Killing the Vanilla (or 15 Useful Things You May Not Know About Me)

Image (c) Mellissa Thomas, 2010.
Imagine reading a blog that provides you great value, but no insight about the author. You wouldn’t feel connected at all, would you? 

Sure, you’d bookmark it and revisit once in a while for new posts, but ultimately it would be a dry experience for you because you’re not emotionally invested in any way. You probably wouldn’t even recommend it to anyone you know.

Well, we writers sometimes come across as “shielded” on our blogs for two key reasons. 

For one, humans are mean creatures sometimes, so it takes cojones to expose ourselves; and once we publish something online, it’s there permanently – stored on a server somewhere for future blackmail use – so we tread very carefully.

Sometimes our second block is our content: when we’re talking about something stiff like ROI metrics, it’s probably not a good idea to inject our guacamole preference. Wrong conversation.

So just as we turn on and off certain parts of ourselves in live interactions according to context, we do it online as well. My only hope is that I haven’t come across as vanilla to you so far because of it, and if that is the case, I’m breaking out the Rocky Road today

You’ve been reading this entertainment business blog and are probably wondering who in the world the author is behind the content, so the Geek is drawing the curtain back for you to learn more.

Remember, what follows is permanent, so here you go:

1. In the event you haven’t visited the About E.i. Geek page yet, your E.i. Geek is not only a girl, but a sista. That’s me in the pic at the top left. It took me a year to grow that crown, which is why I usually stick to the look that’s on the About E.i. Geek page (which is also my Gravatar).  

2. I’m a recovered procrastinator.

Yes, you read that right. Entering the business world lit the fire under my behind, though, trust me. 

Don’t fall out of your chair yet – it gets better.

3. Your Geek is a decorated U.S. Navy veteran. I had a boring, unsexy supply job for my five years in, but ask any sailor you know about supply folks, and they’ll tell you the real truth – we’re the ones they want to befriend on any ship because we’re the gatekeepers for the things they want – we buy and sell everything, including the ship’s food.

So no, I wasn’t on the front lines, but I supplied the ships that went there.

4. Yes, your Geek is an entrepreneur as well, so I feel your pain. I dove in head first, so I’ve stumbled in major ways. Learn from my fail, okay? Don’t do what I did.

And if you’ve already made the same mistake, rest assured it only gets better from here, as long as you learn as much as you can and take action.

5. I'm terrible at "networking" in large crowds, but I'm great at connecting during one-on-one conversations. Thank God for Skype.

6. Your girl is Jamerican – born in Jamaica, raised in America (from the age of 6), and fostering entertainment business connections in both countries, so if you’re curious about Jamaica’s entertainment industry, revisit #4 above. I’ll be happy to help you.

7. Perfectionism is my evil twin. We fight a lot because she eats up a lot of my time. On the plus side, she helps me produce great work.

8. I’ve fallen in love with blogging, social media marketing, and business. I follow a growing list of thought leaders and love sharing what I learn with others who want to start or improve blogs of their own. 

Are you in that boat? Follow some of these awesome people if you haven’t already:


Copyblogger (Jon Morrow, Brian Clark, Chris Garrett, Sonia Simone)
Darren Rowse (Problogger)
James Chartrand (Men with Pens)

Writing (Copywriting and Blogging)

Social Media Marketing

Francisco Rosales (SocialMouths)


Kathy ver Eecke (Working for Wonka). Her blog is about startups, but she’s ridiculously funny. Subscribe to it and follow her on Twitter. You’ll love her, and #10 below explains why.

9. People are born with talents, but they still need practice. I’m happy to call bull on those who write off a born talent as permanently secure, as if anything you use it for will be gold.

Writing is my born talent (ask anyone that’s ever heard or read my poetry or had me edit their research papers), and I still need the practice to improve. All valuable things must practiced, because if you don’t use it, you eventually lose it.

10. I always gravitate to highly intelligent and funny people, and that’s a pretty good rule of thumb for finding friends. It’s always best to surround yourself with people you can learn from and be inspired by while laughing yourself into a restroom emergency.

Besides, humor and intelligence are two of the sexiest qualities in people. Men love smart, witty women; and women love the same thing in men. Nobody wants to date a serious dummy (pardon the harshness there).

11. I’m a grammar hound, but in live conversation I break the rules often - on purpose. My friends and family tend to find my bad grammar humorous, so I do it to tickle them. They know how I roll otherwise. 

12. My name is spelled with 2 L’s and 2 S’s. M-E-L-L-I-S-S-A. If you wish to address me in writing, please get it right. Your spell check tool will underline it red, but ignore that.

Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People teaches a very important lesson: people treasure their names because it’s one of the few things they personally own anymore. You want to turn someone off really easily and blow your chances of a good sale or connection? Blow her name. She’ll write you off real quick.

13. I’m a loquacious introvert. You probably already assumed the latter since I’m a writer, but the former tends to show in my long posts (working on that).

14. I love to share information that helps people, which is why this blog exists – to help you learn more about the entertainment business and entrepreneurship.

While in grad school, I never hesitated to share what I knew with classmates who needed help, and loved helping people study, which usually earned them better grades.

And don’t get me started on research papers. If any of my friends got less than “A” on one, I made sure to help them the next time we had to write one.

None of this is for pride or glory, mind you – I just feel good helping people get the best results they can.

15. I’m dying to know what you want to know about the entertainment industry. What are your pain points? Subscribe below to submit your ideas or questions, and you’ll get free updates, including full articles that address your inquiries.

Here’s the bottom line: I want to know you.

Yes, YOU. Seriously.

What makes you tick? What do you love to talk about? What grinds your gears? What do you need?

That’s not nosiness, I promise. I just want to know the beautiful person behind your avatar. ;)  

Let me know more about you in a comment below. Let’s connect.


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