B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 2081 · 5 months ago

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 danSanchez with sweet fish media and today I'm here with no ulemas who is thedirector 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 isgonna be a fun episode as you can probably tell from the title. I alreadygave this video, we are here to debate thought leadership. I did this with thelast deep dive. I did on account based marketing and it was so much fun, wehad to do it again for this deep dive. So a few weeks ago I posted on linkedinand 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 thoughtleadership is anything or why what's wrong with thought leadership? Likecome at me and Noah wrote a long post and I was like, oh no, was my man, thisis gonna be fun because not everybody agrees with thought leadership being athing or that it's a buzz word or that it's overused or that it's it's more ofa problem than it is help. Um And it's that way about a lot of marketingtopics 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 termcalled Thought leadership. So I wanted to bring Noah on the show today so wecould 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 shouldactually do about it as marketers so no. Uh tell me a little bit about what yousaid on linkedin regarding thought leadership first, is it a thing if itis a thing, how do you define it? So for starters I think thought leadershipis a thing. Absolutely. There's people out there that are leading within theircategory and doing it in a way that is somewhat revolutionary. So I think thatdoes exist. I think my bone of contention is that maybe it'soverplayed that it's not exactly what we say it is. So in other words I thinktoo often and marketing good brand building is confused for thoughtleadership. And I think that's my real bone of contention is if if you are athought leader you shouldn't need to tell you when you thought leader, otherpeople are saying your thought leader. And I think too often in ourmarketplace it comes down to who's speaking, who's writing, who's gettingthe audience in the eyes and their perceived to be the thought leader. SoI think in that way I kind of agree with you. Like thought leaders, theyeither 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 nevercall yourself a thought leader. And the second rule is you should never callyourself a thought leader, maybe let somebody else call it to you, but neverlike claim it or even post what they said on your profile saying so and soas a thought leader, right, it's just kind of leaves a bad taste in people'smouths. But what do you see being like, is it useful at all? Like should weeven be using it as a term? Like is it is it is it a helpful thing formarketers to think about trying to do? I think it's a dangerous trap because Ithink it comes from a kind of jokingly called this Ted talk itis where if youwatch 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 thecontent, but for the actual speaking style, for the actual presentation,what you see is the end product is so different than what that personactually thinks or is or is capable of doing on their own. Uh, and so weelevate kind of people to a pedestal without necessarily meaning to otherpeople see that. And then they get uh, speaking or writing engagement and intheir mind, their baseline references. I have to beat that Ted talk I saw. Andso 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 thatyou aren't. And that's a difficult thing to be. So what I've noticed isthat most people, they're claiming their own thought leadership areborrowing other people's thought leadership within their industry. Andoften in what in my experience, that...

...person has been someone behind thescenes within their own agency or own company who is very smart but veryquiet. They picked that person's brain and that becomes their writing orthey're speaking basis and they never source that person and that persondoesn't mind or doesn't say anything. And so I think thought leadership inour industry and in marketing it at large is a thing, but it's a little bithidden. We don't actually know who the thought leaders are because they're notthe people being publicized, we know who the publicized people are and I'mnot sure there the thought leaders. So the real thought leaders are the quietones who aren't being recognized. Would you say that? It's funny because Iwould say that if they're quiet behind the scenes then they're not thoughtleaders because they're not leading anybody, somebody else is taking theirideas 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 itfrom somebody else. I mean you could even say that steve jobs was kind ofthat because he he took the he took the Macintosh from Wozniak, right? But thenhe developed his own ideas and you know, he did a lot of other good stuff and Id like philosophies around design and all kinds of stuff. But I think there'sa, you know, there's been a consolidation within digital marketing,especially over the last 10 years or so, and lots of mergers and acquisitions aspart of that. And so the people that get bought tend to seem to have apretty short path to being a thought leader. And I've always thought thatwas pretty interesting, right? You're not a thought leader just because youbuilt an agency or a company that was bought by somebody. But too often wetreat that oh, you must be a thought leader if they bought you for 10million, 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 buildan organization and being a thought leader within the industry that you'rein. And so it seems like sometimes the table stakes are thought leadershipbecause it's a mistaken idea of what thought leadership is. So that thatfounder or that Ceo or what have you, they feel the pressure to be a thoughtleader. So they present themselves as one and they don't say they are, butthey're out there speaking and writing as though they are and then otherpeople anoint them and really um you know, results are at the core ofthought leadership. So in my industry, you know, within, within paidadvertising, for example, we're thought leaders, but no one's going to talkabout that were too busy getting results for people. And so if you'regetting results for people, you're clearly in a competitive market, ifyou're getting results, you are a thought leader, but the people aregetting the results are busy getting the results, Someone else has to talkabout those results and how that happened and here's our case studiesetcetera. So having been in client services in my own time and now beingremoved 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 thoughtleaders internally. Um You know there's people within every agency that I'veever been a part of that. I seek out their opinion and I talked with themand I understand that that's that's the core of what we're doing and otherpeople might not understand that but it sure useful to know that. Um But it'sthe 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 likebaseball. Um You know we watch people get paid for what they did in the pastand in S. E. O. Or PPC. Or what have you. We see people get recognized forthings they did in the past. The gap between when they accomplished and nowthat they're talking about, it has been filled within activity and they're notthey're no longer the expert that they were. But we need them to tell us howthey did it back then. In the meantime there's a whole class of people thatare working to be the thought leaders and getting results now and we won'thear from them for another five years. So I would say the thought leadersright now are some of the speakers and writers of tomorrow but by the timethey're writing and speaking they're no longer the thought leaders. So I guessthat's really what I'm saying is when are they a thought leader in the timethey recognize or we recognize or someone else recognizes and whatactually makes them that thought leader. And do we actually really know in acase like William Shakespeare, was he a thought leader in his time? We can nowsay that he was at the time he was an also ran of a writer. Now he's maybethe greatest british writer of history...

...considered widely. So was that thoughtleadership at the time? They would say no. Now we say yes, I don't know. Nowwe're in the present, What do we say? Well let's let's take some examples ofsome people that are currently out there and speaking a lot, um somehaving a marketing background you'll probably really familiar with and somehopefully you're familiar with, let's say rand Fishkin, still a thoughtleader on the ceo. Um he is an amazing brand builder, brand, is an amazingbrand builder and he has impressive hair and always good facial hair forchecking in on and remarkable brand builder and business person and I thinkhe's done a remarkable job of shepherding technology into a spacethat's needed it. But he wasn't the technology builder. Um you know he's agreat brand so no I wouldn't say as much as I respect and like brand Idon't view him as a thought leader. It's interesting because I would saylike he was once the one doing the S. E. O. And has done a lot of originalresearch himself now. I don't know how much original research he's doing nowbut I'd say because he had such a depth and because he stays up to date as inlike when google like let all their emails go like he went and read a lotof them right. Like I didn't read them all but I was reading ran fish skinsassessment of them. But because he had such a depth before, it's kind of likeonce you're such an expert in a thing, like, the ability to maintain theexpertise doesn't become quite as dramatic. So I feel like some of thatlingers now, of course, he went on to do more things and now he's probablyactually, 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 thispodcast, like, I think, twice now, I think he's actually it's a greatexample to bring up in a way, because he is he's been so good for the SEOindustry at large, right? I mean, so much of what he's done to build his ownbrand, ended up building ceo as an industry, So I would certainly not wantto 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 acertain amount of, and I don't say this disrespectful, there's a certain amountof showmanship to brand that is important to building his brand. And sothere's nothing wrong with being a great brand builder. I envy the hellout of that, but it's a fine line between brand building and thoughtleadership, and I would say that there are a team of people and a few of themI know personally that rand would would rely on for the actual nitty grittythought leadership behind the scenes. It's true, it's true, man, That's aninteresting morning. That was the closest one I could think of to likesomeone who like rides that line, who was an expert, not quite a, not quitethe one in the trenches as much as he used to be, and probably for a whilenow. Um let's talk about another one, let's talk about one that I would sayis a thought leader and that's Gary Vaynerchuk. What would you say aboutGary? There's always room for a contrarian voice. I'm out here on thispodcast because I make a good contrarian voice and I think Gary hascaptured that spirit better than anybody and he's combined it with beingincredibly smart. So there's he's a smart contrarian who has built a greatbrand and I don't know enough about Gerry's actual technical chops or hishistory to know what kind of thought leader is, but is he a thought leaderjust by, he's a thought leader within brand building, I would argue, and Ithink that would be undeniable, I don't know, I don't know him as anything elseanymore, really. Right, So in my mind, he's a great brand builder anddifferent than in Brandon that he's done it quite a bit differently. So hemight be a thought leader in brand building, he positions himself as abusiness builder. So that's kind of like his thing, of course he's takingmultiple positions throughout time. It used to be the one guy, used to be thesocial media guy, but now he's kind of launched multiple businesses and Ithink that's where he's like but he's also still all the other things likethe social media guy. Yeah, he's a genuinely pure marketer in the sensethat he always can get eyeballs and attention and that's the name of thegame and marketing. So often I can...

...think of someone like Jay Bear who isnow on that kind of obvious like that track. We see a lot with thoughtleaders 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 companywhere it probably does a lot of extra things and has other monetizationchannels, but there's a number of individuals who do nothing but writebooks and speak right. JBl would be one of those, I could think of like a dozenmore that are on that kind of trek. And you're from what your perspectiveyou're saying, those guys like not so much a thought leader, better brandbuilders. Yes. And I don't want, you know, I don't want to underplay orunderestimate the difficulty or respect I have for speaking on stage and beingcompelling about it. That's not easy. I mean, you know, grabbing, put thespeech together that then results in a large line afterwards, people to speakto you that's not simple. Uh and so you've got to recognize that they'redoing that. So there is some element of incredible talent just to be able to dothat. But yeah, I think it's it's better brand building than it is athought leadership. I would say actually I'll throw a name out therewhich 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 learnedalong the way. And when he speaks about building the business, you know thathe's business building leader because he did that he turned away the bigmoney. I mean he's made that part of his brand. Um I think there's acombination of boots on the ground work that he did by himself for his agencythat he got results in his day. And then he went on to build a businessthat 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 wasprobably more widely known for speaking and writing, I think the combination ofeverything he was doing within the digital industry was probably theclosest to thought leadership that I've seen now. He's moving on to a littlebit of different role, which I think is more about kind of innovation anddisrupting within the industry through his brand, which I think is a greatthing to. So I think that's an example of someone who was overwhelminglypresent on stages and and writing engagements. But I think there'sthere's a lot there. I would call him a thought leader um and I haven't checkedwith with his work currently anything, I'm not not the ultimate judge on thatcertainly. But I think there there can be both, you can be a brand builder anda thought leader and that's probably the closest off the cuff example. I canthink that would be well now let's let's pick on somebody who's one notalive and I think is arguably debated, well not arguably absolutely debated asfar as thought leadership goes and that's napoleon hill, right? Thinkthink and grow rich. Like if you look at his history like he like has a lotof interesting ideas whether their original you're like but then heessentially became famous for being famous like his book, hit a nerve andhe spoke on stages and wrote more books. Right? Would you say that was that'slike a classic example of someone being a thought leader before the term wascoined. Who who clearly isn't a thought leader? Yeah, maybe. I mean, I think of themore kind of quintessential example to me would be Jack Welch, You know, Imentioned 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, youknow it there, that chuck Norris of business, right? And I think thathappened with Jack Welch, and so only time proved that actually there was alot of people behind him and he was a flawed human like everybody else, andmaybe he wasn't a thought leader, maybe he was just a good brand builder andbusinessmen. 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, isthat ultimately time proves whether your thought leadership more than yourthought 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 thethought leaders were. I think it's it's most difficult to predict who they areright 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 thoughtleaders, not 10 years from now thought leaders. So I think it's kind of thesame continuum. There's definitely a muddying of like what a thought leaderis 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 accelerationof thought leaders being so influential because the ted talk is almost like, Idon't know what it is, that's like yeah, the quintessential piece of thoughtleadership is the Ted talk and probably the book, but Ted talks even more sobecause that's all that you get in Ted talks books have lots of differentthings coming out. But then Ted talks are a great example in terms of if youstretch that brand as far as they have to, you know, here's my local Ted talksseries. I mean at a certain point there's probably not much more to bringout of the sponge, especially when you're talking about something beingrevolutionary, thought leading, you know, so I think basically you do yourbrand, the more, the more Ted talks you have locally and regionally andeverybody is a thought leader and everybody's an expert. They may havecontributed to this to a certain extent. No, so on On one end I agree with youthat thought like the definition of thought leadership should be prettytight 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 ofnot just knowledge and expertise but actual experience, like you've gottenyour hands dirty so that you actually understand it inside and out. Like aparticular subject matter, it's usually a niche, right kind of like a PhD. Youknow, you start broad with your bachelor is a little bit more narrowwith your your master's and a PhD has a very, very tiny focus and I would thinka thought leader kind of needs that level of expertise. You also have tohave unique ideas. So it's not just enough to be an expert, you have to becontributing and pushing that particular niche topic forward in somenew way. Now of course we all stand on the shoulders of giants, nothing newunder the sun. But there are unique twist. There are unique angles, Thereare ideas that come from other industries that are new in thisindustry. 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 problemin 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 anduseful ideas. The third thing I would say makes a unique thought leader isauthority because even if you're like, there's a lot of phds out there whojust published ideas, but no one's really listening now when they couldhave amazing ideas. But if they're not actually leaving anybody, then you havegreat thoughts. You're just not a thought we here. So if you have thosethree things, would you say your it's pretty authentic and time will proveout that you you were indeed a thought leader. Yeah, I think time will proveit out if you were and if not you'll be kind of forgotten and and ratherquickly. 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 youknow, marketing industry at large because the people that have comebefore them, you mentioned standing on the shoulders of giants. Well if I wantto say something new and marketing I gotta beat david ogilvy. I mean how amI to do that? I have to come up with something revolutionary the spot andthe more the more I focus on coming up with something revolutionary, the moredifficult that is. And as you said, authority comes from getting your handsdirty and actually getting those results. And so that's the mostimportant, the most important aspect is actually doing it and having havingthat track record and even ogilvy would be able to point back to otherinfluences he's had right. Um she was very influenced by Lester wonder Man,who was very influenced by Claude Hopkins and you can track martyrmarketing all the way back to josiah Wedgwood who was really influenced byall his peers in like the late 17 hundreds. You know, he's like one ofthe people who kicked off the Industrial revolution and I'm glad youmentioned that we don't do enough of that and you mentioned is standing onthe shoulders of giants and that's absolutely we pretend like we are thegiants too often And that's my biggest,...

...that's my biggest thing with thoughtleadership 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 isbasically paraphrasing without even necessarily meaning to things that haveother things. And that's definitely not leadership, right? If you have to do todo do it is to see someone else has already thought that through um youknow, but I've been part of even agencies who have conference serieswhere we put people on stage and a lot of times those people are, they want tospeak, they want to, right, they want to be a thought leader, it's actuallytheir goal and misdirected as it might be according to meet people like me,they want to have that thought leadership before they actually reallyhave those results. So you've got some young rather inexperienced marketershungry for the stage and, you know, looking on people that are above themto let them have that stage, and I've watched those people get the stage whatthey knew and what they were about going into that speech and preparing itfor 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 theircompany, and but it was a great speech And I see that so often that thatprobably 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 verylittle 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 oftenthey don't um and so I think we don't help ourselves by putting people on thestage that aren't ready for it uh and banging the drum that they actually areready 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 aboutis if everyone thought leader, then no one's a thought leader, and that's, wetoo often want to, just if they're on the stage, they must be used to gatekeep 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 rockstar guru mentality when they were done speaking, you have spillover lines andyou know, maybe this is early thought leadership and legion, but I wasworking those lines and talking to those people, because the reality ismany of those people weren't, You know, going to be talked to by the personthat they were in line for. Uh and it's not lost on me that so many of thosepeople that I talked to 10 years ago are the thought leaders of today. Sothe people that were intent on that track, they were going to line up andask that person how they did. That they were more intent on getting to thatstage, like their hero than they were on getting the results in the weeds ona daily basis that they were actually the authority, you know, that youreferenced. 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 thefirst question. The second question is why are we so eager to pretend thatsome of this is not leadership when it's clearly not. I think the reasonwhy most people want to become thought leaders is because it's just highlyprofitable in so many different ways because influences profitable andthought leadership is one path influence. It's not the only path. Imean sports stars usually aren't thought leaders even though theirinfluencers But thought leadership, especially in a B2B context, especiallyin a business context. Thought leadership is the influencer usually.And I think that's the reason why people are hurrying to get therebecause they wanted or have insecurities they want to fill bygetting people to applaud for them or different things. I do disagree thatit's wrong to want to be a thought leader. I actually think provided youhave the right intent, being a thought leader is a noble aspiration because Ithink if you have the right intent and the right intent is to be humble and toserve and to be helpful and there's a lot of problems and a lot of nicheindustries that have not been figured out yet. Major problems that we'restill wrestling with. For example, I'll give you one that is still being workedon today and I literally just got off a call where a bunch of us were talkingabout it because it's a problem for everybody is having that feeling ofconnection in a remote environment. It's not easy. It's really difficultand a lot of managers are still struggling like, oh, how do you manageout out in a remote environment? There's still a lot of room for peopleto come and explore and push forward...

...what culture and what connection andwhat management can look like in this remote environment, which is morewidespread than it's ever been before. And it's a unique, unique thing andwe'll probably have thought leaders pop up and I hope somebody does. I hopesomebody who maybe has a background traditional management, culturebuilding and connection can start exploring some new things, but in a waythat doesn't presume that I'm the giant that is in a way that seeks to serveand help lead forward in new ways so that people like me and like all thepeople I talked to this morning can benefit from their ideas and we canlead and try and test it out ourselves. But if you do it in a humble way, younever call yourself a thought leader, but you in your head, you're like, Iwant to lead people in this thing because it's a problem for me, and it'sa lot of problem for other people, and I want to try to find a solution forthat and then champion those ideas. I think that's a good and noble thing anda 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 toactually get it out there, make it memorable and make it interesting,which comes down to personality and showmanship and a lot of other thingsso that people can actually, you actually get it out there, which Ithink is part of the work. No, I really actually striving to be a thoughtleader, 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 Idon'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 askgo keep finishing. And I think that's the key thing is if you're a thoughtleader and you want to be a thought leader, just keep working and gettingyour results. And for example, you use you use kind of remote workforce as anexample of where potential thought leadership. I agree. However, I wouldsuggest that pre Covid there were a good number of agencies and and playerswithin the industry who are already completely decentralized not to to ourwarm, but that would be closed loop. And so how do we capture the spirit ofwhy those people did that and how they were succeeding at it before? Covid itbecause everyone else Hussein post Covid, we need to do this. You kind ofby definition can't be a thought leader leader in that area because you alreadywere shooting that proactively before Covid. And so the folks that opened upand said, hey, we recognize that some of our talent is and other places andwe need to completely decentralized this, that closed loop. We have officesin Roosevelt, but I think we have three people in our offices which are fairlylarge because we've given that people, people pre covid the ability to workfrom where they are. And so again, there is a great example of I don'tthink our ceo Lance Loveday or our president, Amanda Evans are talkingabout how they did that somebody down the road will probably go to theseagencies and say, how did you do that? At which point will recognize that theywere thought leaders. But again, that takes time and results. So I think welargely agree we'll just have slightly different approach and it might taketime to build up true thought leadership where they have a followingaround ideas. But like those people could start emerging now. They couldstart 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'stry it over there. And then because they're starting to see success, it'sokay to start talking about it early again, if you never call your thoughtleaders, call yourself a thought leader, then it becomes a non issue, but you'restarting to share ideas openly. Being like I had a problem, I wanted to finda 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 itstarts to work for other people, naturally, someone is going to get youto speak on stage eventually because it's a problem for a lot of people andI think that's okay. Um and I still think even within the remote context, Iknow like base camp and Wordpress specifically are fairly large companiesthat have been doing remote for a long time for like since the beginnings I'veread their books, they have great ideas on it. They're still limited resourceson what doing good remote works looks like, especially for a lot of differenttypes of companies. They're both tech companies and they tend to hire like atthe top of the pay scale, so they're...

...very selective in who they pick andthey 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, Ithink there's lots of room for ideas here that haven't been flushed out andnature, it might be like, what do you do for work force for hospital techemployees? You know, Which I have a friend who lives near me who is in thatcase, right. I think there's lots of room there for new ideas. I agree and Ithink niches will emerge and this, this should be one and I think this is, thisis 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 exactlyabout that. But I do agree with you that there are a lot of young peoplejust 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 ofpremature and like thinking they had arrived and all the older people arelike, that's been around for decades. Yeah, I think that because, you know, Idon't by any stretch want to sound like an ageist in this, because some of thesmartest people that I've met in the industry are the wet behind the earsand the potential from those people is amazing. And I wouldn't ever want todiscourage them. And I think that there there are great minds in the industrywho just need to apply their mind to the industry until they're ready andthen 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? Andin our industry, if you get the stage, you're going to be internet famous, uhyou know, and so I don't know, maybe your thought leader down, I mean you'vegot you've gotten some internet fame at least be linked in. And I love yourwork, 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 bycalling yourself a thought leader, but you know, certainly uh you moved yourway 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 apodcast? Well, you've been doing this for a while and getting results and soI don't know, I'm not opposed to the idea that the thought leaders are, andit's not my job to anoint you one. Uh you know, but that's what I see isthere are thought leaders out there. I just don't think they're the ones wesay they are, um, you know, and actually returning real quickly to thewell Reynolds idea, I want, I want to kind of flesh that out a little bitmore 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 tosell is an interesting note because we tend to love the people that wereacquired and we celebrate them and put them on a pedestal when in reality, thevery reason they were acquired was because some acquiring companydetermined that they were inefficient enough that they could actually makethem more efficient and more profitable. And it was worth while spending theextra money for that. And so when a guy like Will says, well no, actually I'mgoing to take that as an indication that I could actually reap that benefitand 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 welook back in five years, I think what we see how well, but to the trendwithin the industry with him as it related to M and A, I think could verywell prove to be thought leadership and his brand personal and, and and andbusiness brand both, you know, could even magnify because of that. So Ithink it's very interesting to look at what people are doing right now andmaybe look to see what we're going to view that in five years. And I guessthat's maybe just a product of maybe in a near boomer, is I like the benefit oflooking forward. Well, I appreciate the comments. I don't think of myself as athought leader. I definitely think of myself as a student as I'm trying tolearn. I haven't aspired, I aspired to be a thought leader and I aspire tohelp, but one I will never call myself...

...one and I think I'll just continue togo on linkedin and post the most helpful things and show up in people'scomments 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 myideas, like can help a majority of people and that's great. I hope my, mygreatest fear is that I will post an idea a little bit too confidently, thatI just like, it's so hard to flirt with the line because sometimes you post asa 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 peoplethat like, call me out on linkedin, they're like uh dan, like the nuance onthat, 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 youhumble and I it's my goal to try to be that I think there is something toactually like learning and growing on social, so I'm not getting, you're notgetting on a stage, but it's like, it's almost like a little mini stage um andit's a linkedin in itself is a great place to learn to grow and to testbecause people are kinder on linkedin, on twitter, they rip you apart, but onlinkedin and people are a little bit more constructive because theirprofessional reputation is attached to it um and their boss is gonna see it,you know? Well as a to challenge maybe even call outpublicly, not call out a person publicly, but like say like, I don'tknow if I agree with this idea, but I'm open to feedback as long as you have ahumble heart and are willing to learn and grow and there's certainly thingsI've had to change my stances on as people are like dan. Now, it's kind ofthe other way I'm like, okay you're right, or sometimes like sometimes Iend 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'veaccidentally become a thought leader within marketing podcasting. I have ahypothesis and I'll just call it that because it's just a hypothesis. But Ithink the best way to become a thought leader is what I call learning in thelight, because that way people can watch you grow, watch you learn, watchyou fail to because there's going to be a lot of failure ship to becoming anactual thought leader, but if they watch you do it and you do it in ahumble way and you ask good questions and you actually listen to people, taketheir advice and then get better. Like if people watch you do it publicly,then it's a more genuine way of building thought leadership, butditching yourself as a student, be humble, take criticism even if it's alittle angry sometimes, but take it for what it is and learn, try to learn fromit. And if you can learn and be helpful and do that in public, do it in thelight where everybody can see you, it will be a more genuine way to buildauthority without having to get up on stage as much and being just the showmen who is just so good at speaking that people aren't raptured becausethere is some people, there are some people who are so good with their wordsand their presentation that they can make you believe they're credible justbecause 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'skind of like learning their way up and serving and stuff. That's my, I believethat I could have talked to my land and many, many sales over the years that Ididn't because I'm looking for good plant services experiences. Uh and soyes, you're, you're right, you can talk yourself into things um and you can putyourself into positions that you shouldn't be in and that would be theopposite. I thought leadership. But you just mentioned something that made methink of something in terms of thought leadership. And I'm gonna give you anexample of a very strange thing that I view is thought leadership has almostnothing to do with our industry. But really it is in my mind, genuine butaccidental thought leadership and it's going to be, this is a quantum leap foreveryone. But please go check it out twins. The new trend on Youtube. Haveyou seen these guys? Say it again twins. The new trend, twins is the new trendnow is just twins. The new trend. And so it's two twins from Gary indiana whoare reacting there, reaction videos to...

...music and they are yet you have to seeit to believe that there's no description I could give to do itjustice. But what they're doing is totally accidental. Thought leadershipthere. Thought leaders and race relations and their thought leaders inmusic without being meaning to be either they're just being too gooddudes sharing their experience, watching them grow, watching them learnand watching them progress in their lives and build something forthemselves is an amazing experience for me and it's so strange. But boomers allover the country I think are reacting similarly and I think they are thoughtleaders without meaning to check them out. It's the strangest plug that couldgive as an example of thought leadership, but they would never callthemselves thought leaders. But I do interesting. So if I kind of run mything or my philosophy that it has to be experts, unique ideas authority. Sothere's certainly growing an authority that much is clear. They've probablythrough time, they've done a lot of content. Yes. And it took them a longtime to figure out, well not a long time and it took him a year to figureout what content resonated with what their actual demographic ended up being.And so watching that evolution of what they thought their demographic was towhat actually unlock the door to millions of views for each video. Imean they're going from 500 views on a certain demographic to millions onanother and it's obvious why and there's conversations that lead fromhaving watched them, but they checked the trend out and seriously I'mplugging them because your root for them and why they thought leaders.There's certainly a lot of shades between influencer because there's alot of influencers out there, especially on Youtube and thoughtleader because a thought leader is really a more specific influencer,right? And of course there are some who are like really strong because they'reknown for their expertise and their unique contributions to an industry.And then there's like all kinds of shades between that and like CaseyNeistat saying he likes something who's an influential Youtuber, right? Becausehe's just, everybody likes him, right? So there's a big difference, butthere's a lot of shades in between there and I think there's a gamut, so Ibet these guys run somewhere in there where it's like you want to think ofthem as a typical thought leader because they're not like writing booksand presenting unique ideas, but in a way they're giving commentary onsomething and their commentary runs from an expertise of doing it over andover again and people start to trust that commentary. I mean in the case ofCasey Neistat, that's an absolute thought leader, right? What he did waspeople didn't realize he brought a background in cinematography and cinemainto a Youtube channel and and fundamentally changed how every and noweveryone copies that style to. They don't realize why they have cinematicstyle. He's absolutely, I thought thought leader when it comes tocinematography in Youtube and a lot of even internet culture and a lot ofthings like he could probably speak to like drone cinematography and tech andvlogging for sure. Um but like, like he posts his other opinions about thingslike politics and you're kind of like, okay, that's where he's just aninfluencer, right? That's the natural progression, right? I forget who saidit, but basically an intellectual is just an expert talking outside of theirfield, right? I would say an intellectual, especially when they'regiving criticism is usually an expert speaking, I would say, usually speakingto their fill, but they're not adding unique and helpful ideas. They'recritiquing other people's ideas and that's what I would call publicintellectual. There's actually a book that kind of chronicles the differencebetween the the public intellectual on the thought leader called the TheIndustry of Ideas. It's fascinating book. That's at least that's how thatone author to find it. So there's probably many, many definitions outthere. But know this has been a really fun conversation. It certainlychallenged me to think about how like, really what thought leadership reallyis and how to wrestle with the people or how it's often faked, how it's oftenmore of a disadvantage to try to go after being a thought later, if you goabout it the wrong way. So this has been a fun conversation for me and I'dlike to help anybody who's been listening to this has been kind offascinated by your perspectives. Where...

...can they go to find you online to learnmore about who you are and what you do? Uh Well I am on linkedin, you can findme on linkedin obviously, and I can probably say that that's the only thingclose to social, you'll find me on, that's who I am these days. So closedloop dot com is our business. And linkedin is where you can find me andmessage 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 productor service of BB marketer. Are you looking to reach those buyers throughthe medium of podcasting? Considered becoming a co host of GDP Growth? Thisshow is consistently ranked as a Top 100 podcast in the marketing categoryof 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 ondelivering incredible content to our listeners if you're interested, emailLogan at sweet Fish Media dot com? Yeah.

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