Running a digital company isn’t easy.
Those that think new age entrepreneurs are just Starbucks sipping hipsters pushing pixels on a laptop screen need to walk a mile in our shoes. There’s a certain “something” missing when you’re not flocking with society on a daily basis. For example, I run a distributed digital agency, which means that I have a small team that I see in office with another small remote team that mostly communicates through Slack.
While outsiders commute on a train, take lunch breaks, and generally walk and talk with a lot of human beings during the day — digital nomads, like us, are mostly siloed. So what is that missing piece to the puzzle? For me, in the context of this discussion, it’s not having immediate peers and colleagues that we can learn from or look up to. Even a boss or owner that wants, heck, motivates us to be better. So where do we turn to for motivation and guidance?
It’s within our nature to exist, communicate, and learn online, so following online personalities as intimately as social media allows, is a go to thing. Personalities that strike you as knowledgeable, successful or that embodies a certain skill that you’re passionate about improving in your own business and life.
Today, I started to think about the personalities that I’ve connected with over the years and how they have shaped my career over time.
Who is in your Timeline of Influencers?
Here is my timeline of influencers in the order that I discovered them. I’ve spent at least 1 year studying their habits and advice as best as the internet has allowed me to. I’ve exchanged e-mails or at the very least, short communications with each of the following individuals:
Humility, Honesty, and Communication; my first “Internet Celebrity.” He’s the proverbial foundation that kickstarted my blog and helped me understand that being curious (even pushy) isn’t a bad thing.
You weren’t living the digital dream if you were not a Basecamp fan in the early days. It was the place to learn the SaaS business before the SaaS business, was the SaaS business.
But those weren’t the lessons I’ve collected from Fried. It was about taking a step back and looking at my business in scale, how to look for more opportunity, and to put residual pieces of my business to work.
The first business podcast I got addicted to. I’ve learned three things from Andrew:
- You can’t copy someone to replicate their success. (speaking as a fellow podcaster.)
- Have deeper conversations.
- Never stop questioning yourself.
Live your personality. #medeirosing as it’s known to my friends on Twitter. Over the years Jason has become sharper, smarter and more refined, but he’s still the Jason from Brooklyn — that’s so important.
I’ve been following Gary, not because of the hustle or because he drops F-bombs, but because he’s still not satisfied. This is someone who is, from what we see on social media, a success story. Perhaps once you reach his level of success, you cash in. That’s perfectly fine. I’m watching him because I want to see how he makes it to the next level, not for the Enzo he could be driving around in.
Again, I ask: Who is in your Timeline of Influencers?
This post was inspired by shorter posts by Tom McFarlin.