To inquire about having B.J. speak at your event, email BJ@BJMendelson.com with “Speaking” in the subject line or text 646-331-8341
Just for fun, I wrote this page as an FAQ. Even though I’ve been represented in the past by larger speakers bureaus like Macmillan, all of my presentations since 2012 have been booked through me directly.
I’d like to think that happens because my audience feels a closer connection with me than most speakers and authors. So, for that reason, I’ve put everything you need to know on this page about having me speak at your next event. Then, all you have to do is get in touch.
If I was an asshole, I’d say “because I wrote a book that was absolutely right on (almost) everything involving marketing and advertising on the Internet back in 2012.” Today, I spend a whole lot of time trying not to say, “I told you so” with each new story about the ineffectiveness of Facebook advertising, the creepiness of Google, and how the same tactics and advice being peddled by today’s marketing gurus is no different than what you could have found back in 1923.
But I’m not an asshole.
So why book me? Don’t let the poor quality video footage fool you (that’s totally my fault, no one else’s), since 2012 I’ve traveled all over the world, received standing ovations, and spoke in front of standing room only crowds. Everyone leaves feeling happy, entertained, and more knowledgeable than they were before about the Internet, the ramifications of where our obsession with technology is taking us, and how to promote yourself (or your business/organization) in a world populated by irrational people and robots.
There’s also a lot of jokes and swearing. Sometimes by me, sometimes by the audience when I do a Q&A at the end of the presentation and they express their frustration about how they’ve been fooled and mislead by Big Tech and some bad actors in the advertising and marketing industries. I don’t apologize for the swearing. If you have an issue with four-letter words, I’m not your huckleberry. My attitude is, if you’re not laughing, you’re not learning.
I’ve written three books, including the best-seller “Social Media is Bullshit” from St. Martin’s Press, and “Privacy: And How We Get It Back” from Curious Reads.
All I do is write, so I have nothing to sell you from the stage. I don’t do any consulting anymore, and I typically give away free copies of my books at these speaking events when I can. So my only intention here is to help educate, and entertain, your audience to the point where they feel empowered to act immediately following one of my presentations.
Where Have You Presented Before?
Colleges: UAlbany, University at Buffalo, Marist College, St. John’s University, SUNY Potsdam, Columbia College, Columbia University, Alfred State College, Illinois State University, Bradley University, and NYU.
Conferences: National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Expo, Social Media Explore: Portland, AllTwitter Marketing Conference, the Word Of Mouth Marketing Summit, the National College Media Association Summit, the Associate Collegiate Press Conference: San Francisco, Social Media Week: Chicago, CBCCon, The Do Lectures (U.K.), Digital Dealer, R.O.A.D. in Moscow, The National Association of Government Communicators, and South By Southwest Interactive.
Other Exciting Places: Subaru North America, #AmtrakLive, and The United Nations.
What Do You Speak About?
I’ve never given the same presentation twice, so every presentation feels and seems unique because they are. That said, it doesn’t matter who the audience is (B2C, B2B, Marketing, Sales, Leadership, college students, or the general public), I optimize everything that I can for that specific audience in that specific city for that specific event.
Typically I’m asked to speak about three things, so I have a quick break down of those topics here: Leadership and management (Don’t Be Evil), Technology and its impact on society (Privacy: And How We Get It Back), and technology as it relates to advertising and marketing (Social Media Is Bullshit.)
I’ve also recently added a new topic area dealing with what I think like in the 22nd Century will look like from the perspective of advertisers and marketers.
Topic 1: How To Get Our Privacy Back (In 6 Slides Or Less)
-There’s nothing we can do about the federal government spying on us, but on the state level, we can push for laws and regulations to limit the amount of data the State government collects on us, as well as create better protections of our data elsewhere. For example, if a company does not encrypt our data and update their hardware and software to keep it secure, there should be consequences (LARGE fines and jail time) for not doing so.
-As in other countries, we need to push for regulations (either through a not-for-profit organization or through the state government) that eliminate ridiculous terms of service policies nobody reads and replace them with clear, simple, and direct language as to who has your data and what will be done with it. The consumer, not the tech company, should have ultimate control of their data and how it will be used.
-This presentation also details how consumers can, and should, be compensated for their data including the use of cryptocurrencies such as the Basic Attention Token (BAT) and utilization of data brokers to help them sell their data and control who can reach them in the first place.
Topic 2: 2018: If Social Media Is Bullshit, What Should I Be Doing Online Instead?
This is the presentation I’ve been doing since 2012. I always get asked the question, “Ok smartass, If Social Media is Bullshit, what should I be doing instead?” This presentation answers that question in actionable steps audiences can use immediately.
Topic 3: 2100: What Advertising and Marketing will look like in the 22nd Century
-What the technologies of today mean for tomorrow (Augmented and Virtual Reality, driverless vehicles and robots, artificial intelligence and voice-activated assistants, the blockchain, and universal basic income.)
-What we can do today with these technologies while getting ready to better utilize them as they improve. (What does advertising to someone in a self-driving car look like? If advertisers pay customers to view their ads, how should that work? If humans only work 19 hours a week, what do they do with the rest of their time and how can we tap into that?)
-We let advertising and marketing ruin the Internet, here’s how we can stop that from happening with these new platforms and make a changing (and more challenging world, thanks to climate change) a better place.
Topic 4: Don’t Be Evil: How To Manage Everyone (Including Yourself)
Do You Charge a Speaker’s Fee?
Yes. I spent five years on the road, living out of hotel rooms and traveling around the world while speaking for free to anyone and everyone I could. I can’t do that anymore.
While I enjoyed that lifestyle, I do want kids, a family, and to write more comic books. So here’s the deal:
If you are a college or university, there is no speaking fee. If I’m in town, I’ll speak for free. If I’m not, or not able to travel due to health issues, I am happy to speak (digitally) to the class for free.
For everyone else, I do charge a flat fee that is meant to cover everything on my end including travel and lodging.
What Do People Think About Your Presentations?
B.J. Mendelson and I locked horns in a debate over whether or not social media is, indeed, bullshit at Explore Portland in late 2012. The audience was shocked … because they learned so much and gained new perspective about the ins and outs of social media. B.J. brought a much needed perspective — that of the non-cheerleader — to an event full of ardent social media believers. While none turned away disbelievers, we all left with a better perspective of how and when social media marketing can be useful for businesses.
-Jason Falls, social media marketer and author
“As a store, we were very excited with the energy and exchange between author and audience that took place during Mendelson’s talk. Social media is a topic on a lot of small business owners’ minds, and Mendelson’s personal experience and advice sparked what was by far our most exciting author Q&A to date. Those present were shocked to discover how much of the time and energy they have invested in social media has most likely been for naught, and many had questions on what strategies make a real impact. Overall, Mendelson’s intriguing topic was a huge hit with our patrons and his personal touch, an offer of individual correspondence, left the audience feeling they had someone they could honestly turn to with their further concerns and ideas. “
-Kari Meutsch, Phoenix Books in Burlington, Vermont
“Recently I had the distinct pleasure of having BJ Mendelson speak with my graduate class at Columbia College Chicago. The presentation, and open discussion, centered around social media and viral advertising. The lecture provided invaluable information for the students and changed their minds about the best way to use social media and video channels. My students have requested he come speak again as soon as time permits. BJ provides honesty, transparency, and rich case studies to outline his case for the proper use of social media. I am looking forward to future works from BJ and regard him as a leader within the digital marketing space.”
-Alton J. Duderstadt II, Columbia College (Chicago)
It was terrific to have Brandon speak to my Columbia Journalism School Social Media Skills course. His direct, provocative, sometimes counter-intuitive comments – all built on research and expertise – were widely welcomed and commented upon by my students. I look forward to welcome him back several times in the next few years.
-Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University
“BJ added a lot of color to our SXSW 2013 panel, which was a debate about whether marketing is B.S. BJ was a straight shooter, providing a unique voice amongst the other panelists who all represented specific brands and agencies. BJ knew his material, cited facts, and wasn’t afraid to question the other panelists, which was important for the debate.”
– Matt Rozen, group manager corporate social media at Adobe
“While attending the Associated Collegiate Press Convention in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to hear Brandon Mendelson’s “People are Idiots” speech. His speech focused less on being a speech and more on being an interactive learning experience. It was really more of a seminar where audience members shared personal student newsroom struggles and then received advice and instruction from Mendelson. I not only enjoyed his speech, but I gained a lot of helpful advice from his answers to audience member questions. Mendelson made clear that learning how to work with the idiots in life is a necessity. He gave clear points for how to properly address issues brought on by the idiots of the work room, how to keep your cool and how to handle the wide range of idiots. Whether dealing with disrespectful think-they-know-it-alls or lazy co-editors, Mendelson’s “People are Idiots” speech provides laughs and more importantly direction for handling the “you know who” of your work environment.”
-Mackenzie Foster, student at Vanguard University of Southern California
“We were very excited to have Brandon as our guest speaker. His event was very insightful into one of the most popular “buzz words” in modern marketing. Brandon offered a different perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of social media and the impact it has on our lives and on business. Our members were able to learn something new about something we all use every day! Brandon did a fantastic job by engaging the students and providing very thoughtful answers.”
-Boryana Yordanova, President, St. John’s University Marketing Club
As an expert on viral marketing, B.J. Mendelson knows how social media works and for whom it works. But more importantly, he knows why it won’t work for you. B.J.’s candid delivery cut through the bullshit to provide us with the truth about where we should really be putting our marketing dollars. It just adds to his credibility that B.J. wasn’t trying to sell us anything – his discussion was refreshingly void of a sales pitch for his book. This guy’s the real deal!
-Joseph Avellino, Student, St. John’s University
I want to thank B.J. Mendelson for his reasoned, balanced and very professional approach to social media at the recent Westfair Communications debate on social media. It was clear that B.J.’s message resonated with a majority of the audience; many of them made that very clear after the program. He helped present one of the most successful events we have hosted to date.
-Dee Delbello, CEO and Publisher, Westfair Communications
“Brandon Mendelson takes a karate chop to social media hype and offers a revealing analysis of what truly drives viral adoption of memes and media. Brandon is engaging, incredibly informative, and knows his stuff. My students and I were impressed with his depth of knowledge and ability to cut through the crap. None of us will look at companies like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in the same light, complicit, as they are, in claiming that anyone can achieve stardom as long as they have the right idea. What Brandon shows is that there’s usually a lot of money and marketing muscle behind all the viral hits we see. It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is. “
-Adam L. Peneberg, instructor at NYU
“In March of 2013, Brandon came ‘home’ to Alfred State College and was able to fit in time to speak to our students. The room was packed and the students were not disappointed. Brandon’s no-nonsense, personable delivery along with his wit and sense of humor created a memorable presentation. He has a presentation style that makes you want to listen and he couples that with real-world experience and evidence for a quality presentation. I can’t wait to read his next book!”
– Professor William Laubert, Alfred State College
BJ was one of a dozen media professionals – which included editors of major publications and Pulitzer Prize winners – who met in small groups of select college journalists at the ACP Spring College Media Convention in San Francisco in March. BJ was the social media pro who counseled students about both their careers and their current social media practices. This first-ever event proved so popular, it ran way past its scheduled ending time.
-Michael Koretzky, Associated Collegiate Press Media+
Anything Else I Should Know?
I am currently working on Don’t Be Evil, which will be released in December of 2018.