3 Twitter types (and why I’m joining the losers)

I used to think that I should follow fewer people on Twitter than the number of people who follow me. When I had 100 followers, I felt that I could follow up to 100. When I had 1000 followers, I felt that I could follow up to 1000. The reason? I didn’t want to be a loser.

I had divided Twitter users up into three groups based on their ratio between the people they follow and their followers:

  • The snobs: These people follow like 5 people but have hundreds of thousands of followers. Well, that might be overstating it a bit, but the ratio is generally at least 1 followed to 10 (or more) followers.
  • The average: These people have approximately equal followers; generally a ratio of 1-to-1 (somewhere thereabouts).
  • The losers: These people follow lots of people but aren’t followed by nearly as many. Their ratio could be 2-to-1 or 5-to-1.

I wanted to be average. I knew I would never be popular enough to be a snob and didn’t want to be a loser by coming across as a desperate follower. (That sounds a lot like high school, actually, and that’s a depressing thought). I know I’m not alone in this thinking; I’ve heard the “Twitter snob” reference on more than one occasion. And there are lots of apps and resources that talk about getting people to follow you.

Recently I changed my mind on this issue. The catalyst was my review of my LinkedIn account. On LinkedIn, I’ve indicated that I am an open networker (that’s the “LION” acronym you often see), which basically says that I accept all invitations from others.

I made the change in LinkedIn because I’m a writer. I write more effectively when I’m listening to other people. I want my writing to be relevant, interesting, and to transcend traditional thinking to teach people new things. In order to do that, I need to be widely connected and I need to listen to a lot of people, both inside and outside of my target markets. It made sense to adopt that “widely connected” mindset in LinkedIn and I’ve recently realized it makes sense to adopt the same mindset in Twitter.

It applies to you, too. I don’t think you need to be a writer for this to be a relevant truth. We all benefit more when we listen: We remain relevant; we build up our Rolodexes; we hear problems and needs; we break down barriers and transcend traditional thinking.

It’s valuable to listen… and that’s why I’m joining the losers by following more people on Twitter.

Pausing to reflect from a crazy week

To say it’s been an interesting week would be an understatement.

On Wednesday, I was offered a writing gig that could potentially change the face of my business. It was full-time, on-site, with a client that could unlock numerous doors for the future.

On Thursday, my grandfather passed away. We were very close: He loved adventure and was gambler and moonshiner. So that should give you an idea of the kind of character he was. He taught me to play poker and chess.

And today (Friday), is my birthday. My 35th, if you’re wondering.

These events have compelled me to pause and think about my life. What am I doing? Where am I headed? What should I do more and what should I discard in my life? That kind of thing.

While the things I’ve been reflecting on aren’t new to me or to anyone who knows me, it’s nice to revisit them from time to time to make sure that what you believe still holds true.

I love what I do. My clients are awesome. The topics I get to write about are compelling. And the freedom and fulfillment I get from this work is unbelievable. I can’t see myself trading it for an on-site, year-long project. Although the project offered was certainly compelling, I would be giving up too much. I needed to think seriously about it, since it had the potential to be a significant opportunity, but I would be giving up too much.

And thinking beyond my career, I have a very fortunate life. It hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve worked insanely hard to get where I am today, but I’ve been rewarded with great family and friends and good health. Every day I have plenty of reasons to smile.

What more could anyone ask for?

Just read: ‘The Best Business Model in the World’ at HBR

Business models are my drug. (Okay, that sounded pretty geeky). So when someone writes about the “Best Business Model in the World”, how can I NOT read that article?

The short story is, SAAS is the modern version of the best business model in the world: Costs are high upfront but drop overtime (and approach a theoretical zero) and you get recurring revenue.

So if you’re thinking about starting or changing your business, learn more from this venture capitalist.

The Best Business Model in the World – Anthony Tjan – Harvard Business Review.

(And I’ll send out my apologies here to the MLM folks of the world who, until just now, thought that their business model was the best one in the world).