You all know that I am sold out on having a value-based approach to, well, just about everything.

A value based approach is about giving more of you to people and developing deeper relationships, rather than having your thumbs in 101 pies. By not giving lots of little, but less of more, you can build relationships that have a great yield – in pretty much whatever you do.

I wanted to show you some of the returns, the value if you will, of a value-based approach that I’ve experienced this week. I’ve had a shower of love and recognition from a range of people recently, all as a direct result of this value-based approach.

1. First of all, I received a much appreciated link from Like Minds Alum Joanne Jacobs writing about the trough of disillusionment for social media strategies. Joanne has spoken at the last two Like Minds events, and I was thrilled to hear from her that since her keynote in February, she has received continual work from people who have watched the video or referred someone based on watching it.

How I built value: This is an instance right here of me getting to know someone and actually help someone who is greatly respected and I’d never think would be in the need of my need. It’s my honour and privilege to be associated with her – and it’s all because of value.

2. Secondly, there was quite a humbly moment for me when I discovered on this post from James Gordon that I am among the UK’s Top Marketing Blogs. I’ve been blogging now for a year, and to get that kind of recognition was really, really humbling – mostly because I haven’t focussed on getting blog recognition.

How I built value: I don’t focus on retweets and traffic but just engaging you wonderful people who spend time regularly commenting here. Together, we make ideas reality, and that is what is being recognised. To regularly get an average of 15 comments per post for a blog that might occasionally hit 200 uniques a day is pretty good engagement – and I’m only keen for it to become more!

3. Thirdly, I had a bittersweet moment when my latest intern Jonny Rose left the Aaron+Gould flock to fly to London’s shores to focus on his Masters. Jonny wrote this very loving peice on the time he spent with me, poetically entitled As Good As Gould. He is a person of unquestionable character, of sincere and genuine motives, and of incredible comic genius. I’m glad to say he’ll be blogging with Like Minds, so you can enjoy his unique style there and on his blog.

How I built valueJonny has worked with us for the last two months, and it has been my pleasure to impart some of my experiences and insights to him. Every day that he worked, we talked about what he was learning, the bigger lessons, and about nurturing his skill set.

4. Finally, a fall-of-my-seat moment happened for me on Wednesday when Molly Flatt, James Whatley and my other friends at 1000heads named me as one of their 10 WoM Thought Leaders. To be recognised by my friends Molly and James (and I do mean friends) is a wonderful thing in itself – but then to see who I was named next to was just a whole other deal. Right next to friends and heros like Joe Pine, Chris Brogan, Joanne Jacobs, John Bell (who I’ve all met now!), as well as James Gilmore and Emanuel Rosen – I was ecstatic.

How I built value: Well, the whole story is here actually. All I did was give exposure to people I believed in, however small the exposure that I could give was.

Your Leading Thoughts

  • I know you’re all building value relationships. I’m keen to know which ones. Tell me who you’re building value with.

Archived Comments

  • sytaylor

    It took a while for me to ‘get’ this, and tbh I’m still not very good at it. Not because I lack the ability, but I lack consistency. Building value relationships as a consistent day to day activity is something Social Media is brilliant at allowing you to do. No doubt I’ll get better… but I have a long way to come!

  • Daniel Agee

    I’m finding Twitter to be an extreme value to me. Reading people’s blogs is one thing, but building relationships with them is so much better. Between growing my relationship with you, Olivier (@thebrandbuilder), Kristi (@kriscolvin), Karima (@karimacatherine) and others, Twitter has become like the ultimate internship for me. By people granting access to their knowledge and experience, I’ve been able to learn and apply more than I ever did in any classroom.

    Giving respect has become a way of life now that I see what others do with it and how it has helped me grow. In short, thanks.

  • Joanne Jacobs

    Firstly, Scott you are an extraordinary young man and I have immense respect for what you’ve achieved in life. It’s been my honour to work with *you*.

    But there’s another aspect of the way you built value that I think you often underplay, but which is crucial to the manner in which you are appreciated. You have a rather unique capacity to care. And this isn’t something that is necessarily taught. It is, rather, a gift. This caring nature is something that manifests in many different ways – seeking out those with whom you wish to engage, concentrating on details to ensure positive experiences, always expressing interest – even down to openly acknowledging your love for your wife. But because you genuinely care, you are never cloyingly sycophantic, or personally invasive.

    This characteristic is much more rare than most of us would like to imagine. Cynicism, if not cultural dogma, tends to throttle human capacity to care. And yet, socially, environmentally and politically, this is a time when care is most needed. I applaud your value system, but it’s worth noting that it is not mere utility you are building, but fellowship.

  • Jonny Rose

    Firstly Scott, many thanks for the kind words – especially since I won’t able to give you the bribe money until the end of the month.

    In my relationships, I see a distinction between those that are ‘of value’ and ‘profitable’ (neither of these should be considered in purely financial terms)

    I see ALL people as inherently ‘valuable’ and ALL meaningful connections with them as ‘being of value’. This is purely a one-way transaction/ viewpoint of my view of them. They are valuable to me and whether a connection with them benefits me long-term (in ways other than socially) or not is irrelevant as ‘value’ in people to me is a constant that is not affected by personal benefit.

    However, it is from these ‘valuable’ relationships that some become ‘profitable’, in the sense that I get some sort of pay-back. Be it emotional, financial or social.

    As you have been saying in your posts on predicting valuable relationships with a high-return, “…I’m not sure you can predict which relationships will be valuable and which won’t be”


    I prefer to see ALL relationships as ‘valuable’, but, like you, have no idea which ones will become ‘profitable’.

    (I hope my distinction between ‘valuable’ and ‘profitable’ is clear. I feel like I have rambled…)

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Sy

    Well, we’re building a value relationship – so build more of what we’re building!


  • / Scott Gould

    Daniel, glad to hear you’re building value – that you can specifically say who you are connecting with.

    Do you know what you’re building towards?

  • / Scott Gould


    Thank you *so* much for your kind words. What you said at Villa Kataya about care has stood so strong in my mind. I’m glad that, as you say, it does not sound “loyingly sycophantic, or personally invasive”.

    Fellowship is certainly the right word. That is indeed what we are building with Like Minds – quite plainly, connecting like minds!

    Thanks again Jo – it’s a pleasure to be onboard on this brave future with you!

  • Robin Dickinson

    Hi Jonny, building on your thoughts. It would be useful to be able to identify some of the early indicators of relationship ‘profitability’ (as per your definition of profitable). This way we could focus our precious resources to deliver deeper, richer value to those identified to have some potential and move away from those that aren’t.

    In my experience, mutually valuable relationships tend to show themselves quite early on. For example, Scott was quick to respond and share value from the get go – and has been consistent ever since we met. Early indicators were acknowledging my comments; building on my comments; commenting on my blog; direct messaging value and encouragement on Twitter; encouraging his colleagues to check out my blog; escalating to skype conversations etc

    Conversely, non-participants tend to show their inactivity early on as well. I’ve just facilitated a blog post of over 1000 comments and the two groups of active and less active participants where behaviourally very clear to see. Those who would develop into ‘profitable’ relationships appeared quickly, as did those who wouldn’t.

    Best, Robin :)

  • Jonny Rose

    I couldn’t agree more Robin with:

    “Early indicators were acknowledging my comments; building on my comments; commenting on my blog; direct messaging value and encouragement on Twitter; encouraging his colleagues to check out my blog; escalating to skype conversations etc”

    However, I would stress that sometimes these profitable relationships do not always reveal themselves early but rather show up further along the line e.g. the sporadic blog commenter who – over the years – has been a very low-level commenter to your blog, but one day makes *that* comment which changes everything.

    The switch from valuable > profitable can happen in an instant, especially in the rapid-world of real-time communication and social media. Hence, I’m an advocate of cultivating every relationship possible for signs of the “late bloomer”.

    Maybe this is all moot because, of course, in the day-to-day constrictions of business, time and effort this is quite unworkable – but it is an ideal that I reckon one should strive for when it comes to engaging with others.

    I’m happy to operate in the hypothetical for the moment – maybe when I have my own company and become world-wearied I’ll change my tune about all of this ;)

  • / Scott Gould

    Jonny, Robin

    Now *this* is a conversation that is much needed – understanding fluid community and optimising it for value.

    First of all, I agree very much with Robin that those early indicators are there. Those who begin commenting and discussing at the level that Robin and I did very quickly with each other, by the very fact that we participated with each other, created the value relationship. Self fulfilling prophecy, so to speak.

    Then there are the people who participate at a lower level. I have many – they comment intermittently on this blog and normally it is I who initiate interaction between us on Twitter or Skype. The very fact that these aren’t participating and taking initiative means that it a value relationship doesn’t get built as quickly or deeply.

    Finally, Jonny, there are the lurkers you say who might “one day make *that* comment which changes everything”. I disagree on this point, I have to say. In my experience so far, I’ve never ever had a lurker come from nowhere and do anything that changes anything. It always starts with small levels of participation and builds up.

    Queue the 7 levels of participation model, and in particular. Here we see that as participation increases, value increases. Therefore, I’m tempted to say:


    How do you build a value-based relationship? You participate. How do you build a volume-based relationship? You can’t participate, so you push content out.

    This is a great revelation for me that I’ve just received through our brief discussion – because it answers the question that I’ve been asking myself – when you scatter your volume seeds, you don’t know which will become value and which won’t. But the moment someone begins to participate back – THEN, you have the signs of value, and you begin nurturing.

    Case in point: I send out a tweet, and out of all of my followers, I’m never sure who will tweet it or look at it. Sometimes, yes, it’s the same people – but they don’t do it EVERY DAY. Then sometimes I get people who retweet out of the blue – people who I talk with offline but never get engagement from online. And then sometimes a stranger will retweet who follows me but I don’t know them.

    But it is that act of retweeting that signals the beginning of the value relationship – from there, I nurture by saying thank you, asking further questions, facilitating engagement – all the thinks that Robin has taught me well by modelling them.

    This is awesome. This is completed a big part of the puzzle for me!!!

  • Daniel Agee

    Building relationships in and of itself is enough value. This past summer, I bought a homeless man lunch. While we were talking, he told me this incredible life story. Vietnam, being mayor of a small town, affairs, murder, prison, homelessness. It was awe inspiring.

    As I was leaving he said, “Hey Kid, here’s some life advice for you. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, better than you, care more than you, and are generally just better people than you. If you do that, eventually, you’ll look around, and people will have put themselves next to you.”

    While getting to know the people that I mentioned above has been amazing, it’s not about them. I adore each and everyone of you and am eternally grateful. But the ROR, return on relationship, won’t really pan out for me. It will be with the people who make an effort to know me.

    I have such a curiosity for problem solving, knowledge and people. The fact that anyone gives me their time is fascinating to me, because, by default, I don’t deserve it. So I remain grateful, learn, share, collaborate and pass on.

  • / Scott Gould

    Daniel – what a heart-touching story and peice of advice. Also, very true. Surrounding yourself with people who are better than you stretches you, maximises the strengths across the group, and minimizes weakness across the group.

    Can’t wait to meet :-)

  • Robin Dickinson

    My experience with people who lurk is that when they finally ‘jump in’ it’s opportunistic and short-term.

    Commercially, “cultivating every relationship possible for signs of the “late bloomer” is the fast-track to exhaustion and discounts your ability to add value where it really counts – to those who *are* seeking to build a mutually valuable relationship with you. This is where diamond focus and having a strong NO really come into play.

    Carrying spectators in the hope that they may one day become ‘load bearing’ makes no sense to me.

    Best, Robin :)

  • / Scott Gould

    Robin – very much agreed with you here. It is certainly the fast track to exhaustion, and like you say, “discounts your ability to add value where it really counts.”

    You follow 38 people, and are followed by 1,102. The tweets and posts you send, the comments you make – all value to those you are engaging with – these are your scattering of seeds, from which new valuable relationships can come.

    These lurkers – the ones who have not yet made the bite to become valuable relationships – when THEY begin participating, then they provide the first signs for you sowing back into them (of course, at the level in which they participate with you).

    I feel a post coming on – “how to participate with me”


  • Robin Dickinson

    Scott – curious you mention the number of Twitter followers compared to those I’m following. In terms of strategy, the reason I keep the ratio of following/followers as high as possible is because it acts as a kind of quality check on the material I’m providing my tribe (in this case, the 38).

    The higher the ratio, the higher the quality of my material (all things being equal). It’s just a rough guide. The goal here is to follow < 100 people and have >10,000 followers. This will only be achieved by providing unrelenting, superb value to my tribe (very different from a ‘popu-list’ crowd-pleasing strategy.

    Sure, if new followers come in and get value, that’s a useful secondary benefit. My primary goal remains to add massive value to the core tribe – to sow into them; to help them succeed; to be consistently useful.

    If anything, delayed engagement of ‘lurkers’ is a warning signal to me. My alliances need to be strong, proactive, energised – can’t wait to jump in and help. What I call ‘mutual muscle’!

    Best, Robin :)

  • / Scott Gould

    Robin – Replying to your last comment here as ran out of space

    I’m behind you only following those who are your valuable sales team – i have no problem with that at all.

    10,000 people is quite a mass. No doubt in that group there will be a range of quality valuable relationships (100), and then a range of mid-value, and a massive collection of volume-based people.

    Here’s some questions to you off the back of that:
    – do you tweet when you’re on holiday?
    – how long did it take for you to get 1,000 followers?
    – how will your strategy adapt do you think?

    My perspective on your tweets, btw, is that you are great for finding new relationships that may be valuable to me – HOWEVER – I do find the ‘questions’ that you ask a bit demanding sometimes. I often feel guilty for not answering them – and then that question you asked me on Facebook the other day had no interaction after I published quite a detailed and frameworked reply.

    How are you find others take your question-approach?

  • Robin Dickinson

    “that question you asked me on Facebook the other day had no interaction after I published quite a detailed and frameworked reply.” ?? I thought I responded to Helsinki question. I thought your measures were excellent and gave clear visibility to your thinking. Nothing more needed to be added. Have I missed something here?

    The questions-based approach is really aimed at getting a more detailed understanding of the ’38’. I want depth of understanding so that I can add greater value. It also allows new people who want to engage the opportunity to quickly dive in.

    Questions create space. Questions create opportunity. Many people tell me they think about the answers, even if they don’t write an answer. That’s excellent because it helps to position me as a facilitator rather than an opinionator.

    1000 followers took 10 months – mind you, I’m going to go through them and block/remove anything and anyone who doesn’t look like they fit into this community. So I’ll probably lose a few hundred.

    I send the occasional tweet when on holidays.

    My strategy will adapt around what I learn from the ’38’ – whatever helps them.

  • / Scott Gould

    Re: Facebook – I meant interaction *after* you and I talked.

    Re: Questions – that makes a lot more sense to me now that you’ve explained how you’re using it to understand the ’38’.

    Even the fact that you know it’s ’38’ is so powerful. One thing I am very aware that I am lacking ATM is a keen sense of who my ‘sales team’ are – who the ones are that I have that valuable relationship with. On one hand, I follow people who interact with me because I lead a community and need to know what the people who I am reaching talk about. But on the other hand, I need a way to narrow – perhaps a list.

    Re: your strategy adapting – I like that * a lot* – that it adapts accordig to what helps the 38.

    Good stuff!


  • Robin Dickinson

    A real key here is deciding WHO to follow. It’s really worth having a well though-out YES strategy – and sticking to it.

    It’s also worth noting that within the ’38’ – now ’35’ since we’ve been having this conversation ;) – are four groups:

    a) Strong and consistent engagement;
    b) Strong and inconsistent engagement;
    c) Strong and consistency yet to be determined;
    d) Strategic follows.

    I review the group weekly.

    Robin :)

  • / Scott Gould


    This is very good. It does differ to my following strategy. I see
    Twitter as a more volume tool in comparison to my blog comments and
    offline engagement where the real value juice is.

    My reason for this is I need Twitter to reach my growing community!


  • Robin Dickinson

    Excellent. I get tired even thinking the word ‘volume’ ;) . To your point, for me, Twitter, like Facebook, is an efficient filtering tool – my diamond focuser if you like. Hard culling keeps the growth slow and hence very manageable. I comfortably read all tweets and miss nothing that’s important to the sales-team.

    You need a vehicle to reach your growing community. I need a vehicle for potential salespeople to find and reach me – and to keep my finger on the pulse of the sales-team.