ethanbeute

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Tag: personal branding

Permanence: Online Testimony to Your Personal Brand and Legacy

I’ve been doing marketing and promotion inside local television stations for more than a decade.  Nearly everything we do is highly perishable, especially in the linear broadcast.  It must affect my mindset, because two instances today – neither especially profound – open-hand slapped me in the face with the idea of permanence.

These instances immediately took me back to a Vaynerchuk take (find it at 19:30) on staying mindful of the fact that our great great grandchildren will be able to see much of what we do.

Instance 1: The final button on an interesting little case study by Darren Dahl in Inc. about a legal and PR crisis faced by Tagged.  I won’t go into the details of the saga, brief as it was, and will instead go straight to the closing quote.  “‘In the age of Google, bad press stays forever,’ says (CEO Greg) Tseng.  ‘This incident will be a part of Tagged’s legacy forever.'”

Instance 2: A blog post from Alexandra Levit titled “Google is Forever,” in which she runs down a young man’s persistent haunting by the press generated by a wildly anti-gay Facebook page he started with blind, youthful enthusiasm in his college days.  You can delete the page, but you can’t delete the press.  He professes great embarrassment it now and alleges it’s prevented him from being hired recently.  (Note: the post was brought to my attention by Dan Schawbel)

The takeaway: We’re building our legacy every day, one decision at a time.  Whatever’s online is testimony to that legacy.

And just for fun … a 3 year old rant (and I mean rant in the best way) on legacy vs currency:

 

 

Personal Branding: Steelers QB Roethlisberger – Bad Boy or Dirt Bag?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are headed to another Super Bowl with Ben Roethlisberger at the quarterback position.  Roethlisberger’s already won two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers.  In those games, he set up wide receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes as Super Bowl MVPs (in 2006 and 2009, respectively).

Big Ben Rothlisberger, QB, NFL, Steeler, Super Bowl, champion, Pro Bowl

NFL superstar, Super Bowl champion and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback "Big Ben" Roethlisberger

The Personal Brand

With due respect to defensive standouts Troy Polamalu and James Harrison (and to Polamalu’s insanely distinctive hair) – I suggest that Roethlisberger is today’s face of the Steelers franchise.

Physically large and notably tough compared to others who play his position, “Big Ben” seems a good fit for this role.  The city, the uniforms, the tradition – they all say “tough,” “blue collar,” “hard-nosed.”

Pittsburgh Steeler Quarterback Rides a Motorcycle

Roethlisberger's Personal Brand: Bad Boy?

With his penchant for riding (and crashing) motorcycles without a helmet, sporting sleeveless (cut-off) shirts, wearing his ball caps backward and sporting facial hair in various styles and stages of growth, Roethlisberger is Steelers football.  The only NFL locale more fitting for this might be Oakland, but Ben’s a Pennsylvanian who played college ball in Ohio.  He’s far more a Steeler than a Raider.

I could simplify Roethlisberger’s personal brand as NFL superstar, Super Bowl champion “bad boy.”

I could … but I won’t.  “Bad boy” is too cute and harmless.  Instead, I’ll go with “dirt bag.”

Please note: you are building your personal brand and your legacy every day.  They’re in every decision and every action you make, as well as in those you don’t.  You’re welcome to take control over your brand and your legacy, but know that they will be built whether or not you exercise any control over them.  Now, back to the current topic …

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Big Ben with women at the bar

Roethlisberger's Personal Brand: Dirt Bag?

The Dirt Bag Brand

Ben Roethlisberger drags around everywhere he goes the weight of multiple rape allegations.  To be fair, he’s never faced charges due to insufficient evidence.  He has, however, enjoyed a 6-game suspension from the NFL due to this behavior.  Not even a year after he claimed a Lake Tahoe woman’s allegations “false and vicious,” adding that he would “never, ever force (himself) on a woman,” he officially locked down his dirt bag brand in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Fact: this two-time Super Bowl champion, perennial Pro Bowl quarterback and multimillionaire had sex with a 20-year-old girl in a bathroom in a bar in rural Georgia.  Read that again, let it sink in, then proceed to the next line.

This is not a winning play.  In fact, it’s a guaranteed loser.  This time, it resulted in another rape allegation.  He admitted contact, but denied assault.  I hate to add this, but I must … this happened in a bar bathroom, not in a club, not behind a velvet rope, not in a VIP section, not in a private room, not over at a nearby condo or hotel room.  Consensual or not, this is dirt bag behavior.

Witnesses claim that Roethlisberger demanded “all you bitches, take my shots” at the bar (“Wow, thanks for the invite!” and “Will do, Big Ben!”) and that his bodyguards were blocking the bathroom door (“Please move along, nothing to see here.”)  Enjoy this video deposition from his accuser.

All these details aside, guilty or not, fair or unfair media treatment … Roethlisberger’s not in control of a winning brand.

By Comparison

A quick look at Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowl quarterback contemporaries in the AFC shows the difference between a winning personal brand and a losing one.  Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts: generically All-American, son of an NFL legend, best athlete host of Saturday Night Live ever (a nod to the hilarity of Michael Jordan’s obvious discomfort as SNL host), pitchman for all kinds of common things.   Tom Brady of the New England Patriots: GQ cover guy, dated supermodels before marrying one, pitchman for high-end luxury goods and brands.  These Super Bowl MVPs (Manning in 2007 and Brady in both 2002 and 2004) have relatively clear brands.

Though young and not yet as accomplished, there’s AFC championship game competitor Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets: southern Californian and USC grad, third generation Mexican-American and serious playoff competitor with 4 wins in just 2 years … all on the road.

An elder who’s a fair comparison is also a Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP and Pro Bowl quarterback who spent his career in the AFC.  Similar to Roethlisberger in physical size, throwing ability, willingness to take a hit and overall style of play, John Elway of the Denver Broncos: worst thing he was ever involved in was a Ponzi scheme … and he was the victim, serious enthusiasm, big smile, looks kinda like the horse he wore on his helmet.

Roethlisberger wears number 7 in Elway’s honor; too bad he doesn’t take Elway’s approach to personal responsibility.

To Summarize

As I argued a couple months back, when Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics refused to own his words, you have to own what you say and own what you do.  These decisions and actions define you.  You can use them to build, develop and enhance your personal brand or you can just let it all happen and deal with the consequences (“Drink Like a Champion Today”).

Having sex with a 20-year-old girl in a bathroom in a bar in rural Georgia  – consensual or not, with your bodyguards blocking the door or not – is always a losing play.

Being an incredible on-field performer buys lots of forgiveness, but it buys no respect.  To me, Big Ben’s brand is “dirt bag.”

To Provoke

Bad boy?  Dirt bag?  Other?  What’s Roethlisberger’s brand?

Was media treatment of Roethlisberger and the rape allegations fair?

Does off-the-field behavior of NFL players affect your thoughts or feelings about the players or the League in any way?

Have you read Jack McCallum’s Sports Illustrated cover story with the subtitle “An NFL Superstar’s Repulsive Behavior, the Ultimate Expression of Athletic Entitlement Run Amok, Has Forced Even the Most Die-Hard Fans to Question Their Team and Their Football Faith – and Made a Small Town in Georgia Wish He’d Never Paid a Visit” yet?

Crush It! by Vaynerchuk: What It Looks Like Off the Page

If you’ve already dropped your New Year’s resolution and you’re looking to pick up a new one, I recommend that you start to Crush It! The concept is laid out by Gary Vaynerchuk in his book of that title.  I wrote about it late last year.

The subtitle of the book is Why Now Is The Time to Cash In on Your Passion.  In it, Vaynerchuk advocates that you put family first, do what you love and work super-hard.  Tools are now available to help you build your personal brand and monetize your personal passion.  It involves a ton of hard work, but your passion should continue to pull you in such a way that it doesn’t feel laborious.

In thinking again about the key takeaways, I realized that a friend of mine is starting to Crush It!  My favorite part: I don’t think he’s explicitly trying – he’s just doing what comes naturally.

Sawatch, mountain, summit, peak, Emerald, Colorado, Rockies, Rocky Mountains, hike, climb

From Left to Right: Ethan Beute and Matt Payne on the summit of Emerald Peak, Sawatch Range, Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Colorado

 

Matt Payne’s got a full-time management job with Peak Vista Community Health Centers here in Colorado Springs.  He’s a husband and father.  He’s also a mountaineer at heart.  Matt achieved the summit of his first “fourteener” (14,000+ foot peaks for which Colorado is famous) at the age of 6.

After losing touch with this innate passion, he decided a year or two back to revisit a long-time goal to climb the top 100 peaks here in Colorado.  Researching the peaks, planning the trips, getting new and necessary gear, locating and screening climbing partners – it all consumes a great amount of time.  He layered on another set of tasks by committing to shoot photos and write trip reports, which he’d post to a personal blog (now defunct, more on that next) and to other sites, like SummitPost.org and 14ers.com.

Both SummitPost and 14ers have good features, active communities and loads of information.  Not perfectly satisfied with either site, though, Matt taught himself Joomla, a content management system, and built 100summits.com from scratch.  He’s since added loads of features (interactive map of all the Colorado mountain ranges, deals of the day, photo sales and tons more – like an algorithmic breakdown of summit “impressiveness”).  The blog has turned into a series of Examiner posts.

The new skills he taught himself by building a website with no prior programming experience has resulted in potentially revenue-generating outcome – offers to built others’ sites.  Consider, too, that the Examiner series is revenue-generating (authors are paid per page view).  Add in the various revenue-generating aspects of the site (he gives away 25% to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative and the Rocky Mountain Field Institute).  Also consider the value of building a community around such a focused concept – climbing the 100 highest peaks in Colorado.

 

In short: Matt’s using newly available tools (like Facebook) to begin to monetize his personal passion.  These efforts eat up nights and weekends.  It’s a sacrifice.  The revenue’s not nearly enough to boot the day job (it may be just enough to buy new gear), but he’s building an asset for himself, for his family, for their future.  The best part: he’s loving every minute of it (or most, anyway).

 

Related: his wife, Angela, is taking a more blended old-school/new-school route.  We were one of her earliest customers, ordering holiday cookies that she baked and sent to our family’s homes across the country.  Check out The Sweet Shop on Facebook.

Their efforts are young; I’m excited to see where it all goes.  So, will you start to crush it this year?

 

Photos from our visit to Collegiate Peaks Wilderness to summit Missouri, Iowa and Emerald Peaks are right here.

Photos from our visit to the Sierra Blanca to summit Mount Lindsey, Iron Nipple and “Huerfano” Peak are right here.

 

2017 UPDATE

Years after writing this post, Matt continues to drive into his passion for landscape photography.

See that passion on display at his photography website and in his landscape photography podcast.

 

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk: Hard Work Trumps All

I just finished reading “Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk.  Again, I’m behind on this one.  This was one of the “it” business books of 2009 (NYT and WSJ bestseller).

Here’s the book’s website.
Here’s the Amazon review page.

 

If you’re not familiar with Gary, watch a few episodes of Wine Library TV.  In short, he’s extremely enthusiastic and inspiring.  Connecting personal branding, personal passion, and social media, “Crush It!” is brimming with obsessive energy and absolutely delivers on its title.

What feels like the single most important ingredient, though, is hard work.  Lots of it.  Very, very hard.  Ceaseless hustle.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, though, from a guy for whom owning the New York Jets “has been an obsession … since the third grade” (p 15).

 

portrait, illustration, drawing, Gary, Gary V, Gary Vee, Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine Library, Wine Library TV, Sam Taggart, Taggart, Media 2.0, portraits

Web 2.0 Portraits - Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) by Sam Taggart (samtaggart.com)

 

Hard Work Notes and Quotes

On page one, he makes clear that hard work’s part of the formula: “You’re lucky because you live in an age of unmatched opportunity for anyone with enough hustle, patience, and big dreams.”  He bridges pages one and two with a reference to “a willingness to work your face off.”

His three simple rules for life: “Love your family.  Work superhard.  Live your passion” (p 2).

His “timeless” messages in the book: “Do what makes you happy.  Keep it simple.  Do the research.  Work hard.  Look ahead” (p 12).

Regarding the ceaseless nature of the effort: “No matter how successful you get, you cannot slack off … Stop hustling, and everything you learn here will be useless”  (p  13).

Regarding the modeling of learned behavior: “My dad worked his ass off, so much that I really didn’t get to know him until I was fourteen years old.”  (p 19)  Gary got to know him by … you guessed it, getting into the family business, Shopper’s Discount Liquors.  He helped grow the business from $4M to $20M between 1998 and 2001 (p 25).

An example of hard work toward your passion: “You should be reading and absorbing every single resource you can find – books, trade journals, newsletters, websites, as well as taking classes and attending lectures and conferences” (p 49-50).

What life looks like while crushing it: “There will be time for meals, and catching up with your significant other, and playing with the kids, and otherwise you will be in front of your computer until 3:00 A.M. every night … Expect this to be all consuming” (p 89).

The real, true and absolute bottom line on hard work: “Someone with less passion and talent and poorer content can totally beat you if they’re willing to work longer and harder than you are.  Hustle is it.  Without it, you should just pack up your toys and go home” (p 88).

By his own words, hard work and hustle are not just fundamentally important, then, they’re the difference maker.  This explains exactly why more people are not crushing it: “Too many people don’t want to swallow the pill of working every day, every chance they get” (p 88).

 

I appreciate that while drawing a wonderful, idealized image – making a living (or even getting rich) by living your passion – Vaynerchuk doesn’t sugar coat the requirements in any way.  There’s no magic.  There’s no silver bullet.  Instead, there’s reality and credibility.

Vaynerchuk does provide a nice formula to help you take advantage of inexpensive tools that have only recently become available (the “now” part of the title).  While the general outline and rough plan are his, the passion, patience and hustle, though, are all yours.  In theory, the hard work doesn’t feel like work if it’s about something you love.

Interestingly, Vaynerchuk’s true passion isn’t wine.  It’s business development.  This means that he’ll be even more interesting to read, hear, and watch in the coming years.

 

A note about Sam Taggart: he’s got a sporadic series of these portraits at his website – samtaggart.com.  I don’t know Sam; I found his site through a Google search.  This was – by far – the coolest image of Vaynerchuk on the internet.  I thought it was a nice inclusion because a) it’s a great image and b) it’s obviously born of personal passion.  Coincidentally, he’s a project manager for VaynerMedia.  Again, check him out.

 

Happy 5th Birthday, Here’s Your URL!

Chalk Flood

This 4-year-old’s name is Ethan Beute.  He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  This photo of him was published to the Grand Rapids Press website earlier this year.

Coincidentally, my name is Ethan Beute and I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan for at least 20 years of my life.  I would add that he looks a little bit like I did as a child.

The day a friend of mine posted this as a link on my Facebook page, I knew I had to buy ethanbeute.com.  What parent of an Ethan Beute wouldn’t want to give his or her child ownership rights to  “ethanbeute.com” as a fifth birthday gift!?  A stretch, I know, but I didn’t want to risk it.

With regard to my surname, my wife and I were the only “Beute” in the Chicago phone book for the 4 years we lived there.  When I witnessed a child with my name living in my hometown, however, I knew that I had to claim my online real estate immediately.

I’m Ethan Beute on Facebook and LinkedIn.  I’m ethanbeute on Twitter and Flickr.  As a natural extension of my personal brand, ethanbeute.com is the only way to go.

Claiming a url is a simple process; my technical knowledge and skills are limited, yet I had no problem doing it.  I used GoDaddy.com and paid $10/year for the rights.  I set it up to redirect to this blog site.

I have no idea where all this is going – and by “all this” I mean life online in a very general sense.  I do know that I need to be easily found online.  This online presence is necessary if I’m to have any future in promotion, marketing, and branding.

Recommendation: consider your personal brand.  As a primer, here’s a years-old article from Fast Company (1997!) from the exceptional business mind of Tom Peters (yes, that’s a link to tompeters.com).

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