The Boiling Point Podcast

Introducing David Meerman Scott

Sometimes you can learn aspects of business from obscure and seemingly unrelated places and people.  Like learning lessons of marketing from the Grateful Dead.  David Meerman Scott did just that.  David is an international best-selling author of several books and speaks routinely around the world.   David doesn’t like to write typical, boring marketing books though.  He looks to write about things he enjoys.

David came up with the idea of taking business concepts from the jam band, while working with his friend and CEO of Hubspot, Brian Halligan.  Hubspot is a leading online provider of marketing and sales software, but they offer a ton of free digital content as well.  Brian and David, both huge dead heads, decided to try making a fun marking webinar on the Grateful Dead.  The webinar they produced became the most popular one Hubspot had to that point, and so together they decided to write the book version. 

For those of you not in the know, the Grateful Dead was a band started in 1965 known for their eclectic style, fusing a number of different genres and using an improvisational style when preforming.  Also, The Dead were one of the few bands that allowed their fans to record their live performances, make tapes, and trade them amongst other fans.  Unlike most bands, their fans would tend to go to multiple performances because no two shows were alike.  Instead of treating their fans like consumers, the band treated them like a community and considered those in the audience part of the show.  Essentially, more than trying to suck money out of their fans, they wanted to do right by them.  They trusted the fan base like they were another member of the band, and that is why they would let them do things like tape live shows.

So what can we learn from the “Dead”, and how can we implement some of the ideas they championed in our businesses?  First, you have to be willing to let go of some content to your customers for free.  The idea is that if you give away useful information, you will generate more customers.  Second, you want to build a community around your business, not just a grouping of customers.  Your customers should feel like they are apart of the business, not just numbers or dollar signs.  You must build your community, and then serve your community, and the community will share further.  In some ways, the Grateful Dead were pioneers of viral marketing.

David doesn’t just spout these ideas; he lives by them.  To promote one of his most recent books, The New Rules of Sales and Service, David made a 180-slide power point presentation, which had the majority of the concepts he talks about in his book.  He then shared the power point for free on slide share.  By doing this, the sales of his books increased to find out the rest of the story.


In this episode

We hear how Greg met David at a speaking engagement, and how Greg one the first thing in his life just for being a hippy.  Dave has a “light bulb” moment as it comes to removing some of the barriers to service.   Also, David tells us about his book, Selling the Moon, about marketing the Apollo program, and how David recently sold its rights for a documentary.  We also hear of a few companies who had unintentionally practiced some marketing lessons from the Grateful Dead to “grate” success.

Direct download: BP030DavidMeermanScott.mp3
Category:entrepreneurship -- posted at: 4:19pm -04

Introducing Jason MacLean

Jason MacLean is the type of entrepreneur that just goes for it.  This includes opening a health and lifestyle business in an industrial town not known for patronizing such businesses.  However, Jay’s huge personality, passion, and work ethic have made his yoga studio, The Yoga Haus, a great success.

Jay originally worked with big corporate in their marketing division.  He credits a number of learning opportunities and lessons to the time he worked under someone else.  However, Jay is an entrepreneur and needed to follow his passions.  This led him to opening other businesses in the past, which emerged from his love of cooking.  Always the marketer, Jay called one such business Awful Falafel, Not so Bad Waffle, and the other Sterno Inferno.

However, the yoga business didn’t come to Jay as easily and required a bit of serendipity.  His love from yoga came from a soul searching trip when he was 23-years-old.  Jay had decided that he was going to travel to Mexico via the Pacific coast.  While traveling through Santa Barbara, California, Jay was approached by a lady who noticed Jay and his posture.   The lady said that she knew Jay had problems with his back, which he did.   She invited him to come to her yoga class in order to help correct his issues.  At first, Jay was skeptical.  He gave the lady all the reasons why he didn’t want to go to her yoga class, finally saying that he wasn’t flexible.  She took a look back at him and said that his attitude certainly wasn’t flexible.   Jay took the class and his life was forever changed.  It opened his eyes to the opportunities that are given during everyday life through serendipity. 

Yoga for Jay is about living in the present.  So many people focus all of their attention on the past or the future, and tempo of many people’s lives has sped up so much.  Yoga, according to Jay, allows for an outlet and rebalancing of your energies.


In this episode

Jay tells us what yoga teaches us and how it’s teachings can be applied to our business lives.  Dave appreciates how Jay embodies what he teaches and Greg points out Jay’s ability to live those slices of life to the max.  Greg also notes Jay’s passion for helping people live better.  We also hear how sous chef Greg almost burnt down a restaurant when assisting Jay’s catering business.

Direct download: BP029JayMcLean.mp3
Category:entrepreneurship -- posted at: 2:55pm -04

Introducing Calvin Milbury

Great innovations and inventions sometimes come from the smallest places.  Take the Boiling Point’s home province of New Brunswick.  This small province has been the home to things such as the snow blower, and the scuba tank.  Don’t forget the other New Brunswick innovation that affects all of our daily lives, the vortex flushing toilet. 

Our guest, Calvin Milbury is the man in charge of making sure the next big New Brunswick innovation gets the launch pad it needs to succeed.  Calvin is the president and CEO of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation.  The foundation is a non-profit organization that was initially funded by the provincial government, which offers seed money and credibility to start-up companies doing unique things. 

Originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Calvin studied biochemistry at the University of New Brunswick and then went on to get his masters of business administration.   His first job was with a national venture capital firm where he was responsible for arranging early stage investments in biotech that was generally based on new technologies being developed by universities across the country.  At around the same time, the New Brunswick government launched the NBIF as a catalyst to develop innovation with a $20 million seed investment.  Initially this money was to be used in two ways.  First, it was to invest into applied research and aid in research and development at the regions universities and community colleges.  Secondly, it was used to back entrepreneurial ventures, not just with grants and loans, but instead with equity investment. 

The NBIF heard about the work Calvin was doing in Montreal at the time and offered him a job as a director of business development, which he took.  By 2009, the economy had turned and due to a restricting at NBIF, Calvin became their president and CEO.  Under Calvin’s leadership, the NBIF was able to bring in an additional $60 million of financing, bringing their total financing capabilities to $120 million.  The NBIF has also added new programs including a graduate scholarship program and an innovation research chair program that brings top researchers to the province to work with industry in research and development.  An important aspect to the NBIF is that it works as a separate body from government and that politics have been removed from funding decisions, allowing everyone an opportunity to receive funding.  One of the NBIF’s greatest success stories was the social media monitoring company, Radian 6.  An investment of $376,000 by the NBIF along with other investors helped the company go from zero to 350 employees and tens of millions in sales.  Radian 6 was then sold to for US $370 million, netting the NBIF $9.5 million and a 28 times return.


In this episode

Calvin tells us the great things that are happening at the NBIF, and how you could have your innovative idea taken to the next level.  Dave finds the NBIF funding process to be helpful to up start entrepreneurs to get prepared for the big bad world.  Greg reminds us of his experience with the NBIF and appreciates how they get companies “sale ready”.  Everyone discusses his own favorite New Brunswick invention.


Hemmings House's commercials for the NBIF

NBIF Snowblower / Radian 6 - English from Hemmings House on Vimeo.

NBIF - Scuba Tank / Encore Interactive - English from Hemmings House on Vimeo.

NBIF - Vortex Toilet / Prosthetics Hand - English from Hemmings House on Vimeo.

New Brunswick Innovation Foundation - Behind The Scenes from Hemmings House on Vimeo.




Direct download: BP028CalvinMilbury.mp3
Category:entrepreneurship -- posted at: 11:55am -04

Introducing Lee Odden

Lee Odden has been called a pioneer and legend of SEO.  He has blogged over 1.2 million words on his TopRank Online Marketing Blog, and is the CEO of TopRank Marketing.  Lee is also amongst an exclusive club of marketers with beards.

Our host, Greg Hemmings, met Lee at last year’s New Media Expo, which was one of Lee’s twenty-ish speaking engagements of the year.  Lee’s speaking engagements not only help to educate attendees, but also generate sales leads for his company, as well as offering numerous ways to network.  However, you don’t become a trusted source as a blogger, public speaker, or social media maverick from just thin air; Lee was in the trenches for many years.  He got involved with SEO in the late 90’s, but in 2001 he decided to take the plunge as an entrepreneur.  He decided to forgo a salary and focus in on online marketing while starting an online PR firm with a few associates.  This was just shortly after the dot com crash, and many online firms were not investing in marketing.  What Lee’s group did that was pioneering, however, was mix in the SEO and marketing into one neat package.  Now TopRank Marketing works some of the heavy hitters including:  Staples, Dell, Linked In, General, and numerous other B2B technology companies.

When it comes to creating content online, Lee finds many companies to be impatient.  He quotes a statistic that 90% of corporate blogs do five posts and then never post again.  He notes that you must survive to stand out.  Also, to stand out you need to differentiate yourself from others and be specific in your messaging.  By following through and creating interesting, useful content, you can generate more leads.  This can be exponential if you further engage your current advocates in order to make them feel a part of the team.  One way this can be done is thanking them for sharing your content.  Another way is by giving them content that is in easy to swallow sound bites.  Sound bites are superficial but effective ways to spread your message, especially in the time of Twitter.  


In this episode

Lee offers up some tidbits from his many years of experience in content creation, and public speaking.  He tells us how he developed a fantastic business with large-scale clients out of his neck of the woods in Minnesota.  Dave is engaged by Lee’s notion of being the best answer in order to be noticed.  Greg likes Lee’s business design, which has a win-win philosophy for the client, creator, and customer.

Direct download: BP027LeeOdden.mp3
Category:entrepreneurship -- posted at: 1:54pm -04