Erik Qualman – The Dale Carnegie of the digital world

19. January 2016 – Katharina Schlangenotto

Starbucks, Facebook, Google – you name it!

Erik Qualman can’t be overlooked, even without green glasses and on a gigantic stage. He is one of the big players and has given international keynotes with companies such as Starbucks, IBM, Sony PlayStation, Facebook, M&M/Mars, Cartier, Chrysler, Montblanc, Nokia or Google.

Everyone wants to listen to the man whose latest book “What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube” had been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize 2015. Maybe it is about time to mention that he is also part of the Top 50 MBA Professors.

Fast Company lists Professor Erik Qualman as a Top 100 Digital Influencer. Well, what is this man with this impressive CV really like, live on stage? My first impression is that he has something modest about him. Maybe as it is often the case with very large people who, inevatably, have to look down on others and don’t seem to particularly like it. When he smiles, he looks like the boy next door, extremely personable and approachable . In 90 minutes, he speaks fully focused on “his” subject socialnomics and is now very far away from that “boy next door” image.

World of Mouth

If Facebook was a country, he says, it would be the third largest country in the world. Silence. What used to be “word of mouth” had now become “world of mouth”, meaning that what is spread out in the social web might conceivably be readable and viewable in the whole world. So it is equally important to say and write something that is worth sharing. Especially for companies. What counted were relationships much more than technologies. It would all come down to building trust through listening, interacting and reacting.

Listen, interact, react

It is not about dull selling – and by the way never was, Erik Qualman says and gives an example: “Imagine , you’d go to a party and tell everyone at once how great you are. What do you think will happen? Exactly, you will probably end up being alone very soon as everyone is just bored.” It would be exactly the same in the social web: who obviously wants to deliver the blunt, would surely lose. Because people want to have some fun and want to be taken serious.

Again, it comes down to listening interacting and then reacting. He also stresses that social media is not about replacing face to face contact. In the contrary, it would simply close the gap during those times, when, due to distance or time, personal contact is just impossible. More than 70 percent of the generation Y and Z claim today, when asked, that they would rather lose their sense of smell than their mobile phone. Times have already changed and even though no one exactly asked for these changes, they are here. It is now on us to adopt to the revolution and to see and use its’ opportunities.

Social Media – a fad?

“Is social media a fad?” asks Qualman and has already given the answer. For sure not. And you believe him. He obviously knows what he is talking about. Furthermore, he has the talent to bring across complicated content in a simple and easy to understand way. No surprise that he is celebrated with standing ovations at the end of his speech. Erik Qualman is a must for anyone concerned with social media. And who isn’t in these days?

If you want to see Erik Qualman on your stage, call or write an email to

Erik Qualman

Disruptive Innovation, Future Trends, Socialnomics & Digital Leadership