Sunday, August 23, 2009
Mary Shannon left for NYC today to shoot a commercial and take in various meetings. Mary Catherine and I took her to the airport and then went to watch planes take off until we saw Mommy's plane (Sunday morning is not the busiest time at XNA). MCA is obsessed by the idea of New York and can't wait to go. I brought her a children's book "A Walk in New York", by Salvatore Rubbino (great book, I highly recommend) when I was in the city a couple weeks ago and she has a remarkable comprehension of the things she'd like to see. She asked her mom if she was at the Statue of Liberty today when she called to tell us she arrived.
I've traveled non-stop this year logging over 50K miles to date, Shannon has done a masterful job of being here for both of us. We both knew and agreed to the travel commitment Collective Bias would require before I took the plunge. So now, I'm making the most of my time with my daughter, we left straight from the airport and went to the Tulsa Zoo http://whrrl.com/experience/story/18356123, it was a perfect day. My daughter has gained my love of car travel (not shared by her mother) so I look forward to many road adventures to come. Whatever the opportunity, I cherish these moments. I realize with each day, the moments pass, never to return. I watched with some future angst this week as parents moved their Mary Catherine's into the University of Arkansas dorms. As we drove Mary Catherine to her first day of classes on Tuesday in her new teacher Ms. Jodi's class, I watched Shannon stare wistfully at the move in scene undoubtedly thinking the same thing.
None of us can slow the clock, but we can all take part in those insta-moments. I finished the evening fishing for magnetic fish, sharing a meal and 3 1/2 year old philosophy on optimal fruit, milk and dessert ratios (guess how that one goes).
I'm determined not to look back and regret missing one of these moments to make a presentation a little better.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I recently took Mary Catherine to the 111th Tontitown Grape Festival fair. Her mother was having a girls night out with a friend of ours so it was just the two of us. Mary Catherine's excitement begin to build a couple days before the event as I told her we'd be going and she pretty much asked questions about it 24/7 (as 3 year olds do about pretty much everything). She had never been to a fair before but was enthralled with the concept of rides, food and especially that they would have ice cream there.
Needless to say, when we finally arrived, she was thrilled! It was a hot day so we waited until late in the afternoon (we got a quick lesson in demand based pricing when the rides all went from 1 ticket a piece to 4-6) so we could not only ride the rides but have dinner at the fair as well (next to a nice four course meal with a wine paring, fair food is high on my list of eating experiences). What really started me thinking though, was just how completely amazed my daughter was at this new experience. She approached each ride with gusto and even rode some things that I thought would frighten her but the scarier the better in her eyes. The entire experience started me thinking how we maintain that sense of wonder not only in our children but also in ourselves.
As many of you know, I have recently started a new media company called Collective Bias. The company has just completed its first 90 days and landed it's first huge client opportunity. It has dawned on me that my excitement and immersion in this venture are similar to my daughter's wonderment of her first fair. I have always been a brand marketer at heart, way back to my first job with Dominos Pizza and a simple brand promise of a hot pizza that shows up at your door in 30 minutes. After marketing roles with consumer brands such as L'eggs, Goody and Kodak and finally at retailer Walmart, I've gained a respectable grounding in the interaction between consumers, brands and retailers. Add to that the experience of building the Walmart Elevenmoms platform picking up an education in social media along the way and this is well, the coolest thing I've ever done! (also the hardest).
The thing is, I'm here, at the most amazing fair I've ever been to. I often relate that this is the 1950's and TV has just been invented. The most intriguing part is that the fair attendees are building and running the rides (and in many cases collecting the tickets). The list of fresh new ways to build real relationships between consumers and brands is longer than the line for funnel cake.
Collective Bias and partners One2One Network and Mom It Forward recently hosted an event called BowlHer during BlogHer's Chicago conference. Over 700 highly influential new media attendees bowled, played pool, networked and enjoyed the live music from Brooke White, Suai and Anya Marina. Many people asked me, what the heck does bowling have to do with social media? My response was simple, absolutely nothing. I find that the social part often gets omitted in the process and the media approach becomes strangely similar to traditional media. I firmly believe to be successful in this space, you have to attend the fair, in other words, participation is the key.
Our clients that sponsored the event all attended BowlHer personally and well, they bowled. In the process built great relationships with people like Beth Davis, Kim Janocko, and Debba Haupert (and inspired them to create loads of content about their BowlHer experience) New media company CEO's with broad networks of influence (they are the fair owners now). Did they convince them to buy their products or services? Probably not, but they do now know them personally now and can begin to build a real relationship with them and their networks.
Ferris Wheel anyone?