I am very excited to bring you today’s Spin Sucks Inquisition.
Martin Waxman and I have been friends for a very long time. Long before this whole social media thing was a thing. Long before people met online. Long before…never mind, this is making me sound old.
I have a very fun memory of being somewhere warm and he and I were with a couple of other friends during a break at Counselors Academy. We were sitting in an outdoor bar teaching some of our peers about this Twitter thing.
Martin has a great sense of humor (it’s very dry, which I love), he’s exceptionally intelligent, and he’s savvy enough to have changed with the PR times.
He’s also the kind of friend who knows me well enough that he can buy me a book as a gift and hit it out of the park every, single time.
I am very happy to have him on the Spin Sucks Inquisition hot seat today.
What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?
There have been a lot, but OK: My biggest mistake was wanting a business idea to happen really, really, really badly. So badly, in fact, that I put all my energy and resources into bringing it to life.
And because I was so single-minded (I read somewhere that was supposed to be a good thing), I dismissed or ignored any critical questions people I trusted had about what I was planning to do.
Then just before the big day, a little Yoda in my stomach said, “Not a good idea, this is. Stop it, you should!”
But being a polite Canadian and eternal optimist, I pushed the evil thought way down, chalked it up to jitters and went ahead.
Dumb, dumb me!
I now know that for all decisions, if someone close to me asks me a question that makes me squirm, I pay attention. And I always trust my gut!
What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?
Many folks know how much I love comedy and that I used to be a standup MC.
Well, one evening during those long ago days, I proudly shared the screen with Canada’s Country Gentleman, Tommy Hunter, on his weekly TV show!
You can ask Lindsay Bell about who he was. The producers were trying to spice up the program and I was brought on as a novelty music act.
He towered over me (literally, he’s a very tall guy).
You would not believe how happy I am that there’s no online evidence of my performance.
If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?
No way! I’m one of those people who’s nearly late to every meeting (I said nearly), because when it’s time for me to walk out the door, I always have “just one more thing” to do.
And I think that’s the same with my life.
There will always be just one more thing to accomplish—either personal, professional, or a mix of both.
(Which could mean my last words will be a tweet.)
What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?
It really bugs me when people pretend they’re experts on a subject they know nothing about, when the only thing they do know is how to jump on a bandwagon.
How can you tell if you’re talking to someone like that?
They use a lot of jargon and often add a telltale the in front of words such as Twitter or Snapchat (The Twitter or The Snapchat).
I’ve met too many of these BS artists in PR and they give the profession a bad reputation.
What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?
During the holidays, I read Richard Ford’s latest book, Let Me Be Frank With You, a linked collection of stories centering around failed novelist, sportswriter, and now retired real estate agent, Frank Bascombe.
Ford has written about Bascombe in several books including The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and Lay of the Land.
The writing is crisp yet lyrical, witty, and bittersweet. And every sentence is honest to the core.
I love how the main character has learned to relish the smallest moments in life. And every time I read about Frank Bascomb’s adventures, I get the urge to buy a big American car and sell a house or two.
Why Does Spin Suck?
Spin is creativity’s evil cousin and is sometimes mistaken for creativity at first glance because there’s a family resemblance on the storytelling side.
Be careful because, unlike creativity, spin is only there to pull the wool over your eyes, put one over on you, take you to the laundry, and pretty much any pulp fiction metaphor that you’d like to use.
Don’t associate with spin!
Where You Can Find Martin Waxman
If you’d like the opportunity to work with Martin, he has customized one-day workshops that combine strategy, an understanding of the tools, editorial calendar development, and how to bring it all to life via content marketing. He also has an eBook coming out later this winter that is produced by Cision. Learn more on his website.