Google Venice

Sometimes in life you get lucky.

Like today, when as part of an industry conference I got to tour Google HQ in Venice, CA.

Believe the hype people. It was everything i had expected and more.

Google BuildingIt was cool.

Starting with the building.

Originally designed by Frank Gehry, even the space was designed to inspire.

And of course, the people. Laid back. Good sense of humor.

My favorite quote was by an employee who when I asked if we could take pictures quickly responded “Sure, go ahead. If we don’t like it, we’ll just erase it remotely”.

Even their rooms were cool. The one we were in was called the Big Lebowski and it had it’s own rules.

IMG_6379[1]It had employee perks that made us all want to apply. Like a coffee bar, a juice bar, complete meals anytime you want (all FREE) a work out area, outdoor spaces to die for, ability to take bikes or surfboards out at any time and my personal fav, a dog park inside the facility.

And of course, it had it quirky stuff. Like random things all over. A wall with all the variations of Google logos so far. Space ships, a rock climbing wall and random signs.

Amazing space. Amazing day with some great colleagues.

Of course, we learned some things as well. I actually took notes!

Here’s some stats provided by Google that made me think:

  •  3.2 billion google searches a day
  • 100+ hrs uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • YouTube is the LARGEST cable network currently available to reach young adults.
  • Most live streams in internet history was the Felix Baumgartner skydive from space. Second, was the Royal Wedding.
  • Self defined role of Google: To envision the Future

Here are some stats specific to sports/entertainment industry:

  • Tickets & live events comprised 2.5% of google traffic in 2012. If you think that’s a small number consider Google traffice is north of 1.5 Trillion (that’s Trillion with a T).
  • 79% of all online sports tickets purchased start with a search engine.
  • 3.9 is the average number of searches BEFORE a live event conversion.
  • NHL attendee’s are 13x more likely to visit YouTube than the average.
  • Google display and YouTube account for 20% of referrals to sports sites in the last year.
  • YouTube reached 27.7M of sports fans yesterday.

I’ll end with this. My favorite sign of the day and so very, very true.

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Marketing – Napa Style

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So, I went to Napa with some college sorority sisters this past weekend. And I had an amazing time. Sidebar: Life is short people, go spend some time with those you care about.

Our goal: Drink wine, celebrate turning 40 and catch up (oh, and laugh until we pee which I’m proud to say without naming names that at least one of us accomplished).

Before we begin, here’s what I know about wine:

1. I like red better than white

2. My favorite kind is Pinot Noir (although I’m pretty sure that’s only b/c the first time I had it, I was in Capetown, South Africa and it sounded cool)

3. I mainly drink to be social

Basically, I’m a disgrace to wine connessieurs everywhere and I’m perfectly ok with that.

In fact, our bed & breakfast guy called our group “a bunch of yahoos”.  When I asked him to describe what he meant he said “people that don’t really know anything about wine & will only buy a bottle or 2 per place”.

Well, excuse us!

I would be offended but he had a point. At one place we took turns trying to guess ingredients and one of my friends said “pine” as in the tree. I’ll let you all marinate on that statement for a minute.

Basically, we are the dead opposite of a master sommelier.

I admit this to you for one reason only. To prove that for me (and my group) it was not about the wine.

And I think that’s the #1 mistake marketers make, they only cater to their core audience.

Now, before anyone freaks out, I firmly believe you HAVE to cater to the core which is why Napa has wineries that only allow 8 people a day, have a wait list of over 2 years and charge $500+ bottle. And why we in sports, give our best perks to our Season Ticket Members.

But my point is, as a Marketer, what you need to do to “grow” your market is figure out why someone like me is coming to Napa and get me to buy/engage/etc.

Two wineries did this well and stood out above the rest.

Here’s why.

1. Failla Wines - this was NOT the best wine of the trip. But, it was good wine at a good price in a good atmosphere. AND,  it is the only place that every single person in my group bought 2 bottles of wine. Why? They waived the tasting fee when you bought 2 bottles of wine. Not a hard concept, yet no other winery we went to or that I saw did this. Simple, basic marketing principle of make it easy for people to try your product. And guess what? IT worked.

IMG_5965[1]2. Duck Horn Vineyards - You have probably heard of this wine. My friends were all raving about it. And when we went to check our party in the hostess said “if you check in on FaceBook, you’ll get 10% off any wine you purchaase”. So, we all checked in immediately and we were flooded with various friends around the country oohing and ahhing with jealousy over where we were at. Which resulted in me buying 4 bottles b/c i had friends validating the wine & I got a discount. Simple, basic marketing principle of believe in your product and let your fans talk for you. And guess what? IT worked.

So there it is.

2 different strategies of gaining audience share that should work for any buisness. And 2 different ways, people got sales from people not intending to buy.

Depression

So, I’ve been depressed and haven’t felt like writing. In fact, my last post was 3/31.

My grandpa died and it put me in a funk.

And I went through a fairly dramatic (at least in my own head) “everyone is getting old and dying and so am I phase” so writing was not the top of my priority.

I think about my grandpa everyday and not sure that will stop nor sure I ever want it too.

I cry more (specifically around family but in general as well)

I shifted priorities to things I think matter more.

I’m sad alot.

But, today I decided that what my grandpa would want more than anything is for me to keep on living.

To keep doing the things I love and spending time with those I love.

So, that is what I’m going to do.

And since writing is one of the things I enjoy, you can expect to see more blog posts soon.

 

 

 

Harold Engelking – My Grandpa

IMG_4107[1]It’s a weird feeling to be so sad and yet feel so blessed.

My grandfather passed away last night at the age of 93. He died peacefully in his sleep.

It’s hard to put into words how much i will miss him.

I’ll miss him calling me Dumpling.

I’ll miss never giving him another Farmer’s Almanac for Christmas.

I’ll miss him saying “I’ll go” no matter when or where anyone was going for whatever trivial reason. If someone needed company, he was your guy.

I’ll miss his love of politics. To the day he died, he could give you facts about any of the Presidents.

I’ll miss his compliments. And his ability to always say something positive.

I’ll miss his kindness most of all.

He set the bar impossibly high for men in my life.

At 6’4″, he was truly a gentle giant.

And he loved his family well.

Very well.

I know he’s in Heaven & that he’s in a much better place.

In fact, he probably picked last night to leave Earth so he could be in Heaven for the big ole party you know is happening up there celebrating Jesus on Easter Sunday.

See you again soon Grandpa.

Til then.

Love you.

 

 

The Art of StoryTelling

I have long been fascinated by a good story.

As a child, I spent alot of time camping with the family and one of my favorite times was the “campfire” story.

Most recently, I’ve been very interested in storytelling as it relates to your brand.

Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

My man, Bill Cosby.

I could go on and on about him, but since he’s famous I’m betting most people are familar with his work. But just in case, watch this video. It’s one of my favorites

He is a true artist & I was fortunate to see him perform live and meet him in person.

Here’s 3 things everyone can learn about how to tell your brand’s story from the master himself.

1. Let your story develop.

Bill Cosby get’s his message across in T  I  M  E.  He doesn’t rush it. In this world of social media everything is immediate and fast and I think sometimes, we, as brands can actually wait, & allow our story to develop.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

One of the greatest thing about an authentic brand is that it’s something people can relate too. Find common ground between your brand and it’s constituents. Then, have fun and understand how to use humor.

3. Be Yourself

Bill Cosby showed up Saturday in a sweat shirt and sweat pants. He sat in a chair on the stage with nothing more than a bottle of water and a box of tissues and he entertained an audience of thousands for over 2 hours with nothing more than stories.

Is your brand strong enough to stand on its own? What other things have you seen matter when story telling your brand?

You have to Want the Ball…

Today, i attended one of my favorite annual events.

The Women of Distinction Girl Scout luncheon.

I love empowering women therefore, this is right up my alley. However, the message went way beyond gender.

The speaker was a lady named Deborah Roberts. After reading her credentials, I still didn’t know her. They mentioned she’s Al Roker’s wife. Still didn’t know her.

She seems like a great lady and was an excellent speaker. You can find out more about her here. Who knows, you probably already know her.

My point is the message was worth listening too no matter who did the delivery. It’s something everyone should know.

She summed up her success in two points:

1. She wanted the ball. 

This lady grew up with a mother that couldn’t wear pants b/c at the time women only wore dresses. She grew up in rural Alabama where she had to wait in a “black only” section to be served. When she started working she applied for jobs in a male dominated field and was told she could be their secretary and nothing more. She was paid 50% of her male counterparts doing the same role.

But, it didn’t dissade her. She took extra jobs no one wanted. She kept asking for more. She wanted the ball.

2. She encouraged others to take the ball.

When she was in 3rd grade a teacher told her “Deborah, your a smart girl. You can go far in life”. This teacher encouraged her when society said they shouldnt.  Not many people at the time were telling young, black girls they could amount to much. But this teacher did, and more importantly Deborah believed her.

Encouraging others is a rare thing.

I’m always surprised by it b/c it’s so easy to give.

When was the last time someone brought you an idea and you said:

Good idea. I think that will work. Go for it.

I remember being a small child & my grandma asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said I didn’t know & her response was “You can be anything you want in this life. And it’s fine if you want to collect garbage, I know if you do you’ll be the best one there is”. I was fortunate to have this encouragement in my life and I hope I’m able to do the same for others.

Bottom line is, successful people want the ball and then they share & encourage others.

And that’s a lesson for us all.

No need to boil the Ocean

Every once in awhile life throws you some changes…

You start a new job

You start a new project

You get married, you have a kid, you lose someone close to you.

It may seem overwhelming.

So much to do, where can you start?

I know one thing.

Start with a small piece.

Win the little victories.

Knock tiny things off your plate while keeping your eye on the big prize.

In other words, don’t start by trying to boil the ocean.

Flat Stanley Meets Mister Derrick Brooks

Hi kids, this is my last post on Auntie Lynn’s blog. It’s a short one but very important.

Today, I got to meet one of Auntie Lynn’s favorite people, Mister Derrick Brooks. Before we met him, Auntie Lynn made me watch a video about him. She kept laughing the entire time during this video.

Mister Derrick Brooks is a huge NFL star and even has a Super Bowl Ring. He’s a very big guy and when we told people we were going to meet him someone said “Good thing you are already Flat, Stanley b/c on the football field, Derrick used to flatten his opponents”.

I didn’t really get that one but it must be a good joke b/c everyone laughed.

Anyway, after watching that United Way video I was a little scared to meet him but Auntie Lynn assured me that the video was just a joke and he was a really nice guy.

When I met him, Mister Derrick Brooks was very nice to me & told me he went to the same college as Auntie Lynn.

Auntie Lynn says Florida State is the best college in the whole wide world and she really hopes Kaleigh and Noah go to college there. Mister Derrick Brooks agreed with her.

I asked her if we could visit her college but Tallahassee, FL is almost 4 hours away from Tampa so there wasn’t enough time to visit this trip. Next time though, she promised to take me to a FSU football game so I can cheer on the NOLES as long as I bring Kaleigh and Noah with me.

Mr Derrick is President of the other team Auntie Lynn works for, The Tampa Bay Storm, they are an Arena Football team and Mr. Derrick and Auntie Lynn hope they can win a Arena Football Bowl and get championship rings of their own very soon.

Anyway, despite the scary video where he yells at kids, Mister Derrick Brooks was a really nice guy and it was great to meet him.

 

 

Flat Stanley Goes to a Lightning Game

Hi kids! Me again, Flat Stanley. I’ve taken over Auntie Lynn’s blog again to tell you all about my amazing day in Tampa with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Let’s start with the biggest news of all. Today, i met Steven Stamkos. He’s one of the best players in the entire NHL and he’s only 22 years old. He’s my new buddy. We got to hang out all morning at practice and it was so much fun to meet him and the rest of the team.

Today, The Tampa Bay Lightning played a home game. The game was a complete sell out. In fact, they’ve sold out all their hockey games so far this year. They have the most amazing fans and such great community support.

A sell out means no one could even BUY a ticket for the game tonight so I was SOOOO lucky to know Auntie Lynn. She snuck me into the game in her purse. It’s a good thing I’m flat so I could fit in with no problem.

First thing I had to do was learn the team mantra. Auntie Lynn made me repeat the mantra 27 times which is ALOT of times. The mantra is:

Choose Everyday! Get Worse, Stay the Same or Get Better

I don’t know about you but, I choose to get better.

Next, I had to get checked out by the Team Doctor.  I was nervous I wouldn’t pass the physical since I had really been exercising or eating alot of vegetables lately but I passed.

Barely though.

He made me eat a plate of spinach immediately after the exam and told me I really needed to start eating vegetables at least 3 times a day. Then he made me lift up the Stanley Cup 41 times. The Stanley Cup is the award for the best hockey team in the whole wide world. The Lightning won it in 2004 and are hopeful to win it again really soon. It’s really HEAVY and it took all my muscles to lift it up that many times.  It’s especially hard when you are flat like me. I learned today that whether you are an athlete or not, exercise and proper nutrition are very important to your success so you can grow up big & strong.

Finally it was time for the game. I was so excited I could barely stand it.

I saw ice for the 1st time ever and got to sit right on the players bench. Next, Auntie Lynn had me sit on a puck and she pretended like she was going to send me flying across the ice but she didn’t. Whew! I was nervous for a second there.

I got her back though b/c when she wasn’t looking I jumped on the equipment managers back and played hide and seek. It took her a whole hour to find me.

One of my highlights of the night was playing the HUGE hockey pipe organ. It’s so BIG and I got to sit right up there with the organist and play all these great hockey songs. It was so much fun.

My favorite part of the game was the tesla coils. They look like real lightning and light up everytime someone on the Lightning team makes a goal. They are so cool. I also really liked all the dancing. We danced the whole game.

Auntie Lynn told me that when Kaleigh was just a little girl she came to a game one time and just danced and danced and danced right in the middle of the aisle. Auntie Lynn said Kaleigh is a really good dancer. All i know is when I make it back to Raffles Grade 3C, I think we should have a dance party.

Anyway, I’ve had a long day. On game day’s Auntie Lynn works from 8 in the morning until 11pm at night so we are exhausted. Can’t wait to see what tommorrow brings.

Later -

Flat Stanley

 

Flat Stanley Visits Tampa (all the way from Dubai)

Here is a picture of  my sweet niece & nephew Kaleigh & Noah Wittenburg. It was taken the last time they visited Florida. I cried and cried when they left b/c i miss them so. They live in Dubai now and although they love it there, I miss them terribly and want them to move back!

Kaleigh sent me her friend Flat Stanley all the way from Dubai. It was a LONG trip for him. More than a month of travel time just to make it to the USA. I was so excited to get mail from Kaleigh and her class at Raffles school.

The rest of this post is written by Flat Stanley himself about his visit to Tampa specifically for the Raffles South Campus, Grade 3C class so enjoy! And next time you visit Flat Stanley bring Kaleigh & Noah with you!

Love – Auntie Lynn

Whew, I made it. It’s a long way from Dubai to Tampa, FL but I finally got here. After all that travel, I was starving so first thing Auntie Lynn did was feed me. Then, I decided to rest. It’s beautiful here in Tampa Bay and the weather is great so I decided to chill out by the pool. Since I don’t know how to swim, Auntie Lynn’s dog Koiya kept an eye on me so I wouldn’t drown. When I finally got inside, I was so tired I laid right down on the other dog Simba and took another nap. See the photo to the right. Auntie Lynn told me that one time Kaleigh’s brother Noah was so tired he laid down on Simba & took a nap too so I was right at home.

Monday couldn’t come soon enough. First, I was told I had to drive into work. I think Auntie Lynn was lazy. Either that or she just likes to be driven around.  It was a little scary but with her help I drove without getting any tickets or any car crashes.

Next up, was a day at the office. Auntie Lynn works for a hockey team called the Tampa Bay Lightning. Working in sports is HARD work. Auntie Lynn runs a tight ship. I had to do hours and hours of work for her helping her market the Lightning.

Here’s a picture of me making all the marketing decisions. Auntie Lynn said she was going to the spa for the day and I should just do the best I could do. It was lightning and stormy all day in Tampa so I got inspired to make this commercial called Electricity while she was out.

After a few day’s of really hard work, I got introduced to my new friend, ThunderBug. He’s the official mascot of the Tampa Bay Lightning.One day we went to Metropolitan Ministries and helped out. Auntie Lynn said it’s very important to volunteer and to give back and that they do alot of that at work thanks to their amazing owner.

I had a blast with ThunderBug. He’s so funny even though he doesn’t speak English or a language that any human can understand. He’s also HUGE. He is one very BIG BUG as you can tell from our photo. He’s my new best friend in Tampa Bay.

You can learn more about ThunderBug by checking out his website. In fact, he even has a FREE Kid’s Club that anyone can join. Even kids all the way in Dubai. I signed up Kaleigh and Noah right away so they’ll be hearing from him soon.

That’s it for now kids, it’s been a very long few days. I have to go to bed early as tommorrow I’m going to my very first Lightning game. I’ll write more soon.

Later -

Flat Stanley

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