How an NBA player ruined my life

Hi, I’m Justin Jackson. Let me tell you a story about how my life changed because of the NBA draft.

I’m not an athlete. I’m a geek. I’ve been working with SaaS companies since 2008. I was the Product Manager at Sprintly and Mailout.

Around 2012, I started a podcast called Product People. I interviewed people like Jason Fried, Hiten Shah, and Rob Walling. Folks loved it. At the same time, my writing on justinjackson.ca started to gain a lot of traction. People began signing up for my newsletter too. They were coming to me for product & marketing advice for their SaaS, software, mobile, and digital products. I offered consulting calls. That month I had 17 calls booked (that was too many).

When you googled “justin jackson” my site was the #1 result.

“Are you Justin Jackson from the NBA?”

And then, a talented 22-year-old basketball player was drafted by the Sacramento Kings. His name was also Justin Jackson.

I first noticed it when random kids started asking me questions on Snapchat.

Kids asking me if I'm Justin Jackson the NBA player on Snapchat

I thought it was cute.

And then, I searched “justin jackson” on Google again.

It was all NBA. Goodbye “nerdy guy from Canada,” hello “professional athlete.”

Justin Jackson, from MegaMaker, search results on Google

My search traffic plummeted. People started DMing to say they couldn’t find my site. When I went to speak at a conference, I had a few people tell me they’d googled me and didn’t attend my talk because “why would I want to hear from a basketball player at a tech conference?”

Here’s what I’m doing about it

I’m pivoting everything over to the MegaMaker brand.

All my best articles on product marketing will live there.

All my products related to product marketing will live there.

(btw – Tiny Marketing Wins 3.0 is coming soon! Click here to learn more.)

And, ultimately, MegaMaker will become something bigger than just me.

Already, I’ve hired Tim, Gary, and Andre to help me.

Together, we’re focused on one job:

“We help digital product companies fix their product and improve their marketing, so that they can grow profits.”

Is there a lesson here for you?

On Twitter, folks have been asking me:

Question from Twitter: personal brand or company brand?

There’s a reason a lot of Hollywood stars change their names for the sake of their careers (Marilyn Monroe, Woody Allen). Your name is your brand. The Screen Actors Guild won’t let new actors join if they have the same name as another member (there can only be one Chuck Norris ?).

Pros to using your personal name:

Cons to using your personal name:

Company names have their own identity challenges. I’m an advisor for Coach, which often gets confused with Coach.me.

(Incidentally, MegaMaker has its own SEO problems. Search for “megamaker” and you’ll see someone else is using my name. Luckily, I registered the trademark in January 2017 and can fight it).

I used to wonder why founders got so upset when someone used a name similar to theirs. Now I know!

Cheers,
Justin Jackson
@mijustin

(If you want to help me launch the MegaMaker brand, please link to one of my talks, one of my articles, or one of my new case studies. That would be huge. Thanks. [New site design coming soon])

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Published on October 18, 2017