Jack Yan is an Innovator and a Big Thinker. His New Zealand based online publication, Lucire, was the first web site to successfully branch into international print editions. One might assume that Jack would have been first to market with social media. Not so. He thought blogs were amateurish and not until recently did he feel that the blogosphere had developed a reasonably intelligent audience.
So he launched his personal blog, had a sip or two of the kool-aid and now is hooked. Looking at the big picture when it comes to social media's impact, Jack feels that blogs serve to make the world a collection of neighbours rather than disparate groups separated by borders.
Blogger Story Teller: Jack Yan, Persuader Blog
I'm not going to be popular when I say that originally, I do not think much of blogs. Part of the issue was that many blogs, at least outside the computer industry, were amateurish. It wasn't a very good start, unlike the web, which seemed to have higher standards in 1993, when I first began surfing.
In 2003, my co-authors on Beyond Branding decided that we needed a blog to supplement our book. I went along with the idea but I noted that we would be joining some very odd people. I wrote an average of one post per quarter, and never thought I would be any more involved than that.
However, something annoyed me back in 2005. I think it may have been the Wellington Region Gold Awards, an awards' ceremony that I felt was a load of BS. With hindsight, if it wasn't for these awards being so crappy, I might have never begun blogging.
After that, I began posting regularly. I guess there was enough wrong with my industry for me to have things to complain about! Also, by 2005, there were enough decent blogs out there, and I got hooked. This was one area where I did not pioneer, but in fact trailed web trends by several years.
What was interesting was that Johnnie Moore, who had become a very popular marketing blogger, had felt the Beyond Branding Blog had run its course. In fact, he had expressed this to me when holidaying in New Zealand in 2004. It made sense since most of the Beyond Branding authors had moved on to their own blogs. By mid-2005, he was still of this mind but refrained, given I had begun blogging on a near-daily basis.
It got to the point where only two people were blogging regularly at Beyond Branding: Chris Macrae and myself. Chris runs dozens of blogs and our respective styles of writing were almost at opposite ends. So, rather than drown out what Chris wanted to write, I asked our readers whether they would join me should I start my own blog. The response was favourable, and in January 2006, I started my personal blog. Johnnie got his wish and we had decided that the BBB had run its course.
For me, success came relatively early to the blog, which I called Jack Yan: Persuader Blog. I named it partly for the TV series The Persuaders, and for the marketing book The Hidden Persuaders. Within 12 days online, we already had the Muslim cartoon scandal, and the online editions of both The Guardian and Der Spiegel featured it.
Between January and August, I have already done 400 posts, which is two-thirds of the number at the BBB over its two-and-a-half year life. I know I am prolific, and I have to confess that I dislike repeating points, so readers who are relatively new to my blog might not be able to follow everything that I write about. I hope that that is not the case, but I am concerned about it. I have branched out to dealing with some more personal issues from time to time, but will try to keep the original character of the blog intact—discussing marketing and branding.
Webogs have given me an outlet and have changed my life in that I now go and check for comments before I check my email. By and large, email has become useless due to spam and the sheer volume. I get about 3,000 messages a week, and this simply discourages me from using that medium. However, I also find blogs a distraction, and often an unhealthy one. Because I now have a growing readership, I feel obliged to blog almost out of fear of losing readers.
About the only good thing that has arisen is extending my networks and meeting good people such as yourself. This is because the blogosphere now has a reasonably intelligent audience. It reminds me of the early days of email, before the spammers took over. In some ways, the blogs are like that initial community of emailers: global, connecting to others, and making the world a collection of neighbours rather than disparate groups separated by borders.
The more I tell the story, the older I seem to get! I started Jack Yan & Associates in 1987, which would have been an early virtual firm. I began doing calligraphy and proofreading as my earliest regular gigs, but expanded the firm into font design quickly, so we could begin taking on international markets.
I believe in uniting the world through business, and that has always
driven each one of my ventures. JY&A Fonts licensed internationally
for the first time in the early 1990s, and we were already involved in
publishing by that point.
JY&A Consulting grew out of the design business, but since I have a master's degree in marketing, it was a logical development to have made. I started online publishing in 1993, with CAP launching in 1994 in an online form, and Lucire in 1997. Lucire is the first web site to have branched into international print editions (from 2004), so I imagine I have been reasonably consistent in being at the forefront of developments, though I have not been the actual pioneer.