By some divine coincidence (or because in being a search engine optimization guy I’m always seeing things that relate to SEO—you decide), right after I published yesterday’s piece on lectures, round-tables, and communications I received an invitation to apply for the opportunity to speak at this year’s SMX East.

Read that wording again; yes, I said “an invitation to apply to speak“.

SMX is a large conference for Internet Marketing People. It’s run by Danny Sullivan, a guy I’ve mentioned here a few times. But only people like me know anything about SMX or Danny Sullivan, so it probably sounds weird that someone with my experience as both a speaker and a Search Engine Optimization/Long Tail Marketing person would need to “apply” to be a (unpaid!) speaker.

It isn’t. Business change is . . .  well, change.

I’ve reproduced the form that SMX wants speaker hopefuls to fill out here, because at some point their actual form might go away. Why? Because it’s just about perfect:

Here’s what that form says:

  1. We’re popular and get lots of people trying to ride our coattails
  2. We want to hear from those people
  3. We want to hear from those people in a way we control, because we’re busy and would get buried otherwise
  4. We want a feel for both what you have to say and how you say it
  5. And we’ve communicated all of those things directly, succinctly, and in language that’s neither too intelligent nor dumbed-down, because nobody like either of those extremes.

All of that makes sense, right? The only part that might make you scratch your head is the whole “what ever happened to using established experts?” thing.

SMX does use experts and famous people, of course. The picture at the top of this piece is of Danny Sullivan and some guy named Steve Ballmer, at an SMX session. Yes, that Steve Ballmer. But when it comes to populating their lesser sessions, SMX has decided that constantly finding new people is a good way to go—and that controlling the process of finding those people is the only way.

The Harvard Business Review wants you to think differently. A marketing company at this year SXSW hired homeless people. There’s a reason older workers are having such a hard time finding work; business has changed, and the business change itself is the largest change of all.

Stop using the wrong hiring criteria. Take a look at what SMX is doing and ask yourself how you can make the same kind of changes.

And if you need some help putting those business change plans together, you can contact me here.

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