taste is in the tongue of the beholder

As I build a daily habit of writing and communicating, this site I am simultaneously thinking about personal branding. Personal branding is really self-promotion but done in such a way that it doesn’t come off as bragging or boasting. It is about the words I choose. My writing is an expression of my brand because:

“Your content is your key differentiator online.”

That quote is from Erik Decker’s and Kyle Lacy’s excellent book Branding Yourself. (Note: That quote and any following are based on the first edition of their book.)

I know what I like and am interested in. But I am also curious what other people think I am all about.  It is the question posed in Branding Yourself: “What is the emotional response you evoke?” I turned to my friends on Twitter with that question of my y0mbo brand.  I liked Mike’s response:

Mike did a presentation at the Fox Valley Computing Professionals meetup on Bayesian Filters back in November 2010. I created a sketchnote based on his presentation and shared it with him afterward.


I love that for Mike, troche my sketchnote was what “de-anonymized” me in his mind. That is the point of personal branding, after all; to set you apart from everyone else in the crowd. Sketchnotes have done this for me in a lot of people’s minds.

But wait, there’s more… I don’t just want to be known for my sketchnotes. I also want to be known for other things I’m interested in. What other things interest me? There’s a whole list!


  • Software development
  • Ruby on Rails development
  • Ember.js development
  • Freelancing / Business
  • Woodworking
  • Parenting
  • Guitar / Music
  • Podcasting
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Home-ownership
  • Health and fitness
  • Prepping
  • GTD/productivity
  • Role-playing games
  • Christianity / Christian Discipleship
  • Writing / Blogging
  • Sketchnoting / Drawing / Art
  • Making / Tinkering
  • Photography

That’s quite a list I came up with in 5 minutes. That doesn’t even cover the random little topics I like to read about.

As part of the 30×500 course I’m taking I also need to identify:

  1. People like me
  2. People who want to be like me
  3. People who buy from me

With so many interests, how do I niche down, focus my brand?

If you’ve read to this point, I’m sad to report that I don’t have an answer to that question. The best I can get to right now is finding one thing to at least move foward on.