The Hype Handbook: Influence & Persuade for Positive Purposes with Michael F Schein #051

Show Notes:

My guest today is Michael F Schein. Michael is the head man at Micro Fame Media, a company that specializes in making consultants and coaches famous in their fields. Some of his clients have included eBay Magento, the Medici group, LinkedIn, and Citrix.

His writing has appeared in Fortune, Forbes, Inc, Psychology Today and the Huffington Post. And here’s a speaker for international audiences spanning from the north-eastern United States to the south-eastern coast of China. His book, “The Hype Handbook, 12 indispensable success secrets from the world’s greatest propagandists, self promoters, cult leaders, Mischief Makers, and boundary breakers” is out now.

Topics explored:

  • How promoting his band in his 20s taught him key lessons in positive Hype; much of which wouldn’t quite fly today
  • The chasm of difference between standard marketing and hype
  • Hype: a set of activities that gets large number of people really emotional
  • 1st Key Principle: Don’t be afraid to pick a fight
  • We define ourselves by our tribes, by what we’re against
  • Anti-Hustle Culture: Getting under Gary Vee’s skin
  • Punk rock mischief got far better results
  • Polarising with playfulness and irreverence
  • In a boring field: The Basecamp Example
  • What is the point of view held by the majority of your field, that annoys you deeply?
  • The power of differentiation
  • Do hype experiments with skin in the game
  • Develop a hype hypothesis
  • Create a secret society
  • The blur between negotiation, persuasion and hype
  • Connect with people on a human level, not cold professionalism


Al McBride 0:04
Welcome to the dealing with Goliath podcast. The mission of dealing with Goliath is the sharpen the psychological edge and negotiation and high impact conversations for business leaders with skin in the game, who want to be more effective under pressure, uncover hidden value, and increase profitability and opportunities. With expert guests across the business spectrum. We deliver gems of wisdom, delving into their methods, their thinking and approach to problem solving, life, business and many other things. This is the grand a cup of insight, long form podcast interview, where we take a little bit more time to dive deeper into our guests experiences, stories, principles, and to get those prices nuggets for you.

Al McBride 0:46
I’m your host Al McBride and my guest today is Michael F Schein. Michael is the head man had hoped man at micro fame media, a company that specializes in making consultants and coaches famous in their fields. Some of his clients have included eBay Magento, the medici group, the University of Pennsylvania Gordon College, University of California, Irvine, United Methodist publishing house, Ricoh, LinkedIn, and Citrix. His writing has appeared in fortune, Forbes, Inc, Psychology Today and the Huffington Post. And here’s a speaker for international audiences spanning from the northeastern United States to the southeastern coast of China. His book, The Hype Handbook, 12, indispensable success secrets from the world’s greatest propagandists, self promoters, cult leaders, Mischief Makers, and boundary breakers. It’s published by McGraw Hill, and appears where books are sold. And as someone who’s just read the book recently and enjoyed it thoroughly I can’t recommend it enough. Welcome to the show, Mike great to have you on

Michael F Schein 1:56
thanks, Al and thank you so much for your kind words about the book that means a lot.

Al McBride 2:01
Ya no problem, what inspired you to write it? I mean, there’s a lot in there that there’s we’ll get into some of that content so those nuggets in there but what what made you think, you know, I have to spend hundreds of hours to create this thing for you.

Michael F Schein 2:17
Well, like any other big project, and this was a big project, you know, it’s not a short story. Free I mean, this this in a loss is the culmination of a lot of years of my work as as in many different fields. I mean, in some ways, I threw everything I knew into this book. So I mean, it should be said that I was a writer first, I never wanted to be involved in business. I know most A lot of people don’t want to be involved in business. I was allergic to the idea of business.

Michael F Schein 2:48
I mean, when I was five, six years old, I wanted to write novels. I mean, that early, I saw myself as an artsy kind of person. And over time, I also got into music and I think that I was always really interested in artists who weren’t pure artists, where where the hype was part of the art so like, when it came to music, I don’t I wasn’t really big on the singer songwriters in the denim, you know, I was into Bowie and Devo and Alice Cooper and the punk you know, the Sex Pistols and bands and artists who the actual stirring the pot and stirring up attention was as much a part of the art as the songs and similarly to literature and movies and things. I loved Quentin Tarantino, and I was a kid, you know, and stuff like that. And so I sort of had that that inclination. And over time, I tried to tried my hand at at music, and I had a band in New York when I was in my early 20s, that we certainly didn’t succeed. But we did I think better than most people thought we would do, considering I was a pretty mediocre guitar player and singer and you

Al McBride 3:55
did and that use of stories and some of the lessons you learned and cuz you Yeah, you might have made the charts or like super big Stadium, rock or anything, but you went further than on reflection you might have done otherwise. But yeah, what were some of the lessons that you learned from that?

Michael F Schein 4:15
Well, so that was the beginning of my hype journey. I mean, I certainly never would have used the word marketing to describe what we did. But, you know, we, there’s this band in the Lower East Side of Manhattan called Arlene’s Grocery, which has subsequently become really quite quite legendary and that the strokes got their start there and some of those kind of bands, and we used to sell it out pretty regularly. We had a residency there. And the way we do it, we would always get together and say, how are we going to hype up this show? So one thing we did was, this was something that wouldn’t have flown today, but we put up posters all over town that said, Dave Matthews must die.

Michael F Schein 4:56
You know, we hated those hippie kind of bands. And what you We put that up. So that got attention. We had a song called Ash Wednesday, so I would dress like a nun both on stage and walking around, you know, and handing out flyers, and we would do things like this. And so um, yeah, you know, as these things do, it’s sort of it. Oh, the other, I think legendary thing that we did legends in our own minds. But we talked our way on to Showtime at the Apollo, I don’t know, in the UK, how famous that show is, but it’s at the famous Apollo Theater. But there’s one night a week and it was on TV that they would pick certain amateurs to go on. And sometimes very famous people were discovered, I think maybe the Jackson Five might have done it, but they always have people on there who get booed off. And they really boo you off the audience. So we knew we would get booed off, but we somehow worked our way onto this show, you know, and did this ridiculous song and people booed us off and we got like, we got in the front page of the New York press for doing that.

Michael F Schein 5:55
So we always knew how to sort of do this kind of stuff. Um, so that was the beginning of my interest in hype. And this story goes on and on, I can tell as much or as little as you want, but it really started to inform. When I finally got into the professional world, I was in a corporation for a while and I just kind of became your, my year that I was there more normal guy who believed in normal corporate things. And when I eventually went off on my own to start a freelance writing business, I didn’t do very well at getting customers even though you know, I can write pretty well, I’ve always been known to but I was kind of marketing instead of hyping things up I had kind of morphed into the idea that you needed to learn SEO and this and that, yeah, gone. I’m sorry.

Al McBride 6:41
No, no, no, I was just like, that’s a brilliant description there that you see a huge difference. chasm of a difference between what we’re talking about hype and standard marketing, and you’re referring to marketing as these sort of systems and SEO and all that sort of stuff. How would you explain hype them to someone? Because a lot of people out there, you mentioned this, you go into this quite a lot in the book that might cause a lot of negative connotation. So talk us through that.

Michael F Schein 7:09
Yeah, I dream of a day where marketing has negative connotations and hype is considered a good thing because you’re paying it used to mean one thing, but what it really means I think, to most people is tactics. First, if only I can learn how clubhouse works, or how podcasting works, or how blogging works or how Tick Tock works, all my dreams will come true. And I don’t you know that I see hype, people think of that as a negative. And traditionally it has been it was this concept that you were blowing a lot of smoke around things that weren’t valuable. But you know, in hip hop, hype is considered a positive, it’s considered, you know, getting people to pay attention to your stuff, because in the early days, hip hop was an outsider sort of art form.

Michael F Schein 7:53
So I define hype as any activity or set of activities that get large numbers of people really emotional, so that they’ll move in a certain direction that you want them to go and you know, those tactics that you use or strategies to hype things up can be used for ill and they often are because a lot of times the people who get this stuff naturally are people who don’t let emotions get in the way they don’t let rules get in the way, but they can also be used for a lot of positive and have but hype itself is simply neutral. It’s this is the way human beings process reality in groups and this is what you do to get them emotional based on that reality and you can use it for good or bad and I think people have been hyping things for years marketing is fairly new. It was when I got that distinction that everything changed I just want to say when I was trying to look at myself I fail Yeah, and when I switched over to learning from my past and hyping things up my business started to do really well so that was where the book ultimately came from.

Al McBride 8:57
So I mean you have some great points in the book you have as I said that the 12 key ones and are the ones that people talk to you the most about like which are the ones you get the most pushback from an audience or from a reader are there a few that are particularly more cuz I mean I felt some of them are like yeah this is like a you definitely caused an emotional reaction I wasn’t bored somebody was like yeah right on thinking Oh, that’s a bit edgy. I just wonder which ones before

Michael F Schein 9:29
which one bothered you I’m curious I actually let me take a look at offers like what do you say

Al McBride 9:34
No, I was just gonna say like like there are quite a few like this I even from the start you start strong with the idea of picking a fight and that’s a really interesting one I mean, I got it you know, I’m a you know, I completely understand the word of, of having a new point of view is very important. Not being shy about the new point of view. And then often that unique point of view can do really well, if it’s in opposition to what most people think. Right or contrary and point of view. It’s interesting how much conflict would you advise, like when you’re talking to clients, how much conflict would you advise that they opened themselves up

Michael F Schein 10:18
to? Yeah, um, I think it’s really interesting that you pick that as the one because that’s the one that people say it, you know, was the one, I was gonna say, I mean, people have a problem with that one, it’s the first type strategy in the book, because in many ways, it’s the most important. So the strategy is make worn out love. And what that basically mean is that human beings are much more driven by being against something they than they are for being for something. And what I think is really anything about this is you get to the heart of the matter, a lot of times we decide what we think is true based on what we want to be true, and how we think the world ought to be, rather than how it is we’d all we’d all love to live in a world where most of us were where everyone was friends and everyone, you know, if you just put a great idea out there, people would see how wonderful the idea was, or the product was and just come to it and you just have to lay out your your argument logically enough and you know this from negotiation, right. And logic has very little to do with it.

Michael F Schein 11:21
So I’m not saying be a troll, right? I’m not saying go out and insult people that can get you a it’s not ethical in a lot of cases and be it’s, it’s a horrible way to live your life. And now you can get with social media in a lot of hot water doing that course, what I’m saying is that, so so so it’s funny, I got to do some really fun, sort of anthropological sort of research as a result of this book. And I found this one really interesting story about this anthropologist, Curtis Marion. He did it, he found this alcove in South Africa, on the coast of South Africa. And it’s pretty certain that that’s where every ancestor of every human being today alive is, is from, because there was this big climate change event and most human beings, Homo sapiens died, you know, on the savanna. And this one small group of human beings, we almost went extinct, ironically, because now there’s 8 billion people on the earth but and we make everyone else go extinct.

Michael F Schein 12:30
But at the time, we almost went extinct. And there’s really strong evidence that a small group of human beings, African human beings, of course, because everyone was African, went to the coast of South Africa. And there was this area that was very, very dense in shellfish, you know, oysters and things like that. So shellfish are very high in calorie, they’re very nutritious. And you don’t have to do a lot of work to get them compared to hunting, or finding plants that are edible. And so the only thing keeping people from eating this food was other people. So all of these people were genetically the same. It was a small group of African people from the same Savanna. But the hypothesis and it’s very close to a theory now is that those human beings who were very good at cooperating with people, they perceived it to be like that perceived being the key term, and drive out and hate people they perceived not to be like them. We’re the ones that survived and passed on their genes. And we’re all descended from these people. So what does that mean?

Michael F Schein 13:36
It means that we create these arbitrary tribal designations, right? I mean, I’m in our country, I’m a Republican, I’m a Democrat, I’m an American, I’m British, you know, I’m a Beatles fan. You know, I’m a man united fan, I’m an arsenal, fan, whatever. And we, we define ourselves by what we’re up against, and so causes racism. That’s what causes all of these horrible things. But at the same token, if you know that this is a function of reality, and hype artists do, you can use it in ethical ways. So you don’t have to pick a fight with a person, you can pick a fight with an idea, right? So the company Basecamp, which was a project manager is a project management tool, they picked a fight with the idea that work needs a corporate work needs to be a 70 hour a week complex workaholic affair. And they had a product that was very, very simple, it only does five things, there’s a project management tool or whatever it is. So they could have gone out there and said, use our project management tool. It’s very, very simple, and they would have sold some stuff. But instead they said, We are against modern work culture, and they have this tribe around them that just so happens to use their their software as a mechanism to getting where they want to be and there’s a level of dedication for that company that you just don’t see for Salesforce.

Al McBride 14:57
It’s a very good point and the You remind me of your example as well of Apple, of course adopting the same that it’s not a better computer. It’s a whole lifestyle that appreciates design and creativity, which I know you mentioned Simon Sinek a few times. I want

Michael F Schein 15:15
to say something funny about Apple, that I didn’t say in the book, I used to work at this place called the Brooklyn writers base, which you had to be a quote unquote, serious writer to work there and a lot of really great writers are there. But if you know anything about brownstone, Brooklyn, it’s a very liberal, crunchy kind of place. So I would work in this, right, and these are writers so I’d work in this place, I have a lot of friends from there. So this is not against anyone I fall into this camp, I’m sure. But you know, the women don’t wear a lot of makeup.

Michael F Schein 15:44
Most 98% of people, if not 100 are Democrats, people go to the food Co Op, you know, and they’re not into brands, they’re very anti commercial, anti capitalist. And you would go into the writing room, and there were zero PCs, 100% apples. So these were anti brand people who bought the more expensive computer to show that they were anti brand people because that’s what Apple is. It’s the now Apple was, at one point, the most valuable company in the world. They are a massive multinational corporation. But somehow they’ve done such a good job of defining themselves as the anti corporate PC, the anti business computer, that a bunch of people who think of themselves as anit commericalist are forced to have computer, which costs twice the amount of the other computer to show that they’re part of that tried.

Al McBride 16:33
I mean, they even had it in one of their earliest most famous ads, didn’t they? So 98 1984, remember, yeah, throw the hammer and all the amazing stuff. Tell us about your own little adventure there when you decided to pick a fairly friendly fight by the sounds were put usually stood in opposition to some of the thinking and the preaching. Let’s be honest, that’s what you probably call it of Gary Vaynerchuk or Gary Vee, as he’s widely known. Talk us through that. Yeah. Tell us more about that.

Michael F Schein 17:07
Well, yeah, this has been my minor claim to fame on this earth that I picked a fight with Gary Vee, you know, um, you know, for those of the audience who don’t know, I mean, Gary Vaynerchuk, started with Wine Library TV, which was an amazing company and Wine Library, where he created all kinds of content, and he sold wine online. And this by being very authentic about who he was, you know, and that kind of brash personality. And then he did so well with that marketing and online that he positioned himself as an internet guru. And he did very well with that. And he would regularly do these talks where he would, the message I just kept hearing over and over, especially 10 years ago with hustle, hustle, hustle. So most of his audience was young men, and aspiring entrepreneurs. aspiring being the key word. And he would constantly tell them that if you’re not working 24, seven doing social media tweeting at the time, then you’re going to fail, you know, so he said, Is this a show that you can curse on? Or no, I was gonna quote Gary Vee, see, like, Yeah, no,

Al McBride 18:12
it’s fine. So he

Michael F Schein 18:13
I remember one time his funniest one, he said, I get up at three in the morning, and I go and take a shit and I’m tweeting while I take a shit. Like, that’s how you can’t take a shit in peace or read a magazine, you have to be tweeting about your business while you know. And I was I was a nobody. This was when I was really struggling, I was still trying to market myself. And I would see this stuff and it annoyed me. I mean, I’ll be frank, you know, I really have a lot of respect for him as a business person, but I would see him giving this advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, of which I was one and I was working like a dog. And I was like, you know, this brute force approach is really doesn’t work. You know, I’ve tried it, it doesn’t work. And now I started building, you know, creating a systematic approach to recopy.

Michael F Schein 19:01
That’s what I did in the beginning, not what I do now. And I was like, that’s what people should be learning and I would say is that I have a feeling that Gary Vaynerchuk all of this preaching is helping him not helping his fans because when he gets people, you know, the moonies get people to work 60 hours a week on behalf of the cause, because it creates a bond. So I wrote an article that basically said, Gary Vaynerchuk, is wrong about this, and that if you want to be successful, or follow what he does, don’t follow his advice. And so he saw this article and I cannot convey to you how much of a nobody I was at this time. This was like a decade more than a decade ago, 12 years ago. 11 years ago, he made a video and he started calling me by name, and it was an ink v article.

Michael F Schein 19:50
And he started out very nice, and by the end, I guess, I really got under his skin because he became here and I showed it to a friend. What is this? Like this guy is really agitated, like, why is he sweating? You know, like, why is he like talking about how much money he has? You know, and so, but he’s he, yeah, so he’s a massive star. And his fans are like cult members. So they all started blowing up my twitter at the time talking about how I was an idiot, and I was lazy and all this and I would and at the time, I hadn’t really formulated this theory of hype. So I was like, I think my career is over. Like, I just pissed off this guy, you know, this giant. And it was the end of my career, it turned out there were all these other people who felt like I did, they were anti hustle culture. And they didn’t have a leader. So I that was the beginning. I mean, now I have, you know, I have my own following. And I have a book and I’m published by McGraw Hill, and I have a successful business. And I can track all of that back to this to this moment to this article.

Al McBride 20:51
So the moment you took a stand and pushed back, you’re polarize. And as you said, You was one of a better word, you picked a fight. And it all started from there so

Michael F Schein 21:02
well, and that was also the moment that I shifted from marketing to hype. I mean, it was kind of a punk rock thing to do to do that, you know, I kind of borrowed that, like, the Sex Pistols used to pick fights. And I was like, I should just pick a fight with this guy. And when that worked, when I was unprofessional, and it worked that and then I started saying, Why am I trying to market when I was so successful hyping myself up, so I started to get much more benevolently mischievious in all of my promotional stuff. So it wasn’t so much the danger check article, it was that that really changed my mindset. You asked in the beginning, what how I journey to write that book, The journey with that with that article.

Al McBride 21:44
Awesome. Also, it sounds like there’s an awful lot of creativity and playfulness with a lot of I know you mentioned, mischievous, who knows that same sort of, yeah. You know, Bart Simpson type, I think, and he reminded me of wiping. So he reminded me that when you were talking, you know about sort of Shep Gordon and some of his adventures. For those who don’t know, Shep Gordon, you know, he was a music manager and an agent. And, you know, you tell the Alice Cooper story in London, which was quite brilliant. And I mean, just to tell that one very quickly, you know, Alice Cooper sort of rock band, fairly big in the States, not a great following in the UK. And, you know, he hypes them up by having a very controversial photo of Alice, like over himself, and just a boa constrictor, covering his his private regions.

Al McBride 22:41
The truck with the billboard breaks down in inverted commas, in the middle of wherever it was Piccadilly square centre of London at rush hour, and of course, all the tabloids and he was ringing people saying, Oh, this is a disgrace, and just starting all the hype, they took on a life of its own, they even talked about it in Parliament, should they be banned from Britain, you know, perverting the minds of our youth and all this. And as you said, so we picked a fight, so to speak with the conservative parents of Britain, so that the kids would go, this is great. This is for us. It’s not for our parents and it’s rambling. So I know there’s a certain kind of playful and benevolent about data in the in reflection, certainly. When you’re advising clients, or you’re advising people listening to this, what would you because we’re talking about polarization, we’re talking about taking a stand unique point of view? Is it that kind of thing, we’re just find things that irritate you that you deep down believe to be wrong or incorrect, or only correct. And how Yeah, suggesting, sir.

Michael F Schein 23:51
No, I mean, remember, this is this is only one of 12 hype strategies. But there’s a lot to say here. One is that you really hit the nail on the head. And in a lot of interviews, I do people don’t bring up the playfulness part, they just think of it a lot is like, Oh, this is a way to promote yourself. But you know, people think of hype as negative. I think hype is playful. I’ve always been interested in art, where the benevolent mischief was as much a part of the art as the art itself. And I think the same can be true in business. I think that if you’re following the herd and marketing yourself, just like everyone else does, you’re never inevitably unless you’re very, very lucky than to get swallowed up and have very incremental growth, if any, right?

Michael F Schein 24:45
But if you approach things with a spirit of let’s just see if this happens actually named Richard gray, a grading with us and says that when he decides what he’s going to do in a great height, man, he says, I say why The fuck that’s what he says, you know, if he doesn’t have that feeling of what the fuck, he’s not gonna do it. So I think that embracing that spirit of play and irreverence, not not maliciousness not lying, in fact, never lie. But being irreverent, I think is a really great way to approach things in regards to that actual strategy, which is a very powerful strategy, you know, we use all these examples like Alice Cooper, and this and that, which are, a lot of people always say, Well, I’m not Alice Cooper, I’m an I own an insurance adjusting business, you know, or sheetmetal, business or whatever, right. And the concept is, I use those examples to illustrate a point because those people tend to be better at hype.

Michael F Schein 25:48
But these are pure cycle mass psychology principles, they can be reapplied to anything. So if I’m, and I use business examples in the book like Basecamp, in a project management is a very boring field, right? So what I would do is there are two questions I always ask my clients, I say to them, what is a point of view held by the majority of people in your industry that you just heared time and time again, like golf, that actually annoys you, that you really think is misguided? You know, I mean, it might be something like in the innovation, consulting space, which I have clients in all years, disruption happens, disruption, you have to be careful about disruption, you need to disrupt. If you think about it, there’s an argument to be made that disruption doesn’t really happen that frequently, you know, so. So in other words, what’s the point of view? That’s just gospel? And then the other thing is, what’s the point of view that you are 100%? confident is the truth, not 98% 100%? that many of the people that you encounter in your field don’t agree with? And if you can answer those questions, and build sort of a communications strategy around that, you’ll go pretty far. Because if you don’t feel differently than everyone else, why are you even in business, honestly,

Al McBride 27:08
is a great point. I mean, this is something that when I’m setting up helping clients with negotiations, and this is regardless of whether they’re, you know, 20 grand a deal, or 100 million a deal, what you see is, and this is something that people to do that the top deals were selling, just telling me in London, they’re just a few weeks ago, is that the other side are always trying to commoditize what you do so they can compare and say, well, that crowd will give it right, same thing for this price. And my whole thing is, you always need to know exactly how you’re different and need to be explained it very, very quickly and very concisely, but truthfully, impactfully, you know, so it’s exactly that you’re talking about differentiation. So how are you?

Michael F Schein 27:56
I, I, my company, microfoam. Media, I guess you could say that our competitors are in the marketing space and marketing agency. So you know, we all have the same, and we work with companies, and we want to try to make them well known so that they get clients. And what people will say to me is, well, this in this marketing company, they’re going to give me a website, six articles a week, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, for this fee. And what I’ll say to them is, that’s great. That’s because they’re a marketing agency, and you should go for them. In fact, we’ll give you zero articles. In fact, we’re not going to even do the work you are. And they’re like, What do you mean, I said, My goal is to weave hype through every fiber of your DNA, we’re going to train you on the hype principles, we’re going to set up the experiments with you, I’m going to come up with the experiments standing by your side, I’m going to assess them with you, I’m going to pick them apart, I’m going to help you scale them.

Michael F Schein 28:51
But if you don’t go out and do the work, it’s not you’re not going to succeed, you’ll have no skin in the game. So if you’re looking for someone to do the work, if you’re looking for an agency feel free, they’re out there, but we’re going to charge you more money and you’re going to do the work, because it’s better for you. That’ll actually make and it’s true. And if they don’t, I don’t want them. Yeah, yeah, but it’s a better program. I mean, I can’t tell you when I was a pure agency, I can’t tell you how many clients will like I mean, I remember one client who would who would, I would come up with these really, really creative hype ideas for them. wonderful, amazing, amazing. And then two weeks later, they were very unhappy because Joe, the boss, that’s not his real name doesn’t have time anymore. And you need to come up with news, tell us how you’re going to execute them. What are you going to do on LinkedIn? And then you have to go through that argument cuz ultimately you’re responsible for doing the tactics Exactly. And they don’t show up because they feel they’ve, they’re like, hey, you’re the one you market for us. I don’t have to do anything. But that doesn’t work. So I said, You know what, we’re not going to play that game and I don’t have to negotiate. It’s a

Al McBride 29:57
great point. It’s a great point. And that’s really Number one in negotiation, do you really need to negotiate? That’s the first question do you need to negotiate? But you’re right, I don’t I won’t do it. Yeah, you’re reminded there actually, of Perry Marshall, you know, the Google AdWords guy. He’s a mega consultant now, but certainly Google AdWords, but he always used to say, you can take my copy, just copy and paste it word for word, you will not get the results that I get. Because the content refers to that’s exactly it. And that’s right. It’s like people don’t pay me for a copy that page, get it out of you, you know,

Michael F Schein 30:33
you’re not paying me for tweets, you’re paying for my ideas. You’re paying me for my process, you’re paying me for a result, right? And if you don’t want that there are plenty of companies out there who will manage your social media.

Al McBride 30:44
Absolutely. And it’ll be one and done or you turn the hose on, turn the hose off.

Michael F Schein 30:50
And there’s value if there’s value in that, it depends where you’re at in your business, I just, I just won’t compete with them. I don’t need to negotiate, you know, because I do what I do. And we do what we do.

Al McBride 31:02
Absolutely, absolutely. What are some of the red flags that you see when you’re talking to potential clients? Now I can imagine, you know, if the if they’re not on board, some of the obvious things that you mentioned there, but I’m just wondering what other red flags make you think, don’t think we’re right to work together? Well, you know,

Michael F Schein 31:22
so I think like 98% of people who start their own business. And I’m sure there’s a 2% enlightened group who don’t start this way, but I would take on anyone who was willing to pay me in the beginning, you know, anyone in my expertise,

Al McBride 31:41
who was very honest, that had money, right,

Michael F Schein 31:44
yeah, but now, I’m quite the opposite. Because I’ve been through so many experiences where the work, you know, I say this to people when I’m in the early stages of relationship, and I don’t say it to be self deprecating. I say it because it’s true. There are so many things that I’m bad at, like really bad, like I have, I think I have a learning disability with directions with spatial and I’m not joking. Like, I never I get lost in my own neighborhood. I actually think I have a learning and I know no one diagnosed me but I’ve struggled with this my whole life. I’m not particularly organized. You know, I there’s just so many things that I’m bad at. But there are a handful things that I’m like exceptionally good at and one of them is I can get in a room with people and do a series of exercises that I’ve devised and come up with a hypothesis for a hype strategy.

Michael F Schein 32:46
And I say hypothesis because until you experiment and test hypothesis, but that’s extremely creative and extremely workable and will get you to where you want to be. Am I the best Twitter in the world? No, I’m solidly mediocre you know, am I the best landing page person in the world can get can do it. But there are many better people Jeff Walker from launches is better at that. Sure. So it’s not even about red flags. It’s I’ve gotten really ruthless and rigorous and I can do that because I have a name now. I do this one thing I mean, we we work with companies we, we indoctrinate them in hype, we set up hype experiments, experiments, for each hype strategy, we we work with them to experiment until it works, we help them scale it out. And by the time that we’ve worked together for a long time, they are getting to whatever business goal they have through hype, if it’s copyright, I’m a great copy. writer and I can say that because so many things. I don’t do copywriting because it’s too It’s too much work for not enough money. And I can add more value to more people doing this thing that only I can do it without even red flag. It’s more just like I know that can work more best and that I enjoy and I just that’s what I do.

Al McBride 34:02
So other than read your book, what can some of the listeners do if they’re going to go Okay, I’m with you. I love the punk angle, I love the mischief of what I need to differentiate my business from from all those others out there in my little sector. What are some of those things they can start to do? We mentioned a few of them already. But what else what else one of the next things that they can start to look

Michael F Schein 34:24
at? Yeah, I mean, other than the those two questions, I mean, here Here are a couple ones just I mean, there’s again, it’s a whole book so it’s hard to throw a few that you can do immediately. Um, one piece that I talk about a lot is called create a secret society. It’s this idea that so many of us are worried about organically building this big following person by person and we get very frustrated when it takes a long time or when it doesn’t deliver. And if you look at the most sophisticated hype artists, they make it look like they’re developing a strategy person, by person, I mean a following person by person. But what they tend to do is under the surface, they’re building this group of well placed and powerful people who can make things happen for them. And that’s much more doable than you would think so so what I would do is I would create a list of like 50 to 100 people who that if you knew them, if they were part of your intimate friend group, if even 25% of the group thing was that list was that you? Would you? You know, you would do well, right? And then think to yourself, what are some things that I can offer these people and give these people that is cheap for me, but very valuable to them? So, um, we’ve talked about

Al McBride 35:44
the key area to draw, that’s one of the key principles. Yeah, talk to people continue, like, Where can you add value that’s easy for you, but has high perceived value to the other side, and vice versa? You know, so um, with that, so keep going. Sorry, it’s amazing.

Michael F Schein 36:00
Yeah, all these I didn’t mean to over talk, it’s like freezing a little we’re having these internet, you know, thing. But um, you know, it, I just want to say as an aside, all of these things that depend on psychology, negotiation, persuasion, hype, whatever you want to call it, these are all semantics. And there’s so much blurriness between them, right. And the reason that you’re finding that some of these things work in negotiation is because it’s based on on, you know, human beings are more alike than they are different. Our brains work a certain way we behave a certain way in groups. So I’m not surprised that you would see that again and again in negotiation. But yeah, I mean, what,

Al McBride 36:43
sorry, I interrupted you, getting the list can appeal to 100 people, and what can you give them? And then what do you do? So,

Michael F Schein 36:52
so what I would do is, first of all, if you’re going to use social media, one way to use it is not to try to build a big following, use it to benevolently stalk these people. So find these people. So what I mean is, look at these people that you’re interested in knowing, and instead of like tweeting motivational quotes at them, or talking about how you want to pick their brain or whatever, look for them to say something that you have an actual common human interest in, like, let’s say, um, gosh, they tweet on Twitter, because that’s whatever, but it could be anything. But they put all kinds of stuff up all this business stuff. And then one day, they say something about a minor league baseball team that you both like, or the saxophone that you both play. Right? And you talk to them about that.

Michael F Schein 37:44
They will talk to you about that. Any day, and won’t even notice you if you talk about business, because people are trying to hit them up about business all day long, and their cortisol level goes up. It’s like what does this person want from me, especially if they’re successful, but if you talk to them as a human being to another human being about fishing, about comic books about whatever it is this quirky thing you have in common, then it’s just a human being talking to a human being about a tribal affinity. And then once you do that, you know, it becomes very doable to start a conversation. And this becomes much easier in the days of the internet. So for example, I’m on your podcast right now. If you ever call me now, let’s say that over the next six months, you saw somebody, you know, that was someone I might find interesting. I don’t know a crowd psychologist and you say, Hey, Mike, you know, I know people are making introductions to you all the time.

Michael F Schein 38:45
But this guy I happen to have a friend who works at University of whatever who’s a crowd psychologist, and they’d love to meet you. They really liked your book. And you did something like that three times. In a year if you needed some thing for me, 100% I mean, why wouldn’t I help you at this point? You’re a friend. you’re someone who just kind of helped me out, right? So you know, I am I know this guy, Dave Lindsey, who started a half billion dollar company from literally from his garage defender direct, it was an alarm company, right? It’s a personal security company. And I interviewed him for something and and that was it. And he obviously was being his professional kind of guard itself. And then he mentioned that he had just moved from Indiana to New York. And one of the reasons he moved he was very close to selling his business. He always liked New York but he especially loved live music and he couldn’t find much live music and you know, Indiana. Now I happen to know I don’t have half a billion dollars but I happen to know a lot about live music in the New York, especially then I said hey, I’d be happy to show you around. And the timing was right. If it had been six months later at what no work. He became like my biggest mentor, you know, I mean, I can’t tell you how meaningful because I gave him something that was And he could have hired a personal jet. But he couldn’t get someone who knew the New York music scene because he was from Indiana.

Al McBride 40:07
That’s a brilliant example. It’s a great point. And as you said, it’s all kind of aboveboard, and people helping people and authentic way better. Yeah, that’s exactly it. Exactly. And people, this is getting away from what we’re we started as the entirety. This is exactly where we started as in we’re getting away from marketing in inverted commas, where people are doing this kind of cold overlay business like non humane process, rather than actually adding the mischief, the playfulness, and that emotional side of creativity. Yeah. So I’m loving the message. I’m loving the message, Mike, just when we’re talking, you’re talking about, you know, Indiana to New York and cultural differences. I love the part at the end of your book, where you’re talking about the differences in China, what were some of the the insights you got from that experience?

Michael F Schein 41:04
Yeah, this was a life changing experience that that I just sort of happened into and really was meaningful I met is really great guys who are friends of mine now see, then, and Zayu Zhang. And just to give the summary, they were both people that, you know, they both moved from China when they were 12 and 14, respectively, to the US, met in college at Boston University. And they were both very entrepreneurial. And they started a business together, which it was sort of a class that, you know, an online course, company, which everyone’s trying to start now everyone’s following their herd, and many are failing.

Michael F Schein 41:48
Where they’re languishing advantage was is that they knew that, because of the changes that have happened in China, people in China still see the United States as the most sophisticated entrepreneur ship company, because they’ve had so many years of not having that, and now it’s an explosion. And they saw that there were all these new entrepreneurs in China who wanted to learn American style entrepreneurship. But then they were in this unique position that where they were simultaneously Chinese and American, they were seen as being American if they had lived there for years, but also seen as being Chinese and they can speak Chinese and they know that Chinese social media, so from the computer lab, they created this company with a complete remote team and are just killing it.

Michael F Schein 42:37
I mean, they they built this very, very big company. So they each other for various reasons. And they invited me to speak at their big conference in China, which to give you an idea of how far they’ve come to was held in the St. Regis, you know, it was the news was there, you know that the Shenzhen news, lots of news cameras, they they’re like beatles over there. And they’re young guys, I mean, 24 or 25, some. And the thing that was so interesting, I went on stage, and I had a translator, and I was talking about hype. A lot of times when I speak in the United States, I’ve had a lot of great audiences and I speak a relatively large amount, or at least I did before the pandemic. And people like it, but I always get questions about well should, you know, should we be doing this hype thing and that and I’ll always make the point that, you know, the bad guys already get it, if you’re creating something really good, good product, a good service, it’s your moral imperative to really use the realities of human nature to ethically function to it.

Michael F Schein 43:46
And you know, some people get that some people don’t, I was in China, and I made that point, I said that thing at the end. And people like gave me a standing ovation. And I found out later from the social media platform that one person was crying. And I think what it was was that you know, in China, I mean, I think on the surface part of it is that they really see the changing economy as an opportunity to make their lives better, you know, and I also think they know deep down I couldn’t say this in China that propaganda and things like that have been used in the past to harm them. And the fact that you can actually use it to better your life, you know, and do it in an ethical way. I mean, no one ever talks about this there but the reaction was so overwhelming. That that was obviously a part of it. And it was just it was a neat experience. And in touching people like that I made good friends. I was there for 10 days, I got to hang out with Chinese people. You know, it wasn’t like a tourist kind of trip. And it was was a really, I really grew up I gained a real fondness for for the people in China was a great experience.

Al McBride 44:52
Outstanding stuff. Yeah, as you said, it sounds like you were, you were giving the this structure these this these things you’re playing a label on a lot of these things that that society more than many others maybe have, they’ve experienced, as I said, on the receiving end and a certain degree, and this puts them some of the power back in their hands, but in a more in a more positive way, which is pretty outstanding stuff. So yeah, so we’re just coming up on time here. So I will pause and use the word pause on purpose. I will pause our conversation there, Mike. So thank you very much for that fantastic insights. I cannot recommend the book enough for anyone interested in psychology. And as I said, flipping an awful lot of things for us maybe with negative applications in the past two or more positive ones and you give mixtures of both, you know, you the principles are fairly neutral. But as you said, it’s the application. That that’s key. It’s a fascinating read. I can’t recommend it enough. And yes, just yeah, it’s the Hype Handbook. 12 indispensable success secrets for the world’s greatest propaganda self promoters, cult leaders, Mischief Makers and boundary breakers. It’s published by McGraw Hill. And as I said, it’s by the author Michael F Schein. So once again, thanks a million Michael. And hope to have you on the show again for maybe a follow up chat.

Michael F Schein 46:22
Anytime you want me I’ll be here. This was one of my favorite conversations. So thank you.

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