In business today it’s personal. Across every sector, businesses are shifting their emphasis from the transaction to the relationship, from simple communication to community. Membership, says Robbie Kellman Baxter, is a transformational trend.
In this episode we talk about the implications of that trend, but we also explore Robbie’s own approach to writing her book The Membership Economy – how she discovered the power of writing as a problem-solving tool and how she used the research period to extend her network upwards and outwards.
Robbie’s approach to her own book is refreshingly and challengingly direct: ‘I didn’t write the book to sell a lot of books and make money as a book author. I wrote the book because I’m a consultant, and I wanted people to have that kind of one pound business card to understand this is Robbie Baxter and this is how she frames the challenges in the business world, and if we worked with her this is how she looks at things.’
There’s SO much good stuff in this interview for you if you’re running a business and writing about it.
Book site: www.membershipeconomy.com
Alison Jones: Hello and welcome to The Extraordinary Business Book Club. Today I’m here with Robbie Kellman Baxter who is a strategy consultant and a marketing expert. She’s the founder of Peninsula Strategies as well as a successful author and a keynote speaker, and she’s worked with hundreds of organizations over the last 20 years or so from startups to some of the world’s biggest companies advising them on growth strategies. She’s the author of The Membership Economy which is what we’re going to talk about today, so hello Robbie.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Hello Alison. I’m so glad to be here.
Alison Jones: It’s great to have you here, so let’s start off with The Membership Economy which is such a fantastic phrase. Just tell us a little bit about that. What is the membership economy, and why does it matter?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: The membership of economy is a massive transformational trend that is really transforming virtually every industry moving from an emphasis on ownership versus access, moving from the transactional to the relationship, moving from anonymous to known relationships, moving from one way communication to community. All of those things together are creating all kinds of new ways to build business models and to, most importantly, build long-term relationships with your customers.
Alison Jones: I think it’s fascinating. There was a lot of things that I thought yes, this is a bit like… so for example the shift from ownership to access, I worked in scholarly publishing for many years and libraries have moved almost exclusively to subscription type models now, where they pay to access content rather than own it. And then there’s sort of this sharing economy. People sharing, Airbnb stuff, but it’s different to both of those isn’t it?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes. Yes it really is, so the way I think about it a subscription is a pricing decision.
Alison Jones: Yes.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Membership is a mindset, so that’s how those two things are really different. You can have a subscription model in a membership economy business or not, and you can have subscription models where there is no feeling of membership at all. It’s just a company decided to charge on a monthly or annual basis instead of a one-time fee. Then with regard to sharing, to the sharing economy, the basic distinction there is that a sharing economy business relies on ownership of the assets by one’s peers, and the membership economy doesn’t require that because, again, you can belong but still be sharing an asset that belongs to the company. For example, Netflix owns all of their content, right? We borrow it, but it’s not like I’m borrowing your movie, but it’s in the membership. Or Inspirato which is the vacation club. They own their houses that we all have access to as members versus Airbnb which is a sharing economy company where the houses and properties are actually owned by the other members.
Alison Jones: Yes, really, really helpful distinction.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: They’re all related but different. There’s definitely overlap in all three of those areas, but they’re not the same.
Alison Jones: The thing that’s fascinating about the membership economy as a business owner looking at it is firstly, that as you say, unlike subscription there’s almost an emotional component there. A sense of belonging. A sense of building a tribe or people with a connection. As opposed to the sharing thing it’s… you actually have assets, and you have the direct ownership as a company with the people. Which is slightly different to being almost a facilitator in the background.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes absolutely.
Alison Jones: Yes it’s really interesting, and just talking about the book for a moment, you wrote a blog on what you learned from writing this book and it made laugh. So much of it resonated with me. You say you’re an extrovert and also that you’re a great believer in the power of writing as a thinking tool, and I love that. I just so, so got that. I could have written it, and I just want to explore that really. How did writing help you think?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes, it’s almost magical. I don’t know if you’ve had this experience Alison, but I would start … This was actually a tip from one of my writing coaches was write a question that’s vexing you and see what your mind tells you about it, so I would write something like ‘I don’t know the distinction between membership and subscription and people keep asking me’, and then I would write ‘And I think it’s because…’ and then I would sit for a moment, and then I would just free write, and at the end of it I’d have an answer.
Alison Jones: It’s magical isn’t it?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes. Yes, so that’s been really helpful, so I still do that now when I have a problem and I don’t know the answer. I’ll open a clean document (because I type, I don’t hand write), and I’ll say ‘I want to be able to answer this question but I don’t know how, and the reason I don’t know how is because..’, and then I just go from there, and usually I come up with a much better way of framing the problem and sometimes an actual answer. Have you found that as well? I mean is that how it works for you?
Alison Jones: Absolutely, and do you know the discipline of Morning Pages? Julia Cameron….
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes.
Alison Jones: She wrote The Artist’s Way, and I have to say it was something I was very sceptical about. Partly because my mornings are quite busy enough, thank you very much, but you know when three people have told you, completely independently, that this is an amazing thing, you have to try it? So I got up 15 minutes earlier and I sat, and I started writing three pages longhand. I got to the bottom of the first page and thought this is just such a waste of time, and then by the second, suddenly, you hit pay dirt, and it’s like you tap into this deep, deep intuition and wisdom, and it all comes flowing out, and you think, well where did that come from?
It’s amazing, and yes I think that there’s two … Writing’s really powerful for me, and there’s two ways of doing it. One is communicating with people which is fantastic and the whole point of content marketing, but the other one is much more private, and it’s what you do for yourself, it’s that sense of almost coaching yourself isn’t it? Giving yourself the space and the process and the framework to put the questions and then see what comes out.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes totally, and it’s funny because one of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – because I’m doing a lot of workshops with organizations who are trying to move to membership models, and I realize that sometimes great thinking comes out of brainstorming, out of talking, out of people processing things together, but really great ideas also come out of that solitary reflection – so I’ve been incorporating more prework and also more moments of quiet reflection in the midst of workshops as a way of tapping into that power that you’re talking about.
Alison Jones: Yes it’s very powerful. It’s also quite hard to hold, isn’t it? That space for yourself and for other people. We’re so used to filling silence. It can feel quite uncomfortable, and it’s not the worst thing in the world to be uncomfortable.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Especially extroverts.
Alison Jones: Well right, and that was the next thing I wanted to ask you about. As an extrovert, I think you probably share this, when you sit down to write the energy just sort of ebbs away from you. You said that was hard for you, and you overcame it by reaching out to people, and you can really see that in the book. It’s full of case studies and quotes and so on, but also a massive long list of acknowledgements to the people who helped you with it. How did you go about reaching out to people? How did you know who you needed and when, and how did you approach them?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: My natural instinct is to ask for help. That’s just the kind of person I am. If I need a recommendation for a nursery school or a good restaurant or anything else, I usually go to people first. I do a little research on my own and then I go ask people, and part of that is because I think I get a better answer, and I also understand the context, and part of it is because I like connecting with people. I did the same thing with the book. For years before I wrote the book I was calling people and asking them, “How did you write the book? What did it do for your consulting business? Did you use an agent? Why? Who was it? What was it like? How long did it take you to write? Did you have a process visual that summarized the whole idea of the book?” I mean, I asked so many questions early on.
Then once I got into it I had an ongoing group of people who were working on a book at the same time as me that I touched base with on a regular basis, and then I actually went to the people that I thought were the best writers that I knew whether or not they were in the book business, and I would ask them, “Hey, can you read this?” Some people kind of gently said, “I’m really busy Robbie. I can read a page or two,” and other people embraced it, and I grabbed up the people who embraced it and really, really used their generosity and took advantage of it, and it was so great for me. I’ve tried to repay them, and I’ve tried to pay it forward, but the people in those acknowledgements really were very, very generous. They read. They introduced me to people. They told me I was great and to keep going when I was getting stressed. All kinds of ways that people helped me, so yes I highly encourage people to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
Alison Jones: There’s so much in there, isn’t it? Firstly, that sense of the dual nature of the help you got. You got really practical help. You got answers to real questions, but you also got that emotional support, and I’m guessing accountability as well. Once you’re engaged and people know you’re doing it, you got to do it, right?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Right, and actually Alison for me the biggest point of stress writing the book was that I knew that I had this group of people. Not just the people that I was asking for help but also clients, good friends from business school and college, neighbours who I really respected, and who I knew were going to read my book because they’re the kind of people that when their friend writes a book they read the book. I was really, deathly afraid that they were going to read it and say to themselves, “Huh, this isn’t very good. Oh well, I still like Robbie.”
Because I know I’ve done that when I’ve read … Because I try to read every … Any one of my friends, if they write a book, I try to read it, and I try to write a review on Amazon. If I like it I try to write a review, and every once in a while I’ll read something and I’ll think “Wow, I’m surprised. It’s not as good as I would have expected. I thought that person was really smart but the book’s not that good,” and I was really worried that my book wasn’t going to be good enough. That really pushed me to work harder and also to ask for help because I thought I am not going to be proud here, and I am not going to do a mediocre job because I’m afraid to admit when I need help.
Alison Jones: That’s interesting isn’t it, because I can imagine a lot of people with that fear would have just stopped or would’ve just procrastinated endlessly and never quite shipped the thing.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Right. Right, but it took me, I mean to be candid, it took me 10 years to get to the point of writing the book. 10 years of taking notes and thinking about this topic before I got a publisher, got an agent, did that whole thing.
Alison Jones: Okay that makes me feel better. Good. thank you. The other thing that really struck me in what you’re saying about reaching out to people firstly is how many, as a proportion of them, said yes because, actually, A they like you, why wouldn’t they, but B also there is something really exciting about being involved with a book project, and people like it. People like being involved in that. It’s exciting. It’s good, and actually when they said no it wasn’t the end of the world. I think an awful lot of people don’t like to ask and don’t go through that what’s the worst that can happen process. When actually the worst that can happen isn’t terribly bad at all. I should just ask because the best that could happen is amazing.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Right, and if I had advice to give I would say, especially for things like your foreword or the case studies, ask the best people you can think of because, as you said, the worst isn’t that bad because most people make a nice excuse. People don’t usually say “I don’t want to be part of your book because I don’t think you’re good enough.” They usually say something like “I’m so flattered to be asked. I’ve made it a policy that I am no longer able to review or participate in these things because I get asked too much, but it sounds fantastic.” They always say something nice, but a lot of people say yes for the reason you said. Which is that it’s fun to be part of a book, and you seem more serious and more interesting if you’ve committed to creating new intellectual property for the world. People are more interested in being part of that, so it is really worthwhile to ask. Especially if you really believe that what you’re writing and what you’re doing is going to be new and useful for them and for others.
Alison Jones: That’s such a great way of phrasing it, and I know that you mentioned the foreword. I was really interested to notice Allen Blue, you had the cofounder of LinkedIn, write your foreword, and I just thought, “Oh my goodness what a perfect fit.” How did that come about, and why was it important to you to have a foreword?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Well, because I wanted somebody who I considered a peer who was an expert on the membership economy to endorse it in a more thoughtful way than what you get on the back of the book in the blurbs. A lot of people just write … The blurb isn’t as thoughtful, but Allen actually wrote three pages of content. Which is really interesting about his perspective, and I knew I wanted a foreword, and I had ideas about who I would like to have write a foreword, and he was at the top of the list. I didn’t ask him right away because I don’t know him personally, but what happened was I knew somebody well that was at LinkedIn. Talked to him about the book early on, and he said, “You know the person at LinkedIn who thinks the most about membership is Allen Blue. You should talk to him,” so I talked to him. I interviewed him for the book. He gave me great content. If you look in the index I talk about LinkedIn more than I talk about any other case in the book because there’s so much instructive modelling of what LinkedIn does for almost anyone thinking about membership, and so when I asked him it was a really organic thing because I was like, “Well, LinkedIn is probably my best case study. Would you be open to writing something about your thoughts on membership,” and so when he said, “Yes,” I was really thrilled.
Alison Jones: Brilliant, and it’s such a great example of just asking because he might have said “Oh, I’m very busy,” and you wouldn’t have lost anything, but what a fantastic foreword to have. It’s a great example as well of the network sort of going one beyond. Which is a very LinkedIn concept isn’t it? Your connections’ connections, because I always say to my clients-
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Right. Of all people the LinkedIn people are going to be generous and helpful with making introductions.
Alison Jones: You’d hope so wouldn’t you?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Right.
Alison Jones: There is that sense if you reach out to your network about the book, and of course they know people one step beyond you, and it’s a great – if you allow it to be – I think it’s a fantastic vehicle for connecting with people that you wouldn’t normally have any reason to go out and talk to, and really making your network that much more interesting and robust.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes, and that was a huge benefit of writing the book that I hadn’t really focused on is that when you’re writing a book, you can call any expert. Whether that’s another thought leader that has made this their lifetime study, or somebody who’s a practitioner who’s actually implementing these concepts. You can call them and most of them are interested in talking because we all want a pure network of people who are thinking about the same things that we are. Frankly, most practitioners are so busy with their day jobs that they don’t really have time, or make time, to extend their network and learn, right? Professional development is the first thing to be pushed aside if you’re running a business.
Alison Jones: That’s so true isn’t it? I’m guessing it was interesting for them, but also you must have learned a huge amount and developed your thinking just in the process of talking to these people.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Oh, it was such… I mean, I loved that, and as we talked about, as an extrovert, those were my favourite days when I would have interviews set up. Those were my favourite days. I mean it was just like candy, you know?
Alison Jones: I feel the same about the podcast. I could do this all day. It’s brilliant. It’s so fascinating. One other thing that I wanted to talk to you about was more the promotion side of it. We’ve talked a lot about the writing, but once the book’s there you did something that I thought really, really liked: your book trailer video. Now I think book trailer videos are becoming more common, but you still don’t see that many of them, and I haven’t seen one quite like this before. It’s an animated summary of the whole book. How did you get that created? How has it worked for you? What was the thinking behind that?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: There’s a company called Board Studios, and I had worked with them in my consulting life, having them make some kind of explainer videos like that for companies, and at the time when my book was coming out I had told them, “Oh, I’m working on this book,” and like I said I’m always reaching out to people. The owner of that company said, “We’re testing this idea of doing explainer videos summarizing books, business books,” and so I offered to do one. It was such an easy process because, in this case, they actually read the book, outlined the explainer video and then made it. They showed it to me to make sure there was nothing that I really had a problem with, but I had very little involvement with it beyond giving them my manuscript. Then they came back, and I had a few little edits here and there, but for the most part they just did it.
They were fantastic, and it’s been so helpful in all kinds of ways. I’ve posted it in a lot of places. When people ask me what I do it’s a really easy way to give them an introduction. When I’ve done speaking for association conferences or branding conferences they’ll often show that during the break before I speak so that people understand and kind of as a teaser to get them excited, so it’s paid for itself tenfold.
Alison Jones: How interesting.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes, I was really impressed with how they kind of got the ideas, and how the little visual helps you understand much more quickly.
Alison Jones: It does. It’s amazing isn’t it? As soon as you draw something out your brain kind of grabs hold of it in a way that… the text just floats by, but once you’ve got a picture you can hang on.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes totally. Yes.
Alison Jones: I’m really interested as well because it explains the whole book. I mean obviously, you go into much more detail. It’s a long book and it’s a short video, but there’s no kind of teasing. There’s no cliff hanger, you know, “read on to find out more.” It’s the whole book précised, and I know a lot of people get quite nervous about that. “Well, if I give the book away then why would people buy it?”, but that doesn’t work like that does it? Once you’ve got it … “Oh that’s fascinating, I want to read more about it.”
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes. Yes absolutely, and in fact I think … A couple of thoughts. Number one, write a good book. Work hard and write something … The best advice that my coach had was make sure it’s interesting to you what you’re writing because if it’s interesting to you then probably no one else has says it, and the way you’re saying it is an interesting way that people can engage with, so that would be the first piece of advice. Then, if you have really good content and really good frameworks people are going to want the book as a souvenir even if they’ve heard you speak. Even if they’ve seen your video. They’re going to say, ”I love this idea, I want the book,” and they may or may not read it, but they like having it on their shelf. They like being able to refer back to it. Sometimes I think … I’ve found with books that I really like, business books, sometimes just looking on my shelf and seeing a spine reminds me, “Oh I should be, you know, whatever. I should be Blue Oceaning. I should be Good To Greating. Yes, of course, I should you know.”
Alison Jones: That’s so true isn’t it? It’s like a little shorthand. You see the spine and you immediately remember what you learned from that book. Yes, I hadn’t thought of that, I love that idea. Yes.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes. Yes, and I think that for me at least, and I know not every business author is like this, but for me I didn’t write the book to sell a lot of books and make money as a book author. I wrote the book because I’m a consultant, and I wanted people to have that kind of one pound business card to understand this is Robbie Baxter and this is how she frames the challenges in the business world, and if we worked with her this is how she looks at things, or if we can’t afford to work with her this is how we might be able to apply the principles ourselves. Different people have different ideas, and I found lots of people have bought the book. Which is great, but what’s really exciting to me is a lot of people are using the concepts.
Alison Jones: Yes, and of course that’s the way the economics work. Book publishing was always ever a very low margin business. You’re never going to make, I’m never going to make, very few people make significant money directly off the revenue of the sales of the book, but look at the return of investment in terms of what it does for your business and the clients it brings in and the fees you can charge. That’s the interesting piece isn’t it?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes, I think so.
Alison Jones: Yes, brilliant. Well I was going to ask you what one piece of advice you’d give to the first time business book author, but I’m guessing write a good book is probably just about covers it.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Well, that seems … Yes well I would definitely say it … I mean I’ve definitely seen people, especially business people who’ve … I’ve heard people say this. Just write a book. Just write a book then you can say you’ve written a book. You can give it to people. Don’t worry if you don’t sell any. I don’t like that. I think write a good … It’s so much work even to write a bad book that…
Alison Jones: …You might as well write a good one.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: You should write a good one, but the second piece of advice that I would give people is to start thinking about how you’re going to market it before you finish writing it because the people that you mention in the book. The people, in some cases, that help you write the book, they’re going to want the book, so you want to really think about are there things that you can do in the book to actually make it really useful for the people you’re trying to reach. Either as people that you want to sell consulting or business to, or even as people that you want to be partners with you and help you, so when you think about that … While I was writing my marketing plan I’d get ideas for the book. I’d think well I’m going to go reach out to that person and I’d think, “Huh, that’s a media company. I have no media examples,” or “Huh, I am thinking about reaching out to all these technology companies. I don’t even talk about technology in the book. I need a chapter on technology,” right, and so it kind of spurs your thinking to do the two in tandem.
Alison Jones: Yes that’s brilliant advice, and I always think actually writing the book is kind of phase one, and then marketing the book is phase two. They’re both indispensable, and they’re actually very closely related aren’t they? Just as creative as well, I think.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes absolutely. Absolutely, and I think though that … I didn’t start writing the marketing plan until fairly late in the process, and I wish I had started a little bit earlier, but it was really, really helpful because when I’d start to think about where do I want to speak, or who do I want to partner with, or what kinds of clients do I hope to get? Each one of those questions would remind me of things that I needed to do to fix the book, and so then I ran out of time because the book was due on September first, and so I had to submit the book, and I wasn’t really done with the marketing stuff.
Alison Jones: Yes the deadline comes and it’s got to go hasn’t it? There’s obviously another book in there. I love that about putting the marketing into it. It’s interesting. I run a 10-day business book proposal challenge, and it’s so fascinating. Most of the people who come on it are at a fairly early stage. They’ve got an idea, and they don’t quite know what to do with it, and so they come on the challenge, and I help them put together a proposal document. Of course, the proposal document includes the marketing plan, and it’s one of the days that people are most resistant about, and they’re all, “I haven’t even written the book yet, I don’t want to,” but actually every single time everybody goes, “Wow, that was so useful. I am so much more clearer now on what I need to do, and who it’s for, and why, and who I need to reach out to.” Getting that thinking done at a really early stage, I completely agree with you, it’s massively helpful, and you’re going to end up writing a much more useful book.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Well you know the other thing Alison that you remind … I totally agree, and I think people are lucky that they’re working with you on their book proposals because a lot of people don’t think about this, but I was thinking about the consulting work that I do. Most of my career I’ve been at the intersection of strategy and marketing, and I think one of the biggest mistake that companies make as well is that they save marketing until the end. They think of marketing as something that happens after the product’s created and then what ends up … If you think about the word marketing, it comes from the word market which means understanding the people that are going to buy it. If you really are a good marketer you don’t need advertising or PR because you’ve created something that the market needs, and the market will find out about, and word of mouth will take care of it. That’s really good marketing because you’ve hit the nail on the head so well with the product that you don’t need to do much to publicize it.
Alison Jones: Yes, and that holds true for books as well, of course.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Absolutely. If you write a book that is going to solve someone’s problem or help them achieve a goal that’s really important to them, you probably have to find that first person to buy it, but then it will just catch on like wild fire. Because if you’re solving a problem or helping people achieve something that’s important people are going to talk about it. People are going to search for it.
Alison Jones: Yes, and that’s the holy grail isn’t it?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes absolutely, but again if you focus on your marketing plan when you’re writing your proposal, and you’re really, really clear on “I’m helping people that have this problem, and here’s how I’m going to help them, and here’s how I know I can help them,” people are going to want the book.
Alison Jones: Brilliant. I’m going to end it there because I’m looking at the time. I literally could talk to you all day. I’m going to have to stop it there…
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Well, I’m having a great time too, Alison.
Alison Jones: It’s good isn’t it? I think we’ve got very similar ideas on books and stuff, but before I go I just wanted to get from your brain, your fabulous connected brain, who do you think would be a great guest for The Extraordinary Business Book Club? Somebody with something interesting to say about the business of business books.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Yes, so I think a fabulous guest would be Mark Levy. He’s the person that I was mentioning to you that helped me when I was stuck in the middle of writing my book. When I got to this point where I was halfway done and I was bored reading it, and I called Mark and hired him actually, and I told him. I said, “I’m halfway done. I have five more chapters I’m supposed to rewrite, but I’m already bored and I can’t think of anything else to say,” and he said, “If you’re bored writing it everybody’s going to be bored reading it. Write for yourself. Put aside your proposal. Put aside your outline and write stuff that is interesting to you.” He has a whole approach to finding your big, sexy idea, and how to write something that is the most interesting thing about you.
Alison Jones: Oh, I love that. Okay. I will get in touch with him, and I’ll say you sent me, and before you were talking earlier you’d mentioned somebody else as well. Who was that?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Oh yes, so the other person is Alan Weiss, and Alan is my mentor in my consulting life, and he’s written dozens of books. Probably the most well-known is the Million Dollar Consultant, and he is a big believer … He pushed me for so long to write a book and said, “If you’re going to be an independent consultant what you really are is a thought leader. What you’re really selling is your unique perspective of how you can make the world a better place. How you can improve your client’s condition.” He’s a really, really disciplined writer. He writes every day. He’s really prolific, and most of his stuff you haven’t seen anywhere else which is hard to do. To write every day and have it all be really original? I think that your audience would really enjoy hearing how he writes. How he creates metaphor. How he can be provocative. He has a lot of tactics that he uses in his writing that make his writing more interesting to read, and I think it’s pretty great.
Alison Jones: Excellent. Well, two fantastic recommendations. Thank you for that. I will follow them both up. Brilliant. Robbie, if people want to find out more about you and more about The Membership Economy where do they go?
Robbie Kellman Baxter: They can obviously read the book Membership Economy.
Alison Jones: I do recommend that by the way.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Thank you. They can go to Twitter, @Robbiebax, just like Robbie Baxter, my name. They can go to www.membershipeconomy.com, and they can Google me. I’m very easy to find.
Alison Jones: You are, and I have to say as an Alison Jones I always envy people with nice, distinctive names. There’s about a billion Alison Joneses in the world.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Well, it’s so funny because it’s … I go by Robbie Kellman Baxter which is my maiden name, and it’s a funny story Alison because when I Googled my own name there’s a Robbie Baxter Auto in New Zealand. Biggest auto dealership in the country, and in the United States there’s Robbie Baxter cosmetic dentistry, and so I had to use my middle name, my maiden name to be distinguished. At this point, my body of work is big enough that I usually beat those guys out.
Alison Jones: Oh, you’ve topped them out in Google. Excellent. That must have been a great day. This poor guy in New Zealand’s going, “Who is this woman? Why is she getting all my traffic?”
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Right. Right. “My car sales have gone down!”
Alison Jones: He should hire you. You’d be unstoppable together. You could get ALL the traffic. Fantastic. Oh, it was so much fun talking to you Robbie. Thank you very much for speaking to us today.
Robbie Kellman Baxter: Oh, it’s been a pleasure.