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October 9, 2014
Hey, It's Just a Number
I’m frustrated by the people that feel influence is a system that can be gamed or faked. All too often I see people who want to learn how to inflate their social media numbers or the amount of social recognition they receive without really thinking about why they want it.

Some entrepreneurs will tell you yes, there are ways that you can increase your influence by playing the game, but I’ll be honest — that’s not for me.

I’m not interested in playing an influence game because I don’t think influence is something you should play with. I value the fact that people trust me to provide information. I value that I have a reputation for building great products.

The minute I try to game them is the minute I put all of that on the line, which leads me to my point.

The only true way to gain influence is to move someone.

I’m not talking about getting them to RT or comment. I’m not talking about Facebook fans or email subscribers.

I’m talking about the people whom you can get to feel something about you.

When I hear a good song, I’m influenced. When I see a great print or piece of art, I’m influenced. When I read a great book and get fired up, I’m influenced, and that’s the kind of influence I’m interested in.

And since the bar is rather high, it’s easy to see that not every action I take is going to help improve my overall influence. In truth, the only way to do that is by this one thing: Doing something worthy of attention — something worthy of influence.

My influence philosophy is to let my products do the talking. I’d much rather influence someone with my “walk,” than my “talk,” and furthermore, I don’t think talk gets me much of a shelf life anyway.

There’s plenty of talk in the world, and in a time when we’re moving faster than ever before, both from a business and from a technological standpoint, talk is cheap, probably more so than it ever has been.

While some might prefer to play influence games and build a brand, which is great, I much prefer to spend my time doing something amazing and letting my work speak for me. If it moves people, I’ve achieved my goal of increasing my influence.

The upside to this kind of influence is that if you move them, they’ll move for you, and that’s when the rubber really meets the road. Getting comments and RTs is worthless if no one reads them, but getting them as a result of someone feeling a personal and powerful connection to you as a result of your products, well, that’s outstanding.

My thoughts on influence are rather than worry about who you can attract with a lot of shouting and “me, me, me” talk, consider figuring out how you can create something worthy of influence. Ask yourself not how you can trick people into thinking you’re worth talking about, but how you can make something that people will talk about naturally.

True influence is not in the numbers, and it’s because of that fact that people try to find the easy way out. If you’re looking for success, you should know that the easy way is never worth the effort.

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Nathan Hangen is an entrepreneur, iPhone developer, and royalty free music producer who teaches people how to build a digital empire.

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