25 Jul 2013

Jim’s State of the Ninjas Address (edited for public)

Yesterday I took all the ninjas on a picnic and I delivered a “State of the Ninjas Address”.

I thought I’d publish some of the parts of my speech to the public.


Good morning everybody.

I am privileged to be able to lead the finest Internet Marketing Company in the world – Over our 14 year history we’ve been through many changes with what we offer, and how we offer it. At times we’ve gone through extraordinary changes, and every time after those changes we saw extraordinary successes.

I lead our company with a sense of honor, responsibility and great excitement. Today, more than ever.

Know that we’re still going to continue to move in the direction of the old company internal slogan “Built to Last” – We are Built to Last, and to do that, we must change, and get better than we are today. We have some pretty big goals to achieve, and we’re not going to get it being “OK” – we have to be Great and we have to Care.

This isn’t a dream we’re talking about.

Sure, I like to dream, you know me..

…but a dream is just a dream.

A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.

When I look back at where we are compared to were even 3 years ago, I’m amazed, when I look back at where we were 2 years ago, I’m amazed, and when I look at how far we’ve come in just the past year, I am still amazed at how far we’ve come…and we did that by changing and adopting…and next year, when I look back, I plan to be amazed at how far we’ve come, and amazed at the people who persevere and shine while keeping us the best in the world at what we do.

You are all the Best, and I want your best. I want us all to be winners, and I believe we can continue to be winners, but to do that, we’ll all have to try our best and work together…it’s not going to be easy, but I have every confidence in the world that we can be where we want to be.


The 1/2 Full Glass……

The optimist says the glass is half full.

The pessimist says the glass is half empty.

Accounting says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be, and she didn’t get a receipt for the 1/2 that’s gone.

Frank says that no one ever told him that 1/2 the water was gone, no one ever tells him when 1/2 the water’s gone.

The Programmers says the glass can’t take any more water anyways

But they also say there’s a JIRA ticket in about 1/2 the water being gone.

The Customer Service Team says “That’s ok, there’s an SEO reason for that 1/2 a glass of water.”

The designers wonder how the glass will render if viewed in Mobile

The social team says they should Vine the water being drunk

The Content Team says they can talk about that topic for about 500-800 words and cite 20-40 sources about the water being 1/2 full

The Analysts say more people would drink from the glass if the client only filled it back up.

The Sales team says it’s not about whether the glass is half empty or half full, it’s that there’s still a lot of water in there that’s valuable.

Anyway… for most of you, It’s is not about whether the glass is half full or half empty, it’s about who is paying for the next round when your glasses are empty,  and FYI,  all rounds will be on me today.

Because I know that the only way to get it filled up is to keep moving towards the moving water.

I see that we need to do the things to fill the glass back up, because there will always be leaking water.

And if we all don’t act together as one unit, towards a common goal, then all the water will be gone and we’ll all be thirsty.

So, if we’re going to talk and chat and drink together, then let’s try to get more aligned together and on the same page first…because we’re all on the same team here, and we all want to win.

[edited out story]

Just last week we released 70 free tools to WebmasterWorld, DevShed, Cre8asiteForums, and to SEO Chat. These tools consisted of many tools which our own team has developed in house over the years, and we still have over 30 more free tools which are going in, and over 30 pro tools. I was super excited about providing tools to communities and to the public and to release our penguin disavow tool and to keep the momentum out on releasing new tools to expand our brand and grow our business.

[edited out].

Let me fill you in on a few items and then show you where we are now, and Let me set out for you what I think needs to happen next; a picture of the kind of Internet Marketing Ninjas I want us to be and what we’ll have to do to get there.

[edited out]

In fact, last year was our biggest PR year to date with the properties and the people we’ve brought to our company. There is no one bigger or more well known than us….we are the company that others strive to be. In the Internet Marketing Space, and in the Internet Marketing Community – the Ninjas from Clifton Park are known by everyone.  We have more talent in our offices than anyone else in the world…and I’m not talking the Rock Stars, I’m talking about YOU.

So many of you have been here for so many years…..you know links like no one knows links….you mastered the hardest part of SEO….the part that no one can do, real links, from real people….and we’re the best in the world at it… I am 100% certain that there is NO OTHER COMPANY in the world who can build links that hold a candle to any of your links. Really – The Link Ninjas are not only Famous, You ARE THE BEST.

In November of 2008, overnight we had to change our methods.

It took several months to figure out, and to change to how we needed to change, and get into the routines, but we did, and we slowly grew back up.

In the past we’ve sold “link building” via our content marketing strategies, and these systems continue to go through major changes……

And we continue to improve and moving down a road of even better real marketing and branding….and this is exactly what Google requires now…..

Again, we’re ahead of the curve, but again, we’re going through some pretty big changes in our core products to continue to innovate, test, and improve our products.

Our Analyst team has been growing into the worlds most knowledgeable online marketing consulting team in the world to assist in SEO, Technical, Usability, Conversions, and so much more.

Social which we’ve been having clients rave about, is continuing to expand.

The Author program that includes academic content, blog content, content marketing, and social media marketing….now these are the most important things a SEO company can offer, and these are exactly what we are doing…and we are learning, and improving….and things may get harder before they get easier

Programming is creating new tools each week and is coordinating with programmers around the world as well , and with our own guys, to create the tools we need to be able to better analyze and to scale what we do and how we do it. Our programmers also continue to improve and grow our in house tools that help everyone here to do their jobs.

Designers who have been bringing us continued new services, and also give everything a shine

Content team whom in now scoring content in a whole new way (rubric), and paying even more for quality content,is continuing to improve the quality of all our writers and our content products.

Sean’s team whom has been getting some of the best citations from your content marketing that I’ve ever seen in my life, and from authors!

Author Team….those who dared….we’re learning, and working to improve our systems to help make this an even better service than it it today.

Sales who have been driving in new sales to keep us profitable…..

Customer Service for keeping the clients happy….

Where were at now [edited]

What we are working towards [edited]

In the past things have sometimes been unclear, stuff has fallen through cracks, communication has been inconsistent, and that I (Jim) have sometimes made things difficult.

I am trying my best to change that and to make things better as well as I’m surrounding myself with leaders that can help to change where we’re at to where we want to be, as IMN continues to grow.

I do feel strongly for each of your well-being, and that you want to prove it by continuing to grow the organization and helping everyone be successful.

I also want to earn your best work, not just earn your trust. Now, more then ever, we need your best work, you as an individual, and us as a team. The goal is to be the best in the world at what we do. To do this I will need the best from you.

There’s really only one thing which should give us us the confidence about the future – and that’s the faith and love of our clients and the value they place upon what we do for them.

Our task is to serve our clients, who pay for us for one core responsibility – to deliver a growth of online traffic to their website so they make more sales.

Over the years, to reach that end task, has meant different things. Up until recently, with only “Links” you had the potential to rule the world as far as online traffic – so we became the worlds best at link building – but today, Links ruling everything is not the case anymore and that is why we have so many roles and departments today.

Today, getting relevant traffic means writing a lot of really good content, getting links to that content, participating in the community, engaging in the community and finding your place within the community, and providing a good user experience via design and usability. There’s also technical issues, and measuring and analyzing and testing is at play here. The game gets harder every year, and the weak companies who give sup-par work, don’t make it…those who deliver great work, make out in the end and survive and thrive.  There will always be marketing to do on the internet…and we are an Internet Marketing Company. Online advertising spending continues to grow at amazing rate year over year, and if you can provide a great service, then there’s potential to take on a lot of business and become a very successful company…that’s what we’ve been doing and will continue to do. And now, more than ever, I need everyone’s help towards maintaining a product that’s better than anyone else can product, I need you take pride in your products, and keep striving to be the best at the things you do. If  you settle for “OK”, we’ll be an OK company. I do not want to be an OK company, it’s not fair to the clients, and it’s not fair to you to not challenge you to do the best you can do to help the client.

We Have to Be our Best in Every Area –

From initial calls selling our products and setting the expectations
To the Initial Analysis to the future plans and deadlines
To the tools we use to make our analysis
To the designers who help the usability
To the Content We Write
To the Marketing we do
To the Social people we interact with
To the Communities we interact with and manage
To the customer service people who interact with all the clients
To each and every one of us, you want to be OK, you can get by in life with OK, but being great means job security, and means you can be proud of your work and then we’re exceeding expectations.

Sometimes we haven’t given you all the tools and training or instructions or solutions or have had different expectations, or have had confusing instructions, or other messed up confusions along the way….it happens, Shit Happens, when we’re doing new things, and we’re innovating, and learning, we’re apt to have frustrations and problems along the way ….and when innovating for the first time, it can take a while to get things “right” and to find solutions to the problems you’ll come across along the way, while learning what’s the best things you can do to make the clients online marketing marketing spend an investment well spent.

Currently several Department are going through Changes. I read this neat quote about “The five stages of innovation”

  1. People deny that the innovation is required.
  2. People deny that the innovation is effective.
  3. People deny that the innovation is important.
  4. People deny that the innovation will justify the effort required to adopt it.
  5. People accept and adopt the innovation, enjoy its benefits, and deny the existence of stages 1 to 4.

[edited out the rest, lots of “Thank You’s” and other company stuff….]

Here’s some snippets from one of my State of the Ninjas address I gave last year.