I decided to hop down to Nashville for the day to do an old-fashioned F2F (face to face) interview with Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing and a nonstop blogger and Twitterer. Mike is what I (and others, including Forrester’s George Colony) are calling a Social CEO. A rare bird. I’ve “known” Mike for five years, since I interviewed him for The Corporate Blogging Book. You never know about a virtual relationship but indeed this did feel like meeting a longtime colleague. We chatted and gossiped nonstop for an hour and a half in his spacious office, located, a bit incongruously, behind the K-Mart and about five minutes from the airport.
I’ll write more later but a few impressions. Short video interview at the bottom:
– There is a nearly seamless congruence between the Michael Hyatt you may know through his long running blog at http://www.michaelhyatt.com and Mike in the flesh. He looks just like his photo. He’s a trim and fit 55 and proud father of five daughters and four grandchildren.
– He is cheerful, calm and articulate in person, echoing the well-crafted prose on his blog.
– I loved this admission, however. He posts his blog entries knowing there are typos. Then goes back to fix them.
– He loves tech stuff and happily discussed the backend customization of his WordPress setup.
– He likes there to be a clear path and a logical order to things. For example, he almost always posts a new blog entry at 4 AM Central: “So it’s the first thing people see in their RSS readers.”
– He’s not above a bit of gossip: What do you think of so-and-so [insert name of prominent blogger] and so-and-so [ditto], he asked me. (We mostly agreed.)
– He’s got at least one silly app for his iPhone that I’ve got to get a hold of. It’s an app that fakes a phone call coming in from Steve Jobs. (He demonstrated with his iPhone in his pocket.)
– No surprise, he’s highly organized: built in to his schedule (not an add-on, he stressed) are three to five blog posts a week and a dozen to 16 Tweets a day. He estimates that each blog post takes him an hour-plus to write. (This seems like an underestimate as he says he often writes 800 words.)
– The blogging and Twittering are how he “expresses his job responsibilities” – namely, to communicate and extend Thomas Nelson’s brand. Privately-held, it’s the seventh largest publisher in the U.S., known primarily for Christian titles. Thirty-five percent of revenues come from the 11 – 12 million copies of the Bible the company sells annually.
– And finally, he is fervent on the topic of social media: to paraphrase, “it will be a required skill set for CEOs in five to ten years.” As to why there aren’t more Social CEOs today, “they don’t have the mindset.”
I agree. It’s a mindset, not a skillset. More later.