Embracing Your Quirkiness

I recently read a blog post where I was referred to as a superstar, which to me an absurd classification given that I am me. But I do like to think of myself as being citation worthy in nature. Some people are citation worthy because they do great in depth research while others are citation worthy because they are creative or naturally quirky and then there are people who are citation worthy because they can relate complex ideas to easy to understand topics. Some people push buttons or are egotistical / insecure / shy / weird / uncultured / uncouth to the point of being citation worthy.

At times I am all or none of the above. Depending on mood, who I am with, where I am, how I feel, what song is playing, and what dance I am doing.

When I was in the military we had to wear these stupid straps on our glasses in bootcamp. The difference between me and most other people was that when I got to the boat I still wore those stupid straps, largely because glasses gave me a headache if they put pressure on my ears, and largely because I knew it annoyed certain people. At one point I also ate so much bacon that the boat got put on rations so that I personally forced the cooks to fix breakfast. Both of those things made me citation worthy.

I recently met a cool girl and we make up lots of fake words and tease each other for some of the silly things we say or do. In a couple of weeks of hanging out there are dozens of shared bizarre words and experiences. The connections associated with those tags we made up are easy to vividly share and remember because we made them up and only we know what they mean. I think great writing has the ability to make you think the writer was just writing for you.

I went to a Bob Dylan concert with a friend of mine last night, and on the ride home there was a dining place which had neon lights that said bakery and cocktails. And while that may have been dumb marketing for a restaurant to combine those two (who does that?), it also was citation worthy and memorable. And being memorable is about sharing connections. Our imperfections (also known as character) are what make life great.

I saw some people giving speeches at the conference which were well polished and were effective at making the audience yawn. I decided to not polish myself to the point of trying to make myself a perfect speaker. It is not who I am and is not who I want to be...at least not now. Instead I decided I would try to feel comfortable and just make people laugh. I am not sure how well my speech went (Powerpoint online here). If you saw it (or my Q&A Panel) feel free to let me know what you thought below.

If you give into who you are then you are less likely to get burned out and will be harder to replicate. If you have things you feel insecure about or areas where you feel insufficient or inexperienced one of the best things you can do is embrace your default character and let that carry you. If you are following someone else's path you are likely building their brand and reinforcing their market position while undermining or ignoring your core assets. What makes you a non-commodity is just as likely to be your flaws as your skills, so long as you are unafraid of appearing broken, which can go a long way on a network consisting mostly of various manipulative goals and chunks of scattered text.

Published: November 19, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


November 20, 2006 - 4:08am

Makes a lot of sense Aaron. When you think about it you want to define a unique value proposition for your business so why not embrace your own uniqueness and make it work for you.

One of the things I learned years ago about creative writng is when you can find those things within that are the hardest to get to, the ones you least want to tell others about, that's the stuff you should write about. Those are the things you want to learn to get at and share, becuase that's where the good writing comes from.

I think the basic idea is true of more than just writing. I think being able to accept what we see in ourselves as faults is what makes us happier people.

We all have quirks and it's those quirks that make us interesting. Embracing them like you say only helps to make us more interesting and worthy of citation.

November 20, 2006 - 6:52am

Dude, being quirky is what makes us unique. For every person I annoy (which is many) there are probably 10 who felt the impression I was trying to enforce. Law of averages, a shtick usually works.

Anyways, I missed you for your DrinkBait pic!

November 20, 2006 - 8:19am

reminds me of this place in new york Barcade. it's totally memorable because of its name and what it combines - doesn't matter how good the place is.

anyway, i totally agree with all of this. keep it up.

November 20, 2006 - 5:58pm

You're absolutely right in your assessment. Everybody is loved by someone, everybody is hated by someone. Except Bush Jr of course who everyone hates ;-)
Why did I call you a superstar?
Because the knowledge you share makes sense to me and has a very positive impact on what we do. If I mention your name in in our admittedly small circle of SEOs in manchester, then people would nod sagely.
However, if I mentioned your name in conversation in the middle of watching the football, then I'd get some quizzical looks. If you were a Black Hat, I would use a different term to refer to you. It's all very relative

Anyway, I'm off to blog about how much of a b@stard Matt Cutts is to see how much linkage I get!

November 20, 2006 - 6:13pm

Thanks for the tip Aaron, I wil start "embracing my quirkiness", I don't know how I'm going to do it though.

November 20, 2006 - 6:16pm

Most of us that sit behind a computer all day and do what we do are "quirky" ... I have a friend that sat out in the cold (In Utah - so really cold) all night to get a Nintendo WII at Target. I would never do that. I am fine to wait three weeks or more to get mine. But that was his quirk and also the reason I like him so much - cause he does stuff like that!!! I think you are an amazing authority and that is why I keep coming back to this blog everyday, and it was really cool to be able to meet you at pubcon. Thanks again for the picture.

November 21, 2006 - 1:02am

I thought your presentation at PubCon was one of the better ones I saw there, and I know others felt the same way. It was good to meet you, hope the Review Me project goes well.

November 21, 2006 - 5:45am

Aaron, you need no gimmicks my friend, when you open your mouth people listen because of what comes out, not because of the polish put on it. One of the keynotes sucked no matter how "successful and polished" he was, he didn't tell people anything they could use. Once it was established at how smart and rich he was, what did people walk out with? NOTHING! Keep doing what you do, you quirky quirkenstein you! Thanks for saying hi, hope to see you around!

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