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Book Review: Renegades Write The Rules

Amy Jo Martin’s Renegades Write The Rules (officially released tomorrow, but can be ordered today), is the social media maven’s “how-to” book that explains how she used social media to reconfigure her business and life, and how all of us can do the same.  The most important take away from the 176 page (advance uncorrected proof) read is that there is no reason to fear social media.  The second biggest tidbit is that those who think that staying away from social media is the safe play are extremely ignorant.  Somewhere down the line of important subjects is that measuring success of social media campaigns is difficult, yet achievable.  Amy Jo Martin’s book is not only for the scared.  In fact, it is for anyone who thinks that they can take their social media game to the next level, which is really all of us.

Renegades Write The Rules is easy to read for a few reasons: 1) there are simply not a lot of pages; 2) Amy Jo Martin provides an information guide through meaningful stories; and 3) most of the stories relate to sports – after all, Amy Jo Martin got her social media start with the Phoenix Suns organization and her current clients include Shaquille O’Neal, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  In fact, one of my favorite stories detailed UFC President Dana White’s unintended public tweet revealing his direct office phone number, which reached roughly 1.5 million Twitter followers.  Instead of overreacting and putting on a full court press defense, he (with the help of Amy Jo Martin) decided to take as many calls as possible and ended up taking calls on a regular basis.  Obviously, not all company presidents have the patience and enthusiasm of Dana White.

In a section where Amy Jo Martin discussed Tiger Woods’ not-so-favorable reactions to media questions in 2009 (at the time he was heavily scrutinized for apparent wrongdoings), she touched on her relationship with agents and publicists.  Here is an excerpt:

“It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve kept many agents and publicists awake at night.  I’ve worked with many over the past few years, and more times than not, healthy tension arises when a social media expert advises the celebrity to do everything his or her agent and publicist have asked the celebrity not to do: “Share your personal stories and interests.”  “Talk about your hobbies.”  “Post behind-the-scenes photos.”  It’s a new age, and if the celebrity or CEO doesn’t share this content, it’s likely someone else will, often in a different light.  The content will have the most credibility if comes first from the source.  You can either own your brand or live in fear.”

I thought that was very good advice.  However, I personally found the section titled, “First Who; Then Why” to have the greatest impact on my thought process.  In fact, I had a back and forth on Twitter with Amy Jo Martin regarding my “Whys”.  Martin explains that most businesses brand themselves by starting with what they do, then how they do it, an last, why they do it.  She says that’s all backwards.  The most innovative brands start with the why, then move to the how, and last, they figure out the what.  Martin proffers that this allows people to become loyal to the brand’s intent, not merely its product.  I never thought about business and services in that way, but certainly have ever since.

When I received my copy of Renegades Write The Rules, I stopped what I was in the middle of reading and focused on attacking Amy Jo Martin’s book.  I am very happy with that decision.  It allowed me to immediately and positively alter my thinking about business without having to treat flipping the pages as a chore.  I suggest you do the same.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.