The Quotable Chris Brogan


Oakley was the site of the Linked OC Chris Brogan event.


Typist, blogger, author, marketer, trainer, entrepreneur… Chris Brogan is a busy guy. Expensive, too. Fortunately, he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Brogan and his companies (New Marketing Labs, Human Business Works, Third Tribe Marketing) help other companies use social media tools to be more human in their business relationships. Or as Chris puts it, “…it’s really ridiculous that my job is to fly all over the earth explaining why video and the Internet is awesome…and yet, that’s the long and short of it.”

Speaking at Oakley’s corporate office last Tuesday under the auspices of Bryan Elliott’s Linked Orange County group, it was a freewheeling, sometimes rambling, but always entertaining discussion.


In the belly of the Oakley beast, waiting for Chris Brogan.


Name Recognition

On a personal note, John, Scott, Neil, Carol, Olga, Amber, Lewis and about a dozen others can attest to Chris’ amazing recall of names and personal details after just a few minutes. It was a demonstration that he actually practices what he writes about so well.

So what was it about?

It was billed as a “Presentation About the New Rules of Marketing.” But it was more of a recap of Trust Agents, plus a preview of a book yet to be written, and a To Do list for the audience.

For those who saw Brogan at Chapman University last year, some of it was familiar territory, beginning with the Zulu greeting that translates literally as “I see you.” (The point being that people everywhere want to be recognized.)


Chris Brogan speaking to Linked OC at Oakley headquarters.


Chris Brogan told me to put faces and nipples on my pages.

He didn’t really. But almost. There were a lot of pithy nuggets, so in the interest of brevity, here are some of the highlights in Chris’ own words.

[On Trust Agents] “The book is really just about how to be human.”

[Holding his paper notepad “iPad” and turning it sideways.] “Look, landscape mode!”

“When I’m at an airport and I see somebody playing solitaire on their laptop, I just want to shut the lid on their hand. There’s only so much time in our lives.”

“Where was I going? I do have a point.”

“My point is that a lot of this stuff is silly and a lot of it is surreal, but there’s real business behind it.”

[On career experimentation] “We don’t all need jobs; we all need work.”

[On changing systems at a company] “No king ever voted a revolution.

[On executing ideas, borrowing from Yoda] “Do or do not, there is no try.”

[On expanding the community, as with the online video show, “Will It Blend?”] “So they shot videos of blending iPhones, who cares? They got millions of views, who cares? They got a 500% sales increase. Oh, now I’m listening.”

“71% of statistics are made up on the fly. So I might as well put some in.”

[On quickly determining a website’s call to action] “By the way, my website fails. But my clients’ sites all work really well.”

[How to sell to prospects] Talk about them. Not you.”

[How to humanize your About page] “Put some faces on it. We buy from faces. Humans since birth are trained to look for a face pattern… because we imagine a few inches down below there’s a nipple and there’s milk in it. Which explains guys.”


Two faces on my blog! Me and Chris, we go way back (Chapman '09).




[How most advertising makes him feel] “I’m reaching my hand out to shake hands and you’re trying to stick your tongue in my mouth.”

[On supporting your network] “There are people in this room who can solve your business problems, and none of them are me.”

[On his work ethic] “I’m workin’ while you’re playing Farmville.”

[On showing preferential treatment to good customers] “I tell my daughter she’s my favorite. I tell my younger son he’s the backup.”

[For anyone who tweets that Chris Brogan is arrogant] I’m not arrogant, I’m very confident. There’s a difference: Arrogant means I don’t believe you could also be right. Confident means I think I’m right.

In addition to advising the audience to go back and review their own websites and LinkedIn profiles, Chris offered one other piece of homework: Don’t leave without committing to help three other people in some form or another. He did suggest a shortcut, which was to support the three non-profits in attendance:

TACA (Talk About Curing Autism)

Or just send a kid to M.I.T. (He was kidding again.)

His call to action for us was to visit Human Business Works. Mine for you is to leave a comment. Offer up your two cents. Share a favorite Broganism, or make one up for yourself. To echo Yoda once more, “Do or do not, there is no try!”



14 responses to “The Quotable Chris Brogan

  1. I always snort when I read other people’s recaps of me. Thank you. I love this one because you found a lot of the funnier tidbits. : )

    I never try to talk about trust agents as much as I talk about the guts of what makes humans matter to our modern business environment. We’ll see if I can improve that over the next few years.

    • Chris, thanks for stopping by! Really appreciate the way you hide the broccoli in the mashed potatoes.

      Since you’re here, I should mention (confess?) that I’m now a retired Grand Poobah on LinkedIn. Oh well. It was definitely time to step down after hearing your comments!

      Thanks again!

  2. So many commentators in business and in life…so few cogent ones. Chris Brogan is one of those who opens his mouth and wise things emerge. Thanks for turning me (us) on to your friend and colleague, Mitch. If anyone is still asking “Where’s the beef?”, we just found out!

  3. Insightful questions Chris Brogan taught as watched, The Serendipity Engine. How do we share, collaborate, and no doubt, feed the baby? Great points and realized that my collaboration needs addressing. I got it when the chair example illustrated collaboration vs. audience only.
    Glad you suggested, Mitch.

  4. Great recap Mitch! Sometimes it’s the smallest little things that can make the biggest difference. When I hear Chris speak I have to listen carefully because I’m so entertained by his unstructured, uncensored style that it’s easy to miss small and sometimes hidden gold nuggets of business advice.


    • Bryan, your post about how to get the most out of events was a helpful reminder to bring my recorder and listen carefully a second time. Thanks for stopping by. And kudos to you for hosting some of the best networking/business events around. Looking forward to Unmarketing on 11-11!

  5. Pingback: O’Neill Fashion Show Features Student Designs | Love Hate Advertising

  6. Ha, great recap – I agree though, Chris is very “quotable” – love the Farmville quote – I freakin hate those invites!

    • I’m with you, Ashley. Never got into the games and have to turn off the notifications. Thanks for commenting, enjoyed seeing your recap on it as well. Interesting how different people will often take away different things from the same event.

  7. Mitch, thank you for sharing! I wasn’t able to make the event due to some last minute issues I had, but this was really helpful. THANK YOU!

  8. So many commentators in business and in life…so few cogent ones. !hjcuybhgtxzlk

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