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Marketing is for Morons – and What You Should Do Instead with Michael F. Schein

December 20, 2021
Episode 44
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

For consultants, traditional marketing can often feel like an inappropriate tool for the job. In fact, sometimes it even feels like we’re screaming into the void. But what’s the alternative?

In this episode, Michael F. Schein and Alastair McDermott discuss how to use hype to grab attention, create curiosity, and build a tribe of like-minded people.  They cover some fundamental strategies to achieve your business goals, including lessons from rock stars, cult leaders and business “celebrities”.

They also discuss working on your point of view, networking, and why doctors recommended bacon as part of a healthy breakfast!

Show Notes

Guest Bio

Michael F. Schein is the Head Hype Man at MicroFame 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, 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 Huffington Post, and he is 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, published by McGraw Hill, appears where books are sold.


people, hype, called, business, book, strategies, gary vaynerchuk, consultants, marketing, band, clients, talk, read, person, sold, build, surface, networking, bacon, good

Alastair McDermott, Voiceover, Michael F. Schein


Michael F. Schein  00:00

So I went out and I learned everything there was to know about search engine optimization and sales funnels and whatever the latest social media tool was. And it didn’t help me very much at all. And what I realized is that people have things in the reverse order. You know, marketing should be anything that gets you up to bat to make sales.


Voiceover  00:21

Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. So you can increase your reach, have more impact, and work with great clients. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.


Alastair McDermott  00:40

Hey, folks, before we get into today’s episode, I just want to briefly mention that I’m going to be doing a couple of webinars in December and January. And they’re going to be focused on the journey to authority and helping you niche down. So if those are things that you’re interested in, sign up for the email list, if you’re not signed up already. You can get that at  Today, my guest is Michael F. Schein. He is the head hype artist at MicroFame Media, a company that specializes in making consultants and coaches famous in their fields. Some of his clients include eBay, LinkedIn, and Citrix. His writing has appeared in Fortune, Forbes, Inc., Psychology Today, and Huffington Post. And he’s a speaker for international audiences from the US to China. So and I have his book here, which is called “The Hype Handbook”, which I want to get into in a couple of minutes. Michael, thank you for being with us here today.


Michael F. Schein  01:36

I’m really pleased to be here. Thanks for having me.


Alastair McDermott  01:38

So the first thing I want to talk about is, you said to me that marketing is for morons, and we should do something else instead. So let’s talk about that for a bit. Like what why is marketing for morons?


Michael F. Schein  01:49

You know, and I want to give the caveat that the main moron in this scenario for many years was me, I learned this from personal experience. I think there’s this concept that if you want to succeed in business, especially in consulting, where all you’re doing is selling your ideas, not physical products, there’s this idea that you have to master marketing, that everything comes down to this thing called Marketing.  And, you know, when I started my business about 12 years ago, I thought the same thing. So I went out and I learned everything there was to know about search engine optimization, and sales funnels, and whatever the latest social media tool was, and it didn’t help me very much at all. And what I realized is that people have things in the reverse order, you know, marketing should be anything that gets you up to bat to make sales. But what it’s become instead is what tactics can we do that everyone else is doing, that we need to be doing, or else we’re doing the wrong thing. And I know that sounds complicated, but we see it every day. So someone will say to you, yeah, I really need to do more marketing, I really need to learn that social stuff, or that blogging, or that podcasting, or that, you know, email, funnel stuff, or the launch marketing. And honestly, it’s stupid, because we’re all human beings. We are very social animals, we don’t view reality very rationally.  And if you can get a large number of people excited and emotional and attract their attention, in very predictable human ways, the the tactics will take care of themselves. And you’ll often see that the people who do the best job at getting people emotional and attracting attention and making money, don’t even think of themselves as marketers, but yet, we’re all going around trying to master marketing, and I think it’s a little moronic.


Alastair McDermott  03:42

Very interesting. So you told me emotion, and attention? And are you talking here specifically about hype? Is that what you’re talking about? Is that the answer?


Michael F. Schein  03:51

Well, yeah, but hype is my definition. I mean, I mean, let’s, let’s be honest, I chose this word hype, because it’s considered a negative word. And I want to take it back. Because we need a different word from marketing. You know, at one time, marketing probably meant what hype means it meant attracting attention so that you can get a reaction that you want to get. The problem is words lose their power over time, right? And even things things become diluted over time.  So the way I define hype is any set of activities that get large numbers of people highly emotional, so that they’ll take an action that you want them to take, and that can be a very, very negative action, it can be a very, very positive action, but the strategies that I call hype themselves are amoral. They’re just based on what works, what human beings really do versus what they ought to do.  The reason I also use the term hype, is that on balance, it’s some of the more mischievous and sometimes even harmful human beings who understand this the most and my whole challenge that I put to myself and hopefully to people reading my stuff and listening to my our stuff is: “Can you take advantage of those fundamental strategies with and reapply them ethically?” And I’ve found that you really very much can.


Alastair McDermott  05:09

Yeah, absolutely. You said in the book that the hype is amoral, not immoral. And like, it’s really interesting because I, I was looking through and I just want to say to anybody who’s interested in the book, Michael is a fantastic writer. I love the fact that you, you have examples from Alice Cooper to Charles Manson, you know, mentioning Dale Carnegie and to to Greek gods and and Persian history. So that’s fascinating. So I love the way you kind of inter intermingle all of that in the book.  So you have a bunch of different strategies here. And I know that what the first one that you talked about, is actually one that you did yourself, which is where you went and you picked a fight with somebody? Can you tell us a little bit about that story? And what happened? And and if you would, you know, what you would, how you would advise people to approach that?


Michael F. Schein  06:04

I think that when I die, no matter what else I accomplish on my tombstone, it’s gonna say, gotten an internet war with Gary Vaynerchuk. I think that’s actually what’s going to be etched in stone, for better or worse. But yeah, when I was first starting my business, and you know, all new businesses start out pretty rough, right? There’s always that period where you’re not sure you’re gonna make it. And I was very much in that period. And the business was very different than the business I have now, which, which, as you said, is a company where we work with consultants to help them attract attention to get results for their own businesses. But at the time, I was I was a freelance writer, more or less a freelance content and copywriter.  And yeah, I wasn’t doing very well at the time. I mean, I was, I think, doing good work for the clients that hired me, but it was I had not yet figured out how to get clients. And what I had figured out was I got a column for Ink Magazine, and I just kept seeing Gary Vaynerchuk, or is your audience the kind of audience who would know who Gary Vaynerchuk?


Alastair McDermott  07:04

Yeah, I think, you know, I think a lot of people do know who he is. I mean, he’s famous for originally building up this business called Wine Library TV. So he took over his his father’s wine business. I think they were huge, off licence. And he built it up with this video series about wine. And he put in some serious hours, days years in building up this and I think he sold it for 300 million, something, something like that. And then he started his social media empire. Vaynerchuk Media.


Michael F. Schein  07:36

Yeah, so I thought Wine Library TV was a fantastic business. I mean, I think it it sold a product sold it, well used very innovative methods for making that happen. And I think Gary Vaynerchuk is an excellent business person, um, where I took exception to him is that he was just at the period where he was shifting from being the wine guy to being this social media guru. And the way he built his image up in that way was he was, you know, around the clock really relentlessly, talking about and yelling about, because that’s his style, mainly to young, aspiring entrepreneurs who didn’t have very much money, how they needed to be working relentlessly, but not just on anything on social media.  So he would say things like, you should be on the toilet, you know, tweeting, you know, that, like, you shouldn’t take a break to relieve yourself, you should be tweeting, that’s what it takes, right? And I just was thinking about that. And I’m like, you know, I think this advice helps Gary more than it helps his followers because what it does for Gary is it holds him up as this sort of like, relentless, larger than life figure who can work without sleeping and that sort of thing.  But for a young person, I mean, let’s say you didn’t inherit an existing business. Or even worse, let’s say you had to grow the wine and make the wine tastes really good and had to be out supervising farmers and working on your recipe, instead of just selling wine that someone else made. Should you really be spending 14 hours a day tweeting? And I didn’t think so. And also, my hidden agenda was that I had, I was starting to sell packages where I sold like structured content packages, where, you know, it was it was kind of blueprints for content that could save you time doing that.  So I wrote this article on why Gary Vaynerchuk is flat out wrong and I essentially said, just what I told you, and I was a nobody, I mean, I was, as I said, not doing very well, this was like 12-13 years ago, and he in about three hours made a video responding to me calling me out by name getting very aggravated. By the end he was not making a lot of sense. You know, he was very upset and all his followers started blowing up my phone saying I was the worst person ever.  But what happened was I had no following and I started building this following like overnight, I got 50 new twitter followers in like three hours and then it just I mean exponentially, grew not on Twitter, but just into a lot of visibility. And what I realized was there were a whole lot of people out there who felt the same way I did, but they didn’t have a leader. And now they could define themselves against Vaynerchuk, maybe mania, and I was the person to gather that. So it was a really big lesson that emotionally, people are much more attracted to being against something and build tribes around being against something. And if you can be the leader of that tribe, it’s really useful. Now, it doesn’t have to be a person, it can be an idea, it can be a way of thinking, but that was a big lesson in height for me very early on.


Alastair McDermott  10:34

Was that your first? I mean, I know in the book, you talk about, you know, your your music experiences, we can talk about that. But was that your first experience of doing hype and have it have it worked really? Well?


Michael F. Schein  10:46

Yeah, I guess it was I, the reason I say marketing is for morons, and forgive all the market. And I mean, apologies to all the marketers out there, as you can tell, I do things for effect. But the reason that I that I sometimes believe that is because I was a moron, spending countless hours trying to master marketing kind of blindly, I was like, well, all of these big deal. People are out there creating blog posts four times a week, and doing them consistently, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, if I just do that, the Google fairies will find these blog posts, if I put the right keywords in them, you know, in a mean, and get me business, and it never did. And I would do things like that all the time, I would work on this marketing stuff. And that was the first time by accident that I sort of hyped stuff up. And I just did a very human visceral thing. And it worked very, very well. So yeah, I guess it would be the first time.


Alastair McDermott  11:41

Yeah, how would you address the argument that that kind of feels like it’s very cheap, that it’s, there’s something there’s something a little bit distasteful about, you know, going out and just, you know, taking pot shots at people.


Michael F. Schein  11:52

Well, I didn’t take a pot shot. So I think going out and take trolling people is really bad. And that’s not what I’m saying. So I if you read the article that I wrote, I didn’t insult him. I didn’t say he was ugly. I didn’t say that. He was a bad business person. I said he was a great business person. And I believe that I took a pot shot at an idea that I thought was very damaging. And in fact, I didn’t do it to get a reaction. It was I needed an article that week, and it was annoying that he was giving that advice, you know, because I thought he was people. So I do. I mean, I think he’s a great business person. But I think that advice is terrible advice. So


Alastair McDermott  12:28

And by the way, I read the article, and I watched his reaction video. I think he was a little bit thin skinned when it came to to that because


Michael F. Schein  12:35

Very yeah.


Alastair McDermott  12:35

He did. He did seem to take it personally. Which is, which is a different thing. But I mean,


Michael F. Schein  12:41

But did I insult him? I mean, was I


Alastair McDermott  12:43

Oh, no, no, not Yeah, no. And I, you know, like I I’ve mentioned, Gary Vaynerchuk before in this podcast, because I think he’s a fascinating example, of somebody who speaks very authoritatively, about a lot of different topics, but he is an authority only in a couple,


Michael F. Schein  13:01

Mr. Halo has been full of for


Alastair McDermott  13:03

Yeah, very much. Yeah, he is very, very interesting. And I would definitely say to people, you know, do what he does not necessarily what he says.


Michael F. Schein  13:12

That’s my message. And that’s why I say study these hype artists, but don’t follow their advice, you know, always because they do for them.


Alastair McDermott  13:20

Yeah. So let’s pull it back to a, a b2b context where we have people who are consultants, who are trusted to go in and make fairly significant changes in their clients, businesses, sometimes changes that are risky, and they require a lot of trust. So I’m just wondering about the potential for for hype as a as a thing for hype to damage trust. So I’m just wondering how you balance those.


Michael F. Schein  13:53

I want to make it very clear what hype is and what hype is not. Hype is not lying hype is not deception. Hype is not harming people at the expense for yourself.  My method is looking at what works from whatever source, you can get it and distilling out the general human principles and then filtering them through an ethical code. So the thing is the bad guys, the sociopaths, the psychopaths, all these kinds of people. When you look at the worst people like your Charles Manson’s your Jonestown, these people were great, quote, unquote, hype artists, and that they understood group psychology. They will do this stuff without a book, because they look at people as chess pieces. They don’t have the emotional sort of regulation that the rest of us does to say, I’m not going to do this stuff. So as a result, we’re putting a deep understanding of group psychology in the hands of the worst people.  What I’m saying is, there are a bunch of people out there some of them who are great people, Thomas Edison Vaynerchuk is not a horrible person. You know, there there are these people out there who are Who are getting attention? What is it that they’re doing that moves large numbers of people? If it’s unethical, then this book wouldn’t exist. If the idea is lie to people and you know, screw people over, that’s not an answer. The answer is do they understand something about human psychology.  Now, can you take that stuff devoid of the fishy content and reapply it to very serious stuff? And it turns out, you can so let’s use this make war not love example. Yeah, I was a little unsophisticated. I picked a fight with a guy. I don’t do that that much anymore. I pick fights with ideas. So I’m calling out marketing right now, that’s a contrarian idea. Everyone is going out there saying you need to learn how to market and I’m saying marketing is a bad idea. That’s contrarian.  Basecamp. You know, the project management software, they called out over complexity in working in software, and they have a die hard following. It goes beyond Salesforce. Salesforce is bigger, because they invented something that no one had ever done before with cloud based, you know, project management software, but Basecamp has a cult.  So no, you don’t want to go into your client as a consultant and be like, I’m a hype artist, hey, look at me, I pick fights, I raise a ruckus, you want to come in there as the professional that you are. But what you want to do is gain an understanding of how human beings make decisions in groups and apply them through an ethical lens, because it’s the only way to really I don’t know, get to where you need to be in a consistent way.


Alastair McDermott  16:23

Yeah, yeah. And by the way, just just for for the sake of the listeners, I agree with everything that you’ve said, I’m just trying to take a contrarian approach here.


Michael F. Schein  16:33

They’re great. They’re great questions, by the way.


Alastair McDermott  16:35

Yeah, they’re so but but the other thing, and I mentioned this to you just before the show, I see a lot of parallels and what you’ve written about here, and a guy called Patrick Hanlon, and his book Primal Branding, and he talks about in Primal Branding. He has these different elements. One is creation story. The another is a creed icon is rituals, non believers and sacred words. And there’s a huge parallel in what you’re talking about here. And I think that you’re touching on a lot of these in your different strategies. So I would like to get into a couple of the strategies, maybe the ones that would be most appropriate for our audience, would you be able to help with that?


Michael F. Schein  17:19

Yeah, I think for you know, there’s 12 strategies. And what I basically did to write the book is a little bit based on my own experience, but more by really studying the best hype artists of all time, I looked, and I saw, okay, what are the three lines are there themes that repeat over and over again, and it turns out, you would just see with very different content, the same sort of overarching strategies over and over again. So it’s funny.  One of them, the second one in the book is what I call build a secret society. And in some ways, I think that for consultants and business to business companies, this is one of the most lucrative strategies to master because it’s funny, I’ll talk to consultant because I work with a lot of consultants, and they’ll sort of with the best of intentions come to me and be like, you know, I really need to build this massive following online, I really need to, you know, do all this. And I’ll say, Okay, how much do you charge per client, you know, per engagement? And I don’t know, let’s make up a number they tell me over the course of a year $60,000. Okay, so how many clients do you need for your your sort of business fortunes to be changed next year, so that it would truly be significant? Five. Okay. So why do you want a million Twitter followers are the five going to come from that you’d be better off having 25 cups of coffee with Vice Presidents.  So what this hype strategy says keeping that in mind is that what all of the best type artists do is they make it seem like their success is grassroots, like they’re so good at what they do that it just sort of sprung from nowhere. But what they always do at the same time is underneath the surface, they nurture connections with what I call human pressure points, people who are extremely well placed to help accelerate their goals when the time is right. Then the story I tell and it’s a really fun story is there’s there was this guy named Edward Bernays, who was the father of public relations in that he invented the term public relations. And he would do all these things. I mean, he’s basically responsible for removing the taboo on women’s smoking. This was in the 20s, for for, you know, for Lucky Strike cigarettes, he commissioned them to do that. I mean, he helped get a government overthrown in Central America because the United Fruit Company wanted that done.  And the other thing he did was, you know, before the 20s bacon and eggs was not sort of the stereotypical bacon and scrambled eggs was not the stereotypical American meal than it is now. And we have Edward Bernays to thank for that because he was hired by Beech Nut, which at the time was one of the major pork producers in the United States and they wanted to update in consumption, so he had spent a lot of time nurturing these targeted relationships. And one of them was with a gentleman who was a physician who was, honestly quite unsavory, it turns out, but he was very well connected with doctors across the country.  So Bernays persuaded this guy that commissioned a study that said, that bait not commissioned to do a study that said that bacon was the perfect health food for breakfast because it replaces the energy that you lose during your sleep. And so the guy sent the study out to like 5000 doctors who started recommending bacon to their patients. So without one advertisement, you know, they had this to wherever, always eating bacon.  So what I’m not telling you to do here, you don’t this is not to falsify a study or anything like that. Although when I see these studies, now, I just I have a lot of doubt about the, you know, drink 25 cups of coffee, and it has antioxidants, I’m not so sure, right, but, but um, the lesson here, though, is that a few well placed people who you can call on to help you out, is worth so much. And the way to make that happen is once you identify those people, and this is a long game strategy, it’s not the same as just going to networking events and collecting business cards and schmoozing. What it’s about is two things: One is, and you can use social media for this, go on social media and look at the people that you really want to meet and talk to see what they’re talking about. And you know, 80 or 90% of the time, most of these business type influencers will be talking about business kind of stuff. But once in a lot while they’ll let their human slot side slip, they may talk about a band they like or a sports team may like or a show they saw on TV, if you have something in common with them, if you’ve been evidently stalk them, and see that you have something in common. pounced on that, say something about it.  Because when you come to someone, hey, I’m a real big admirer of your Symposium on consulting X, Y, and Z, their cortisol levels go up, they’ll thank you. And they’ll be gracious. But they immediately on some level think you want something for them. But if you look at them as a human being, and talk to them as a human being everyone was a teenager once right? Everyone was a little kid once people have interests. Now it’s a human to a human. It’s not a submissive dominance kind of relationship.  Once you meet these kinds of people and expand your network, what you want to think in terms of is what can you give up, it’s cheap for you to give up financially, but also just cheap in terms of resources, but very, very valuable for someone else. So you know, for an example, I know a gentleman named Dave Lindsey, who I really admire, he started a company called defender direct that’s worth it. The last time I checked, which was a long time ago, he’s worth half a billion dollars, a half a billion dollars 100, 500 million dollars. And he started it quite literally from his garage, they implement security systems, very brass tech stuff.  And when I met him, I met him for an interview in New York. And he essentially was not really working in the company that much. I mean, he had created systems, he was just the chairman of the board and had a lot of time on his hands for the first time in 30 years. And he had moved from Indianapolis to New York City. And at some point in the interview, this guy who could have bought a full Club, which he eventually did, basically said, I’m a huge fan of live music. That’s one of the reasons I moved to New York, I never got to go to a lot of it, because Indianapolis is, you know, doesn’t have a huge scene, I’d love to find out what it is. And I was in my early 30s At the time, and I was still doing that I was just coming off my 20s. And I was I said to him, Well, yeah, it’d be my absolute pleasure to show you around. Now, that was easy for me to do. I was going anyway.  But for him that was like, what do you get the man who has everything, you show him where to go to see live music and a town he doesn’t know. And he became one of my most pivotal mentors. I mean, he is the reason I’m in business in many ways. So those are, that’s kind of a one two punch. And it’s a long term strategy. But if you can do that, you’ll really place yourself in a position to have a lot of power that you wouldn’t have otherwise.


Alastair McDermott  23:59

So that that strategy is basically building these strong key relationships with people,


Michael F. Schein  24:06

But connected relationships. You want to have what I call a secret society. It’s one thing to just be all over the map. But you want to have you want to be sort of a person in your corner of the universe that has this sort of electron cloud of goodwill.  Like like, for example, Tucker Max was this guy who is this guy, he wrote this book, I hope they serve beer in hell. And it was a best seller. It was basically about him partying and hooking up with a lot of women. And it was not beloved by feminists at all, but it made him a very rich man. But as time went on, he had a family and he mellowed out and he wanted to not be known for this anymore. But all his connections and relations, not connections, but all his visibility was based around this brand. But over time, he was very clever. He built this crowd of friends around himself that we’re all loosely related. So he was he had mentored Ryan Holiday when he was young and Ryan Holiday ended up becoming Ryan Holiday, a massive figure it bestselling writer, all this stuff. He was friends with James Altucher friends with Tim Ferriss, and these people are all connected. They’re all Silicon Valley-ish white guys who are into stoicism who you know, are into business and writing. They’re there, a lot of them live in Austin, he built this this scene.  And then when he decided to switch to this new company called book in a box, he just called them all up and said, Hey, can you talk about me on your podcast, and all the people who listen to those podcasts are kind of the same demographic. So it looked like he was everywhere, it looked like he was on Leno, Letterman, whatever, but for that world, and they did a million in revenue in the first month. So this isn’t the same as just being out on the town going to cocktail events. This is about forming your old old boys or old girls network and making that work for you very strategically.


Alastair McDermott  26:00

Right? Okay. When people set out to do that, I mean, it sounds to me like you could, you know, you could see that just like regular networking. So what sets this apart? What’s different about it? I mean, is it about choosing people who are on their way to being super famous on their own? Or is that? Is that a kind of a cheap take on it? Is that is there more to it than that?


Michael F. Schein  26:24

When I talked to people about their networking, what they typically tell me is that they go to networking events, they go to dinners, they go to conferences, they have a handful of business cards, or whatever the digital equivalent of that is, they collect those cards, and then they make connections, they just sort of throw connections out, right, they you know, John, meet Bill, Mary, Meet Joan, Joan, meet Bill. And then they’re hoping that over time, people will give them leads for the leads, they’ve given them, there’s value in that there is some overlap.  The problem is that we normally network with people just like us, we go to a BNI meeting, we go to a, you know, Chamber of Commerce cocktail event. And we follow this formula of like introductions, passing out cards, introductions, etc. So I learned this lesson, I found that I was good at this thing people call networking, I was part of a networking group, and I would get people to really like me get known as a very valuable resource for them. And then when they would recommend a lead to me, I would sit down, and I would tell them, my my, what I charge, which was significantly lower than it is now. And they would go green in the face. I mean, it was like the sticker shock was over the top.  And then what I realized was, you know, that’s because I’m networking with people just like me, what can I do to get in circles of people who are actually higher than me, not, no one’s better than anyone else, but higher than me on the on the status, you know, state? Well, although what do I have, that’s easy for me to use, that’s cheap for me to give up, that’s valuable to them while I have a press pass, so I can get into conferences where most people are paying 5000 to $8,000, which I certainly didn’t have the money for at the time. And I can give people press exposure to let me into the conference. And once I’m there, no one knows me as different from anyone else. So now I was schmoozing with people who had the money or the budgets to do $5,000 to $8,000, at one shot to get into a conference.  So what I’m saying is there is overlap, but the idea is, this is about forming your own Cabal, your own secret society, we always hear these ideas that are too you know, I’m never gonna have a shot because I didn’t grow up with money. I’m not part of that, that you know, that in crowd that group. And what I’m saying to you is there are tactics you can use to get into those centers of power, because there’s stuff that you have to offer, that even people who are powerful don’t have to offer.  So that’s the idea. It’s identifying what’s the circle of underground under the surface, influence, power, money, and whatever? And what can you offer those people on a regular basis, that makes you as much a part of that community as anyone else. Because if you’re in that world, those people in those worlds do things for each other. We know that and we can either what makes it hype is we can either say, oh, that’s that, you know, the world shouldn’t be that way. What a drag or you can say the world is that way. Let me use some strategies to to capitalize on that to become part of it.


Alastair McDermott  29:37

Yeah, one thing that I’ve seen work or that has actually worked for me, is in taking people who have coaching calls that are at very high hourly rates. So somebody with a $500 an hour at $800 an hour coaching call, and actually buying that and talking to them and getting some feedback on you know, on my business, it’s It’s usually very useful, very insightful. But it also starts to build a relationship with somebody. And so there’s that there, there is a handful of people out there who, you know, will come on my podcast, or who will, you know, promote some of my promotion, my episodes, things like that, purely because I’ve done that in the past. So I think maybe there’s some crossover in concept there,


Michael F. Schein  30:23

I think. So I think that’s a good idea. You’re coming in as a buyer and not as a seller, you’re not coming to them with hat in hand, you’re saying, I’m your equal. I’m coming to you as a client, even if for one session, and then you’re showing them how smart you are by the questions you ask. And as long as you keep that relationship alive, now that person is part of your circle. I think that’s very much that strategy.


Alastair McDermott  30:44

Yeah. Yeah. Very interesting. Okay. Let’s pick another one to talk about. So is that number six “become a Magus”. Is that is that? Is that appropriate for this audience?


Michael F. Schein  30:57

Yeah, I think it’s really especially appropriate. Because, you know, in working with consultants, I’ll often hear a lot of frustration from clients who come to me who are really, really good at what they do and make a good living. But they see other people who they rightly or wrongly, usually, rightly, feel, don’t have material that’s as sophisticated or as useful as there. So I’ll have this consultant come to me who I don’t know, implemented their program at a major health facility, and decreased deaths in the facility by 50%, some healthcare consultants, so really sophisticated stuff, right to use, not a real example.  But an example that’s close to a real example. They dealt with, and they’re doing fine. And they have a nice business. But they’ll look at someone like I don’t know, a Tom Peters, a Tony Robbins, you know, a Martin Seligman, Brene, brown, and they’ll say to themselves, my stuff is more sophisticated than theirs. You know, they got their ideas from books I’ve read, there’s nothing really that special about it. I’m sure it’s valuable. But I don’t understand why I’m why I’m only doing a million in revenue, and they’re doing 100 million in revenue.  And usually, the reason is that they haven’t fashioned themselves into what I call a mages being, you know, ancient civilizations had these figures who were these larger than life above the fray characters who could do miraculous things. And if you look at, you know, let’s use an example.  Tony Robbins, right? He speaks for 10 hours straight, he gets people to walk over hot coals. You know, he’s massive. I mean, even his head is bigger than most people’s heads, you know what I mean? He’s this like, a larger than life figure. But we see that in other ways as well. Simon Synek not like that at all. But um, he’s, he’s, you know, he’s kind of handsome. He has like a half British accent, right? He wears these little spectacles. He knows everything about science, even though he has nothing to do with science. He uses words like neuro epinephrine, you know, and synapses, right? I saw him on stage, I went to a conference once this was a perfect example of this. He gets on stage and he says, I had a whole speech prepared a whole talk prepared, but I just, you know, right before I got here on the airplane over I was I was reading in a paper and connections started forming in my brain.  So I’m just going to talk extemporaneously is that, okay? And everyone’s like, of course, a pretty good gosh, I hope this goes well. And he gives like a note perfect, like, you know, you know, Laurence Olivier level talk, and people are up on their feet off, he did that off the cuff. Amazing. You know, it was the subject of his next book. I mean, he didn’t do that off the cuff. I mean, that was a stick. But he made himself any, you know, if he had come there and done a done a well prepared talk, that’s one thing, but he did it off the cuff this amazing talk. Right?  So again, I don’t want to say that he made that up. But to me, it was quite clear, right? So does that mean you have to be Tony Robbins, you know, that can talk for 10 hours straight? Or do these kinds of things? No, it doesn’t. What’s really interesting, a little bit of a trick or a hack, to turn yourself into a major when maybe you have imperfections is to use your imperfections as fuel. A lot of times if we use our A lot of times our strengths are the same as everyone else’s strengths. I’m a good writer, and I’m creative. Okay, me and everyone else. You know what I mean? There’s a ton of people who are like that, not everyone else, but a lot of people.  But if you can take those things about yourself that are a little that you’re insecure about, sometimes you can spin those into gold. So you know Andy Warhol, right, who is really known as a great type artist. He was balding very early, he had social anxiety insanely shy to like a pathological level. He was gay in an era when that was illegal. And he turned each of those quote unquote, weaknesses into his hallmark. So instead of getting like a cheesy browns had, you know to pay or letting himself go, but he got this garish silver wig.  When you think of Andy Warhol, what do you think of you think of the silver wig, his shyness, he turned that into his biggest personality trait, you know, people would go up to him and say, Why do you paint Campbell’s Soup Cans? And he would say, I like soup. And he would get the press talking about that. What does he mean? Is he talking about commercialism that, so what I would do is write down all of your insecurities, all of your weaknesses and think what is the hidden strength inside of that, and then experiment with weaving that through everything you do, and you’ll find that you can really create this extremely interesting version of yourself that will get attention in a way that just being good at what you do, you know, doesn’t do?


Alastair McDermott  35:45

Yeah. So do we need the trappings? Do we need the you know, the, the, the robes and the jewelry and all the stuff that the images in in your, in your stories to have?


Michael F. Schein  35:58

No, I mean, that, you know, I used an example from the ancient times to show that surfaces do matter, even though we don’t want to think of them as surfaces. But you know, you don’t want to go up there. And with crazy outfits and have a costume on, you know, you don’t want to go up on stage and dress like a stage magician, when that’s not the appropriate setting.  The idea is to find something in yourself that’s truly tied to your being that’s a core of who you are in the most fundamental way, and then weave that into a consciously constructed package, because otherwise it’ll fall apart, right? The reason I believe that those mages as they call them more, you know, why they were selected and why they were able to pull it off is because they were weirdos for their society. You know what I mean? They, you know, a normal person who was a typical, overly masculine, strong guy who might be a jock in our society would have been a warrior would have been a farmer, right? But the weirdos and the fringe people were taken in and turned into these, the mages into these mystics into these kinds of people. So find that part of yourself. That’s a little weird, that’s a little different, and turn that into your rings and jewelry. You know, not not don’t just copy what was done 5000 years ago.


Alastair McDermott  37:20

Yeah. And that, that kind of segues into something else he talks about in another strategy, which is perfecting your packaging. And you mentioned that you’re a third rate musician, but you still did pretty well at times. Can you talk a little bit about that about your clothes in particular?


Michael F. Schein  37:39

Well, yeah, I was in this band, which I feel like I still get a lot of lessons from being in this band. I told my parents when I graduated college, that I was going to go off and start a band in New York and that conversation didn’t go well. It was at my graduation, dinner, or brunch. But I’ve never been a great guitar player. I’m not a great singer. I think I’m a good performer for like a punk rock style band. And I didn’t become famous at music. That being said, I was in this band in New York, around like 2002-2003. And we had a big following. I mean, we used to sell out this club, Arlene’s Grocery, which is a famous club. I mean, The Strokes. It used to play there a lot. And we would sell it out. We had a residency there. We were on TV once. It happened to be Showtime at the Apollo, which we got on for the specific purpose of being booed off, but it was TV. I mean, we were on the cover of The New York Press.  So you know, we never made any money at it. And it broke up for that reason, but we had some success. And I would say that all of that had to do with our ability to hype ourselves up. So it was kind of like I forgot who I really was when I went into business and then rediscovered it. But yeah, I mean, we were all about surfaces and packages. We were really theatrical. I used to wear a top hat and this like frilly collar, and I still am convinced that Panic at the Disco saw one of our shows and ripped us off. I am telling you they were or I saw this performance. I was like that guy. I was like this guy saw our band. That’s exactly what we used to wear. And it was around the same time, but I’ll take that with me to the grave.  But yeah, I used to dress like a non we had a song called Ash Wednesday, and I would tell all the kids to kneel and do the Lord’s Prayer. Pretty offensive, but they would do it. You know, we have confetti cannons. So that was our thing. I mean, we what we made up for in, you know, pure singing and guitar playing and virtuosity we put on a show and I think ultimately people want to show I think in some ways that’s the essence of hype. We think in stories, we think the actually we’re attracted to glimmering objects, and we often forget that and that stuff’s important in various forms. Even if you’re a consultant, that doesn’t mean you have to wear top hats and none costumes, but some version of that that’s appropriate is always important. Tom Peters, who’s one of the biggest public consultants out there, if you watch one of his performances, he is using every trick in the theatrical book to attract your attention.


Alastair McDermott  40:07

Mm hmm. Yeah, it sounds to me like what you’re talking about there is you’re giving people an experience. It’s not just a, it’s not just a performance, it’s an experience for them.


Michael F. Schein  40:18

I think, thinking about people’s experience at all times, is so important. And thinking about the fact that people really do care about surfaces, even if they don’t admit it to themselves. I remember on just a very, very basic level, when I used to do sales proposals, I would do them on on Word, you know, because I figured the words are what matters. So I would write them up, you know, double spaced, totally professional, and my close rate was relatively low. And then I started taking the same words, and I hired a really good illustrator and a really good designer to turn it into a really nice visual presentation, and I stretched out five, you know, they weren’t double spaced, single spaced pages is what I met single spaced pages with bullet points into like a 45. Page, well laid out document that looked different than most PowerPoints, my clothes weight rate, like quadrupled, not one word changed.


Alastair McDermott  41:13

Yeah. Yeah. So we do judge books by the cover.


Michael F. Schein  41:16

Wery much so. Very, very much. So


Alastair McDermott  41:19

Is there anything that the listeners to this can take away and implement in terms of using these concepts of hype as a, as an amoral tool as a as a neutral tool that they can, they can go away and undo?


Michael F. Schein  41:38

Yeah, I think something that you can do right away, the minute you get off this call, is to start working on your point of view, we started this conversation talking about the idea of picking fights and making war. But really what that comes down to, is not being a troll is not fighting for the sake of fighting. But it’s having a point of view, it’s saying, in my industry, in my field, I strongly, confidently, almost aggressively in my belief, believe in this thing, and that other people who don’t believe in this thing are wrong. And I’ll go to the mat for that, I’ll go to the mat for that, respectfully, I will never insult anyone as a person. But my field and what we do is so important. And people are so misguided with how they’re doing it, that I created a business to fix these problems. And here’s my point of view. And the way to start by doing that is ask yourself two questions and write the answers down.  One, what is something in my industry or my corner of the universe that most people are many people just accept that I strongly feel as wrong to the point that it makes me angry. And you know, my example is traditional marketing is is, is broken, it’s actually stupid doing marketing at all, what you need to do is working on deep crowd psychology, you know, strategies, and all these people who are being sold these tactics around, Hey, as long as you have the right email sequence, all your dreams will come true. I think that’s damaging. And I’m going to go to the math for that.  And the other point of view, which I just hinted at, the other question that I just hinted at is, what’s a point of view in my industry that I am 100% confident is true, not 98%. 100% that other people disagree with? So in my case, it would be the thing I’m against is tactical marketing, being sold to people as if it’s the answer to all your problems. And the thing I’m 100% sure of is, what you first need to do is master fundamental ancient principles of mass psychology. And if you can figure those things out, you’re a lot farther than you probably were 10 minutes earlier.


Alastair McDermott  43:50

Right? I want to dig into one of those a little bit. Because when, when you when you find something that you disagree with, and you say, hey, you know, this is wrong. Really, under the surface, there’s actually a lot of nuance. And so you can say on the surface, like your headline. Gary Vaynerchuk was wrong. When you read the article. Yeah, that’s true. But somebody reading the surface headline doesn’t doesn’t get the doesn’t get the body of that. So I’m just wondering, I’m just wondering about that, that concept of do we need to explain the nuance, when we have this point of view, and we have this, like we have something that we disagree with or that we strongly agree with?


Michael F. Schein  44:34

I guess it matters, how much you care about everyone liking you or how much you care about getting a result. I mean, I’ll use a music example A because I like music and B because I think that some of the old rock bands and old rock managers before it became big business. They were some of the best type artists because they were outsiders. But you know, the band obviously the who, when they started out they were an r&b band, and they had a following, they had a couple 100 people who would regularly come to all their shows in London. And they picked up this new manager who said to them, You know what, there’s this new youth movement called the mod movement, you know, and these mods are, they’re kind of bad kids, you know, they take amphetamines, and they cause trouble on the streets. And they lack a band, you know, they listen to American music, they don’t have a band that’s there. So there’s a real opportunity, if you change the way you dress, and change your sound a little bit, and put British flags up on your amps, you know, to show that you’re in solidarity and do the pop art thing, because they’re into that, there’s a real opportunity to to, you know, to capitalize on this market. And after a lot of discussion, who went along with it.  And their original fans were like, This is garbage. You know, what is this? You’re jumping on a trend? You know, r&b is the way to go? What is this? Yeah, but you’re they lost those fans, you know, but they became the who? I mean, they’re the quintessential mod band, and from that they springboard into other things. So I think, yeah, if you want to be someone who it’s very, very scary to put a stake in the ground and say, this is the way things are so I was scared to death to put out that Gary Vaynerchuk art, it’s a nice story now. But at the time, I was terrified. He made that video he I was like, Is my career over? And my article was a nuanced, you know, in that I didn’t, I explained why I thought what I did, I didn’t go on there and just insult him. I think that’s a terrible idea. But I was honest. I said, Look, this guy’s giving you bad advice. And you could tell the reason he was so people don’t get that upset, unless what you said is true.


Alastair McDermott  46:51

Yeah, yeah. Okay, let me let me switch gears because we’re coming up on time, I want to ask you, do you have a favorite business book or resource that you recommend to people?


Michael F. Schein  47:01

Yeah, I read so much. Because before anything, I was a writer. So my business books, you know, I’ve read so many books. And that’s not unlike these people who are always out there saying, I need to read more, I need to get on a plan where I’m reading 30 minutes a day, I’m like, I really need to read the last because it’s a good excuse for me not to do other stuff.  That being said, there’s this one business book that I constantly refer back to in my thinking, and it’s called “The Click Moment” by Frans Johansson. So Frans Johansen is known primarily for a book called “The Medici Effect,” which is also very, very good. And he’s much more known for that book, “The Click Moment” probably didn’t sell anywhere near as well. But for some reason, I discovered it first. And it really informed the way I was thinking. And what it basically says is that people talk about their strategies for success in retrospect. You know, they tell you how they got to where they got, and they show you their big strategy plans. And they’re almost always fanciful storytelling, what actually happens and fastest he talks about, like quantum mechanics. randomness is everything. So what will typically happen is something random will happen, and the people who succeed know how to capitalize on it.  So he says, if everything’s random, and you can’t make success happen, then how do you plan for success? And he says, You need a system to capture randomness. So he talks about a couple things, he talks about how first of all, you have to place a lot of small bets. And even in my business, when when we work with companies to to enact their height programs. It’s all about, okay, there are these 12 hype umbrella strategies, you know, but let’s go through as quickly as possible experiments because you don’t know which one’s going to work.  He also says, follow your interests. Because if you’re just following what you think is the tried and true path to make money, ironically, that’s where you won’t make money. And he says, look for complex forces. So if people are volunteering their time, if people are, you know, giving you unsolicited positive feedback, so that really always informed my whole philosophy to my career. And I read it fortunately, early on, and I recommend that very strongly.


Alastair McDermott  49:08

Fascinating. That sounds really interesting. And definitely check that out. What about for fiction? Do you do you read a bit of fiction?


Michael F. Schein  49:14

I read a lot of fiction.


Alastair McDermott  49:17



Michael F. Schein  49:17

And that was my first love. Yeah, I would say there are so many, but a book I keep coming back to that. Just, you know, for years, I would want it to be a fiction writer when I was a kid. And then I got really into music. And then I wasn’t interested in writing fiction at all. And then I read this book, and to this day, I still write fiction early in the morning. It’s still something I do because I got really interested in it after reading this book, and it was called, it’s called “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” by Michael Chabon.


Alastair McDermott  49:47

Think I’ve heard of that one.


Michael F. Schein  49:48

It’s it’s really good. It’s about these two cousins. One who escaped from the Nazis from Prague in the same box that ships the Golan Gollum to New York City. And a Brooklyn kid who lives in Flatbush, and they to make money they find out about this new trash art form called comic books. And they create a comic book art character called the escape artist. And it’s basically about the early comic book world about World War Two about the last people have in the Holocaust about New York in the 40s. And it’s a beautiful, amazing book.


Alastair McDermott  50:25

Very cool. Okay, I’m, I’m definitely gonna check that one out as well. I think I’ve heard of it before from somebody, but it’s on my list for sure.


Michael F. Schein  50:33

It’s great. It’s it’s an epic kind of thing, you can really get lost in it.


Alastair McDermott  50:37

Yeah. So Michael, I’m gonna wrap it up. Where can people find you if they’re interested in learning more.


Michael F. Schein  50:43

So something that I learned that actually is more marketing than hype, but I really believe in it, is that you really should only have one call to action. So you know, my temptation is to tell you the 42 places that you can find me, but I’m going to give you one. And that is go on Amazon and type in “The Hype Handbook” by Michael F. Schein S-C-H-E-I-N. And if you get that book, you’ll know my whole life philosophy. And if you ever want to work with me further the name of my companies in there, MicroFame Media, and I’d love to talk to you.


Alastair McDermott  51:13

Yeah. And I just want to say, you know, I read a lot of books, and I really enjoyed reading this. And if you’re, if anybody listening to this is kind of on the fence about the concept of hype. This is a really enjoyable, entertaining read as well. So with lots of fascinating stories, so I really do enjoy that part of it.


Michael F. Schein  51:31

Thank you that that really means a lot, especially from a reader. You know, there’s that part of me that above everything else. I’m a writer, and I have a writer’s ego. So hearing that is really nice.


Alastair McDermott  51:40

Yeah. It’s something that I’ve been working a lot on, on my YouTube channel, and on developing strategies for that. And it’s something I’m realizing more is more and more important is the concept of entertaining people while educating.


Michael F. Schein  51:56



Alastair McDermott  51:56

I think it’s really important to do that.


Michael F. Schein  51:58

You’re I think you’re right.


Alastair McDermott  51:59

Yeah. Michael F. Schein. Thank you very much for being with me today.


Michael F. Schein  52:02

Thank you. This was a just an extremely fun and engaging conversation.


Alastair McDermott  52:07

Cool. We’ll have to do it again.


Michael F. Schein  52:08



Voiceover  52:11

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