacked several times and we where the villains of the danish blogosphere for a while). I ran Toothless Tiger in 2 years being selfemployed but took a huge blow, because the market wasn’t ready for it. I started up BarCamp Copenhagen back then also.
However I had met Jyri and Ulla Engestrøm at several reboot conference at that time and helped Ulla a tiny bit to set up a startup. I talked to Jyri about having me doing to community marketing for his startup called Jaiku, and I did. I Spurred conversations in there, started conversations about jaiku vs. twitter on other places on the web and things started to happen. Suddently Jaiku was sold to google, and people started to get curious. At the same time I Started working with FDIH as a projectmanager running their network groups- because I knew communities- also I got 5 minutes at the Lift Conference in Geneva in 2007 to talk about my vision for marketing entitled “enjoy the chaos”… which got me a real cool client: Nokia.
The marketing director was in the audience and even though I was so nervous (I mean the first rows of the conference was packed with some of my heroes). He said “that’s what we need to do in the next couple of years – can we work with you?) so we did. 2 months (May 2008) after I became fulltime employed working my company toothless tiger that had existed since 2005 – where some of my first clients where Koblo.com and actics.com – both non-existant now. Some of my other clients that I have worked with – is on the toothless tiger webpage right here. They really like what Im doing for them – strategies, community marketing/management advice, gigs and other things.
If I can be so blunt: I think the thing that I do really well – is that I can see where people are heading digitally – I can see where the openings are in the market for a given brand. I have the nerve to say what business environment you’re going to be looking at 1 -3 years down the road.
For the last part of the comment – Sure I have been firing up under brands to think more digitally, However, I don’t want to take it upon me that I am putting out fires – I’m writing this blog and running my business to HELP people get better digitally. I think it’s a running process.
And actually. I want people who are complete newbies to do this as well. Start a blog and make a living outside of business as usual. I think it’s wonderful progress. If somebody is looking down upon you because you do what you’re passionate about – it’s their problem, not yours. So get going guys. Never stop learning and take those risks. Call yourself a social media pope for all I care. There’s always about 60% of the public who thinks what you do is stupid. But the last 40% oh my… they love you. It’s called branding peeps. It’s called differentiation.