I recently finished reading the book “Disrupted: My Misadventure In The Start-Up Bubble” by Dan Lyons. I do not personally know Dan Lyons, but I have met him several hundred times in newsrooms across America. Dan, like many other veteran journalists, has personally been affected by the disruption of mass media. This disruption is not only affecting news rooms; it is also creating disorder within the advertising departments of every television, radio, and print outlet across the nation.
The traditional media model is being forced to shift or face extinction as advertisers are moving their dollars with the consumer. As Terry Heaton states in “Reinventing Local Media," “Now that advertisers are voting with their money, journalists are crying 'foul' and desperately seeking another model to sustain what increasingly comes off as a sense of entitlement." In a world of chocolate ice cream and onions, Dan Lyons thinks of himself as the chocolate ice cream, and he looks at most marketers and advertisers as the onions. His book does little to disprove this statement.
After peeling back the layers of the book, there is one thing that stuck out for me. This one item had nothing to do with age, race, religion, or culture. Believe it or not, it had nothing to do with decisions or codes written by HubSpot or any other successful tech company. It also did not have anything to do with corporate jargon, cults, or technology.
The one word that resonated with me is choice.
Dan and I are similar in several ways. We both have rich experience in the traditional world; albeit from different sectors – Dan’s background is in news, and my years were spent in the advertising departments of broadcast television. Dan and I both experienced watershed moments of sorts, which resulted into an introduction to inbound marketing and HubSpot. Where our lives took diverse direction was in the choices made after our commencement with HubSpot.
My watershed moment took place in 2007 when our son was born with a complex congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. Due to the serious nature of the defect, we chose one of the top hospitals around the world, Boston Children’s Hospital, for our son’s surgical intervention. When babies undergo complex cardiovascular surgery, the care and recovery process can take months. These families are usually hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from home, so communication back to families and friends become vital. In 2007, social media was in its infancy, so it was not being widely used as a communication tool. In an effort to streamline critical information on our son’s progress back to families and friends in Louisiana, I started a care page for our son. This care page not only became a life-saver for vital communication, it also unknowingly became a therapeutic platform for me during a terribly stressful time for my family.
In one of the darkest times during my life, I made the promise to myself and to my family, that I would apply the lessons learned through this experience. For many years after the surgery, with unmatched devotion, I studied where communication and marketing were moving. The first step of carrying out my promise was initiated when I started a website called Heartwaves.org. The mission of Heartwaves was to leverage the power of web communication and the rise of social media to assist families of children born with congenital heart defects. The company that helped me fulfill this endeavor was HubSpot.
In the middle of launching Heartwaves.org, I discovered that HubSpot offered a digital marketing agency platform. In February of 2012, I made the choice to leave the comfort and stability of my broadcast advertising career to launch a one-man inbound agency called BlinkJar Media. This choice was not painless, and I experienced many sleepless nights. It would have been simple to give up and jump back into the traditional media world. I chose not to take the easy route, and I continued to cut against the grain of conventional wisdom and continued to fuel the fire of BlinkJar Media.
Today, over four years later, BlinkJar has seven full-time employees and continues to thrive as an inbound marketing agency. We are helping over 25 companies across America grow their businesses by carrying out the principles of inbound marketing. If it were not for HubSpot, our agency would not be where it is today. The software built by HubSpot has allowed a small agency to appear large. It has turned confusion and chaos into stability and control. We are making a positive impact on actual companies with authentic people.
A few months after I started BlinkJar Media, Dan Lyons also experienced his watershed moment, but the choices he made, and how he handled the situation, are quite different. In the summer of 2012, Newsweek abruptly eliminated Dan’s position as the technology editor at the magazine. A few months later, Dan was hired by HubSpot.
Instead of embracing this unique opportunity with HubSpot, Dan chose to turn the whole experience into a satirical story of what is wrong in the start-up circle. Dan is good at creating parodies as it is what he has done his entire life. His claim to fame is creating a blog titled, “The Fake Steve Jobs." In October 2007, Lyons released the book “Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs," a Parody, under the pseudonym "Fake Steve Jobs." During his stint at HubSpot, Dan created fake company names (Doofensmirtz Evil, Inc) to prove his case against HubSpot. In the book, instead of getting high the old-fashioned way, Dan chooses the synthetic version of weed – vaping cannabis oil (his testimonial, not mine). Today, Dan Lyons is one of the writers for the HBO series,Silicon Valley, which is a satire on an Internet start-up (Go figure).
It seems like the only thing REAL about Dan Lyons is his delusion.
The success stories of HubSpot and BlinkJar are real. The marketing results produced daily by our agency for businesses across the nation are as bona fide as the open-heart surgery that took place for my son at Boston Children’s Hospital. My son is a thriving and growing nine-year-old boy. Like anyone born with a health condition, he is closely monitored by his physicians. Every time we visit his pediatric cardiologist, the reality of the situation consumes me with no signs of escape. Everyone, to some degree, has their own dose of reality in life similar to mine. It is what makes us human, and it is what makes life real.
Life is about choices and what we do with those choices. Success in life and in business is not dependent upon your age, the color of your skin, or your religious beliefs. Success is about your choices and the corresponding actions you take. Whether you are happy or unhappy with any situation in life, it comes down to one thing—choice. You can make the best of a situation, or you can make excuses. The direction you choose is up to you. Unfortunately, Dan chose to make excuses for everything that transpired during his time at HubSpot, because that was the easier choice.
For me, life is too short. When given the onions out of the bowl of chocolate ice cream, I will make the best of the situation presented. Imagine all the foods that are made better from the simple addition of onions?
What do you think?
Thank you HubSpot for all that you have done for BlinkJar Media and our clients.