Mon, 28 July 2014
Introducing Mike Brooks
Mike Brooks is a podcast pioneer and marketing guru coming to the Boiling Point from Southbury, Connecticut. Our host, Greg Hemmings, met him and Dino Dogan at this past NMX (New Media Expo) and soon was on Mike and Dino’s Road to TED podcast. Check out the episode of Boiling Point with Dino Dogan here.
Mike studied IT and worked in the business for 10 years when a taekwondo school he attended was about to close up due to hard times. Mike saw this as a perfect opportunity and quit his day job in IT to help rebuild and market the martial arts school. Mike put a great deal of effort into the school and specifically its digital footprint. This was at the leading edge of when the internet was really starting to mean something for small business. Mike created content for the school in terms of blogs, social media, videos, podcasts, etc. and soon the school at six times the number of students it had when Mike first started. Others in the community started to notice and within six years other business owners would hire Mike to consult for them and duplicate his great results. After 10 years of being involved with the martial arts school, Mike sold his share back to his partner and already had a full fledged marketing consultancy firm. He hasn’t looked back since.
Mike is the owner of Nuclear Chowder, a marketing firm that designs and hosts websites, search engine optimization, guides business in social media, develops apps for mobile devices, and something we were very interested in, reputation management. So why would someone come to Nuclear Chowder to have their reputation managed? Well, imagine you get arrested for a crime you didn’t even commit. The media writes about how you may have committed this crime and its all over newspapers, television, and the web. A few months later, the case is thrown out or you are found innocent, but all that media coverage is still out there. When a client googles your name, all they see is all sorts of bad stuff, and anything positive about you is down three pages in the results. This scenario could be disastrous for people in business and can be financially crushing. However, if you contact Nuclear Chowder, Mike has a process that can bring back more of the positive content about you and drop the negative stuff. Namely, Mike would start to flood the internet with the clients own content including websites, blogs, posts to social media, pictures, videos, etc.
As mentioned before, Mike was a pioneer in the podcasting game, starting back in 2006. For Mike, podcasting is another form of marketing. Consumers on the internet want content in every medium. The more content you put out to the world, the more credible you become, and things like podcast allow you to build a rapport with your customers without ever meeting them. There are millions of blogs on the internet and endless videos on the internet, but only around 250,000 podcasts (plus or minus). Consider as well that podcasts are more intimate and personal, and it is the next best thing to actually having a conversation in someone’s living room. Mike’s suggestions for podcasters are simple. Sound like you are smiling when you are talking, try to post at the same time each week, have charisma, and be authentic. Having engaging guests is important as well as being consistent.
Return on investment may not seem apparent from loading the internet with content, but it works. Mike has been hired because of his podcast, but more often its a combination of all of the content he puts out into the world. Content can be just as good as a business referral because people truly believe you are an authority and your content builds trust.
In this episode
Mike provides copious nuggets of information about reputation management, podcasting, and good internet marketing. We learn about pattern interrupts (hint - the business name Nuclear Chowder is one in itself). Mike describes the power of cumulative content and how it benefits you and your customer. Greg and Dave realizes how the fantastic conversations on Boiling Point are educating him, our listeners, and how they are a powerful way to attract to your brand and build trust.
Mon, 21 July 2014
Introducing Steven Fisher
Steven Fisher’s LinkedIn profile calls him a creative leader, a seasoned entrepreneur, a sci-fi filmmaker, a soon to be published author, a budding craft beer maker, a slow runner, and a fast eater. With an introduction like that, you know there is a ton we could have spoken to Steven about. To save time, Greg and Dave talked to him about his upcoming book, “The Startup Equation” and his experience making his crowd funded sci-fi fan fiction flick, “Browncoats: Redemption”.
Steven brought up an important statistic that he discovered from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which is that one in six people on this planet will be entrepreneurs of some fashion by the end of the decade. With over six billion people on Earth, that means there could be over a billion entrepreneurs by 2020. Where can all of these go-getters discover their keys to success? One way is to follow the path beaten down by the successful business people before them. This was the inspiration behind Steven’s new book, which is co-authored by his wife, Ja-Nae Duane.
Steven noticed that most books about startups were exclusively about the tech space. Though this space is included in the book, he wanted to speak to people regardless if they were planning to start the next earth-shattering technology or the next tasty food truck in Houston. He found the common elements that seemed to be part of a larger equation from interviewing entrepreneurs from all over the world, in many different types of businesses, including our very own David Alston from episode two. At a very basic level, three things are important for any startup: the entrepreneur, the team built around him or her, and funding. While there is a number of parts to the startup equation, for which you will need to buy the book, Steven points out three x-factors which are passion, determination, and drive. Entrepreneurs who exemplify those x-factors, will find it difficult to fail over the long haul.
In 2008, Steven used his own passion, determination, and drive to develop a new model for crowd funded fan fiction. Steven is a fan of the ill-fated Fox sci-fi series, Firefly, which was cancelled during its first season, but developed a massive cult following. The series had such a cult following that there was also a feature film titled, Serenity. However, after Serenity, Firefly was over and left its fans starving for more content. Steven couldn’t come close to paying the licensing fees that would have been required to re-launch the series, but he was inspired by what he was seeing in fan films, so he got to work in starting the process of making “Browncoats”. A friend of his wrote the script and they made a group on Facebook, from which 80 people came from numerous states for the first table read.
Steven knew he was on to something, but did something very interesting to fund the film. He set up a non-profit which allowed the film to be made without licensing. He then chose five charities that were supported or created by the original cast and crew of Firefly, to receive any profits from the film. This engaged both the fans of the series and the former members from Firefly. In the end, Steven and his crew were able to raise $150,000 for charity and college scholarships, in the time before Kickstarter and Indiegogo. What a novel model for fan filmmaking that created content for the fans and by the fans while touching the lives of others.
In this episode
We hear the tales from Steven interviewing entrepreneurs from around the world for his new book including Jonathan Fields from the Good Life Project. We become browncoats (Firefly fans) and get inspired by the fan film story. Greg is empowered by the idea of building something people want and those people will embrace and support you. Dave is energized by the statistic that one in six people will one day be an entrepreneur and asks Steven a question inspired by Jonathan Fields.
Tue, 15 July 2014
Introducing Yan Simard
Yan Simard woke up one morning in 2010 with a splitting headache and an idea. He doesn’t remember the source of his pain, but the idea ended up changing the course of his career. The idea was actually a memory of an idea he had about five or six years before, but now smart phone technology had progressed to a point where now the idea was feasible.
Yan spent two solid days crafting and designing and was left with the basic components of ZapTap. What’s ZapTap? It’s software that connects brands to customers in retail environments. More specifically, ZapTap allows brands to create a customized experience for customers interested in a product. The software gathers information on consumers as they shop, in a respectful way, and lets brands better know their customers. Imagine you are an avid snowboarder who is interested in buying a GoPro camera to show off on YouTube. If GoPro was a ZapTap client, you could get personalized content and videos showing other snowboarders using the product. Next your friend, the rock climber, stops by the GoPro stand, and this time he gets content geared for cliffhangers. Not only does ZapTap inform a brand to its buyers, but consumers can now make smarter buying decisions. It’s a win-win.
Within a year of his headache inspiration, Yan had incorporated a company, quit his day job, and found angel investors to get his idea on the move. Now ZapTap is working with major players of global business, most of which Yan cannot disclose, but one being one of the world’s foremost automakers from Germany. *hint, hint*
Yan is quick to dismiss the perception of tech start-up entrepreneurs as the rockstars of the 21st century. Sure you can come to work with flip flops on, but if you get into business for the sexy lifestyle as soon as you encounter your first problem, it won’t be cool anymore. Many who don’t have the focus and dedication would quit, without ever knowing the satisfaction of steering their own fate. There are ups and downs with being a tech start-up, but volatility is definitely not boring. Yan constantly keeps his eyes on the prize, both for himself and for his investors, with the goal to becoming the greatest company in his sector, or acquired.
In this episode
Greg shows of his new raspy jazz voice. Yan lets us know what it takes to be a successful tech start-up, and how to avoid distractions of new ideas while remaining focused. Yan also tells us how he was able to gain investment in a province where he wasn’t originally from and had few contacts in. Greg is reminded that if you want to be the best in the world at something, you need to remove distractions and focus. He also ponders, how many great ideas never come to fruition because of lack of confidence or other distractions. Dave believes that one day Yan will be able to try some of his other ideas, but for now his discipline will make him a success.
Mon, 7 July 2014
Introducing Shawn King
He is the Don Draper of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is a partner, president and chief creative officer for the Extreme Group. In the next few months, Canadians will see him and his wife, Jen, race across their television screens on the Amazing Race Canada. This “mad man” is Shawn King, and boy, does if have nuggets to share about creativity in business and work/life balance.
Shawn got a job in advertising after taking communication arts (graphic design) in school. He went to work with the mantra that it didn’t matter what job he was given, he was compelled to be the best at doing it. This attitude allowed him to rise through the ranks of being a designer to art director to senior art director to creative director at the Extreme Group about 12 years ago. Even during the times when he felt that he didn’t know what the hell he was doing, Shawn made a point to prove he was meant to be where he was and strive for success. This allowed him to grow with Extreme from creative director to VP to his current position.
At Extreme, Shawn balances the use of his left and right brain. He has learned the art of knowing when to use his creative side and when the process driven side must emerge. This was an essential part of how he grew in the advertising business. He describes Extreme as a creative agency that seeks to solve business problems creatively. The agency has done this through the creation of items for traditional media, as well as stunts, events, and digital and social media. Being unique or edgy can be a hard sell to more traditional corporate types, but Shawn quells the fear of risk with his “why not” attitude. Many entrepreneurs believe that it is important to find your niche in business. However, as Shawn admits, it’s difficult to stay within a niche in an area with a smaller business community and you have to be an opportunity seeker. If you want to be a player in a small business community you have to be able to help out in a lot of different ways. One example of this was an anecdote of a client Shawn was working with needing packaging for his product. Extreme isn’t a packaging company, but they are design experts, so they were open to the challenge and weren’t going to allow an opportunity to evaporate.
So how does a busy businessperson, who is also a father, and a musician, find the time to do something like compete on a reality television show? For Shawn it is all about a work/life balance. He needs to find the time for his personal passions to be in the right headspace for work. Shawn used to feel guilty about the things he needed to do for himself in order to be better at work. Extreme Group have a gym within their offices and at one point Shawn was feeling guilty about going to the gym while others were working around him and so he stopped working out at work. He discussed this guilt with his executive coach, who asked what does the business need from him most. Shawn’s answer was clarity. The coach then asked, “What gives you clarity?” For Shawn, it was going to the gym. This answer gave him the personal freedom to do the things he needed to do for himself in order to be better for others and at work.
In this episode
Shawn gives us insight into what it is like to compete on the Amazing Race and what he and his wife learned from the experience. Dave tells an anecdote about a coincidence between left and right brain thinkers. Greg sees parallels between Shawn and himself including trying out for the Amazing Race Canada. Shawn tells us about the experience, how he had to drop off the grid to be on the show, and how some of his employees thought he was in rehab instead. Dave makes a great point about taking care of yourself first, in order to take care of others by comparing it to having oxygen masks drop during an airplane ride. Greg is validated for his own lifestyle and describes how Dave helped him come up with a personal and business vision statement and how this allows him to live an integrated lifestyle.