The Genius Blog

I Stink at Self-Promotion

Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 09/09/2010 12:15 PM EDT

So... this situation keeps happening to me and I'm not sure how to handle it.  It might be at church, school, or on the sports field... but inevitably I'll be involved in someone else's group/class/team and they will be recruiting volunteers. They'll walk up to me and hand me a PAPER sign up sheet and ask me to sign up. 

I am always speechless.  I don't mean to sound pompous... but you have to understand that I've been developing and thinking about SignUpGenius.com almost non-stop for several years now. So for me... my brain can no longer imagine someone who would actually still deal with all the hassles of paper. It seems so outdated. It's like going into someone's house and seeing a rotary phone. Really?  You haven't heard that they have BUTTONS now?!

Of course, not everyone knows about SignUpGenius. And I get that... and we've been spreading the word on the web and are indebted to our many passionate users who have been telling their friends. But that said.. it's completely different when you tell somebody about something you personally helped create.  For some reason, people are naturally skeptical of their friends.  It's like they think I'm trying to sell them something or that I couldn't possibly be involved in developing a major website. 

I'm sure that says something about my own level of confidence and how I present myself.  I can always hear my mother whispering to me to stand up taller and talk clearly.  Or maybe it's has to do with that concept of a "prophet being rejected in his own town."  Like when a company hires for a position from outside the company despite having qualified people on staff. You just don't think the guy that you see everyday could be the answer.

But regardless... I usually blow my pitch.  I offer to setup the form myself... I assure them it is free... I drop numbers of how many people are using our site. I still usually get polite smiles and promises to "check it out."  I've never been much of a salesman.

That's why it was so funny... The other day, a staff person at the church where I'm a member was trying to figure out how they could coordinate outreach volunteers. So they found another prominent church in our city and went over there to get some consultation.  They sat down in the meeting and one of the first things this other church leader says is "Look... we could never coordinate all we do without this great site that manages it all for us.  It's called SignUpGenius.com."  

Yeah... I think I'll leave the promotion to our fiercely loyal users and our company marketing guru, Helena.  They do a lot better than I can. And I'll keep focused on our development team. And if someone hands me a paper sign up sheet in the future... I'll just have them call one of our users to explain SignUpGenius.  

They can even make that call on their rotary phone. 


Posted by Carol Clayton on Thursday, September 23, 2010 1:05 PM EDT
I just posted on Facebook-I know so many parents and activist/volunteers of all stripes-this is such a, well, genius tool. We'll do the promotion for you! Now if only someone would promote my photography business for me....
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Friday, September 24, 2010 8:04 AM EDT
Thanks so much for spreading the word, Carol! One thing that has been fun for me about this site is getting to know some of our fantastic users. We have organized, generous go-getters like yourself that lead and coordinate all kinds of change-their-community activities. It's always inspiring. Planners of the world unite!
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