Ch. 16 – Takeaways – Critical Thinking

Updated October 16, 2013

Doc Sheldon



You’ll decide which tidbits will be your takeaways from Critical Thinking. But I’m going to offer some notes that you might want to think about, by Chapter:


1.       Learn how to fish

  • Critical Thinking isn’t intended to teach you what to think, but how to think.

2.       Challenges

  • Internet marketing now encompasses more disciplines than in the past.
  • Engagement, client education and awareness play an increasing role in IM.
  • Changes such as the weighting of the link profile,, increasingly tighter budget constraints, attribution requirements, the every-broadening selection of social media platforms, negative perception of the IM industry and other distractions all make it more difficult to focus efforts where most needed.

    Read more

Ch. 15 – Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff


I think this may be the toughest question of the entire batch. Given the burgeoning number of people calling themselves guru, expert and ninja these days, there’s a hell of a lot of chaff and precious little wheat to be found in the SEO industry.

But wheat there is! It’s just finding it that’s challenging.

Early in my SEO self-education, my method was to engage as many people as possible, in as many different venues as possible, and observe how they present their case, and how other people respond to them. As you might imagine, I heard a lot of conflicting points of view, and more than a few instances turned into exchanges of insults.

It didn’t take long to recognize the folks that made reasonable claims in a reasonable fashion. Likewise, I quickly learned to spot those that were as full of crap as a Christmas turkey. With time, my bullshit detection abilities developed sufficiently to spot a lot of the manure-pushers. But those are two different extremes. Like a classic bell-curve, the vast majority fall between the extremes, and those are often harder to classify.

Read more

Ch. 14 – Which is your Font of Wisdom?

Which is Your Font of Wisdom?


From my standpoint, the most reliable source of information is that which only offers what is known to be true. Opinions are fine, but they should be couched as just that… opinion. Opinions, however, usually won’t stand the scrutiny of someone on a fact-finding mission.

I rarely seek facts from others. I may ask their opinion, suggestion or observation, but I tend to tune out those that present them as facts. A fact is something that can be independently substantiated, and if the source is reliable, I’ve found that they’ll usually offer that substantiation up front. If I am looking for facts, I’m more likely to ask for a reference where I can find the information myself.

The blogs that I most enjoy reading are those that present their opinion and offer the evidence that led them to it. They make me think it through, and the result will usually carry more weight than simply stating their opinion or offering the evidence, separately.

Bill Slawski, for instance, in his dissection of patents, will cite certain aspects of the patent application, present the possible alternative interpretations that he sees there, and then offer his opinion as to which interpretation is most credible. That’s ideal, in my opinion. He makes me think, he teaches me something in the process and he makes it quite clear that his opinion is only that… an opinion.

Read more