Barack Obama

I was pretty excited this morning. 

For the first time as an author, I had been offered a coveted national TV spot, doing a segment on MSNBC’s News Nation with Tamron Hall.  Those kinds of interviews are not easy to come by, and they can be game-changing for someone who writes business and marketing books.

So I flew to New York last night on a $400 plane ticket that I paid for.  I stayed at a decent hotel in midtown Manhattan, which came to $329. I bought myself a few meals, took cabs to and from the airport, easily racking up another $200 in expenses. All in, the trip cost me about $1000.

But for a spot on national TV, beaming into 94 million homes across America? Worth every penny.

I woke up ready to go, pressed a shirt, put on my suit, and hopped into the NBC limo that was waiting outside my hotel. At 30 Rock, they checked my security credentials and escorted me up to the third floor to the MSNBC studios.

An intern brought me into the green room, where I waited for a few minutes until a producer came in to explain the process. Everything was very cool and the people were awesome. They told me that after I went into make-up, they would bring me into the studio to be mic’d up around 11:40. My segment would start precisely at 11:51am.

I was hustled into make-up around 11. After a few minutes, I was back in the green room excited and ready to go.

And then Barack Obama wrecked it all.

He called an emergency press conference about the veteran’s affairs controversy for 11:15am, and being a news network. MSNBC was going to cover it live.

The intern who brought me into the green room 45 minutes earlier returned, and politely explained that my segment was being “bumped” because of breaking news.

I was done.

Before any cameras rolled, I was told to pack up and go home. I watched $1000 flash before my eyes.

At first I was really pissed off, and kinda hurt. It was an ego blow as much as a financial one. It was embarrassing to walk out of 30 Rockefeller Center with my TV make-up still fresh.

But then I decided to make the best of the day.

I did what any self-respecting man does when he is feeling down and depressed.

I washed off my make-up and went shopping.

I walked from my hotel at East 50th and Lexington over to Herald Square, then down 6th Avenue through Greenwich Village and into Soho. The crowds thinned and the tall skyscrapers and chain stores gave way to smaller buildings and boutiques. I really felt the character of the neighborhoods shift as I walked, in no particular rush, for miles. With each block, the architecture  changed. The look of the people changed. The pace of the city changed.

Today wasn’t the day I planned, and it isn’t the day I would have chosen. But it was still a pretty cool day.

It sucks to get bumped from a national TV segment. It sucks to spend a lot of money and see no real return on it.

But if you’re going to get bumped by someone, the president isn’t a bad option.

Today I was bumped by the most powerful man in the free world.

Nobody can ever take that away from me.


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“Start You Up” on MSNBC


tamron hallOn Friday (May 30) between 11am and 12noon ET, I am excited to be joining Tamron Hall on MSNBC’s News Nation program to talk about how to build a rock star personal brand.

Your personal brand is your career currency. Managed properly, it can open doors to countless jobs, raises, and opportunities. Mismanaged, and it can be a stake through the heart of your dreams.

On News Nation, I’ll share the 5 P’s of personal branding and how you can use the experiences and lessons of rock stars to build your own personal brand that rocks!

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Your Rock Star Personal Brand

start you up 3d bookMy second book officially goes on sale today.

If you enjoyed Brand Like a Rock Star, I think you’ll find Start You Up even more enjoyable. Where Brand Like a Rock Star used stories from rock history to illustrate how to build a stronger business, Start You Up expands on the concept to include your personal brand, career growth, and the incredible importance of having a name with equity.

Here are some of my personal favorite chapters:

* Fleetwood Mac used the pressures, struggles, stresses, and forces working against them to create their very best work. There are countless factors working against you every day, most of them far beyond your control. Do those forces hinder you… or help you?

* Guitar player Al Kooper essentially snuck into Bob Dylan’s studio and lied about having “a great organ part” for a song. He didn’t know the song well, and couldn’t hear the band in his headphones, so he made it up on the fly. The result was an essential element of “Like a Rolling Stone”. Taking smart and calculated risks is vital to your career and success. The risk that Al Kooper took was massive, but so was the payoff.

* Mick Jagger dropped out of the of the most prestigious schools in England to focus on music. That’s because he felt that having a Plan B would give him too much security to fall back on, taking away from his mission to become a rock star. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that back-up plans can be a bad idea! This chapter helps you focus your energy on what you really want to accomplish without getting sidetracked by fall back plans.

* Who is the worst musician in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? There is one musician in the rock hall who could not play his instrument. At all. His life (and death) serves as the backdrop of a chapter on how play to your strengths, and use those strengths to help you succeed where others fail.

You can download chapter one for free here:

You can order Start You Up from Amazon here:


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Start You Up: Chapter One Now Available Free


The new book Start You Up: Rock Star Secrets To Unleash Your Personal Brand & Set Your Career on Fire goes on sale on May 20.

But you can read chapter one now, for free.

Click here and download your own pdf of the first chapter of Start You Up

The book examines the art of personal brand development and growth using the core strategies of rock legends.

You can pre-order the book by clicking here, and have it delivered as soon as it goes on sale.

The digital version for Kindle and other e-readers goes on sale May 20 as well.


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Your Free Copy of “Start You Up”

Start You Up final cover

Your name is currency.

It can open doors, secure raises, build careers, and create success.

And it can do the opposite.

A strong personal brand is absolutely vital.

My new book Start You Up: Rock Star Secrets To Unleash Your Personal Brand & Set Your Career on Fire comes out on May 20, but I would like to extend this offer to you as a reader of the Brand Like a Rock Star Blog.

I would like to send you a free advance copy of Start You Up.

I have just 25 advance “review” copies left. Simply be one of the first 25 people to send me an email at steve (at) with the subject “Free review copy” in the subject line. Include your mailing address (must be in the USA or Canada), and I will send it to you. I’ll pay the postage too. And I will throw in some limited edition Start You Up guitar picks that you can use or give to friends.

All I ask is a small favor in return. But you’ve gotta promise you’ll follow through!

Read the book before May 20. Then, precisely on May 20, 2014, please post honest reviews on,,, and other book sites. Your review needs to go up on May 20!  Having strong positive early reviews is a really big help when it comes to book sales. I’m confident that this book is a 5-star read, so all I need to ask for is an honest review.

It would also be really cool if you would share the book on your social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. Word of mouth is a fantastic marketing tool!

Remember: I only have 25 advance review copies, and they are first-come first-serve.

Thanks for all of your support, feedback, advice, and encouragement!




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