Five People Who Scare The Crap Out Of Me

I’m a big believer that creating anything of any value begins with quality consumption. If you have any hope of making anything worthwhile, it begins to learning from those who are already out there making things.

Now there are some who believe that true originality and true creation can have no inspiration, that you have to look into the void and be the “Steve Jobs” character who doesn’t need anything from anyone to make something amazing. Annoyingly, there are some for whom this happens, but for the most of us, we are going to have to work at it. We have to look at the work of those who intimidate the hell out of us and learn whatever we can from them.

With this in mind, I wanted to share a few of those who I’ve met or who I follow on the web that scare me into action and inspire me to put myself out there and have helped me to do better:

Mitch Joel – As someone with little marketing background who now works in a marketing-heavy role, digging in deep to understand this world was a priority. Combine that with a passion for everything digital and you will quickly find your way to Mitch Joel. Mitch posts several times a week on his blog, has a weekly podcast, writes a monthly column for the Montreal Gazette, wrote one of the earliest (and in my opinion, one of the best) books on Social Media. Oh, and he is one of the owners of a major digital marketing agency with over 100 employees. What astounds me about Mitch is not only the sheer quantity of content that he puts out into the world, but the quality of it.

Follow Mitch on Twitter

Brett Terpstra – I’m not entirely convinced that Brett is a human, so it may not be right including him on this list. The man is a mad genius programmer extraordinaire who is just unreasonably generous with his time and prolific with his contributions to geek culture. This post is written in his nvALT text editor; the markdown formatting was created using several of his Markdown Service Tools (one that he wrote in a frigging day based on a comment I made on someone else’s blog. WTF?). My life is far easier and far more efficient due to things that Brett has created and continues to create daily.

Follow Brett on Twitter

Gini Dietrich – I could go on about my undying love for Gini for hours, but I’d rather tell you just how much she scares the crap out of me. Before I’ve usually woken up1, she’s taken a super long bike ride and written a killer post over on her Spin Sucks blog. To describe her as generous with her time would be an understatement, especially when you consider just how much of it she has permitted me to waste. In addition to a massive blog following she also owns the PR Agency, Arment Dietrich and is in the process of launching an online community for PR professionals. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s also writing a book with Geoff Livingston.

Follow Gini on Twitter

AJ Leon and Melissa Leon – I’m cheating here, but it would be impossible to mention one without the other. While AJ tends to be at the front and center of a lot of their content, I think he’d agree that it would have been impossible to help a school in Tanzania, to take a road trip across North America to talk with entrepreneurs, to help launch one of the largest Shakespeare sites on the planet while also helping to create a new model for philanthropy in Kenya and Ethopia without Melissa. Their work and their approach to the work they do both inspire the hell out of me while scaring me to death. The fact that the are also fun to drink with doesn’t hurt either…

Follow AJ and Melissa on Twitter

Christopher S. Penn – I dare you to head over to Chris’ Awaken Your Superhero blog, read any one post and not have your head spinning with ideas (and actionable ones to boot). Beyond blogging, Chris co-hosts the excellent Marketing Over Coffee podcast, is the Director of Strategy at WhatCounts and recently authored and self-published his first book (which is an excellent starting place for those like me who work in marketing yet don’t have a marketing background). Chris has this intensity and intelligence about him that demands that you do better. And his willingness to share the results of his efforts, such as his plan for marketing his book, offer insights that few are willing to share these days.

Follow Chris on Twitter

While there are tons of people who inspire me daily, here are the five that frighten the hell out of me with what they do.

What about you? Let me know who is scaring the hell out of you in the comments below.

  1. And keep in mind, she’s an hour behind me here in NYC. []
  • http://twitter.com/ttscoff Brett Terpstra

    Oh, I’m human, but that’s what all the Replicants say.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      I’m not entirely convinced that you wrote this and that it isn’t something that posts automatically when someone calls you a robot… :) Thanks for everything you do. You’ve made using a computer better.

  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    I only know Mitch and Gini here. I am thinking if I don’t know the others they can’t scare me 8)

    My view is people tend to all have something they will do that scares the crap out of me. Skydive. Bungee Jump. Shooting Heroin. Playing a concert in front of 8 people or 50,000 people. Being mayor of New York. Being shown a unique massive pearl and knowing if I don’t value it right could cost me bank. Placing a big bet on the market with other people’s money. Cooking eggs. Climbing Everest. Snow boarding. Jay Walking across the Cross Bronx Expressway during rush hour. Oh wait that last one is easy since it is gridlock.

    But I think it is admirable the way you highlight people you admire for doing things on their own terms in their own way and succeeding!

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Oh, I agree, get anyone going and they have the potential to make my hair stand on end. I was strictly talking about how much they manage to create. I have an (un)healthy admiration for those who manage to consistently put things into the world that aren’t crap!

  • http://www.twistimage.com/blog Mitch Joel – Twist Image

    BOO! Thanks for letting me scare you… ;)

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      See what I mean, terrifying… Thanks for doing what you do. Slow as I am, I’ve learned a lot from following along.

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    Hmm…can’t think of anyone who is scaring me all that much- but I am slow like that.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      I’ve always said that about you. Come on, there has to be someone who manages to push your buttons a bit…

      • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

        Emerson and Edison come to mind but I know you are talking about living people. I am thinking about it right now.

        • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

          I can see how those two might shake you. Still enjoy trying to find the people who are in the here and now doing it.

          • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

            Someone in the here and now. Well there was this guy who picked me up and threw me through the closet doors…twice.

            After the second time I managed to knock him off of his feet and eventually he gave in, but it was a hell of a battle.

            If I had to pick intellectually, well the people I’d name aren’t folks anyone here would know. They are a combination of doctors and scientists who are ridiculously intelligent and just successful at anything they try.

          • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

            I’m glad you were able to show him who was boss. I can imagine that doctors and scientists can be fairly intelligent!

  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

    Thanks for the intro to more than half  your list! I’m heading out to follow and become further inspired.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Always happy to turn good people onto other good people!

  • Anonymous

    I only know Gini and like Howie, if I don’t know the rest then they can’t scare me. I did a list like this and you were on it, but of course you scare me in an entirely different way…………just sayin’………

    I’m guessing all of these people are smart and @howieatskypulsemedia:disqus is about the smartest guy I know that lets me hang around with him so maybe I better leave it at that.

    Thanks for the GP last week and if you have time there were two late replies; I did reply to them so you are covered if you can’t make it. 

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      I’m assuming that list is “People I Should Keep Away From My Family”… sound about right?

      Howie’s smart, eh? Hadn’t realized. :) May need to keep him around a bit more…

      My pleasure for the GP and thanks for letting me play along. I jumped in and jumped on those last two comments, so sorry I missed those!

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    You clearly wrote this during a non-running day, huh? I know, and read, and follow, and stalk Chris and Mitch and completely agree…they’re both scary smart. I don’t know Brett or AJ and Melissa so thank you for the introduction! And, really, how can you not like a guy who gets a nerd wood for plain text?!?

    Thank you, Shrek. This was very nice of you.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      They are all good eggs. Brett’s stuff is geek strong, and you need a computer science dictionary to follow along, but he makes some amazing things for lay folk such as myself. As for AJ and Melissa, inspiring couple. Have a feeling they will strike a chord with you! And you are wrong, I ran last night. I may hate you publicly, but I just can’t quit you.

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