What Climbing Mt Everest Can Teach About Social Media

A good friend fo mine just climbed Mt. Everest and made it to the summit and back (very important part of the story) for the 10th time. This time he did it for Samsung to fulfill an Olympic Promise. He is a world-class mountaineer.

You have a choice. The status quo is what everyone is does. They create ads in Google, compete on price for the best placement and get single digit conversions. It’s the IBM maximum of digital advertising “No one ever got fired for advertising on Google AdWords”. Your choice is whether or not to take a risk, leverage data, share your results and make yourself the Marketing Mountain Guide.

Many of you know I’m a ski and mountaineering fanatic. From the back bowls of Vail to the off-piste surrounding Mt. Blanc I’ve done it. The most valuable piece of equipment when pushing the envelope isn’t new skis, bindings or boots. It’s a great high mountain guide. I know a ton of them. The best ones get you to go beyond your comfort zone, push yourself to new highs. When you go out with one of those world-class guides the rewards are always great.


To any organization with marketing requirements a mountain guide is the most valuable of employees. Being the person willing to take risks and look at new things that are unproven, risky and laden with unavoidable failure is invaluable and guarantees you’ll get noticed. From those new risky efforts come great discovery and new routes that keep the company way ahead of the competition.

The mountain guide is always checking the weather, digging avalanche pits to see different type of snow layers and crystals, reconoiting the crevasses during summer. In other words checking the data and looking beyond the obvious that everyone does. You have to do the same in your company.

The mountain guide in the organization will try Facebook sponsored stories, build a Pinterest Presence, deploy social media experiences at events (with dwinQ of course) and other new and potentially rewarding strategies.our company. Analysis is the octane added to being innovative and taking risks.

Like the mountain guide they will swim in the data, fishing for the one nugget that says this program had a 30% conversion or this Newsfeed Placement earned us 30,000 new followers, etc. at the same time they aren’t afraid to stop doing something and say this is not working – like the mountain guide who looks at visibility deteriorating and turns back.

To be a champion in social media advertising requires risk, exploration and innovation. Once you live through that phase, you will have become one of the most valued people in not just your organization, but likely your entire industry. I know a lot of those people and they re always sought after.

We’re having Friends over tonight for drinks, among them a guy who revolutionized the ski industry and then left to change the travel industry, the guy who set the standard for adventure films and a leader who is helping students fix our broken planet. All of them have three things in common, they are highly in demand and constantly innovating with calculated risk taking and they always go back and analyze the data.

Go be a Mountain Guide and change your company and change your life!

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