For those who create comics part-time, Anthony and Keith make the call on which is more important: "reputation" or "personal branding."
Anthony caught us up a bit on his latest Brawn project. Specifically, he was using an online job source to get some small artistic assistance, but in two cases it didn't work out. These two persons were virtually unrated on the service he used, but Anthony's budget was limited and, besides, he had similar needs met in the past. This time, however, things didn't work out as hoped. Keith joked that Anthony was spoiled by his first experience, in that it was so successful and all that Anthony hoped it could have been.
Keith explored the differences between having a pseudo-business (like Hurm Studio or Cranium Comics) with its own reputation versus promoting one's own name as a personal brand.
Keith noted that in the print and publishing field, as is Anthony's primary pursuit, the business identity and reputation carries a lot of weight. On the other hand, Keith has interests in the online gaming industry and webcomics, and he pondered that promoting one's own name over a business name might help connect him with people who are interested in his work. Will he be switching from people seeing "Hurm" an anonymous business that "hasn't made it" to "Keith Quinn is a guy whose work I sometimes hear about and like," if either is even perceived of in that way.
Keith has been considering promoting his "actual name as someone who works on a variety of interesting projects" moreseo than "a company name that includes a variety of non-standard projects." It's a subtle difference, but one that perhaps successful comic freelancers have been taking advantage of for years. Consider that people know Scott Kurtz as a successful creator who makes the PvP webcomic and Leo Laporte as a broadcaster who uses the web as his primary medium. People see them as creators who get involved with interesting projects, and don't put much interest toward their studio or company names.
Anthony and Keith chatted a bit about Google Buzz and similar "lifestream" tools methods. They wrapped up by mentioning a possible meet & greet at a local comic shop. They're both intrigued by it's middle ground between the "larger than life" aspects of a convention and the one-on-one feel of a bookstore or library signing.