Josh Steimle is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. He's written over 300 articles for publications like Fortune, Time, and Forbes, as well as TechCrunch and Entrepreneur. He's also the author of a book called "Chief Marketing Officers at Work", which contains 29 interviews with CMOs from organizations like GE, The Harvard Business School, Spotify, Target, and PayPal. He founded a company called Influencer, which is a publishing, training, and events company that turns executives into thought leaders. He is very well-known in the world for speaking and writing on the topic of influence; how to use influence, how to develop influence, and how to grow your influence, so that you can use it to your advantage and obviously the advantage of others. We dive deep into what real influence actually is. It's not what you might think it might be and the answer actually might surprise you.
Guest: Josh Steimle
Mark: It's, what is it, 5:00 AM right now, Josh?
Josh: Yup, bright and early. Glad to be here, though.
Mark: I appreciate you waking up early to make this happen, man. It's such a privilege to have you on the line. For the listeners who don't know Josh, first of all, how could you not know Josh? He's all over the place on social media, on LinkedIn, and if you don't know about his businesses MWI, full service digital marketing agency where they do a ton of stuff, end to end, nose to tail, for digital marketing. And then you also recently started a business called Influencer Inc and I think we'd like to get into that a little bit as well.
But the reason that we've got Josh on the line today is because we're going to be talking about influence, in general, and what the power of influence has on negotiations, what the power of influences has in business, and how someone could potentially develop influence to help them in business and to help them in negotiations. Does that sound like a good start, Josh?
Josh: Sounds awesome to me. This is going to be fun.
Mark: Yeah, I am stoked to have you on the line, man. Maybe for the listeners as well, you could give some personal background as to who you are, what MWI and Influencer Inc is all about, why you're in Shenzhen, China, and not California, which I think is where you're from, and give us some history.
Josh: Sure thing. Yes, I'm in China. I'm not Chinese; I was born in Los Angeles. I'm a pasty white guy and I don't even speak Chinese, although I've picked up a little bit since I got here. The short story is that in 1999, while I was in college, I started a marketing agency called MWI. We do digital marketing like SEO and social media content marketing, all that type of stuff. In 2013, my wife and I, we were living in Utah, that's where the business was headquartered and we got this idea, "Hey, let's move around the world. Let's go somewhere far away." And we started looking at China and we had decided that we wanted to adopt a child from China, actually, and that just led to this discussion of, "Hey, let's move over there. Let's go to China. Let's have an adventure."
And we just up and moved, except we went to Hong Kong first, because we got a little scared about going directly to China. We went to Hong Kong, spent a few years there, ended up opening an office for MWI over there, and then after a few years, we got comfortable with the idea of living in China. So, a little over a year ago, we moved across the border from Hong Kong into Shenzhen, China, and now we're opening an office of the business over here, and it's been a great adventure. We have two other kids who are having fun, or at least I think they're having fun. I don't think they recognize they're having fun yet, but they'll appreciate it when they're older. So, we're just having a blast over here in China, running this business and growing stuff over here and learning Chinese, and learning about the culture and everything. That's the short story there on MWI.
Then with Influencer Inc, I started this about a year and a half ago. Influencer Inc is a training, publishing, events company where we teach people basically how to be thought leaders and how to get published, how to get media coverage, how to land speaking gigs, how to write a book. All these things that build up influence. And I started this because in 2013, I got the opportunity to write for Forbes magazine, and that absolutely just changed my life.
As I started writing for Forbes, and then leveraged that writing into writing for Entrepreneur and about 20 other publications, I saw my personal brand grow and my influence grow, and that grew my business and led to all sorts of amazing opportunities like giving a TEDx Talk and landing a book deal and a year ago I got invited to hang out on Necker Island with Richard Branson, and I was sitting there thinking, "This is amazing, all this stuff that's happening to me as a result of just writing a few articles for these publications." People started coming to me and asking, "How did you get into all of this?" And "Can you train me on how to do this?" So, I launched this company, Influencer Inc, to train people. Now we offer courses and coaching and various services to help people build their personal brands, the same way that with MWI we help people build their company brands.
Mark: That's super cool. I think a lot of us get confused about what influence is. What is it that influence is and how do we develop that influence? So, maybe you could help us define what influence is. Is it a power? Is it just as simple as writing a few articles for Forbes? What is influence?
Josh: Influence is power. It's acting, rather than being acted upon. In this world, we've got rocks, we've got animals, we've got human beings, and we don't want to be rocks, we don't want to be inanimate objects, and we don't want to be animals, which have slightly more choices that rocks have. We're human beings. We have something special that nothing else in this universe has. We can make choices, we have agency, and that gives us the ability to influence other people. And yes, we are influenced and we do want to be influenced, but we want to control that influence. So, as we grow our influence, we also grow our power. We grow our ability to make things happen, rather than just drift through life being acted upon, as inanimate objects or animals are. That's kind of taking a big step back and a high level view of influence, but that's how I like to think about it; is that it is power and it is about making choices, rather than other people making choices for us.
Mark: Yeah, great answer. A lot of what we talk about on this show is negotiation. Influence and negotiation sort of go hand in hand, in my mind. What role do you think that influence has in negotiation?
Josh:Influence is great because it allows you to ... I don't like to look at negotiation as a competitive thing, that I'm trying to get the upper hand and I'm trying to pull one over on the other person. For me, I only go into deals if it's mutually beneficial; if we walk away with a win-win type of situation where both parties walk away better than they were before. For me, negotiation isn't about how do I take advantage or how do I control this situation, so much as, how do we both win? How do we come away with a situation where you're going to be happy even 10 years down the road looking back on it and I'm going to be happy 10 years down the road looking back on this deal that we've struck.
Influence still plays a big role in that because the more influence I have, the more able I am to one; make sure that I don't get taken advantage of, because sometimes I might go into a deal with good intentions, but the other person doesn't, but I can still create a win-win situation there. Influence also helps me to avoid mistakes. Maybe the other person doesn't have bad intentions, but maybe they just don't know how to negotiate or how to strike a good deal. They just haven't learned it, they haven't picked up the right skills over time. So, I can still make sure that they don't make a mistake and accidentally take advantage of me. Influence is essentially, the power to just make sure that you have a better deal when you walk away from that deal, than you would otherwise.
Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I think we often sometimes confuse influence with deception, almost. I think there's a big point of clarity that needs to be made, in that you can use influence to potentially deceive someone, but influence itself is not deception. You could influence someone equally as positively as you can negatively. I think there's ... I was thinking about this before we had the show today, is what are the negative side effects of strong influential skills or having a lot of influence? Certainly, someone could use it for evil, so to speak, if you're thinking of the evil genius kind of perception of things. But I think there's a really important distinction that we need to make between influence and deception, because they're not the same thing.
Josh: That's absolutely right. We're all influencers, we all influence other people, we influence everyone around us. No man's an island and sometimes we hear people say, "What I do in my home doesn't affect you." Well, everything we do affects everybody. We're all interconnected in small or large ways, and influence is merely a tool. Hitler was an influencer. So is a parent; they also use influence. Now Hitler used his influence for absolute evil and parents, in theory, use their influence to do good; to raise their kids to be good human beings.
Mark: I don't know, if you had to speak to my kids, they'd say [crosstalk 00:12:13].
Josh: That it's all one and the same.
Yeah, so influence is a tool and we can use it for good, we can use it for bad. It all depends on how you use that tool.
Mark: Yeah, I totally agree with you. It strikes me that there may be some traits that some people who have strong influence have, versus people who don't have strong influence. What are some of the traits of influence, or are there traits that people who have strong influence have?
Josh: Right. There are all sorts of patterns you can see in people that have influence. Again, it's not about being bad or good. Gandhi had a lot of influence, so did Hitler, so did Churchill, so does Trump. So, there are all sorts of different people, and some of these people you might say, "Well, they're good people, they're bad people." Whatever, but that's not the determining factor in influence. I think actually, ultimately, it is, but it can take time to play out. So, Hitler had a lot of influence, but it was for a short gasp of a moment, and then it all fell apart and imploded on him. So, he had a short-term focus on his influence and it ended up coming back to bite him and his ideals in a very big way, and it failed ultimately. But it worked for a short time there, unfortunately.
Other people like Gandhi, have had a lasting effect on the world, in a positive way to influence people to also be good and to follow along and to adopt his methods of non-violence. So, when you look at the common traits among these people, though, one thing you'll notice is that people who have a lot of influence, also have a lot of followers. They have a lot of people who gravitate towards them. And again, it might be short-term, it might be long-term, but you can only be a leader if there's somebody following you. You can't be a leader unto yourself and just go out and say, "I'm a leader and here's all this stuff I'm doing." If nobody ends up following you, then you don't have any influence, no matter how great of a leader you are and no matter how great your content or your message is. You have to have some way of connecting with other people and incentivizing them to follow you to do something as a result of the content or the message that you're driving to them. And that's the biggest factor in influence, or the one common trait, is that people who have influence are actually exercising influence.
I think today, with YouTube and with all the technology that we have available, you see a lot of people who are attempting to be influencers, but nobody's actually following them. They're out there and they're making a lot of noise, but it's kind of like a guy out in the middle of the forest yelling. There's nobody else around to hear him and so it's not actually influencing everybody, and yet these people call themselves influencers.
Mark: Super interesting. If someone wants to develop influence; if they want to become that thought leader or they want to develop those skills of influence, just even in their business to make them stronger negotiators or strong business people, what would someone do to develop influence?
Josh: One of the mistakes, and this is going to be a theme throughout this entire discussion I think is ... One of the big mistakes that people make when it comes to influence, is they focus on tactics rather than real power. Influence doesn't come from tactics. Now, I can tell you things like, "Smile more. If you smile more, you'll have more influence over people." That's a tactic. There's no real power there. That's just ... You could call that a trick or something. Now, I try to smile, because I know it does influence people and it can influence people in a positive way, but that's just a tactic. There's nothing real backing that up.
Whereas real power is when I've spent the last 10 years, as your friend, developing a relationship, and I've given all sorts of value to you out of the goodness of my heart. Not trying to win anything, not trying to control you, not trying to manipulate you, but because I honestly like you and we're friends, and that's just what friends do. Then, I have real power with you. I have real influence. And after 10 years of developing that relationship, if I've given, given, given, given, and then after 10 years I come to you and I say, "I really need you to do this for me. I need a favor," you're going to fall all over yourself to do things for me, because I've developed a real relationship with you.
That's real influence. That's real power. And people often try to shortcut this and say, "Well, I don't have time to develop a 10 year relationship. I just need people to do something for me right now." Well, then you fall back to these short-term tactics and you might have some short-term influence that way, but it's not real power, it's not real influence. So, real influence comes from time, from experience, from building long-term relationships, from really putting value out there for, again, a long time, or extreme value in the short-term. But there has to be a lot of giving and a lot of building relationships, and often times, you just can't shortcut the process, and it just takes a lot of time to develop that influence.
Mark: Interesting. I think you're absolutely right. People confuse influence with tactics, and we get into this cycle of what's the silver bullet, to get someone to do something for me, like if I have influence over them. But that's what I'm hearing you say, is that's not true influence.
Josh: No, it isn't. Another tactic, I just read this morning ... I get this email from Ben Settle, he's this copywriter, so he's using influence through written words to get people to buy stuff and he teaches people how to buy stuff by writing well. He said one of the tricks of influence is to create a title for yourself. So, you can be the most connected man in golf, or the most connected person in whatever industry that you're in. You can invent this title for yourself, and once you have this title, then people tend to adopt that and use that to describe you, and it takes on a life of its own, and that gives you more influence. Again, that's a trick, that's a tactic. And that can be useful; I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but that's not real power. It's short-term. If there's nothing to back it up behind the scenes, then it's only going to work for a little bit and then people are going to see through it.
Mark: Interesting. Why do you think that people struggle to influence others?
Josh: Again, it comes back to this tactics versus real power. They focus on the tactics, they don't understand where real power comes from with other people. And that power comes from strong relationships and it comes from ... We'll use this word that ... A lot of people are annoyed by this word, but I think it's still a great word, which is "authenticity." It comes from a real place. If you're trying to trick people, if you're trying to pull something over on people, people will see through it. And you might have that short-term gain ...
Mark: And there's a difference, I find, in the results that you get as well, right? You could ... If you have influence based on positional power or those short term tactics like you were talking about, the result that you're going to get from someone, is probably going to be different than if you have true influence based on authenticity. Would you agree with that?
Josh: Absolutely. A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still. If you are using power to force people to do things; to say, "Hey, I'm your boss. That's why you have to do things." Or, "I'm your commanding officer, so you're going to do what I say whether you like it or not." Well, then you've got a robot, who's doing what you're telling them to do and they're not going to use their full creativity, they're not going to use the full power of the amazing brain, the amazing mind that humans have been given. If you want to engage the really incredible thing that is the human mind and the agency, the free will, that human beings have, you've got to convince them. You've got to make them feel like it was their own idea. That this is something they really want to do. And then people do amazing things, but if you're just telling people to do stuff and they're acting out of fear, yeah, that's influence, but it's not the most productive form of influence.
Mark: I love that saying. Can you say that saying again? A man convinced ...
Josh: A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still. That's one of my favorite sayings. I didn't come up with it. Somebody smart, a long time ago, came up with that. I don't know who said it first, but that's one of my favorite sayings about influence because it's ... When you get people to buy into something; truly buy into it, then there is real power there. When people act out of fear, then you've got a robot. You've got an animal who's doing your bidding.
Mark: What are the most important things that you try to teach people about influence and about developing influence?
Josh: In my business, I do focus a lot on tactics because a lot of the people that I work with are executives, so they do have real experience built up over years. They do have great relationships, they do have real power, but they do lack the skills. Nothing that I've said ... I've kind of been ripping or criticizing tactics a little bit, and I don't want people to get the wrong idea that tactics are not important. Tactics are very important because we all know people who are amazing, smart, really great, creative people, but they lack people skills and therefore, they're kind of isolated. They lack the tactics and it's hurting them. It's hurting their influence because they haven't learned those basic skills of just how to talk to people or how to interface with people in a normal way.
You see this a lot with really technical people. I work with computer programmers and a lot of the cliches and stereotypes about programmers are true. There's a reason those stereotypes exist. A lot of these technical people, they just don't have those basic people skills. They don't know how to smile, they might not know how to talk, they might not know how to just act in a way that's approachable. So, I do focus on a lot of tactics, but a lot of the tactics I focus on with executives is to sit down with them and say, "Okay, you've got amazing information inside your head. You've got all this great experience. Now, what are the tactics to get that experience, that knowledge out there into the public so that it's doing some good? So that it's helping people and serving people." So, we talk about things like writing a book or starting a blog or writing for top publications like Forbes and Inc., and Entrepreneur and such.
These are tactics, but they're backed up by real power. So, things like, once you get a book, people respect you. You have more influence with people automatically when you write a book. It's the funniest thing. Before I wrote my first book, I was writing articles and I had influence, and I was getting speaking gigs and such, and as soon as I got that book out there and people knew that I had a book, all of a sudden, the dynamic changed. It was like stepping up to this new level and it was palpable; I could feel it.
Once people knew I had a book, I got more respect, I had more influence with them, I got better speaking gigs, I got invited to different types of speaking gigs. So, next week, I'm flying to Banff in Canada, I'm going to be on stage with Brene Brown. A year ago, I got invited to hang out with Richard Branson on his island. This all happened because I have this book. And if I hadn't had the book, it wouldn't have happened, but that book created this influence. And the interesting thing is, the people that are being influenced by the book and hiring me for these speaking gigs, most of them haven't actually read the book. It's just the fact that I have book.
These are things that I talk about with executives to say, "Hey, if you don't have a book, you've got to write a book, because there's this credibility, there's this influence that comes from just having that book." But they also can back it up. When they're called out on stage or they're invited to speak, they really have valuable knowledge that they can share, so it's not just having the book. You'll see young people who will say, "Well, if a book will give me more influence, I'm going to go out and I'm going to publish a book." Well, yeah, but can you back up what's in that book and can you actually write a good book? Otherwise, you write the book and eventually it's going to fall apart if there's not real power, if there's not real value in it.
Mark: Yeah, totally. It all speaks back to that authenticity piece that you were talking about earlier.
Mark: Awesome. A lot of what we talk about on this show comes down to lessons learned, but it also comes down to potentially some failures that we've had, because failure is a good coach, it's a good teacher. I'd love for you to share a story about maybe a failure that you've had when it comes to influence or negotiations or business in general, and what did you learn from that experience? What happened? And what would you do differently today if you had to do it over?
Josh: One of my biggest failures, one of my most painful experiences, happened in 2003 when I sold my business. I'd started my agency, my marketing firm, in 1999. I brought on a partner. He and I didn't get alone and so in 2003, we had this small business, we had about 10 employees, so it wasn't a huge deal or anything, but for me it was a big deal. We didn't like each other, we weren't getting along, and so this other company came along, offered to buy us out, and I saw this as a way to split ways amicably and not have to fight over the business. So, I thought, "Okay, great. Let's sell it, my partner will go work for the company that's acquiring our business, and I'll just leave and I'll go start over from scratch."
Because I was so eager to make this deal happen and get away from my partner, who wasn't a bad guy, it's just we had personality conflicts and we didn't get along. But because I was so eager to get out of that situation, that arrangement with him, I allowed myself to be manipulated and taken advantage of in this deal.
When we went into this deal, the company that was buying us out, they were listed on the Nasdaq, we were getting all this stock, it was going to be worth millions of dollars. I signed this deal, and I even had a coach, a mentor, who was an experienced business guy, and he said, "Don't do this deal. This is a bad deal, you don't want to do this. You need to look around, you need to shop around." And I was like, "No, this is great. They're on Nasdaq and all these great things are happening." I was young, I was naïve, I was inexperienced. I went ahead with this deal.
A year later, the company that had acquired my business was in bankruptcy, had not fulfilled any of the commitments that they made to me, and my stock was worthless. They hadn't made cash payments that they had promised to make, they hadn't taken over leases that I had personally guaranteed, and so I found myself one; without my business that I had just spent the past three years building up, two; I didn't have the money that I thought I was going to have, and in fact, I actually had debts that they were supposed to take over that I thought I wasn't going to have. So, instead of selling my business and benefiting from it, I gave my business to somebody and then I actually, in effect, paid them to take my business, that had real value in it.
So, a year later I was just sitting there thinking, "What did I do? How did I get manipulated into that terrible situation where I lost everything and then had to pay out on top of it?" And I've analyzed this for years and years now, to say, "What did I do wrong here? How did I get taken advantage of?" And one of the things I did wrong, was I didn't shop it around. If I had shopped that around, and I had other options, then I would have had more power in that situation and I might have done a different deal. Well, I definitely would have done a different deal if I had shopped it around.
One of the lessons I learned is ... I've got this pause button now. Whenever I get into a situation and I feel like, "Wait a second. Is this the choice that I want to make?" I just hit that pause button and I step back and I say, "Okay. Wait a second. Look at this. Don't get rushed into something, but sit back and look at how you're being influenced and examine the situation objectively." So, I would have hit that pause button, I would have stepped back, I would have said, "Wait a second. Is this something I really want to do?" Now, whenever I'm in a difficult situation or I have a choice that's really important, I try to at least imagine other choices that I could make and say, "How can I imagine this being a better situation?" And I find that when I have at least two options, and preferably three or more options to choose from, I make better choices. I can't be manipulated so easily. But when the choice is, do something or do nothing, we always opt for doing something, 'cause something always seems better than nothing. But if I have two somethings, two good options, then I have a real choice.
I use this all the time with myself, where I say, I have a bunch of money. Let's say I have $10 thousand in the bank and I think, "What do I do with this $10 thousand?" If the option is buy a new camera set up so I can take better video or do nothing, I'm going to end up spending the money on the camera because I'd rather do something as opposed to nothing. But if the choice is hire a virtual assistant or hire a videographer or buy this camera equipment, now I really have to think about it and now I'm not being acted upon, so much as I'm making real choices there because I have something real to compare it against, rather than just nothing.
I didn't have that in this business situation. It was do the deal or do nothing, and nothing was terrible. That's what I was doing before. I was in this bad situation with my business partner, so I opted to take a bad deal, rather than do nothing. But I should have gone around, shopped it out, talked to a bunch of other people, and gotten real offers on the table so I could make a real choice, rather than just choosing between something and nothing.
That failure in that deal led me to make better choices the next time around. So, one thing I did, which wasn't really a good choice, but because I had such a bad experience with my partner and then selling the business and getting ripped off and all the negative fallout from that, I said, "I'm not going to have business partners ever again." And I went that way for 10 years. Finally, in 2013, I changed my mind and I said, "You know what? I really do need a partner." And I went out and I found a new partner, but this time I was really careful about choosing that partner, to make sure that I wouldn't be influenced in a way that I didn't want to be influenced. That I wouldn't get led into a bad deal, that I would have my business taken away from me. That led me to spend more time finding that partner and finding the right person and now, I'm in a great situation where I have a partner again and it's worked out phenomenally well for me and for the business because of the lessons I learned from that first time around, where I was manipulated and influenced in a way I didn't want to be influenced.
Mark: Totally. Great story and great advice. I think one of the things that I try to teach people in some of the courses that we put on, is the importance of cultivating alternatives cannot be understated. Your ability and your power and your leverage rests on your ability to cultivate alternatives and options. So, if you've got a different avenue you can go down or a different route you can go down, you're not limited to either doing it or not doing it anymore. You've got a plethora of opportunities available to you.
Without that, you're forced to make a decision or not make a decision. And just so that people know, making a decision or not making a decision is still a decision. You're choosing not to make that decision, and sometimes not making a decision is the best decision you can make because you don't get caught up in that situation. I think your story is a great example of that and if someone could take something away from that, it's, man, cultivate opportunities, cultivate alternatives, and really focus on trying to separate yourself from the emotion that's involved in doing that deal, because you were in a situation where you were emotionally attached to making the decision because you weren't happy with the situation you were in. So, you felt like you were forced. And I don't want to put words in your mouth, but you felt like you were forced to make that decision and so you went with it, right?
Josh: Right. The problem that I had ... My weakness in that deal was that I was not willing to walk away. There's real power when you're willing to walk away from a deal. When you're willing to say, "You know what? I'm just not going to take this deal." As soon as the other side realizes that you are not willing to walk away from that deal, they've got all the power in that negotiation. They can do whatever they want with you. They can offer you anything and you're going to take it. That's the situation I found myself in. I should have been willing to walk away; that's what my mentor even told me to do, and I didn't take his advice, and I learned my lesson the hard way.
Now, whenever ... My dad taught me this lesson when I was a kid. He said, "Whenever somebody's trying to rush you into something, it's probably a big red flag that you should not do that thing." I was getting totally rushed in this deal and now, whenever somebody starts rushing me as part of their sales tactic or something, I say, "You know what?" I don't say this, but I think this. "Hey, if you're rushing me, that's just going to have the exact opposite effect because that's when I stop and I say, 'Wait a second, this guy's pressuring me, he's giving me a time limit and therefore I'm going to step back and I'm going to really look at this seriously and carefully, because I'm not going to allow that rush factor to push me into making a decision that I don't want to make.'"
Mark: Such good advice. That's such good advice. Awesome.
Josh: Just being willing to walk away, there's another area where this has a lot of power. In politics, you see this with politicians, where you can tell when a politician just wants to win at all costs, because they start bending what they say. They start losing their integrity, they start losing their authenticity, and they just say whatever they think people want to hear, and you sense this. Every once in a while, a politician comes along who, you can tell, that guy's just saying what he really thinks, and he doesn't care whether people like it or not. He's willing to lose and to stick by his ideals, even if it means that he lose. And those are the people that really stand out and have more power with us.
Once somebody realizes that you're willing to stand up for what you believe in, even if it means that you lose, there's actually increased power there, and yet so many politicians go the opposite way and feel like, "If I do anything it takes to win, I'll say anything to win, that's power." And yet it's really the opposite.
Mark: Cool. Very, very cool. Great story on the business. Thank you for sharing that. I know it was personal, so I really appreciate that. What are some of the most common questions that you see from your audiences when you speak about influence and you speak about the power of influence? What are the questions that people get hung up on or that you hear most often?
Josh: One of the things that comes up most frequently is people ... They want the results without putting in the investment. A lot of people are coming to me and saying, "How do I land the book deal? How do I get the paid speaking gigs? How do I build a social media following or build an email list?" They're focused on these outcomes and they're not thinking about all the inputs that go into producing those outcomes. So, I get a lot of people ... And I mean, rightly so, people are focused on results. They want to get those results, but often times they're not willing to put in the investment to get those results.
When people come to me and they say, "Hey, how do I develop my influence? How do I become a thought leader?" I lay out this plan and I say, "Here's all the work that you're going to need to do and I can't do this for you." My company, we can provide a lot of services, we can help out a lot, we can help out with writing and editing, we can even do some ghost writing and such, but ultimately, it has to come from the individual. You can't just hire a company to do all this for you. You can hire a company to do a lot, but not all of it.
So, you look at Richard Branson. Richard Branson has a lot of influence, he's out there and his companies benefit a lot from the power of his personal brand. I'm sure that he has somebody who's helping him write his books, write his social media posts and prepare those things, but a large part of that just has to come from him. He has to have input there. So, you can't outsource all of this when it comes to building an audience, and there's going to be a lot of work there, regardless, in creating that content. And you've got to create a lot of content to build that audience, to get your message out there.
Gandhi gave a lot of speeches; that was his main thing. He wasn't writing so much, he wasn't ... Well, he had actions and he had speeches that he was giving. That was the content that he put out there. This is basic marketing 101. Marketing hasn't changed since 10 thousand years ago. It used to be cavemen painting paintings on the walls of caves; that was how they got the message out. They were producing content, and that's how they influenced people. Today, we're making pictures on computer screens instead of cave walls, but it's the same principle. We're still getting content out there and that content influences people to do things.
The medium, the mode of delivery, some of the details, we can animate things versus just painting things on walls today. Some of those details change over time, but the fact that influence comes from creating content and putting that content in front of your audience, that never changes, and you've just got to put in the work to get that done.
Mark: Yeah. Good advice. Listen, Josh. I've really enjoyed the discussion that we've had today. I think it's so important for people to get a good understanding of what influence actually is and that true influence requires authenticity. It requires ... There's a realness to true influence that people often confuse with tactics, and that's something that I try to teach people in negotiation, as well as negotiation isn't just sort of a gotcha situation. The amount of work that you have to do in strategy prior to your negotiation and the amount of caring that you have to have for the other party that you're negotiating with is significant, because if you don't put in the work and you don't put in the effort, your negotiation is going to ... Either number one, you're not going to get as much money out of it or a good deal out of it as you thought you would, or it's just going to bomb completely.
I think what you've illustrated today is that true influence starts with authenticity, and yes, tactics are important, because they help with the delivery of that authenticity, but influence is really about authenticity. It's really about being true, not only to yourself, but also to your audience. So, I really want to thank you for helping us to understand that today. And if people want to find out more about you and what you're up to, how would they go about doing that?
Josh: Best place is my personal website, it's joshsteimle.com.
Mark: Awesome. Well, thanks again, Josh. I really appreciate it, man. I appreciate you waking up early, at 5:00 AM to be able to do this with me, and have a wonderful day.
Josh: Thank you so much, Mark.
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