Leveraging Hype for Good with Michael F. Schein

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Michael F. Schein says that hype runs our world, but it can be used for social good.

After the Interview

About Michael F. Schein

Michael is the founder and president of MicroFame Media. His marketing agency specializes in turning consultants, entrepreneurs, and executives into celebrities using the concepts in his book, The Hype Handbook.

Read the Transcript

This transcript was auto-generated from the original video recording using Otter Voice Meeting Notes. While the transcript has not been human edited, we hope it will still help you to quickly find or reference useful information from the interview.

0:05 

Deliberate Leaders I am your host, Allison Dunn, Founder of the Deliberate Leaders podcast dedicated to helping leaders build strong, thriving businesses. Each episode we feature inspiring interviews to help you on your leadership journey. And today, we have Michael Schein. He’s joining us from the New York area. Michael is the Founder and President of My Growth Fame Media Marketing Agency that specializes in turning consultants, entrepreneurs and executives into celebrities by using the height concepts that are detailed in his book titled, The Height Handbook, known as a marketing guru Schein believes that in today’s world, people are susceptible to propaganda and persuasion, more so than ever before. And he proclaims that the bat hype truly runs our world and believes that he has mastered the art and science of using shameless propaganda for personal and social good. Michael, thank you so much for joining us on the show today.

1:07 

Thank you. And that was quite the intro. I feel really good about myself now.

1:12 

I like the fact that that you know, helping everyone become a celebrity in some in some fashion.

1:20 

So this is your newest book, when did it get published?

1:22 

It got published this past January. So January 12.

1:26 

Fantastic. I have seen it all over the internet, you’ve really hype done a great job at hyping the book up, I’ve seen your face splashed on every feed I have?

1:35 

Well, I’m very happy to hear that hopefully. You know, I’m I’ve been excited to see all the buzz as well, you know, from the perspective of what we’re doing to hype it up. And just some of the words that’s been traveling, but the thing that gets me most excited is when someone actually reads the thing and tells me they recommended it to someone. Because I still think word of mouth, even after all of what we’re going to talk about is the thing you ultimately need to spread the word about.

2:04 

For sure. So in the book, you state that it’s difficult and time consuming to get masses of people to discover you and love you. What is the most effective height that artists hedges used against this difficulty of this two pronged approach? And I hope that that made sense to you.

2:25 

Think so? I mean, I want to first say, and I’m not trying to evade the question, but I think it’s important to talk about what I mean. I think it’s important to talk about what I mean when I use the word hype, because I’m well aware of it. For a lot of people. hype has a negative connotation, but I picked that word on purpose, because everyone talks about this idea of marketing, right, and what marketing should be, is getting lots of people to like your stuff. So they’ll potentially buy it. But it’s become this convoluted sort of thing, where it’s about brand stories, and a B testing and social media engagement, and all of these things. And all of those are really important tools. But I couldn’t, we’ve gotten to the point where there are marketing professionals who don’t even know how to get people excited enough about something to buy it. So I wanted to kind of get rid of that word, and just call it what it is. And it’s hype, it’s generating a lot of emotion, and a lot of attention around, you know, from a large number of people to get them to take an action. And that can be an awful action that hurts people, or it can be an amazing, wonderful action, but it’s completely amoral. The strategies are the strategies because human brains, especially in groups work the way they work. So I don’t know if I remember the original question. But I guess if you’re asking me what the most important hype tactic is, I mean, I looked at all of these different really good, unconventional hype artists, you know, great people like Richard Branson, and you know, gosh, even Martin Luther King and I looked at people like Aimee Semple MacPherson who was the first celebrity preacher and I looked at horrendous people like Charles Manson. And what I found was that if you strip away the content of what they’re promoting, you can really boil down their strategies, their underlying strategies into the exact same thing that you can bucket what they do into the same set of what I say, you know, I call it 12 principles, you know, because they you see the same patterns repeating over and over again, and they are a master of all things.

4:56 

Of all of the hype tactics, which one is your favorite? I’ll share mine after that.

5:03 

I don’t have a favorite because I think it’s about how they all interact, I will tell you one that I think is indispensable because I think in some cases, you can get away with not using certain hype tactics. But I would say that in almost every case, the first chapter make war not love that first strategy is indispensable. You know, human beings are really attracted to bold stands, they’re really attracted to lines in the sand. And if you don’t go out into the world and talk about what you’re against, as well as what you’re for, meaning I’m against the common way that everyone in my industry has been doing business for years, and I think this way is better, rather than this is why I’m great. And let me tell you about my both my wonderful ideas. If you don’t pick fights with the status quo, you’re just not going to generate as much attention and activity around what you’re doing.

6:05 

So fighting, finding what you’re going to fight against, as opposed to just going along with correct.

6:12 

Going along with or, you know, I think it’s a subtle difference when I’ll tell people, what are you picking a fight with? And they’ll say to me, you’re trying to say, what makes me different? And I’ll say no, not exactly. Because you can sit there and say, you know, our project management software, has the most simple streamlined interface that then everyone’s like, okay, that’s nice. I mean, if I need it, I need it. Or you can do a Basecamp does, which is a simplest, most elegant project management software out there and say, we’re against over complexity in the workspace. And we think it’s absurd that people overcomplicate things and work so many hours, by the way, you need a tool that helps you go against that. And there’s that that team, that product has a religious following. I mean, people, it’s not just a product that people are buying there, people are evangelists for that. And it’s because they pick this fight with this with this regular way of doing things.

7:15 

Yeah, I appreciate that. Does it? Does everyone need hype? To some degree?

7:23 

Does everyone need hype? Not everyone. I mean, if you’re it, you know, there, I think if you have a job, and you’re a technician, and you’re just supposed to sort of deliver results, so I mean, if you’re a project does not project if you’re a you know, product, designer, you know, you’re just responsible for coming in, and drawing blueprints. And, Mick, you’re a mechanical engineer who makes the arm on the device move more smoothly? No, I think you need political skills, I think you need to know how to work with people, but I don’t think you need hype. But if you’re in any way responsible, or your living depends, or your cause depends on getting people to pay attention to you and take an action that they may not have taken otherwise, especially in groups, then I think you need hype. Fortunately, or unfortunately, probably a little more unfortunately, for many of us. There’s much less security in the world. I mean, we’ve heard this story a lot of times but we all have to sort of advocate for ourselves and you know, people are saying that the resume is going to be obsolete soon, right? You used to just list what you did. Now it’s what have you done? You know, what, what, what’s, what’s your what’s your platform? What’s your following? What’s your project? Even for books, it used to be that you went to a major publisher, so they would market you now they say, what’s your platform? How many followers do you have? So many, many more people need hype than ever have before?

9:08 

Certainly fair, there’s, there’s a lot of noise out in our suspect society today for sure. And so what would be some of the tips that you would give to people to consider on how to stand out how to how to get people to take the action that you need them to.

9:28 

So I think a way to really stand out among all this noise is to flip your weaknesses into strengths because what a lot of times people try to do is they try to go out in the world and promote themselves very overtly, which is funny from the hype guy to tell you know that you’re promoting yourself is the wrong approach but a lot of people times people do it inelegantly and I used to be guilty about around this. They have a certain personality, we all have things we’re insecure about. So they try to bury those things that they’re insecure about. And they try to just puff themselves up. They, they, they talk about all the great stuff they’re doing at conferences or wherever they’re traveling. They, you know, they go to, they start working at a tech company. And instead of wearing a tie, they were really expensive sneakers and a blazer to show that they’re hit right and creative. But if you look at the greatest sort of hype, artists, self promoters, even legends that we’ve seen, they figure out how to come in at an angle and it’s usually based on their insecurities because no one else has your A lot of people have your strengths. No one else has your weaknesses. So like look at Andy Warhol. Right? So Andy Warhol was a guy who always an amazing artist always could draw and paint Well, from the time he was a kid, but he grew up in the 40s. And he had everything else going against him, he was so shy, that it would probably be considered social anxiety today, he was balding at a very early age and had acne. Also, he was gay. And this was in the 40s, when being gay was illegal. And he was not a guy who could really hide this very well, it was many of the stereotypical at least at that time, you know, things that you might think of as a as a gay man. He had some of those stereotypical traits which he would eventually admit. So he could have tried to overcome that he could have tried to hide that affectation in his personality, he could have just let his hair fall out or gotten a really bad toupee. He could have just retreated from social situations or gone to Toastmasters, and tried to become a mediocre speaker instead of a terrible one. But he didn’t do that he flipped all of his strengths, his weaknesses into strengths. So instead of hiding his balding hair, he got a garish silver wig that he’s famous for. Right? That everyone knows him as it was obvious It was a wig on his shyness. So before him, the abstract expressionists were real, like manly men, that was the scene and they would talk and they would explain their art very assertively. And people would ask him, why do you paint soup cans, and he would say, because I like soup. And the press would talk about it for days, right? Um, in terms of, you know, being gay, he had a very famous crowd of people at the factory, who were trans people at a time where that was completely looked down upon drag queens. You know, all kinds of quote unquote weirdos at the time, and he’s famous for that it started the punk rock movement. So he’s a legend now. And what’s funny about him, he was a commercial illustrator before he was a fine artist, he knew how to market himself. So I would say embrace your insecurities and find that nugget of interest within them. that’s usually where your packaging will lie. That’s usually what will make you stand out.

13:34 

I’m going to have to have that be my assignment for the weekend with what’s my packaging? That’s a great challenge. So let me reverse that. How did you find your hype? And tell us what yours are?

13:50 

My weaknesses? Do you mean that I flipped into strengths? Yeah. A couple of things. Um, when I you know, I was always a very, there’s two things. I think there’s probably more than two, but I was a pretty artsy kid. Like, I always wanted to write fiction actually. Then I wanted to write songs. I played in bands, into really kind of weird music, theatrical music. And I was in a band. And, you know, we had a following and things and eventually it didn’t work out as often happens. And I got a corporate job and I tried to sort of expunge that from my life. I mean, over time, you know, I would just, I felt like to be successful in business. You know, that was then that was that part of my life. And I would dress in slacks and button down shirts, which I never was really comfortable. And I mean, just standard slacks and button down shirts, pleated khakis, or whatever, you know, I would use the corporate lingo I would go at you know, I used to talk a lot about music and art literature. When I was in the office, I never talked about that stuff. And I did fine, you know. And then when I started my own business, I, in the beginning, I would do the same kind of thing I would like show up to conferences in a suit or a meetings, I thought that was professional. And what I realized was they were hiring me for my creativity. And I was like everyone else. So I started to really embrace. I was like, You know what, I’m going to be that guy. So that sort of like, you know, weirdness that I didn’t think was business like, I started using examples. In my marketing talks from punk rock history. I started modeling my style for a middle aged man. But as like the mid 60s, Mick Jagger like even this sweater I’m wearing, he used to wear Pendleton sweaters, you know what I mean? And so and rolled up cuffs. And I was like, well, that’s something that a middle aged guy can pull off. But it’s cool. So I didn’t look at jack welch. I looked at 60s, Mick Jagger, you know, and I found that people started to really embrace that because a very few other people were doing it and be, you know, I’m 43 years old, a lot of people who are movers and shakers and hiring people, we’re also into punk bands, and grunge bands and hip hop and all of that stuff. You know, it’s not 1992. So that became part of my persona. The other thing is, I’m, I’m a people pleaser, and I used to be embarrassed about that, because all of the business people that I admired were really I, you know, I don’t know, went for what they wanted kind of gruff, no nonsense, you know, leaders and with a capital L. And I tried to play that role. And it was really tiring for me. And what I realized was that, even though people pleasing can be bad, and that sometimes you’ll avoid conflict when you need to go toward conflict at the same time. Another side of that is that I’m really, really natural at getting people who are more powerful and influential for me than me to take me under their wing. And I don’t do it in a manipulative way. It’s just that when I embrace that side of myself, so like, I am like, known as like the linchpin, like I run dinners in the city, when they’re, when their dinners to be had I, you know, I can get, I can get to anyone, you know, so, and I even have a half hype tactic about that in the book, you know, create a secret society. So I’m thinking, Oh, that Okay, so. Yeah, so anyway, so those are two examples for me.

17:46 

Yeah. Oh, that’s fantastic. And so can I love the fact that you have a great example about how to create a secret society? Can you dive a little bit more into just that that number to hype tip? Because I think that this one can be employed by anyone who is looking to have some influence.

18:07 

You know, I, if anything, this is, again, probably the one that I’m best at and have used to the most, you know, effect. Um, what hype artists do successful hype artists, is they make it look like all of their success comes from the grassroots. And I’m not talking about lying, I’m talking about what to emphasize. So you’ll see these stories of these people who are really influential online, and they have all these followers and all this buzz. And just by omission, it just sort of seems like people just found them because their stuff was so good. And they built this spontaneous grassroots following. So as a result, people try to emulate these people and they and they bust their behinds building up followings person, by person by person, and they can’t imagine why is it taking so long? Why am I so bad at this, my stuff is good, it’s taking forever. What they’re not realizing is that the most effective, whatever you want to call it, I call it hype, artists, self promoters, whatever. What they’re really doing simultaneously and even more so is they’re building strong connections with very influential people who have followings of their own, that are so strong that when they need to build a big splash, they get those people to pull strings for them. So, you know, an example from the business world is so Tucker max who wrote this book, I hope they serve beer in hell, which was certainly a book that wouldn’t have flown today. It was pretty offensive. It was just about how this guy went around in his 20s And hooked up with ladies and got drunk every night, you know, but it was this massive bestseller. And it was called flat tire, you know and people feminist hated it. And the more feminists would write articles about it or complain about it, the more books he would sell, right, so he was that guy. But you know, eventually time went on. And he got married and had a kid and didn’t want to be that guy anymore. But he still wanted to make a living. So he started a business because you know about books, which was at the time called book in a box. I think it’s now called scribe media, he changed the name. And he didn’t want to his following would have been totally different following his following for the other thing was like, young frat boys, you know, so he, um, but over the years, he had formed these deep relationships with James altucher, with Ryan Holiday with tuck with Tim Ferriss. And he was helpful to them. He did introductions for them. He was, you know, and so when he had this business, he just called them all up and said, Hey, can you put me on your podcast? And can you talk about my thing, and they all did, and a month long period, these people have million person followings. And he did like a million in revenue in three months. So hear me he was doing a million a month within three months. So yeah, it’s a really wonderful technique.

21:21 

Strategy. Yeah. And the book itself is worth trying to figure out how to like, implement that.

21:27 

Thank you.

21:29 

Can you explain what the world’s greatest propagandists, propagandists, self promoters, cult leaders, Mischief Makers, and boundary breakers all have in common?

21:44 

Yeah, it’s not one thing. It’s 12 things. So the way I wrote this book, so I had always had this outlook on marketing. From the time that I changed my approach and started becoming successful. I was a freelance copywriter after I left my job. And I wasn’t doing very well at driving, you know, clients and business. And then I thought back to my old incarnation when I was a bit of a mischief maker. Like I said, I was into punk rock I was into, you know, benevolent mischief. I always liked art that had an element of like getting attention. And I said, What if I took that approach to getting attention for myself, and instead of the other approach, so the more straight laced to pursue, I started doing that I did a couple of key things. And I started to work, right. And I was always ethical, I mean, to a fault because I didn’t leave my old job to become a con artist, but it was about adding color to the world by being a little mischievous. So that was always my mo anyway. And I was just figuring out what worked. And I got interested in the topic. But when I actually sat down to write the book, what I did was I said, Look, what if I looked at all of these unconventional figures, and I tried to find common themes. And if there were no common themes, then there’s not really a book there. There’s just certain people who are talented at hyping things up and that’s fine. But if there are common themes, then it’s reverse engineer. If that’s if that’s a term, then there’s actually a process you can follow. So I actually stole this idea from Ryan Holiday, I got a big, hard note card holder. And I every time I would write no cards from all the books and academic papers and interviews I did, and let them sit for a while. And then I would say, okay, are there commonalities and I would sort the note cards into piles. And it literally it was like 12 approaches over and over again. And one might be promoting Alice Cooper and one might be promoting Basecamp. But like, the underlying principles were the same. And it was just, this is amazing. It’s like a pattern in nature, you just human brains are responding to the same stimuli over and over and over again. So that was really the seed of the book. And it’s really helped my professional practice as well. Just having that clarity.

24:15 

Yeah, that’s, that is awesome. So this just came out in January. What is your next passion project?

24:25 

Two things I guess right now, it’s been I’ve been and I’m really pleased that you said you see it all over the place, because I’ve been going around and talking to thing off wherever I can. But yeah, you know, I make my living running a marketing agency. And we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve gotten to work with some great companies, big companies like Magento and eBay, and, you know, medium sized companies, you know, funded startups and United Methodist publishing house. However, as much as I love working with those groups and have worked with People, I really, it’s really important to me to put these tools in the hands of people doing great work on every level, I, you know, I guess the one thing that has bothered me is that on average, the bad guys and some bad ladies to come to this stuff more naturally, that’s not because the strategies are negative in themselves, it’s that they tend to see the world as a chessboard. And people as pawns, they don’t let the emotion get in the way. So it’s become really important to me to help people who are doing the best work out there, but who may not have the budget to positively think of themselves as hype artists, that that’s something that they should be doing, they should be using these strategies to bring audiences to Good idea. So I’m, I’m actually on at the time of this recording on Monday, we’re launching our first workshop for just people, just people, you know, people from who have read the book, people from the mailing list. And it’s the kind of thing where, you know, much, much lower, a much lower investment, and they work with us. And it’s sort of we call it the unitary it’s one paperwork, laboratory, one part University. So instead of us implementing the strategies, you go out and implement, and then we help you tweak and form them over a four month period. So I’ve gotten really obsessed with those kinds of projects lately.

26:30 

That is super cool, actually. And you called it a unit story.

26:34 

Yeah, the hype unit story.

26:38 

That is fantastic. I’m super curious. I want to make sure that we people know how to follow you and where they might be able to get it starts on Monday, maybe a little bit too late. But where they might find more information about that, if you open that up again, in the future.

26:51 

Yeah, so it is too late for this one. However, the way that people found out about it in the first place is that they were all members of a group called the hype book club. So I make recommendations. And you might receive them, but I make recommendations of some of the more obscure sources that that that I find. So these kind of crazy books about these crazy characters, crazy books about crowd psychology, all sorts of entertaining and helpful books that aren’t the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which is a great book, but everyone knows about that. Um, however, it’s become a bit of a community, I share other information and tips as well. And I made the announcement to that group. So yeah, if you want to hear about things like that in the future, and there will be others. It’s hype reads.com.

27:43 

Okay,

27:44 

Fantastic. I will include that in our show notes from today. Michael Schein. This has been a fantastic time together with you today.

27:53 

I appreciate your insights, and everyone should pick up their own copy of the Hype Handbook.

28:00 

Well, this was an absolute pleasure, Allison, thank you so much.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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