#FollowFriday – Who Inspires Me?

This is a weekly series that I’m hoping to help add some more relevance to the #FollowFriday (what’s this?) Twitter activity that originally started through Lijit’s own Micah Baldwin to help connect Twitterers with one another. I was recently asked who taught me my leadership skills and that started my thinking about who do I follow that really inspires me in some way, shape or form. So this week is all about those that inspire.

SF New Media Drinkup - Bubble Lounge - Joann Peach-CeruttiJoann Peach

I’ve been really impressed by what I’ve seen when I first met Joann during a Social Media Club event at the Zannel offices earlier this year. Originally I thought she worked there as an employee but to my astonishment she’s actually a freelancer and has done really well for herself. What really inspires me is her persistence, dedication to her clients, and her never-ending ability to help her friends and others. I can really tell that she’s a great person to have on your team if you want to know someone hardcore in PR and need them to understand how the game is played both online AND offline.

Mary Fastenau

Mary Fastenau is someone who I greatly admire. She’s not a regular person on Twitter, but she is someone who really inspires me and taught me a lot about the marketing and web business. You see…Mary was the one who got me really started in it all. She was my first boss when I graduated from college & began my career at StarrTech Interactive.

When I was working on a market research project for one of my courses, it involved interviewing Mary, which I originally thought would last an hour. Lo’ and behold that after TWO hours of talking, I got way more information than I needed. Perhaps more than anything, that one conversation helped shape me into the man that I am today. Mary has taught me much about how to deal & work with clients, handling various team structures and working with pressure. No matter what the situation, Mary always has a smile on her face & is willing to offer advice and wisdom on overcoming any challenge or even her help when asked. I’ve come to admire & respect Mary and am truly grateful that we’re friends.

Inbound Marketing Summit - Chris BroganChris Brogan

Who doesn’t know who Chris Brogan is? Perhaps one of the busiest marketers that I know, he is definitely insightful and knowledgeable in what he does. Not only does he run his own new media agency, he’s the one responsible for one of the top marketing blogs out there PLUS is the organizer behind the Inbound Marketing Summit series. Oh, and did I forget that he’s the author of the upcoming book Trust Agent? One of my long-standing goals is to become a Subject Matter Expert in the field of interactive/new media marketing and just trying to keep up with what Brogan does & his thoughts makes it somewhat difficult. However, it’s this challenge that inspires me to always be at the top of my game & that’s helping me get closer to my goal.

Travis Lum

One of my oldest friends, Travis Lum isn’t a marketer or someone in PR. Actually, he’s a graphic designer…and a damn good one. He’s won awards back in Hawaii and also some others. Travis has worked for several agencies and clients and produced great work and is always trying to brush up on the latest design technology out there. I only joke with him that he’s always showing off, but whenever I see his designs and finished works, I’m truly in awe over what he’s done. Whether it’s creating simple banners, email layouts, print pieces or even websites, they’re practically works of art! For typography, design inspiration or if you want an aesthetically pleasing web presence, go check out Travis Lum.

Gary Vaynerchuk's Flash Mob Wine Party - Gary VaynerchukGary Vaynerchuk

I don’t know Gary personally well like most of the others here on this #FollowFriday post, but I definitely find him to be very inspiring. The first time I actually heard Gary Vaynerchuk speak was during his panel at South by Southwest where he basically gave the same impassioned speech he’s always given. I had seen his videos he posts on his personal website with tidbits on how to succeed with your brand online & found them to have great takeaways. I’m inspired by them everytime I hear him speak. Okay, before you say I’m enamored with Gary, you’re wrong. His insights into using new media, the social web, and harnessing the power of marketing really strikes a chord with me. I’m not obsessed with his theme of “crushing it” like others, but you can tell that he has a real drive to succeed & that’s what appeals to me. I like his thinking!

Liza Sperling

I first met Liza Sperling at a tweetup celebrating Twitter’s 3rd birthday and found her to be a really interesting person.We’ve kept in touch since then and I’m really impressed by her friendship, interest to learn about people, and great business sense. If you didn’t know, she’s also putting together a blog about meeting interesting people and I’ve found it to be an interesting read so far. So be on the lookout folks! Liza is on a mission to meet people with a story to tell.

WordCamp SF - Community - Chris Pirillo (Lockergnome.com)Chris Pirillo

Perhaps what has interested me the most about Chris Pirillo aside from the fact that he’s got a lot of things going on with him – in addition to a massive following, is his great understanding of community. I learned this first-hand while at WordCamp SF last month when I heard him speak. His presentation was absolutely captivating and I thought it was one of the best talks of the day. The fact that he understands how to work with his customers and find where they are and knows that communities aren’t formed artificially but organically is a credit to the talent of Chris Pirillo.

You want to know more about #FollowFriday and who other people are recommending? Then check out this great site created by Micah Baldwin.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."