Three people you must read

July 24, 2011

Social media


Who are your #3PeopleYouMustRead? (Image credit:

I’ve always been afraid to meet a genie. Not because I don’t think I’d like a genie. I think I would. Especially that super-nice genie from the Aladdin movies. The one Robin Williams played. After all, genies seem pretty cool. They somehow work they their way in and out of those lamps. And they grant you three wishes, which is a heckuva nice gesture.

No, it isn’t genies themselves that scare me, but the prospect of picking my three wishes. See, I’m sort of indecisive. Ask me to pick something for dinner or choose a movie to watch and you could be in for a bit of a wait. Just ask my wife. But that said, my friend Kelly Crane had a cool idea the other day when she wrote a post recommending “three people you must read.” So I thought I’d give it a shot. Got to be ready when that genie comes some day, right?

Kelly’s #3PeopleYouMustRead were Valeria Maltoni, Jermiah Owyang and David Meerman Scott. Her reasoning was, “There are many people – too many to name – that are dubbed thought leaders in the social media space. But when you really look at what these leaders are saying, it can very often be traced back to a book, blog post, or report from Maltoni, Owyang and Scott.”

And therein lies the cool part of this idea. I read Valeria fairly often and Jermiah’s stuff now and then. But I haven’t read David Meerman Scott much…until now. After reading Kelly’s post the other day, I added him to my list. So now, time to pick my three. I know I’m going to leave out some super-awesome people who I’ve learned a ton from. So sorry, I owe you a beer :) . But the three that came to mind the more I thought about this were Gini Dietrich, Don Bartholomew and Ramon DeLeon.

Gini Dietrich

Gini blogs daily over at, which is a serious commitment. And it would be easy to take a day off literally, or figuratively, with the content she produces. But Gini never does. She always brings a passionate POV to the table on a relevant issue. I like a lot of things about her writing, but two things stand out that keep me coming back to Spin Sucks almost daily:

    • Gini understands the “spin doctors” stereotype PR is dealing with and that our end goal should be to be seen as strategic business counselors. I like the fact that she always stands up for our industry and never backs down from tough PR conversations we must have to change perception.
    • Her community of readers and commenters is like no other I have seen. If you were looking for an industry event or organization offline to attend, you’d try and find one full of interesting people, valuable conversation and abundant networking opportunities. Spin Sucks is the online equivalent. And Gini is always a part of the conversation after she posts. So the initial post is really just a conversation starter, which is what I think blogging should be.

Don Bartholomew.

Full disclosure…I work with Don at FH. And that’s probably the reason he’s on this list. While I’ve always learned a lot from his blog, Metrics Man, some of the conversation we’ve had about measurement recently have been the most eye-opening for me. Measurement and analytics is a tough topic for most communicators to wrap our heads around. But Don has created a model that makes it a lot easier for us — or at least, it has for me — to talk to leadership about measurement in a way they can understand. Here are some measurement best practices I’ve learned a lot about from Don:

We all need a go to source when it comes to measurement, and Don is a good place to start. I also want to throw a shout out to some other measurement minds I’ve learned from along the way — Chuck Hemann, Shonali Burke and Johna Burke.

Ramon DeLeon

I don’t think Ramon has a blog. Or if he does, I haven’t read it. But this Dominos Pizza franchisee - -the pizza guy to know in Chicago — is an absolute must follow on Twitter and any other social network where you can find him. And if you haven’t seen him present before, you are truly missing out. Ramon shared a quote the other day that may be my all-time favorite: “Your brand is what you customers say it is.” I could not agree more. And Ramon embraces that POV in everything he does. The guy is an absolute customer engagement machine. He is everywhere, online and offline, meeting new customers, talking to regulars, helping with customer service issues, showing his passion for pizza and people.

Often times we want to make communications and social media complicated. But if you hear it from Ramon, it’s really pretty simple. It’s about engaging with customers, making it easy for you to be found online and giving customers stories to tell about your brand. When the uber-gross Dominos video came out a couple of years back, Ramon was the only Dominos rep really talking to people about it via social media. And today, IMO, the company has wisely copied his example and created an entire integrated marketing campaign — the pizza turnaround — based on what Ramon does every day. He’s a real-time case study of how marketing and communications should be done in today’s social media world.

Well, that wasn’t so hard. Three amazing minds I try to learn from as often as possible. Who are your three?


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JGoldsborough 242 pts moderator

Sean McGinnisginidietrich LOL, you guys are hilarious. Thanks for the kind words, Sean. #3PeopleYouMustRead was originally KellyeCrane 's idea and I think it's a smart one. We can't possibly read all the great minds out there and it's nice to get reccos from peers we trust.

And yes, Ramon is the man for sure. He is one of the few people in a leadership position who understands the value of daily engagement with customers.

ginidietrich 5244 pts

I'm late to the party! Your second bullet point about Spin Sucks is the best I've ever read. I'm going to plaster it all over our site. OK. Not really. But it's really good. Thank you!

Ramon is everywhere in Chicago. I first "met" him when Domino's had their unfortunate incident of employees doing bad things to the food and putting the video on YouTube. I'd written a story about it for Franchise Times because the way corporate handled it was very stodgy and old school. But Ramon wanted me to hear some of his ideas...ideas that eventually permeated to corporate HQ and got them using social media in everything they do. He's a force to be reckoned with.

Off to check out Don's blog!

You just gave me a really good idea for a guest post, actually. So thank you! Again!

JGoldsborough 242 pts moderator

ginidietrich Absolutely, GD. Thank you for all you do with Spin Sucks. I had a similar initial meeting with Ramon. I actually tweeted a couple of negative tweets about how Domino's handled the gross video situation. And Ramon responded to me to say Dominos was listening and he was in communication with the folks at corporate. Saved their brand a lot of equity IMO. And corporate's Pizza Turnaround campaign is totally based on how Ramon runs his business. It is obvious to me. Cheers!

KellyeCrane 59 pts

Enjoy hearing who your "3 people" are! Like you, I'm a fan of Gini and Don (though not sure I've read all of the posts you reference above; time to get busy!). However, I haven't been following Ramon. That's why I think posts of this type are useful -- we're all pulled in so many directions, it's impossible to know all the powerful voices out there. Thanks for sharing!

JGoldsborough 242 pts moderator

KellyeCrane Absolutely, KC . I think you have started something cool here and hope others will join in. It is hard to be everywhere and read everyone's stuff. WOM reccos from friends are the best way to add to the list, in my opinion. Thanks for getting this going :). Let's continue to spread the word.


  1. [...] Justin Goldsborough followed suit and recommended three of his [...]