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Podcast: Are You A Linchpin?

Here’s a short, fun podcast discussing Seth Godin’s latest book “Linchpin” with Kim Ann Curtin. Are you indispensable?

Here’s the transcription of the podcast.

Everybody it’s Jim Kukral from and I’m joined by Kim Ann Curtin. How are you doing, Kim?

I’m doing really well Jim. How are you?

I’m doing very well today. Kim, what site can you give out so that people can find information about you?

Kim:, and shop has 2 p’s

Shop has 2 p’s. Kim and I wanted to get together on this real short podcast today to talk about some themes to some things that we really found interesting. ëCause you know what, we were both having conversations, andÖ Actually, you know what Kim it was your idea so why don’t you tell us, you know, what the whole idea was.

Well I was reading Linchpin and I had seen Seth Godin at the small business conference in New York City. I was really inspired by his talk, and started to read his book and came upon this chapter that he says is the most important chapter of the book called “The Resistance.” And as a coach, that’s something I run into with my clients all the time. As a life coach and as a business coach, I see people have the resistance. I see it in myself and my own journey. And when it talked about “real artists ship,” it was talking aboutÖ how we get all stopped as entrepreneurs or small business owners by the fear, the fear of one thing or another. And in that moment, I really got what you do, Jim. I was like, that’s what Jim delivers. Jim teaches people how to ship, and makes sure that the product gets out there, which is what we get stopped by. So instantly I really was inspired, as you know, to call you in that moment, and I was like, Holy Toledo! I got it! This is what you do for people. And you’ve done it for me. You’ve helped me learn that I have to ship, right away, what I need to deliver to my client.

Yeah, I’m with you. When you called me, I was reading Linchpin. I just finished it. I have the same takeaway of the book. This podcast isn’t meant to be a book review. It’s meant to be more of aÖ let’s just try to help some people by talking about the theme from the book. You should still read this book, but the basic point that I took away from the book that really, really hit home away for me was that you have to ship. And by that, I mean that you’ve got to put a product or a service in a box, and you’ve got to get it out there! And this is something that I’ve been teaching people for a long time, but it’s something that I’ve learned from success and failure. I mean there are so many things that I’ve spent too much time on trying to figure out, and if I would have shipped, I would have just been in better shape. I’ll give you a good example: my coaching business, my consulting business. I spent, I think at one point, five to six months worried about the price, and what’s going to be in it, and how to set it up, and all this stuff. And what I found out at the end was that all that time I spent fretting over what I was doing right or wrong was wasted time. When I launched it & when I shipped it & I figured out exactly what needed to be done from my customers: what they liked, what they didn’t like, how I should be pricing it. Remember, you can change things nowadays quickly on the web. So it’s not like you’re printing up 100,000 brochures.

That’s right, definitely.

So shipping is really a huge thing. And it’s one of the things you’re going to get from Linchpin that I really loved and that I know you really loved. It’s one of the things I council people with all the time, especially people like you Kim & people in the service industry and people like that. It’s a matter of putting something out there, and putting something on it, and making it easy for people to consume, right?

Yup, absolutely. And I think the key is that there is a resistance that you might even stumble into with people, and this is part of my life’s work in terms of helping people deal with that resistance that shows up in them. That usually is based on something that’s very real: their fear of success, or their fear of failure, or whatever it may be that keeps them stuck. Because I know what it is that you deliver, my sense is that if there are people who don’t buy from you, it’s only because of a resistance that hasn’t been quelled. Some of the techniques I use in my coaching are able to give people the ability to not be driven by that lizard brain, as Seth Godin calls it. And that is the key. There are people that you probably could work with more of if they didn’t have that getting in their way.

Yes, that lizard brain is the thing that stops you from doing. In some cases it might be good. It might stop you from buying the donuts at the grocery store. But in other ways in your life, in your career, in business, it can stop you from taking chances, from being creative. Those are things that you don’t want to be stopped on. One of the things [Gordin] talks about in the book that is really, really interesting to me is [his take on] American culture. We’ve built this culture that, from the industrial revolution, you would go and get a job that would tell you what to do. That was the agreement that we had. They told us what we should do, we did it on an assembly line or whatever, we made money, and we had our lives. But those days have changed. Those jobs are gone now. There’s not as many as there used to be. And [Godin] argues, very effectively, that the linchpin, the person that’s indispensible, the artist, the person that’s willing to take chances and get beyond the lizard brain, is the person that’s going to drive the new economy. What makes me feel good is that I feel like I’m in that position, and I know you are too Kim. It’s that person that is going out there and pushing the envelope. The point I’ll make to wind that up is that the business of being successful online means that you have to be a linchpin. So if you want to be successful online, you’re not going to be able to come in and do the assembly line stuff anymore. You have to be the one that’s pushing the envelope, trying the new tools, putting yourself out there, failing, succeeding. It’s really what you have to do if you want to be successful on the Internet.

I want to add one thing, because I think you will have some listeners who have yet to start their own businesses who are biding their time or saving money or what have you before they take this jump. They can be linchpins even in their companies. And that’s what’s so startling. [Godin] is inviting people He talks about people in certain companies who didn’t get permission to do this new kind of system or this new kind of interaction with other staff people. And they just became so successful that now they have these unusual titles, or what have you. Just the courage we need to have, whether we have started our own business yet or not, is what he’s advocating. So it’s not just definitely leave your day job. But even if you are doing something on the side with an Internet business, you’ve definitely got to deliver something that’s not factory made.

And you do! Like I said, those days are gone where you just showed up to work, went on the assembly line, and did that. People are losing jobs now. There was 10% unemployment at the time of this podcast in the United States. It’s no longer ok for you just to sit back and let somebody tell you what to do anymore and hope that you’re going to be able to keep that job or advance in that job. That model is gone.

I think it’s hard for people because they have been so conditioned for so long to not think for themselves. They’re waiting for somebody to come and give them the solution. And there’s no solution that anybody out there has for anyone else. We have it within. Part of the tagline to the coach-off is “Be your own hero” because we have to look within. We have to really dig deep within and start to ask ourselves, what do we want? And Vaynerchuk talks about that too in that famous Web 2.0 talk. He says, “What do I want?” Nobody’s asking themselves that. Instead they’re asking “What should I do?” and “What’s going to make money?” You can’t be a Vaynerchuk, you can’t be Seth Godin. You are supposed to be you! Just be who you are and bring what you have to the table. And that is unique. But it’s not been endorsed, so hearing it is hard to translate for people.

Well, to be fair, like you said, people are conditioned not to think that way. We’ve been told that we should just shut our mouths and do our jobs, and we’ll be rewarded. And that model doesn’t exist as much as it used to. On the second hand of this, now we have social media, we have the Internet, and it’s a different ballgame. It really is a different ballgame. You can now take so many more chances, and get the word out, and do so many more things because of technology that we didn’t have before. So this is really an amazing time to be the linchpin because you have the ability to go out there and just try these tools. And this is what I teach people with all the time. There has never been a greater time in the history of the world to be able to go out there and build your brand and talk about building business online, to do things for free, and do all these things. You really need to go out there and try it. Be the linchpin.

I agree. It’s nice too because it means that we can be who we are. It means we have an opportunity to be passionate about what we do for our financial income, and that’s a really beautiful thing. It gives you back that freedom, but you need to be willing to face those fears and ship even though it’s not going to be perfect at first. We can always go back and sculpt it, as you said.

The one other thing I’d like to talk about in this book is on page 17 or 18. There was a whole couple pages where he talked about how if you have children in school right now, you would pull them out.

Yes! I remember.

I have an 8 year old and a 5 year old right now. And I literally looked at my wife, made her read the chapter, and I said to her, I almost want to pull my kids out of school right now because he makes the argument, What is school teaching them right now? It’s teaching them to follow the rules. It’s teaching them that they have to do this and this, and they’ll get that. It’s not teaching them to be creative or to think outside the box. It’s not teaching them to make their own way. It’s teaching them to be part of the system. Now I’m not going to pull them out of school, but I do feel that it’s going to be my own personal responsibility to do that, in the same way that I’m helping adults do that in their careers and in their jobs. So that whole chapter just got me, and he’s right. We’re teaching people the old way. And I don’t think the future is going to be that way.

And that’s what happened when Tim Ferriss came out with his theory of a 4-hour work week. Some people looked at that and said, “Oh, he’s advocating working only 4 hours a week.” But that’s not what he’s advocating. He’s advocating look at the model & the model is not working today. The model is broken. And if these youngsters get to travel and live this life outside of the structure that most of us grew up in, they seem to be the ones who are creating, at 17, 16, 18Ö these non-profits that take off. It’s because they are stimulated to stretch in ways that our system, our education system, and the hierarchy& we have a whole system in place that really does not endorse this way of looking at life. But now it’s imminent. We’re toast if we don’t start to think for ourselves, and that’s a little scary.

I definitely think that there are a little bit redundant, but what Seth does, which makes him one of my favorite authors, is that he makes you think. You may only get 2 & 3 points out of the book, but they are huge points. They really sit in your head and change the way that you think about your life and your business. And that’s what he has accomplished in Linchpin.

Yes, absolutely. It just felt like a slap. And also the choose one. That we cannot be all things to all people; we have to pick just one thing. I got a chance to talk to briefly after he spoke, and he I said “Well there’s this and thatÖ” and he said, “You have to pick just one.” And that is a real hard thing for entrepreneurs to stay within just one focus, but I think that’s part of why we don’t ship. And that’s part of what you help bring to the table, Jim. You help us hone it down, get that one thing chosen, and then run with it to the best of our ability.

On the other hand, I teach people how to do that, but I have a hard time doing it myself. It’s like everybody. So I guess the point is that you may think that you can do it, but you’re too close to itÖ

So I wanted to leave with a tip. So my tip is this. Don’t think that you can do it yourself. I’m not trying to sell you on my or Kim’s service; that’s not what this whole thing is about. I’m telling you from experience if you’re listening to this right now that you are too close to your situation. And no matter what it is you’re trying to build or put together, you need an outside perspective to say “Oh, you do this” or “You should be doing it this way.” I’m telling you right now that it always takes that extra person from the outside to get that done if you really want to be successful, believe me. Not many people I’ve ever met have been able to look at themselves honestly and do the right thing. The outside [perspective] really does help

And I’d just like to emphasize that all of those that I know that really are successful in the way that I want to be successful & because you want to look at all of a person’s life when you choose to emulate them & those are the people that I know who have had coaches and guides and/or wise ones who have helped them see what they can’t see. So I’m right on board with you. On my website right now, I have [a quote] from Google’s president saying that it the best advice he ever got was to get a coach. I have a coach. I have two coaches. You’re one of my coaches, and I have another coach for my life. So I believe in this stuff, or I wouldn’t be doing it.

Right. Well, this has been a great conversation about the book. I highly recommend to go out and pick up a copy of it. And just read through it, and then do something about it. This is what I help people with, and I know Kim does as well. Don’t just read it; you’ve got to go out there and make something happen. And you’ll be very surprised and very happy about it when you do. Right, Kim?

Yes, absolutely.

So thanks everybody. And I think, Kim, that this has been fun. And I think that we should, from time to time, have a podcast book club where we can talk about things.

That would be great. I’d love to do that. I’m a big reader, so it would be great to engage in that.

So tell people once again how they can track you down.

Sure, and there’s two p’s in SHOPPE.

Great, and if you want to find me, just google Jim Kukral and you’ll find about a million things. And I have a book coming out, my own book, called Attention! This Book Will Make You Money from Wiley. Depending on when you’re listening to this, it will either be out or you can order it. It’s out in August 2010. So thank you Kim. Thanks everybody for listening. Hope you have a great day. Go out there and be successful!

A Collaborative Look Into The Future Of Publishing? Age of Conversation Book Launches

It’s finally here. The Age of Conversation book that I participated in is ready to buy. I picked up my copy this morning and took a quick look around. There is some amazing content in this book.

And remember, all proceeds go to charity. So you can spend that $10.00 knowing that you’ll learn a lot, plus help out some kids.


Sydney, Australia; Des Moines, Iowa, USA, July 16, 2007 — In what may be a first-of-its-kind collaboration via the internet, more than 100 marketing professionals have joined together online to write The Age of Conversation, a book that will be published July 16. In addition to the downloadable e-version, the book will be available in limited quantities in hardcover and softcover. All proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to Variety, the Children’s Charity. The proceeds will be earmarked to help children in the authors’ home countries.

My chapter is called “Can I Have Your Attention Please?” and it tells a short story about how two bloggers try to get noticed in this fast-paced, crowded Internet world we live in.

More at Techmeme. List of authors here. coverage here.

How To Get Your Blog Listed In The Washington Post?

Earlier today I wrote a piece linking to a story in A few hours later Jim L. from Adify emailed me letting me know that he saw my blog link in the article. Check it out below.

How? The Washington Post website uses Technorati to monitor the conversation for their content. Pretty smart.

This is important because it allows non-geeks to begin to learn how to track online conversations. Let’s face it, this report says it, that us web geeks are really in the minority. We need all the mainstream help we can get to get the word out about these tools we love so much.


BUMPzee Links: March 28, 2007

I’ve found that I use BUMPzee like a new type of feed reader. It’s great, I go over a couple of times a day and look through the “new” listings of blogs in the community, find what I like, read it, then bump it if I want, or dump it. Wash, rinse, repeat.

But the VERY best part of it is that if the blog owner is using the BZ widgets, I can see how many comments their blog entry has, which is great because then I can track conversations. Anyway, Scott, where’s my check? :)

Here’s some cool links I found today just browsing around.

Seth Godin says you should write an ebook.

Stumbleupon spy takes over Google

Will Google’s Pay-Per-Action Ease Click Fraud?

Can You Get Sued For Tracking Your Blog’s Uptime?

Amazon Associates launches contextual beta program

Online Success Lessons From ZEfrank

ZE’s gone, but not forgotten. Well at least “The Show” is over, and yeah, ZE’s still around in spirit, that’s apparant by reading one of his post “the show” interviews over at

070322_brow_zefrank.jpgThis piece is for anyone who wishes to learn how to be a successful online, in any capacity. Why? Because if you read it, you’ll learn just how accidental this type of stuff can be at first.

Ze Frank tasted Internet stardom early. In 2001, he made a party invitation of funny dance moves for a few friends. The invite went viral, and he had the experience of refreshing his e-mail to find 60 to 70 new messages from around the world. He was a network star, and the attention was addictive. The dance thing, however, was a fluke. The real challenge would be to create that kind of attention purposefully, from scratch. He quit his job and built up his personal Web site. He had a few successes, but nothing on the level of The Show.

This breaks the perception that a lot of people seem to have that ZE’s early dance skit was what propelled him into the world spotlight, it’s not. The “Show” is what did that. In other words, he didn’t stop when his first “hit” was scored, he kept pushing.

The Point?

The point is. You have to keep trying. You have to keep pushing. You have to believe in your ideas and keep working hard and doing what you love.

ONLY then will you have a chance at the success/happiness/money/love/whatever you desire.

At the very least, if you do all that, you’re doing what your passionate about, so even if you don’t become rich and famous, you’ve won already.

One More Point?

ZE didn’t get where he is today because he was trying to get rich. Think about that.

New BUMPzee Community Launched Today: How To Be Successful Online

You all know how much I love BUMPzee! Well, I love it even more now that I was chosen as one of the select few to manage my very own community while it’s still in beta. So what community did I make?

bzheaderlogo1.pngIntroducing the ‘How To Be Successful Online’ BUMPzee Community

Bookmark this:

What is the community all about?

The How To Be Successful Online community is for anyone who is interested in learning how to be successful on the Internet. The blogs and members of this community will focus on and discuss the world of Internet marketing, professional blogging and making money online. Join today for free, or submit your related blog for free as well.

That description you just read is really what is all about, and many, many others like it that I read every day. Like those blogs, I don’t write about one topic like affiliate marketing only, but rather, I focus on writing about all types of online marketing, with the specific goal of trying to help businesses, brands and individuals be successful online.

Do you fit that mold? Are you someone who’s looking for more information about how to be successful online? Join the community for free!

Do you have a blog that talks about ways to be successful online? Submit your blog to the community for free!

FYI. I’ve preloaded the community with about 14 blogs, listed below (in no particular order & if I missed your blog, I’m sorry, just go add it).

If your blog is on the list below, go sign up and claim your blog, and most importantly, add the bump widget to your entries and sidebar. If your blog isn’t in the list below, what are you waiting for, submit it!

Not sure about BUMPzee yet. Read this.

Super Affiliate Marketing Blog
Earners Blog
Shoe Money
Graywolf’s SEO Blog
Andy Wibbels
Aaron Wall’s SEO
The Blog Herald
Ask the Blogger!
ProBlogger Blog Tips
Jim Kukral Online Marketing Ideas

Oh yeah, and make sure to check out the other new beta BUMPzee community managed by CostPerNews’s Sam Harrelson.

Called “Next Gen Marketing”. In a nutshell, this community on BUMPzee will serve as an aggregator of blogs and insights focusing on developing trends and emerging tactics to address the rising tide of social media, attention economies and “web2.0″ platforms. It should be fun to see the discussions which arise there.

There’s also some new interface changes at BUMPzee too, so check it out!

Online Conversations & Business Blogging Insights From The Void

Hugh from summarizes a talk he gave to the fabled PR agency Edelman.

bloggingthist.jpgThese 16 learning points pretty much sum up all intelligent thought on business blogging, online conversations and more. Do yourself a favor, click here, go read it and thank me later.

My favorite tidbits?

5. The growth will come, I believe, not by yet more increased efficiencies, but by humanification. For example, take two well-known airlines. They both perform a useful service. They both deliver value. They both cost about the same to fly to New York or Hong Kong. Both have nice Boeings and Airbuses. Both serve peanuts and drinks. Both serve “airline food”. Both use the same airports. But one airline has friendly people working for them, the other airline has surly people working for them. One airline has a sense of fun and adventure about it, one has a tired, jaded business-commuter vibe about it. Guess which one takes the human dimension of their business more seriously than the other? Guess which one still will be around in twenty years? Guess which one will lose billions of dollars worth of shareholder value over the next twenty years? What parallels do you see in your own industry? In your own company?

Indeed. How true is that? Which business are you? Think, be realistic. Which business do you want to be?

7. Blogging is not about reaching a mass audience. Blogging is not about creating yet another sales channel. Blogging is about allowing “The Smarter Conversation” to happen.

Why do some companies lose, while other companies win? Because the latter has a smarter “conversation” with its customers. Pret-A-Manger has a smarter conversation about food than Burger King. Starbuck’s came along 20 years ago and began a smarter conversation about coffee with millions of people within a very short space of time. Wal-Mart’s massive growth started from a smarter conversation about prices. Savile Row tailor, Thomas Mahon came along and, with his blog, had a smarter conversation about $4000 English bespoke suits.

Blogs allow you to cheaply and quickly begin a smarter conversation. And once you get it going, that conversation starts bleeding out into all other areas of your business- including advertising, PR and corporate communications.

Again, how true is this? This is the first thing I tell business blogging customers when I consult… We’re going to create a conversation, and that conversation is going to get you more customers, traffic and publicity then you can imagine, if we do it right.

If you are worried about what people might say about your company, you’re worrying about something you cannot control, because it’s happening, right now, online, whether you like it or not. The question for you is, are you going to control that conversation, or just let it happen without you?

It’s a brave new world out there. I’ve been setting up and building business blogs for over 4 years now. Back then, I didn’t think you had to have one. Today, however, I think it’s like a website. It’s a requirement. It’s expected. At least it should be.

Don’t have a blog yet? Not creating conversations with your customers? It’s time to get in the game, because you know what?

Your competitors are going to beat you to the conversation, and then they’ll control it leaving you playing blog catch up.


You Want Short-Term Traffic, Or Long-Term Trust & Respect For Your Blog?

Here’s your Kukral blog tip o’ the day. You can’t fake or quick-hit your way into being a “big time blog”. There is no quick road other than to provide high-quality content consistently over time, while building respect and trust.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do, and I’m sorry to have to do this because I recently added this blog to my blogroll because I noticed it was everything I mentioned above. Yet now, it’s going down a path that won’t work for me.

Sorry Mark at, but you are losing me. Here’s why.

#1 Reason Your Blog Is Almost Off My Blogroll: Blog Attacks With No Merit

You attacked a respected industry person without merit. Now don’t get me wrong, attacking respected industry people is something I have done as well, and it works. However, you can ONLY do it when you’re right and can back up your case. What you’re claiming to Sam is crapola, and a very transparent attempt to get yourself some controversial traffic.

The problem is, again, controversial traffic is great, if you can back up your points, and you’re only concerned about short-term hits. If you want long-term readers, this is not the way to go.

45n5.jpg#2 Reason Your Blog Is Almost Off My Blogroll: Don’t Try To Fool Your Readers

You’re gaming your stats to try and fool me and your readers. So, all of a sudden your blog is ranked #1 in Alexa, you charge $10k for a Reviewme review, and you have 368k feed subscribers? We all know how to game those stats and that’s what you did. Your sitemeter stats show you have 73 visits a day.

I ask why? What do you gain by trying to fool readers into believing something that isn’t true? Don’t make the mistake of thinking that deception is successful marketing and branding, it’s not.

Advice: Decide What You Want Your Blog To Be & Stick With It

Then live with the consequences of your choice. I see what you’re doing. You’re trying to hyper-grow your readership though some of the oldest blog tricks in the book. Believe me, I know, because I’ve used them all, and they work, however, excessive over-use of them will define what your blog and you become.

Know what I’ve learned since having been blogging since 2001? Long term, that strategy won’t work, assuming you want to build a long-term brand and trust level in your community. Chose wisely is all I’m saying.

I’m hoping to keep you on my blogroll because until today your blog was winning with me. What’s it gonna be?

Jim Kukral To Speak At PayPerPost Conference With Robert Scoble

Ok, not “with” Robert Scoble on stage at the same time, but “with” him at the event as a speaker. I’ve accepted a speaking gig at the PayPerPost “Postiecon” on June 1 & 2nd, 2007 in Orlando, Florida.



Yes, I did, and let me tell you why. For those of you who don’t read me here or at ReveNews, you wouldn’t know that I was probably one of the biggest PayPerPost bashers from day one. So those who know my history with PPP, are probably wondering what kind of drugs I must be taking.

The answer is, none, college was over in the early 90’s. Yes, I used to despise PayPerPost, but it was always because of one clear reason, which was the lack of required, clear disclosure that allowed for deception. It was never about anything besides that.

What they are now, and what they used to be are two different things, and I’m on record as saying I think they’re “on the right track”. They are.


So Why Accept A Speaking Gig From PayPerPost?

Let’s make this clear. I’m speaking at their event, just like Robert Scoble is (who took a lot of heat for it without merit). My invitation to speak does not mean I fully endorse their product, but rather, it means that I think I can help a lot of bloggers learn how to monetize their blogs, and build trust with their readers and build long-term, solid brands for themselves.

The bottom line is that I’m in the “helping bloggers succeed” business, and have been for years and years, way before many even were thinking about bloggers being able to make money.

Side Note: I still remember getting hate mail from people back in 2003-ish when I used to sell my ebook “BlogstoRiches“. They used to email me and say things like “Blogging is pure, you can’t make money with them” or “You’re a scumbag for trying to fool bloggers into thinking they can monetize. FU Kukral.”.

I’m Speaking To Try & Help Bloggers Succeed

My session is entitled ‘The Secrets To Long-Term Blog Success & Profitability’. It will nothing to do with how bloggers can write paid content to make money, and everything to do with how to use your blog to build success and trust long-term, whether that’s for direct profit or for your personal brand, etc…

I hope you can attend the event (which is only about $199), and if so I look forward to meeting you in person.

If you’re an event coordinator that’s looking for a dynamic, informative and well-prepared speaker, please give me a ring and let’s chat about having me at your event. Call me direct at 216.272.4383. Looks like I will be speaking at the Blog Business World event this fall as well, it’s filling up fast!

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