TEDxMileHigh Q+A with Ideas Unbridled speaker, Joel Comm:
In your own words, share what you do. The textbook answer is I’m an entrepreneur and speaker and I focus on doing business online.  I’m also just a kid with a pail and shovel looking for a sandbox to play in.  In the last 20 years I’ve done so many things that it’s hard to classify them.  I’m a professional “me.” What initially drew you to online advertising and social media? With social media, I first got sucked into MySpace in 2005.  I’ve been online forever and dialing into bulletin board services since 1980 when I bought my first computer.  I was 16 at that time and totally into technology.  I got onto Twitter and Facebook in 2007. The topics you cover didn’t really exist 10 years ago.  Talk about how the advent of social media and its evolution have tapped your interest in public speaking and created a job for you. Social media is really the next logical progression of what began as chat rooms and boards on the Internet. It’s found a way to connect us all across relationships with friends and family.  Meeting new people has just gotten so much easier.  I know more people now in this part of my life than I did before.  It’s exponential.  I look at my friends list on Facebook and I’m directly connected to 2,000 people.  There’s no real strangers in my friend list. That’s a huge list of people to be connected to.  The power and reach that we have now is amazing. It was 10 years ago that I started my public speaking career.  It didn’t start with social media – it started with Google AdSense.  I wrote a couple of e-books that sold a lot of copies, and that turned into a published book that ended up on the New York Times bestseller list.  My original work pre-dated the use of social media.  It just happens that I was an early adopter of Twitter.  That propelled me into the arena of social media as a guy who knows a thing or two. What’s the biggest mistake most companies make with their social media strategy and implementation? A lot of companies treat social media as an opportunity to set up a soap box in the middle of the town square and say “buy my stuff.”  That’s not how we’re wired as human beings to receive a marketing message.  Social media is about building a relationship and bringing community to the conversation. It’s about engagement and less about marketing. People buy things from those they like, know, and trust. What do you see as the biggest success story in your life? I raised two incredible kids that are really good people and will make an impact on the world. Who inspires you? I draw my inspiration from someone I consider a mentor, the late Zig Ziglar.  Twenty-five years ago I went to a “Born to Win” conference he put on and I heard him say for the first time “You get what you want when you help enough people get what they want”.  He also said, “People don’t care until they know how much you care.”  That’s how I manage my relationships, sometime successfully and sometime not so much.  I always come back to those principals as grounding. What’s something few people know about you? I ran a marathon when I was 13 years old.