The early days of Hootsuite was a wild barrage of excitement and activities including a lot of semi-related speaking gigs which were on “my own time” but often relating to experience gained while doing start-up companies including this particular social media software project.
In this example, my co-conspirator and fellow vice president (me community, and him business development) Greg Gunn went back to Greg’s hometown of Victoria, BC (where i later lived for a bit) for a “Experience Tectoria” event which ran in tandem with the fantastic Rifflandia festival (for which we received VIP passes and a fancy hotel).
There was abundant food and beer on offer during the talk, and at the end I was given a case of “bomber” bottles which, shockingly and only time ever, I had to decline as I had an opportunity to rush over to the music festival to catch my buddy Dan Mangan perform – at the time a rising star, now a solid presence, Juno-award winner and a start up founder himself.
As part of the programming, Reggie Watts also performed and had a chance to hang out with him for a “session” plus Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips came to check out the event (but sadly wasn’t at our talk – though i did say hello and later rocked out to his band’s stellar outdoor performance) – I also judged a start-up pitch panel, choosing a winner and went on to be at on their advisory board (Kiind / Giftbit).
Audio: Some years afterwards, some video clips surfaced, I extracted some audio, cleaned it up and released for educational use as Keynote Aboard a Boat.
PS Goes without saying neither Greg nor I are with Hootsuite anymore.
The article ran as a full page on the Entertainment section and you can explore two versions online in both the Technology and Entertainment sections. The print edition includes a screenshot of the Behind the Scenes vidcast show with Shaun and Eric, while the online version features a video with Director of Fan Communities Dave Olson giving a tour of MovieSet.com (including Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus).
The article kicks off by asking: Care to wander onto the set of a movie shoot, chat with the actors, see the inside story on the stunts?
Well, do you?
The article quotes the erstwhile leader of the “social media renegades,” Dave Olson, who relates the focus on fan participation as the key to traffic growth and enthusiasm for the site, using our recent Death Warrior campaign as an example (links/snippets added):
“It empowers fans to go out and evangelize and start the conversation,” said Olson, who became director of fan communities for Movieset in January, after successful stints at a number of Vancouver digital companies including Raincity Studios where he curated an award-winning blog and helped launch Phones for Fearless, a campaign to support eastside artists and residents.
“The movie business has been slow to come to this style of marketing,” said Olson. “It is bubbling up from the grass roots.”
Movieset.com is a boon for indie films and it’s attracting attention from larger studios.
For small very specialized films, such as Death Warrior, a mixed martial arts film that included livestream video among its offerings for fans, Movieset allowed it to find a core audience that shared a passion for the action film.
“We found out where fans of that genre hang out, we communicated with them in their language and we invited them to take part,” said Olson. “We even gave away the bloody sweatshirt that Georges St-Pierre was killed in to a fan at the end of it.”
Finally, Ms. Shaw’s article outlines some of the other tactics we’ve used to bring movie fans behind the scenes and a call to action for movie makers of all kinds ~ from indies to majors ~ to hop aboard the MovieSet cluetrain:
Indeed, there are now excellent examples which demonstrate the power of MovieSet’s two-headed monster. Cast and Crew members are employing our tools to streamline their daily workflow, they deliver content directly to their movies page including still photos, videos, news, or blog posts.
Once uploaded, the rich content gives the social media conversationalists an opportunity to reach out to an engaged community of fans interested in the film. Fans then become active contributors by following, supporting and commenting throughout each phase of production. And so on, and so on …
In 2000, my colleagues and I sold a remarkable Internet service provider company (OlyWa.net) to it what turned out to be an evil (CLEC) telephone company (ATG) with big promises and lousy execution by entitled old bastards in Northern California… There’s a longer story there but… for now: the next year it was clear they wanted rid of us “Internet hippies” and targeted me as the “weak link” and I made it easy for them by well, roasting out at a company sponsored golf tournament… I mean it was wasn’t really a cultural fit.
Anyway, they called me in to a vice president’s office (who clearly had serious Vietnam-induced PTSD issues) with an bumbling HR guy who had come up from California to hand me a form to take a drug test. I had showed up late for the appointment, dressed in overalls, listened to their nonsense, took the form, and considered options.
My friend/manager was with me, he immediately put me on “administrative leave,” I then contacted/met a lawyer I knew through my hemp activism – he told me he would take care of it pro bono and best thing for me to do is lay low.
So, that night back at the hockey lounge, I fired up the then-new Priceline and basically spun the dial on somewhere to go and ended up on Belize for $420 leaving forthwith.
I arrived in Belize city, immediately switched to a small plane to a little island Caye Caulker, met a nice girl from Ohio on the plane who directed me to some cabins in the dark. I paid eight dollars for the first night, woke up the next day and went and told the boss man Ruben that I would pay in advance for 10 days but please let me know the day before so I would remember to go to the airport.
I dwelt amongst the people of the island, watching the tourists come and go, making some friends, dealing with some fakeass Rasta jerks trying to take advantage, managed a terrible in-grown toenail, learned about coconut rum, ate lobster burritos and got in the water some to swim with smalls sharks (I was still dealing with a broken wrist from a hockey injury).
Most importantly I read a mighty hardback edition of Leo Tolstoy’s classic “War and Peace” from cover to cover. My friend/manager had stopped off at a find used bookstore in Tacoma en route to dropping me off at the airport (surreptitiously) and this mighty tome became my guide as I learned that “patience and time are our greatest allies” and sometimes you have to let things burn in order to win the long game.
I came back from the sojourn expecting to be fired but the lawyer had done a fine job (in brief: realizing that everywhere in the company’s policy where “drugs” were mentioned, “alcohol” was also mentioned and as such, at the golf tournament, the company was providing Dixie cup sized shots of cheap whiskey by a golf cart all over the place putting everyone in the same violation territory as me).
The vice president guy and HR guy were furious, scolded me, offered me counselling, i smiled and nodded, and then asked me not to tell anyone in the company about this which, of course I immediately did.
A few months later we settled with the company for some sorta/ not really, graceful exit. Elsewhere in this archive are a few related newspaper articles and interviews about this incident in general.
PS This incident also sparked an extended research essay/treatise about workplace drug testing and an exploration into going to law school which fortunately, never materialized.
Tom Sawyer famously talked his gang into paying him for the privilege of whitewashinga fence while he sat by and supervised. In this talk by Dave Olson at SxSW Interactive on March 10th 2012, he shares how companies might inspire their community to crowd source projects by engaging passionate users with a mutually beneficial relationship.
This video – made from appropriately crowd-sourced photos, social posts, and other snippets + music – includes Mark Twain-period costuming, pipes, smoking jackets, board games, old-timey suitcase, mysterious envelopes, audience participation and plenty of laughs while focusing on practical tactics to rally communities with clear expectations, boundaries, rewards, and objectives and importantly – without manipulating.
3 very different project examples provide tangible advice for various campaign timelines, outcomes and audiences, and include:
* True North Media House: a long-planned (and fantastically successful), renegade self-accreditation citizen documentation project at Vancouver 2010 Olympics / Paralympics
* Phones for Fearless: a rapidly planned and deployed initiative to gather dis-used mobile phone/cameras for use by marginalized communities to tell their stories
* Hootsuite Translation: activating global cultures to speedily and accurately translate and localize a social media dashboard using a web tool… with unexpected outcomes