S3E1: Blind Zebra and Building Your Personal Brand with NFL Umpire and Referee Bryan Neale

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This is a podcast episode titled, S3E1: Blind Zebra and Building Your Personal Brand with NFL Umpire and Referee Bryan Neale. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week we talk about personal brands and how to build them. We also talk about the fact that you have a personal brand, even if you think you don't. </p><p><br></p><p>Bryan Neale is the founder of Blind Zebra and his company got its name from his career as an NFL referee and umpire. Matt Wren, Moser's Director of Business Development, also joins us live from a trade show in Las Vegas. </p>

Angel Leon: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another edition of ASCII Anything presented by Moser Consulting. I'm your host, Angel Leon, Moser's director of personnel. We are back, ladies and gentlemen, after a well deserved winter break. ASCII Anything is back for season three. I can't believe I'm saying this, but again, season three. We're so excited. Producer Bryan is here. Today we have a great guest to start us off. With us today is Bryan Neale, current NFL referee/ umpire and founder of Blind Zebra, an elite sales and client success training company located right here in Indianapolis. We also have Moser's director of business development, Matt Wren, who's joining us to speak with Bryan about his perspective from a sales standpoint. Bryan, it's a pleasure to have you on ASCII Anything today. I didn't go too deep on your bio because I wanted you to tell us more about yourself, how you became an NFL umpire and, how Blind Zebra came to be.

Bryan: Yeah. First, thanks for having me on. It's great to be with you and have watched your group over the years. It's really, really great to be here to chat about it. The question about referee umpire is very funny. Not funny, but it's a very confusing thing. You think of a sports official generically as a referee, but there are seven referees, generic, on the NFL football field. We each have a different position. There's a referee, an umpire, a line judge, a down judge, a field judge, a side judge, and a back judge. I'm technically in the field, the umpire, but if you said ref, I'm going to listen either way. Know what you meant. But, yeah, the backstory on Blind Zebra, I've been in sales my entire professional life. I started selling toilet paper for Proctor& Gamble in 1991. Over those years, learned and made lots of mistakes and got lots of help and became lucky a lot and unlucky a lot and fell in love with coaching and development. The only things I knew was personal development, that was a passion of mine, and selling. I put those two together and I've been doing this for about 23 years. I fancy myself a salesperson first and a coach second. I'm constantly selling my own deals. I'm trying to stay sharp. I make mistakes. I just had a situation this past week. I made a huge mistake with one of my biggest clients. That's why we do this. You do it to learn. It's the same thing like I do on Sundays in the football field. You work your tail off trying to chase perfection, don't catch it, learn from your mistakes, and try again, and try again. Blind Zebra is a play on that thing. I was thinking," I want to put my referee story in our brand." I thought," How can I do that?" I put some nouns and adjectives down, a big list of what they call us, and Zebra was one of the nouns. They say ump, blue, zebra. I'm like," That's cool." Then I want adjectives. Well, the problem is I couldn't say any of the adjectives in public because they're not nice words, but blind was... I'm like," You're blind, ref." That's where I came up with Blind Zebra. Everything is on purpose. Our logo, the BZ, is just a punchy logo. But the yellow, we throw yellow flags, and that's why the yellow is part of our accent color. It's all on purpose, nothing fancy.

Angel Leon: I have so many questions about selling toilet paper as your first job.

Bryan: Yes.

Angel Leon: But I better stop there because I don't want to go down that route.

Bryan: That's true.

Angel Leon: But that Blind Zebra bid, that's actually very clever because that's what most people say about umpires in the NFL; they're blind. They miss calls.

Bryan: They say other things, I know. They say other things. Right?

Angel Leon: Yeah. I bet they do. But before we move on, Matt, thanks for joining us as well. How are you?

Matt Wren: I'm doing well. Thanks for having me, Angel.

Angel Leon: All right. I want to start with a subject that I think is very neat and it's something that I know you definitely talk a lot about, Bryan. I want to touch on the importance of building your own personal brand. When somebody hears that, what should be the first thing that comes to mind? How much would you say it has to do with the first impression?

Bryan: That's a really good question. I'm also a podcast host, so I hope this isn't offensive. I'm going to change your question. I think the first thing that they should think about is the last thing they should think about, because what most people do when you say personal brand is they think about the things that I don't think has anything to do with personal brand. They think about things like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, picture, influencer, videos, those sorts of things around personal brand. They think it's flashy. It has to be cool and clever. It has to be exciting and fun and all that jazz. I don't think that is anywhere close to where people should start. The place that I think everyone should start when they hear personal branding is with their, this sounds a little hokey but it's where I tell people to start with personal branding, is their truly authentic self. That's where your personal brand starts. It can't start anywhere else. You can't build a personal brand from the outside in. So many people try to do that. They're like," Oh, I'm going to start a podcast. I'm going to do my thing. When I'm done I'm going to be this guy or that gal and do this and that." If it's fake, it's fake. Everyone sees right through it. All of us know these people. Right? We see some famous people. We know Dr. Phil. If you know Dr. Phil's story, he built his brand because he was counseling Oprah Winfrey in a legal dispute. The Cattleman's Association of Texas was, somewhere, I don't where, was suing her. Everyone's afraid of Oprah, because she's Oprah. He went to her and said," Hey, sis. If you don't change your tune here, these guys are going to lock you up." Went real direct at her. That's just who he is. Look at him now. Now he's one of the highest paid TV guys ever. But he's his authentic self. You don't see him in blue jeans and a schmedium tee shirt, do you? He wears a suit and tie as Dr. Phil. It's who he is at his core. The first play, when people say personal branding and you're like," Where do I start? I don't even have a LinkedIn account. I don't know about Instagram. I'm not good on camera." You're starting at the wrong place. You start with your authentic self and your heart and soul and build it outwards from there.

Angel Leon: Building off of that a little bit more, obviously, if you're being true to yourself, that first impression always counts. It always goes back to sales. It goes back to any interaction that we have with any other individual, any other organization.

Bryan: Without question. There's some generational transferring going on in the world right now, which I'm really happy about. I'm a Gen Xer, then there's Millennials behind us, and then Gen Z. My kids are Gen Z and they're in high school and college now. Then before me was Baby Boomers and the greatest generation. When I was coming into business, a lot of the Baby Boomer generation, as leaders, I never felt were their authentic self. I was taught, where I sold toilet paper was at Proctor& Gamble... Loved the company, loved the people. Everyone always felt fake to me. It felt like we were putting on a show. We wore suits and we'd come in and I'd," Hey, Angel. Hey, how you doing, Matt? Nice to see you. How's business?"" Great. How's business for you?"" Good. Busy as I could be."" Yeah. How's it going?"" Great." I'm like," Is everyone really like this? I don't think they are. I know they're not, because I'm not. I'm one of you and I'm not like that." The first impression, when you try to make one, I think you're dead on arrival. If I show up as me, I have nothing to worry about. Now if I show up as me and we don't click, that's good for both of us, the way I look at that, because we just shouldn't click because, whatever," Bryan's too over the top or he cusses too much." Or," Angel's too smart for me. He makes me feel stupid." Or the opposite." Man, I love Angel. He asks great questions. I love hanging out with somebody that gives me good energy," and then we connect. For everyone's their authentic self, the right people find the right people and we just don't have to worry about the rest. If we try to impress and try to make some sort of impression on people, I think we're in trouble going in.

Angel Leon: Yeah. I agree, unless you're Matt and you're wearing a Michigan hat.

Bryan: Matt.

Angel Leon: Then you're trying to meet a client that's an Ohio State fan.

Bryan: Hey.

Matt Wren: Hey. I'm used to doing that. This is the first year we won so I'm just like," Hey, you guys beat us all the time." We go with that, buddy. But I 100% agree because even with the first company I came out of college with, we weren't allowed to have facial hair at all. I look like I'm 12 when I don't have facial hair. But you also had to wear a shirt and tie every day. Then on Fridays you didn't have to wear a tie. I was there for two years. Now, they did give me some of the best training I've ever had, but that's not me. I'm not a suit and tie guy. I'll wear a blazer with YEEZYs, but that's just who I am. If you're talking about building your brand, everybody knows that.

Bryan: Yes. I'll give Matt some credit on his Michigan stuff. The guy's tried and true Michigan blue.

Angel Leon: No, no, no. That's... Yeah.

Bryan: They were getting their tails kicked for years and he always came in, didn't he, head to toe in the Michigan stuff.

Angel Leon: Yeah. I'm not taking anything away. I'm just saying if right now we had a client that was from the Ohio State University-

Bryan: Yes. That's great, Angel. Thank you for saying that, too.

Angel Leon: It'd be hard to bring him on board. Right?

Bryan: Totally.

Matt Wren: Well, then I introduce him to Caitlin or Paul because Caitlin went to Ohio State.

Bryan: Yeah. Truth. Right. There you go.

Matt Wren: Then Paul's a big fan. You try to make sure you line up the right ones and do that research before you meet them.

Bryan: That's great.

Angel Leon: That's where connections and Goodwill. Right?

Bryan: Yes. Yes.

Angel Leon: Get you the right people. Let me talk about trust. How does that come to play when it comes to personal brand?

Bryan: What a great question. I'm going to pull a little Brené Brown on you. Brené Brown's a popular speaker, a woman from Texas. She got real popular with Ted Talks. She talks a lot about trust. I love what she says. She talks about trust being earned over a long period of time with very, very subtle behaviors and decisions and observations with others. It's not like I come in and Matt trusts me. These little things happen in our relationship over a long period of time and that trust gets built better and better and better and better and better. Or it goes the opposite way, these little interactions. I think when Brené talks about that, I think some things are the smallest little things. It could be an observation you make of how Matt might see me treat someone a certain way and it builds trust. He might hear me talk to a stranger, like maybe someone's looking for cash or money on the sidewalk. Instead of me going," No. Get a job," I say," Hey, man. What's up? Happy to help you out." He observes that, he goes," Hmm. There's there's a trust trigger there," or the opposite. I think we observe that all the time and don't realize we're observing it. I think it's built over a long period of time in little bitty bitty chunks. And it can be stripped in one decision. That's the interesting part. It's built over time and can absolutely be squashed in one decision.

Angel Leon: I got to say, we've all heard about microaggressions and all that. I call those microimpressions.

Bryan: Oh. Stealing that one. Thank you, Angel. It's great. Microimpressions. It's true.

Angel Leon: Yeah. Matt, from a sales perspective, how would you implement that first impression, that trust that you have to build from right off the bat, right off that first pitch?

Matt Wren: For me and how I lead my team is making sure that they're themselves because when you start faking who you are or trying to make a make- believe story or something else, you just get caught up with lie after lie, after lie. Then you forget what you told them. Then they're going to say," Oh, remember talking about this?" and you probably won't. If you start from the beginning, because even when I interview somebody, my first question is when you walk into somebody's room, besides saying hello, when we did meet in person, now we're starting to get back there, but besides shaking their hand or saying hello, what should the first thing you do be? I'll give the answer on here, but it's literally look around the room. Understand what's in their offices and did they go to... Bryan's on there. He sees IU. You see Zebra, Zebra inaudible. You see refereeing or maybe there's Star Wars or maybe there's your family, talking about your kids, and your... Any common ground you can get with them to lead a conversation, especially in IT. There's a lot of IT individuals that don't want to talk. Now there's a lot of it, individuals that do want to talk. Trying to be yourself and coming back to understanding what they want to find out about you as well. Now, also don't talk as much. I know Bryan's helped me with that over the years. Bryan and I've been together for seven years. Slowly start the conversation so you have more of an ear than a mouth.

Angel Leon: Interesting.

Bryan: Good.

Angel Leon: Interesting take. Yeah, that's good.

Bryan: I like the idea of the... I want to add to that what Matt says. I think the drive, the internal drive, is a sincere interest in others. That's the philosophical thing. Then that turns into, yeah, looking around, asking questions, but asking myself," Do I have a sincere interest in others?" When I'm prepping for a sales call, I'm ready to go in, we call that intention." Do I have the right intention? Do I have sincere interest in the other person I'm about to talk to? Or am I hoping that I get a sale here?" That's bad intention.

Angel Leon: Absolutely. Building off of that, how does having that successful personal brand translate to success for you or your organization?

Bryan: I'll tell you. When I get stuck on a question, I always just go to the... Always, when you get asked a question, not always, almost always, something pops in your head. But then you wait for something else and then nothing else comes so you go with the first thing. The first impression part, the sales part, all that stuff, the moment that I get there, how I am is going to dictate how the whole thing goes. That's going to start with me versus externally to me, to somebody else. That's my take. I think most people, most salespeople, most business people, don't examine how they are with their energy before they go into an interaction. I think, if I'm coaching someone or prepping someone or prepping myself, that's got to be that first stop is," Where's my energy?" Has to be the one that takes the forefront. Most people prep the external stuff. They prep," What am I going to say? What am I going to ask? What's going to be my pitch? What's my deck look like?" They pitch all the external stuff." How am I going to position pricing?" That's all important. Beneath all that, though, is what's in here: head, heart, soul stuff. That's where I think the answers are to your question.

Angel Leon: That's an interesting take because that takes me back to, when people talk about when you're going to make a public speaking event, how you present yourself to the public is basically the energy. You want to give them energy. You want to take them up a notch. If they're just sitting there and they're just looking at you like,"Oh, I need to get through this half an hour speech just to get out of here." But if you then mirror that energy, then you're more than likely going to not have a successful outing. But then if you're out there, energy, engaging the crowd, getting the first guy in the first row," Hey. You tell me that. You tell me this," now you're engaging. Now you're bringing their energy levels up.

Bryan: Yes.

Matt Wren: I was like," Yeah. Bryan's taught me that," excuse me," for a long time." It's coming in. I still prepare for meetings. Don't get me wrong. But I'd rather feel it how it goes in the meeting. It's so much better, so much more genuine, so much more authentic when you're in the meeting and you can... How do you pivot? Because you're going to know when that person's not paying attention anymore. You're going to see it. That's why, even on the Zoom calls, I make sure that I always have my video on. I want people to see me and I ask them to do that. Bryan gave a great example in our peer group where one guy was eating his cereal and didn't want to turn this camera on.

Bryan: Yeah.

Matt Wren: Bryan asked him to turn his... He's like," Well, we eat breakfast at breakfast meetings anyways. Go ahead, man. I'll grab some cereal, too."

Bryan: Right.

Matt Wren: But it's so much more genuine, authentic to talk to somebody that way versus thinking about the sell. Bryan's taught me this and this is something that's changed my life over these last seven years, as just being a connector and a networker more than anything else." How can I help you out?" Bryan knows me. I genuinely want to help whoever out. Even some of these stuff that I talk about that I do, it's not to brag. It's more about," How can I help you get there?" because I want to do that.

Angel Leon: You brought up business development, basically sales. Having that personal brand in that space, I'm going to ask you, Matt, how has that helped you obviously on your current role with Moser, but just in general, as a business development manager, as a director for us here at Moser? How does that help you?

Matt Wren: I think the main thing is anybody that I work with or anybody that my team works with or anybody that Moser works with, they generally know we want to help them. It's not we're in there to go raise bill rates to go make... Yeah, we got to make money. We're not a non- for- profit. But, at the end of the day, they know that I'm building a relationship with them. I may not work with them January of 2022. It may be January of 2024. It's the long term. How do I keep that relationship and just check in with them? Shane White from Carter Logistics, and one of the guys I've been friends with a long time, when I came to Moser from my previous employer, I was like," I can't work with you because I'm a noncompete, of course." But he was like," We only want to do certain things like direct placements." He never thought he would work with us because I just didn't have a culture. I just kept in touch with him. Didn't talk about sales. We talked about his kids. We talked about working out, CrossFit, things like that. In two years, he was like," I have this opportunity for you guys to help us." He was like," You're the only person I've ever worked with that hasn't just called for just try to make that dollar." He was like," You really built a relationship with me." I was the first call that he gave. That's why I try to teach my team from our interns all the way up to our senior people to do the same thing. We don't want to be used car salesmen because that's so many salespeople get that persona or get that negative energy towards them. My team is, yes, we are competitive, but everybody genuinely wants to help our team together. I know Bryan's helped me a lot with that. I know Bryan could probably piggyback off that, too, with working with everybody.

Bryan: Yeah, also there's an element here that I think we haven't talked about yet that's at play a little bit. What Matt said triggered a thought. A good brand is actually polarizing. That means a good brand gives people enough information in its brand to let that consumer, the person, make a decision, whether they want to be a part of that brand, buy it, consume it or not. When we talk about personal brand, I think we have to look at both sides of that. The goal is not to pull everyone in. The goal is to let everyone make the right decision to say," Matt's my guy. Bryan isn't," and that decision be a good decision for them because he doesn't want people to be around him that don't want to be around him. Neither do I. Neither do you. No one does. If I irritate people, I don't want to be around you. I don't want to irritate people. I can't take offense to that, either. I can't be upset about it because I know there are people that maybe irritate me or I don't want to be around. And there's the opposite, too. There are people I want to be around. That, to me, is a really interesting thing to think about is the polarization. A good personal brand should say," Yeah. You're my person," or," You're not." And that's okay. Either of those things can live in the same space.

Angel Leon: Somebody that's listening to this that might be going through that process right now, how would you suggest they, for lack of a better term, cut ties or explore? We're being honest here.

Bryan: That's great. Yeah, for sure. I love it.

Angel Leon: You explore the opportunity of just moving forward with-

Bryan: Just a different mentality. Yeah. Different person or different... Yeah. It's great. Well, you just said the answer. What you said, Angel, which is it's got to be a mentality shift first. There's also the idea that everyone already has a personal brand, you just don't call it that. It's your personality. If you want to figure out what your personal brand is, all you have to do is ask 10 of your friends to describe you. It's all you have to do. Tell me about Angel. Tell me about Brian. Tell me about Bryan. Tell me about Matt. Ask 10 of your best friends. They'll tell you. Your best friends, they'll tell you the goods and the bads. Your personal brand is already built. That's the my side of it. Then the other side, if I'm around, if I'm thinking," I've been in these relationships," or it could be a business relationship or personal relationship or a sales relationship where it's not serving me well, then I have to make the choice to make a different decision. I did this. I did this last January. I'm going to do it again, although it's going to be at a much less level. I was catching myself being triggered on social media by people who made me feel bad about myself, which is my problem, not theirs. I would see people doing things or saying things on social media and I'd sit there and," Oh, I'm better than they are. Why are they getting... How come 50, 000 people are going to see them and no one's coming to see me? How come their podcast cast is bigger than mine? Mine's better." That's all my own inadequacies coming to play. I had to ask myself," Okay. If there are certain people that I'm the idiot who keeps listening to them. Why don't I just turn it off? It's not their problem at all. It's me." I did a social media cleanse last January. I cannot tell you how free I felt this year because the people that are still in my close sphere of social media and branding, almost all to a person, lift me up because they did such a good job. I've even forgot there were a couple that popped in on comments and other things. I'm like," How come I'm not getting this, because I'm connected to them? Oh, yeah. I muted them because they don't lift me anymore." It's not offensive and that doesn't mean that they're right, I'm wrong. I'm the one with the ego problem, not them. They're just putting out good stuff that's them in their own way. That was really helpful to me. A very tactical thing people can do, a little social media cleanse. If feeds irritate you or they don't lift you up, just mute them. You don't have to unfollow them. Just mute them.

Angel Leon: That's a great piece of advice. Anybody, from a personal or professional standpoint, probably can get behind that.

Bryan: Yes. Yes.

Matt Wren: Oh, I agree. It's like keeping up with the Joneses. That's what Instagram's done. Right?

Bryan: Yes. Yes.

Matt Wren: It's all these people, they don't post the bad stuff. A lot of them don't. Right?

Bryan: No.

Matt Wren: They're not going to put out there their bad energy.

Bryan: No.

Matt Wren: They're going to put everything that's good-

Bryan: Right.

Matt Wren: ..from getting a new handbag to a new house-

Bryan: Right.

Matt Wren: ...to remodeling, to traveling. Right? Then people are like," Well, why can't I do that?"

Bryan: Right. How come that's not-

Matt Wren: You can, but it just may take you a little longer to get there.

Bryan: Yeah.

Matt Wren: Or maybe that's not what you want to do. Right?

Bryan: Yeah. I did it starting off this conversation. Because my wife and I go stay at the Cosmo the first weekend of March every year. I'm like," Oh, it must be nice." You know? inaudible. I saw that because I saw Matt's Instagram post. He's just sharing where he is and the whole thing. But what I'm not seeing is that his wife's there with him. She's pissed at him because he's got to do this interview or whatever. He's too tired. He doesn't want to be here. We're not seeing that part of it. We're seeing the beautiful view of the fountains. What's-

Matt Wren: She's in the other room, door closed-

Bryan: Whatever. Yeah.

Matt Wren: ...waiting for me to get out of here so we can go and have lunch because it's 11:30 here.

Bryan: And the room's a mess. No one sees that stuff. We just see,"Oh, look at the fountains. Wow. Those are great."

Matt Wren: Yeah.

Bryan: Funny. It's true though. Isn't it? It's true. We all do it.

Angel Leon: It is. It's very true. We all do it in some form or fashion.

Bryan: In some form. Yes.

Angel Leon: We can finish this off and we can let Matt go have lunch.

Bryan: Oh, that's right.

Angel Leon: Very important. You got to score brownie points there.

Bryan: Yes.

Angel Leon: Speaking of sales professionals, I want to end this on this note. What skills should a sales professional have for the future? What would make them successful? What addition to their skills would make them successful?

Bryan: It's a very buzzy topic right now and I'm bullish on a couple things. Everyone has to get comfortable here. Number one, everyone has to be comfortable selling through a video camera. Everyone's going,"I don't like the camera. I hate Zoom. I want to go back to face- to- face." Good for you. It's not going anywhere. Everything from the health and the COVID and all that jazz, but now to efficiency, lack of travel, I don't have to spend all this money traveling around. And I'm a face- to- face guy. I'm not saying I'm not, but if you can't look at the green light in the camera and have a good presence and have good lighting and a little inaudible around you with really nice microphones, you're going to get caught. I'm telling you. I don't care what you sell. You've got to invest in this. Even the technology that you have, that I have, the microphones, the experience, there's lighting around here, that all that's meant... You've got to be able to sell to the camera. That's the first thing. Second thing, now this is the external social media, is that you have to get comfortable with selling and connecting electronically via social medias: LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram. That's going to continue to be a part of the sales process. Those who have not, and I'll just stick with LinkedIn because it's the easiest and the one that's the most about business, the people that still dabble in LinkedIn are going to get blown by. You have to learn to execute on LinkedIn and do things and leverage it as the tool that it is, which is my favorite tool in business hands down, versus just scrolling. Scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, like, scroll, scroll. That doesn't work. You've got to get intentional about it. Those are my two big ones; selling to video and specifically selling through social to LinkedIn.

Matt Wren: I 100% agree because I think even these conferences, they're going to be 50/ 50. They're going to be some people that feel comfortable going on site and then some people that want to be over video. But I think the biggest thing, too, is get outside your comfort zone because there's a lot of people that won't. They want to stay, let's say, it's in their little bubble or whatever it is. They don't want to get outside it. Well, to grow, you're going to have to get outside it. You're going to have to go talk to other people, understand what they do. Then flip that into what you think's best for yourself because everybody can give you advice, but you only want to take the advice that you can make sure that you keep your own, go back to the brand thing, keep your own. It's your brand though. You're like," Oh, I like what Angel said. I liked what Brian with an I said. I like what Bryan with the Y said. I'm going to flip all three of those to way I'm going to deliver that." I think that is key for everybody. It is learning from everybody. You should be a forever student, no matter what. Bryan's taught me that. I think our peer group, we all talk about that. If you think you're at the top, you should no longer be there because you're never going to be at the top, no matter what. I don't care if you're whoever you are, the biggest CEO out there to the intern. Everybody has growing to do, no matter what.

Angel Leon: Yeah. I love all the bits of advice that you guys have just given because, Bryan, just to go back to your first piece of advice. You talked about people having to get comfortable with the camera. Just what we were talking at the beginning about what you have on camera, what we see. You talk about displaying and being your personal brand. What you have behind you is personal brand. It's what you believe in. It's what you trust. Then the social media aspect of it, as you mentioned with LinkedIn, that's something that I'm curious about because I enjoy LinkedIn a lot. I find myself actually enjoying it even more than the other social media platforms. I don't know if it's because the content is more geared towards business and not so much the other stuff, the other influx of news and things that we get on the other platforms. But I do enjoy it. How would you say people should leverage something like LinkedIn?

Bryan: Yeah, absolutely. Everyone is on a spectrum with LinkedIn. I was a really early adopter, not because I'm some visionary. I just got on there. I was just a social media junkie anyway. I'm like," This was the newest, best thing." I got on when they were less than a million users, I think. They're up to having 850 million users now.

Angel Leon: Yeah.

Bryan: Organically I think I'm almost to 17,000 connections. I've accepted every one of them or sent every one of them. I'm not this open networker, accept everybody. Everybody I get screened with. What I found is the number one magic trick to LinkedIn is persistence. You just figure out an intentional way to engage on LinkedIn on a regular basis, meaning daily, you can't lose in the long term. If you go pedal on, pedal off, or you dabble or whatever, it doesn't work for you. What I love to think of when people say," I found myself enjoying LinkedIn," or they say," I like LinkedIn," or," I'm learning a lot," is I love people to say," I use LinkedIn. It's my number one tool." To do that, you have to put a plan together. We actually have a planning document I can send to you guys, a LinkedIn planning document that basically just puts everyone on the spectrum wherever they are. It starts... If you don't have an account, we'll put you on the spectrum. Step one, open an account. You have 150 connections. We'll put you on... Some people have 17, 000 connections and put 19 videos a day up. Wherever you are doesn't matter. We just put this little plan and all you do is execute the plan. You have to be intentional about it. We teach people to say," Okay. I'm going to do two LinkedIn videos per month, every month for the year 2022, every month." I'm going to say," You're going to do a thoughtful comment. You're going to do a passive comment. You're going to ask for four connections a month via connections on LinkedIn through your conquest list." Very prescriptive behavior that you can say you did or didn't do. That's how to use LinkedIn, not just dabbling.

Angel Leon: Matt, I like your piece about just being there. This has been such a fun conversation. I know that we got to go but, gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us today. We really appreciate it. Bryan, it was a pleasure to have you with us.

Bryan: Of course.

Angel Leon: Just a great breath of fresh air to bring here to ASCII Anything. Thank you very much.

Bryan: Thanks, man. Thanks for having me on the show. We'll talk toilet paper next time. How's that?

Angel Leon: I love it.

Bryan: All right.

Angel Leon: Yes. Please.

Bryan: Seriously.

Matt Wren: Thanks, everybody.

Angel Leon: Thank you for listening in to this week's edition of ASCII Anything presented by Moser Consulting. We hope you enjoyed listening to our guests, Matt Wren and Bryan Neil, talk about the importance of building your own brand. Join us next week when we continue to dive deeper with our resident experts and what they're currently working on. Remember, if you have an idea or are a topic you'd like us to explore, please reach out to us through our social media channels. In the meantime, please remember to give us a rating and subscribe to our feed wherever you get your podcasts. Until then, keep building your personal brand. So long, everybody.


This week we talk about personal brands and how to build them. We also talk about the fact that you have a personal brand, even if you think you don't.

Bryan Neale is the founder of Blind Zebra and his company got its name from his career as an NFL referee and umpire. Matt Wren, Moser's Director of Business Development, also joins us live from a trade show in Las Vegas.

Today's Host

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Angel Leon

|Director of Personnel

Today's Guests

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Bryan Neale

|Founder at Blind Zebra
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Matt Wren

|Moser Consulting VP of New Business Development