Dave: Hey everyone, Dave here with another episode of the Philly Tech Connect podcast. Today I’m speaking with Dillon Young. Dillon is a lifelong customer-facing tech professional with over 15 years of experience who’s striking out on his own. He’s helping companies and individuals find their voice in an increasingly competitive market. Dillon, how are you doing today?

Dillon: I’m doing great, Dave, how are you? Thank you for having me.

Dave: Thank you for being a member of the community. I really appreciate it. I don’t know if I ever said this, but you look like a guy that was a friend of mine and was in the entrepreneur community in Nick. I mean, down to the sleeve tattoo, that’s how detailed the look Alik is. He left, he went to Miami, but now you’re here and I’m like, “Cool, now I have a new Nick, but his name’s Dylan.”

Dillon: It might be me.

Dave: I may be like a doppelgänger, I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out, but that’s part of why I invited you on this show. Let’s talk about helping companies and individuals find their voice. You mentioned a competitive market; why is this important today?

Dillon: Yeah, I think in the world we live in today, the way we are consuming information is so different from the way we used to do it. I believe it is important for folks, and this has been validated from a lot of conversations I’ve had, to not only do really good work in whatever market of choice or profession of choice is but to share those ideas, your unique voice, perspective, and experiences, and to truly brag about what makes you unique.

Dave: I agree 100%. I came across this thing the other day, and somebody showed like the number of followers Richard Branson had compared to Virgin Atlantic. It was like he had a thousand times more followers individually, and the point was people follow people; they don’t follow companies. We want a person, a voice, a personality. One of the things that’s so difficult is there are just so many different mediums and platforms on which to express your voice. You can have a blog, a podcast, there are a number of social media out there. How do you choose where to be active, or should you be active everywhere?

Dillon: I think ideally, yeah, you’re active everywhere and all the time, right? If you just livestream your life. But that’s probably not a viable solution for the majority of us. And so, I think it’s a bit of trial and error. I think you can probably knock out a couple of things depending on what it is you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re selling to businesses or you’re talking to businesses, if your skill set relates to businesses, there’s probably not a ton you can do on TikTok, right? Like TikTok’s overarching demographic there was like 18 to 24. So, not only are they pretty early in their careers, but they’re not typically business people, business owners for the most part. I know that that’s not always true, don’t at me. But so, that’s a really good example of TikTok probably isn’t the place, whereas LinkedIn is your bread and butter. That is the perfect place to talk to what you would call White Collar professionals and businesses, corporations themselves. Instagram probably sits in the middle somewhere there. There’s also this whole idea of like doing newsletters and kind of cultivating your audience, speaking directly to them. There’s a ton of different ways to do it, and you really just kind of have to think about it, maybe swivel your chair around and think about how do you consume information? Where does information resonate with you most strongly? And think about how it is that you can kind of turn that around and leverage that yourself.

Dave: Yeah, great point about trying to understand the audience that each platform attracts because it is very different, very different types of people that are on LinkedIn or TikTok. And then I think another part is sort of like you said, what suits you. There’s a different way the voice takes form on every platform, right? A blog is tends to be long-form, in general, LinkedIn tends to be short-form content, both of those are written content, though. TikTok is video, Instagram is also kind of like short videos, YouTube maybe is more, or a podcast is audio completely. So it’s sort of what plays to your strengths because I think at the end of the day, if people are going to follow you, you need to be at the top of your game. You need to be an interesting person, and if you don’t write interestingly, but you speak more interestingly, then that other platform might be better suited for you. When you look at the different people that you follow, who are some of the people that you like, and what is it about them that got you hooked?

Dillon: That was a weirdly great segue that you did not mean to do at all, but the first person I’m going to mention is Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary Vee, everybody should know him. I would imagine you don’t have to, but he’s all over the place. He’s super famous now as an entrepreneur and as a marketing guru, and I actually just recently watched a video from him where he said exactly what you said, of like, you’ve also got to play to your strengths. If you stink at writing, if you can’t spell worth crap, if you can’t think of good stories, but you can just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk like you could never stop, then you shouldn’t be writing a blog, you should be doing videos. You could literally just make your videos a blog, a vlog; they’ve got a whole term for it now. But like, you’ve definitely got to play to your strengths. If you’ve got a face for radio, as they say, well then maybe you shouldn’t be doing video, or you should be doing what they refer to as faceless YouTube videos. Maybe you should be in a purely audio medium like a podcast, or if you are a good writer, you could go in that direction. So, Gary’s one of them. I think he’s so smart, he’s so flexible, he evolves with the times. He talks a lot about, “I don’t care where the eyeballs are, I don’t care what the channel, the outlet is, I just want to find out where the eyeballs are.” That’s my job as a marketer, and truly, that’s what we’re talking about here, is marketing yourself and your particular viewpoint, not necessarily a product or a brand. The other one I’ll call out, I think these guys are just really, really good at what they do. I find their content to be incredibly compelling is the guys on My First Million podcast. They’re not doing anything crazy; they don’t go outside of their wheelhouse; it’s just an audio format podcast as far as I know, and it isn’t even particularly thematic. Like, they don’t only do interviews with other people; sometimes our podcasts are literally just the two of them talking about whatever they find interesting, a business that they write about, or we’ll do an entire episode just on Berkshire Hathaway and all the cool stuff that Charlie Munger, rest in peace, and Warren Buffett have said over the years, or the strategies that they’ve taken. But they just so very clearly think that starting a business and growing a business is interesting, and so that resonates in the fact that they’re like a top 10 business podcast out there right now, and it’s all about their personality, which I thought was a really pertinent thing for you to say about how a company can have a personality. Virgin definitely has a personality, but it’s nothing compared to Richard Branson. I 100% agree with that.

Dave: Yeah, those are great examples. And what I like about those guys is that they, you know, they’ve walked the walk, you know, they’re not just kind of talking about business or making millions and kind of having not actually done it. They did it, I think, well before they had these well-known personal brands through what, whether it was like Gary’s wine business or whatnot. I don’t know like his full history, but, you know, I think it’s important. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be allowed to write on, you know, write anything on the internet until you’ve made like a million dollars, but if you are talking about business and growth, like you should have had some successes under your belt, or if you know you’re talking about a particular industry or theme or something like that, I mean, you should kind of know, you know, what it is you’re talking about. I think it’s an important precursor to developing a voice and identity to make sure that you yourself know more than the person that would be reading your stuff, right?

Dillon: I think you or your guests, you know, I run a podcast called Lifetime Value, and when I was originally kind of like recruiting my first handful of guests, I had been doing this for like 10+ years, and I was like, I don’t want to be a talking head. I just want to ask questions. I want you to give your opinion. I want to hear what you think and how you feel and let’s share that with the community. And I’ll make a joke here and there, or I might share an opinion, but I certainly do not want it ever to sound like the gospel. And I think that’s a whole different angle to content creation, is the curation of interesting thoughts and ideas. That’s another way to do it.

Dave: Yeah, that is a well-said point, which is that, you know, you don’t necessarily need to be presenting yourself as the guru, but if you are just inviting interesting, educated people into the discussion and facilitating the conversation, I mean, that’s effectively what I’m doing here, right? Speaking of podcasts, I have one, you have one. We were talking before the call; you mentioned that you have a new service that’s kind of out there. So I want to learn a little bit about, you know, like every what people in their community are doing. Tell us about what you’re offering to podcasters.

Dillon: Yeah, so it is, um, we can call it one of two things. So I’ve been enjoying calling it a “podcast in a box,” where essentially, we will provide these services soup to nuts to folks who want to get their voice out there and do so in a serialized podcast way, or even if you want to put out YouTube videos about your company or about you, you want to show some level of expertise, we can do that as well. What it really means is we will do all of the production and editing services for you to share your voice and your opinions with the world. So in a podcast, that typically looks like we will help you find your branding, we will help you create a name for it, we will help you create an angle for your podcast. Then we will find all of your guests, we’ll do the research on the guests, we’ll figure out what the script for every episode should be, we’ll prep the guest, so you don’t have to do that. You just show up and read off of your script, ask questions, give interesting feedback as you guys have that conversation. Once that’s done, we’ll also do all of the editing and the production of that video or audio and or video. We will handle all of the distribution to all of the different podcast channels and or YouTube. We’ll also create all of the artifacts so that you can continue to share snippets of that piece of content across all of your different channels. If you use TikTok, if you use Instagram, you can also put videos and things like that, pictures on LinkedIn, if that’s your medium of choice. So we essentially allow you to do nothing but show up and use your voice and be the creative that you are. We handle everything else for you.

Dave: That’s cool. I think that’s a powerful offer. I mean, I know from running this podcast just for the last couple of months or whatever, all the work that goes into finding the guests, making sure they show up on time, that everybody’s prepped, and then the post-work of getting it out on the different channels and everything, and that’s why, you know, we’ve been now doing transcripts on the website and things like that, so all that good stuff is an important part of making sure that your work gets seen. But frankly, it’s the least kind of fun and interesting part of the whole thing. Would love to grow PTE to a point where we were able to utilize a service like the one you’re describing. While we’re on the topic of community and just general entrepreneurship and things like that, you want to give a shout-out about mental health? You had a link that you had mentioned that you could share as well. So tell us a little bit about your journey and what resources that you found useful that others could benefit from.

Dillon: We talked about this briefly, and I hope I’m not throwing you for a loop, but mental health is an ongoing conversation; it’s way less stigmatized than it used to be. I personally have struggled with it; it runs in my family on both sides. We have a strong history of it, and in a lot of different ways, and so I think it’s really important for folks to understand that there are more people with some version of a struggle with mental health than you probably don’t, and that’s because we’ve come to understand it as a spectrum, and a lot of different people struggle with a lot of different things. If you’re totally normal, I think that’s awesome too, but I want to give kudos to everybody who’s walking around with something a little bit different in their head or in their body than other folks, and so I think it’s just really important to acknowledge that. I think it’s important to call out that it’s okay to not feel fantastic all the time, to have down days, to have really up days, and I want to encourage folks to have that same conversation with their networks and to say that, like, hey, everybody’s different, some people are dealing with different stuff, everybody is a unique individual, and let’s show a little bit more humanity in that way. And the last thing I’ll say is that if you do not have anybody to have that conversation with, I am more than happy to have that conversation with literally everybody who wants to, so you can find me on LinkedIn at my username, Dillon R Young. Dillon is spelled D-I-L-L-O-N, or you can just schedule time on my calendar. I do not mind. I want to make sure that everybody feels comfortable reaching out however they want. That link is Lifetimevalue.link-me15.

Dave: That’s great. Well, we’ll put in the show notes, for sure. I appreciate you making that offer. They can also ping you in Slack if they’re in the community, or hopefully see you at some of our events. But definitely, I mean, you know, one of the main points of building this community is to be that support network for so many people like myself, like others who are often working alone or doing things, you know, without maybe a co-founder or someone to just, you know, share emotions with, be emotional with, be vulnerable with. So I appreciate you bringing that up today. And it sounds like so if people that do want to get in touch with you, they can ping you on LinkedIn, they can see you on Slack, and if you want to learn more about the podcast offer, as well, get in touch for that, right?

Dillon: Absolutely, I’d love to talk about just about anything at this point. You know, I also work alone, and so, yeah, as many connections as possible, I’m happy to make.

Dave: Cheers, thanks a lot for being on the show, Dillon.

Dillon: Thanks, Dave. Thanks for having me.