Archive for January, 2017

Value – Fuck You, Pay Me

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Been meaning to write this for a while but writing anything on a blog takes effort these days when the Twitter/Snapchat/FB timesink takes you away. Just like the remote control turned us into nonstop channel clickers where we never settle on a station, social media is doing the same for longform content. Which is why we’re seeing Tweet 1 of 15 instead of a blog post.


I think we all need to work harder at communicating our value to others and to ourselves. Sadly in Ireland, anything that’s low price is seen as not having value and anything that’s a high price has lots of value. Many times it’s the other way around. I keep on going back to the idea that people won’t buy a newspaper for €2 but will spend €4 on a coffee and buy a few of them in a day. If you are good at what you do, then there has to be a value exchange between you and the person you are doing work for. “A ‘thank you’ costs nothing”, how true. Thanks doesn’t pay for your heating. Thanks isn’t payment but payment is thanks.

Saying no to doing things for people is hard for many of us, isn’t it? We feel that saying no is not nice or is classed as rude. Of late I’m archiving emails and not replying to people that solicit free advice and never want to pay. It’s better than me replying with an invoice for €150, right? It’s taken me years but now when someone asks me to give a talk I ask “what’s your budget?”. For 2017, I’m all about equality. Everyone gets treated the same and gets this as a GIF:

So here is my take on why doing something, even small for free is not good for me or you.

Want to meet me for a coffee?

Let me explain how that works. I disrupt my day to have coffee with you where you want to pitch me something or get free advice from me. 30 minutes means 60 minutes. Me getting from where I am takes 30 mins and going back to where I am is 30 minutes. So that coffee is now 2 hours of my time gone. I’ve knocked two hours out of my flow during the day so that’s maybe an hour to get back into that flow. So basically three hours of my day has been taken up.
Want to meet me for a coffee? €700 cashmoney plz.

Want me to speak at your event?

I am really good at what I do. So when I come and give a talk I will give a talk that normally knocks it out of the park for the people attending. There are few people better than me at enlightening people about digital marketing. Entertaining, educational and inspiring. That’s value. For you and those at it. I’ll make you look good for hiring me in. Asking me to do it for free is disrespectful and just plain miserly. I’m a known entity, this is not arrogance. You’re not doing me a favour here by giving me a platform in fairness. “But you’ll get work from it” is perfectly correct. That’s what happens when you’re good but I created lots of value, return that with money.

Some advice after seeing me talk?

You paid to attend an event that I spoke at? Great. Did the ticket include a short one to one with me? Am I still on the clock? Maybe I am but I am not your employee, please respect that. You can of course email me but see below.

Emailing me a quick question?

Do you think I’m sitting at my computer or refreshing my email on my phone waiting for your email? You sent me a reminder email about the email you sent wanting me to go off and get you a solution for something. So you’d like me to pause paid client work for you or you want me to use up what little non-work time I have to do this for you? Do you even Google Bro?

You’re very expensive

Damned right. I worked a long time for people not to regard me as being low value. Took me 30 minutes to figure out what to do? How long will it take you? How many hours did it take me to get good at what I do? Yeah. My ten years of experience knows where to hit the right spot with the hammer. This has been attributed to Henry Ford in some places and to others before him in other spaces but it’s correct whoever did say it “If you need a machine and don’t buy it, then you will ultimately find that you have paid for it and don’t have it.” — Henry Ford
Or another way, over the next 6 months, that 30 minutes of help I gave you has saved you how much in time or has gained you how much in revenue? Yeah.

There are exceptions

People I’ve done work for before, people I will work for again. People would take a bullet for me, people who are recommending me to others, people who I know will do a favour for me.

When to do something for free

There are times though where you give advice or give talks without payment. Value still needs to be exchanged though.

For a favour:

Shep Gordon, the super-manager to the stars worked a “coupon” system. You did him a favour, he could ask one of you. It worked really well.

New Material

For talks. Like a comedian, when you’re trying out new material you’ll try out the material many times in many locations. Here the value is you got a free platform for untested stuff.

You’re a New Entity

If you’ve not got much experience in public speaking or are not a known entity then go ahead and give a free talk. It’ll get your name on a billing, you’ll be associated with others speaking, if you’re good, those in the room will spread news of your expertise.

You want to level up

Maybe you want to be on the billing as rockstars in an industry, if that’s the case you might work for free and you’d be the one contacting the organisers.

The Database

Some speakers and some sponsors of mine ask for the contact details of those at the event. Nope. I do send out mailers and put contact details and links to special offers in the mailers though. If you’re giving a talk, ask for your contact details to be sent out in a mailer including a link to your website or to your mailing list. You have a mailing list, right? Or I’ve offered a free document to accompany my talks (and mention it in the talk) and that has all my details in it.


Get them to write a reference that you can use or they actively go out and mail a few friends recommending your work. A link from their website to yours is good too.

Don’t run your own free talk

50-70% of people won’t turn up if you give tickets away to your event. Charge a minimum price. €5 or €15. No shows are huge the closer to zero the ticket prices are. If someone spent €15 there’s a much greater chance they’ll turn up. Or charge higher but the ticket price can be used as a discount for consultancy or training.

Don’t you organise conferences and not pay people?

Yes, I did. The Measurement Conference is on hold as I need to work on a pricing model where all the speakers get paid. To pay all your speakers at a conference can become quite costly if it’s low revenue or the tickets are cheap. Say you pay each speaker €500 (which is a low price for what they bring) and you have ten speakers, that’s €5k just for speakers. I try and make the Measurement Conferences good value for those attending and try and also keep the crowd small. Tickets were €30, €50, €100 for a full day. Now if you are one of the rake of digital conferences you see in Ireland that charge €300 or €400 and pack 100s of people in to the event, you can well afford paying 20 speakers €500 a pop. I was asked to speak for free at an event in Cork City Hall where they were charging €300 per person and expected 500+ at it. Half the speakers were sponsors too. Please.

Do you chicken out when asking for money

Consider that it’s your money they’re keeping. Find it awkward to ask for money? Hire someone to be your bagman. There are plenty of virtual assistant type services that can email or phone people back and take a booking for your services. They’re happy to email with your rates and asking do they want to make a booking. They’re getting paid to do it.

The Fuck You, Pay Me line is from a Mike Monteiro talk where he quotes from Goodfellas. You need to watch it, it’s the best talk any business person can watch.

2017 Ones to Watch

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Well now. I was giving out that 2015 had me catching up with myself. 2016 had me busier than ever. Sure 2017 will be grand, it being an odd numbered year. Also, I gave up bad language in 2016 and none of you fuckers noticed. Langers. It was very interesting, more in another post. Driving and encountering bad drivers was a motherfucker.

2016 was very enlightening for me. A very hopeful year watching young people being self-aware, using well considered and insightful language and wanting change and knowing how to implement that change. Change isn’t rapid but it is the flow of water, even granite loses to it in the end. Now I love the idea of chaos and anarchy but I’m very positive that a new equilibrium will occur in the end.

2016 list did pretty well. Happy with that. 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 2008, 2007.

Ones to watch 2017

So without further ado after all that ado.

Jillian van Turnhout.
Jillian finished up as Senator in 2016 but didn’t stop pushing for the rights she campaigned before and during her Senate time. The rights of children, of those adopted, of those with addictions. 2017 should be interesting as she spent some of her 2016 reloading. Whatever she’ll do, it’ll benefit a wide group of people.

Seán Lynch.
Boy is woke. Seán is Co-President of @OutInUL and Social Media Manager of @LimerickVoice. He’s Q.E.D. for what young people are like nowadays. The snowflake generation that the Irish Times have made up to hate, seem to be the ones that are about equality, fairness and rights for all. Not bad for someone not yet 21. Kids today, sickening isn’t it? Anyway, he’ll be graduating soon, so hire him. I’m sure if he ever sees this he’ll die from the mortification. Side reward.

Frances Byrne.
Chairwoman NWCI. New gig with Early Childhood Ireland. 2017 should be a fun time for us all with a very smart empathic woman pushing for the rights of children and women. Bright futures for all if women and children are finally given rights they were meant to be given a century ago. Dublin supporter though but even your heroes can have some flaws. Makes them easier to identify with.

Pat Phelan.
Is he never off this list? Pat’s done extremely well. And worked so very very hard for it. He says he doesn’t know what he’ll be up to next so maybe he’ll take a bloody break. Yeah right. Watch that guy. If you were able to invest money into the future of people, Pat is one stock you would get a return from. As are most on this list.

Stephanie Francis.
She makes things with code that play well with other things with code and with people. She also works on running a conference. A brief jump to New York and she’s back here now. He works pushes things forward, keep watching what she does.

Conor Behan.
Not just cos tweets like this:

Conor is like the 2FM stuntman, covering for everyone when cover is needed. He’s doing a stellar job on the 8-10pm slot while Louise is off being a mammy. Lots of great music coming out of that show. But more than that Conor is strongly bringing a proper queer perspective to things. #marref really was a very white middle class heteronormative event so it’s nice to see people show that’s just one small section of the rainbow.

Mark Breen.
Cuckoo Events. Multiple winners of Sockies and Web Awards, sharing their expertise with students and anyone that wants to learn. A modern company that is about making the industry and community better. Momentum is building so let’s see what 2017 brings.

Alexia Golez.
what is she building. Finished up in Trustev. Now working on her own project in Limerick. I’ll leave it at that for now cos she knows where I live and is probably working on stealth drones.

Caitlín Nic Aoidh.
Worldwide viral hit. Part of the TG4 team of youngbloods. A media team that brings back fun and creation back into a very stodgy TV media. Also, a very nice person who can control the weather.

Yeah, I gave MulleyComms 5 years and I said I’d so something else. It’s been 8+ years so for MulleyComms – time to die.
Time To Die

I’ll probably offload the Web Awards, Sockies and eCommerce Awards to someone, preferably as one go. I won’t make the mistake though like I did with the Blog Awards where someone else came along pretending they were a rebooted version of something I killed myself to make great.

So what do I move on to? It’s around us and time and what is does to us. The house always wins.

Also, bad language, FUCK YEAH.