What Matters Now

I am still behind on a couple major writing projects, but one of the writing projects that was hardest for me was trying to write something for Seth Godin's new project - What Matters Now. A killer PDF full of ideas from some of the leading thinkers in technology*

*and me ;)

When I got started online I ended up having to get a job because I had plenty of debt and no experience. But I learned somewhat quickly, and had a habit of taking pictures of things that I thought were interesting. After reading Andrew Goodman's guide to AdWords I saw he referenced Seth Godin, and so I devoured almost every (marketing) book Seth had published to that point and noticed there was the ability to buy a bunch (20?) of his Purple Cow book as an admission fee to see him speak live at his office.

I did the bulk purchase. So late after work one night I drove most of the way to Seth's place and slept in my car at a rest station about 20 miles from his business. When I woke up in the morning I went to his office a bit early, finished reading another book while anxiously sitting there, and then finally everyone showed up. His enthusiasm was great. And he taught just how much marketing is becoming art.

But what he did (that really made my day) was he grabbed a bunch of products that he thought were great examples of marketing and put them on a table. One of them was a Yorkie candy bar. I had just took a picture of one of those on my camera, and somehow when I saw that on Seth's table it made me think that maybe I knew what was going on. It was like some sort of validation or test. Like scoring an A on a pop quiz. That and reading his books really made a lot of things just click on the marketing front.

That night there was also a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert back up near where I lived (silly that I had money for concert tickets when I was broke...but I think I needed inspiration more than anything back then), so I had a long drive ahead of me...but on the ride to the concert I think I was far more excited about feeling like the web and marketing were falling into place than about going to see the great live music.

I was on salary and my boss viewed extra hours from me as free labor. And I was trying to learn online stuff while working about 70 hours a week at my job. It was going to Seth's office that helped give me the confidence to put in my notice that I was going to quit my job to play on the web. I did it way before I had enough cashflow to do so, but it worked out ok in the end :D

6 years later, to have seen Seth speak at Elite Retreat this year was great because it was a reminder how far I had come since I first started out. And to have him ask me to contribute to his new project was totally killer, and a bit humbling. It was so hard to write though because of the awe factor. It was too hard to condense SEO into 200 words, and then when you think of similar topics how can you write on hyperlinks when you see David Weinberger wrote a killer entry on that front. So I had to think long and hard about what to write about...and finally decided that the best thing to write about would be how you don't have to be perfect to get started online. I certainly was not, and still have a long way to go. ;)

Please check out What Matters Now and let me know what you think!

Published: December 14, 2009 by Aaron Wall in internet marketing


December 14, 2009 - 3:40pm

Congrats. Thanks for sharing the back-story. That's more interesting than the 'story' sometimes.

December 14, 2009 - 4:39pm

Aaron, What an excellent read. You took me by surprise at the end by summarizing the most important lesson you learned along your journey and a word of encouragement for others. Thank you.

Zach Wyrick
December 14, 2009 - 5:26pm

I appreciate you sharing this with all of us. You're absolutely right about feedback. In such a negative society, which can become particularly poisonous in concentrated doses like TV, the Internet or Thanksgiving, feedback is often dismissed as criticism creating an infinite loop of dismissal.

What I took away from your contribution was to persist despite the vicious, nagging self-doubt manufactured by your own belief in the illusion of ignorance - namely that it is not worth trying to learn and participate in anything simply because you don't know "enough" to.

I'm trying to get my own thing together helping people with all the things I have learned about SEO in such a short time and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think, "You shouldn't do this...people like Aaron Wall will humiliate you in forums and laugh at you for the advice you 'sell' to people."

It is good to know you remember where you came from (the bottom of the pyramid) and that you don't condemn honest, ignorant people for wanting to learn and eventually contribute.


December 14, 2009 - 7:27pm

6 years later, to have seen Seth speak at Elite Retreat this year was great because it was a reminder how far I had come since I first started out.

man posts like these Aaron damn near make me wanna cry! but I wont :) very humbling for me... makes me look back on how far I've came in 5 almost 6 years ;) .... and you have been apart of that too..

thanks and never, ever forget where you came from... when r u going to.... speak live at your office :)

December 14, 2009 - 9:03pm

noticed there was the ability to buy a bunch (20?) of his Purple Cow book as an admission fee to see him speak live at his office.

I did the bulk purchase.

This post reminds me of a page in the old version of SEObook where you mention you were gonna send a book by your favor author seth godin to some kid you had met online (who had no clue about marketing), but he preferred to quote some eminem lyrics instead of wanting to receive the book.

Let me guess - that book you were gonna send him was one of 19 purple cows you still had? LOL

December 15, 2009 - 1:52pm

I was really enjoy reading some of chapters. Nice stuff for motivation.

January 8, 2010 - 7:32am

Aaron, you are an inspiration! I agree with kpaulmedia - your backend story is what makes following your wisdom even more meaningful.

Your experience with Seth Godin as a mentor, the way you're mentoring on this blog and creating a standard service offering (seo niche vs. general internet marketing), plus the Yorkie candy bar validation and other things you've mentioned remind me of the main character in a new book I've just previewed, really like and think you'd like too: "Built To Sell" by John Warrilow about how to turn your business into one you can sell.

Looking forward to who you will become in the next 10 years.


January 18, 2010 - 8:51am


I've just registered on the site and spent a few minutes browsing around. Everything I've read so far has been insightful and well written. I really look forward to reading more of the blogs/tips etc and with any luck some of your marketing/SEO magic will rub-off on me!

Many thanks,

January 22, 2010 - 8:15pm

We all begin somewhere, but thanks to those who had a beginning and shared that beginning. I stumbled upon (but not from StumbleUpon)SEObook site some time ago, referred to from an online tutorial video explaining Expression Web, building my own website. Definitely not able to afford the fees for a website designer, SEO expert, etc., I decided to build my own site. With fascination, I read the blogs, the forums, the articles, the helpful information at no cost to me. Each time I visited the site it yielded valuable information. I thought SEO was just technical stuff, not so at all.

This new and exciting online life, blogs, SEO, content management systems, hosting is fascinating, but the underlying truths and principles of how we do business, what we offer, and who we are stand out, clearly visible.
Thank you, Aaron Wall for putting yourself out there, so others can learn.

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