When riding a dead horse….

Ride the Wild Stallion

Riding a Dead Horse


Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismountHowever, in business (or social) we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following:

  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Changing riders.
  3. Saying things like “This is the way we always have ridden this horse.”
  4. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
  5. Increasing the standards to qualify as a dead horse rider.
  6. Unilaterally declaring, “no horse is too dead to beat.”
  7. Blaming the horse’s parents.
  8. Do a Cost Analysis Study to see if contractors can ride the horse cheaper.
  9. Revisit the performance requirements for horses.
  10. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

What are you looking at?

Maybe the best business plan is ‘don’t go into business’. It’s a good thing social is free and easy. You probably don’t even need a business model for this, huh? Otherwise, your success ratio would be on par with start-up restaurants. What? This isn’t easy? Shut the front door……..

Social is all about measurement and metrics, so who tracks the success rate of start-up social endeavors? Does it make a difference if social is just something you are ‘doing on the side’; does it still count?

At least it isn’t costing me anything

You are absolutely right; not only can you survive in here but you don’t have to spend a single dime and still be popular and admired. But wait, doesn’t time = money? You would certainly think so, right? What is your hourly rate?

If you are in here for business and you were to equate your monetization efforts to an hourly rate, are you above minimum wage of $7.67 per hour? Do you ever wonder why you can’t find any good employees?

How many saltine cracker and ketchup dip meals do you have to eat before the ‘passion‘ wanes. Maybe if you just whip that damn horse a little harder you will finally be somebody.

There are certainly a plethora of posts about passion, but how far can ‘passion’ really carry you? How sustainable is passion anyway before it becomes just another job?

Wow, that was inspiring

Hey you  big doofus, just because you can’t figure it out no need to drag everyone else down with you.

Here’s a question, do we exist in here just to make others in social look good? Is it self-serving to some degree and we have created our own artificial little universe? My answer is not really; it’s real as real can be.

Raise your hand if you think social can survive without you? Keep it up if you think social is here to stay?

Rise above the noise

Social can be an echo chamber and I’m saying this without passing judgment as to whether that is a good thing or bad thing; you make the call. But who do you consider a ‘real’ visionary in here; and do we even need to have anyone carrying the torch?

What would you say the leader to follower ratio is? Are you a leader? Don’t we all think we are social entrepreneurs?

Here’s what you can take from this
If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes. Yes, social can be very fickle, technical, frustrating and a huge time suck.
Social also can be very rewarding, provide unlimited opportunities, and allow you to meet a much more diverse crowd than you ever would sitting at home watching TV at night.
Just like any endeavor, what you put into something is somewhat indicative of what you can expect get out of it. However, working harder or longer hours is no guarantee of success. Sounds like real life to me.
That.is.all.


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43 thoughts on “When riding a dead horse….

  1. Know what would really tick me off? If social media ended, even emailing. I’d have to resort to letter-writing and phone calling! It’s not a time suck at all to me. I has connected me to new friends and a creative outlet. Maybe it’s time to define productivity. It feels and looks different to different people at different times and for different reasons. Invisible and important stuff goes on with all of the reading and chatter. That’s what I think. 🙂

    • Hey Bill!
      I liked what Betsy said so I thought I’d plop my comment in here. Maybe it IS time to redefine “productivity.” Sure, social media can be a time suck–but I think that depends on how you use it. It can also be a great way to connect, market, make friendships, build your business, learn, educate and help others.

    • Having been in ‘business’ for the last 30 yrs and doing golf events and business meetings that lasted all day; sometimes I wonder how we survived without electronics.

      It is a great way to connect and there are unlimited uses; I’m certainly all in, even if my ‘peer’ group makes fun of me.

      Ha, I’ll show them.

  2. Hmmmm…that “P” word…passion…is certainly in the air. (Shameless self promotion http://www.kaarinadillabough.com/do-pyjamas-porcupines-have-do-business-alphabet-series-continues/ but it also includes your awesome porcupiine too Bill:)

    i LOL at your #10, as well as your lead dog reference.

    As far as “online” or “social” goes…it’s as real as we make it. By being oneself, sharing that with the world (online and off), some will resonate with it, some not. Sometimes we’ll encounter people and never know if “what we see is what we’d get”. One thing I do know…if I knew then what I know now, I certainly wouldn’t have spent as much time as a student of “social media”, listening to far too many “experts”, thinking I needed to know more and more and more about it all before really jumping in. Here’s to jumping in. Cheers! Kaarina

    • Porcupine as in, that guy sure is prickly, make sure you don’t make him mad, huh?

      Social is what you make of it; you can be a little in, or all in. I was definitely ‘all in’ early and still think I have enough of a presence, but my sustainability model does look a little different from the early days.

      I had to laugh, because I’m thinking ‘I already have a job, what in the heck am I trying to do to work two of them’? I’m trying to find a way to work less in the one I have…………..:).

      Just jumping in is the way to go; it stunted me in some areas on the technical side but at the end of the day I’m much farther along than if I would have tried to be ‘perfect’.

      Good to see you and have a great weekend. I’m off to play in a Chamber Golf Tournament and being social IRL.

  3. There is no “in real life.” There’s online and offline and they both come with their share of challenges and joys. Having been a solopreneur for 12 years I can say the best thing to happen in the past few years is “social.” My online watercooler saves the day (and my sanity) often.

    It gets me out of my head and stimulates both my passion and creativity (probably a whole lot more values if I spent more time thinking about it!). And if it disappeared tomorrow I’d feel the loss keenly.

    Is it real? Hell yeah. So y’all better not be going anywhere!

    • Yeah, this isn’t the Matrix, right? It’s all real baby……..

      Good for you on being in ‘business’ before social; social just gave you more tools to work with.

      It stimulates my inquisitiveness and willingness to learn. The bonus for me is I can be social doing it.

      I love that you dropped a y’all in there, now ‘Crack that Whip’………:)

  4. Hi Bill,

    This post and the talk of passion remind me of the Seth Godin term, the “dip.” That funky little juncture where the romance has worn off.

    It’s where your online efforts are past the tail wagging stage and it’s time to plow forward or call it quits.

    It starts out as passion, but then we enter the place where the enchantment is gone and some might just say, “Hey I tried, but …”

    When passion turns to real work, and it Always does, some might quit and maybe that’s the best thing for ’em, really. Some of us are obviously at that stage.

    Social is of course, “in real life” and like I’ve written ad nauseam, it’s helped me immensely and really been the best thing to happen to me in years. It will keep changing, but not sure what the next stage will bring us.

    Not sure about visionaries, but my reading is all over the spectrum.

    I’m wondering who your visionaries are? Any heroes in this little utopia of ours?

    • Ah the Dip. Man, I finished that book last month. I am still in the preliminary stages, wet behind the ears. That Dip is a scary but necessary place. Good reference man.

      Let’s keep bombarding Bill with books he needs to read……;-)

    • Social has been a shot in the arm for me; it has opened my eyes and many doors. All have not been direct dollars to my wallet but that’s not how I measure my success. All I will say is this, if Billy is happy Billy is more productive which will equate to dollars. If I have to take a beat down because of my efforts; Billy will not be happy…..and that’s all I will say on that subject.

      Speaking of dip, have you ever done any? I tried dip once and almost got sick to my stomach……..I know, what a wuss, but no thank you.

      The first dip I took was almost a crash and burn; once the euphoria wore off it was like ‘what in the heck am I doing’? Fortunately I did find a sustainability level and it’s fun again. I probably don’t have the fire in the belly like you speak of, but there’s enough there to keep me moving forward AND being open to opportunities.

      Probably one of the people you and I both admire the most is Gini of course. She definitely has the fire and she has it figured out more than most. She is someone I would take a bullet for (listen to). Sure, there are others out there who seem to speak for ‘social’ and maybe they are good; I just never got on their bandwagon. But my money would be on Gini, I don’t think you could go wrong.

      That’s my story Seattle, have a great weekend.

      • No bean dip for me, thank you.

        At least you did get past that first dip 🙂

        And yes, I’m 100% with you on the Gini D bandwagon. Fanboys unite!

        You too, FLA. Have a good one.

  5. I say rebrand the dead horse using great content :-).

    Rather than calling it a dead horse, you could:

    Promote it as cheap hamburger meat

    Point out that it might look lovely stuffed, on someone’s wall

    Sell it to veterinary school for research

    Access it’s mystical qualities and spread the word that touching its nose brings eternal good luck

    See Bill….lots of viable options there!

    • This is great; I knew you would have a way to tie it into social……:).

      Rebrand huh? Just like we ‘rebranded’ those toxic mortgage loans into investment vehicles…….what’s the story about putting lipstick on a pig? Same analogy I suppose………..

      Not cheap hamburger meat; a delicacy and charge twice as much.

      Touching a horse’s nose isn’t quite as good as a dog’s nose, but it’s got the same thing going on.

      Options are good and I’m glad you chose the option of stopping by and leaving your two cents………..have a great weekend.

  6. Time suck I would agree; no matter how many opportunities it might bring in (that is a tough one though); unless you are here for some serious “business” and using this as a medium to market your work or to get work. Personally I am of that opinion. It takes way too much time to establish and even more to maintain… It can be frustrating; especially the playing of catch up at times.

    I ain’t against it; but yes, I feel it takes more energy than one would imagine. But yes, it does work for many, but definitely not for all.

    For people like me here to get around and just see what’s really happening, it can be easy going too. Just don’t let social media take over. That.is.all.

    • The maintaining is the most difficult; it’s still like everybody is in a sprint and I just don’t see how I can keep that pace up day after day. I have resigned myself to the fact my community will definitely change if I can reciprocate as much as I would like; it’s just the nature of the beast.

      I’m still liking it; there is unlimited opportunity for just about anything you want to do; and social is here to stay so you might as well be ahead of the learning curve as much as you can.

      We will be survivors Hajra; thanks so much for stopping by, hope you have been well.

    • Hey you, I had to laugh at # 10 because I have seen that before when you have absolutely no place else to put somebody and they got promoted instead of fired. Say what?………

      Thanks for taking the time to drop by; always a pleasure to see you ma’am.

    • After scads of money and tremendous popularity, I guess having sustainable fun will work for me.

      As frivolous as some of this seems, it truly has been a tremendous learning opportunity for me. That’s worth something………

      I’m at a sustainable place now; I think that’s key because it allows you to hang around while you are still trying to figure it and you out.

      Good to see you sir; hope all is well in Compton….:)

  7. Wild Bill takes a stand. I love Ruth’s response. Nevermind passion. Repurpose. Ha!

    If the view never changes then my site name is crap…….or not depending which dog I am. I don’t plan to be looking at your butt forever. One thing I have learned is that anything worth doing takes time. Time does = money but this is also true – money does not = happiness……for me.

    BTW, promote that horse to management. He clearly has the experience and skills….:-P

    • Actually, some butts are better than others to look at, but I can assure you mine isn’t one of them……….:).

      Money does not equal happiness, especially if you are making too many sacrifices to achieve it. Money motivates some, but to me it is a poor driver, there has to be something else.

      I’ve seen horse management in action, and it’s not pretty.

      Good to see you sir; thanks for the drive-by. I’m glad there was to collateral casualties. Have a great weekend.

  8. To paraphrase Monty Python, “He’s not dead yet, he’s getting better!” I agree, Bill. I think of these issues a lot. I’m like Sandi though, you guys are my watercooler. Sitting at home wouldn’t be half as much fun without this amazing online community.

    I am having an absolute blast writing The Wonder of Tech. I get to interview CEO’s of up and coming tech companies about the future. I get to share my passion for tech with others. I get to help people understand and appreciate the mammoth changes that are happening in technology.

    This is a dream come true for me. When it turns into feeling like real work, as Craig says it Always does, then it will be very different. But I can’t imagine that day is coming soon. Perhaps when there are no more new apps, devices, websites, gadgets or innovations, then I will give it up. But until then, my horse ain’t dead. It’s getting better, it really is.

    Or perhaps I just have more fun riding a dead horse?

    • And I repeated the phrase in the Monty Python accent……..

      Yes, this is a water cooler and instead of petty gossip it is a learning opportunity regardless of how frivolous it might appear to some.

      My initial foray into social was not sustainable; I had the blessing and curse of hooking up w/ Gini early and thought that was how everybody played. I almost crashed and burned but now I have found sustainability and it’s fun again.

      It’s great you do have an ever changing landscape w/ tech and so, so many things you can write about.

      Your dead horse might be faster than mine, but I have a neat saddle.

      Thanks for stopping by; always a pleasure to see you.

  9. Sorry Bill, I wouldn’t quite call you a ‘visionary’… But I would call you a very gifted writer/ communicator/ entertainer – one of the best on the social web : )

    Visionaries to me are those who are shaping the medium and building tools to leverage social more effectively. They’ve experienced the value of social media through trial and error and proceeded to build things that make it easier to leverage and measure the medium for users.

    In our community, Chris Brogan, Danny Brown, Gini Dietrich, Dino Dogan Robert Dempsey – just to name a few, come to mind.

    We are loaded with gifted content creators and leaders too. There are very few followers in our community. It’s a power community 🙂

    Social isn’t going anywhere; it will go on with or without us. There’s too much value in human relationships, especially those relationships with two or more people who have a deep desire to build businesses that can change the world.

    The social web is people and relationships and the last time I checked, that pretty much drives the human experience/ existence.

    Cheers to another thoughtful post Mr. Bill!

    • Social is so vast (almost like the universe), there is an incredible amount of talent that we might never discover. I concur with your names, and don’t think you could go wrong hitching your wagon to any of them. They are the ones willing to try this or that or stick their necks out and make ‘social’ statements; they are not afraid of grabbing the flag and leading the charge.

      I appreciate your kind words; if I can add value with my presence then it’s a good day. As silly as I can be, I do know some stuff. Whether it’s worth anything, who knows, but it can carry me in a conversation.

      Social is not going anywhere and that is why I felt the need to at least be in enough so as to be ahead of the learning curve as much as possible. There are definitely many moving parts and can be challenging, but that’s part of the fun, right. Plus, I can be social as I learn; sounds like the bonus round to me……….

      Good to see you sir; always a good day when you drop by. I hope you are well and have a fantastic weekend.

  10. Hey Bill,

    It’s so much easier to understand if you’re riding a dead horse when you’re actually riding a dead horse, it’s so different online. At times it feels like we’re doing everything right, and a few days (or even hours later), we feel that we’re completely lost.

    I’m keeping my hand raised, but I’m so glad that I’m not counting the hours I’ve spent online compared to my income 🙂

    • It is hard to measure; you don’t know if the small incremental successes are worth staying on the horse, or if it’s time to find a new one.

      That’s the dilemma of social; it looks like you should be able to have instant success but we all know that’s not necessarily the case. Therefore, if the success is coming in dribs and drabs at what point do you realize this might be as good as it gets.

      I’m not one to give up on something, but I sure hate finding out I have been beating that horse way too long.

      My hand is raised; success can be measured in different way.

      Good to see you; hope you are doing well.

  11. I’ll add a few to the “social” dead horses…
    #11 Debating endlessly whether the ROI of the dead horse can be measured
    #12 Wondering it the dead horse’s Klout score is an accurate measure of its influence
    #13 Discussing ways to monetize the dead horse but not knowing what to do about the stink…

    I think still if you still enjoy riding the social horse, keep riding it — it might just be resting, not dead.

    • Look at you being creative; I love number 13. Don’t mind the stink, huh; that’s only the smell of success. We have all seen the stinkers that you can only say ‘well, bless their hearts’ like a good southern gentleman would do…………:).

      Happy Saturday to ya.

  12. Oh Bill, I would die without social connections. I’m such a people person anyway so having come online and being able to connect with so many fabulous people, including yourself, has been one of the best experiences of my life.

    I’m doing what I love, I’m helping people through my blog, I’m connecting with new people everyday through social networks and I’m building my business through these connections. What more could a girl ask for! I’ve living the dream and I’m able to do this through being social.

    I never really see this as work although this is exactly what it is. But that’s because it’s so enjoyable and I get to meet so many people whether we do business together or not. People meeting people and joining different circles is beneficial really for everyone. Through those connections, things can always happen.

    Yep, I’d be lost without social so no beating any dead horse for me. 🙂

    • Me too; I gotsta be social. Even when I get frustrated I can’t stay away for long. Finding what was sustainable for me certainly helped.

      It’s very obvious you are doing what you love; you have worked very hard but I’m sure most didn’t even seem like work. I’m very proud of you and what you have a accomplished.

      Livin’ the dream; that’s big and what we should all strive for.

      So good to see you; thanks for the visit.

  13. Brilliant post, Bill, we call No. 10 the Peter’s Principle (promote a person to a position where they cannot do much harm) in German and believe me I have seen many Peters around.
    Without social I would not have met you and this would be a pity, would it not?
    Coming late to the party I had the advantage of enjoying all the comments, from extending to the list till there is only a stinking carcass left to Monthy Python (how I loved to play the game and collected tons of coconuts and never got beyond the point of throwing the handgrenade) and passion. Passion is the fuel we need to keep our goal in mind.
    Hope all is well in sunny Florida, you can have the rain from Switzerland for free!

  14. Ah yes, I have seen a few who were promoted beyond their capabilities because management didn’t know what else to do with them and they didn’t have the ‘fortitude’ to fire them. That is NOT a good management style.

    It would be a pity if we had not had the opportunity to meet; that is one of the really cool thing about social. I have a very ‘international’ community and I think it’s great. It is one of the things that sustains me in ‘social’…..being social.

    We have had phenomenal weather this year, no complaints. However, sometimes a mild winter means an active hurricane season but even that can be good if it’s not too disastrous.

    So good to see you Barbara; hope your mother is doing well.

    • Yes to social! How else what I get first hand information from a native on dips and other eating habits and interact by exchanging recipes? Just saying …

      I am considering moving …. For days on no end we have had rain and low temperatures, and each year it is the same: too eager to seed or plant and desaster strikes! Timing is everything (there is some analogy hidden here).

      Thanks for asking about my mother: she is her old bossy self again which is for once a very welcome sign!

      Have a great week, Bill!

  15. Hey Bill,
    Good reality check for people who think social does not cost a thing. It needs to counted as cost ( based on per hour). Also that needs to be budgeted under marketing head.
    In a business one can either be social or pay someone to make us popular. If I had a lot of money, I would have paid someone to save my time. Right now my time is free so I am utilizing that.
    Plus, I get to meet wonderful people, I would have never met any other way :).

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