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Conversation With Hugh MacLeod

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I just got off the phone (well, Skype) with Hugh MacLeod. This morning he posted his Skype
handle
to his blog and is taking calls. I had only just added his handle to my contact list when the laptop rang and there he was. Cool. (actually, I was gonna finish my coffee first to make sure my brain was firing, but it was fine. He's an easy guy to talk to.)

For those of you who don't know what the hell I'm talking about, Skype lets you make free phone calls from your computer. You should go get it right now (yes, really, there'll be a test later). Hugh is an artist (he might deny that) and marketing genius who's been at the front lines of blogging and web 2.0 since before the hype. He's also one of the people that has managed to make blogging a viable business model in ways that are more interesting and useful than the paid advertising model. What initially brought him an audience are his amazingly true and funny cartoons on the back of business cards, a series of incisive posts on how to be creative and his concept of the global microbrand.

So, was it good for me? Hell yeah, hope it was also good for Hugh. The skype call was cool because it made it easier to talk about some of the "off the record" stuff that I've long wondered. Sometimes voice can be a lot more human than typing… in fact, probably most of the time. There's no editing. So now I know a few "secrets," which is fun. And I had an opportunity to talk about some of the ideas we share without having to lay it all out online, which can be a good thing. Besides, he said nice things about what I've accomplished and hell, it's always nice to hear praise from someone whose work you admire.

I love being able to put a voice to someone whose work I've been following for so long, and who I feel like I've come to know pretty well over the last couple years through comments and emails. Hugh was pretty much the guy who inspired me to take blogging seriously as a way to increase the market for my art and design and it has seriously paid off. The global microbrand concept has worked well for me. Although I haven't yet quite reached the level of fame and fortune that his projects have, I'm making a living doing what I want and I'm able to make that happen from pretty much the dead center of nowhere…

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Traditionally, artists need NYC or LA if they're gonna make it, and most of them don't make it. I mean, hey, the market is a lot larger in a major city, but compared to the entire world? And I seem to be able to reach the world just fine from here. So yeah, I feel like it's been a good ride and I think it's only gonna get better.

 

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I love that one. It really doesn't describe most of my experiences in the blogosphere, but it does crack me up. Hugh is one of the glaring exceptions to the cartoon… Opinionated? Rough? Scathing? Sure. But he does actually give a shit about people. He's always been approachable, which I think has been one of the keys to success for bloggers who make it. And yeah, although we don't always agree, I think on the whole we see the worl in a pretty similar fashion. Anyway, I guess the point here is that if you have something to say, or are doing something interesting, most of the big names will take the time to check it out. And those who don't? Don't let it get you down… just refer to the above cartoon.

 

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So here's the deal. If you've been reading this blog (or my other blogs) and you feel like you have something to discuss, or hell, even if you just wanna shoot the shit about any of the topics I cover, etc. go download Skype and give me a buzz. Add johntunger to your contact list and click the button. I haven't yet activate the voicemail feature, so if you don't get through the first time you can always reach me by email or regular phone too. I've made a lot of good friends in the last couple years through blogging, and really, it's always cool to know more about who your readers are. If people tell me what they like best, or don't like as much, etc., it makes it much easier to improve the blog.

I'm always interested in hearing what people have to say and finding ways to make my work better for them. A lot of my best work has been custom stuff that I did based on the input of clients… I see it as a collaboration, and I enjoy the process of adapting other peoples idea to my own vision. It's a cool challenge that seems to help everyone feel more involved and engaged (including me). Rock on.

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