What you can learn about succeeding online from being a nerd.

I have a secret.

I am a nerd.  I try to hide it sometimes, but it is a fact… so there it is.

What you can learn from being a nerd.
Steve Scott on The Iron Throne of Westeros

I took an hour plus train-ride into NYC yesterday.  Then, I walked from Penn. Station to Columbus circle.  Just so that I could get this picture you see with me sitting on the “Iron Throne”.

I am an avid reader of a lot genre of books.  One type that I particularly enjoy is fantasy.  Specifically the writing of George RR Martin, who wrote the series that the new HBO television series, “Game of Thrones” is based on.

Like any real nerdy fan-boy my love for this specific series of books may go beyond normal appreciation into a near obsession.  I had been thinking about making my next trip around July 10th, then realized the next book in the series (which, in my defense, I have been waiting nearly 5 years for) comes out on the 12th, so traveling before I read that would be an impossibility.

I simply wouldn’t enjoy it knowing I could be reading the book.

What you can learn from being a nerd.

The whole point of this article is not to tell you how much of a nerd I can be.

I do have a point relating to internet marketing.

So here is the story.  My brother and I (my brother, a far more “rabid” reader than I am, also ranks the Game of Thrones books as his #1) Finally get to Columbus circle.  We had expected to take our own pictures, but they had a professional photographer set up.

The process went like this.  You sat down on the “throne,” had your picture taken, they quickly loaded the picture onto one of 5 IPADS they had ready.  You pick your picture, enter your email and “bam” send it to yourself.

As we were walking away, my brother said, “What a remarkable method of email capture.

Now, I make my living marketing and emails and email captures have always been my “thing”.  Anyone who has read this site for any significant amount of time will certainly remember me going on, “Ad Nauseam”, about the important of list building and email marketing.

But I didn’t even realize it had been an email capture.  -Not that it bugged me-   In fact it was brilliant.  HBO built their list of people who may be interested in memorabilia, and branded stuff.  They may have swayed people into giving the show a chance.  For the thousands of “rabid” fans like me who may have visited these “photo” sites across the country they get more than that.  I cannot imagine how many people, in addition to myself, posted pictures like this (branded with both HBO and Game of thrones information and logo) on their websites and Facebook pages.

This is a great example of a large company thinking outside of the box.  Their advertisements were much more than just some posters and some clips.  Their advertisements were outside of the box and they have the chance to create a real buzz and perhaps some “viral” elements.

Thinking outside of the box

None of us may be able to swing a budget like HBO did to promote their show.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try on a smaller scale.

Picture a Box..

Now picture yourself outside of it. Got it?

That is how you need to think.  Thinking outside of the box is not always easy.  If it were easy, everyone would do it, right?

Now let’s think for a second how you could take my nerd lesson and use it for your gain.  It could work wonderfully for a local event.  Offer a free give away.  A free drawing.  Or even pictures mailed directly to emails like the one I had.

These people will not be “on your list” yet, because they will not have gone through double opt-ins that most good auto-responders require.  But you know what interests them and you have given them nice goods for free.  It should not be a difficult stretch to convert these potential customers.

Let’s get specific with our out of the box thinking.  Understand this is all just theoretical too, I have not really looked into the cost/gains of this idea or the feasibility.  There is a TON of work to be done in pulling this type of thing off.

Let’s look a Gabi’s website, someone who fits the bill for the passion I will discuss later.  She has a love of running that I share.  What could she do in the “real” world to gain more subscribers/readers? … Many things.

The easiest would be to contact the organizers of local 5k or 10k races and see what they allow.  -There may be fees involved with even in giving away free stuff, it is wise to always investigate first.

Then she could try the same “pictures-method” as people cross the finish line.  OR- She could give away free keychain’s or pens to all finishers with her website logo clearly branded on the side.  All of the “old school” marketing techniques to get people to visit a new age blog.

Hey,  the “old” methods haven’t suddenly stopped working because Al Gore invented the internet!

Of course all of these methods do take money and effort to get them going.  There certainly needs to be a cost/benefit analysis done.  But trying other ways to drum up people for your site can work.

How about this….

I play poker sometimes.  Once in Atlantic City I saw a guy sitting across from me who had a shirt that said, “Ask me about my website:  A-1poker.com” (or something like that…I forget).

Sure enough I asked and he told.  And 8 other people at the table heard too.  Now that is not a ton, but with going to a few different tables a day; doing something he was going to do anyway…he might have gotten few people to visit his site (I know I did) just from wearing a T-Shirt.

Now if he also had business cards and a small baggie of give-away’s he could have perhaps done even better.

I am all for typical free offer eBook leading to email marketing, but if you can strengthen that with some other methods, it is even better.

Remember:  Think of the box and think of yourself outside it.  That’s the nerd way!

The Importance of Passion:

Passion is one of those strange terms.  It has been so over-used in relation to your online success that it has begun to lose meaning.

You have to have passion for you niche. You need to have passion for what you blog about.  You need to have passion, passion, passion…  It can get so overused sometimes the word has lost its power when used in relation to online work.

Regardless of all of those detractors for using the word, I still think passion is important.  If you work on something online for hours and hours you should enjoy it more often than not. Following the identifiers of passion that Steven points out I am absolutely passionate about the Game of Throne series, both the upcoming TV show and the books .  But there is not really any money to be made writing about that passion, so I don’t.

But I do enjoy the things that I write about.  They are subjects that I could spend a lot of time talking and writing about.  Perhaps I am not as, “geeky” and “passionate” about things like landing page design (thanks Bryan), email marketing and SEO as I am about fantasy and the like, but it is something that I still could talk about for ages, and really enjoy discussing and learning about.  Is that passion?  I think so.  But even if you would not call it “passion” it is at least, “strong like”.

“Strong Like” is at least the minimum threshold for any single topic you will be writing about for a long time.

When it comes to finding something to write about online it needs to be something you could talk, and write about A LOT.  Call this “passion”.  Call it a “interest” in the topic.  The term is just semantics.  The important part is that the topic really can get you flowing.

Most of my readers are probably familiar with Patricia and her passion for lavender, as seen in her recent article on Lavender brews.  Is she really “passionate” about lavender.  Not knowing her personally, I would say yes.  But even if she is not passionate she has more than enough of a deep connection and caring for the product to.

Let’s take a flip side of this coin.  Perhaps you know Alex Whalley just completed a 30 day article marketing challenge.  The idea was to make a niche website.  Write one heck of a lot of articles about it and see how they did using UAW (Unique Article Wizard) as the only back-linking source.  I will let you read his article to see the results.

But while Alex is passionate about keywords, making niche sites and ranking niche sites he wasn’t writing about that.  He was writing about Drills.  Now there may be people out there who have a passion for drills.  Alex doesn’t seem to be one of them.

In fact the first line of his article reads, “I hate drills

While he wrote a lot about drills in 30 days for the challenge, he didn’t make his own “personal goal” of how many he was going to write.  You can do a certain amount of writing on a subject you detest by willpower alone, but it is not a long term solution.  If Alex had to make a career writing about nothing but drills for the next 3 years, I have no doubt he would eventually fail.  Likely ending it by putting the drill to his head like the classic scene from “Scanners.”

In the long term, you need passion.  Passion can sometimes be the geek inside you.  I know I am talking about the “right topics” when I get someone cornered who is not really interested in the topic and I talk about it so much I see their eyes glazing over just a little bit.

Embrace the power of the nerd. Embrace your inner passions for your subjects and niche.

What you can learn from being a nerd? A lot I think.

Game of Thrones

OK, now it is time to let, “my” nerd loose.  So watch out.  For everyone with HBO, I hope you give Game of Thrones a chance (HBO- Sunday 17 Apr 9PM EST).  Personally I just “got” HBO just because of this series.  If you do not have HBO and you are a reader, I hope you give the series of books a chance.  (not to condone it…but some people have been known to download bit-torrents of some of these great HBO shows the next day…  Bad-bad people)

Anyway check out this clip.  It has a couple seconds, “trailer” and a solid 14 minute clip from the first 1/4 of the first episode.  (Basically a mixing of the prologue and the first chapter from the book)

You do not need to be a big fantasy nerd like myself to enjoy Game of Thrones.  Unlike Lord of the Rings.  The “magic” and fantasy is kept to a bare minimum.  In fact the little “intro” piece you see in the above clip, “north of the wall” is really the only “magic” I remember from the first book (it was the “prologue” chapter).

Unlike LOTR this is a series much more based on the characters.  The characterizations are absolutely top notch and it is WAY too involved to ever possibly make a good movie.  In fact, 15+ years ago, when I first read this book, I remember thinking the ONLY way this could ever be made and not become a complete, “horror” was to be done on HBO.

But I will not bore you any more with my nerdy habits.  It just so happens my brother also loves these and has made a few Squidoo lenses about this series when he was bored.

If you want more info check out

Cast and characters of Game of Thrones –  It has a collection of many of the “major” characters video snippets.


Game of Thrones HBO for a general review of the story (I think he plans on updating as the series progresses.)

Hopefully I can “nerd talk” with any of you about the show after tomorrow night.

Regardless of your interest in this topic though I hope you will all consider the importance of passion and thinking outside of the box for your own successful endeavors?  Remember you can learn a lot from sometimes being a nerd!

Even though we are fully into spring…. Remember

… Winter is Coming!

Take Action. Get Results.

35 thoughts on “What you can learn about succeeding online from being a nerd.”

  1. Steve

    I know what you mean – I’m a reading nerd too, Fantasy and Hard Crime are my genres of choice. Though I never got into the Game of Thrones series.

    My favourite living fantasy author is probably Guy Gavriel Kay – something in his writing really appeals to me. Tigana and the Lions of Al-Rassan are my faves.

    And I love the way someone at HBO came up with the idea to create a responsive mailing list! Brilliant and inspiring in equal measures. Thanks for sharing.


    • Haha,

      I have read some GGK too (it has been a bit though) I liked some of the “poetry” i guess I would call it of his works. And the fact that it was fantasy, but also (like GOT) tied closer to reality, though in his case I guess fictional alternate history would be more apt.

      Of course my personal views still put Martin much higher.

      I am also a fan of “Hard Crime” too, liking everything from Dashiell Hammet to Denise Lehane to Andrew Vachss. (For that genre I am particulalry fond of the “noir” aspects) The interesting thins was my (hopefully previous) favorite television show of all time was, “the wire” on HBO (a definite gritty hard crime story) and though that had NOTHING to do with fantasy, was the reason i thought HBO could do it. (great non-traditional characterizations)

  2. I am a complete reading addict but I haven’t read books like those. Now you got me interested!!! I will have to start reading more of that genre.

    Anyway, I do love that out of the box thinking and I always get some new ideas reading your posts 🙂

    By the way that chair looks really comfy, I bet it would look great in a game room, lol.

    • Brankica,

      You certainly should check out the George RR Martin Books. Fantasy -in general- has sort of had a boys only vibe (perhaps wrongly given) for a while. But many of the most interesting characters are actually many of the strong (and very different) women in the books.

      In fact my absolute favorite character is a 10 year old girl. Something I never would have believed possible.

      Anyhow, yes they chair was quite comfortable. Particularly for one that is supposed to be made from, swords. If I had a game room to put it in…I certainly would get one. (assuming I could buy one reasonably priced) 🙂

  3. Steve, I also have to say I am a fan of fantasy. I really enjoyed the Ice and Fire series, at least the first…what, 3 or 4 books that I’ve read so far.

    I also really like anything by Jim Butcher or Brandon Sanderson. There are a bunch of other authors I like but these two are at the top of my list right now.

    And yes, that was indeed a clever way for them to capture emails.

    • Daniel,

      4. The last one was the weakest…but still good. I think it suffered from being split with only half of the characters. The fifth book is coming though… July 12th. I have a counter for the hours…lol

      Anyway great choices in fantasy authors.

      Though I am not always a fan of “over the top” magic I love the way Sanderson take truly unique views of special magic, “systems” and really explains them well. As a matter of a fact, I finally read the first “way of kings” story about a month ago.

      ON Butcher my feelings are a little “mixed” on His Alera novels left me a little cold, but The Dresden novels are right up there in my top 10 current series. The sense of humor in those books kills me, as well as the great action.

      Unfortunately THAT series (on sci-fi) was just as bad as I thought it would be…I couldn’t even finish one episode.

      It is SO easy to do fantasy horribly on the screen. One little misstep and it just seems silly and stupid.

      Thanks for the comment. Glad to expand my “nerd talk” for the day

      • No way! I totally loved Alera. I think that’s how I started with Butcher in the first place.

        But yes, Dresden is much better than Alera, IMO. I’m right with you on the stupid TV series too. HBO could have pulled it off so much better. Well, I’ll be all over Ghost Story when it comes out.

  4. Hi Steve

    A nerd eh?? !! I’m not into fantasy books but I do enjoy reading. I’m more into hisorical novels and books on anything I happen to be learning about at the moment.

    Interesting analogy and challenge about thinking outside the box Steve. With all the competition out there, is definitely a must these days.

    And thanks for the mention. If you visited my home, the sweet smell of the lovely lavender would be the first thing you would notice as I oopened my front door.

    And I’m planning my small back garden at the moment……lavenders will be the feature. So I guess you got that right about me and this amazing aromatic herb 😉

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Glad you liked it! I like some historical stories too. But i am pretty tight in that genre only reading a few historical fictions. Not too many.

      Thanks for the comment and glad to post a link to your lovely lavender

  5. Well luckily for us Al Gore DID create the internet. And pants. And stopped ManBearPig from destroying life as we know it. So thank you Al Gore! I can stay inside my box!

    In all seriousness though I love this post. Just because you are an “internet marketer” doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to the internet. Take on the role of just “marketer” and you can accomplish bigger and better things.

    • Al is quite an industrious guy, isn’t he!

      Going outside the box is something I too need to do more of, but it really can be a great way to promote and grow!

  6. Great post Steve, and very clever way of using my challenge as an example of the importance of passion.
    Indeed it is important to enjoy what you do, but something I want to point out that I personally struggled with is this:
    It’s perfectly OK to not have a passion

    I did not have one particular thing that I was truly passionate about and so I just started the journey and as I learned and grew I found my passion, which btw is not drills.

    Did I mention I hate drills?

    • It’s perfectly OK to not have a passion ….. If you do not write about that topic every day for years. If you really center on a topic you do not have some passion for, I think it can get to be difficult over time.

      Drills were driving you a little batty at 20 days , imagine at 200 days of writing about them. Arrggh.

      For things like amazon niche site, absolutely, you do not have to be passionate about them, because it is in/out and then maintentance, but if you were to mke some sort of site on hardware with bi weekly posts and all sorts of commenting etc. I think you would need to care about hardware to some good extent.

      I am not particularly fond of drills myself.

      They are just so…. drilly

  7. Whoa brother, and that’s with a capital N……………:). I have some friends comment to me “you are such a nerd”, but I think they mean dork; probably interchangeable for me.

    What is the next level above passion? It is certainly an over-used term these days, but it’s good to be passionate about some things. It’s your ‘why’ at times.

    I read a lot but have not taken the time to get into LOTR or anything of that genre because I always thought it was nerdy & geeky; I’m sure I would like it but man, I hate those labels. I shouldn’t talk however, I did get talked into reading the first 2 Twilight books……….yikes….

    Sometimes it’s the quirky little things that can be genius in the marketing world. The problem in my corporate world we are so conservative it hurts at times. We just celebrated our 70th anniv and it was just in the last couple of months we went to a ‘casual’ Friday; for me that means I don’t wear a tie………..we’ve been nailed shut in that box.

    Thanks for sharing & I’m guessing you are back from your hiatus? Hope you had a great time.

    • Bill, thanks for the comment…

      Yes I am finally back from hiatus.

      Ultimately I think it is good to be a little “nerdy” about some things. Esp. when you are that way because you really are passion.

      You are certainly right that the corporate world can often be far more conservative in their marketing. Sometimes this is for good and sometimes for the bad.

      ON one hand if I walked into a bank and for an appointment with a bank manager and the guy was in jeans and a t-shirt there is no way I would invest there. Sometimes conservative is good.

      But there is certainly something to be said about being able to be quick and nimble and really take advantage of trends.

      Ultimately I think that is part of the life-cycle of business. They start out cutting edge, and incredibly innovative and continue to get more rigid the larger they get.

      Even Google, known for its cutting edge approach are losing a fair amount of their engineers to startups that are MORE innovative and cutting edge. But when you have all the money and power you do not need to take risks.

  8. Steve,

    Lol I’m not really a bookworm but I love your out of the box ideas about passion and getting subscribers. Seems like I’ve got quite a few ideas from what you’ve said here. Passion is something that’s really important but I think it’s not just the only thing to have. You might be passionate about running but being passionate alone won’t necessarily get you to the top.

    Thx for the mention and oh, did I mention your Sunday selections are always out of the box? 🙂

    • Bryan,
      The ‘reading’ stuff is my takeaway. You got the important point though. There are other ways to do things. Often they create a stronger connection that ca just be “re-inforced” with connecting on the ‘net.

      You are right. Passion is only “part” of it. It is hard to be successful in a narrow niche without it. But having it doesn’t guarantee anything. It is a check in the box.

      Thanks glad you think the saturday/sunday posts are “out-of- the-box” I try to keep them fresh and interesting and do them a little differently every week.

      Sometimes it works… sometimes it doesn’t. But that is what experimentation is all about, right?

  9. Hi Steve:

    A good write up about everything here. You are not only an avid reader you are a good writer too. When I person has both that means he/she is intelligent.

    Liked reading your post.
    Have an awesome Sunday

    Fran A

  10. Not so much of a nerd like you Steve i read a lot so that at the moment i started wearing reading glass now reading is good and someone finally captured your email with out asking for it (lol). That said there is a lot in this post. Have a great sunday.

  11. Hi Steve,
    I think an unintended benefit of being passionate about whatever is that people like passionate people even if they don’t share their particular passion. Passionate people are positive people.

    • Riley,

      Thanks…I think you make a really good point. Even when I am not particularly interested in a topic sometimes a really enthusiastic person can make it sound really interesting to me.

      Passion can be viral, but definitely in a “good” way

  12. Hi Steve.

    I love the NYC scene, it’s nice to visit for quick trips. I think I’ll be getting back there in May.

    Anyhow, brilliant was that email capture, which really solidified and idea I had been thinking about.

    Since I am reading this on the 18th, I’ve clearly missed the Game of Thrones episode, but it’s easy enough to catch up on. HBO does reruns during the week so I’ll have to seek it out. In the meantime I’ll whet my appetite with the trailer you’ve posted here.

    I love reading but never get past non-fiction. I love reading about history and fact-based stuff, although I’m sure I’ve been missing out on some real entertainment from the other categories. But hey, that’s my nerdy side, which I proudly display. 🙂

    Passion is an over-used word, but I use it anyway because, well, I’m passionate about what I’m doing. LOL But your point is well taken, it’s a must for online work. It’s also why I am up at 3:00am.

    In terms of marketing, thinking outside of the norm is definitely a winner. A little innovation and creativity can go a long way toward success.

    Hope you had a great trip while away, I’ve not caught up to you until now. Thanks for the post!

    • Yes HBO does reruns til’ you are sick of it. I actually watched the premiere in back-to-back episodes last night and i think I will watch it once more with my girlfriend.

      For a guy who watches very little TV…that is one heck of a lot of TV.

      Passion is funny. I actually hate using the term because it is thrown out so easily and so often, but I do not know if there is a better way to describe that important “aspect”

      It is nice to see you are exploring another of your passions with your new site!

  13. My god, how did I not know that Game of Thrones was based on the work of George R.R. Martin? I think I’m in danger of having my geek credentials revoked! Ack! At any rate, thanks to your post, I now have a new show to watch while waiting for The Walking Dead to return on AMC.

    Good post, as always. I’ve been following Alex’s drill challenge for a while. I agree that it would be torture to write about drills for three years. Then again, I’m a technical writer by day, and I’ve just spent the last three four years writing at great length about equally mundane products, and it’s done *nothing* for my long-term passive income goals. So hey, bring on the drills, baby!


    • Definite geek credential fax paux. Actually the funny thing is in the field of fantasy somehow his works are a little overlooked. The fans are rabid, but a lot more simplistic stories do better. This series will probably end up double or tripling the readership.

      BTW I am not a huge “TV” fan in general… But I agree, walking dead was great and for the incredibly short season it was on it had me rapt.

      Mundane topics surely “could” be written about regardless of passion. But when at the “struggling” stage, it could get old quickly when you are not seeing results.

      Of course the results (IE money) could also always be your passion…lol

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting

  14. Hey Steve,

    I am a huge fan of the GOT series and got HBO just so I could watch it. BTW – I am a tad jealous that you got to sit in the iron throne. It isn’t quite a severe as I had imagined it. But I guess if real people need to be able to sit on the thing, it could not be as I had imagined.

    Anyway, yeah, that is a crafty way to grab someone’s email address. I wonder how they will use them beyond sending the picture & how the recipients will respond when they do.

    Did you notice anyone resisting because they did not want to give away their email address?

    • Whew,

      I am glad someone else is a fan of GOT. I thought I heard crickets there for a bit. I too got HBO just because of it. I am still surprised at how few…even readers of fantasy, have read the series. In my mind the series is like finding Shakespeare amongst cave drawings, the only complaint I have is that I find it hard to read other fantasy now, because it all seems lame in comparison. But that is good…because I still have too much non-fiction (educational) reading to do…lol

      Anyway there was no resistance that I saw. We actually sat by the fountain and watched the “process” for about 15-30 minutes too. It didn’t seem over the top. I am sure they would have let someone sit and take their own photo if they had wanted to. But it was very subtly done. A good lesson in what is possible.

  15. Hi Steve,
    Very nice article.I am also a type of reading nerd but i mostly like philosophy.I like your point on passion.It is the unique thing that controls our lives.

  16. Hi Steve,

    I’m a little late on this one, had an unexpected break from blogging but I’m back now! I hope you had a lovely break too! Thanks for mentioning me in your post 🙂 I love the ideas you gave to generate visitors and subscribers – now with race season is full swing hopefully I can start the ball rolling! I made some really good connections at the London Marathon Expo too which is a great place to start!

    Your point about having a passion when it comes to blogging is so important and I don’t think it can be over-stated.

    Great post as always,
    Thanks Steve!

  17. Hi Steve, I am not a big fan of fantasy in general but I’m really enjoying the Ice and Fire series because it’s a lot like history that never happened. (Okay, there’s a little bit of magic thrown in). GRRM is a great writer. I haven’t caught the show on HBO as I don’t have cable. I will probably just buy it when it comes out next year.

    I would have totally done the picture thing too, and probably opted in to the emails to find out if there were other cool things I could do.

    • Jennifer,

      Glad you are liking GRRM. I Think I agree with you about the “history that never happened” part. It really is that believable. I mean there IS magic, but it is very low key stuff. I hate that it is often labeled “fantasy” with some negative connotations when I think it is really just great”fiction”. Anyway, always great to hear that someone else enjoys it.

Comments are closed.