On this week’s episode of The Engaging Marketeer, I wanted to talk about something that is very personal to me, and that’s my obsession with “geek” culture.
What I’ve got behind me here (for those of you who aren’t watching this on YouTube) is a load of Lego. Now, when I say a load of Lego, I’m talking about probably a couple of grands worth. Genuinely – there’s one set behind me here that’s about £750 on its own.
I’ve got more Lego than I possibly have time to build. I’ve got Ghostbusters, I’ve got Back to the Future, I’ve got a Batmobile, a F.R.I.E.N.D.S set – basically, I own huge quantities of very large Lego sets. I’ve even got the ultimate collector series Millennium Falcon in a glass coffee table at home, to protect it from dust and all the various sticky fingers of kids that happen to wander into the house when family members come to visit.
Let’s just say I’ve got a lot of Lego. Now, the reason I’m mentioning this is because, as a sort of public business owner, or as somebody who’s presented an image across social media for many years, I’ve been reluctant to come out with stuff like this, because it can be seen as a bit of a childish hobby. So, when people ask me as a business owner what I like to do in my spare time, it’s tempting to say the usual sh*t that most business owners come out with, like “oh, you know, I like to read self-help and business books, I like to go out for a run, I like to watch business programs and educate the mind …”. You know. All that b*llocks.
I’ve always been reluctant to say, “you know what – I like to build Lego. I like to spend absolutely ages putting together a Lego model that is literally just going to sit and gather dust”, because it is seen as a “nerdy” thing to do. I’ve had situations over the years where I’ve put posts on Facebook about Lego builds that I’ve done, which is really only for friends and family to see, but I’ve ended up getting into arguments with other people who are in business, who have basically trolled me because of it. It’s as though because I collect Lego, it means my opinions are not as valid, therefore my experience in business is not as valid, or my knowledge of using social media or digital marketing is not as valid. Because I build Lego.
Quite frankly, I’ve reached the point in my life where I don’t give a sh*t. I’m a geek, and I’m quite happy to admit it. So, the point of this podcast is – I would love to know what sort of things you do in your spare time, and the sort of hobbies you have, which may not be considered “acceptable” in a business environment. So, if you were at a board meeting, for example, or meetings with clients, or even posting on social media about your business and what you do – what sort of things would you not talk about, because you would be worried about how it would be perceived?
As many people may know, I’ve got a lot of “nerdy” interests. I have a lot of Transformers. I’ve been to Pizza Express dressed as a Jedi before (in hindsight, I’m not sure why). I’ve been to a BNI meeting wearing a Ghostbusters proton pack – one person there actually thought it was part of my business, as though I was some kind of exterminator. Yes, I am an exterminator – do you see any ghosts around you? No? Thank you.
There are other nerdy people out there who are open about this sort of stuff, too. The actor (and heartthrob) Henry Cavill, for example, is massively into Dungeons and Dragons. Rod Stewart is one of the most iconic rock and roll stars of the last 100 years, and yet he is massively into his model railways. I’m into Lego, and Transformers, and Star Wars, and I play various video games here and there, and I would love to know what sort of stuff you’re into. Be proud about it, and leave a message in the comments (unless it’s really weird).
The takeaway is, it doesn’t matter what other people in business think about you. If it’s something you’re passionate about, it sets you apart and makes you who you are. Plus – and here’s the most important thing – if you hide who you are, you’re going to be portraying something you’re not, which means you’re not going to attract the right sort of clients. If you’re open about how much of a massive nerd you are, then you’re going to attract the kind of people you want to work with, making your business connections better, and the work easier and more productive. You want to partner with people who share the same interests, values and ideologies – so don’t hide them.
Well, hopefully that’s been useful. Give me a subscribe if it has – give me a subscribe if it hasn’t! – and I’ll see you on the next episode.
About your host:
Darren has worked within digital marketing since the last century, and was the first in-house web designer for video games retailer GAME in the UK, known as Electronics Boutique in the States. After co-founding his own agency, Engage Web, in 2009, Darren has worked with clients around the world, including Australia, Canada and the USA.
Engaging Marketeer: https://engagingmarketeer.com
Engage Web: https://www.engageweb.co.uk