@jackinessity sings about Unicorns and Earrings for Gigi, to a toy accordion. Also includes a triangle.
@jackinessity sings about Unicorns and Earrings for Gigi, to a toy accordion. Also includes a triangle.
@jackinessity does some jackieoke to cheer up her friend Gigi. With a unicorn on her head. For some reason known only to her and possibly, the unicorn.
Just a bit over 90 days ago, I find myself sitting down to dinner with a rather special bunch of people. The two across from me, Bryan and Courtney Kramer, are the power duo behind PureMatter social, an agency in San Jose, California that runs cutting-edge marketing campaigns for some pretty cool clients. The couple to my right are equally hard hitting; DJ Waldow is the face of and massive creative energy behind Waldow Social, which makes email marketing magic, and his wife Kristina is a smart-as a-whip, no-nonsense OBGYN working at Stanford.
I am particularly proud to be sitting at the table, because I had worked hard to bring these people together. Because of travel, conferences, and work stuff, we had resecheduled the dinner at least two or three times before we found a date that we could all be there, even though nominally we all worked in the same town.
I was incredibly nervous, as well. Would they get along? Would they like each other? Would they like me? But from the beginning, conversation flowed freely and soon, we were all laughing and having a blast.
“Who is your favorite celebrity?” DJ would ask. I remember laughing in particular at the line of questioning, as it reminded me so much of the sort of question he asks on facebook regularly to keep the conversation going, and I recognized it as a kind of icebreaker. I also remember very crystal clearly my answer: I was the one who first said I would love to meet Ellen DeGeneres.
When I said that, I had NO idea that for the following 90 days, Bryan and Courtney and DJ and even Kristina would embark on one of the most beautiful little experiments I’ve ever had the joy to be part of: the #90DaystoEllen campaign.
I remember DJ pulling out his phone and buying the 90daystoEllen domain, right there at the table, and I remember the light in Bryan’s eyes as he imagined us showing the world that real relationships can be built via social media.
I still believe he was right, because I was there, and now, 91 days later, I have to say that it has been a true gift to watch from a distance as this team built a tidy campaign, grew it up, shared it, and made all kinds of magic along the way:
(Via 90daystoEllen.com wrapup)
“Here are some campaign highlights:
2 .Bryan Kramer appeared on ‘CreativeLive,‘ a live online web show hosted by Porter Gale, former VP of Virgin America and author of “Your Network is your Net Worth”, resulting in a feature story in “AdAge.”
3. Additional media coverage in Smartbrief and Forbes (upcoming).
4. Corporate brands such as IBM, Pitney Bowes, SAP, Cisco and BlogWorld have engaged in social; social influencers such as New York Times bestselling authors Jay Baer and Peter Shankman, Ted Rubin (CMO, Collective Bias and author), Robert Scoble (Rackspace), Brian Moran, John Steirt, Todd Wilms (SAP), Nick Westergaard, Michelle Schenker, Brian King, Chris Moody, Dewane Mutunga, Krista Parry, Kristen Fox Haaijer, Kim Garst, Scott Caldwell, Lara Baker, Scott Duehlmeier, Dino Dogan (Triberr), Shane Barker, Sandra Zoratti, Maile Keone, Robert Moore, Gini Dietrich, Lindsay Bell, Yenni Vance, Liz Reusswig, Alex Schenker, DJ’s family, Bryan’s friends and family and the team at PureMatter have engaged in the campaign through videos and social sharing.
7. Monetary donations of almost $1,500 to Feeding America from The International Culinary Center, Paper.li, Ben Hess, DJ Waldow and Kristina Milan (the “naysayer”), DJ’s mom and stepfather, and Bryan and Courtney Kramer
8. The campaign has generated over 66,172,240 impressions on Twitter (not counting Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+), achieved through sweat equity and a budget less than the cost of dinner. 20 million of these impressions were generated yesterday when our supporters helped us attempt to trend on Twitter (#damnyouMileyCyrus)
9. We have plans to create an “Ellen DeGeneres Social Kindness Award” to reward empathy and kindness in social media, as a tribute to the kindness and generosity we’ve experienced from our supporters. More on that to come.”
To have watched that unfold has been magical. To see the bond of friendship formed between people I once worried wouldn’t get along? That’s worth more than anything, to me.
I meet cool people all the time. I introduce people all the time. Not often do my introductions lead to this kind of mischief and magic. To me, this has been like winning the lottery.
Dear PureMatter team: holy cats, you got that website up FAST, and it is hilarious and beautiful. I will never hesitate to recommend your work to anyone and everyone
Dear DJ Waldow and Bryan Kramer: Y’all need to start a comedy show or something, because you make a beautiful duo. Your videos had me actually rolling on the floor laughing.
Dear Courtney Kramer: you are a powerhouse, I completely envy your organizational skills, and dude. Those memes!
As for me, I did very little apart from getting y’all together, and cheerleading via twitter. But I learned much more than you’ll ever know from watching you work together and grow this thing to what it has become.
I’m very proud of you. I’m very glad I met you. And most of all, Thank You.
So, you guys want to grab lunch, sometime? I know a great Thai place in Willow Glen.
@jackinessity practices showing appreciation and gratitude for a night at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, CA.
I thought it was pretty cool.
Also, a reminder to myself to get back into using Twylah:
And finally, my friend Jordan works at a ROCKIN’ SF startup called NewHive, which is fantastic:
I’d say more, but I’m just at the discovery stage for all three, myself. I just wanted to be sure I put these all in one place where I can both share them and remember to use them.
1) Learn to ride the unicycle
2) Own a pet monkey
Edit: Apparently pet monkeys are inadvisable: a bit of brief research proved that I should stick to zoo visits, and own a cat, instead Another childhood dream bites the dust…
3) Grow a rosebush with white roses
4) Learn to read in French, and read Jean-Paul Sartre in the original
5) Visit Haiti
6) Organize a conference in San Francisco
7) Learn how to Waltz
8) Paint a portrait in oils
9) Research and publish a book about Extroverts
How to even begin to tell this story? I will start it back in time: March 9, 2011.
It was an ordinary day. I was in my cubicle, at work, in Santa Clara, CA.
I was still employed at the time as a Customer Service Representative for a Semiconductor company. I had a bit of a tedious job, and spent most of my day alone with a computer and endless chains of emails, doing data entry, filing, and spreadsheets. I also had a two-hour daily commute back and forth from home in rush-hour traffic. However, the job paid me decently well, better than I had been paid working as an adjunct college Professor, better than I had ever been paid before in my life, with benefits and 401k and so forth. As the family breadwinner, I had a husband and two children to support, and a mortgage to pay. All in all, I thought myself fairly content.
Underneath, though, I was far from content. That day, I took a break to check my social media, and saw this tweet:
The link led to an essay by Joshua Fields Millburn, which Julien had featured as a guest post. The essay is a powerful kick in the ass, and written much in the style of Julien himself. But one part of it in particular hit me hard on that particular day:
By the time I got that far in to the essay, tears were streaming down my face. It was true. I wished I could do it, too. I wanted so badly to break free. I was heartily sick of mediocrity, and slowly rotting from the inside, for lack of creativity and social contact. At the time, I had little idea what to do, but I was following my instincts, and the whiff of freedom I sensed from the essay was irresistible.
At the top of the page, Julien had posted this message:
So, I did. And the first thing I saw was that Joshua, like myself, was about to attend the South by Southwest Interactive week at the film and music festival in Austin, TX. I did what any good @jackinessity would do. I tweeted Joshua that I wanted to meet him:
It just so happened that Joshua was planning a Minimalism tweetup at South by Southwest:
I went to the tweetup, met Joshua, talked with some interesting people. It all could have ended there. But you see, it didn’t. Here’s what happened next, as I summed up later that year on my blogger blog:
The conference? Oh, just a little thing you may have heard of, called the World Domination Summit.
2011 happened to be the first year that a guy named Chris Guillebeau was holding a brand new type of event:
When I arrived (late) the first person I ran into was Joshua Fields Millburn. He introduced me to the incredible, loving bundle of awesomeness that is his co-author and best friend, Ryan Nicodemus. The day after the conference ended, I went on a hike with Joshua and Ryan and others from the conference, and began to get to know these two special guys a bit better:
Afterward, I considered them both to be good friends, and kept in touch with both Joshua and Ryan accordingly:
They came for a couple of visits to San Francisco, the first time, while Ryan was still on crutches after the first World Domination Summit.
Incidentally… Yes, we were in the Castro… yes, that’s a proper San Francisco rainbow pride flag in the background. Nobody tell them…
Finally, most recently I had the pleasure of seeing Joshua again in Fargo, ND, where he was one of the featured speakers at the first ever Misfit, Inc. conference.
During the intervening two years since my first meeting with Joshua, I have watched with awe and deep pleasure as both Joshua and Ryan have grown in fame, in accomplishments and contributions, and as people. When I met them in 2011, their blog was only a few months old, and Joshua had not yet finished his first novel. By the time of this trip, I discovered that he has become well-known enough to be spotted out at dinner by a fan, who asked him to sign her copy of his book. (We teased him endlessly that it was a plant, but no, he really has gotten that recognizable.)
I will add from what I know of both Josh and Ryan: their growing fame is entirely legitimate, and deserved. Both have worked incredibly hard, with discipline and grace. They are some of the most ethical, principled people I know. I do admire them greatly, and am extraordinarily proud to count them both among my friends.
So why do I chronicle this? I have been asking myself this question all morning, as I dug through archived tweets, old instagram photos, and the like. I promise that I did not start this as a way to brag about our relationship. Admittedly, I openly and vociferously adore and idolize both Joshua and Ryan to pieces, and have had the most ridiculous schoolgirl crush on Joshua for a million years now (can’t help it… he uses such pretty words!)
Example: I stumbled across what is probably my favorite tweet of his ever while looking at old tweets for this post:
Le sigh. Hehe!
Teasing Joshua aside… I meant this to be more than just a chronicle of all the times and places we met.
Let me change the subject, then, for a few minutes, and talk about something else entirely.
That is the pure truth. Had it not been for @julien‘s tweet, had it not been for @jfm‘s essay, had it not been for @chrisguillebeau deciding to hold the World’s Best Conference, had it not been for @AJLeon and @melissaleon and the Misfits, I would not be the @jackinessity that sits here today, chronicling the journey.
The truth is, Joshua and Ryan didn’t just change my life. They also saved it.
Go follow them on twitter, people. Or else!TO BE CONTINUED