Hey, guys, welcome to Missions and Marketplace podcast. I’m your host, Priest Willis, and this is Episode 21 with author, entrepreneur, speaker, consultant Joel Comm to talk about his years of experience in the internet marketing business. Joel is New York Times’ bestselling author of twelve books. You got that right twelve books. He’s written books on Twitter. He’s been featured on CNN Online, John Stuart’s daily show.
Joel has done it all. He’s been a motivational speaker. Him and I have talked at conferences. And just for a full disclaimer here Joel has been a mentor and friend of mine for years. He’s one of the nicest guys that I know in the industry. He takes this time out to talk about his years of experience of being an entrepreneur and what continues to motivate him and what he enjoys doing. So without further ado here is my man, Joel Comm.
Welcome to Missions and Marketplace podcast. Join us as we talk to business and thought leaders who discuss their passion in and outside of business and how it drives them to give and be citizens of goodwill. Let’s get started.
PW: Jo, welcome to the program
JC: Hey, thanks for having me, Priest. It’s always good talking to you.
PW: Yeah, love talking to you as well; happy to have you here. So why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?
JC: Well, I’m a lifelong entrepreneur. I’mSo without further ado here is my man, Joel Comm.
Welcome to Missions and Marketplace podcast. Join us as we talk to business and thought leaders who discuss their passion in and outside of business and how it drives them to give and be citizens of goodwill. Let’s get started.
unemployable; I can’t work for anybody else. I should have a tattoo on my forehead that says, “Unemployable.” I’ve been for an entrepreneur for so long and been doing business online since 1995. It’s pretty much all I’ve known. I love it. I get to playing a lot of different sandboxes and try different technologies, and go to a lot of events and speak and write, and basically be a geek.
PW: Geek is fun.
PW: And geek is chic now, so you’re…
JC: The geek did inherit the earth. Back in high school it was questionable. But I stuck with it just being who I was and turns out it worked.
PW: [Laughs] Yeah. I was always a hybrid so I’m kind of making it, but every now and then my coldness sneaks out and I just have to deal with it. So, look, the reason why I want to talk to you is because a lot of people right now that are listening, they’re small business owners, people just getting into the space. I know you’ve been in it for a very long time. You and I have talked in past years and you’re somebody, frankly, that I trust and I’ve told you in the past that I consider a mentor even though we don’t talk everyday per se. You’re always someone who has inspired me.
I thought this would be a good conversation to have for those people that are getting into this whether it’s digital marketing, social media or something, and just kind of hear some golden nuggets from you if you that’s what you have to offer, so just kind of setting that up. Let’s talk about kind of what led you to today. I know you’re active in a lot of different things social media platforms and you have your own stuff going on. But kind of give us the genesis of that if you will, just a short caption of it and lead us into how you’re the Joel Comm that you are today if you will.
JC: You know I built my first site back in 1995. I just felt like this web thing was really cool and I had been on the online services really since 1980. I was dialing into bulletin board services way back then.
PW: Holy cow!
JC: Yeah, so I have actually had been dialing into the online world for 36 years now [laughs].
PW: Literally people when he says dialing in he means [telephone sound].
JC: Exactly! You know along the way I’ve built sites. I’ve sold sites. I’ve written a dozen books and I have a few more in the works right now. I have been the affiliate marketing space, internet marketing, blogging, social media, video creation, live video podcasting, app creation, software development. There’s so much in there that it’s hard to break it down. But, basically, I kind of see myself as a guy with a pail and a shovel looking for a sandbox to play in. Right now, for me, that sandbox is live video. I’m loving it.
PW: You’re like going crazy on Blab and Periscope and all that good stuff. You know one of the things that I like and, again, you and I have talked years previous to video just being a big thing. But what you have to offer on video is really good. I mean even when you’re just going for a walk you’re just talking about simple life things; what’s not always about business and, hey, here’s how you become the next big venture capitalist and all these key words that people begin to throw around you have some really common sense technical stuff that you talk about on the business side. But then sometimes you’re just really transparent about, hey, I’m tired and I’m off this Saturday, off the grid. Talk about that a little bit. How did you kind of roll in from what you were doing back in the dial up days to today? How did that work?
JC: Well, I think the way I’ve always moved from one particular technology or niche to another is just purely out of curiosity. I’m always playing with a number of things at any given time. Even though I was really known in the social space in 2008 through 2012 or so, I was also in the app development space and I was still in the internet marketing space, and I was still writing books on other topics. I’m always kind of juggling a number of different projects. I’ve actually been live streaming since 2008 when ustream.tv made it available so that you can connect a camera to your computer and broadcast out to the world. But, really, it’s only been in the last year that we’ve seen the influx of applications that make it really easy for people to stream live from their mobile devices, and we have mobile devices in everybody’s hands now. We’ve got increased bandwidth and so there’s like a perfect storm that naturally peaked my curiosity.
I’m an old school broadcaster. I did radio before I ever had an internet business. I was a DJ and so for me being able to broadcast live from anywhere is just a natural fit. I almost feel like they’ve made some of these platforms just for me. And after about a year of really playing around in those spaces and learning for myself what works, what doesn’t, and beginning to casually teach others that I realize that, oh, I’m in a position where I can really help a lot of people, individuals and businesses and brands, to understand how do you harness the power of live video to engage with an audience and to build it up and to speak to your prospects and to your customers.
PW: I know that it doesn’t have to be an either or, Joel, but are we kind of moving from the content micro blog/Twitter to just more completely video Blab, Periscope type deal?
JC: I don’t think Twitter’s going away. I think with 300,000,000 active users each month there’s quite a market there. I think it’s just different. But to me live video especially on a platform like blab.im where I do a number of different shows and you can have multiple people on screen having a conversation is really the most social form of social media that there is. But a platform like Twitter, you can shoot out your tweet really quickly and you’re done. If you’re going to do live video you need to be prepared to engage for a longer period of time.
PW: You talked about earlier that you did a TED Talk and you got really to the heart of some things in your TED Talk. With all these social media platforms including Twitter and Blab, are we ironically becoming less social with more social media?
JC: Well, I’ll just speak for myself. I feel like social media has made me more social than ever before. It’s allowed me to connect with old friends, with family, and make so many new friends that are literally all over the world. Now when I go to an event and I see these people I’m surrounded by people that I know and that I like to be with. My circle of friends has expanded vastly because of social media. And maybe it’s because how I use it. I’m not sure. I think that there are people that use it in a very fake way.
JC: They’re not real and authentic. And there are those that are in it to win it, and that’s kind of where I’m at.
PW: And that’s why I brought it up because I think about that 19 year old girl that was on Instagram saying that it took her hours to do all these different poses. Look, she’s not by herself. We know a lot people kind of create this façade of their life on social media, but they’re miserable. I was just kind of saying how much is there really a disconnect in some respect? And there probably is. I was just kind of getting your feel since you’re more into it than I am. Do you think there’s a disconnect? You kind of brought up a good point by saying from your perspective it’s made it a lot better.
JC: Yeah. I think for some there’s a real disconnect. There’s no question. Just depends how people chose to use it. Maybe it has to do with age, immaturity. I just feel like I’m in a place of my life where, “Hey, this is who I am. If you don’t like it, okay. It doesn’t matter to me because I’m not going to win everybody over. And if you see some of my flaws, then, okay, great! You got them, too, so who cares?” And, again, I think it’s just where I am and it just doesn’t matter.
PW: You know what’s funny? I remember my dad telling me when I was younger. He was like, “You’re going to get to a certain age when you really don’t care what people think. When you’re 20, 25, you care about what everybody thinks. By the time you hit 40, 40+, you could care less what anybody thinks about you.
yeah didn’t matter didn’t matter I guess it’s not that you don’t care what anybody thinks I think I care most about the people that are closest to me that really know me and have a right to speak to my life for people that are just watching and observing and make comic conclusions and judgments you know shut the front door
I just say that I did you know what that’s kind of I don’t care
that’s good stuff you know joel, you talked about kind of where you came from the internet marketing world affiliate marketing video all these other stuff what steps do you take for ongoing learning
you know life is really an ongoing learning I learn by doing I’m very kinestithic if you tell me I’ll kind of if you have too much to tell me I’ll kind of glaze over and I’ll lose you in details if you show me I’ll begin to understand but it’s when I get my hands on it myself that I do my greatest learning so I think that’s where the curiosity comes in oh there’s a new app that people talking about okay let me go try this thing let me kick the tires on it pay a test drive and figure out is there something here that interests me I’m curious will this be fun and if not I don’t care how much money I can make with it if it’s not fun I don’t want to play because I’ll get bored with it and I know that no matter how profitable it might be I won’t be fully vested in it my heart won’t be in it therefore I’m not going to excel in it it’s going ot be mediocre so why bother
what kind of businesses joel have you kind of used that philosophy and stepped away from and just decided that you know what I’m done with it I’m willing ot sacrifice this for happiness I mean have you done that recently what did that look like
oh gosh I love to brag about my failures because
I love to hear about failure because it fuels me
yeah well they’re the true indication I think they’re the real indication of success maybe that’s quotable I don’t know
I was going to say that’s a tweet actually
yeah you could tweet that
well get that
well I actually I don’t trust people that don’t about their failures or won’t talk about them because there’s a poser quality to that what are you hiding element there and I don’t think we need to hide I think people want to hear those failures they want to know that we don’t have it all together and I’m totally good with that so in 2009 I want to say I had come up with one of the earliest mobile marketing platforms and it was basically like a email auto-responder but for text messaging and spent a solid six figures in a year building this thing and when we launched it it didn’t quite go like we thought it would and I was busy on other projects so I didn’t really dedicate a whole lot of my own time to it and it just kind of languished there and it really took me until I want to say 2011-ish probably that year that I had been spending this money on and spending money on and spending money on and I wouldn’t let it go the moment I let it go and that was it it was a failure but I finally woke up one day and I said I’m just going to pull the plug on this thing I’m going to completely pitch it once I pitched it there was nothing to do with it and something really interesting happen priest when I did that rather than feeling like a failure at this project that I spent so much time money and resources into I felt freedom that’s the moment I realized that I quit failing the moment that I stopped paying for it
that’s really good I was really ask at first how did you felt.. but I think it makes you just said that you felt a freedom which is really really good because I think there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there right now that are holding on to business or better yet those business ideas are holding on to them I know everybody thinks like they have a million dollar idea and their domain name is worth $5 million but sometimes your idea just sucks I mean and you just have to come to grips with it that’s kind of why I was asking you about it because people have a hard time letting go because they see it as failure versus just turning of season and moving on to the next thing within your life sometimes we see failure as a complete failure but it just means it’s kind of a turning of season I mean we’re just moving on to the next thing and you know entrepreneurs we’re just holding on to our ideas holding on to what we think is no I promise I mean you look at the shark tank you could see the hurt and pain when those judges turn them down because they could have swore up and down it was a $5 million idea
ideas are worthless ideas are truly a dime a dozen ideas are nothing until you have execution they’re literally nothing I have ideas all day every day I write stuff down the vast majority of them never go anywhere because it doesn’t matter until you execute it and execute it well I like to put it this way nothing is anything until it’s something it’s just not it’s just talk it’ s just blah blah and dreaming is good and believing in your dreams is important because you’re not going to execute that until you do but the ideas themselves they don’t mean anything until there’s execution it’s just it’s like vapor ware I have ideas of my own here’s the thing I have the things I’m passionate about they’re also the things I want to do every now and then somebody comes along and they pitch an idea to me that resonates with my own passion with my own skill set but it’s come from them it’s their idea go develop it
go prosper do well I mean I wish people who bring me ideas I don’t turn them down because I think they’re bad ideas either I’m not passionate about it and I’m not going to waste my time getting involved in a project or even a cause that is not the one that is near and dearest to my heart and my soul that means I turn away some really good causes you know there’s people out there saving lives and making difference and I can’t support everything I have my own .. causes and that’s what I chose to focus on sometimes it’s a process of getting over this sense of why do you feel guilty when you say no to somebody but I’ve really good at no
but isn’t that just kind of people pleaser type thing at the back of your mind
yeah it’s co-dependency and I think it’s a lifelong process of learning how to set healthy boundaries so that we’re keeping good things in and you’re keeping things that aren’t necessarily good for you out and that doesn’t mean that the thing itself is bad just means that it’s not right for you right now
you know joel talking about causes and stuff there’s something that I believe in with you I even have the t-shirt to prove it up I truly do actually you have something where you have it’s do good stuff #dogoodstuff you have t-shirt talk about that a little bit because I know you are in several different things where you kind of lend your support whether it’s your own video for water across different countries and doing different things because the question is going to be how do you unplug but if you have so many things going on including causes like that how do you balance it and what do those causes mean to you in just kind of your personal life how does that intertwine
the phrase do good stuff is something that came about five six seven years ago you know I would send out emails to my list with my trainings or inspirational motivational thoughts or product endorsements whatever and everybody is signing their email warm regards to your success I just look at them and this is so cliché I got this notion that when you approach the world and people in it with an attitude of just seeing where you bring the most value through your passion talents skills abilities and personality when you put it out there almost like a Johnny appleseed we’re sowing the seed we’re just like seeking to do good wherever we go then we can escape from the mindset of well if I do this for this person what are they going to do for me I just look at it like just put as much good out there that comes from a sincere place in myself where I want to make a difference and trust the process that those seeds I put out there some of them are going to fall on good soil and somebody might come along and water them and something might come up there and maybe something will come back to me but at the very least I made a difference for somebody else I trust the process that if I’m continually seeking to do good stuff in the life of those around me then good stuff is going to come back to me we know as the law sowing and reaping it’s a biblical principle
some people karma whatever you want to call it just go do good stuff so I started signing my emails do good stuff and last year I was inspired by a couple other t-shirt brands that I saw that I discovered that when I wore them they made me more mindful and conscientious of my own thoughts and my own behaviors and here’s a perfect example I was at a grocery store .. and I’m waiting in line behind the cash register and being at the center and being the center of the universe I got really frustrated of the person in front of me that was just taking forever there’s two places that my ugly side comes out it’s in lines and on the road
driving oh man we must be long lost brothers
I don’t rage but I’m not happy I think when I was younger it used to be .. I don’t like it because I’m trying to go somewhere and don’t you know you’re on my way
but I was standing on the grocery store and I was getting frustrated and I look down and the shirt I was wearing was the be good to people brand and that’s what it said on the shirt be good to people and I thought I cursed myself I’m like you know what change your attitude and it affected me and that’s what I realized wearing the shirt makes me a better person so I want to take my motto and put it on a shirt first and foremost for myself because I want to remind myself of what it is that I believe it’s the same reason I put a tattoo of my life verse on my forearm
2 corinthians is it
sometimes I forget who I am what’s my identity and now that I have it there I don’t even see most of the time we come blind to ourselves but I develop the brand and then it got a really really good reception and so we sold hundreds of dogoodstuff shirts and in june we’re going to be doing a Kickstarter campaign to get it out there as a lifestyle brand and I want to really have an impact that’s positive especially now in this political season where it’s so negative and I took it out I don’t participate in those discussions I don’t watch the news I don’t read the papers if you’re a friend of mine and you’re being all political and getting on my face you might not be offending me but you’re offending other people we might be on the same side but you can be talking trash about the other side and you’re offending some of my friends
here’s the sad fact joel and you know this you’ve been around long enough that people get all wrapped up into it and politicians get in office and it disappears nobody remembers or maybe they do but it doesn’t come back up until the next political season how contentious it was in 2008 but when JFK brand I’m sure George Washington it was crazy I mean it’s like at some point this was my point about unplugging right it’s about finding who you are and that’s what I mean you kind of centered yourself around doing good stuff and thinking about other people versus just yourself and politics to me that’s not the essence of it people want their opinions to be heard and agreed with and if you don’t that’s where the contentious argument come in that’s why I don’t share political stuff on my facebook or anywhere
yeah it’s a maturity issue I really think it is and no offense to my friends you know maybe that sound judgmental what you’re saying but I really feel the ability to shut your mouth and understand that the words you say first of all nobody cares nobody cares what I think about Hillary Clinton or Donald trump or Bernie sanders why would you care what I think I’m not going to put myself out there as important like this is my opinion this is what really matters forget that your opinion doesn’t matter either I don’t care what you think what I care is that you’re a good person what I care about is you as a human being and there’s more that makes us the same as Americans and as human beings that makes us different so really shut the front door and that’s the post I almost made I made a post on facebook about two weeks about I don’t know if you saw it or not but it’s one of the most received post I’ve done in a while that basically said that in very kind
yes I did read that I did and very well put as a matter of fact I’ll share it on our blog here
we are back with joel and we have some serious hot seat questions this is crazy we just got talking about politics and now we’re putting him on the hot seat so joel are you ready for this
let’s do it
here we go what is your preferred social network of choice for personal use not business personal
it’s a draw
look you’re life is on the line and you can only pick one
facebook because that’s where I’m most connected with everybody
alright but just for fun what is the other one
I’m loving Snapchat it is the most fun I am having in social media
why why Snapchat you could … what makes that different
it’s going to be more than a couple seconds but ..so too bad
no no no not a couple seconds for you I mean the video itself is only couple seconds what makes that
yeah .. so when I was a little boy my father had a super 8mm camera a movie camera and you put a little reel in it afilm that you could film up to three minutes it’s no sound just video you take it out and you take it to the photo .. wherever they.. where they would develop the film and a few days later you have a movie that you can then take home put on the projector pull the screen up and play that movie what that movie was put in my hand I feel like a creative god like I could do anything I could film whenever I want I could tell stories even though there is no sound same thing happen when video cameras came out now we have audio oh my gosh this is unbelievable having Snapchat makes me feel like that little boy again only now I’ve got this device on my hand that does audio and video and allows me to dress it up with text and .. and drawings and I get to tell stories it brings up this creative side of me I love it and I think it comes through in the content that I’m creating people responding to it well
totally so it’s more if you have to say it’s probably more nostalgic for you than even technology based I mean obviously there’s technology within Snapchat where you can put the city where you’re at and .. all that stuff but for you that story is really nostalgic like it brings me back to when I was a kid and I can create these quick short stories is that it for you
well I am a storyteller
I write books I blog I podcast I’ve done recorded videos on youtube since 2006 and I even created my own reality show so I am and will always be a story teller Snapchat gives me a really unique platform that brings out a different side of my creativity that none of those other channels do
joel share you snap address
it’s just @joelcomm one of the things I really like about it is that the stories disappear in 24 hours it’s a moving 24 window and so if you don’t follow me every day and see what I’m doing every day you miss it you miss that burst of creativity that I had today I don’t post those videos up like once a week I’ll toss one of the stories up on facebook to give people a taste of here’s what you’re missing so follow me over there
one of the funniest ones and I know we’re supposed to be hot seat this is getting warmer and warmer
light it up
but one of the funniest stories was when you did the I think resting all day so one snap you were on your computer just laid back then you were in your car laid back sleep it was like sleeping all day
it was called nap all day
nap all day
that’s what I called it it was nap all day
so on my snap people there’s … he is who he is and then joel have some really good stuff you guys need to check them out alright joel here’s another hot seat question for you the last app you downloaded on your smartphone
I actually downloaded one called upload and roll it’s an app that works with Snapchat Snapchat doesn’t let you take an existing video or picture and upload it to the app you have to take .. from within the app but upload and roll allows you take an existing photo or video and upload it to your snapchat story
oh that’s a good one I have to use that myself okay last hot seat question I know this has been crazy apple or PC if you had to pick one
I don’t have to and I won’t I have used both platforms since the beginning of time in my computer I have I was using computers before there was PC or a Mac I was on a TRS80 model 1 of RAM and since that time I don’t get into the debate right now I met my desktop on a PC that is incredibly powerful with the 30-inch dell monitor this is my office computer I’m a computer gamer and as a gamer you have to have a PC
you got to have a PC
but if you look around the rest of my home I an iphone I have iPads an Air and a mini I have a macbook air and I’ve got a mac pro in the basement that I’ve used for editing video for years so it’s the only time in my life you’ll hear me say I have to go both ways
yeah okay okay joel I wasn’t expecting that one joel okay joel .. literally in some cases joel look you’ve been awesome how do you want to be remembered at the end of it all you’re involved in business charities other things but what it is at the end how do you want to be remembered what do you want your legacy be
you know whatever that thing is I don’t think I’ve done it yet I feel like the work that we all do we build brick by brick and I don’t think I’ve made my legacy but you know what as long as people say you know he’s a good guy and he helped me with fill in the blank he did good stuff whatever that is ultimately I’m not going to change the world but if I can change a little bit of it in my own sphere then I think that my life’s mission would have been fulfilled
that’s awesome you’re a good man joel how can people follow you find you
stalk you they want to see where you live at they want to look in your window at night how do they do that
joelcomm… comm is my real last name C-O-M-M it’s proved that god has an incredible sense of humor twitter Snapchat facebook my blog is joelcomm.com if you type my name in google you will get literally hundreds of results so find me somewhere say hi to me .. social
say hi to me joel thanks for your time I really appreciate it
my pleasure priest
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