Thursday, 25 July 2019

Developing your personal brand with Troy Hunt

18:07 Posted by Benitez Here , , No comments

Troy Hunt is a person who is well known by his creation of Have I Been Pwned and his presence on Twitter is also popular. He is currently a Microsoft MVP too. I recently had a chat with Troy about personal branding. For an explanation of what personal branding is, check out this blog post. Personal branding is common in the tech world. It naturally comes from the person's engagement through their online presence as well as in-person at conferences or events. If I use myself as an example, you can find my online presence on my blog site, YouTube, Twitter, and you'll also see me presenting at conferences and user groups.

Prior to my chat with Troy, I thought about questions that everyone can relate to - either as a person who is well known or thinking of increasing their presence. These are genuine questions and some of them I can relate to because I have friends in the community who have also experienced the '1%' that Troy refers to in our chat which you'll hear about. These questions also stem from my own curiosity of understanding what it is like when you are someone who has a high public profile because I don't have as much exposure. It was interesting to hear Troy's experience and I really enjoyed his honesty through out our chat.

Grab a coffee or tea and have a listen to our chat.

Note: this chat was done over Skype for Business and is raw footage. I was using WIFI from the Portugal Airbnb I was staying in at the time and the first couple of minutes are not the greatest video quality for some reason. Sometimes it is a bit laggy. It is fine to listen to and have it play in the background while you multitask 🙂

Questions asked

02:33 - What worked and what did not work for you along the way?

05:33 - Tall Poppy syndrome exists

10:56 - When you're well known, people may consider you or anyone else who has a high public profile as a celebrity. How do you remain intact in producing quality content to ensure that you are who you are, in terms of your knowledge and strengths and not just seen as a public celebrity

16:25 - When you're writing your content do you endeavour to keep to a schedule or do you write whatever comes into your mind or what's happening during that week

19:36 - With the content that you produce do you ever think about how to make it stand out or how to make it unique? As you know there's a lot of content that's getting written every week and there's more people out there who are starting blogs because technology in all fields is constantly evolving. Is it something you ever worry about it or you just shut it out and just mind your own content, and not worry about anyone else

22:06 - For content that was previously relevant at the time, let's say you wrote a blog post five years ago and now because of the evolving technology that's taking place, would you go back and revisit it, would you leave it as-is or would you write a new blog post to expand on it? To outline what has since changed or why it would not work or apply anymore to this day?

23:55 - Have you ever been called out by the 1% on something that you've written about in the past that's not relevant anymore? Has anyone in the last couple of years have been like - Hey Troy, by the way this thing you wrote back then is completely wrong 

25:06 - If you were the CEO or person in charge of LinkedIn, what would you do for a week in terms of changing it?

Key takeaways

  • Consistency with how you conduct yourself online and in-person. There are people who behave differently online compared to how they are in-person which is not always a good projection of who they are. The brand that you represent online is in parallel to how you are in real life.
  • Engaging in debates online such as Twitter can sometimes lead to no where and it's good to tune out early. When you stop engaging the debate usually dies down.
  • Tall poppy syndrome can happen and is personally hard to manage at times. A person's achievements is not necessarily welcomed by everyone.
  • People who respond in a negative manner online would not behave in the same way in-person.
  • For the 1% who respond with irrelevant comments that are not directly associated to your message or blog post, either ignore once reading the comment or have a sensible neutral response.
  • Learn to recognize the difference between the 1% compared to when you have said or done something that isn't well received on a broader basis that you would need to back track on and apologize for.
  • Blogging is based on your technical or functional knowledge. Your public profile of being seen as a "celebrity" shouldn't influence you to write in a certain way for people to pay attention and think you're awesome.
  • Writing (such as a blog post) does not always express sentiment well compared to a video. A video at times can be more convenient than writing a blog post especially if it is a busy week. Sticking to a set output is more likely to create unnecessary pressure. Videos take less effort which allows consistency in releasing content when time poor. Whereas a blog post can be more fitting when the information is better presented in words, such as a step-by-step guide on how to do something. The medium of choice can be dictated by the availability of your time and content.
  • No need to be too concerned if someone else has written similar content as it's all based on your motivation for the content such as the previous example of capturing a step-by-step guide in a blog post. A guide is also something that can be continually looked at, especially if it is a process that is complicated. Not only can a blog (or a vlog) be useful for yourself but it can also help others too who are experiencing the pain of understanding how to do that same one thing.
  • Writing a blog post about something new that pops up makes you take initiative in learning about it as well, even if you don't understand it to begin with. In Troy's case, if a notable security incident appears he'll learn it, research it and blog about it to have a finger on the pulse with what's happening right then and there.
  • When you have a large volume of blog posts it can be hard to maintain them if the content was relevant then and not so much anymore. If someone takes the time to call something out that it is incorrect, then the content will be updated. If the topic is high profile, a breaking change or fundamentally wrong then in these scenarios it is good to revisit and evaluate whether new content is suitable as a follow-on.
I also asked my last question of what he would do if he was the CEO or person in charge of LinkedIn for a week and what he would to change it. You'll have to listen to find out his response 😁 It is refreshing to hear someone talk about the aspects of a platform that is both useful and unhelpful at the same time.

My thoughts

The one item that I don't relate to is how videos for him are convenient. I am the complete opposite, I spend a lot more time producing my vlogs than blogging 😅

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that my YouTube channel is primarily focused on sharing concepts and functionality of Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 for Portals, CDS and Flow. I demonstrate to you face-to-face and walk you through the process which is also supported by a blog post for those who would rather read than watch. Those are a lot of hours sunk in from my own personal time. However I can relate to the feeling of pressure because I do put pressure on myself whenever I plan, film, edit and write my content. It is hard when you have had a busy period juggling a project or any other work related matters, plus life outside of work. I know there are others in the community who go through this as well and I am not alone. Troy goes through it, I go through it, and you may go through it too.

It was cool to hear Troy speak of his experiences and appreciate that he took some time out of his day for us to chat. Currently we're both travelling and luckily we were both in time zones that worked!

Hope you enjoyed this vlog and blog post! Thanks for tuning in and remember to be kind to each other 😊

Follow Troy

Twitter - @troyhunt
Blog -
YouTube - Troy Hunt