Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 19, 2018 7:39 AM

Facebook's Big Trouble With Big Data And More On This Week's CTRL ALT Delete Segment On CHOM 97.7 FM

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 10 minutes every week - about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly on i Heart Radio, if you're interested in hearing more of me blathering away about what's going on in the digital world. I'm really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry DiMonte morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel.

This week we discussed: 

  • Facebook is back in hot water. 50 million profiles were allegedly harvested to create content and target individuals with specific political messages. Using personal profile data, analytics, predictive software and algorithms, the company, Cambridge Analytica, with investment from hedge fund billionaire, Robert Mercer, along with leadership/advisor Steve Bannon (from Breitbart and Donald Trump's election team) allegedly used our personal information (without explicit authorization) in 2014 to build a database that could target personalized political advertisements down to specific individuals. Who watches the watchers?
  • When we first started talking about driverless cars, it all seemed like a joke and something that would happen in the very distant future. Then, as Kevin Kelly (Futurist and co-founder of Wired) likes to say: "the future happens slowly and then all at once." Well, welcome to the future now. Vancouver and Seattle may get one lane of their highway for self-driving/autonomous vehicles. The idea was pitched the other week in Vancouver by several tech luminaries at an event. "Improved transportation from Seattle to Vancouver is not merely about leisure and travel; it's about making sure Seattle and Vancouver maintain and improve their competitive edge in the modern economy," said a report issued by the group. 
  • App of the Week: Vero.

By Mitch Joel


March 18, 2018 6:53 AM

How To Hire Great Marketers With Tim Matthews - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Episode #610 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

I came across Tim Matthews via LinkedIn. He had published an article titled, How to Hire Great Inbound Marketers: Six Key Personality Traits. From there, I discovered a well of fascinating content on how to nurture and hire great marketers and how to think differently about inbound marketing and content marketing that he had written. Tim was born in New York City and grew up in a nearby leafy suburb of New Jersey, before taking the long route to Silicon Valley through Tokyo. He has worked in high tech for twenty years and managed marketing teams at six companies. When not writing or poring over marketing texts, he golfs, crosswords, and tries to keep up with his wife on a standup paddleboard. He has published two books: The Professional Marketer and The SaaS Marketing Handbook. Currently, he is the Chief Marketing Officer at Exabeam, a security intelligence company. Enjoy the conversation...

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast #610.

By Mitch Joel


March 17, 2018 5:07 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #403

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for InterestingTilt the WindmillHBS, chair of StrataStartupfestPandemonio, and ResolveTO, Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another: 

  • Our Father, Who Art In Algorithm - Flash Forward. "Janelle Shane was one of our keynotes at Strata, and she's fascinating. It's not enough that her day job involves things like laser hologram tweezers for the space station; in her spare time, she uses AI to make weird things. You've probably seen stuff from her blog,, in various social media posts--strange names of paint colors, guinea pigs, and so on. Here's a podcast she helped put together, in which she fed the world's religious texts into an AI and asked it to generate more scripture. It's a pretty fascinating thought experiment." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Voyages in sentence space - Robin Sloan. "It was an interesting week of AI and data at Strata, and I learned a few things. Machines and algorithms are imperfect, but sometimes yield amazing serendipity. Here's an example: Put in two sentences, and an algorithm using a corpus (database) of science fiction stories will try to find things that stitch them together somehow. These kinds of multidimensional vector spaces are how algorithms associate things, and they're proving a good tool for art and creativity. Try it!" (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Bitcoin Is Ridiculous. Blockchain Is Dangerous - Bloomberg BusinessWeek. "If it is by Paul Ford, it is worth reading." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Amazon Turbocharged Audible's Domination of Audiobooks - Bloomberg BusinessWeek. "Mitch and I got to know each other mostly because of an audiobook project of mine, LibriVox, so we've had a good few audiobook conversations over the years. Fascinating to see a history of Audible's rise." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Disney's most futuristic attraction yet is an insane 'Star Wars' experience that takes virtual reality to the next level -- here's what it's like to try in person - Business Insider. "This is one of those moments in one's life when you think back to being a small child, and marvel at how your dreams have become a reality. As a young Star Wars nerd (back in the seventies), I could only have dreamed of video games or experiences where I could truly be immersed in that science fiction world. Well, here we are. What's cooler about this Star Wars experience, is that I've been able to experience the technology behind this (The Void) - twice. And, yes, it is as advertised: fully immersive and interactive. I have my finger's crossed that this Star Wars experience will make an appearance at this year's TED conference (where I last experienced The Void). This alone is probably worth the trip to a Disney theme park. Not joking." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Why LinkedIn's Jason Miller spends his nights photographing rock stars - The Drum. "I first met Jason Miller at some marketing industry conferences. We became friends. I later learned that, like me, he has the heavy music in his blood. I used words to create articles about the rock world. Jason uses his photography. Not only is he whip-smart about the power of content marketing and B2B marketing as a lead at LinkedIn he (seriously) is one of the best rock photographers I have ever witnessed. This is a great little feature on someone who doesn't like to be placed in boxes, and much prefers to be in the pit. For those about to rock... we salute you!" (Mitch for Hugh). 

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

By Mitch Joel


March 15, 2018 7:49 AM

How To Successfully Land Speaking Bureau Representation

What does it take to get paid to speak? What does it take to get a speaking bureau to represent you?

In 2006, I signed on with a professional speaking bureau and talent agency. I have been with that talent bureau ever since (almost 12 years and going strong). Along the way I have also added on a second bureau (based on where I live) to help in additional geographic regions (9 years with two separate agencies). Many speakers complain about the lack of gigs and support that bureaus provide, I have been really happy with my situation. That's not bragging... that's me establishing credibility for the content that follows. Because of my experience, I am often asked for introductions to speaking bureaus, or asked what it takes for a bureau to care about signing on a new speaker. It's a tough question to answer. It's easy for a speaker to get representation if they are a celebrity (and yes, even a micro-celebrity), a best-selling author, or someone with an incredible story (climbed Everest a few times? Survived and thrived after a horrific accident? If you can tell your story in a compelling way, speaker representation can be pretty easy to get). With that, most people are looking at professional speaking as a way to build their personal brand, their corporate brand or to evangelize their industry. It's hard to get the bureaus to pay attention to these types of individuals, simply because there are so many of them. I am (usually) really happy to provide my speaking bureau with leads into people who they should represent. That being said, there is a minimal viable product that speakers must be able to deliver to the bureaus.

If you want to be represented by speaking bureau, consider this...

  • Have something to REALLY say. This is already an article in and of itself. If you're interested in learning how to give a better (and more valuable) presentation (or you're not there yet), please read this before proceeding: How To Give A Great Presentation (Seriously). This article really breaks down (in steps) how to develop and prepare for a great presentation, keynote and/or speech.
  • Have your materials prepped and ready to go. You can't just want to speak, you have to have everything set and in place for the bureau to see. It can be a simple speaking page (here's mine), or a website that is more robust (I think Todd Henry has nailed it). What does this entail? A professionally designed website (that is easy to engage with on mobile). With that you need a compelling speaking bio (not just your general corporate one, but one that speaks to event planners and bureaus about what you bring to an audience), your topics (smart titles, descriptive subtitles and a strong paragraph about what the audience will take-away when you're done), testimonials from previous events (if you haven't had any major events, maybe ask colleagues for testimonials on your quality of presentation skills, etc...), images of yourself (speaking and headshots) that can be easily downloaded (low and high resolution), and additional graphics (book covers, logos, etc...), and - most importantly - either a speaking reel or video clips of your speaking (we're going to come back to the video and how critical this is shortly).
  • Don't ever say "no." This is probably the biggest surprise to speakers who want representation. They see the glamor of speaking a few times a month, the planes, the hotels, the marketing materials, the speaking fees... oh, the romance of it all! What they don't realize is the complexity of fitting professional speaking into a business (and personal) schedule. If you manage to get a talent agent, you really can't say "no" when they bring you the gigs, because you quickly become the person who doesn't want to work/make this happen. This means weekends, early morning flights, red-eyes, and more to make this work (not to mention flight delays, cancellations and grinds). No talent agent wants a speaker that can only speak some of the time. What they really want is a low maintenance speaker who will do whatever it takes to get the gig. So, if you really want representation, know that saying "no" to any gig is a really bad idea. With that, stop and think about missing your kid's parent teacher interviews or not being home on the weekend (and much more), and ensure that the lifestyle of speaking is the right fit for what you want to do. Also, remember that speaking gigs usually get confirmed months in advance. Once the contract is signed, you're locked in. Business and personal life happens. It's hard to know what will be going on six months from now. Meaning, are you prepared to miss that big business development pitch next week, because you signed an agreement four months ago and now the dates clash? It's not as easy as it looks.

Why is the video reel so important?

Unless you are a certain kind of celebrity (see above), the event planners are looking to ensure that you are going to make their lives (extremely) easy for the hour that you are onstage. You are (usually) not being hired because of your name and content and company, but because you fill a box that is needed for their event (i.e. "we need someone who can speak about the intersection between consumers, technology and our business"). In order to ensure that you are the right person, you not only need everything above, but you need to present your ideas in a strong and palatable way on that video demo.

Here are some tips on what event planners don't want to see in a speaking reel/presentation video:

  • Dragging on and on. Start strong. Be compelling. Out of the gates. So many videos start with five minutes of the speaker going on and on about the event so far, their travel experience, why they're in the room, making jokes that don't land and more. Start strong. You can get to the jokes or the more relevant customized content as you go along. Spending several minutes at the top talking about their event and the conference event the night before is zzzzzzzzz.
  • Asking questions out of the gate. This doesn't work. "How many of you here today, in attendance, have a strong marketing technology stack?"... "what makes it important to you?"... These are not bad questions, but when you start with questions like this, on video, it looks very weak. All you see is a speaker asking questions, nodding and looking at the audience. The energy is drained. Plus, most people don't answer these questions well, until the speaker establishes rapport. Start strong, deliver value, and then move to audience questions or getting feedback. Build trust and establish rapport first.
  • Your technology is not a part of the presentation. Looking at your remote presenter, futzing around with your computer, pointing out that you have a timer in front of you, etc... All bad plays. Make your technology seamless. Even if there is technical issues. A talent agent that sees a speaker making their technology a co-speaker is one that they will ignore. A talent agent that sees a speaker, where the technology is invisible is impressed.
  • What's behind you does not concern you. Another surefire way to get a talent agent to ignore your reel, is to constantly be looking back at your slides or (worse!) reading from them. Know your content. Don't look back. Don't even acknowledge your slides (unless you are pointing out a very specific piece of data). The slides are there to support whatever it is that is coming out of your mouth. Don't look back at your slides... it's not professional.
  • This is nothing that you don't know. "I'm not telling you anything new" or "I am not telling you anything that you don't already know" or "You've probably seen this before." Then why, exactly, are you here and wasting my time? Even if it's true, kill these phrases. One, the audience dies a little on the inside if they hear that. Two, no talent agent wants to work with someone new... who doesn't have anything new to say.
  • Throwing the leadership under the bus. I've seen countless speakers say something like: "I am here to tell you why your leadership is not paying attention to the work that you/your team/your department is doing." In context, this may seem smart (i.e. if you do what I say, you will get that promotion or make your team so much better), but in reality, it looks like you are diminishing the role of the people in the room, and throwing their leadership under a bus. Comments like that may establish you as a thought leader or more credible, but it could kill your ability to truly help the entire organization move forward. Don't highlight their silos or leadership challenges... work around them in a positive fashion.
  • Deer in the headlights. Like most people, I am very nervous when speaking. I'm nervous as I travel to the event, right before I go on, and even during a presentation. Yes, you read that right. After over a decade and thousands of presentations, I still get nervous. That's because I care. I want the audience and event planners to really benefit, and I put that weight on myself. Still, don't make it apparent in the video. I've been asked countless times by speakers to make an intro to the bureaus, and their videos (sadly) demonstrate how nervous they are. Being nervous is normal. It's fine. It's human. Having it be so apparent on your demo/speaking reel makes is not good. Shoot a lot of video, get more and more confirmable, and only present your best self in it. Try to make your nerves not so apparent. Avoid video that has you licking your lips, shuffling too much, stammering, trying to make bad jokes to calm your own nerves, etc...
  • Play to the room. I've seen speakers use props, intro music or even a video intro for a small, half-filled breakout session. Don't play too big to a small room, and don't play small in a big room. You have to figure out the balance and "box in the weight class." You don't want to make things too over the top (don't act like wrestler making an entrance for Wrestlemania) when it's a concurrent breakout. Play to the room, not to how you imagined the room might be.
  • Drama out. Keep all personal/work drama out of your presentation and social media (unless the drama is related to the content that you are presenting). The analogy would be this: be very personable, but not too personal (unless that's what you content is about). Event planners, talent agents, etc... don't want to deal with a speaker that has too much drama attached to them. It makes their job difficult. A planner wants to know how you're going to capture the audience, maintain their energy for an hour, help them get better at the work that they do... and do so with as little drama as possible.
  • Show multiple shows. Lastly, if your video (or videos) can show you in different environments for different types of organizations - all the better. Think about the ideal audiences in business and deliver video that shows you presenting to those kind of audiences. Think B2B or B2B. Think small, medium or large brands. Think small, medium and large audiences. Show how you speak differently within those different dynamics.

Always remember: You are not (always) the star, just because you are onstage and doing the keynote.

This is a tough one for many speakers to comprehend. You're actually (often) not the star. You may be giving the keynote, but you are simply one cog in a very big wheel of a multi-day event. Often, your sole purpose is to be great in your moment, and ensure that the event planners get hired again to organize the businesses event again next year. Your goal is to ensure that they remember how respectful you were of their work and how much the audience enjoyed hearing you speak, so that everyone want to see you again. A strong speaking demo reel (or multiple videos on YouTube) that ooze that, are the real ways that will make an agency want to work with you.

Make your video as professional as possible, and you might have many of the top talent agents knocking on your door.

By Mitch Joel


March 12, 2018 7:33 AM

The Long Tales - The Best In Business Innovation Content - Issue #2

Welcome to the 2nd edition of The Long Tales - the best in business innovation content.

If you believe that spending time reading and listening to great longform business content is one of the most powerful ways for you to think about how your brand can better connect with consumers, this may be for you. As a known Infovore, I am astounded by the vast amount of content out there on the topic of business innovation. With that, I'm even more astounded at just how average the vast majority of this content is. On a regular basis, The Long Tales will curate and comment on what has been happening in the world of business innovation... and why you need to care.

The double-edged sword of business today.

Technology is like fire. Fire changed the way humans evolved. It brought us warmth, the ability to cook food, boil water and more. Fire also burns down our homes and kills us. Technology can be the greatest thing... and the worst thing all at once. Cryptocurrency is a great technology that removes governments and traditional banking structures from currency. Cryptocurrency is also used for the most illegal of activities. Facebook has empowered billions of people to connect and get closer to one another. Facebook was also at the epicentre of fake news, it has been weaponized by governments, agents of propaganda, and takes bullying of our kids to a whole other level of terror. The brand imperative is clear: it's not just about how you use technology to better connect to your customers, but brands also have an ability to truly highlight the good. How can brands use technology and hold themselves to the highest of standards? It is a true and honest opportunity, where historically brands have used technology and the media as another engine of exaggeration, false claims and to spam. Technology (like fire) is agnostic. It can be used for good. It can be used for evil. Your brand can decide which side of history it would like to be on. I choose the good. What about you?  

Here are some of this week's best in business innovation:

  • How The New Yorker plans to double its paid circulation to 2 million - DigiDay. If you go back in time (like twenty years) and spoke to publishers of magazines and newspapers about the not-to-distant future, where advertising revenue would be dwarfed by the revenue they receive from their readers... well, you would have been laughed out of the newsroom. Of course, the internet changed everything that we once knew about the publishing business. If anything, the internet became a place for free content to spread, and an advertising model that was primarily driven by a scarcity model changed to one of abundance. This is where we are. Still, many traditional publishers have had to change, adapt and some died. Maybe too many have died (or are dying). The New Yorker is now in rarified air. The revenue they have from readers is now greater than their revenue from advertisers. Another way to look at it: The New Yorker makes money selling their magazine content directly to customers, instead of through channels like magazine and book stores. New models for paid content? New models for building a direct to customer brand? Read on...
  • Bitcoin: Boon or Bubble? - John Kay. What do you make of bitcoin and cryptocurrency? Candidly, I am struggling with it. I read, watch and listen to so much content about cryptocurrency - and the underlying blockchain technology that it sits on - But, I'm not sure that I am informed enough to make any real recommendations. Is it that confusing? Don't look to the stock market for answers. To some, bitcoin feels like some kind of ponzi scheme, while to others it looks like more and more like the most important technological innovation of our time. Want some additional explanation and perspective? Read on...
  • The spread of true and false news online - Science. Don't just read the abstract of this article. Dive into the full text. It is science backed and it is fascinating. The net outcome is this: Lies spread faster than the truth. It's not because of technology. It is because of people like you and me. So, while we can say that we're all deeply concerned with how Facebook is dealing with fake news and the publishers of it, maybe we also need to look more intently in the mirror - at who we are, how we consume media and what we're really like? This is not just supposition. It is now backed by science. We like to spread the bad as far and wide as possible. We also like to consume it. Surprised? Read on...
  • How To Fix The Future With Andrew Keen - Six Pixels of Separation Podcast. Last week, I featured an in-depth conversation that I had with Andrew Keen. He takes some real shots at me... and he was right to do so. It used to be a lot easier to call him a contrarian to everything that was happening in Silicon Valley. After all, his bestselling books, The Cult of the AmateurDigital Vertigo and The Internet Is Not The Answer earned him the dubious title of "the anti-Christ of Silicon Valley." His latest book, How To Fix The Future, is still controversial but it's more optimistic (if we do something with the contents of it) about how this might all play out. And, it is an incredible read about how the biggest brands are selling nothing but our information. Welcome to "surveillance capitalism." Sure, Andrew is happy to take a victory lap, by pointing out how right he was in his previous books... but here we are. How does technology our culture and digital media push forward with so much creative destruction and the problems that have arisen as we all connect? Listen on...

Now, go get busy making innovation happen today.

By Mitch Joel


March 11, 2018 8:14 AM

Denise Lee Yohn Fuses Branding And Culture - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Episode #608 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. Here it is: Six Pixels Of Separation - The Mirum Podcast - Episode #609 - Host: Mitch Joel. She... Read more

By Mitch Joel


March 10, 2018 5:47 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #402

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, Pandemonio, and ResolveTO, Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks,... Read more

By Mitch Joel


March 9, 2018 7:31 AM

David Pastorious On This Month's Groove - The No Treble Podcast

David Pastorious is this month's conversation on Groove - The No Treble Podcast. You can listen the new episode right here: Groove - The No Treble Podcast - Episode #39 - David Pastorious. Who is David Pastorious? What are the... Read more

By Mitch Joel


March 5, 2018 7:52 AM

The Long Tales - The Best In Marketing Innovation Content - Issue #1

Welcome to the first edition of The Long Tales - the best in marketing innovation content. If you believe that marketing innovation is one of the most powerful ways for your brand to better connect with consumers, this may be... Read more

By Mitch Joel


March 4, 2018 8:01 AM

How To Fix The Future With Andrew Keen - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Episode #608 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. Even when he takes a pop at me (which he does... and it's probably not all that lovingly), I... Read more

By Mitch Joel