105: Growing Digital Businesses with Chris Aarons

On this episode of Build Your Network, Host Travis Chappell interviews Chris Aarons, he helps leading organizations become digital in both their practice and delivery.

Here’s what Travis and Chris discuss in this episode:

  • About Chris Aarons
    • Helped build dozens of company’s products using a unique mix of digital sales and marketing strategies.
    • Has worked with Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, AMD, HP, LG, Microsoft, Phillips, and others.
    • Teaches digital marketing at the University of Texas at Austin.
    • He really tried to figure out what he wants to do and it comes down to being a consultant and helping other succeed.
  • What’s Chris most excited about?
    • He just published his first book, a Wall Street Journal Best Seller: The Digital Helix
    • What’s your number one takeaway from the book?
      • They’ve identified 7 different DNA components that need to work together in concert.
      • Only a few have all 7 working, having any less does not work.
    • What are some of the biggest mistakes you see organizations make as they’re trying to keep up in the digital age?
      • There’s so often not a link between people with similar jobs in organizations.
    • What’s the future of corporate culture?
      • If he finds something out that could change the course of their group, it could help another group too.
      • The old-school model is proving to be a failure.
      • Some companies keep going based on sheer volume and size of their footprint.
      • Bigger companies are slowly getting overtaken by the smaller companies with more of a focus on these things.
    • What do you think is going to help us adapt to connected/collaborative culture in the future?
      • Facebook is going through issues because there was not a connectedness.
        • We the users are their product, but they behave toward us like a commodity.
      • It never stops, you constantly have to be adapting.
      • Networking is great digitally, but sometimes you just need to get the bodies in the room.
    • Do you believe that what you know or who you know is more important, and why?
      • People who are really smart and have no network are largely worthless or isolated corner cases.
      • People with big networks and no knowledge don’t get a lot of connections.
      • You need to strike a balance to get insights and give insights.
      • Explain what you mean by the word “taker.”
        • We’ve all experienced people who try to get things out of you without giving anything back.
        • Every once in a while, we get sandwiched by people who constantly ask for favors.
        • If you can add value, that’s where the real relationships lie.
      • What is value and what are some ways we can offer it?
        • There’s value in being a really good listener and a sounding board.
          • The best thing you can say to someone when they’re grieving is to let them know the door is open when they want to talk.
          • Always look for tips you can provide and share them.
          • Ask what you can do to start a conversation that will branch out and grow from there.
        • If you’re not naturally thoughtful, put a system in place to become more thoughtful.
      • How do you feel about live events? Should you go, how many, are there too many, budget?
        • Big fan of live events, he does better in person than he does online.
        • There’s always a fear factor of going somewhere that you don’t know anyone.
        • You have to pick and choose which ones to go to or go with the flow of what’s working.
      • How do you get over the fear of networking?
        • You don’t really ever get over it.
        • Some people aren’t ready to extend a hand because they’re in a group.
        • Just because someone’s not ready to make a connection doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.
        • A lot of people who feel fear in a networking situation think they’re just not extroverted enough.
          • Nearly everyone goes through these feelings.
        • If you’re an introvert, try doing more directed networking.
        • Experiment and fail fast.
          • Find out what works for you.
          • Fail fast and take a lesson away – learn something from it.

The Random Round:

    • What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?
      • Being an announcer for basketball or football.
    • If you could sit on a park bench with anyone for an hour who would it be, and why?
      • Someone from the JFK assassination
      • He has so many questions
    • How do you like to consume content best, books, blogs, podcasts, or videos?
      • Podcasts and reading
    • What’s one of your favorite podcast and book?
      • The Art of Noticing
      • Tim Ferriss’s podcast
    • Give us a glimpse of your morning routine
      • Get up early and go to the gym
      • Dive into work
    • What is your go-to pump up song?
      • Root Down by the Beastie Boys
    • What are you not very good at?
      • Networking
    • What is one place where we can find you online?
      • LinkedIn @caarons

Tweetable Quotes:

  • Networking is great digitally, but sometimes you just need to get the bodies in the room.
  • If you can add value, that’s where the real relationships lie.
  • Just because someone’s not ready to make a connection doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.

Resources Mentioned:

Buildyournetwork.com– Podcast website

BYN.media/fb – Facebook Group

TheDigitalHelix.com – Chris’s website and book

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