Being Mark Traphagen – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Being Mark Traphagen
My friend, fellow Durham, NC resident and occasional Startup Factory visitor Mark Traphagen figured out something we ALL need to understand. Mark gets paid to be MARK Traphagen. Adding Mark to Eric Enge’s formidable Stone Temple Consulting was a brilliant idea making both brands stronger, wiser and better.
This post shares 5 Tips YOU can begin using now so someone pays you to be you someday too.
Being MT Tip #1: Personal Branding
Agree and disagree. Personal brands exist but they aren’t like consumer brands. We all have “personal brands”. They aren’t new.
- I’m an intelligent pain in the ass.
- Phil, our Curagami co-founder, is an intelligent and huggable white haired teddy bear.
- Mark is a G+ guru and teacher.
Personal brands create semantic shorthand with snippets like the ones above. Personal brands help categorize you, me and everyone we know. There are strings leading to deeper and more emotional meaning and understanding about who MARK or PHIL is.
Strings that “vibrate” about Mark for you such as his deep expertise in GooglePlus, Internet marketing knowledge and social media fluency might be less important for a fellow cancer survivor Mark knows.
The trick is getting as many “like me” strings to vibrate as possible. Sharing is the key.
If Mark didn’t discuss his cancer as openly and easily and frequently you may not know of his courage and advocacy. Strings related to “cancer survivor” create “like me” vibrations because Mark shares LIFE as well as expertise.
We create “personal brands” every minute of each day. Personal branding doesn’t take weekends or holidays off. Each day you gain or lose personal brand “juice”. Mark understands both sides of the last sentence:
- Side One is find what you LOVE so you don’t mind doing it 24/7/365.
- Side Two is win more than you lose.
I make mistakes all the time. I published a G+ post several hours ago about our long strange startup trip (Curagami). Wrote 1,500 words under the title Why Do People Love & Hate Startups and mistyped “startups”.
I’m a technology dependent dyslexic. I do stupid stuff with words DAILY. “Perfect” is an illusion and a tyranny no one can afford anymore. TIME trumps all. GO and GO NOW. Fix “starupts” later and win more than you lose.
BTW, a friend on G+ pointed out my error and I fixed it.
Being MT Tip 2: Speak In Public
Q: How can you learn to speak in public? Answer: Speak in public. Sounds circular, but not everyone can standup in front of a few hundred people and “rouse the masses”.
How do you get better at speaking in pubic? Speak in public. My father was a member of Toastmasters. Before Duncan Smith became an engineer he went to Davidson. He wanted to be a preacher.
My dad loves GOLF too much to be a preacher. Transferring to Purdue and he became an engineer at Texas Instruments. Contemplating a career move into financial services, he wanted to join a fledgling “pension plan management” firm that would be purchased by Merrill Lynch, my dad knew speaking in public would be important.
He joined Toastmasters. He used to practice on an impressionable son. Find ways to speak in public. Go HEAR Mark speak when the “Mark Traphagen Show” comes to a town near you (like MozCon for one recent example).
Being MT Tip 3:Create A Diary, Share It
No one thinks their life is interesting. Your life is only boring to YOU. Your life is fascinating as heck to me. Anything we do we habituate to. I’m a cancer survivor and have almost had enough chemo that I’ve habituated to that horror story…almost.
Some think they can’t write. You are reading a story written by a 2nd grader whose dyslexia was so bad he drew stick figures above words in a desperate to spell. How did I learn to write? BY WRITING every damn day come, Hell, high water or chemo.
I write DAILY even when a million bucks worth of poison is running into me. I’ve fallen asleep and nurses lifted my fingers off keyboard and put my laptop away (always hope I SAVED the darn thing before that happens and NEVER do btw).
YES YOU CAN WRITE, but we will give you an “out”. If you feel writing is a bridge too far create a VIDEO DIARY. You aren’t all the way off the hook. Load your videos and get a transcript.
Writing Tip – Next edit your video transcripts. Those who can’t write TODAY can edit, so start there. Edit video transcripts until you feel comfortable enough to blog on your own. Tell stories and write DAILY.
Being MT Tip 4: Love It or LEAVE It
There isn’t as much TIME as you think. Learned THAT lesson the hard way and in a way I’m working hard to eradicate from the planet (the Big C). Hate what you are doing? STOP NOW.
For years I traded skills for money. There are natural mercenaries. Read Daniel Pink’s excellent book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Pink explains about 30% of the population are “mercenary”. They hunt for deals and trade skills for money.
I am NOT that guy (lol).
I’m a “Crash Davis” who believes in …
… the soul, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.
Find what you LOVE, DO THAT NOW and someone will make sure you don’t starve…eventually. When you do what you love your life makes sense. You are who you see doing what you love. That is a life worth living.
Being MT Tip 5: Teach, Be Nice, Teach More
Mark is famous for saying, “Was up late last night fixing the web”. Mark is a born teacher. Teachers teach.
One way teachers teach is to CORRECT the WRONG stuff we do. The other day I’d misread some “Google killing PPC long tail” posts to mean Google wouldn’t sell some low level search keywords. Nope, Google will take your money as Mark pointed out and Phil confirmed.
Mark and my personalities diverge here. Mark is a beaver. His art is the amazing dams he builds. Like one of my heroes, Marcel Duchamp, I’m an “artist” whose best work may be the life I’ve carved from a little of this and a little of that.
At 56 I can afford to let my freak flag fly. If you are 25 you can and should let your freak flag fly too, but BE A BEAVER. Work, work and work some more because a long dry summer is ahead and you need fish and water. Spoils go to beavers and who doesn’t need lots of “spoils”.
Its fun to write about Mark, but even more fun to get to know and talk to him. He is a regular member of Phil’s Raleigh SEO Meetup and there is one next Tuesday so go, meet and be Mark Traphagen and tell him Marty sent you :). M
PS. One of the PROBLEMS with “Being Mark Traphagen” is learning how to “price yourself”. Nik Parks followed my personal Twitter (@Scenttrail) the other day and he’s written a cool FREE ebook to help “price yourself” (graphic on right of his blog).