A hoi hoi from the Florida Keys nerderinos,
Instead of getting to announce our wonderful new contest yesterday, I wound up in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico floating on a boat. Check out this filter free foto …
I’ve definitely discovered heaven, and just so everyone knows THERE IS CELL RECEPTION!!!
Alrite, now onto why you are here, and what is going down … https://www.youtube.com/embed/8ESdn0MuJWQ?wmode=opaque
Last week, thanks to the wonderful, wonderful people at JBL, I got to attend Coachella. They put me on an RV with Robert Scoble, Thomas Hawk, Ron Sheridan, Daniel Brusilovsky, Chris Voss, Sam Levin, and Greg Kihn from the Greg Kihn Band.
Sam and Chris branded the group as “P.I.’s” or “power influencers” but our bottom lines result in the fact that we all have a unique perspective on tech, and are genuinely passionate about it.
On our way down, we were handed our “swag bags” from Sam.
I opened mine and my. jaw. dropped.
HANDS DOWN the best swag bag I have ever received as it included:
1) JBL Charge
2) J33i headphones
3) Seagate Slim 500 GB hard drive
4) Seagate Wireless plus 1TB hard drive
5) 1L Vapur water pouch
6) Think Geek Orange squish sack
7) GoPro Wifi wireless remote
8) GoPro Hero 3
9) GoPro Chest Mount
10) GoPro HandleBar Mount
11) Orange light up watch
12) Pink JBL RickShaw Messenger Bag
It was NUTS!! I could barely even close the RickShaw messenger bag everything came in.
We finally arrived at the hotel a few hours later, and everyone met downstairs to grab dinner.
We continued talking, about what some of our favorite products were but again, it wasn’t “pretentious” and no one was trying to sound smarter than anyone else. I try explaining this to people, but there is no “true” competition when it comes to personal brands and bloggers in general. As long as you have a voice, and an opinion on SOMETHING you’re going to develop an audience. (Also, you have to be consistent with content, and engage … but I’m going to assume that you all knew that.) No one was threatened by anyone else, and this level of radical, radical honesty was pretty spectacular. We all independently commented on this to Sam, the organizer.
I then put myself to bed at a descent hour, and woke up the next morning contemplating the meaning of “value.”
I didn’t grow up with fuck you money, but my parents definitely worked their buns off and provided us with a lot of abundance as a child. Always being provided for though created this paradigm of not truly understanding “value.” I had a convertible when I was 16, my own apartment at 17 in NYC (both paid for by my parents). I worked EXTREMELY hard on my end, don’t get me wrong this wasn’t a “silver spoon” elitist thing … rather my parents wanted to do everything they could to help me realize my potential and go after my dreams. In 2009 though, I realized my dream was this website. This was all I wanted to do with my life, and since I was born understanding that I was “different” doing something about it and putting all my heart into it was SUCH a no brainer.
In 2010 when I began couch surfing to continue to fufill my dream & passion, I started playing around with value. I had friends that had charged big companies as much as FIVE FIGURES to start just a twitter page (seriously no joke, and no exaggeration. They HOSED people). No strategy, or execution. Just design and handle securing. Literally, that was it.
I realized pretty quickly that people were going to not understand social media and most likely rebel against it once they arrived at the realization that they were being taken advantage of.
Instead of sitting there wanting to charge X amount for working on someone’s social media page, I just decided to use it as currency. I looked at my life and the way new media allowed for this “in real time” story telling and just said fuck it. I’ll become a billboard!!
I’m talking about these products and taking pictures of things I’m OBSESSED with just because I’m an insanely passionate person, but why not use that as leverage and start pitching advertisers to give me stuff to play with.
As you all know, it totally worked, but for ONE YEAR when all of this started, I literally had $10 to my name. I didn’t need money, I had value. If I tweeted something, or if I pitched either a campaign or social media 101 education, I could eat, drink, party, travel … anything.
The value was me and what I could do in social media in this extremely strange and different way.
I didn’t always get what I wanted, as I heard a TON of “no’s” or “we’re not interested in social media,” but I never let it get me down. Having spent so much time in sales previously, I KNEW how to pound the pavement and pick myself back up after getting down.
The only items I needed at the time of my travels were a hoodie, my macbook pro, headphones, water bottle, blanket, iphone, chargers, and flat shoes (I specifically wore Vans); the rest became superfluous.
As time went on, and more pitches went out, I began to acquire things like flipcams, cameras, and even multiple laptops, and an ipad. I kept getting these things in exchange for my services and they helped me TREMENDOUSLY understand not only the value of what I was doing, but understand how I could tell stories within this medium.
That is my passion. I am a story teller and I use new media to monetize and execute all of my ideas. Super simple. This shit is my jam.
When I woke up the first day of Coachella, I stared at all of the items on the dresser.
I’m INSANELY blessed to be at the place where I am experiencing so much abundance, but what is the “value” of these items to me?
When companies would send me products during the time that I had no money, I was able to not only continue to be inspired that I was doing something right, but I could further my passion.
Immediately, my gut told me that I had to give my swag away.
I need to karmically give this back, I thought. I am never “without” because I am always living within a blance of making sure I only take what I need and helping out whenever I can be of service. Sure I would LOVE to play around with these toys, but what about putting that GoPro in the hands of a filmmaker? Or give the headphones to someone who takes public transportation, or wants to be a nomad like myself for a year?
<tangent> Headphones are INVALUABLE when it comes to psychologically putting you in a “space” even if you have no home. For reals, put on a hoodie, and headphones and go and sit in an airport or some other crazy occupied place. When you put that hood up and can’t hear a thing, you start to feel like you are isolated and alone. Very cocoon like. Couch surfing meant not being able to have that “hey, I’m home, lemme kick off my shoes and relax” release.
Had it not been for headphones, I HIGHLY doubt I would have lasted as long as I did. </tangent>
Having this life perspective though provided a different meaning of value on these items.
Momentarily speaking what is everything worth? Let’s do a breakdown …
1) JBL Charge – $150
2) J33i headphones – $79
3) Seagate Slim 500 GB hard drive – $80
4) Seagate Wireless plus 1TB hard drive – $200
5) 1L Vapur water pouch – $14
6) Think Geek Orange squish sack – $5
7) GoPro Wifi wireless remote – $80
8) GoPro Hero 3 – $200
9) GoPro Chest Mount – $40
10) GoPro HandleBar Mount – $20
11) Orange light up watch – $40
12) Pink JBL RickShaw Messenger Bag – $160
The monetary value of this prize package is: $1,068.
Knowing that I needed to give all of this away, I then snapped a photo of all of the prizes and posted it on Facebook.
My photos average 50+ likes and comments, but this one?
On my personal page alone I had over 100 likes and close to 500 comments …
Seagate then reposted it on their Facebook page, and got EVEN MORE likes and comments …
I. was. floored. (a nice marble variety …)
I expected to get a handful of comments nearing my average, but that? HOLY CRAP!!!!
I then saw people commenting on what they wanted to do with each of the products, and again my brain bopped back to the concept of value.
Whoever I give this to HAS to use it towards their passion. I want to hear their story, and the most compelling wins.
The contest rules are as follows …
1) To enter, you MUST perform a random act of kindness and photograph it. Doesn’t have to be extravagent, maybe you just held a door open for someone, or assisted an old lady in crossing the street. I just want you all to PAY.IT.FORWARD. By having that as just the enterance “fee” if you will, we’re going to get a lot of people doing a lot of kind things for one another which is AMAZING!!!
2) Pick which product you want and tell me what you want to do with it.
There are no “rules” as to who is going to get what or what package will be given out. I want to leave this all EXTREMELY open ended to maybe allow more sponsors to come in, or more than 1 of each to be given away. Ideally, it makes sense to have someone get the GoPro accessories with the GoPro, but who knows! Maybe someone just needs the chest mount, or better yet maybe I could get multiples and there will be more than one winner!!!
The story can be written out, put up in a youtube video, maybe you flood my twitter page (wait, I take that back, please don’t or I’ll block you) … get creative.
3) You will be held accountable to execute.
30 days after I ship everything out, (I am personally paying all shipping fees, so no worries there) I am going to set a google calendar reminder to follow up and hold you all accountable on executing whatever it was that you told me you were going to do in your story.
If for whatever reason you don’t follow your passion and you don’t actually do what you say you were going to do, I WILL publicly shame you on this website.
A LOT of people are vying for these prizes, and I SWEAR if I find out someone just sold it or it’s still sitting in a box I will hunt you down Liam Neeson style …
I’m ABSOLUTELY not kidding. I am taking this all VERY seriously.
Contest ends on April 26th giving you all 8 days.
So, there you go! The more entries I get, and the more views and comments both the video below and my posts get, the more leverage you guys give me to work my connections and get even MORE swag. Ideally I’d love to get a couple cameras, and a couple of speakers & hard drives to give out, but that part is on you guys. I have everything pictured already in my posession, but I can only pitch to get more if you guys back it up with some serious numbers for me to quanitify the value of this contest to the sponsors.
I promise, promise, promise, to do my leg work on harassing them, but I need you guys to supply me with the ammo.
Dudes, just based on the original photo I shared on Facebook, I’ve also received a pair of Beats By Dre. Bluetooth wireless headphones …
The actual retail price of this ENTIRE prize package is now up to:
Let’s see how much we can get that number up to!!
Full disclosure: I honestly am putting this in your guys’ hands. This isn’t a contest where I secretly have a ton more to give away, all of this did genuinely just start off as my swag bag and grow.
Translation: THIS.IS.ALL.IN.YOUR.HANDS. Share, comment, like, & enter, and you give me ammo TO GET MORE TO GIVE AWAY!!!
Anyone is eligible. If you’re my former best friend’s ex-boyfriend’s step-cousin once removed … you’re good. If you’re a writer on this site? Awesome! Go for it!! I’m going to publish the stories of all the winners, so it’s going to be extremely transparent and hopefully apparent why I chose who I chose.
Reminder: This isn’t going to go to the “saddest” story. I’m not interested in perpetuating victim mentality … I just want to help connect the dots for people who are willing to go after their passion.
Thank YOU all so so much for allowing me to share mine.
Here’s a video in case you were too ADD to read the whole post: https://www.youtube.com/embed/LCkz08FPDDI?wmode=opaque
A very, very, very special thanks to JBL Audio, Seagate, GoPro, and Beats by Dre. Seriously, being able to give back is making my life so thanks for your awesome products!! xx