I have an affinity for people who meet a lot of people and glean insights. In Josh Steimle's case, he interviewed 62 influencers recently for Influence Summit 2017- with almost the same set of questions. I thought it would be insightful to interview the interviewer and gain the best moments - from organization to answers he recalls vividly.
1. What is your biggest lesson?
Putting on a virtual summit is a TON of work, and I couldn't have done it without the right partner. Bailey Richert has been incredible to work with, and she's been very patient with me. Whenever you take on something of this size and scope you've got to have a great partner who keeps you on track.
2. What would you do differently the next time?
I would go smaller. We have 62 interviews, and between prep and the interview itself, it's about 2 hours per interview, just for me, not to mention my partner. Add in cancellations, rescheduling, graphics for each speaker, etc., and it adds up to a lot of time on top of an already busy schedule, and while it was fun doing the 62 interviews, it probably wasn't necessary. 30 would have been just fine.
3. Your biggest aha moment?
My partner warned me about this, but the biggest names you can get to be part of your virtual summit are, in most cases, the least likely to promote it. They're doing you a huge favor just by showing up and talking to you. Lesser known names, but with highly engaged email lists, might actually be much better sources of marketing for the event. If you can get 20 thought leaders with 1,000 email subscribers each, and they promote heavily to their lists, that's better than 62 high profile influencers with a million subscribers who don't promote at all. Not that the 62 I signed up didn't promote at all, many did, but many don't.
From the Interviews
4. When it comes to books to read- what stood out for you and why?
I'll give you two; Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, because it seems like 10 people mentioned it, and Give and Take by Adam Grant, which came up repeatedly and is one of my favorite books, and also was fun to hear come up because Adam Grant was one of the presenters.
5. What was the sharpest answer to the question on ‘what is influence’ that stood out for you?
There were so many good ones, they were all great, but most recently I interviews Greg McKeown, author of the book Essentialism, and I liked how he put it. He compared being an influencer to the trim tab on huge ships. The trim tab is a second, smaller rudder, which moves the large rudder, which moves the huge ship. His point was that it's hard to make huge changes in the world, but if you understand the system you can make small changes that create other changes that lead to huge movements in the world.
6. On tools - name a few from your interviewers you found interesting?
David Meerman Scott told me about one I had no idea about, but which is really useful once you get used to it. It's called Text Expander and you can set up codes, essentially, and when you type in that code then it pastes certain text in. Very handy if you're constantly needing to paste a certain URL, for example, and don't want to have to type the whole thing in every time.
7. Influencer's influencer - whose name rang common?
It was interesting how varied the answers were, there really wasn't a common thread. I thought a lot of people might mention Gary Vaynerchuk or Richard Branson or someone famous, but almost everyone had a unique answer and they ranged from parents to friends to authors to entrepreneurs.
8. For some of your guests, what would be your short phrase on how you would remember them?
Grant Baldwin - get paid to speak
Nicole Holland - everything podcasting
Chandler Bolt - self publishing books
Shari Alexander - reading minds
Ray Edwards - copywriting
Andrew Vahl - Facebook and FB ads
Kathy Klotz-Guest - using comedy improves skills to increase influence
Geoff Smart - hiring and building your team
Bob Burg - build influence by giving
Ben Hardy - how to go from scratch to a $220K book deal in less than two years
9. Who are the people you want to thank?
Bailey Richert, my business partner on the summit, all the speakers, Michelle Payne from my agency MWI who provided assistance on the website, Corey Blake my partner at MWI who keeps things running smoothly there so I have time to do things like this, and especially my wife and kids who put up with my crazy schedule and the "Recording in Process: Quiet Please" sign that was constantly on my home office door.
10. On a lighter vein, What is the story of consistent black shirt and your back drop?
You look thinner when you wear black :) But seriously, my black shirt is part of my visual personal brand. I usually wear all black. The consistency of it is inspired by folks like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Obama, who wore or wear pretty much the same thing day in and day out--it makes life simpler, it's one less thing to worry about, and I'm not into worrying about clothes, it's not something I derive pleasure from. But why black? I just think it looks good, plus I'm a fan of the artist Rembrandt and like how his paintings are very dark except for the hands and faces of his subjects.