The curious case of Mixergy’s topic
What is Mixergy about? Mr. Warner presents it an online interview site where you find “experienced businesspeople mentoring you”.
Sometimes it is so. Sometimes, it isn’t.
Listen to Warner and Vaynerchuk discussing. To first reaction of the average snobby European listener is not admiration for these fellows (as they seem to firmly believe :-D ), the reaction on hearing them is… these guys are simply distraught. Surely they have little to teach me, and they simply should start taking care of themselves.
Or listen to this this fellow, Neil Strauss, a “pickup artist”: he does remind of Frank T.J. Mackey, the imaginary author of Seduce and Destroy in the Magnolia movie who actually ends up the story just crying here and there. Its not that his unhappiness didn’t show when he talked about “taming women”, him and the few fools following him were the only ones uninformed.
There is something uncanny about these guys, and it seems strange to hear Warner focusing on the business success of this motley crew. Warner thinks that we listen because we are starving for business tips, and tries again and again to get them from the interviewed fellows. But actually it is perfectly fine to hear their intricate life stories; actually, I think that it is where the greatest value of the show resides.
The linked interviews are not exceptional cases: just start listening to Mixergy to verify it yourself . There are some exceptions: a recent example is Amy Hoy: she is balanced, smart, and actually from this interview some concrete business advice is given. Now, women are generally more balanced people at work anyway, at least in my experience. (Funny that this is the opposite of what the “scientific” opinion on women working was in the 19th century, anyway, I’m losing my point.)
But there is a but.
These guys may be bizarre, emotionally problematic, but they are there talking, and have a story to tell. Unfortunate is not who has had some emotional problems in life, our prodigal son; unfortunate it’s the brother that has no story to tell. And the stories can do the magic, can bring you in their life stream.
What is interesting in Mixergy for me is not the business mentoring, is not in learning “how to succeed” (whatever that means): it’s the lives discovered, the transparency about the relationship between ideals, will and money. It is about contemporary’s web worker’s life anthropology.
Again, go back to the Warner and Vaynerchuk debate: what is the best moment of that interview? Is it “business advice”? There is little or none.
The best moment is at minute 25, when Vaynerchuk pauses, and tells the deep emotional reason for the failure of one of his initiatives, and its being rooted in the conflicted relationship with his father. Again, this is anthropology of people living active lives. This is what Mixergy’s about. Mixergy is… the home of the problematic startupper :-) .
Or take Kawasaki’s latest interview: are the business suggestions particularly useful, relevant or original? But take then when he relates to a friend of his dying prematurely, and about his reaction, his thought about it. That is a touching moment where we are learning something.
Or feel the energy that comes from this fellow “bankrupt” Morten Lund, again confirming that the interviews are not about success or money but about “believing in dreams”.
These are not just people that had a problem; it’s also people that did something about it, in a direct or indirect way. Not ignoring the problems, winning the fears, and doing something. And maybe fail, maybe burn-out. The point is not success, nor money. As Warner puts it, its about breaking the glass wall between yourself and life.
Having been capable of pulling up from a hard position, sometimes both economical and emotional, makes this people capable of complete transparency, which is to be admired: see for example this: I failed.
So the curious case is this: a podcast apparently dedicated to ambitious people whose basic aim is simply finding ways for making money (so set from the start to be something quite irritating to our European snob ears) turns out to be about humans and their passions.
Actually, Warner is perfectly aware of how bizarre he and his interviewed sound at times. Keep going, Mixergy.