Who is Chris Brogan? Who am I? What do you see when looking in from the outside? This is on my mind since a friend (a friend who’s a professional in the branding space) said that my brand is pretty muddy and confusing right now. She said it’s pretty hard to know who I am and what I’m about from the outside. I need more friends like this.
Let me tell who I am in 2011, and then I’ll go back and explain how I got there.
Chris Brogan in 2011
I am pushing the idea of human business: sustainable, relationship-minded business. Some folks call it social business. My goal is to help people find their own personal Escape Velocity by helping them understand how they can run a human business. My own business, Human Business Works, is an education and media company. I’ve got a group dedicated to helping nonprofits, run by Estrella Rosenberg. I’ve got a group dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs, run by Joe Sorge. I’m launching several media properties in 2011, where the goal is to highlight some of the great voices out there, and help them grow human businesses from their media projects.
I’m helping CrossTech Ventures build a “content, community, marketplace” project with The Pulse Network. I helped New Marketing Labs launch Red Pin Marketing, to show a commitment to small and medium businesses.
I speak professionally on social business, on marketing, on the way networks build wealth (only not in the way that most people string those words together).
Who Am I?
In that cocktail party, 5 seconds way, I run a media and education business focused on small businesses. I help incubate businesses for CrossTech Ventures. I speak and write books about this kind of stuff.
That’s small enough, eh?
Where I Come From
For the 90s and into 2006, I worked in telecommunications. Outside of work, I got into primitive social networks like bulletin board services. I found AOL and then CompuServ and all those. And in 1998, I started blogging back when it was journaling. In high school, I wrote reasonably well, and won a few awards. In the telecom world, I had lots of roles, but what I really did for the last few years in those businesses was akin to what I do with you here. I tell people about things in an interesting and easy way, and make it seem reasonably simple to do something.
In 2006, I cofounded PodCamp, an event about media like blogging, podcasting, video. From that, Jeff Pulver invited me to work with him at VON and also at Network2, a startup about internet video. I went from that into CrossTech Media. From there, I founded New Marketing Labs. It’s been a ball of fire ever since. Oh, and I wrote a book or two and won some awards (New York Times Bestseller. Wall Street Journal bestseller. Etc.)
The Brand Called Me
It’s strange to lay yourself out and look at all that you do. I think one of my bigger fears in life has been to be locked into being one thing, to be seen as just a part of my whole. The “whole” of what I’m trying to accomplish involves helping people figure out their own path through platform and value. In talking to Kat about it, she said, “Well, would you rather it was super easy to say? Like ‘Chris is a project manager at bcgi.’ Is that better?” A-ha, I said.
So, to me, my brand is something like this: “a business launcher, demonstrating human business.” Whatever that really means.
What About The Community Guy?
I’m more about community than ever. The difference is this: in 2006 and around that time, I’d build groups of excited people around interesting things, and we didn’t know where it’d go. It was a lot of fun, but it also chewed up a lot of energy and time with nothing coming it out of it except for feeling good and enjoying each other (which is a value all unto itself). Now, rolling into 2011, I’ve found ways to help others build business value. I extract some value for that in my private communities, and I contribute to other people’s success as often as I can via my public media. Seems reasonable to me. I give you 90+ percent of what I create to you for free. I charge for the extras.
What’s the sum of all this? Who cares?
You know what I’m focusing on? Building value. Delivering quality. Growing up new stars. That’s the goal. More kings, more owners. More people who’d escaped into a new velocity.
Does this all make sense? Do you have a sense of the scope of me? And who cares?