Bryan Eisenberg SEO Pioneers

Bryan Eisenberg – SEO Pioneer

Bryan Eisenberg is a New York Times bestselling author who was a Pioneer developing persuasion architecture before the SEO industry thought about conversion.

His books Call To Action was Waiting For Your Cat To Bark had a huge influence on the industry.

A must watch episode, where Bryan talks extensively about his theories of persuasion architecture and marketing.

Bryan also talks about his early years, working with his brother and celebrating small successes along the way.

In this interview Bryan talks about:

01:30 Playing with computers and bulletin board systems
03:14 Transition from Social Work to Online Business
04:52 Beginning to understand the potential of the internet
05:26 The early days in sales consulting
06:19 Nearly working for Adam Audette
08:59 Starting to work in SEO and founding Future Now agency
10:19 Starting to think about why conversion was important and developing the persuasion theory
14:47 Who else in the industry was working with persuasion
19:44 Similarities of Online Marketing with the Television Network Industry
20:56 The first book Persuasion Online Copywriting
23:56 How Call To Action became a New York Times bestseller
27:08 What Larry Chase said about books being a $35 business card
30:29 Ranking for ‘conversion rate’
31:21 Writing books for self-promotion
34.05 What happened after becoming a best-selling author
36:58 Working with his brother Jeffrey and how that aided his success
39:42 Where the nickname ‘the Grok’ came from
41:02 How integral the SEO industry was to the development of his conversion work and theories
42:03 Speaking at early SES conferences and the reaction from the industry
44:28 When he started to get traction for Persuasion
47:03 The impact that AI will have on Persuasion in the next few years
49:58 How society works in pendulums
51:12 How technology is going to impact humans
55:26 The Role of Personal AI Butlers in Future Marketing
56:33 What attributed to Google’s early success and domination
58:31 The most important things learned from doing persuasion architecture
01:05 Writing more books
01:07 What he would have done differently
01:15:32 The Importance of Celebrating Small Wins

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SEO Pioneers – Bryan Eisenberg Transcript

Shelley Walsh: welcome to SEO pioneers. Today, I’m talking to New York Times bestselling author, Brian Eisenberg, who was the co author of the legendary book, Call to Action, which inspired me heavily in my online work in the mid 2000s. So I’m really excited to be speaking to Brian today to get his backstory and running up to obviously writing the book, et cetera.

Bryan, hi, it’s really nice to meet you.

Bryan Eisenberg: It’s a pleasure to be here, Shelley. It’s exciting to be able to share some of those early days. Because, as they say those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. It’s worth getting it out there. Yeah.

Shelley Walsh: I’m gonna go right back to the very, very early days Brian.
I believe you started out hacking bulletin boards just like Brett Tabke when you were a kid. Did you have a lot of experience with computers when you were younger?

Bryan Eisenberg: Yeah I started playing around with computers by the time I was 12 years old, I had my bulletin board by 13 I was fortunate that my brother Jeffrey at that point had already moved out of the house.

So I had his room that I moved into with its own phone line. So I was able to run the bulletin board system. It really all comes back to Jeffrey at the end of the day.

Shelley Walsh: Yeah, it’s a shame Geoffrey isn’t here today, actually. When you were experimenting with the bulletin boards do you think that really fed into your later work?
Do you think that laid the foundations for it?

Bryan Eisenberg: I’ve always tried I hate to use the word, but, manipulating or persuading people on where I wanted them to go on the bulletin board, right? So I’d have to the menu system, but even back then. To try to get them to go to areas that weren’t being used as much.

So I guess, it’s always had some kind of influence. I’ve always had a fascination with why people do the things they do. It’s the reason I was becoming a social worker before I became an entrepreneur and got involved online. Yeah, I think it always had some kind of play in it. And, I’ve always had a passion for computers and programming.

Shelley Walsh: That is quite interesting, actually, because having that passion, but then you went to college to do social work, which is quite a, there’s quite obviously a difference there. What prompted that?

Bryan Eisenberg: I was my friend group, psychologist, so to speak, I was that anchor that everybody relied on.
Jeffrey was the business guy. Jeffrey was the guy who, by the time I still, like I said, he was 17 years old. He moved out and was living in New York city at that point. He had his own apartment in midtown. He was working as an investment banker. So he’s traveling around the world.

He was making a lot of money and I really wanted to focus in on making a difference. And yeah, so I was studying to be a social worker before that was, when I was really young, I thought I would be an actor. So never a writer. I can tell you that much. That’s the one that’s the big surprise in my life.

Shelley Walsh: So there’s quite a few tangents there. Actor, writer, social worker, computer geek. Okay, we’re looking at all the spectrums. But then why did you move away from social work then?

Bryan Eisenberg: So I was going for my Master’s of Social Work at the Wertzweil School of Social Work and my brother had just left the investment banking world.

He had gone to some self development seminar, and what he took out of it, more than anything, was that he wanted to have a relationship with his brother. We had no relationship beforehand. The nicest thing he had to say with me was, Bleep head, like I, I can’t even, I won’t even use the words right.

There was just nothing nice he would say about me. ’cause I was four and a half years younger and I, I can understand the difference, right? I’ve got three kids similar in age groups. At least they got a little better than he and I did. But his number one goal was to have a relationship.

And so he asked me if I come join him and doing a business. And that’s when we started dabbling a little bit in sales consulting and the Internet started first showing up and we started playing around in that arena.

Shelley Walsh: At what point did you start to recognize potentially that the internet could be, was going to be an opportunity?

Did you grasp in those early days how big it was going to be? Or did you think it might just be something perhaps more of a novelty?

Bryan Eisenberg: No. We knew it right away. Having been in bulletin boards for so many years and having that kind of background that, people are going to want to be online, people are going to want to communicate, it’s just a question of who’s going to be doing it early.

I remember going from This Dial up to ADSL line really early as, as soon as it was offered in our area. wE just knew it. There was just no question to us that this was where the future was going. Everybody was going to have a site on the worldwide web.

Shelley Walsh: So what was your, very first business Was that management training?
Is that right?

Bryan Eisenberg: We were doing sales consulting. We did some work with Puma back early in the day. And then we also built a couple of our own sites. So I built an online candy shop very early on. We had built a site for our nutritional supplement business back at those days as well.

That was 1 of the early ones. And I, I think that’s really what started us getting on the path to doing a lot of the tinkering we were doing. Cause of course, we were playing with SEO with things like web position goal back in the early days and trying to absorb as much information as we could about how, about how to get people to find the website.

Cause that was the first things. But I guess that’s also what drew me to the initial web trackers, is finding things to measure, Hey are we making an impact? Are we doing something that’s doing something differently.
Shelley Walsh: Just as an aside, I just wanted to interject something.

I believe that you knew Adam Audette and nearly ended up working for him. Is that right? What’s the backstory to that?

Bryan Eisenberg: In that nutritional business we ended up having to declare bankruptcy because our partner one day decided to, basically he was borrowing money from our friends and family for inventory because we were getting more demand than we can keep up with.

And then one day we show up to the office in New Jersey and he had changed all the locks. And that basically caused us to essentially go bankrupt because we also want to make sure all our friends and family got repaid. And We needed to recapitalize. And Jeffrey was was the first to take a job somewhere.

And then I was looking around and I knew we wanted to do something with the internet and I had seen Adam’s request for something. And made an appointment. We I scheduled to meet him in New York city and then he never showed.
Shelley Walsh: Have you ever spoken to Adam about that since?

Bryan Eisenberg: I think we mentioned it once like in an email going back and forth. But yeah, I wonder with as much impact of the early people that he hired have had on the industry how much more impact would have had if I ended up there or less impact? Who knows?

Shelley Walsh: That, that’s quite fascinating because you think what, what kind of trajectory might your life have taken?

That’s like a real sliding doors moment, isn’t it? But you could have just ended up in the same place.
Bryan Eisenberg: I got fortunate. We moved into, persuasion and obviously, conversion optimization. But that may have never have happened if, we just stayed in an SEO agency.

Shelley Walsh: When did you set it? Was it future now? That’s right. It was the first agency. Was that 98? 1998. Yep. Yeah. And so how long were you really focusing on SEO before you started to progress with the conversion or was the conversion work immediate?

Bryan Eisenberg: It was a little bit of both early on. So this was 95 to 98.

We were thinking around for a little while I was working for IDT, their net to phone division, and I was helping sell a little button that would go on your website that allowed them to do click to call right to the store, over voice over IP. And I made friends with a bunch of the early websites back then as I was selling them.

And I would just offer some of the suggestions of things I saw that would help them also improve their sales. And… It started improving their sales. And at some point we decided that, obviously, we can do some of this SEO and this sales stuff which we originally called digital salespeople on our own.

And by 1998, we, we decided to, start the agency.

Shelley Walsh: You were focused a lot more on doing sales rather than technical?

Bryan Eisenberg: I realized early on that, anybody could do SEO, there’s going to be a lot of those people out there, right?

Though, cause it was already starting to be quite a bit of a group from the, SEO lists and stuff like that, but there were very few people really engaged on the, on the conversion side or on the sales side of this, right? Everybody was thinking about traffic.

But I had come from a sales background, right? I had come from, selling nutritional products and marketing those as well. So for me, it was really this kind of intersection of, how do you get the attention of traffic, but also get sales? Because without it, you need cashflow. That’s how businesses run.

So to me just having just having a plain website without the purpose of sales just didn’t make sense in the long term.

Shelley Walsh: It seems like you’re actually bringing together a lot of kind of classic offline marketing approaches here. And so did you just see conversion as like an extension, not necessarily of SEO, but more of a development of offline classic marketing?

Bryan Eisenberg: As the early days of SEO was really about directories and getting other humans to, put your site on, on, on the directories and stuff like that. And it had very, and fooling the basic algorithms to rank you for terms. But I realized that, hey, even if they came for those pages, it wasn’t necessarily going to make them buy, and buy, stuff from the website.

If the content didn’t make any sense. And so we started focusing in on some of the early copywriting. And so going back to those early, I sell lists, you had guys like Nick Osborne and Dan Janelle from, IPR at some point. And, there was just a handful of us who were really talking about, the sale side of it, the copy side of it.

But to me at that point, I realized, okay, there’s a lot more, obviously, because it’s not just the words it’s also the technology it’s also understanding how search traffic behaves. And so for me, it was just lots of years of discovery and experimentation and truly trying to understand human behavior online as opposed to what, how it was different offline.

And I would say the first initial observation we had was that people online tended to behave more like an introverted of themselves versus more of an extroversion of themselves. And so that alone helped us start guiding the way we’d approach persuasion, right? Because you’re making your own decisions.

So we needed to give people the ability to research on their own and discover things. And that’s how we got into a lot of internal linking and a lot of content. And that changed a big part of our approach.

Shelley Walsh: When you came to the conclusion with the introversion approach to how users are behaving is this through extensive testing or just observing with your own client sites?

Bryan Eisenberg: It was our client sites. We were doing little labs. We bring people in and we watch the way they behave. They behaved right. We put them in front of websites and we want to understand that behavior. We started doing studies of what we call the most customer centric websites.

And we just truly want to understand, how people were interacting with this new medium because obviously, you started having some of the early usability folks like, Jakob Nielsen and stuff like that, but they were looking at it from a software approach and we’re like no, if you’re trying to do sales or marketing, you can’t look at this as software, right?

Because software, if you have to use word at work or Excel, oh, You’re required to do it, but someone coming to website, they’re not required to be at that website. They’re doing so because they have some intent to want to be there. It’s their own personal reasons. So we knew the software analogy didn’t totally work here, right?

There are elements that would make sense, but that wasn’t the whole story. Maybe early guys like Jared Spool as well, right? One of the early usability guys in the space also looking at this and we just realized now there’s this. Mix of understanding, users, user design and what do you call it?

Information architecture coding, the speed of sites loading, there’s so many factors that eventually made, obviously made it into our books that we talk about some of those factors. But I think that was the critical part to us is that we were seeing the world very different.

We were never focused in on just the search engine because we realized the search engine is not the one with the credit card.

Shelley Walsh: Yeah, this is really fascinating because obviously most of the early SEOs were purely focusing on breaking the algorithm. Before Google, it was like, say AltaVista, et cetera.

Then it was Google centric. And it was all about that, how you could manipulate just to get the rankings. But nobody was really thinking beyond that, what was on the page. What? Who else? Because I think probably what a lot of people don’t realize who are a lot younger is that, this was a really radically different approach.

So when the internet happened, it was so radically different from anything else we’d been operating, where previously had been going into a shop or using a phone directory, an actual paper phone directory. So it was all a completely new way of learning. I guess you really were one of the absolute pioneers.

Was, apart from, as you said, Jared Spool and Jacob Nielsen that you were feeding off, was there anybody else that you were looking to that fed your work? Or was it just pure feeling your way and experimentation?

Bryan Eisenberg: No, no, there were definitely other people who, were exploring things and writing things.

Keith Instone was one of those guys who had an early directory of usability articles that he put together and he’d discover interesting things. And I, I’d spend time learning from that. I think that, the key difference for me was the early days of the internet was really truly about discovery, right?

If you go back long enough. When you got online, you, you hope to find a page with a whole bunch of new links that you could start exploring because it was the only way to find anything. There was no search. Eventually, search started coming out and you start being able to dig into little interesting niches that again, you hope to discover something and just if you were discovered.

You had an opportunity to make a sale because no one knew that, this kind of business even existed or that they could get this outside of maybe, the big city from their town. So it was a different world, there wasn’t a lot of content. As soon as you start putting content on there and you started being discovered, you were making business online, essentially just, they just, it was the wild west.

We’ve now come into a world where we’re in an overabundance of content. Yeah. And so now it’s a question of, okay, how do you really distinguish yourself and even, I’ve had these conversations with the folks at Google and the folks like ping Jen, who are at Microsoft and it’s, how do you deliver a quality experience that replicates what humans are actually looking for an experience?

And we know, obviously, Google’s algorithm now is focused on, on that experience. Yeah. And I think it’s critical to understand, why it got there, how it got there and also where it’s going. It’s why I’ve predicted that obviously, where AI was taking big data was getting, taking it was a whole different direction.

There, there’s a quote. And I meant to pull this up beforehand, but it’s a quote by Eric Schmidt, and he talked about how Google’s goals is to replicate what’s happening in the real world. So think about that. Online has always been his own little microcosm for so many years.

Okay, 20 plus years that it’s just been its own world. But if Google really wanted to understand what’s happening in the real world, it couldn’t just rely on online signals. And probably about, I don’t know, 10, 12 years ago, I started noticing things were ranking that didn’t have online signals. I’ll give you a perfect example of this.

We were working with a guy who sold educational toys. Okay, and great directory, he really did great content helping you figure out what were the right toys for the right age group and based on their peers Like, he did great stuff, but he could never break the top three, and he always wondered why, because Fisher Price barely even had a website.

It couldn’t be crawled, it was impossible to crawl it at the time, but Fisher Price was always number one. Now, if you have kids, you realize Fisher Price deserves to be there. So how is it ranking number one? When this other site that’s so much better optimized for search couldn’t rank for number one.

And that’s when we realized, yeah, Google is using third party data sources. And Frederic Vallée’s validated that a bunch of other people have validated that. The credit bureaus, the stuff like that, they all have what people are purchasing, different things in different categories. So if I had to know who are the top educational toy vendors, I could just pull it up from the credit card data, couldn’t I?

And is that a valid signal to produce real results for a search engine? Absolutely, because it’s truly relevant to the user. And I think what we’re going to discover as people in the search industry is that these third party signals are gonna have more and more weight when, especially when we can’t use the personalization factors.
Because a lot of the tracking and cookies are going away.

Sorry. You didn’t know we were going to do a future of search today

Shelley Walsh:. No, it’s just great listening to you. My mind is just going off on so many levels there. Just going back to, right back to the beginning, like with the work that you were doing. It’s obviously, it’s, this is, it’s still very much current today, but back then it was, it was, as we’ve said, very new.

How were you, how did you know you were on the right track? Did you do, did you, was it just a feeling, an intuition, or were you getting like indications, signals?

Bryan Eisenberg: No, it was a lot of intuition, but, I came across people like my friend Jim Novo. Okay. Who co authored the Marketer’s Common Sense Guide to E metrics with me that those who are early in this, you might remember that Webtrends used to give this away at their roadshow.

This is an important document. This is where we started outlining some of the key metrics that websites needed to look at because we only had log analyzers back then. And they’d give you these, I remember doing analysis by spreadsheet, it was terrible. But the metrics, such like bounce rate, right?

Which WebTrends made us change the name to Reject Rate in the book. Another long story. But Jim Novo had a great background and a unique background, right? So Jim Novo was the former head of Interactive for the Home Shopping Network, right before he came online. And as Jim famously used to say, we used to have conversations daily, and he used to say, I’ve seen this movie before and he saw all the same things happening in a television network, right?

They would change products based on how the early calls were going. They were getting questions. They’d feed it back to the staff so they can get more sales like it was just brilliant and they had metrics like People called in and hung up right away, right? That was the bounce rate and so having those conversations with him, we were able to take those metrics And then start using things like, web trends and then eventually, urchin and a bunch of others, eventually became Google analytics to start proving the things that we were doing.

Shelley Walsh: I’ve always believed that everything goes back to direct marketing. I’ve studied quite a lot of Victor Schwab and Claude C Hopkins. Did you look to any of these guys?

Bryan Eisenberg: Oh, of course. My first book was persuasive online copywriting, and it came because I was a student of understanding the power of words, right?

Ross Reeves to understand the early days of advertising and how important Ogilvy as well. How important the power of words were. And this is one of the things that bothered me very early on about the internet and it’s still shocked me.

In the early days of the Internet, I think it was 1998, 1999, published the first average conversion rate for the web at 1. 9%. And I said, why is, why are we seeing the same numbers as we’re seeing in direct response? A good conversion rate on a direct response letter was around 2%. I’m like, there we are pushing stuff on people who are not expecting it, and they’re still able to sell 2%.

But here, people are coming to websites because they want to be there, and we’re still only getting 2 percent conversion. We’ve got a lot of issues. And it’s sad that today it still hasn’t creeped up that much when you think about it. But I think there’s so much more opportunity to understand the power of words and just the old-fashioned direct marketing, but blending it with modern day branding techniques, right?

And the use of technology that we have because when you start understanding where all of that’s going, you realize that there’s only two ways to increase sales in the world. Okay. You either have to reduce friction. And the problem with the early days of the internet is there was a lot of friction.

One of my very first articles talked about how we used to go into shopping carts early in the day, I don’t know if you remember this, and you’d hit add to cart and they’d take you to the checkout and there was no way to return to the shopping cart or to the website. You were just done. And I said, that’s like going to the supermarket, pulling something off the shelf, putting it in your shopping cart and just staring at it.

Bryan Eisenberg: It just didn’t make any sense to us from a human psychology point of view. We need to add a continue shopping button. They didn’t exist before we talked about it, right? And then of course, understanding this other side of creating great relationships through branding. And the internet is so amazing at doing that because now we have so many more powerful ways to motivate people.

So friction on one side, reduce that, increase motivation, and you should see your sales conversion rate go up.
Shelley Walsh: Going back to Future Now, at what point did you start to develop persuasion architecture? And to actually coin that, I know you were working on conversion very early on, but what, when did you actually start to really define it?

Bryan Eisenberg: It’s a great question. When we. Put out call to action and it became a New York Times bestseller. Thanks to web trends for some of their bulk purchases that they were going to give away at their road show which also caused us to have to. Edit and finish the book three weeks earlier than we expected.

So we had no idea of what we were going to do for a cover. So we went ahead and we created something based off of a kind of our mentors book, The Wizard of Ads. And we created this cover, hold on, I want to pull it up for you with this Egyptian eagle on there, okay? And we sent we did two things.

We sold three copies for the price of one. Okay, if you bought it directly from us. And then we sent copies to influencers, right? And we included a bunch of influencers inside the book, but we sent a copy to Seth Godin and Seth wrote a blog post. The week after it came out, he said, drop everything you’re doing.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. He said, I wish I would have read this book before I had released his ebook on conversion. But he didn’t. But he said, everybody should go buy the copy and it became a New York Times bestseller. At that point, we realized the limitations of conversion rate optimization could actually do.

I could only put so much lipstick on the pig. I only take And fix all your assumptions from, that you built your website on and it was just a cap. I said, so we knew we had to come up with a planning strategy that would change the experience. So by that point, we had already been experimenting for a few years with the concept of personas and writing to personas.

But we needed to find new ways to plan these experiences. And so we looked at also based on all the redesigns we were doing with clients. how the design process was working and where the failures were. And that’s what we outlined over the next year in our book, waiting for your cat to bark. And that’s when we really focused in on, on just having persuasion architecture be our cornerstone.

Shelley Walsh: Call to action came out in 2005. Is that right?

Just tracking back a little bit because. I know Call to Action was the first New York Times bestseller and was a huge explosion for you.

But I believe you’d been writing a few books before that. Is that right?

Bryan Eisenberg: Correct. We had written we had written the Marketers’ Common Sense Guide to Emetrics. So that was a good book. Yeah. By the way, I still think that may have been our most profitable book in, in all time. Which is crazy, you think about it, okay considering how many copies of Waiting for Your Cat to Bark and stuff we published.
But we wrote Persuasive Online Copywriting and there aren’t many of these left, but there were two reasons this book came out. Number one, Our mentor, Roy Williams, who, in the late 90s, had written a trilogy of best selling books, the Wizard of Ads Trilogy, who now runs the Wizard Academy in Chapel Dulcinea here in Austin, Texas.

It’s part of the reason we’re down here. And then, we were at a party, this is going to be a name that a lot of people don’t remember as well, Larry Chase. Oh, I remember that name. Who wrote one of the first internet marketing newsletters. It was him and Ralph Wilson who wrote the first two internet marketing newsletters and Larry was a great friend and he was holding a party in his house.

Back then, this was before he got married. He had an apartment that was right by the Brooklyn Bridge. So you go up to his balcony and there’s the bridge. It was incredible. So we spent the whole night there and had a great time. And as we’re getting ready to leave, he says, hold on.

And he goes to his bedroom, he comes back out and he hands us a copy of his book. And it’s, it’s about that thick. And he tells us let me give you a copy of my 35 business card.

And it was that, then we knew that we absolutely needed to have our own business card. And we worked backwards. So we said, okay. We knew this is something we could write very quickly because we knew a lot about copywriting. And there’s chapters here about SEO and stuff like that as well. We have some case studies in here.

And we knew we could figure out what the cost was that we wanted to stay under when we self publish this thing. So we could give it out as a business card. And we’ve always thought about it that way from very early on. And that book became a cult kind of classic. There were copies sold on Amazon and eBay for over a thousand dollars, like we never understood it, but there are people who come to us years later showing us all the highlights they had in the book and stuff.

Like it’s just. It’s crazy. It’s been out of print for, I can’t even tell you how many years, but it, that copywriting book lasts for years. It got us early on invited on stages between that and the mark and the e markers guide. And that basically launched our career until obviously we exploded with call to action.

That was the one that really put us on the map. We knew that there was this technology out there that mattered. The only way people were going to understand they needed conversion rate optimization help. Was if they understood they had a conversion problem and we’re measuring it.

And we, the original version that we wrote wasn’t tool agnostic at all. Okay it just used, every tool out there. And here’s the things that you can look for to understand what’s going on your website. And like I said, he had experience. From his home shopping network days, and we had experience from working with our own clients and we’re like, okay what can we do?

And so we want to educate people on that. And that’s when web trends found the ebook and they said, hey, can we distribute that? And then we said, sure. And so we charged him for that. So they were giving out. Physical copies of it and paying us for each copy. And then eventually they decided to license the whole thing and basically had us, just rewrite it a little bit from their end.

And that was they had given out thousands of copies of this thing.

Shelley Walsh: What year did you write eMarketers’ Guide?

Bryan Eisenberg: The copyright on it I think is 2002, but I think we wrote in 2001 as well. So the original, I think that, yeah, 2002 is the copyright. I think the original PDF and Excel spreadsheet that came with it was like 2001.

Shelley Walsh: Were you just selling that, were you just pushing it out on your website originally before?

Bryan Eisenberg: Correct. Yeah, people could download the free calculators. We had a couple of other calculators on our website, also as one of the first calculators, I built was a conversion rate calculator, right?

Where you can put in your traffic, you can put in your number of sales and we give you a conversion rate. And that’s how we started ranking for conversion rate back in the day. Because we had built a calculator and as I’ve told this story previously, the reason we came up with conversion rate to begin with was because it was the only thing that had like a sales kind of tone, but also had traffic volume because people were looking for currency conversion.

And back then was the only other thing that ranked. And so we only had to compete with that. And at some point, we overtook it.

Shelley Walsh: When you wrote the book, you were basically just experimenting with ways of self promotion.

Bryan Eisenberg: Self promotion and education. I think that you can’t have one without the other.

If you’re just self promoting, you’re just, too big of an ego. But it really was about trying to educate the market that there’s so much more here’s how you write for the rep. Here’s how you have to write, for readability. And here’s how you have to write for search.

And these are the things that people needed to know. This is about the same time. That Nick Osborne had put out his word his book Networks, if you remember it back in the day. But there’s a reason, by the way, why we gave that book the title Persuasive Online Copywriting, and it all has to do with with Nick, right?

Amazon, back in those early days, was a very raw search engine. It really just took terms from the title. Okay. And so we put online copywriting in the title because we were hoping people would look for online copywriting books.

And they find our book. That’s why that title is unlike any other book we’ve ever written.

Shelley Walsh: As the book started to take off, at what point did you realize that actually this is going to be a far more lucrative future? Or was it just more of a, did you start to see yourself as more of a writer and a speaker? How did that side develop?

Bryan Eisenberg: No the speaker part started, back in the early SES days, Danny Sullivan had seen our contribution for years.

And of course, we also started writing for ClickZ at that point. And this was before Anne and Andy had sold it. And we realized that we were starting to get an audience where people were really starting to pay attention to this thing. And then when we decided to write call to action, we knew we’d have some decent sales because we already had a bunch of pre orders.

We knew Webtrends was buying a bunch of books in bulk to give away at their road tour. And of course, we had a 40, 000 person email list. So we were promoting it. So we knew we’d have some sales, but when Seth blogged about it and he had just also just released his own little ebook on conversion.

We knew that the world was starting to pay attention to this topic, and that’s when we first hit the New York Times bestseller lists, and Yeah, it was different, and that’s when we got approached by, several publishers to write our next book which became Wayne Fee Cut the Bark, which became the, our biggest sell.

Shelley Walsh: Do you think, at this point when things started to really take off, did you feel more fulfillment from the success of hitting a New York Times bestseller, or did you find, feel more fulfillment than actually developing the theory of persuasion architecture?

Bryan Eisenberg: When we hit the New York Times bestseller, it was a very difficult time in our lives. We have lost an uncle, we have lost my grandmother, my dad passed in between all that, and my wife had a miscarriage things were really crazy. We actually almost never really celebrated. The success of the bestseller like, we acknowledge that we did it.

And now, our staff printed up a nice poster within the charts and all that. No idea where that eventually ended up. But we knew that we were trying to make this difference, on just educating people on how to persuade people online. And that was our number 1 mission.

We just focused in on that. The real focus in on speaking came after we left the agency and there were some difficult times just trying to adjust to what we’re going to do afterwards. Jeffrey wasn’t doing very well physically at that time. Again, just all the aggravation that we had to deal with taking the agency public and that’s a whole other story.

But that’s when I said, okay, I’m just going to focus in on speaking and I already had one or two gigs set up and that’s when I said, okay, we’re going to spend a lot more time focused in on that. And we were doing that until we were brought in to do some work for Google and that changed persuasion architecture to what we now use which we call BioLegends.

And it was because Google asked us to develop something that was, It’s as good as persuasion architecture, but more agile because as our friend Sajia Pang, used to like to say is, working at Google is like living on quicksand. The earth is going to change underneath you at any moment.

And we had to develop a much more agile process which is what the BioLegends process became.

Shelley Walsh: When were you working with Google?

Bryan Eisenberg: This was 2014, 2015,

Shelley Walsh: That was moving forward quite a bit. So just going back to the agency future now, when did you start to exit from that?

Bryan Eisenberg: That was, what, 20… 10? 12? Something along those lines.

Shelley Walsh: Was that quite a challenging buyout then?

Bryan Eisenberg: It was a lot of conflict, it was our baby for a long time, it’s where we create our newsletter grok. com and, we no longer had access to that and we had to start figuring out, okay what’s going to be next, luckily, we had enough of a platform from the bestselling books and enough people who knew us.

Because we didn’t have a big agency anymore. Agencies need to feed their employees jobs since it was just Jeffrey and I, at that point, and a couple of friends who we bring in as we needed. We didn’t need to take in as many jobs. So we just focused on ones that we found interesting like working for Google.

Shelley Walsh: So your brother Jeffrey, it was interesting you said right at the beginning that you didn’t have much of a relationship when you were growing up, but you seem to be very close and you work incredibly closely together. Do you think you would have accomplished as much as you have as individuals?

Bryan Eisenberg: Yeah, not a chance. We thought a lot of alike in, in, in, in our history and business. We’ve had one disagreement that came during that crazy time I was just telling you about when everybody passed away. It was just a lot of emotion kind of stuff going on.

But essentially, we’ve had the same goals, the same mission. We just knew we’ve had, we had different skills and we worked on those together. Jeffrey’s more of the business guy, finance guy. He did a better job at selling me than I could sell myself. And I was more of the creative more technical person and really took all the time to, to learn and understand everything.

And come up with these ideas and test them out and make sure they work in the real world.

Shelley Walsh: Would you say you’re like, obviously you’re brothers. I know what it’s like to have siblings. Are you naturally competitive or do you think you’re more cooperative?

Bryan Eisenberg: I Think probably when we were younger, we were a lot more competitive.

We both very competitive natures on our own. But I think we’ve become a lot more cooperative and it’s funny because I was on a podcast recently and someone asked me, I always seem to be. Promoting other people and talking about other people. And they said, for someone who says they’re competitive, how is this that you’re always, focus on other people.

And I said, I think as I’ve grown older, starting some more gray hairs, I realized that it’s a competition that matters. I’m looking to build my team of people I trust. And we did the same thing through all the years of our agency. There were a lot of people that we helped create and generate careers from, and we were thrilled to do that as we were growing.

Shelley Walsh: Right in the very early days you’re pretty much operating on the edge of SEO, focusing more on conversion. How much were you interacting with the SEO community? Were you involved with them?

Bryan Eisenberg: Oh yeah, heavily. Our first employee was an SEO based employee. They were physically doing the SEO.

He still does SEO and affiliate stuff to this day. And we were still doing some early jobs. We were in an incubator in New York City. And working around with a bunch of different companies. They had a diamond company. They had a magazine company. They became one of our early clients.

They had a what do you call it? A dishware company that, that we were working with and it was the owner of the incubator. Who one day came to us, it’s also how I got the nickname The Grok, that’s a whole different thing.

Shelley Walsh: Brian, you have to tell us, how did you get the nickname The Grok?

Bryan Eisenberg: His assistant would always say that I was, and if You know, Heinlein from Stranger in a Strange Land, used to talk about how to grok means to understand at a deep cellular level to just absorb everything. And Susan, I think was her name and Henry. But she came up with that nickname. And then some of my clients started calling me the Grok after that. And it just stuck. And then we eventually created a newsletter called grok. com where we published all our early content.

And it was in that incubator that Henry told us that, you guys should really focus in on what you do uniquely, right? Which was conversion rate. And he was right. Yeah, he was just right way too early, right? Because if we would have had, if we would have kept up with the SEO side and the conversion side, we would have grown faster as an agency than struggling to just focus in on conversion.

Shelley Walsh: I know you couldn’t really have existed without the SEO industry but it’s like how integral was it, the development and success of your work. Were you actually interacting with other any other industries to help with the development? For example, usability or no accessibility?

Bryan Eisenberg: No, there’s a little bit of usability. People, we, and we spoke at a couple of usability conferences and stuff like that, but I would say the majority was the SEO people because that audience and their clients understood. That you needed to optimize what you had. Yeah. And so it was just a very natural kind of progression from, hey, you can optimize for traffic, but once the traffic gets it, what are you doing with it?

Yeah. And we would share clients a lot with that community and back and forth. So yeah, they were critical to this. AnD all the early conferences. There, there was no place to talk about SEO, Danny Sullivan opened up that first spot to talk about analytics for the first time.

And then eventually got into conversion over the years. But yeah, from 1998 to 2001, that was a long time of waiting for someone to actually care about conversion.

Shelley Walsh: Did you speak, when did you start speaking at conferences?

Bryan Eisenberg: 2001 was the first one. Which one was it? I think Dallas was the first one.

And then Boston after that one. SES.

Shelley Walsh: What kind of reactions were you getting from the community when you started to speak about this?

Bryan Eisenberg: I think it was eye opening for people. I used to be crowded with people, the only other people who talked about Anything similarly related, and I think it was their first conference as well, was Jill Whalen and and Heather Lloyd-Martin, we were talking about copywriting, right?

We were, we were stuck on the side there. The only ones talking about, this persuasion side of the business when everyone else was talking technical SEO.

Shelley Walsh: Did you get good crowds coming to speak, to hear you?

Bryan Eisenberg: They were reasonable. They, back in the day, I think back then, everybody was just hungry to learn about everything about, online.

There just was so little information. And yeah, the rooms were pretty filled. We’d have people come up to us afterwards. It helped build our agency. That’s where we got almost all our leads early on. Yeah, some of it was online, but those people would come to those conferences and we’d finally meet in person.

And that’s, where we’d sign business, but yeah, those early days, you spoke at a conference, you were getting, five to 10 clients every single time.

Shelley Walsh: I’m just quite fascinating as to how, as I said earlier, SEO is a very much focused on, it was very technical back then it was technical and it was link building.

Wasn’t it? It was, how to get, how to rank, how to cloak, how to rank. Yep. Anything you could do to get that position, not so much consideration as to what was going on the page that was very much secondary and later. So I’m just really fascinated to understand as to the reaction and How SEOs were responding to it in those early days.

Bryan Eisenberg: There were those who saw it made sense to them, but obviously they were focusing on their stuff. So they weren’t really worried about it. They were like, okay, that’s a whole different site. The other thing to keep in mind is in those early days. Remember, a lot of it was about all these doorway pages, right?
And we were creating all of these separate pages apart from the website. So they really weren’t worried about what the actual website was per se doing.

Shelley Walsh: How long did it take until it really started to get traction? Would you say it’s when call to action was published 2005? Is that when you felt there was traction for what you were promoting?

Bryan Eisenberg: We started to feel traction probably around 2004 ish. Yeah. And that’s what made us decide to put out call to action. Exactly. We already started to speak at some of the ecommerce conferences back then as well, the and stuff like that. Actually, even before that we also spoke at one of the direct the direct marketing association had a digital arm back in the early days.

And so those guys also brought us in early, and that’s when we met people like Mark Walken who built one of the first testing tools in their conferences. So yeah, there was a bunch of different, verticals that we were pulling from and we were getting people to understand what we were doing, but yeah, we were just, Kind of weaving together all of these different disciplines and that’s, one of the things we’ve always said, it’s if you want to be a good CRO, we publish that one time on ClickZ, like a list of books, and it was like 30 different books from so many diverse categories, because it’s not just one skill.

Shelley Walsh: How critical do you think the timing was for what you did and achieved? Do you think you can replicate the same today? Trying to create and build write books?

Bryan Eisenberg: I know things have changed. It’s like I told you earlier, back then, it was a lot easier because there wasn’t a lot of information, so any information was like magical, like people were just devouring it. And there was a shortage of content today. There’s an overabundance of content and people have so many different ways to engage. And if you look, how much of time is being spent on 15 second Tik TOK videos today?

Like how much thought leadership can you get across on that and get through all the noise? It is a lot harder today. Then it was back then. Would it have been possible? Yes, because we were doing all the right things, right? We were pioneering a new category that made sense because in, in every other business in the world, you had a VP of marketing, but you also had a VP of sales.

And in the online world, you had the VP of marketing, but there was no one responsible for sales online, so we knew that eventually had to make sense, right? It’s just sometimes you have to rely on common sense.

Shelley Walsh: What do you think today? How do you think things might develop in the next few years, whether the introduction of AI, etc.

What impact do you think that might have on Persuasion architecture?

Bryan Eisenberg: I think it’s gonna have a huge impact. In fact Dave McInnis, who was the founder of PRWeb, who I don’t have you interviewed Davis David for no, I haven’t. Oh we need to get you hooked up with David because PRWeb obviously played a huge play in a lot of the early SEO and he’s doing some interesting stuff right now.

We’ve been talking about AI ’cause he just built a new Newswire service, but he also built a. Newswriter.AI, which will use AI to write your own press release. And we’re talking about again, right? He used that to gain Google news early on. Like he understood the value of press releases, right?

In terms of SEO, my long term vision to, to understand where AI is going to go is each one of us are going to have our own AI butler, so to speak. Okay. You can go back to ask Jeeves, right? We’ll have our own little butlers. Who will use natural language and. different data sources about us. So for example, there may be a way for our shoes to know that they’re getting too warm.

Okay. In the near future, right? There’ll be sensors in there that’ll measure the impact of foot pressure. And it will not be expensive to understand. Okay. Yeah. No you’re getting too much. Too close to the ground now, like all this technology, all this data is out there that all of a sudden that AI is going to start telling us, Hey, we’ve noticed that your shoes are starting to, to, to run the little thin here are some models based on your size.

Are you looking for something and it will guide the whole sales experience. We will never have to search out websites in the same way. It’s going to change the direction of, we used to think about push marketing versus pull marketing. This is going to be a whole nother level where it’s all of our data sources, driving the intelligence and the communication between what messaging we’re getting, what ads we’re getting, what content we’re seeing.
It’s all going to be driven by AI. It’s just a question of when.

Shelley Walsh: It’s interesting if we, as you say, if we all end up with our own Personal AI butlers, that’s probably going to push us all into even deeper into filter bubbles where we are just fragmented from each other. And perhaps what we’re seeing becomes more and more personalized.

Bryan Eisenberg: Oh, a hundred percent. And that Butler has its own essentially firewall. It doesn’t have to share your data with anybody. It’s an anonymous bot. That’s basically doing all the searching, all the, all the negotiation for you, on your behalf.

Shelley Walsh: But in an essence, it’s quite interesting because it’s almost as if we’re starting to go backwards.
Whereas, when the internet happened, we became expanded and opened up to the whole world. Whereas now we’re going to start to close back down again.

Bryan Eisenberg: It’s a pendulum. Society always works in pendulums. My mentor Roy Williams actually wrote a book called The Pendulum and he talked about, um, how society works in 20 year up and 20 year down cycles.

And he traced this back to millennia: we’ve always done these generations these 40 year generations, but it’s 20 year up, 20 year down. We went Hey, everything should be open source and completely available to, and let’s track everything to where we’re going to be like, no, let’s bring this all the way back to this data is mine and mine alone.

You can’t have access to it. I’m only going to let you have it as it’s related to it. And that’s where I believe. And I’m sure someone’s going to hear this and be like, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I should build that our own personal agents, right? Our own personal search, our own it’s just going to do this all for us.

And it’ll house all that data and not have to share it publicly.

Shelley Walsh: So if we have a lot of personal butlers and AI chatbots writing and they’re just rehashing and rewriting content, what impact is that going to have on persuasion architecture moving forward?

Bryan Eisenberg: You still need to provide signals for the box to discover.

And it’s still going to be the same thing. Look, at the end of the day, you have to impact humans. But you have to understand how the technology will impact humans. You can’t dismiss one for the other. And I think it’s critical for us to start thinking about, okay, in a world where I need to optimize for the human experience and for what they’re going to get, what signals can I create?

And this comes back to the early things we talked about with Eric Schmidt and Google, right? How do we replicate the real world? I’ve said for years, I’m just waiting for Amazon to release their own map product. Why? Because the same way they have their vendor central on there where you can order everything online, why don’t they have all the local businesses have their listings on Amazon?

And so now, when I’m driving around Austin and I want to find a pair of running shoes, Okay, I can basically tell my map. Hey, I’m looking for a pair of running shoes. I want them to be black and this and you know this brand and it could go ahead and it could search that look all local listings with all the products in the Amazon app.
Check me out. And I walk in and I walk out and I have the whole experience, or I can have it delivered. That is where things are headed. I think, obviously, if COVID didn’t hit, I think things are going to be completely different acceleration of factors would have shown up. But I think, you know, it’s very funny.

I had this conversation with the folks at Bing one time. I said, Google would not have been as big as they are if you guys weren’t as negligent as you were for local businesses. And making it easy for them to list all their products.

Shelley Walsh: Let’s just go into that a little bit deeper.

Bryan Eisenberg: Google’s on the people who had technological advantages in the early days of the Internet. So the reason Amazon was able to win is because they understood where the Internet was going before your local circuit city understood where it was going or your local Barnes and Nobles or your local independent bookstore.

But if my independent bookstore understood how to get all their books. Found and located and then anything that they didn’t have be able to be ordered Do all of that if microsoft would have given small businesses all those tools Commerce still would have been a lot more local than internet driven, right?

They gave way to technological Superiority versus I already know the customers and I think we’re going to see, we’ll see a swing back a little bit towards that because I think people want to be recognized and not just be anonymous customers. And I think this is why, Be Like Amazon was such a successful book as well because we started explaining how they were thinking of the world and Jeff Bezos has been thinking of this in, in, in a way that nobody else has.

And if the early search engines were focused in on trying to solve the things the way the real world is early. We may have never have seen Google. We may have never have seen the, the rise of Amazon either, like Microsoft could have controlled all of this early on. And, maybe the AI revolution will bring some of this back.

Who do you think is going to win? I don’t know if it’s a question of a win, right? There’s, there’ll always be several players. We, we’ve seen that in every industry, right? The Coke and Pepsi, and then there’s a whole bunch of third parties. You don’t necessarily have one winner. I think we will see it may even be somebody completely different, but I think what I’ve been seeing from Microsoft in the last few months definitely shows they are on the right path.

They have a lot to overcome, but they are on the right path.

Shelley Walsh: When Google has dominated the industry, it’s been a monopoly for 20 years.

Bryan Eisenberg: Yeah, which is about what is, which is what a generation generally is, right? And they’re still they’re not going to go out of business overnight, right?

That doesn’t happen to most businesses that have tons of cash.

Who would have known Apple would have been so big, right? When we were young and growing up, they were nobody compared to, the IBMs and the Sonys even, right? And now Apple dominates because they invented the phone. This simple device, if I put this…

Into a shopkeepers device and make it really easy for them to understand everything that’s in their shop and everything that’s going on and tracking transactions and inventory. If they put all of this, what is basic technology in a seamless way, why couldn’t any company who did that today start dominating in any industry?
They just haven’t reduced the friction enough.

Shelley Walsh: Just going back to 99 when Google began to rise. Why do you think that Google started to really take over and dominate the search industry? What would you attribute that to?

Bryan Eisenberg: So number one, obviously their search results were way better than, the Alta Vista and Excite and stuff like that.

It was just, it wasn’t even comparable. So from a search experience, there’s enough people now that cared about search and using search on a regular basis that it mattered. But the other thing is very early on, they were very friendly with SEOs, right? Remember the Google dance and all that.

They really participated in the industry until I started noticing they started to play around with manipulating industry, the whole do follow stuff. I was like, yeah, you’re just trying to get everybody to call themselves out. That was it. Because for the average webmaster or business owner, they’re not going to be thinking about all these different, it’s too complicated.

Again, they’ve added friction to, to experience that didn’t need it. It was only for their benefit. What’s their benefit? And so you always have to be skeptical of that. This equation is very simple, right? If you always look at the world through this lens, how is the entity reducing friction or increasing the motivation?

Reasons why I’m doing things. Page sculpting made no sense on either one of those two.

Shelley Walsh: I always feel that Google, very smart in how they developed their relationship with SEOs. I think they use that to obviously help them learn to improve their product. And also for the uptake, they recognize that SEOs were almost the gatekeepers.

And yeah they get them on side.

Bryan Eisenberg: It was influencer marketing from very early days. They really understood it very well.

Shelley Walsh: And then once the tipping point happened and they had the power, that’s when they started to dominate and dictate and say, actually, right now we’re in control and we’re going to tell you how it’s going to be.

So just looking back, what are the most. important things that you’ve learned doing persuasion architecture and online marketing?

Bryan Eisenberg: Ah, wow. It’s all about the customer. It’s always about the customer. I remember when my mentor built his reputation in the radio advertising business.

And he would talk about the importance of the customer. People would look at him like he’s crazy, right? How you have to stand out how you have to have an impact. There were studies even back then about how, you either had to capture a person’s attention the first eight seconds or they weren’t listening.

Guess what? It was the same thing with people on the web. Yeah. Human behavior is human behavior. It evolves, it adapts that obviously, having a supercomputer in our pocket has changed us significantly. The number one thing people always have to go back to is understanding how people do and why people do the things they do.

And not just your core group, but the kids. Because they’re going to dictate how things are gonna be. In the next few years, they’re coming up with new innovations, new ways to look at the world and slowly will adopt those views. That’s been a constant again for generations, right? These alpha voices of kids will drive.

The core population. And so I spend a lot of time, looking at what young kids are doing, what apps they’re using, what’s exciting to them. How they’re experiencing certain things, because I want to know where the world is going, not where it is today, right? Cause our number one jobs as marketers is to keep ahead of none of our competition, but of our customers.

Shelley Walsh: You think that’s what you were really focused on the early days?

Bryan Eisenberg: Really looking at. Where things go. Obviously we were all a lot younger then. So we were the alpha voices.

Shelley Walsh: But did you think you had that in mind at that time? Or do you think it’s just because you were a lot younger?

Bryan Eisenberg: No, I think I, again, we, we, I remember having conversations early on where we’re talking about, look, if catalog shopping is 10 percent of all retail, the internet is easier than catalogs. It was more cost effective than catalogs. It could reach more people, right? You didn’t have to print this thing.

I’m like, okay, online shopping’s got to be bigger than this. What it’s going to be, maybe 10, 15 percent. It’s not going to be everything. But we realized it was going to be a significant portion. I think we always looked ahead to see how people would start buying. But we needed to understand what they were doing now.

With available technology. And I think that was one of the critical things that we were fortunate with was, I had built my first shopping cart. I had built my first affiliate sales site with, one of my first sites. So when we would go in and work with clients. Their teams couldn’t tell us it couldn’t be done because we were showing them.
It can be done. We can do these things. And, some of the early things we did were like, really basic things.

Literally back in the early days, it was just add a continue shopping button. People would order more than one thing, right? Make the checkout button prominent because people couldn’t see it, right?

Add a phone number to the website. Because when they had a hard time, they want to finish their order. At least they call you. Those are obvious things, then it became, you got past the basic usability stuff and then you start to have to going more into the persuasion. And that’s when we knew conversion was a dead end.

We can only fix so much. Now we need to plan for larger persuasion.

Shelley Walsh: How much do you miss being right at the cutting edge? Back then you were so at the cutting edge, you were obviously building the road in front of you as you were moving. How much do you miss that?

Bryan Eisenberg: I don’t necessarily miss it.

I don’t have the the same energy as I did back then. And I acknowledge that put it doing that. Yeah. And going through our agency until it was about 2009, 2009, 2010, I think when we left the agency finally because it’s just about when my last son was born and I had ballooned up to 277 pounds.

I had a terrible lifestyle. Sluggish, always felt tired and we still ran around the whole world and after that, I focused in that next 16 months and I lost over 100. So it’s a 40 kilos. And I loved it because I got to spend so much more of that time with my family and my kids.

And we weren’t, we didn’t have the big agency. We didn’t have all these people we needed to account to. So that was wonderful. Now I get to mentor a lot of entrepreneurs who are trying to do that, not necessarily in the online industry, but in other industries. I’m working, for example, with a physical therapist who’s developed a whole new method of training.

The movement system for young athletes and just mentoring him. Cause I know he’s going to do this and he’s got three young kids. And I see where he’s going to go in the next 10 years. It’s I’ve done this path. He’s going to follow it. Cause the same principles apply, right? It’s just, the tactics have changed. That’s it.

Shelley Walsh: Your latest book, Rice and Beans Millionaire when did that come out?

Bryan Eisenberg: So a funny story on that one that came out in December. We were hoping to release it earlier. Unfortunately, and 1 of the reasons Jeffrey’s not here is Jeffrey was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year.
He is all clear. But throughout that process and through his treatment. It was hard to get a lot of his energy to help finish the book I’d hoped that we would have it ready by october. We had to push it back. I started setting it up on amazon And then when you’re doing kindle, print on demand, they only let you change the date by 30 days So instead of releasing in november, I had to release it in december.

We’re like, okay. It is what it is, you know There wasn’t a Completely different audience than anything we’ve ever written before, right? This was really about, young entrepreneurs and business people who want to understand what are all the first principles of business that are required for a successful entrepreneur, no matter what kind of business you’re doing, whether, you’re picking up junk from people’s homes or, you’re building in roadblocks and you’re selling there.

It’s all a lot of the same core principles. And so we finished writing that and it came out in the middle of December. And we’ve just been slowly sharing it out there and been getting great feedback about it. Some of the best feedback we’ve gotten from some of the very successful entrepreneurs that we’ve consulted with over the years, people who’ve had very big six figure plus exits or what am I talking about?

Eight figure exits. Has said, how they can’t wait to give this to their kids. And this is it. This is the roadmap for that next generation, right? Everybody wants to be an influencer, but what does that actually mean? I think become the most, the most sought after job, but I don’t think they truly understand what influence meant.

And, we had a lot of influence in this industry early on. But how can you leverage that to create a business? And I think that’s critical for not only my kids, but for this whole next generation to understand. And there, there wasn’t a book that covered this topic.

Shelley Walsh: So what’s next for Bryan?

Are you going to continue writing? Have you got more books than you?

Bryan Eisenberg: I don’t know. As I said, I did come out with this kid’s book. Jeffrey and I are working on another SaaS business for business owners of home service businesses. I Am also helping my wife start a new business coming up in the next few months.

And then I have two of my kids who are leaving the home. So my daughter will be entering the industry. Officially, she’s been working, obviously, while she’s been in college. She’s worked for companies like Indeed and Seesaw and other EdTech companies. But she’s moving to Seattle.

So the backyard of Microsoft and being there to work as a consultant in change management around digital tools. So she’s not falling so far from the tree. And in fact, when we were there looking for apartments, we ended up spending some time with Gillian Muessig.

Okay. Yeah. having dinner with her while we were up there her and her husband. And my middle son is is going off to college to play baseball and continue his education. So he’ll be off come the fall. And then I just have one younger one that who’s just about to start high school.

So got to focus in on him next and hopefully put him on the right path for him to follow his dreams.
Shelley Walsh: One last question for you, Bryan, and then we’ll start to wrap up, just looking back at what has been 25 years of working online. If there’s anything you could change, is there anything you would have done differently?

Bryan Eisenberg: The one thing I tell a lot of the entrepreneurs I mentor, that I absolutely would have done differently. I would have celebrated the small wins a lot earlier. We got so focused in on the end goal that and because life happens and bad things happen at the same time, um, you don’t take the time to enjoy those moments and I’ll give you a great example.

One of our very first training clients, this is, wow, this is probably. 99, 2000 and we’re flying out to the client and we’re in JFK airport and there’s a Brookstone in there and they have one of those big massage chairs. In the lounge, right in their shop and both Jeffrey and I get in that chair before we get on the flight and we’re just enjoying it and said, someday we’re going to have one of these and we never bought it never ever bought it, even though that was part of our dream.

That was part of the way we knew that. Hey, we had made success when we bought a few thousand dollar chair. It wasn’t a big deal come coded. One of the first things I did is I bought that massage chair. Okay. And it was to symbolize that fact that, yeah, you know what, we’ve made it. I can focus in, I’m in a good spot that I can focus in on what matters to me, which is my family.

And we’ve built enough over the years that we can celebrate this moment. And of course now we, they all benefit from the massage chair. Nobody was going for massages back then. So it was a great investment. But find the little things to celebrate because we go through life so fast that we don’t take the time to, to smell the roses to enjoy it.

You have a video that, that reached a certain mark, celebrate it enjoy it because the next goal is going to come up real fast behind you. Okay. And I think that’s probably the, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned besides, obviously having a spouse who supports you.

And all your crazy adventures and how critical that is but celebrate, celebrate is key.

Shelley Walsh: I would actually recommend, I’ve just finished reading a book called Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Birkenham. Which is just completely blown the doors off and it’s a very similar theme about and I would highly recommend, uh, reading it, but it’s a very deeply philosophical and poignant place to end.

But yeah, I’ll say that’s probably a really good point for us to wrap up, and I thank you for your time, Brian, I have been very much looking forward to speaking to you. As I say, you’re Books had a great impact into me moving into online marketing and so it’s really great that all this time later I get to speak to you in person.
Thank you for being a pioneer.

Bryan Eisenberg: This to us is. Probably one of the things that Jeffrey and I have valued more than anything. How many years later, we hear people say, I saw you speak, I read one of your books, I quit my job and created a big business. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard that and just how satisfying it is to know that we’ve had an impact on thousands of people’s lives over the years.

That’s what we set out to do. And, we accomplished it and I’ll leave you with the tip of my mentor’s wife Penny Williams, and she said, and why, if you get to focus on one of three things you can make a name, right, you can make a difference or you can make money.

All of them can come, but you need to focus on one to be successful because you can’t focus on three things at once, just too hard, right? anD we’re very glad that we got to focus in on making a difference because that helped us create a name for ourselves as well as, having a great entrepreneur career over the last 25 years.

Shelley Walsh: Great words to end on Brian and I will say thank you. You’ve had a great impact. I’ve quoted your books many times. And so thank you very much for your time. It’s been great to speak to you.

Bryan Eisenberg: Thank you so much, Shelley. Have a wonderful rest of your day. Thank you.