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Personal Branding - WDC2010

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A presentation by John O'Nolan at WDC2010 in Bristol. Personal Branding: The Ultimate Path to Fame, Wealth and Success.

A presentation by John O'Nolan at WDC2010 in Bristol. Personal Branding: The Ultimate Path to Fame, Wealth and Success.

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  • Pleasure to be here - thanks Alex - how many designers / developers / students - red bull

  • could work equally well as
  • So what are we talking about when it comes to personal branding?
  • How many of you know ALL these people / most / at least one. What do they have in common?
  • Dirty word which has become main stream - convoluted culture surrounding them - we go through 5 stages with web celebs:



  • Stage 3 is important, great things are born here - how many have heard of ExplicitWeb?
  • key moment, put them on a pedestal, knocked them off, and finally come back to earth
  • But before we go any further, let’s talk about what personal branding is NOT
  • While researching good slide design, came across another presentation on personal branding, this was the opening slide:
  • FAIL. Supposedly credible, cited the following words as key to personal branding
  • None of this matters, no one cares how many followers, 2 words come to mind:
  • Too many misconceptions about what matters when it comes to online branding in general, Gary Vaynerchuk said it best:


  • Left shit company, started company brand because that’s how branding works, right? But didn’t just want yet another unknown web design agency, knew other people in same position.
  • Not just to help, but to leave something behind for the people who come after you. Chuk Palahniuk said:

  • Started out as almost a diary, very personal, quickly grew with competitions and interviews
  • Started getting more followers, more RSS, more comments, started getting a lot of good feedback and referrals for work.
  • Personal website getting more traffic than company website, so redesigned it and built it up. Suddenly looking at thousands of followers, not hundreds.
  • Realised that people appreciated what I was doing, wanted to expose that to a greater audience, approached web design blogs.

  • Pattern emerging, so killed company site
  • After this, I started getting asked one question in particular:
  • lolwut? I’ve only just started, I have no idea what I’m doing - but it got me thinking:
  • Let’s come back to our original list of celebs:
  • How many of you know ALL these people / most / at least one. What do they have in common?
  • 3 key elements which all people with successful personal brands have





  • But there’s one important thing to remember:

  • Without a network you are just an artist.
  • Without a personality you are just a business.
  • Without a skill you are just a douchebag.
  • If you have all 3, you have a personal brand. But, one more thing:

  • The secret ingredient outside of the 3 main elements is:
  • Nobody is interested in getting to know someone false, everyone has quirks and flaws which make them interesting. Imperfections in personal branding are key. Everyone GETS IT WRONG sometimes:
  • So where’s my fame wealth and success?
  • There’s some bad news here:
  • But there’s also some good news:
  • and some even better news:
  • Do not give up in what you believe in, do not stop trying, do not let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do.