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Lessons on Building "Brand You" From Tim Ferris & Mike Shinoda

Tim Farriss, Mike Shinoda, Rohit Bhargava

Yesterday morning at the insane hour of 9am in Vegas, I moderated a super interesting keynote panel at Blogworld Expo between two serious rockstars – one from the music industry and one from the publishing industry. Tim Ferriss, author of the The 4-Hour Workweek and Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park were the participants, along with myself asking the questions. It turned out to be a really engaging conversation (despite the early timeslot) about what it really takes to build up your own brand, be a part of social media and some insider tips and lessons about both the music industry and the book publishing industry. Here are a few big lessons from the session I took away:

  1. You don’t need a big label anymore. If you can do without the fame and being on the cover of Rolling Stone, Mike’s advice is that there is "absolutely no reason to sign with a major label." You can make money on our music and get it out there perfectly easily and often with more success and authenticity going with an independent label.
  2. You do need a big publisher, but soon won’t. The book publishing industry is not quite at the same stage, according to Tim. His point is that the big publishers are still the ones that can make distribution in bookstores and the like happen, and their influence is still quite important … though he estimates it may only last for another year or two.
  3. Being an asshole doesn’t pay off. One question I asked both of them was why they chose not to be assholes even though the level of fame they had attained could totally justify it. This is an important point because there are some bloggers who choose to be assholes even though their level of fame DOESN’T justify it. Their point of view was refreshing – that it is worth more to be authentic and a real person than to alienate people with your attitude.
  4. Show your vulnerability. Tim raised a good point in conversation about it being ok to share your vulnerability because it makes you more real. He talked about a story of his fear of swimming and how he eventually overcame it … that post is one of his most popular. Nobody’s perfect, and part of your personal brand should include being ok with that.
  5. Embrace co-creation. If companies don’t have control of their brands anymore, it’s a myth to think that you can have complete control of your personal brand. What others say about you online is part of your reputation and social media allows you to track it and contribute to it.
  6. Be a category of one. Referencing an old book from Joe Calloway, Mike talked about how it is important to stay true to your own uniqueness and be your own artist. Coming from a Japanese-American guy who has successfully broken into the Rap and Hip-Hop world with a unique sound and philosophy, this is advice worth taking.

For a broader recap of the event as a whole, check out my post over on the Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence Blog.

* Photo Credit – Miss 604 … check out the original photo here.

12 thoughts on “Lessons on Building "Brand You" From Tim Ferris & Mike Shinoda”

  1. Rohit:

    Great post about a totally awesome keynote. I loved your questions and the way that Tim and Mike were so laid back but still energized. Even at the “insane” hour of 9 AM.

    BTW, the link to Linkin Park is incorrect.

  2. Rohit:

    Great post about a totally awesome keynote. I loved your questions and the way that Tim and Mike were so laid back but still energized. Even at the “insane” hour of 9 AM.

    BTW, the link to Linkin Park is incorrect.


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#1 WSJ & USA Today Bestselling Author

Rohit is the author of 9 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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