I am an avid reader, especially when it comes to self-improvement and personal development. However, it isn’t often that I pick up a book and have to put it down after one chapter.
I did this with Engagement from Scratch.
Do you know why?
Each chapter of this book gave me so much food for thought, that I would have done disservice to read it like a novel. This book – beautifully crafted – is an ornate collection of 30 different authors (that include Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, Ana Hoffman, Steve Kamb and more…) that reflect on how any of us, and I mean any of us, can improve our audience engagement.
The best thing about the book is that it is easy to read and follow, yet leaves you with so much to think about. I will leave it for you to explore further.
When I stumbled onto Danny’s book on Traffic Generation Cafe, I had to check it out (especially since it was, and still is free). Danny has made this book available to everyone, as in his own words, it is important to spread this message. Personally, it is one of the books that you should stock up on bookshelf, so remember to check out a paperback copy on Amazon.
Danny was kind enough to grant me impromptu request for an interview. As with any other interview we conduct, we look deeper at the person behind the book, and not just the author himself. Enjoy!
Q. Danny, what does a ‘Goal’ mean to you? Does it represent some sort of destination that you aim to reach, someday?
For me, a goal is something that I’ve decided is worth doing and achieving, and that I’ve put a plan in motion to attain. It isn’t a goal until you’ve started thinking about how you’ll get there – until that point, it’s just a pipe dream.
Q. Are you big on planning? If so how far in the future do you usually plan your tasks?
I believe in different levels of detail for planning depending on how far out you’re looking. I plan out the tasks that I want to complete in a day on the night before, and the stuff I want to be writing about and doing (campaigns, etc.) a few months before. Bigger goals planned out 6-24 months in advance, but there isn’t a lot of detail in that early stage, other than thinking about what will be done, in which order, and how it will all fit together.
Q. Your latest book – ‘Engagement from Scratch’ came out recently. I have read snippets of it, and am in awe of the quality it carries. My mum usually says – that those who cook the food can’t seem to enjoy it as much. Is it the same with your book? Do you enjoy reading it? Have you read it since it has been published?
Well, the work of my co-authors is great, and even though I’ve read them all many, many times (of necessity), I still find a lot of value in their chapters. I haven’t read it since it was published, but that was just a week ago!
Q. Given a chance, what would be your advice to Danny Iny who is 12 year old? What about 15?
I am very lucky to have parents who always supported me in exploring my own path. Most parents wouldn’t like the idea of dropping out of high school to start a business, but my parents were willing to let me run with it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I’ve learned from them (I hope), but the most important advice, which is to follow my heart and go after the things that I care about and believe in, is advice that I already got from my parents.
Q. I understand that you have lived in Canada and Israel for considerable periods of time. Do you ever feel like a Third culture kid? Like you don’t quite belong in either of those countries? Are you an avid traveler?
No, not really, though I know that it is a pretty common experience. I feel very comfortable here in Montreal (Canada), and this is my home – but Canada, and especially Montreal, is a very diverse, multi-cultural, and welcoming place – I don’t know if I would feel as comfortable somewhere else (or even in Israel).
Q. I also understand that you dropped out of school and started a business. Was it not difficult to pit yourself against the bulls at such a young age? Most of don’t realize it at the time, but we are happy to be in a cocoon of school life – do you feel you missed out on the innocence?
Well, even though I dropped out of school to “start a business”, I was still a teenager, and it felt in a lot of ways more like a hobby/project than like an actual business (the way it does for me today). I was still living at home, and in a lot of ways I was still in that “cocoon” – so no, I don’t feel like I missed out on it.
Q. Last one, I promise. I noticed that you recently got married in a Hin-Jew wedding! (Congrats!) How was the ambiance of the place? The Hindu weddings we have here in India are massive, with over 500 guests. Did you have as many guests? Was it overwhelming?
Thank you! The ambiance was amazing – it was really wonderful to have our friends and family all around us to celebrate on our special day. Our wedding wasn’t as big as most Hindu weddings – there were only about 150 people there – but that was perfect for us.
Ok, now for some quick questions about the book. I will ask you 9 questions about the contributors, and you have to answer them as honestly as you can….
I don’t remember who was the first one to agree, but I do remember that the first completed chapter came in from Mark Schaefer, only a week or two after I first approached him.
2) Which contributor took most amount of convincing to work on the book?
Well, a few of the bigger names took some convincing, but I can’t name names on that.
3) Is there any other contributor that you would also have liked to have?
There were many other contributors that I approached, and that either didn’t have time, or weren’t interested. I’m sure that you’d recognize many of their names – but that’s fine, when I started out to create this book, I knew that many of the big names that I approached wouldn’t go for it, but that the ones who did agree would turn it into an amazing piece of work – which they did!
4) Which contributor surprised you with their idea or content?
I don’t think there were any ideas that surprised me too much (I had already been interacting with most of my co-authors before starting the book project), but I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of a lot of the submissions. I had high expectations, and in many cases those expectations were exceeded by the actual quality of the content that they delivered.
5) Which article comes closest to the essence of this book?
Since the book is a collection of perspectives, there isn’t really a single essence to the book. The essence of the book is the sum of its parts, so to speak.
6) Which contributor did you find most enchanting?
It’s very hard to pick just one, but if I had to, I think it would be Steve Kamb.
7) Which contributor introduced to another contributor?
Natalie Sisson connected me with Tyler Tervooren. I think that’s the only case, actually, of someone contributing to the book that I didn’t approach directly.
8) Which contributor can you closely relate to?
I can relate to a lot of them, mostly because of how relatable they all are. In terms of the perspectives and philosophies that they shared in the book, though, I think I relate most to Randy Komisar and Corbett Barr.
9) Which contributor would you personally like to work with in future, and do you have a particular project in mind?
Yes, many of them. The first up is Sean Platt – the two of us have co-authored another book that we’re publishing in January. After that, I have some plans and many aspirations to work with a lot of the contributors. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Thank you Danny, you have been very patient today. And good luck with that next book.
If you haven’t already checked out the book, I would suggest doing that now.
So what do you think? Do you have the natural ability to engage people? Have you read this book yet? Let us know, I am sure Danny would appreciate every feedback and opinion you might have.