Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, February 26, 2010

Becoming A Brand: The Experience Of Robin Good

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How do you build a personal brand around yourself? Can one really create a business online simply by sharing her knowledge online?

Photo credit: Robin Good

A couple months ago I was invited by Nokia to join, together with Teemu Arina, a discussion and review session with their online publishing and social media teams focusing on how to improve and steer the future strategy and direction of Nokia online communication strategy.

This one-day long event that took place at Nokia's headquarters, just outside of Helsinki, remains a pretty memorable day for me, not only because it was my very first time in Finland and because of the prestige of the invitation received, but also because, it preceded another, even more remarkable day, in which I was invited to deliver an exclusive presentation to a unique audience of technologists, media scholars, artists and intellectuals within an exclusive party setting: Dicole OZ.

My good friend Teemu organizes periodically a knowledge-party in which the appetizer dish is some special guest (this time it was me) followed by more drinks and snacks and, hard to believe for Finland, but definitely true for that night, lots of music, dancing and fun games.

As a kind of eccentric proof of the fun level we reached, there are actually no records, pics, videos or anything to review and testify the overwhelming amount of fun we had that night... we were just too busy having fun... but I am sure that for everyone who was there that night (and I hope some will testify this in the comments at the end of this article), that will remain a pretty memorable event.

But back to my short speech.

Since Teemu had given me maximum freedom in the choice of the topics I could have covered, I decided to throw in everything that interests me the most:

Online communication strategy, personal growth, being independent, learning and education, entrepreneurship, scaling yourself... and a lot more.

Thanks to Teemu's support I have now been able to edit and split this long and varied speech in a few short bursts of inspiration and personal story telling on a few themes, and in this first article I bring you a four-video set focusing only on my personal branding ideas.

  • How to become a personal brand and be successful
    (that is: how to be independent using the online universe)
  • How to brand and characterize yourself
  • How to create a business online by sharing your knowledge
  • How to get rid of the 9-to-5 working paradigm



How To Become a Brand and Be Successful

Duration: 5' 10"

Full English Text Transcription

Robin Good: The topic of my conversation with you - because it is not going to be a presentation... I have a computer here but I will throw it away in a few seconds, it is just because I have to read one number, and it's difficult... I could have a calculator I guess - is to tell you about this formula which I made today in my hotel - is a fresh formula - about how can people attempt to follow the type of road that I think I have discovered.

I am not alone in this discovery and the discovery is that you can engage into a type of life that reflects more the type of interests and passions you have by using these new media technologies and by making a living out of it

Beyond the fears of the crisis, the economy, the recession, lay-offs for many of the companies and institutions we work for, I think there are alternative roads.

Maybe they are not for everyone.

You have got to have some courage to take these roads, because like everything that has value, they do include risks, working a lot, making mistakes and sometimes failing altogether. I did all those thing, but the end result is that I am here now telling you a story that has as a starting point, a number.

I have my assistant here, Richard, that I have hired just for this purpose.

The number you are going to read over there, the big number that is starting with a seven is the number of euros, not the total, but almost the total number of euros I have made by doing this new independent work that I invented myself for myself.

How many euros did I make until now?

RIchard: $733,397.03.

Robin Good: The dollar is at €14.50. What is that roughly?

Richard: A million dollar?

Robin Good: Yeah, a bit more.

I am a million dollar man - by the numbers - and it is not a title for a movie. I really am and I am very happy to be because you are going to be listening more closely now. That is the whole purpose of saying that number, really.

I am not a money man. I am not a business man in the traditional sense of the word and I really hate getting money from companies in general. In fact ,I was a happy guest of Nokia yesterday and I enjoyed myself quite a bit and offered them to invite me again to help them out, whether virtually or physically, at absolutely no cost, because my enjoyment and my benefit comes more from the exchange than from the money.

I actually learned something that many of you have already found out, which is that when you get paid the relationship changes a lot.

When you play together, it is all nice and relaxed and intellectually engaging, But when you are somebody who has paid to do something, it is all for yesterday and "I do not like it, then re-do it".

You become a slave. You just prostitute your talent most of the time for somebody's else ideas and I was pretty fed up with this, just like many of you probably have been in their lives.

How did I get... how did I jump into this Robin Good role with this crazy hat?

Can we show why do I wear such a stupid hat in this crazy way? If you give me my homepage, people will understand a little more.

I was wearing this hat like some ten years ago, while I was on a little tiny island in the gulf of Thailand.

I love to go in little tiny islands where there are as few tourist as possible, where maybe you can rent a little motorino and go around the jungle, explore and land in little fantastic beaches.

Thailand is a fantastic land for this, because the people are very quiet, you are not running into lions and the beaches are fantastic, the police is not there... so, what do I want more?

I was there doing this type of activity to relax myself and a friend of mine took a picture of me on the motorbike, and... there you see this guy it is me and this hat is this hat, and this is the part of the hat that is inside.

Why am I telling all these about the hat? Because this picture and that hat really helped me a great deal over the years, because people would go crazy asking me: "What is that snake you wear on your head? Why do you do that?"

They never got an answer because few of them got to meet me and to see the actual hat, but even getting something that is not a typical tie stuff, has worked fine for me, just because it characterized me.


Why I Called Myself Robin Good

Duration: 5' 39"

Robin Good: ...and then many of you want to know why Robin Good, since today I wad discovered officially that my real name is a difficult Italian one - that is Luigi Canali De Rossi - and wherever I go they always mix it up: Mr. De Rossi, Mr. Rossi, Mr. Loogy.

Once I realized that I could have put both of my feet in this independent boat, that is that I could really say: "Clients, go... to that place", when I could say that to them, then I said:

"If I am going to play all my cards on my own, I would better have a name, since I am writing in English and sharing with an international audience.

A name that is going to be easy to remember and plus I want something that helps people understand what type of person I am."

That is a challenging branding activity. They do this in advertising agencies when they have a new product. I have worked in agencies, in different type of situations similar to what happens in a creative situation like that - but it is just too challenging.

The very same friends that I sent my friend Teemu when he came to Rome - I gave him dinner for four hours and had a conversation with him without knowing that me and him have never met actually - those very friends one day told me: "Look, we all have some type of search ability - since then I call it my Internal Google - that helps, you if you want, to remember things, or find out things, because they are all there."

Like when you meet a guy the day before, and then you meet your friend the day after and you say: "Do you remember the guy we saw last night? I cannot remember it." How many times we fall in that situation?

The fact that we say "I cannot remember it", Is a command to your Internal Google basically not to remember it.

If you just switch the type of commands and say: "I am going to remember it, it is going to come up", you will notice that - maybe not in three seconds, maybe not in three minutes - but maybe in the next that name will come.

If you trust your memory to work and in giving it proper commands it will give you greater feedback. Since then I started to use this Internal Google for a purpose, and when it came the time of "how do I call myself?", I said:

"Internal Google, this is a good occasion for you. Let's put you to work.

I need a name that shows that I am a very independent guy, anti-authority, a little radical, I do not go really by the rules, I like to... What do I like to do?... I like to help the small guy, the underdog, those that think they cannot make it and then you tell them: "Look there" and they say "Whoa!"."

That is what I like because having been born like a DJ, my first first passion... doing something that makes people feel good is a great feeling, possibly one of the best feelings you can have, along with dancing, singing and flying... I do not know, It is that good for me.

I said: "Internal Google go, get the name that has these characteristics and see what you can do." But you know what? This time the Internal Google seemed not to work, because minutes, hours, days, weeks, months went by and I was with no answer.

But then one day I was in Via Gregorio VII - the street that is nearby my office in Rome - with my motorbike at the red light... vroom vroom vroom... waiting there... when all of a sudden... I hear this God-like voice coming from the sky: "Robin Good".

I did not even know who they where calling, but since it was coming from inside the head I guess it was me. I said: "What is up?"

"This is Internal Google talking to you, man. We have got the word you been asking for: It is Robin Good.

But not only. Do you know your uncle Robin Hood? You know, Luigi, where that Robin Hood comes from?

He comes from a famous forest, the forest of Sherwood. Luigi, how do you spell that Sherwood?"

"I guess, what is it... S-H-E-R-W-O-O-D"

"Yes, you do not come from there. That was your uncle. You moved South.

There is another forest and is the forest of Sharewood, written with an "A". S-H-A-R-E, the forest where you share.

Robin Good from Sharewood."

You tell me to how many agencies you would have had to go to and how many creative brains and sessions you would have had to come up with such a great name.

I do not know how much it would had cost it, but I have an agency inside my had and I got the name that I really could not be happier, because it just fits me good, I feel good, I feel one thing with that name.

That is really the story, I am not inventing this in any way. That is how the name came to be and why so much my emphasis on sharing.


How To Create a Business By Sharing Your Knowledge

Duration: 1' 35"

Robin Good: Giving out stuff, especially the stuff that normally you would have to ask people money for to tell you that thing that you know... If you give out those things consistently and repeatedly, you build such a reputation for yourself, such a credibility, that then you can do many things that are otherwise impossible.

The Internet is the ideal environment where to do this, because you can share a lot there. You just put stuff out there, and if you can turn on enough green lights so that people see that, it is a lot of sharing compared to what you do in physical life.

I realized that by sharing I could achieve the goals I wanted to reach, that are:

  • Not to have to write invoices,
  • not to have to go to the lawyer again to ask: "When the hell are they going to pay me?",
  • not to hear from the bank that your account is in red again and you have to come there and put some money on it... and now I have another installment to pay for the house or the car...

This is all part of the past.

I have not become Murdoch and I may be in a different situation anytime soon according to the numbers.

Maybe because I am the type of person I am I will not get there, because I have gotten so much self-confidence from seeing that if you put yourself into something, you can get really anywhere you want, that I don't think that anything will really "defeat" me.


How To Get Rid of The 9-5 Working Paradigm

Duration: 3' 27"

Robin Good: What I see as the limit of Teemu and his entourage right now - that is what it is the margin for improvement for Teemu in the future - is that he is not scaling himself.

He is doing this type of work that I was doing before becoming Robin Good. That is, he going out to big, prestigious, wonderful-sounding-name companies to get big, prestigious money... but every time is a new story.

Every time you have to make a lot of work to make them happy - they treat you like "I need this for Friday" "Friday?! Yesterday?!" "Yes, we needed it yesterday", and they are a little hard maybe sometimes to get things working, they make it a little more difficult...

I wonder why somebody so intelligent is there,in this routine whereby maybe he is going to get 60 or 75 and still running after them.

What is the deal in having 150 clients that make you rich for the time of being rich - because then you have to spend it again to keep all these things going?

Then it gets to the question of life: Where are we here for? Working for some other company to get the money to pay the rent and the lease?

That is not the real story. There is another life. It does exist.

If you want to get to that other life but you are spending all your time in that business cycle, how can you get out of it? By scaling yourself - and that is what new media technologies allow you to do.

By using the Internet I write once. Tell me - I do not want to say numbers - how many people read it? Thousands, tens of thousands, hundred of thousands, millions.

I prepare a course or a video, I do it once and thousands of people watch it. Do I want to sell it? Why not? If they want to buy it, let's sell it. I do one thing and I sell it many times - this is the age of this.

We do not want to go every time to the library to check the books. We want the library to come to our homes.

When people want to study today, they want the Teemus, the Negropontes, the Jay Crosses, the big thinkers, the Samis of the world to come to their screen at the time they want.

They want to make a click and hear them say the type of stuff they want to learn about. That is really the way it is. I think you all can identify into that. It is a normal, spontaneous, intuitive drive, but Teemu is not coming to me. I have to be a big company, I have to hire him.

In the recipe to get out of the system, the idea is to scaling yourself or building things that stay there and create some assets.

Still when I was pretty big guy, but still in school - I was not really this hard-working-study guy because I could easily go through the notions and get enough good rates to pass by - I was wondering "Am I going to be ever somebody significant in my life?" Because all the signals from the institution, my family, "you are a little bit too crazy". You tend to... you hear it and hear it, you say...

Video clip originally recorded by Teemu Arina for Dicole and originally published as "Robin Good - The Sharewood Formula".

Teemu Arina -
Reference: Dicole [ Read more ]
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posted by on Friday, February 26 2010, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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