Charlie Hoehn

Plans for PR Launch, Book Launch, and Mitigating Fear

I am my own harshest critic, my biggest detractor. If I have an idea validated and ready to go, I’ll find a way to convince myself that it won’t work. In the last few months, however, I’ve been reading and researching what thought leaders my favorite thinkers respected- I thought I might find clues as to why these men thought the way they did, and why they weren’t held back by fear or anxiety.

Well, a few months ago, I found a guy. Turns out that Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Tim Ferriss, Tucker Max, and Ryan Holiday were all fans of Seth Roberts- noted personal science pioneer. Even Taubes, our favorite Santa Clause doctor, was a fan. I haven’t read much on him. I didn’t even take his reading all that seriously, as his books were added to my “books to read” pile, which is well over 200 books long at the moment, and growing every day.

I did however watch this video- a talk on experimental design, and found it extremely helpful.

My biggest takeaway from this video is that “the best way to learn, is to do.” And that’s a huge difference from just thinking about doing things, or reading about them. He also says that taking measured, small steps, will provide much better results and growth than jumping into massive projects with huge margins of error. Mind you- I don’t call this advice, because these are findings from his own experiences. This is what has worked for him- no hypothesizing or armchair professoring involved.

Seth passed away very suddenly last week- so I’m approaching his work with the utmost respect and care. I am curious about how he passed though- his last published article was about how he ate half a stick of butter everyday. If his cause of death is related to any of his work, then it’s important that they are not blindly accepted, but methodically looked through and tested. Lemmings follow blindly, and we are not lemmings. But I digress…he is gone too soon and the world is worse off for it.

I’m getting ready to do my first large scale media manipulation stunt since reading Ryan Holiday’s book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying.” I’ve done two before reading the book, and both went well, receiving national coverage. But I didn’t do it methodically. Last time I traded up the chain by fluke, my only thought being “let’s see how big we can get this.” This time around I have a timeline, a list of people to email, when to email, where I’d email, how I’d trade it up the chain, from what fake email/twitter address I’d send it- a lot more planning has gone into this.

I’m going to be creating a controversy about a product and a company that doesn’t exist. Well- a company that I created with a website, and one custom designed dress, and a bribed student. So…maybe $200 investment. The rest of my investment will be in time.

The other piece of information I’m implementing for this campaign is, funny enough, from Ryan Holiday again- one that he’s written about a few times, most recently this morning, in fact. His article on the importance of negative thinking provides another helpful piece of information- the importance of premeditating all possible negative outcomes. He writes more about this in detail in his new book, The Obstacle is The Way. His book is out today on amazon.

So for this campaign, I’m sitting down and listing everything that could possibly go wrong, how things could backfire, and how I’d mitigate these mistakes. I’m drawing from my imagination as well as from his book.

Finally, I found a video through Charlie Hoehn- it was a short animation by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, narration an excerpt from an Alan Watts speech. You can see it below.

A reminder that no matter how far outside of my comfort zone I think I’m going, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s a first world luxury, what I call a problem. Superficial, rat race stuff. I have to remember to not forget the big picture, to not get to anxious about things that haven’t happened yet/probably won’t happen, and have fun along the way. Charlie writes about this in his new book, Play It Away which I’ll do a review of on here as soon as receive it and read it thoroughly.

Anyways. Between this launch and the book launch proposal that I’m working on, I’ll be busy for a while. And that’s good. Really good, because like Charlie said in his first book, Recession Proof Graduate, it’s about doing fun, exciting, fulfilling work. About growing and learning and becoming a better person. No doubt in my mind that both of these projects will be difficult, but definitely satisfy all of those criteria.

Everyone mentioned in this post gives lessons based on experience. They don’t prescribe solutions to problems they’ve never experienced, or talk about stuff they aren’t sure about. They talk about things which they have learned by doing…and that’s extremely important. And it makes sense. Why should I take financial advice from a poor person? Or business advice from an economics professor who never started a business? This is something I have to become militant about, and really cut out the time wasters.

RIP Seth Roberts, and thank you for sharing your work with us while you were here.


These Marketing Guys are on to Something

For the last year, I’ve been pretty stalkerish about two dudes. Both around my age. I know this is off to a bad start but hear me out.

Ryan Holiday and Charlie Hoehn have walked interesting paths. Oddly similar in places. They’ve worked in the background, learned from and collaborated with some of the most brilliant minds and authors of our age. The combined list between the two makes me seethe with envy. After reading their blogs though, what lingers with me isn’t jealousy, but regret. I don’t feel like I’m any dumber than these guys. I’m not any smarter either though- they’ve worked extremely hard for what they’ve accomplished and it shows- look at the results. But I see their accomplishments and wonder, “why couldn’t I do this? I have the same opportunities.” I’ve always had grand ideas and plans, and my work ethic is solid- but my own fear was crippling. It held me back. It might have something to do with being bullied K-10th grade- the events that transpired whenever I tried to put myself out there or be more open are some of my darkest. Granted, I was a sensitive soul, but seeing the same bullies for most of your childhood will have that sort of impact.

At some point about a year ago, I decided I wouldn’t let it hold me back anymore. I think it was the realization that I was fat, balding, hairy in all the wrong places, and on the wrong side of 25. This is not how my life was going to play out…no fucking way. Where was the adventurous spirit that got me to the top of Mount Whitney? Where was the blazing soul that had scared off a mountain lion while hiking alone, at night, in the Sangre De Cristo mountain range in 2008? It was time to re-cultivate the hooligan and maverick that I used to be in the company of friends. I was going to start doing the things I liked, damn everyone else and their opinions.

I started reading aggressively from Ryan Holiday’s book recommendations. Once Ryan’s book, “Trust Me I’m Lying” came out, I realized that he’d been doing guerrilla marketing and PR the same way I had at my first company, only he had developed it and been very methodical about it- this was a skill I had fun doing, and could get better at. So I did. I read and studied/ still am studying every book Ryan mentioned in his book- and then some.

Charlie came into the picture about 4 months later- he wrote a free PDF called “Recession Proof Graduate” which I’ve read about 14 times. I refer to it every time I find myself broke and at home…I’ve failed a few times but refuse to work a corporate job. I’d much rather clean floors at a car museum (which I did and had a blast doing, and got to drive some very rare supercars, both vintage and new.)

Anyways- I was reading “RPG” today, again, when it clicked- I knew of a person who could benefit from the skills Ryan wrote about. I could get in touch with him using the methods Charlie had given me in his free PDF…

I wrote the email, and sent it.

5 minutes later, a reply. “I’m interested. I have some questions. Call me tomorrow”- and a phone number.

Regardless of whether or not I get this gig tomorrow, this has proven to me that the method works- and that’s a comforting feeling. It was worth stepping out of my comfort zone. These kind of things really encourage me to stop making decisions from a place of fear…that anxiety is terrifying and completely unhelpful.