Found People – Special Feature – Mitch Joel – Digital Marketing Guru and His New Book – Ctrl Alt Delete
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mitch JoelWhen Twist Image’s Chief Product Officer, Mickael Kanfi told us about Mitch Joel’s new book, Ctrl Alt Delete, we jumped at the chance to talk to him. Today’s blog post is about what his game-changing book means to us at work – as hiring managers, business leaders, employees, entrepreneurs and educators.

Here’s a quick bio: Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image – one of the largest independent Digital Marketing agencies in North America. Marketing Magazine dubbed him the “Rock Star of Digital Marketing” and called him, “one of North America’s leading digital visionaries.”

Mitch speaks frequently to diverse groups like Google, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Nestle, Procter and Gamble, Unilever and has shared the stage with former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Malcolm Gladwell, Anthony Robbins, Tom Peters and Dr. Phil.

Mitch is a regular columnist for the Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post and other magazines and newspapers. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation (published by Grand Central Publishing – Hachette Book Group), named after his successful Blog and Podcast is a business and marketing bestseller.

His next book, Ctrl Alt Delete, (also published by Grand Central Publishing), will be coming out on May 21st 2013.

FP: Tell us about the audience of Ctrl Alt Delete and the biggest challenge they face in rebooting their careers and personal directions?
MJ: When I wrote the book, I jokingly said, “it’s for anybody who wants to be employable in the next 5 years”. It is true and it applies to people in different ways. Whether you’re coming out of school and you want to know what the vision of today’s business is; if you’re working and want to gain a sense of how to interface with your markets and act in a different way and truly move your business; even for entrepreneurs looking at how to structure their businesses, moving away from basing decisions on what they see in the market verses the truth of what is actually going on.

FP: In the section “Reboot: You,” you talk about a Digital First Posture as a humbling posture, what does that mean for leaders, executives and entrepreneurs who need to reboot?
MJ: If you tell someone that they’re going on a trip, but that they have to decided where they are going, what’s their first move? Do they call a travel agent? Or go online? When you find out that something bad has happened in the world, do you turn on the TV or check out Twitter or Facebook? Consumers have a digital-first posture in just about everything that they do. I don’t know why when we go to work; we still put digital as some kind of random after-thought.

FP: How can we move managers and HR professionals towards appreciating what you call the squiggle factor in talent and get them moving towards evaluating candidates based on their contributions in shorter term projects as opposed to their tenure?
MJ: It’s a profound shift in terms of what we’ve seen in employment. In the past we took a job, thought we’d get a gold watch and a nice celebration dinner at the end of our career. Moving to the last generation, we saw people who have had 4-5 different jobs. Now, this latest generation is changing careers 4-5 times. The new HR perspective has to be more about putting to death the whole notion of job hopping. They have to look more at what candidates actually did when they were there. How did they make an impact? Saying, “let’s evaluate based on actual work not the tenacity to stick around”.

FP:How did your early publishing of Rock ‘n Roll magazines and getting intimate with that culture influence your perspective of today’s more traditional workers?
MJ: What you quickly realise is that these people work harder than most people can possibly understand. They wake up early, travel, work from place to place, interview, and perform, it is an intense and demanding lifestyle. When you look what they do in a day, they start working when most people want to unwind, relax and go to bed.  Living on jet planes, cars and buses they are always on the road, they rarely see friends and family, almost like being in the military. The ones that are truly successful have charisma, not just creativity and business sense. I began to quickly see how charisma, presentation skills, mystique and aura are sorely lacking in most people who run businesses.

FP: You talk about successful entrepreneurs as people who have the uncanny ability to create the future and how they must also cultivate the business owners mind set-what’s the main distinction between the two?
MJ: Really, there is no difference between the two. Where I was trying to go with that concept can be seen in how often you hear consumers ask, “how come Black Berry can’t be like Apple?” Apple is perpetually entrepreneurial, always thinking about a world that doesn’t exist and always envisioning the future, then building to that. Black Berry built a huge business based on innovation and responding to real time business demands for communication and security. They spent less time than Apple envisioning the future and because of that they lost market share. Right now they aren’t feeding the Wall Street Machine.  If you envision the future and build innovation for that, you have to combine this way of working with a business owner’s mind set to be successful.

FP: As leaders and executives face joblessness, the talented ones are embracing your whole concept of recalibration, The Start-Up of One you talk about in your book.  What does this new approach to work mean for our kids, how can educational institutions prepare them for what lies ahead?
MJ: Thankfully we have people like Sir Ken Robinson who are thinking about how to reinvent education. We can’t be feeding people into a system that doesn’t work. The education system was built for a system that doesn’t exist anymore. My wife and I were talking the other day about our kids and education. We live in Montreal and we often talk about language, issues around how much English and how much French. Then, the other day I said, “wait honey there’s a 3rd language, it’s the most important language – coding!”  The key language kids will need to learn in school is coding. So many businesses’ successes are dependent upon science and math. If the educational system was built the way technology businesses are, there would be more collaboration and more effort towards embracing multiple skills while creating and cultivating abilities to problem solve. Schools are still businesses and if customers aren’t happy they’ll lose business or worse, they’ll go out of business.

FP: We’re coming to the end of our interview, is there anything you’d like to say about the message of your book, what should our key take away be?
MJ:  The book’s publicity may have people think that it’s about trends that are coming. The things I talk about are not trends of the future.  Crtl Alt Delete is based on movement and shifts that have already happened. You may say that what I talk about hasn’t hit because you haven’t experienced it, but the movements I reveal can be backed up with facts and data. In fact, we have charts to back it up.  The message is about being a relevant individual, it’s a wake up call. This is where we are not where we are going.

You can learn more about Mitch through his extensive digital foot print
Mitch on Twitter
Mitch on LinkedIn 
Mitch’s Blog
Twist Image’s Web Site
Twist Image’s Facebook Page


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