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So this week, I did a couple webinars with my good friend Don Crowther. We had a great time, and people seemed to like what we shared – they were actually raving about it. And then I did that thing we all love to do (even though maybe we shouldn’t)… I got sucked into the comments. 

I couldn’t help myself… there was this crazy thread with people who were in this semi-serious debate about whether or not we were live. And it got me to thinking about people who “watch” vs people who “do”…

And here’s the link I mentioned in the video:

Video Transcript and Relevant Links

So I just did this training. It was called the Five Ways to Double Your Sales with Webinars, and I did it as a webinar, so I guess it was sort of meta. It was really cool. I did it three times in two days, and I just did this yesterday. And loved it. It was fantastic. It was one of the coolest trainings I've done. I did it with my friend Don Crowther.

Everything about it was super, super cool. And as part of it, we had what's known as a Chatroll, so all of the attendees… And we had a lot of attendees. We completely filled it up. People couldn't get in. It was a completely maxed out the lines. And so in the Chatroll, people can actually make comments, and they can see all the comments from everyone else. So they're watching us on the screen, and they could also see all these comments flying by, and of course I can see them as well.

And so the way that the training worked is I did a section, and then Don did a section. I did a section. Don did a section. Back-and-forth a few times like that. And so I really wasn't watching the Chatroll when I was presenting. To be completely present, I just turned it off. Shutdown the window, so I could just be completely present.

But while Don was on, I was curious to see how everything was landing, how the training was landing with the attendees, how everything was going, so I would open up that chat window and watch. And it was pretty funny because when I opened it up, there's this debate going on in the Chatroll. People are watching the training or ostensibly watching the training, and they're having this discussion, and this big discussion was whether it was actually a live training, or this was just a video, and we were pretending it was live.

So it was sort of humorous for me to be sitting there live, doing this live presentation, watching a whole bunch of people discussing whether it was live or whether we were faking it. So this brought up a whole bunch of different thoughts. 

One of them was like, what difference does it make really whether it's live or not live? I mean in one sense I get people are interested whether we're trying to fake it or not, but on the other hand, if we're delivering a really great training, and I think we did deliver a great training based on the comments that came in, then does it really matter whether it's live or not?

And then this other thing started kicking in for me, and that was this idea that it was almost like a spectator sport for the people watching. They were more interested in analyzing the nuances of whether we were faking it or not, or whether it was live or not, and all the nuances of what we were doing on the training. Because we gave a full out training, and then we made an offer for our new training program.

And so people are sitting there watching, and they're more watching as spectators. And I'm like, well, that's interesting because there are times when I enjoy spectator sports. I'm not a huge spectator sport fan. I would more prefer to be doing it, getting out there, and doing it. Like we just had those NBA Playoffs and those Finals. That was absolutely amazing and had me riveted. It was just incredible human drama playing out, so I get the idea of spectator sports.

But really, is that the thing you want to be doing – opening up your email and clicking on links, and going to watch videos, and trying to analyze whether they're live or not instead of actually absorbing the wisdom, absorbing the training? And I guess it's just… we sort of live in a meta world, and that term meta is like the discussion about the discussion. And maybe this video is meta because I'm discussing the discussion about the discussion of my training.

But the reality is that I think there are a lot of people that are more into being spectators, and I think you might want to think about moving away from spectating and moving into doing. Because I remember when I first started out, and it took me awhile to get started, and I remember every step of the way. As I grew my business, and then I got comfortable, and then I sort of could shift into spectating.

It's always easier to be a spectator. It's always easier to sort of be in the background and act like you're too cool for school, and act like you're just so brilliant that you can figure out all these little marketing tips, the secret sauce between the tricks that I'm trying to pull on you.  Or maybe you could just step into it and actually do something.

Do you want to be a spectator? It's always easier. 

I mean if you watch this, and it turns out that, “Hey, it's not live,” does that make it easier to turn off, and step away, and not do anything? I don't know. Or is it maybe this is how you fill your day is by just watching and thinking about the possibilities, but you never actually do anything.

I mean the reason I do these videos is to move you into action whether you're just starting out, or whether you've got an amazing business, an amazing presence out there already, and just to challenge you to step further and to have a bigger vision for your future than you do. That's how I think of my job.

But yeah, that's the question. What area of your life are you a spectator? 

When I'm watching an NBA game, I'm a spectator. I don't aspire. I don't expect that I'm going to be in the NBA next year. But what areas of your life are you just a spectator where you would actually like to be participating? And isn't it time to stop spectating and be a participant? Isn't it time to stop spectating and be creative, go create something?

So that's all I got for you. Oh, by the way, I'll put a link down below to the replay of that webinar we did. So it was really awesome. It was a fantastic training. I think you'll learn a lot if you watch it. But also, I think this replay, we've got the Chatroll. You can actually watch the little debate about whether it was live or not. (no chatroll actually)

So I'm Jeff Walker. Wherever you're watching this, scroll down, leave a comment for me, and let's go get ‘em this week.

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31 Replies to “Marketing as a Spectator Sport?”

  1. Jeff, I understand and take your point. This is off your main point, but you did ask why it matters whether a session is live or not. A few thoughts on this… 1) a LIVE session offers at least the possibility of making a connection with another human being 2) a LIVE session means MY question will be answered 3) a LIVE session means the presenter may say my name OR notice me. All that said, I watch and appreciate your videos often. Thanks so much for always making the old noggin’ do some thinking.

    • Hi Veronica, I agree and understand your point and agree totally.

      However, there are two sides to that coin.

      I often prefer to watch the replay for webinars because I can sometimes, as in this case, control the speed and watch it in less time. I can also rewind and watch specific parts that I want to hear again.

      Point is, there are additional considerations than just the ones you mentioned when deciding whether to watch live or watch the replay… and the value might even be greater, at least to me, in the replay.

    • Yes to all of that, needless to say I think Jeff’s point was that the attendees were more interested to find out if the session was live verses paying attention to the details of the concept being presented. I was there on this session and actually asked quite a few questions which one was answered by Don Crowther. Who doesn’t like to be there live with Jeff, but the content was more important than being live!

  2. Ha ha, yes indeed, the critics, the observers and the commentators. I write quite a lot on “Quora” I can recommend this site to any aspiring writer and identity builder out there, because it has a significant user population, 10’s of millions, and they are from all across the globe. Anyway, Quora has a huge number of people who suggest many things, and comment about web site building, projects, planned ideas, all kinds of criticisms and comments. Very few of these people seem to do very much about their ideas or plans and they have a great deal to tell you about them! It seems this ‘might do’ attitude is very prevalent, very common!
    Taking action is risky, it exposes you and makes you open to failure. Taking action requires having faith and confidence, it seems there are a lot of people who hold opinions, not many who execute on them.

    • Yes Mike, well said. In my in case it’s to often the mind whispers, “you do this, you do that”. This mind of mine loves grand planning.

      So can relate to your comment.

      Much appreciation,
      Jim Hughes

  3. Hi Jeff. I was one of the people who was there live so let me give you some feedback from where I was watching. I knew it was live. I had been waiting for this moment for days. There was a very strong sense of connection, for the first time I was in your presence in real time! I don’t watch webinars that often, it was all childlike excitement for me. The airwaves were buzzing with that special launch feeling. It was like Christmas Eve when I was four years old. I didn’t know that you could filter out the chat roll. At first it was exciting to watch people introduce themselves from all over the world like Don said. Then I noticed someone questioning if it was live so I dived in to reassure them. Both actions. Both spontaneous..Hey I can actually add to this live in real time, wanting to build the fire so to speak…and then Don read out my comment and I was over the moon and then I came over shy and a little shamed. I just wanted to get this out of the way. Its an absolute honour to have been able to dive in and have the chance to put my heart and soul into what you’re cooking.

  4. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” — Roosevelt

  5. Hi Jeff,
    I am one of your many silent followers since 2011. You have remained consistent and I have admired that your work is grounded with a heart to help always. Thanks a bunch.
    I watched the replay yesterday and was deeply grateful for the content shared. Took tons of notes.
    I believe some people have chosen the role of being commentators and spectators while we go on in lifes journey to build lasting legacies.
    Keep the good job going. That’s why you are one of the very few trusted ones in the industry.

  6. Chat rolls drive me crazy. Not only do I find them distracting, but generally a complete waste of time. Your observation is a prime example. Who cares if it’s live or not if you’re there to glean valuable information? I don’t get it why that would be important. I no longer have the chat roll in view when I invest my time to watch a webinar. My time is too valuable.

    • I agree Josie. I almost always turn the chat off. I often actually prefer to watch the replay of webinars for reasons I mentioned above in Veronica’s comments.

      Mainly, it often gives me more control and I can watch it in half the time.


  7. Is so true about being present. Similar to you I was getting caught up in the comments and I just got to the point where I wasn’t even listening to what material was. Luckily I caught myself in this situation, shut down the comments and was able to be present in the teaching. Thank you so much to you and Don for presenting and sharing your knowledge and experience with us.

  8. Hi Jeff, Monte Stewart from Pagosa Springs here, working in the ukulele market. Great comments about spectators and participants. At the end, before I could get to the comments section below… the follow-up video started playing.

    It was titled, “Just Get Started! Moving from Learning to Doing…” This young looking guy started talking and it sounded kind of like you. Oh wait… it was you… in April 2013. (LOL)

    Don’t know if you somehow chose this particular follow-up video or YouTube’s algorithms chose it, but it was very fitting.

    I did watch the WFF seminar and did join the program.

    Here’s the crux of my comment. I’m still trying to get from this “learning to doing” point. Got lots of learning (I think I was an original member of your 2005 PLF launch– my first go ’round in IM).

    Seems I remember this big promotion from John Reese or some other GURU about this “great new thing” Product Launch Formula. If I remember correctly it was in a big, white, three ring binder with a fold out mind/map of the process… I kept it for years and years.

    Anyway, I am getting closer to “Doing” and the main reason, besides going further in debt, that I ALMOST DID NOT buy was because I’ve been really focused on Russell Brunson’s concepts in Dot.Com Secrets and Expert Secrets.

    I’ve just about got a Free+Shipping campaign ready to launch with the final goal to lead folks to a webinar called “Ukulele Drills and Skills for Mastery.”

    I’m hoping Webinar Funnel Formula will help me do an even better job of putting a webinar campaign together than Russell’s training alone.

    Anyway, the thought struck me… the comment “moving from learning to doing” is very analogous to going from “knowing to mastering” when playing a musical instrument.

    One can know and understand how to play something but actually playing that same thing fluently (the mastery part) is a completely different thing.

    To master a skill (or a piece of music) one must start by playing slowly enough that it can be played without mistakes, and build neural pathways to the point that it can be played up to speed without thinking about what the fingers/wrist/etc. are actually doing… that’s “Mastery.”

    In many ways it’s the same concept you are talking about in the video. Just do it at the point you can do it now and gradually improve your speed (or proficiency) until you’re at the mastery level.

    I’ve actually begun approaching my Online Marketing with this “Mastery” concept in mind and it has helped me make progress.

    I’m looking forward to “Mastering” the concepts included in Webinar Funnel Formula.

    I would not have joined for fear of getting bogged down in more “learning” except for the fact that I’m confident that if you are involved it will be worth taking a bit of a detour from my original plans for creating my Ukulele Drills and Skills for Mastery webinar.

      • Been playing guitar professionally as a singer/songwriter solo type artist since 1979.

        Started playing ukulele about five years ago. Been focused on it since then. There’s quite an ukulele movement going on worldwide.

        Don’t know that I’d say I’m an ukulele “Master” but I’m certainly serious about it and do a professional job.

        Hoping to launch my course called Drills and Skills for Mastery soon which teaches a brain based process for learning specific skills in the most efficient manner on ones ukulele journey no matter what level the player might be. The skills might be different but the process is the same.

        The same process applies to guitar, any instrument and in many ways to online marketing as well.

  9. Just this morning I was considering the appropriate role to play on an emerging public policy issue where observer is much safer (and sometimes a better choice) than being visible in the debate. I’m a believer in synchronicity … listening to your thoughts helped me to decide that the stakes are high right now in society and I need to move into participant role. Thanks!

    ps The webinar training was a great introduction for me … I would have benefited live or recorded though I enjoyed seeing you live and on a new topic. I’m a PLF owner, soon to be active doer.

  10. Great analogy, Jeff. My business improved when I stopped watching sports as much and made my copywriting business for authors and coaches MY sport. As for a whether a webinar is live or not – it reminds me of something I was taught as a young baseball player: “It doesn’t matter if your coach is yelling or whispering. What matters is whether or not you’re listening to him and learning from what he has to say.”

  11. Sophie Lechner


    Hi Jeff,

    I agree it was a bit distracting to see that whole discussion about whether you were live or not. But I understand and I think it’s important you do too. You may not realize how many people put on a webinar and launch it with fanfare and then it turns out it’s a recording. I am fine with a recording released at a specific time. Whatever the format is is fine but it’s the faking i cannot abide. So it is important to me, and others I’m guessing, to know that it really is live but only because of TRUST. If i sign up for a live webinar and i find out it’s a recording, then i cannot trust this person and will never do business with them. I also agree about the point made earlier about connection. That is important too.
    I hope this helps.

    • I agree 100% This is why I, too, was curious if it was a live webinar. I wanted to know if I posted something, is there a chance it might be read? I would say the majority of webinars that I attend like this are NOT live …but presenters PRETEND they are live. Super annoying. If it’s a replay, who cares! I despise when they treat us like we are fools and ask us to post and pretend like we are going to get a real response. I have never given any of those people my money….but Jeff, I have definitely invested in your programs. Love your authenticity and what you see is what you get! No faking it..yay! It’s truly rare to find people (especially in the marketing world!) who are so genuine and authentic these days.

  12. The chatroll wasn’t acting properly for me – it kept reloading with earlier comments. If that was happening with others, it may have led to some people being distracted by the repeating comments, and to wonder whether it was live or not.

    I couldn’t have cared less if it was recorded or live…because it was effective. And that’s all that counts for me. Thank you for the hard work!

  13. Thanks Jeff. This is deep – we can always go down the easy road of comfort zones and become expectators. And at done point not want to reach new levels for fear of criticism. This video was an eye-opener. Thank you!

  14. David Crabill


    The fact is that many entrepreneurs are using tactics to trick people into thinking that something is live, when it actually is not. That’s why honest marketers have to deal with things like this.
    I recently attended a webinar for a copywriting “guru” who has a highly automated funnel. I signed up for an event time, he pretended like the webinar was live, and even had a chat that I could “participate” in. My comments appeared alongside everyone else’s, but I was actually looking at a replay of a webinar and a replay of the chat. He even mentioned chat comments to “prove” that it was live.
    Let me tell you… although I was fine watching a pre-recorded event and getting value from it, I definitely didn’t appreciate the lack of honesty. And it was a strange feeling when I realized that the only person attending it live was me. Any chance of me buying his product went out the window when I realized that this is not the type of person I would want to learn from.
    And that’s why I still follow you after many years. I always knew your event was live, if for no other reason than the fact that I know you always keep it real, and have high standards for your business. The long-term approach, not the shortsighted one. Anyone who thought that it wasn’t live clearly has not been following you for very long.

  15. Steve Newton


    Simple solution Jeff. Next time this pops up and the opportunity presents, flash up a copy of the current day news paper. That will free up some folks from focusing in on whether an event is actually live or not, and allow them to divert that focus on to the content. Just a thought…Newt…

  16. Jeff, Thanks for all your insights and for always sharing your point of view. Also, thanks to the community for your comments. Loved this discussion.

    I watched the webinar later on on the recorded version because it conflicts with my working hours, and it was great to see in my own pace and schedule. I’m becoming a doer with the PLF (from scratch = Zero product). I agree with your point: it is a matter of how much value you are receiving and not about the live or not live webinar. Imagine youtube will think that live was critical to deliver value to people :s .. we would have missed the millions of valuable videos that are posted today.

    again. just wanted to thanks again for your valuable insights.

  17. I’m one of the people who asked if it was live because I hate when people do an interactive replay, try to fool you into making you think it’s live, and then then here you are engaging, posting, responding and asking questions (thinking/hoping you might get a response) but then you realize there’s nobody on the other end to acknowledge you. To me it’s about being authentic and honest with your audience. If a person tries to “fool” me into making me believe one thing when it’s really another, I lose respect for that person. I don’t mind video replays…but it’s when they act like you are signing up for an interactive training with live comments/discussion and you realize it was recorded weeks, months or years ago and really isn’t live, that really irks me. To me it’s not so much as spectating, but it’s knowing that people are being honest and authentic with me. Again, I have no problem if it’s a replay, but some people try to fool you and tell you to post, ask a question, reply, etc. and then you realize there is nobody on the other end. They act all interested in learning about you, where are you from, what your big questions are ….and they probably never even read all those comments from the zillions of replays they do. I do want value, but if I’m going to invest time and money into a person, I also want to feel and believe that this person is authentic and honest. I love your stuff and highly respect you, Jeff, but if you had done these tactics like many others do and tried to make us think a replay was actually live,..pretending to engage us in conversation when you weren’t actually there.. I would have lost a little bit of respect for you. I don’t care if you are live or not, but I do care if you are honest and authentic with us.

    • And I want to add that I’m an action taker! I most definitely wasn’t just a spectator! I signed up before your webinar even ended!

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