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2013: The People, Websites, Tools, Books & Podcasts That Shaped My Year

2013 brought much change, the most professional change since graduating college nearly 15 years ago. Here’s what I learned along my journey.

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by Eric Sharp

2013 brought much change. In fact, it’s the most professional change I’ve walked through since graduating college nearly 15 years ago.

That statement says a lot considering my history. I was part of a company merger within my first 6 months out of school. I rode the high of the dot-com boom, and then watched the bust disintegrate companies and jobs a few years later. I even left my salaried position at the ripe age of 25 to start my business. That’s big change.

However, 2013 tops it all. (this press release will help explain why.)

Through these dramatic changes, and might I add AMAZING dramatic changes, I met some inspiring people and absorbed a vast amount of information along the way. Here are the people, websites, tools, books, and podcasts that helped shape my 2013.

People

Phillip Davis
Phil is the founder of Tungsten Branding and helped me understand the science and art behind naming a company. Words like “lexicon” and concepts like a company’s “pivot point” were a breath of fresh air during our brainstorming. He helped shape my ideas for the ProtoFuse name, personality and overall messaging.

The Sales Lion
I’ve never met Marcus Sheridan personally, founder of The Sales Lion, but as a distant mentor he helped validate and clarify my thoughts around ProtoFuse’s Inbound Marketing offering. He peeled back the onion around the desirable benefits of content marketing and inspired me to keep moving forward with our positioning.

New Clients
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few new relationships formed in 2013. Steve Larrivee from Cactus Technologies. Robin McDonald, Katherine Hartman and Dan Nelson from DTx (new website launching in Q1). Robin Reid from Revere Electric (new website also launching in Q1).

I’m very thankful for the trust bestowed upon the ProtoFuse team. It’s been my pleasure getting to know these people and their companies — along with our other new clients not aforementioned!

Websites

Valuable Content
A specialized digital marketing company based in Bristol, UK. Both Sonja and Sharon have enlightened my writing style and advice I provide clients. They take a pragmatic approach to content marketing (like their 80/20 rule) and I always leave their website feeling smarter.

ConversionXL
A blog authored mainly by Peep Laja, offering up “actionable business advice, latest research and experiments on conversion optimization and getting better business results.” Peep takes a no-nonsense approach with his writing style and his statistically backed conversion advice will occasionally blow my mind.

Tools

Pocket
When you find something you want to view later, put it in Pocket.

I can get easily distracted when I stumble upon great content. Sometimes, it’s not always feasible (or time management smart) to switch away from what I’m doing and begin reading. This multi-device tool lets me quickly add and organize my “to read” queue.

Feedly
Information consumption can become increasingly chaotic unless you have an awesome RSS reader. Feedly is the best there is and helps me organize and prioritize my weekly reading.

Books

Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro
This book is packed with so much wisdom, I wouldn’t even know how to summarize it. It was the right book at the right time for me in 2013.

Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Proof that Seth is always ahead of his time. This book was written over a decade ago and outlines the principles for what pull/inbound marketing is today. The chapters detailing the history and psychology behind interruption marketing (push/outbound) should be a mandatory read for ALL marketers.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser
To be a better blogger, I needed to become a better writer. Mr. Zinsser helped me understand the principles and methods behind non-fiction writing.

Podcasts

The Entrepreneur's Radio Show
I’ve been searching for an additional business-focused podcast with diverse guests for the last few years. Travis Lane Jenkins captured my attention with just a few episodes and I’m now a loyal listener.

Stuff You Should Know
Not related whatsoever to the website industry, but fascinating stuff that helps me understand the world outside of my professional bubble. It also keeps me mentally stimulated while habitually biking my dog Klondike every evening.

Non-Professional change, too!

The most symbolic change in 2013 — that’s shaped my year more than any other person, website, tool, book, or podcast — was getting married on March 1.

To the right captures one of my favorite moments — my beautiful bride and I reveling in our “sneak peak” before the ceremony.

Post-honeymoon, things quickly moved from joy to heartbreak unfortunately. My dear and precious dog, Yogi, was diagnosed with acute leukemia two months after the wedding and was laid to rest 31 days later. He was my first dog as an adult and his loss disrupted my norm immediately.

I will forever cherish all the details of our amazing bond.

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.

C.S. Lewis

Looking forward to 2014

I wish you a Happy New Year and hope your 2014 will be abound with learning, growth and success!

What people, websites, tools, books or podcasts inspired you in 2013? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

We believe a conversion-focused website — paired with the proper traffic, content, automation, and end-to-end ROI measurement — equips B2B technology companies with a real asset to scale their business.

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