The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The last couple of days I’ve been reading a book called “Invisibles” by David Zweig. Whenever I feel like I might be leaning too far into something I read books that challenge my current beliefs.
Right now I’ve been pushing both myself and my clients to put themselves out there more. So, it made sense to pick a book on shutting the hell up and doing the actual work!
So far the book’s offered some great insights into occupations that don’t often get recognition. One example is “wayfinding”, it’s used in architecture to design the optimal route and “user experience” of a building.
I remember seeing a documentary a while back about the design of optimal flow in train stations however I didn’t know there was a name for that specific occupation. When we pay attention to it these people become everyday heroes and we don’t even know their names.
There have been several examples that contradicted the assumption that we need to think like “brands” and “market” ourselves on social media to be successful.
David Zwieg says that we should focus on doing the work and worry less about talking about it and beating our chests. His point being that “the proof is in the pudding”.
To be fair, I haven’t finished the book so what I’m about to write next may turn out to be amended later on in.
One thing I took some serious issue with was when Zwieg talked about marketing and social media being less valuable than we think.
The examples he took seemed cherry picked and didn’t give the complete picture. One of them was Gary Vaynerchuk, whose work I’ve been following closely.
Zwieg had the following to say about Gary and also cites Joel Keller.
Gary Vaynerchuk, a social media branding consultant, whose book “Crush It!” was an instant bestseller, is just one of the many gurus telling us how to build personal brands using social media.
Vaynerchuk, like most of them, encourages the merging of the personal and the professional, and being active online to grow your “brand.”
The reality, as Keller sees it though, is that “there are very few people who come from no previous platform and follow this model and then become successful.”
The success, if they experience it at all is usually either short-lived or simply a perception of success based on the amount of noise surrounding the person.
While the fact is that very few people have “made it” and become long-term contributors they’re missing out on the fact that not everyone wishes to apply these methods to become “huge”.
If they would’ve taken a closer look at what it is that Vaynerchuk is saying they would’ve found that he makes a clear case about using social media to build a genuine relationship with your audience and the people you want to connect with.
Also, he is adamant about pushing the fact that you need to put your nose down, grind and do the work. Without trying to “convert” people or expecting anything in return for our efforts.
The book has also made some very good points in other areas and I still suggest that people read this. Another book in the same vein is “Quiet” by Susan Cain.
One thing I’d urge everyone to remember, and it goes for reading this post too, is that we should actively challenge ourselves by listening to both sides of the story. That’s when we can really decide what we believe.
Avoid confirmation bias. True understanding is often found somewhere in the middle.
What books or ideas have you found lately that have contradicted your beliefs? Have your beliefs changed as a result?
Let me know on twitter or in the comments section.
Have a kick-ass creative day!