Affiliate Summit East Keynote: Chris Brogan

August 10, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Morning!  I hope you’re feeling a little better than I am this morning. The world is fuzzy. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

We’re about to kick off Day 2 of Affiliate Summit with a good old fashioned morning keynote. Jim Kukral is up on stage with Chris Brogan and they both look far more chatty than I am capable of right now.  Chris Brogan is doing stand up and performing his own sound check. He’s breathing loudly into the microphone trying to get a cheer going. Now he’s up taking a poll about who has or has not bathed today.  He asks who hasn’t slept yet.   He’s a one man show in need of no introduction. He is Chris Brogan. He’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

I think we’re starting.

Jim Kukral is danny sullivan’ing us some morning announcements.  Then people clap. It’s ceremonious.   Jim says he wishes Chris Brogan was his brother. Awz. I wish Chris Brogan was my best friend.  He has influence. And trust. And awesome hair.

Chris Brogan starts talking about his book, Trust Agents, and brings up his co-author Julien Smith. Julien is inked and adorable. Chris asks us not to tweet anything yet. He wants to make us on the inside and other people on the outside. See, this is why you should be here.  They give us a cheat sheet for the book.

  • make your own game – standing out
  • one of us – belonging
  • archimedes effect – leverage
  • agent zero – developing access
  • human artist – developing understanding
  • build an army – developing mass

Chris has a joke. How many kids with ADD does it take to change a light bulb? Let’s ride bikes! [I can’t even lie. I giggled like a loser.]

Julien says we’re in a situation where you’re not only competing against the person sitting next to you or in your niche. You’re competing for attention with everything. You’re competing with the spam. You’re competing with their wife. You’re competing with everything in the world. That’s what an attention war is.  You need to get into people’s friend filter because that’s where they’re getting all their data.

Three levels of attention:

  • Awareness
  • Reputation
  • Trust

Each level builds upon the next and when you get to the top, that’s when people who don’t even know you trust that you’ll do the right thing and do right by them.

You start by letting people know that you’re there. We worry about cold calling, but that’s what we’re doing.  With campaigning we have a problem with taking your energy and excitement about something and it turns entropy into atrophy. We collapse.

A trust equation

  • trust = social capital
  • social capital + Web = links
  • social capital + Web  = traffic
  • social capital + Web = social proofing
  • social capital + Web = a big f’n network

That works way better than doing things cold. Understanding that there are other currencies than cash changes the game. There are times when you should give stuff away because you get more back.

Make Your Own Game

Julian talks about Cirque du Soleil. You have to make your own game to differentiate yourself. Cirque du Soleil took a circus and decided people don’t care about the animals. They don’t care about star performers.  So they got rid of the animals and the stars and transformed it into something else. At that point, everyone is competing with them. They were a startup and now they’re huge. Everyone is copying them.

Tim Ferris created the concept of lifestyle design and created a space around it.  That’s what happened with “tipping point”, too. These phrases are so common, it’s hard to believe that people created them.

Find your value differentiation and create a new word for yourself. Learn the systems and understand the difference between attuned and distorted.  Learn how to play the game. Figure out what’s wrong with it. And then come up with a plan to fix it and create your own rules.  Chris Brogan is answering texts on his phone while Julien speaks.

You’ll go to a party where there’s a celebrity there. Everyone’s talking about how they want to hang out with them. Somehow, even though you didn’t hang out with Charlie Sheen, you may have hung with one of his friends. And that’s still considered success because that friend is “on the inside”.  It puts you closer to Charlie. It’s a natural behavior.

Affiliate Summit is a church around where affiliates gather.  That’s what Chris did when he formed Podcamp. He’s become a big player because he created the movement. Being part of that is crucial to your rise. Chris is talking about bagels. And just like that my stomach growls.

Information is vocabulary.  When you have insider vocabulary you feel like you’re part of a group.  If you’re in a group and you understand their terms, you get into their culture and you become one of them. Be “one of them”.

  • Find the agent zero
  • seek frictionless distribution
  • be everywhere and create/maintain bonds
  • all knowledge is vocabulary
  • insider language is huge

If you use your powers for good, superheros, you can do some cool stuff and make people feel good.

Archimedes Effect

It’s leverage.  The people in the social space have difficulty with leverage. It’s how people get rich – regardless of the capital. You’re never going to start from nothing. All of us have experiences. Starting from nothing is utterly stupid. Never do it. Start from a position of power. Something that’s important to others, but not a big deal to you.

Some forms of value have value to some people but mean nothing to other people.  Bill Gates did a lot of leveraging.   He released thousands of possibly malaria-infected mosquitoes on people. And they liked it. That’s power.

Getting good at leverage means you have to work a lot less than everyone else. Build off your previous successes. Never start from nothing. Its all chips. Winning the game is table stakes for the NEXT game.  Money isn’t the only currency. One you realize that, you start pulling from other banks. [Best. Quote. Ever.]

Agent Zero

Trust agent – someone who can connect networks and be at the center of them. Chris and Julien mention Gary V. He’s at the bridge of spamming with his email marketing, but we still like him. You can empathize with it.   The agent zero is the person who is always connecting people.

  • Be the priest, build the church
  • be the relationship before the sale
  • you live or die by your database
  • be part of everyone’s 150

You don’t want to be the bank. You want to be the ATM.

Human Artist

Etiquette isn’t just nice to have. They’re also skills about how to be human on the Web, and no one is teaching that. Learning how to make relationships and then use them in a non-scummy way is the next big thing.  You want to be human at a distance. We lose social signals when we’re far away from someone. We haven’t learned social signals for the Web.  Being a human artist means you’ll have an advantage over everybody.

Relate to people on a human level and treat them like a human. Don’t treat them as a “pretty girl” or a “celebrity”. Treat them as people.

You get your mail answered when people know who you are and when you’ve connected.

  • connect people constantly
  • share instead of hoard
  • practice simple touch points of loyalty
  • self aware vs self involved

Build Armies

Obama changed the way people market because he realized that people don’t answer their phones.  He went to social media and built armies. Go where the people are.

  • Give your ideas handles
  • Teach them to fish
  • Bring your own dial tone

Thanks to Chris and Julien for not only sharing some awesome info and giving some good soundbites, but for also cheering up my morning. I mean that. That’s why they’re trust agents.

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