Is Thought Leadership Just a Buzzword? The Debate

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Dan Sanchez talks with Noah Lemas, the Director of Sales at Closed Loop, to debate thought leadership.

Yeah, welcome back to BTV Growth. I'm dan Sanchez with sweet fish media and today I'm here with no ulemas who is the director of sales at closed loop and has a long history and marketing. Noah, welcome to the show. Thanks dan, thanks for having me appreciate it. Today is gonna be a fun episode as you can probably tell from the title. I already gave this video, we are here to debate thought leadership. I did this with the last deep dive. I did on account based marketing and it was so much fun, we had to do it again for this deep dive. So a few weeks ago I posted on linkedin and I said like, hey everybody who's got a thing against thought leadership, I need you right now, like raise your hands, like tell me why I thought leadership is anything or why what's wrong with thought leadership? Like come at me and Noah wrote a long post and I was like, oh no, was my man, this is gonna be fun because not everybody agrees with thought leadership being a thing or that it's a buzz word or that it's overused or that it's it's more of a problem than it is help. Um And it's that way about a lot of marketing topics but the thought leadership in particular tends to be a bit divisive. There is it's all over the place as far as what people think about this term called Thought leadership. So I wanted to bring Noah on the show today so we could have like a bit of a healthy debate about what thought leadership is, how useful it actually is. Um If it's a thing at all and what we should actually do about it as marketers so no. Uh tell me a little bit about what you said on linkedin regarding thought leadership first, is it a thing if it is a thing, how do you define it? So for starters I think thought leadership is a thing. Absolutely. There's people out there that are leading within their category and doing it in a way that is somewhat revolutionary. So I think that does exist. I think my bone of contention is that maybe it's overplayed that it's not exactly what we say it is. So in other words I think too often and marketing good brand building is confused for thought leadership. And I think that's my real bone of contention is if if you are a thought leader you shouldn't need to tell you when you thought leader, other people are saying your thought leader. And I think too often in our marketplace it comes down to who's speaking, who's writing, who's getting the audience in the eyes and their perceived to be the thought leader. So I think in that way I kind of agree with you. Like thought leaders, they either are, they aren't and if they are they never need to say that they are. So the general rule of thought leadership to me is you should never call yourself a thought leader. And the second rule is you should never call yourself a thought leader, maybe let somebody else call it to you, but never like claim it or even post what they said on your profile saying so and so as a thought leader, right, it's just kind of leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. But what do you see being like, is it useful at all? Like should we even be using it as a term? Like is it is it is it a helpful thing for marketers to think about trying to do? I think it's a dangerous trap because I think it comes from a kind of jokingly called this Ted talk itis where if you watch enough ted talks, you were convinced that that person is a genius. And in reality that person leaned on a team of people, not only for the content, but for the actual speaking style, for the actual presentation, what you see is the end product is so different than what that person actually thinks or is or is capable of doing on their own. Uh, and so we elevate kind of people to a pedestal without necessarily meaning to other people see that. And then they get uh, speaking or writing engagement and in their mind, their baseline references. I have to beat that Ted talk I saw. And so in order to do that, they get a little bit maybe out over their skis. Some of us like to say, right where you better step up and be something that you aren't. And that's a difficult thing to be. So what I've noticed is that most people, they're claiming their own thought leadership are borrowing other people's thought leadership within their industry. And often in what in my experience, that...

...person has been someone behind the scenes within their own agency or own company who is very smart but very quiet. They picked that person's brain and that becomes their writing or they're speaking basis and they never source that person and that person doesn't mind or doesn't say anything. And so I think thought leadership in our industry and in marketing it at large is a thing, but it's a little bit hidden. We don't actually know who the thought leaders are because they're not the people being publicized, we know who the publicized people are and I'm not sure there the thought leaders. So the real thought leaders are the quiet ones who aren't being recognized. Would you say that? It's funny because I would say that if they're quiet behind the scenes then they're not thought leaders because they're not leading anybody, somebody else is taking their ideas and leading other people and that person well they're kind of a faker. They're really masquerading as the thought leader when really they took it from somebody else. I mean you could even say that steve jobs was kind of that because he he took the he took the Macintosh from Wozniak, right? But then he developed his own ideas and you know, he did a lot of other good stuff and I d like philosophies around design and all kinds of stuff. But I think there's a, you know, there's been a consolidation within digital marketing, especially over the last 10 years or so, and lots of mergers and acquisitions as part of that. And so the people that get bought tend to seem to have a pretty short path to being a thought leader. And I've always thought that was pretty interesting, right? You're not a thought leader just because you built an agency or a company that was bought by somebody. But too often we treat that oh, you must be a thought leader if they bought you for 10 million, 12 million, whatever it is. And, you know, my experience has been, that's not the case that there's a big difference between being able to build an organization and being a thought leader within the industry that you're in. And so it seems like sometimes the table stakes are thought leadership because it's a mistaken idea of what thought leadership is. So that that founder or that Ceo or what have you, they feel the pressure to be a thought leader. So they present themselves as one and they don't say they are, but they're out there speaking and writing as though they are and then other people anoint them and really um you know, results are at the core of thought leadership. So in my industry, you know, within, within paid advertising, for example, we're thought leaders, but no one's going to talk about that were too busy getting results for people. And so if you're getting results for people, you're clearly in a competitive market, if you're getting results, you are a thought leader, but the people are getting the results are busy getting the results, Someone else has to talk about those results and how that happened and here's our case studies etcetera. So having been in client services in my own time and now being removed from client services, what I find is when I want to know something, I go to client services still to this day. Um And so those are my thought leaders internally. Um You know there's people within every agency that I've ever been a part of that. I seek out their opinion and I talked with them and I understand that that's that's the core of what we're doing and other people might not understand that but it sure useful to know that. Um But it's the CEO or the front person that's out there speaking on those same things. And so um you know it's the the hidden people getting results. It's like baseball. Um You know we watch people get paid for what they did in the past and in S. E. O. Or PPC. Or what have you. We see people get recognized for things they did in the past. The gap between when they accomplished and now that they're talking about, it has been filled within activity and they're not they're no longer the expert that they were. But we need them to tell us how they did it back then. In the meantime there's a whole class of people that are working to be the thought leaders and getting results now and we won't hear from them for another five years. So I would say the thought leaders right now are some of the speakers and writers of tomorrow but by the time they're writing and speaking they're no longer the thought leaders. So I guess that's really what I'm saying is when are they a thought leader in the time they recognize or we recognize or someone else recognizes and what actually makes them that thought leader. And do we actually really know in a case like William Shakespeare, was he a thought leader in his time? We can now say that he was at the time he was an also ran of a writer. Now he's maybe the greatest british writer of history...

...considered widely. So was that thought leadership at the time? They would say no. Now we say yes, I don't know. Now we're in the present, What do we say? Well let's let's take some examples of some people that are currently out there and speaking a lot, um some having a marketing background you'll probably really familiar with and some hopefully you're familiar with, let's say rand Fishkin, still a thought leader on the ceo. Um he is an amazing brand builder, brand, is an amazing brand builder and he has impressive hair and always good facial hair for checking in on and remarkable brand builder and business person and I think he's done a remarkable job of shepherding technology into a space that's needed it. But he wasn't the technology builder. Um you know he's a great brand so no I wouldn't say as much as I respect and like brand I don't view him as a thought leader. It's interesting because I would say like he was once the one doing the S. E. O. And has done a lot of original research himself now. I don't know how much original research he's doing now but I'd say because he had such a depth and because he stays up to date as in like when google like let all their emails go like he went and read a lot of them right. Like I didn't read them all but I was reading ran fish skins assessment of them. But because he had such a depth before, it's kind of like once you're such an expert in a thing, like, the ability to maintain the expertise doesn't become quite as dramatic. So I feel like some of that lingers now, of course, he went on to do more things and now he's probably actually, like getting to guess, speak on podcast seems to be his real trick, right? Part of that. He has authorities. So, people he's come and spoke on this podcast, like, I think, twice now, I think he's actually it's a great example to bring up in a way, because he is he's been so good for the SEO industry at large, right? I mean, so much of what he's done to build his own brand, ended up building ceo as an industry, So I would certainly not want to trash that because it's remarkably valuable to everybody in the industry. And we all owe him thanks to a certain extent. But, you know, there's a certain amount of, and I don't say this disrespectful, there's a certain amount of showmanship to brand that is important to building his brand. And so there's nothing wrong with being a great brand builder. I envy the hell out of that, but it's a fine line between brand building and thought leadership, and I would say that there are a team of people and a few of them I know personally that rand would would rely on for the actual nitty gritty thought leadership behind the scenes. It's true, it's true, man, That's an interesting morning. That was the closest one I could think of to like someone who like rides that line, who was an expert, not quite a, not quite the one in the trenches as much as he used to be, and probably for a while now. Um let's talk about another one, let's talk about one that I would say is a thought leader and that's Gary Vaynerchuk. What would you say about Gary? There's always room for a contrarian voice. I'm out here on this podcast because I make a good contrarian voice and I think Gary has captured that spirit better than anybody and he's combined it with being incredibly smart. So there's he's a smart contrarian who has built a great brand and I don't know enough about Gerry's actual technical chops or his history to know what kind of thought leader is, but is he a thought leader just by, he's a thought leader within brand building, I would argue, and I think that would be undeniable, I don't know, I don't know him as anything else anymore, really. Right, So in my mind, he's a great brand builder and different than in Brandon that he's done it quite a bit differently. So he might be a thought leader in brand building, he positions himself as a business builder. So that's kind of like his thing, of course he's taking multiple positions throughout time. It used to be the one guy, used to be the social media guy, but now he's kind of launched multiple businesses and I think that's where he's like but he's also still all the other things like the social media guy. Yeah, he's a genuinely pure marketer in the sense that he always can get eyeballs and attention and that's the name of the game and marketing. So often I can...

...think of someone like Jay Bear who is now on that kind of obvious like that track. We see a lot with thought leaders who they write books and they speak on stages and that's kind of it. That's kind of all they do and they consult, right? And they have a company where it probably does a lot of extra things and has other monetization channels, but there's a number of individuals who do nothing but write books and speak right. JBl would be one of those, I could think of like a dozen more that are on that kind of trek. And you're from what your perspective you're saying, those guys like not so much a thought leader, better brand builders. Yes. And I don't want, you know, I don't want to underplay or underestimate the difficulty or respect I have for speaking on stage and being compelling about it. That's not easy. I mean, you know, grabbing, put the speech together that then results in a large line afterwards, people to speak to you that's not simple. Uh and so you've got to recognize that they're doing that. So there is some element of incredible talent just to be able to do that. But yeah, I think it's it's better brand building than it is a thought leadership. I would say actually I'll throw a name out there which would be well Reynolds. Uh and in my mind will is a great brand builder. I love the fact that he built his business from the ground up and learned along the way. And when he speaks about building the business, you know that he's business building leader because he did that he turned away the big money. I mean he's made that part of his brand. Um I think there's a combination of boots on the ground work that he did by himself for his agency that he got results in his day. And then he went on to build a business that almost ran away from him and he had to kind of control and tether that. And I would say the combination there put him in the closest though he was probably more widely known for speaking and writing, I think the combination of everything he was doing within the digital industry was probably the closest to thought leadership that I've seen now. He's moving on to a little bit of different role, which I think is more about kind of innovation and disrupting within the industry through his brand, which I think is a great thing to. So I think that's an example of someone who was overwhelmingly present on stages and and writing engagements. But I think there's there's a lot there. I would call him a thought leader um and I haven't checked with with his work currently anything, I'm not not the ultimate judge on that certainly. But I think there there can be both, you can be a brand builder and a thought leader and that's probably the closest off the cuff example. I can think that would be well now let's let's pick on somebody who's one not alive and I think is arguably debated, well not arguably absolutely debated as far as thought leadership goes and that's napoleon hill, right? Think think and grow rich. Like if you look at his history like he like has a lot of interesting ideas whether their original you're like but then he essentially became famous for being famous like his book, hit a nerve and he spoke on stages and wrote more books. Right? Would you say that was that's like a classic example of someone being a thought leader before the term was coined. Who who clearly isn't a thought leader? Yeah, maybe. I mean, I think of the more kind of quintessential example to me would be Jack Welch, You know, I mentioned ted talk itis and I think it's closely related to Jack Welch Itis, which is, you know, you mythologize a person for long enough and before, you know it there, that chuck Norris of business, right? And I think that happened with Jack Welch, and so only time proved that actually there was a lot of people behind him and he was a flawed human like everybody else, and maybe he wasn't a thought leader, maybe he was just a good brand builder and businessmen. And so I think that that's the case case for a lot of folks. Unfortunately, think time, ultimately this is the complication for me, is that ultimately time proves whether your thought leadership more than your thought leader more than anything else, right? I mean, in 10 years, you know, the proof is in the pudding as they say, and in 10 years we'll all know who the thought leaders were. I think it's it's most difficult to predict who they are right now or to claim authoritatively...

...who they are right now. Uh you know, we'll know in 10 years, but in 10 years they will have been today's thought leaders, not 10 years from now thought leaders. So I think it's kind of the same continuum. There's definitely a muddying of like what a thought leader is and it's I think massively like the coin was turned, but at the same time, I think the Ted organization has been partly responsible for the acceleration of thought leaders being so influential because the ted talk is almost like, I don't know what it is, that's like yeah, the quintessential piece of thought leadership is the Ted talk and probably the book, but Ted talks even more so because that's all that you get in Ted talks books have lots of different things coming out. But then Ted talks are a great example in terms of if you stretch that brand as far as they have to, you know, here's my local Ted talks series. I mean at a certain point there's probably not much more to bring out of the sponge, especially when you're talking about something being revolutionary, thought leading, you know, so I think basically you do your brand, the more, the more Ted talks you have locally and regionally and everybody is a thought leader and everybody's an expert. They may have contributed to this to a certain extent. No, so on On one end I agree with you that thought like the definition of thought leadership should be pretty tight and I kind of defined it around three major things like you actually, you absolutely have to be an expert, which means you have to have a base of not just knowledge and expertise but actual experience, like you've gotten your hands dirty so that you actually understand it inside and out. Like a particular subject matter, it's usually a niche, right kind of like a PhD. You know, you start broad with your bachelor is a little bit more narrow with your your master's and a PhD has a very, very tiny focus and I would think a thought leader kind of needs that level of expertise. You also have to have unique ideas. So it's not just enough to be an expert, you have to be contributing and pushing that particular niche topic forward in some new way. Now of course we all stand on the shoulders of giants, nothing new under the sun. But there are unique twist. There are unique angles, There are ideas that come from other industries that are new in this industry. So I think there's a lot of different ways to advance a field, especially if you're trying to help something that's a a widespread problem in that particular topic that nobody really has a real clear solution to yet. Right. And you can have an idea that pushes that forward. So unique and useful ideas. The third thing I would say makes a unique thought leader is authority because even if you're like, there's a lot of phds out there who just published ideas, but no one's really listening now when they could have amazing ideas. But if they're not actually leaving anybody, then you have great thoughts. You're just not a thought we here. So if you have those three things, would you say your it's pretty authentic and time will prove out that you you were indeed a thought leader. Yeah, I think time will prove it out if you were and if not you'll be kind of forgotten and and rather quickly. And I think that that's the case. I think it's almost unfair right? The pressure that people have when they write or speak these days within you know, marketing industry at large because the people that have come before them, you mentioned standing on the shoulders of giants. Well if I want to say something new and marketing I gotta beat david ogilvy. I mean how am I to do that? I have to come up with something revolutionary the spot and the more the more I focus on coming up with something revolutionary, the more difficult that is. And as you said, authority comes from getting your hands dirty and actually getting those results. And so that's the most important, the most important aspect is actually doing it and having having that track record and even ogilvy would be able to point back to other influences he's had right. Um she was very influenced by Lester wonder Man, who was very influenced by Claude Hopkins and you can track martyr marketing all the way back to josiah Wedgwood who was really influenced by all his peers in like the late 17 hundreds. You know, he's like one of the people who kicked off the Industrial revolution and I'm glad you mentioned that we don't do enough of that and you mentioned is standing on the shoulders of giants and that's absolutely we pretend like we are the giants too often And that's my biggest,...

...that's my biggest thing with thought leadership is that's us pretending to be the giants instead of looking back. And a lot of the stuff that I've seen in the last 10 years on stage is is basically paraphrasing without even necessarily meaning to things that have other things. And that's definitely not leadership, right? If you have to do to do do it is to see someone else has already thought that through um you know, but I've been part of even agencies who have conference series where we put people on stage and a lot of times those people are, they want to speak, they want to, right, they want to be a thought leader, it's actually their goal and misdirected as it might be according to meet people like me, they want to have that thought leadership before they actually really have those results. So you've got some young rather inexperienced marketers hungry for the stage and, you know, looking on people that are above them to let them have that stage, and I've watched those people get the stage what they knew and what they were about going into that speech and preparing it for a few months, and what the speech that that was a different person, talking about different things, and that's not them, and that's not their company, and but it was a great speech And I see that so often that that probably has made me a little cynical in terms of what thought leadership, is, because I know that if we can give the stage to a 26 year old person with very little experience, and in fact, there were getting the stage because of that, almost to a certain extent, they really better hit a grand slam, and too often they don't um and so I think we don't help ourselves by putting people on the stage that aren't ready for it uh and banging the drum that they actually are ready for it. And so we we should ourselves in the foot when we do that, and that's the kind of thought leadership stuff that I'm talking about is if everyone thought leader, then no one's a thought leader, and that's, we too often want to, just if they're on the stage, they must be used to gate keep the lines for a lot of the speakers back in the early days of S. E. O. When some of the conferences would get big, and you get kind of this rock star guru mentality when they were done speaking, you have spillover lines and you know, maybe this is early thought leadership and legion, but I was working those lines and talking to those people, because the reality is many of those people weren't, You know, going to be talked to by the person that they were in line for. Uh and it's not lost on me that so many of those people that I talked to 10 years ago are the thought leaders of today. So the people that were intent on that track, they were going to line up and ask that person how they did. That they were more intent on getting to that stage, like their hero than they were on getting the results in the weeds on a daily basis that they were actually the authority, you know, that you referenced. So it's funny we agreed then I think really in a lot of ways, but when it comes down to is what is thought leadership, I guess is the first question. The second question is why are we so eager to pretend that some of this is not leadership when it's clearly not. I think the reason why most people want to become thought leaders is because it's just highly profitable in so many different ways because influences profitable and thought leadership is one path influence. It's not the only path. I mean sports stars usually aren't thought leaders even though their influencers But thought leadership, especially in a B2B context, especially in a business context. Thought leadership is the influencer usually. And I think that's the reason why people are hurrying to get there because they wanted or have insecurities they want to fill by getting people to applaud for them or different things. I do disagree that it's wrong to want to be a thought leader. I actually think provided you have the right intent, being a thought leader is a noble aspiration because I think if you have the right intent and the right intent is to be humble and to serve and to be helpful and there's a lot of problems and a lot of niche industries that have not been figured out yet. Major problems that we're still wrestling with. For example, I'll give you one that is still being worked on today and I literally just got off a call where a bunch of us were talking about it because it's a problem for everybody is having that feeling of connection in a remote environment. It's not easy. It's really difficult and a lot of managers are still struggling like, oh, how do you manage out out in a remote environment? There's still a lot of room for people to come and explore and push forward...

...what culture and what connection and what management can look like in this remote environment, which is more widespread than it's ever been before. And it's a unique, unique thing and we'll probably have thought leaders pop up and I hope somebody does. I hope somebody who maybe has a background traditional management, culture building and connection can start exploring some new things, but in a way that doesn't presume that I'm the giant that is in a way that seeks to serve and help lead forward in new ways so that people like me and like all the people I talked to this morning can benefit from their ideas and we can lead and try and test it out ourselves. But if you do it in a humble way, you never call yourself a thought leader, but you in your head, you're like, I want to lead people in this thing because it's a problem for me, and it's a lot of problem for other people, and I want to try to find a solution for that and then champion those ideas. I think that's a good and noble thing and a part of that is building the authority and the brand around it, because if you come up with a noble idea, but don't do all the work to actually get it out there, make it memorable and make it interesting, which comes down to personality and showmanship and a lot of other things so that people can actually, you actually get it out there, which I think is part of the work. No, I really actually striving to be a thought leader, I think is what we all should do, right? And then, as we mentioned, someone else will tell you when you've arrived. But I think the thing that I don't have patience for is that's great that you want to be a thought leader, but you're not even close to the ready for the stage yet. Um and so don't ask go keep finishing. And I think that's the key thing is if you're a thought leader and you want to be a thought leader, just keep working and getting your results. And for example, you use you use kind of remote workforce as an example of where potential thought leadership. I agree. However, I would suggest that pre Covid there were a good number of agencies and and players within the industry who are already completely decentralized not to to our warm, but that would be closed loop. And so how do we capture the spirit of why those people did that and how they were succeeding at it before? Covid it because everyone else Hussein post Covid, we need to do this. You kind of by definition can't be a thought leader leader in that area because you already were shooting that proactively before Covid. And so the folks that opened up and said, hey, we recognize that some of our talent is and other places and we need to completely decentralized this, that closed loop. We have offices in Roosevelt, but I think we have three people in our offices which are fairly large because we've given that people, people pre covid the ability to work from where they are. And so again, there is a great example of I don't think our ceo Lance Loveday or our president, Amanda Evans are talking about how they did that somebody down the road will probably go to these agencies and say, how did you do that? At which point will recognize that they were thought leaders. But again, that takes time and results. So I think we largely agree we'll just have slightly different approach and it might take time to build up true thought leadership where they have a following around ideas. But like those people could start emerging now. They could start having unique. It is I wonder if we tried this. Oh, that kind of worked. Let's try. Oh, it worked here. All. My friend just asked me about it. Let's try it over there. And then because they're starting to see success, it's okay to start talking about it early again, if you never call your thought leaders, call yourself a thought leader, then it becomes a non issue, but you're starting to share ideas openly. Being like I had a problem, I wanted to find a solution. This is what works for me. It's worked over here and over here. I'm just sharing it on social media and then maybe if you do that enough and it starts to work for other people, naturally, someone is going to get you to speak on stage eventually because it's a problem for a lot of people and I think that's okay. Um and I still think even within the remote context, I know like base camp and Wordpress specifically are fairly large companies that have been doing remote for a long time for like since the beginnings I've read their books, they have great ideas on it. They're still limited resources on what doing good remote works looks like, especially for a lot of different types of companies. They're both tech companies and they tend to hire like at the top of the pay scale, so they're...

...very selective in who they pick and they pick people that they know we're going to thrive in a work environment. What about those who don't thrive in a remote environment? Like there's, I think there's lots of room for ideas here that haven't been flushed out and nature, it might be like, what do you do for work force for hospital tech employees? You know, Which I have a friend who lives near me who is in that case, right. I think there's lots of room there for new ideas. I agree and I think niches will emerge and this, this should be one and I think this is, this is going to be key and I would be disappointed in the coming years if, you know, stages aren't slotted with at least a few people talking exactly about that. But I do agree with you that there are a lot of young people just clamoring for the stage who don't know what they're talking about yet, and that's that's a bummer, that's a bummer that they went and we're kind of premature and like thinking they had arrived and all the older people are like, that's been around for decades. Yeah, I think that because, you know, I don't by any stretch want to sound like an ageist in this, because some of the smartest people that I've met in the industry are the wet behind the ears and the potential from those people is amazing. And I wouldn't ever want to discourage them. And I think that there there are great minds in the industry who just need to apply their mind to the industry until they're ready and then they'll speak. But I think the mistake gets made in wanting to be, maybe, I guess it's the theme internet famous as soon as possible, right? And in our industry, if you get the stage, you're going to be internet famous, uh you know, and so I don't know, maybe your thought leader down, I mean you've got you've gotten some internet fame at least be linked in. And I love your work, by the way, what you've done, you've done it somewhat uniquely, you've built a brand and presents and I don't think you've ever done that by calling yourself a thought leader, but you know, certainly uh you moved your way into my feet on linkedin and others uh pretty quickly and and pretty deeply. So that's impressive. And, you know, it's in many ways everyone's asking, when should I get a podcast? How do I get a podcast? What do I do about a podcast? Well, you've been doing this for a while and getting results and so I don't know, I'm not opposed to the idea that the thought leaders are, and it's not my job to anoint you one. Uh you know, but that's what I see is there are thought leaders out there. I just don't think they're the ones we say they are, um, you know, and actually returning real quickly to the well Reynolds idea, I want, I want to kind of flesh that out a little bit more because the merger and acquisition thing within the industries are huge, right? And so we're not selling when, you know, he was right there, ready to sell is an interesting note because we tend to love the people that were acquired and we celebrate them and put them on a pedestal when in reality, the very reason they were acquired was because some acquiring company determined that they were inefficient enough that they could actually make them more efficient and more profitable. And it was worth while spending the extra money for that. And so when a guy like Will says, well no, actually I'm going to take that as an indication that I could actually reap that benefit and leverage that opportunity for myself and my own people that might be, you know, and we'll see how it plays out. It's certainly not a done deal. He's still working hard to build his business. But in retrospect, when we look back in five years, I think what we see how well, but to the trend within the industry with him as it related to M and A, I think could very well prove to be thought leadership and his brand personal and, and and and business brand both, you know, could even magnify because of that. So I think it's very interesting to look at what people are doing right now and maybe look to see what we're going to view that in five years. And I guess that's maybe just a product of maybe in a near boomer, is I like the benefit of looking forward. Well, I appreciate the comments. I don't think of myself as a thought leader. I definitely think of myself as a student as I'm trying to learn. I haven't aspired, I aspired to be a thought leader and I aspire to help, but one I will never call myself...

...one and I think I'll just continue to go on linkedin and post the most helpful things and show up in people's comments and send lots of Diem's and just try to be the most helpful person. I could possibly be if that if I end up helping lots of people and then my ideas, like can help a majority of people and that's great. I hope my, my greatest fear is that I will post an idea a little bit too confidently, that I just like, it's so hard to flirt with the line because sometimes you post as a marketer, knowing you're trying to get reach with just the post itself, but you do it a little bit too confidently and I have a lot of people that like, call me out on linkedin, they're like uh dan, like the nuance on that, you know, it's wrong, kind of like, you're right, go and change it, you know? So luckily, social media is, it has a great way of keeping you humble and I it's my goal to try to be that I think there is something to actually like learning and growing on social, so I'm not getting, you're not getting on a stage, but it's like, it's almost like a little mini stage um and it's a linkedin in itself is a great place to learn to grow and to test because people are kinder on linkedin, on twitter, they rip you apart, but on linkedin and people are a little bit more constructive because their professional reputation is attached to it um and their boss is gonna see it, you know? Well as a to challenge maybe even call out publicly, not call out a person publicly, but like say like, I don't know if I agree with this idea, but I'm open to feedback as long as you have a humble heart and are willing to learn and grow and there's certainly things I've had to change my stances on as people are like dan. Now, it's kind of the other way I'm like, okay you're right, or sometimes like sometimes I end up becoming more firm in my position or think thoughts on the topic, but so you're a student of marketing and then by pursuing that, you've accidentally become a thought leader within marketing podcasting. I have a hypothesis and I'll just call it that because it's just a hypothesis. But I think the best way to become a thought leader is what I call learning in the light, because that way people can watch you grow, watch you learn, watch you fail to because there's going to be a lot of failure ship to becoming an actual thought leader, but if they watch you do it and you do it in a humble way and you ask good questions and you actually listen to people, take their advice and then get better. Like if people watch you do it publicly, then it's a more genuine way of building thought leadership, but ditching yourself as a student, be humble, take criticism even if it's a little angry sometimes, but take it for what it is and learn, try to learn from it. And if you can learn and be helpful and do that in public, do it in the light where everybody can see you, it will be a more genuine way to build authority without having to get up on stage as much and being just the show men who is just so good at speaking that people aren't raptured because there is some people, there are some people who are so good with their words and their presentation that they can make you believe they're credible just because they got you with a few stories and a few cool and anecdotes, right? But I don't you don't want to be that you want to be the genuine one who's kind of like learning their way up and serving and stuff. That's my, I believe that I could have talked to my land and many, many sales over the years that I didn't because I'm looking for good plant services experiences. Uh and so yes, you're, you're right, you can talk yourself into things um and you can put yourself into positions that you shouldn't be in and that would be the opposite. I thought leadership. But you just mentioned something that made me think of something in terms of thought leadership. And I'm gonna give you an example of a very strange thing that I view is thought leadership has almost nothing to do with our industry. But really it is in my mind, genuine but accidental thought leadership and it's going to be, this is a quantum leap for everyone. But please go check it out twins. The new trend on Youtube. Have you seen these guys? Say it again twins. The new trend, twins is the new trend now is just twins. The new trend. And so it's two twins from Gary indiana who are reacting there, reaction videos to...

...music and they are yet you have to see it to believe that there's no description I could give to do it justice. But what they're doing is totally accidental. Thought leadership there. Thought leaders and race relations and their thought leaders in music without being meaning to be either they're just being too good dudes sharing their experience, watching them grow, watching them learn and watching them progress in their lives and build something for themselves is an amazing experience for me and it's so strange. But boomers all over the country I think are reacting similarly and I think they are thought leaders without meaning to check them out. It's the strangest plug that could give as an example of thought leadership, but they would never call themselves thought leaders. But I do interesting. So if I kind of run my thing or my philosophy that it has to be experts, unique ideas authority. So there's certainly growing an authority that much is clear. They've probably through time, they've done a lot of content. Yes. And it took them a long time to figure out, well not a long time and it took him a year to figure out what content resonated with what their actual demographic ended up being. And so watching that evolution of what they thought their demographic was to what actually unlock the door to millions of views for each video. I mean they're going from 500 views on a certain demographic to millions on another and it's obvious why and there's conversations that lead from having watched them, but they checked the trend out and seriously I'm plugging them because your root for them and why they thought leaders. There's certainly a lot of shades between influencer because there's a lot of influencers out there, especially on Youtube and thought leader because a thought leader is really a more specific influencer, right? And of course there are some who are like really strong because they're known for their expertise and their unique contributions to an industry. And then there's like all kinds of shades between that and like Casey Neistat saying he likes something who's an influential Youtuber, right? Because he's just, everybody likes him, right? So there's a big difference, but there's a lot of shades in between there and I think there's a gamut, so I bet these guys run somewhere in there where it's like you want to think of them as a typical thought leader because they're not like writing books and presenting unique ideas, but in a way they're giving commentary on something and their commentary runs from an expertise of doing it over and over again and people start to trust that commentary. I mean in the case of Casey Neistat, that's an absolute thought leader, right? What he did was people didn't realize he brought a background in cinematography and cinema into a Youtube channel and and fundamentally changed how every and now everyone copies that style to. They don't realize why they have cinematic style. He's absolutely, I thought thought leader when it comes to cinematography in Youtube and a lot of even internet culture and a lot of things like he could probably speak to like drone cinematography and tech and vlogging for sure. Um but like, like he posts his other opinions about things like politics and you're kind of like, okay, that's where he's just an influencer, right? That's the natural progression, right? I forget who said it, but basically an intellectual is just an expert talking outside of their field, right? I would say an intellectual, especially when they're giving criticism is usually an expert speaking, I would say, usually speaking to their fill, but they're not adding unique and helpful ideas. They're critiquing other people's ideas and that's what I would call public intellectual. There's actually a book that kind of chronicles the difference between the the public intellectual on the thought leader called the The Industry of Ideas. It's fascinating book. That's at least that's how that one author to find it. So there's probably many, many definitions out there. But know this has been a really fun conversation. It certainly challenged me to think about how like, really what thought leadership really is and how to wrestle with the people or how it's often faked, how it's often more of a disadvantage to try to go after being a thought later, if you go about it the wrong way. So this has been a fun conversation for me and I'd like to help anybody who's been listening to this has been kind of fascinated by your perspectives. Where...

...can they go to find you online to learn more about who you are and what you do? Uh Well I am on linkedin, you can find me on linkedin obviously, and I can probably say that that's the only thing close to social, you'll find me on, that's who I am these days. So closed loop dot com is our business. And linkedin is where you can find me and message me directly. Fantastic. Thank you again for being on GDP growth. Likewise, thanks for having me dan, great stuff. Is the decision maker for your product or service of BB marketer. Are you looking to reach those buyers through the medium of podcasting? Considered becoming a co host of GDP Growth? This show is consistently ranked as a Top 100 podcast in the marketing category of Apple Podcasts, And the show gets more than 130,000 downloads each month. We've already done the work of building the audience so you can focus on delivering incredible content to our listeners if you're interested, email Logan at sweet Fish Media dot com? Yeah.

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