Mitch Joel – Author of Six Pixels of Separation

[quote style=”boxed”]By reading and writing. Ideas come to me from writing and the act of critical thinking. Reading opens my brain to the muse.[/quote]

Marketing Magazine dubbed Mitch Joel the “rock star of digital marketing” and called him, “one of North America’s leading digital visionaries.” In 2006, he was named one of the most influential authorities on blog marketing in the world. In 2008, he was named Canada’s Most Influential Male in Social Media, one of the top 100 online marketers in the world, and was awarded the prestigious Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. Most recently, Mitch was named one of iMedia’s 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators in the world.

Mitch is frequently asked to be a subject matter expert for BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Marketing Magazine, Profit, Strategy, Money, The Globe and Mail and many other media outlets. His newspaper business column, New Business – Six Pixels of Separation, runs bi-monthly in both The Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun. He also has a regular column called Media Hacker on The Huffington Post. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation, was named after his successful blog and podcast and became a bestseller. His next book, CTRL ALT DEL, will be released in 2013.

What are you working on right now?

I’m always working on our clients at Twist Image, so that keeps me very occupied. But right now, I’m also working on my second book.

Where did the idea for Twist Image come from?

We’re 4 business partners who had the vision back in 2000 to create a modern marketing agency – one that works as much with technology as it does with creativity. We’re lucky that this vision became reality, not only for us, but for the industry that we serve.

What does your typical day look like?

It depends on whether it’s a travel day or not. Early mornings are family time for me. Once the school drop-offs are finished, you can usually find me having a business breakfast. The rest of my day is spent working on business development for Twist Image. I usually blog/write once things are quiet at home, typically after 9:00 PM. Travel days usually involve a lot of airport lounges, scrambling for a wi-fi signal and the general running around from airport to hotel to airport.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By reading and writing. Ideas come to me from writing and the act of critical thinking. Reading opens my brain to the muse.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

DIY. Everything from projects on Kickstarter to the stuff you can find in the pages of Make Magazine.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

In my senior year of high school, I worked in a cosmetics company’s factory. My job was to glue the make-up into the container. It was mindless and endless. I learned that while earning money is great, but being happy is more important. It also gave me a tremendous amount of respect for people who are struggling to get by. I’m grateful that I get to do what I do every day. I’m also lucky.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

There are some nuanced things I would do differently, but they’re not worth mentioning. I’m very content with how things have panned out.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read. Read. Read. Don’t stop reading.

What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

When I’m not good at something, I bring in people whose strength is my weakness. I’m willing to share ownership with those who can help me solve problems.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I do it each and every day on my blog:

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

Hunger and poverty. I wish I had insight into how to change it. We are one world and I wish we would start acting like it.

Tell us a secret.

Boxer briefs.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

  • Twitter: It keeps me in the now.
  • Google Reader: It  keeps me up-to-date with those who are doing the heavy thinking.
  • Fast Company’s website: If I could read everything posted there on a daily basis, I would be much smarter.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Tom Peters’ Re–Imagine. It’s the book that made me realize that business books are about much more than business.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  • Jay Rosen: Few are looking at the media as intelligently as Jay Rosen from NYU.
  • Jeff Jarvis: A journalist/media type who seems to always be pushing the boundaries.
  • Arjun Basu: Writes the best fiction in 140 characters.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Watching Will Ferrell as a guest on Charlie Rose the other night. Will doesn’t have to say anything, but he always makes me laugh out loud.

Who is your hero?

The great and caring doctors and teachers in our society.


Twist Image Blog:
Mitch Joel on Twitter: @mitchjoel