Evolution I started journaling in 1998. It wasn’t called blogging until much later. I had no business intent. I just wanted to share stories I’d written that the mainstream had no interest in publishing. Along the way, I learned a lot (mostly by failing and adjusting), and became a New York Times bestselling author who speaks to princesses and heads of huge companies like Disney (also in the princess business). How did I get here?

Evolution is a Matter of Perception, Growth, and Persistence

When I started, I wanted to share stories. Along the way, I got interested in other topics (self-improvement, media, marketing, health, etc). I changed my blog (eventually journals became blogs), but what I really was doing was the same: sharing what I observed and providing some kind of learning you could use for yourself.

I had no idea how business would come of this. I just was doing my thing, mostly late at night, hidden in the corners of my job, etc. No one said I would find success. No one said anything. Most people didn’t care. It took me eight years to get my first 100 readers.(Feel like tweeting that?)

And then a random event changed everything.

From BarCamp to PodCamp

In 2006, I attended BarCamp Boston. It’s an event where people go to share software advice and related geekery in a very open “unconference” style. Whoever shows up are the speakers. Everyone is on a level playing field. Everyone can create the content of the event.

I didn’t know a thing. I felt dumb as a stick. But I had fun. Christopher S. Penn was there, too. We struck up a friendship. He saved me from making a bad choice in recording some audio.

And then we created PodCamp. The idea was “BarCamp for media makers – bloggers and podcasters, mostly.” We had no right. We had no experience. We had no permission. And the event rocked.

PodCamp Started Everything

At that event, I met tons of people who changed my life. I met Julien Smith (and wrote two books with him, one a NYT Bestseller). I met Mitch Joel (legendary man). I met and went to work for Jeff Pulver who gave me the best course in entrepreneurship and community-powered business the world would ever know. I reacquainted with Rob Hatch, who runs Owner Media Group with me. And hundreds more.

But what was the key lesson? That I needed no one’s permission. Chris and I learned everything, shared everything, and made everyone in the event the star. That’s the key kernel to everything I have done and become since then. PodCamp was the real powerful example/iteration of what COULD happen and what mattered most to me: make your own game and live by your own mission.

The Tools Were Just That: Tools

Along the way, I wrote more and more about the tools: Twitter, podcasting, blogging, media making in general. But here’s where everything got a bit messy because what I thought I was conveying to you was “these tools let you do YOUR THING really well, and without anyone’s permission.” What it seems most people heard/received was “THESE TOOLS let you do your thing really well…” and the permission thing fell into the dumpster.

That’s my fault. I learned that from Tamsen. I didn’t help extrapolate the lesson I most wanted to teach. And it led me into this huge and deep circle of LOTS of attention, because as it turns out, people REALLY want to talk to me about the tools, and don’t care as much about the insights I thought I was delivering.

So, my last several years of “fame” and attention pretty much grew out of a perception gap: people were thinking something like this: “THESE TOOLS made Chris Brogan really successful and let him live the life he wanted to live, doing the business he wanted to do.”

The truth is different. I wanted something different. I wanted to work on my own terms. I wanted to serve the people who mattered the most to me. And I used those tools to help get me there. The media wasn’t the message. The media was a delivery mechanism.

Evolution Goes On

As the world at large gets more and more excited about “social media,” I continue to work towards helping people find their freaks and do the work they want to do. I use these tools all the time. Even though email marketing accounts for over 70% of my business, I use these social tools like blogging (still a must in my mind) and sharing via places like Twitter (a kind of short-hand fast way to connect to humans). I have a podcast because I fricken LOVE the medium. But the evolution is this.

I’m so very clear on my mission. It wasn’t always this way, except it sort of was. I just couldn’t see it before. All along, I’ve been pushing towards this intent to experience things, learn a lesson, and equip others for success with what I learned. And not just people. I serve owners. You can own the company, or just own your cubicle, but if you don’t own your choices, and believe there are #noexcuses any more, but simply your actions, then you’re not who I serve.

Getting clarity and alignment around my mission changed everything and it’s how I’ll most help you.

A lot of people come here for inspiration, for mindset, for a chance to better understand how to build a life and a business on your terms. Great! Because that’s what I’m here to show you. I’m here to show you that you don’t have to be robots, that you don’t have to “fit in,” that you can build a powerful life through finding your own path. And that evolution, dear friend, is what’s most changed for me since the good old days of 1998.

That’s core to what I’m doing with The Owner’s Path and all the work I’m creating here. And it’s core to the messages I share with you. I hope it’s helpful. And I’m glad you’re here.

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  • http://taniashipman.com/ Tania Shipman

    Finding your own path is so much easier when you get to walk beside Chris.

  • Marcie Jones

    Was it worth cheating on your wife and splitting up your family?

  • http://www.chandlercrawford.com/ Chandler Crawford

    I’d say your goal has been accomplished. The content you provide here is clear cut and practical. I can’t remember how stumbled upon you, it might have been through Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership Podcast, but either way I’m glad I did.

    It’s not really about inspiration, it’s about practical action steps others can take. Once you take two or three of those and see you’re headed in the right direction, then the inspirations catches like wildfire and passion grows like a weed.

    Thanks for what you do.

  • http://www.changeagents.ie/ Paul O’Mahony

    And I’m bloody glad you’re here – no matter how you put it Chris. I never was fooled. It never crossed my mind that you were a social media guy. (The guy to go to for social media advice on Tools is Ian Cleary RazorSocial.)
    You’ve always stood out for me because you are vulnerable, decent, friendly and damned strong. You offer yourself. Your way doesn’t have to be my way – and if I chose to do some things in a way that’s similar to you, that’s my business.
    I began admiring you – when I started blogging in 2005. You were one of those highly successful guys (or so I thought) and you were so different from the other people I used to read that I stayed attached to you & increasingly your “ecosystem” or manchu (as you came to call those people).
    Then I dared to communicate with you via comments on your blogposts. I expected nothing – I got nothing nothing. That was prefect – all I wanted was a place where I could say exactly what I wanted to say. You helped me think about my way.
    It would take too long to write what happened next. I can be long-winded when I’m excited.
    Simply – thank you – my friend

  • http://www.twistimage.com/blog Mitch Joel – Twist Image

    Love ya, bro :)

  • http://thefranchiseking.com/about-joel-libava-the-franchise-king The Franchise King

    Yes. it’s helpful…what you do.

    And, it is because of what you do…so damn well, that I’m getting better at what I do.

    Every day.

    So glad we met several years ago. Glad to call you a friend.

    If you just lived closer.


  • http://www.owenmarcus.com Owen Marcus

    As much as we love tools, you are right–it’s not the tools.

    What we really need, and we often don’t know it is someone to help us catalyze our purpose and passion. Your journey continues to be the model and support for many. Thank you.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      You’re a good egg, Owen. :)

  • Soluwebcolombia

    Great article. Congratulations really helpful the ideas you express.

  • Pingback: Evolution | Dave's Blog

  • http://isragarcia.es Isra García

    Glad to read this Chris. It looks like you’ve not found (you did this time ago) but identified the balance between your life and (key) work.

    As I tweeted two days ago, writing / talking / working on something that goes beyond the digital channel, more towards real life and empowering people, this has completely got me seduced. It happens because you change lifes, not Facebook pages.

    Keep pushing and inspiring, please.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      That’s the goal, my friend. :)

  • Canon Footprints

    Hi Chris. Great post – thanks for sharing your story. I am just starting out and have no idea if I’m heading in the right direction or not. Would love it if you could take a look at my blog if you have some free time and let me know what you think. My aim is to be a professional travel blogger.

    Thanks in advance.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      The question, as always, is what do you add to the traveler?

  • http://www.swbuehler.com Steven Buehler

    Key point: It’s not the tools; it’s how you use them. I’m a data analyst by trade, not a full-time writer or blogger by any means. But you find as you tell your story that people not only get interested, but inspired to tell theirs. That’s why I tell mine.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      True that!

  • http://www.suzemuse.com/ Susan Murphy

    Podcamp changed my life too. And I have you to thank for that. :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Naw. I thank you! :)

  • Mark Vickers

    Podcamp is a neat idea. I hope you’ll hold another one in Florida in the not-too-distant future.

  • libbydbone

    Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
    on the computer . see post C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • http://iteachblogging.com/ Renee Groskreutz


    Your point is coming across or at least I think so. :) When I don’t feel brave, I read your book and your blog. When being different frightens me, I read your blog. When I feel weird and question if it is ok to be a freak in business, I read your blog.

    Thank you!


  • Rolling stone

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

    ✒✒✒✒✒✒ JOBS7000.COM


  • Johnny Lee Phillips

    Thanks Chris. I love this blog and I always enjoy reading your stories. :-)