If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it
by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 05/07/2010
I am juggling a lot. I am an SEO Director of Strategy, and interact with a variety of Fortune 500-type clients on weekly phone-calls, and have responsibility for the overall success of the engagements. I am also the creator and sysadmin of a Web 2.0 application named HitTail, which is a tracking system like Google Analytics that has to be running 24/7, and as it turns out, I have the ultimate responsibility for it staying up, which is prompting a new chapter in my life, one in which I juggle an impossibly large workload, and make it all work.
Oh yeah, I also have a wife, a house full of pets, and a baby on the way. Did I mention that?
The nature of the professional work I juggle includes the highly technical, such as segmenting Internet switches into vlans, managing DNS, installing servers, hardening operating systems, configuring firewalls. I also architect the applications that live on these servers, and program in ASP Classic on Windows and in Python on Linux. I have a little knowledge about a great many CMS’s (content management systems) and API’s (application programming interfaces). All this techie stuff, I’ve done in order to perform the work-at-hand over the years.
But in addition to the technical, I also deal with the highly personal, interacting directly with clients, going along on sales pitches, conducting training sessions, and being deeply engaged in online social media. My effectiveness in these personal environments, I believe comes in great part by my deep immersion in the technical aspects of my work. I feel like I can speak with authority. Whenever my authority on a topic is slipping, I feel pangs of guilt and integrity issues arise, and I quickly research and try to get some hands-on experience with the new subject-matter, which results in me juggling even more.
I’m writing this article in order to provide some clarity concerning this next phase in my life, in which a kid will imminently be on the scene, right as my responsibility for HitTail increases, and I expand my specialty from being predominantly SEO (search engine optimization) to being predominantly social. There is an eternal battle between “who you know” and “what you know”. Who you know usually wins, but the Internet has changed that, and Google in particular has given rise to a decade-and-a-half where “what you know” reigned supreme. Therefore, my specializing in SEO, which reaches out to researchers who trust Google as the arbitrator of all human knowledge.
But now with Facebook, and to a much lesser degree, Twitter, the pendulum is swinging back in favor of “who you know”. I say this, because Facebook not long ago announced they had 400 million users. That’s almost half-way to a billion, and I feel they will be at a billion in not too long, which is 1/6th of the world population. Could the writing on the wall be any clearer? As massive of a force Google is, and to a great degree will continue to be, Facebook is bigger.
Huh? Bigger than Google? Sure! General research, and asking questions that somehow resembles “work” is something only inquiring minds do. Googling’s for geeks. And while the human animal is by nature very inquisitive, it is even more by nature social. Any given person is much more certain to interact with people, get their stories, and “check in” on a daily basis than they are to do some form of research. I dare say that on the whole, someone could go a whole day without using Google without any sense of withdrawal, but not so with Facebook. Once you grow up with Facebook in your life, you can go without it, but you’ll feel it.
Would you rather have your peep’s taken away, or your reference library? Yes, there are those who will answer reference library, but the majority will value their easy social interactions more.
So anyway, I’m writing this article to clarify my thinking, and to get myself publicly committed to handling this impossible workload, without letting down any of my followers and audience, from my day-job employers (and yes, it is much more than a day job), to my HitTail fans and audience (with whom I will be re-engaging), and most importantly, my family, wife, and impending child.
If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. That’s because a busy person is spontaneously expert at the general process of getting stuff done and being effectively, even while the world is moving very quickly around them. I want to be that busy person. I have to be that busy person. And here I am writing an article like this, wasting, maybe an hour and a half. But that’s part of the busy-person formula–crystal-clear clarity of what you are trying to achieve and why.