Download: MP3 (8.8 MB)

On today’s sabbatical episode, I’m joined by Ben. This was an “after show” conversation that I thought I’d share as a mini episode.

Now, we don’t expect the internet to go away, but as a thought exercise, we talked about what would happen if it did. What would you have left? What would people do? How would they find you? What kinds of businesses could survive?

This really highlights the importance of your name and investing in that name. It also underscores the importance of building your own platform.

The relationships you’ve built are what remain. If you have an email newsletter, that can be a way to build a relationship with people, but only if you’re speaking to people as you would one person!

Many people address their newsletter as if they’re speaking to a crowd of thousands. But an email is just one person opening one email from one other person. The more you treat it that way, the more of a relationship you build.

I hope you enjoy the episode (it’s just a few minutes long). It definitely got us thinking.

Show Notes
  • 00:18 Sean: Ben, we were talking about what if the internet went away? This was back on that episode where we were talking about building your own platform. You want to build your own platform because what if social media goes away? What if all these places where you’re building your home go away? You brought up this big question: what if the internet goes away? That was too deep for the episode we were doing so I wanted to invite Ben onto a mini sabbatical episode to talk about this. What did you mean by this? What were you wondering with, “what if the internet goes away?”
  • 01:10 Ben: Sean was saying, “If social media goes away, people know to go to seanwes.com,” but I jokingly said, “What if the internet went away?” because the internet could be defined as a platform. It’s probably not going away anytime soon, but sending people to seanwes.com is not as strong in the absence of the internet as saying, “Come to me, Sean McCabe. I’m the guy.” You’re focused on this internet brand and there’s very little risk involved in that, because the internet isn’t going away anytime soon, but I like the thought exercise of, “What if it did?” What if something happened? What if it underwent such a huge hacker attack that it was completely broken and it would take years to rebuild?
  • 02:18 Sean: Or, maybe some evil government took over, they lock it down, and you’re only allowed to visit three sites? That would be bad. That goes back to the weight of your name. Obviously, everyone who built their home on someone else’s platform has gone away just like the platform they built their home on went away. Maybe it’s Amazon or some other place. This person never had a name or a brand that could live on. Apple doesn’t only live on the internet. It lives in our conversations. It’s something we know outside the context of the internet even though so many of their devices are powered by the internet and if the internet went away, they would be hurt by that. Brands like Disney, Star Wars, Marvel are household brand names that we’re familiar with.
  • 03:29 People will know Ben Toalson and Sean if the internet goes down. What actually would happen though? People would find a way to stay in touch with each other. Who knows if text messages or the postal service are working—they’ll find a way. People will travel to where their friends are create in-person communities. They’ll have conversations and they’ll pass it on. People know people and people have friends or friends of friends, so however it works out, information will travel however it can. Just like water, it’s going to find the path of least resistance. Maybe the question is what happens to your brand or business if the internet goes away? Do people actually know your name? Have you invested in your name, whether that’s your personal name or your business name?
  • 04:49 Ben: What do you focus on, with or without the internet? I has to start with your values. Maybe the next thing is your skills—”Skills” being the actual value you can provide to other people. Beyond that is relationships.

The focus on your values, skills, and relationships give you the foundation you need to be effective with or without the internet.

  • 05:56 Those are vital, even before you start building your own platform. You’ve got to have value to offer other people and you’ve got to be able to navigate relationships. Of internet marketing, someone could say, “That’s nice because you don’t actually have to interact with people,” but the way you do well is by treating those people who purchase from you, read your content, or comment on the internet like they’re real people because they are. Build a relationship with them.
  • 06:35 Sean: That’s so true. People treat their newsletters like they’re talking to 1,000 people. They speak to them as a group.
  • 06:47 Ben: If the internet wasn’t there, are you going to be able to go to a hillside and gather 1,000 people to listen to you? Not if you don’t already have 1,000 people who know you personally and want to hear what you have to say.
  • 07:06 Sean: More than likely those 1,000 people are going to be in 1,000 different cities. Even if you’re in a city without the internet, you can only talk to one person. Is that person going to want to hear what you have to say if they don’t feel like they have a personal relationship with you? Have you ever replied to them personally on Twitter? Do you write to them on your newsletter as if you were writing to this one person? If you opened up the compose box and wrote a personal email to this one person in this one city, would it read the same as your newsletter? Would it read the same as you talk on any of your shows or content? I think it’s the reason that we have listeners that feel like we’re their friends. We talk to them and communicate with them like they are.
  • The value of the one-on-one relationship is what stands the test of time, even if it’s with 10,000 people.

    Those relationships are what would last beyond the internet if it was gone.

  • 08:19 Ben: That’s the only way you build a platform without the internet or, really, with the internet. The only way you build an effective platform is by building relationships with people.