Do Your Research First – Lessons from the National Speakers Association Platform Rebrand and Michael Hyatt

Whenever you are looking to create something new… a logo, product, event or whatever… do your research first. Go to Google and search the name, the keyword, etc. of what you are looking to create. Check and see who is already doing it or who might be doing something similar. Then consider the implications of doing what you are looking to do IF someone else is already doing it. Can you modify your name? Can you modify your scope? Whatever you do, just don’t copy what someone else is doing… especially when it comes to their look and use.

Case in point… Michael Hyatt has spent the last several years building a brand known as PLATFORM. He wrote the New York Times bestselling book (which I helped launch), aptly titled PLATFORM, that was released in May 2012. He also has the Platform Conference, Platform University and many other “Platform” centric initiatives that have been ongoing for some time. He has clearly defined himself as the go-to “Platform” guy in the marketplace for authors, speakers and anyone else with something to say or sell.

Thanks to Mike Kim for the Image

On July 2, 1014 the National Speakers Association unveiled that they were changing their brand / name from “National Speakers Association” to… wait for it… PLATFORM. – See that post here.

But here’s the thing… it’s not that they just changed the name to PLATFORM, it’s that the branding (logo, etc) looks strikingly similar to what Michael Hyatt already has been using… for several years. Down to the similar color scheme, font, and talk bubble useage.

I’m scratching my head on this one honestly. I’d hate to think that an organization as solid as the NSA would rip off someone else’s brand, especially someone as well known and established as Michael Hyatt, but I just can’t see how they wouldn’t have known. If you Google “Platform” Michael Hyatt’s stuff is at the top of the page.

Beyond all that… On a general branding note, I’m also surprised that the National Speakers Association would change their name to something so drastically removed from their core. Removing “Speakers” was a defining keyword and niche that they excelled in. They obviously want to expand their “platform” and reach but doing so in this way was a major miscalculation, at best.

Just look at some of the responses people are posting on the National Speakers Instagram reveal… or on Michael Hyatt’s Facebook page… or on Twitter… or Mike Kim’s great post here.

Let this be a lesson for us all. Do your research first and regardless of trademark issues… there is the court of public opinion which will ultimately make or break the brand, especially when they are in a similar marketplace. You need to consider that.

And… if you do run up against something like this, respond quickly and address the issue. If you were wrong, apologize and admit it. If it was a mistake, do the same. If you feel you are correct, blaze your trail but be willing to endure the consequences (good or bad). Either way, don’t remain silent. Silence creates a void that negativity often fills.

For the sake of the NSA, I hope they issue a response soon, do the right thing and avoid any further negative backlash. They are a great group and have impacted many in a positive way. I hope they land on the side of integrity here.

Live Intentionally – The Decker Family Creed and How to Create Your Own

Note: Several people have asked me how to create a Family Creed like what I did for my family. Below is some background on the creed along with 5 simple steps you can take to create your own.

What we think about matters.

Our thoughts can build us up or tear us down. That’s why we must be intentional with what we think about. And being intentional starts with a choice.

A while back I ran across an article that talked about the significance of creating a Family Creed. A creed is basically a “system or statement of principles and beliefs.” It could also be considered sort of like a mission statement or series of statements that serve as a guide for how you want your family to live.

Author Steven Covey said…

Family Creed’s are important because they help your family to create a vision. Without a vision or a destination in mind of the future, you run the risk of letting life just happen, of getting swept along with the flow of society’s values and trends without having any real sense of intentionality or purpose.

Family creeds help you as a family to decide what kind of family you really want to be and identify the principles that will help you get there.

I want my family to be intentional and

I’m a Proud Freak (And You Could Be Too)

I just bought 8 copies of Chris Brogan’s new book (and I think you should pick up a copy too).

Why did I buy 8? It’s not just because Chris is a friend, which he is. And it’s not just because I personally find the book of great value, which I do.

It’s because I have friends. Friends who I care about. Friends who have ideas and passions but are struggling with how to turn them into realities. Friends who could use a framework or a little extra nudge on making their passions into a viable business (or nonprofit or whatever).

So, I decided that simply reading the book wasn’t enough. I wanted to take a few copies and physically put them in the hands of others.

I’ll be honest though, when I first saw the title of the book I was a bit… well, curious.

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth:
Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

I didn’t consider myself (or my friends, with several exceptions) to be a freak or a weirdo really, although some might say otherwise. But as I read on I quickly realized where Chris was going and knew exactly why this book would be perfect for many and revolutionize a lot of people’s thinking (and more importantly, their doing).

So, what is a Freak you ask?

I’ll let Chris tell you himself… taken from his blog:

In the parlance of this book, a freak is someone obsessed with excellence and a deep understanding of their domain. Marc Ecko is a freak about design and apparel and deep level brand-making with meaning (interviewed in this book). Tony Hawk is a freak about skateboarding and the community around it (interviewed in this book). Kate White is a freak about women’s success plus a mystery novelist and so much more (interviewed in this book). Sam Calagione is a freak about beer making and music (interviewed in this book). In short, I talk to people who are passionate about something the average person might not be, at least not to their level, and have gone one to make success from it.

What does the book talk about?

Again, copied from Chris’ blog:

It’s not a book of high and mighty ideas. It’s a book of action. Where do you start? How do you go from being a misfit to being a misfit who makes a living being a misfit (like AJ and Melissa Leon). How do you turn your passions into something that fuels your passion to travel the world like Chris Guillebeau? How do you learn what it takes to grow your ideas into something sustainable? And what tools will you need along the way?

The personal business revolution is upon us. Here’s your recipe book for starting your revolutionary business, including some of what you will learn:

  • How to be as weird as you want while providing a viable business structure to support it
  • What most people are missing from the basic frameworks of doing business
  • How to turn passions into businesses
  • How to build out the Digital Channel
  • What Kickstarter and Square mean for the future of business)

Take the plunge. Learn to fail and then win. Dare to do something that “everyone else” doesn’t. The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth will help.

I’m a #ProudFreak and I hope that you will become one too!


The Four Letter Word Your Boss or Client Hates to Hear… and That Is Holding You Back

When we are hired for something, whether it be as an employee or freelancer, we’re expected to perform a function… i.e. a job. This means that in order to keep your job (and get paid) you must be providing value to justify your position. It’s just how things work, right?

But, that’s just the minimum that occurs to get by.

For anyone who wants more… to move up, get more responsibility or more opportunity… they must be willing to do more too.

You’ll never achieve more if you aren’t willing to do more. [Tweet That]

One of the things that stops many from achieving more and robs them of their potential is a simple four letter word. It’s the word that your boss or client hates to hear and that is likely holding you back.


Sometimes we say it outright, “I can’t…” or “We can’t.” Other times it masquerades in the form of other responses, or excuses, that we give. Responses that are lacking in vision, optimism, or drive. If we’re honest, sometimes saying we can’t is just easier (because doing more requires working more). Other times we’re just blind to what can be because we’ve let our own Curse of Knowledge settle in.

When your boss is looking for something she doesn’t want to hear CAN’T. At least she doesn’t want to hear that without an alternative idea to accomplish the goal. She wants solution seekers, people who are willing to find a way. She wants her ideas to become a reality and for you to help make it so.

Now, don’t get me wrong… there are some requests that are simply illogical or not doable with the resources at hand but instead of saying that it can’t be done, try to reframe your response with a possible solution. “Boss, we can’t do ___ but I think we could achieve a similar result IF we did ___ instead.”

Always try to respond with a solution mindset. Always.

And, be proactive too. Don’t just wait for your boss or client to ask you for something, look for ways to contribute without being asked. What ideas do you have that you can share? How can you help move the organization or project forward in creative ways? How can you ADD more value than what you are simply expected to provide?

The same thing goes for your life. Whatever it is that you want to achieve may seem impossible but here’s the thing…

It will always appear impossible if you keep looking at it that way. [Tweet That]

When you shift your perspective from CAN’T Sayer to Solution Seeker, possibilities become visible. Instead of being blocked by obstacles and what you think you can’t do, you see differently and are able to find a way.


Vision Without Execution is a Hallucination

I believe it was said by Albert Einstein but I also saw (via Google) it attributed to Thomas Edison…

Vision Without Execution is a Hallucination [Tweet That]

Either way, it’s a great quote and a prime example of ideas alone just not being good enough. Lots of people have a vision or a dream but only a few actually wake up and pursue it with action and execution.

Some people have great ideas but they never act. They talk it to death (I’ve done it too). They say they are “planning” it out but in reality they are just using the word “planning” in place of procrastination due to the fears of “what if.” What if it fails? What if it’s not perfect? What if I have no Earthly idea of what to do next?

Other times its that we just let the busyness of life get in the way.

I think of Billy the Big Mouth Bass. You’ve seen it. A few years ago they were plastered at the front of every toy store in America. An Elvis singing rubber fish attached to a wall mount piece of wood.


Now that was a vision that some may have thought was more a hallucination but it was something someone saw and executed all the way to the bank.

It’s not always the best ideas that win. It’s the ideas that someone has the courage to pursue that make it.

Today, be encouraged to execute on your vision. Stop talking about it and start doing it. You don’t have to do everything now but just do something to start moving from idea to reality.


How to Get What You Want: Stop Saying No for Other People

You know what one of the biggest limiting factors of success is?

Ourselves. Our self-doubt, our fear.

It paralyzes many of us and leaves us stuck. I’ve been there many times myself. We all struggle with it.

The fear of rejection is one of those fears that stops many of us from getting what we really want… simply because we’re afraid to ask for it.

  • He’s too busy.
  • She’d never date someone like me.
  • Who am I? Why would they say yes to little ole me?

These are just a few of the lies we tell ourselves. Lies that are really just excuses to help us avoid that fear of being rejected.

But here’s the thing…

You’ll Never Get What You Want Unless You Ask [Tweet That]

I remember several years ago when I was first starting out in my business… there was a big-time leader / influencer that I wanted to be a part of a project I was working on. I debated about it for a few days and remember thinking, “Why even bother, I’m sure he’s too busy or wouldn’t do it because I can’t pay a fee.” I almost moved on but decided I would reach out anyways. After all, the worst he could say to my request was NO, right? I finally pulled the trigger by sending an email and making a phone call. To my surprise, he responded within hours saying that he would love to help. Fast forward and that influencer and I are now good friends and have done several other projects together but… none of that would have happened had I let my fear of rejection say NO for him without asking and giving him the chance to speak (and actually say yes).

What about you? What do you want that you haven’t asked for yet? What possible rejection are you letting fear make you avoid? Who are you saying NO for without even giving them a chance to say it themselves (because they might surprise you with a YES)?

Maybe you want:

  • to have someone endorse your book.
  • to interview someone for your blog, podcast or newsletter.
  • to ask someone on a date.
  • to get some advice from someone.
  • to get X company to sponsor your event, nonprofit or initiative.
  • to be interviewed on someone’s podcast, show, etc.
  • to gain more visibility and share a guest post or article on someone else’s blog.

Just ask.

They could say no but then again… they might say YES!