In our second episode, Real Time Digital comes at you with discussions and interviews about our beloved DUMBO. (And if you didn’t listen yet, listen now!) Emily and I speak with Sawhorse Media CEO, Greg Galant, about The Shorty Awards and how Twitter has become such an influential media platform. Also featured on the show is The JAR Group’s own Andrew Zarick and Kaitlin Villanova from Carrot Creative. These two will talk about Digital DUMBO–how it came to be and why DUMBO is the new up and coming digital mecca!
Move over, Madison Avenue!
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Announcer 2: You are now logged in to Real Time Digital presented by TheJarGroup.com, online marketing with measurable results. Welcome two of The JAR Group’s savviest Internet marketers, Emily Liedblad and Lauren Garcia. Listen as these digital divas analyze hot trends and chat with the in‑crowd of the digital world. Real Time Digital starts in Real Time right now.
Lauren Garcia: Hello. Welcome to Real Time Digital. I am Lauren Garcia.
Emily Liedblad: And I’m Emily Liedblad.
Lauren: And we are digital analysts at The JAR Group, a full service digital marketing agency located in DUMBO in Brooklyn.
Emily: Funny you say that, Lauren. Today on our show we’re actually going to be highlighting a lot of the things that are happening in DUMBO. For those of you who aren’t familiar with DUMBO, it’s not the Disney character who can fly. DUMBO is the neighborhood in Brooklyn Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The reason why it should be on your radar is because it is becoming a huge digital mecca. In fact, the “Wall Street Journal” just released an article titled, “Madmen, Meet the DUMBO Crew.”
So, basically, DUMBO is just an up and coming neighborhood where there’s a lot of digital marketing companies, everything from digital online marketing agencies to developers, programmers, anything you can think about digital. So, move over, Madison Avenue.
It’s kind of overriding the theme of our show today. The guests that we’ll be interviewing in a few minutes are all located in DUMBO. So, just a little background.
Lauren: Of course, the first thing we’ll get started is we’ll have our usual what’s hot and what’s not hot.
Emily: Not hot.
Lauren: To get it started, I just wanted to take it with…
Emily: What’s hot today, Lauren?
Lauren: Fledgling Wine is very hot, I think. I think it is an example of…
Emily: Wait, wait, wait. Hold up. What is Fledgling Wine?
Lauren: Fledgling Wine is Twitter’s new wine. I think $20 of every bottle, if I’m not mistaken, goes to the non‑profit, Room To Read. Which is, again, a non‑profit to help educate children around the world. So, on my radar that’s extremely hot when huge companies or people with a big platform to get the word out for great causes really takes advantage of that to help other people. I think that’s extremely hot.
Emily: That’s right. That is hot. [laughs] How are they selling this wine? On Twitter? Can you pre‑order over at Twitter?
Lauren: Oh, I don’t know. You can probably tweet them and find out.
Emily: Yeah. We should do that.
Lauren: What’s not hot?
Emily: Probably drinking too much of that non‑profit wine and getting sloppy drunk.
Lauren: Yeah, not hot.
Emily: Yeah. That’s not hot. But, yeah, that really is cool. I’m excited to hear how that goes for them.
Lauren: Good job, Twitter on doing something great.
Emily: Very cool.
Lauren: So, what else is hot, Em?
Emily: What else is hot? We’ve seen lots of stuff on the blogs about Google TV. Everybody is really excited about that all over Twitter. I’ve seen tons of articles about that on TechCrunch and Mashable. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
Lauren: Yeah. I definitely was one to tweet about Google TV. I think it is great. It could take off. I’m not sure how it will go. I’m eager to see the pricing on it. But I think it is really a great idea being able to integrate, not only the shows that you watch on TV but what channels you like to watch on YouTube, updating your status on your social networks, everything like that, all integrated into one digital TV.
Emily: So, the story is, if I understand it right, is you can either purchase a Google TV which means you can search directly onto the television interface. Or, you can buy a box that attaches to your TV and basically use it. And it’ll have full web browsing functionality. Is that what’s understood? Is that what’s going to work?
Lauren: I think so. You can always get online, obviously on Google and learn more about that, but just something to keep on the radar. I thought it was interesting because I think Apple has had an Apple TV version out for a little bit now. I’m not sure if it has the exactly same capabilities, but I thought it was interesting that with the Google‑Apple feud going on right now that they would come out with such a similar product. Actually, it’s not that surprising, given the feud. [laughter] But, something to keep on the radar.
Emily: So, what’s not hot? Google TV is smoking. What is not smoking?
Lauren: Not even having TiVo. I mean, I can’t even record the shows that I watch.
Emily: You don’t have TiVo?
Lauren: No. I am usually like: “Hey it’s nine o’clock. Gotta get back and watch “LOST“. Sorry we can’t meet you for drinks after work. Can’t record it.” That’s definitely not hot.
Emily: Don’t worry. It’s probably even less hot to not even have a TV, right? Well, I guess that solves all of your problems.
Emily: Yeah. I watch all of my shows on the Internet, anyways. So, I’m excited.
Lauren: I’m big on Hulu at this point. One of my roommates got me started on that, so…
Lauren: I’m excited.
Emily: All right. Well, yeah, maybe, it’s time to turn in that cardboard box of a TV and get a Google TV. Sounds awesome.
Let’s see, one more what’s hot and what’s not before I get started with our interviews.
Lauren: Well, location is still hot.
Emily: Yeah. We talked about it.
Lauren: It’s consistently hot.
Emily: It’s going to be hot. It’s like the next big thing. Location wars are all the rage. On our last radio show we talked about how location, location, location is hot, and it is still smoking. There are still huge battles between the check‑in champs everywhere you go.
In fact, Facebook just announced that it’s soon going to be introducing its geo‑location platform.
Lauren: Oh my goodness.
Emily: Geo targeting, yeah. So, there’s been a little bit of controversy, I feel, about that.
Lauren: Facebook is, like, hot and extremely not hot at the same time with all the privacy issues going on. People are getting rid of their Facebook accounts. It’s crazy.
Emily: I think it’s pretty insane. There’s just really, really bad sentiment about the open graph changes that have been taking place on Facebook. I don’t know. People usually eventually end up adapting to whatever changes Facebook makes, but in this case I’m really not sure. A lot of people have just had enough with all of the changes going down without anybody’s approval, and they just do their own thing.
Lauren: Right. I know I keep seeing all these blog posts, like “why I’m getting rid of my Facebook account,” “five reasons why I’m keeping it” and all these things. Tips on securing your privacy. It’s just getting out of hand.
Emily: I always thought that Facebook would‑‑just my prediction‑‑Facebook would outlive Twitter, just because people have invested so much time into Facebook. It’s just basically a huge content storing platform.
Emily: People have their histories. They have all their friends and contacts in there. They have years of photos stored at this point. So, it’s a really, really bold statement for these huge people on Facebook to be organizing efforts to get a bunch of people together just to entirely delete their accounts.
Lauren: A mass exodus.
Emily: It’s huge. Exactly. So, Facebook needs to‑‑Mark Zuckerberg, whatever you’re doing, you ought to take a look. Yeah.
Lauren: Figure it out.
Emily: Figure it out. I’m, literally like, I would never delete my Facebook just because my college years are stored in there. It says a lot. You can tell it’s a pretty big thing to be saying that you’re going to delete your Facebook account. That’s pretty crazy. So, we’ll see. I guess we’ll see how this geo‑targeting platform of theirs works.
Lauren: Right. Right.
Emily: And they do have the huge base, and people are debating whether or not it’ll be a competitor with Gowalla and Foursquare, and then on the shopping side, LinkedIn, and the gaming geo‑targeting MyTown, and those types of programs.
Emily: They do have the user base but we’ll see what they can do with it. We’ll see if their partnering with really huge companies to give great discounts. What are they going to do to entice Facebook users to use their places platform?
Lauren: I don’t know but it’s an exciting time in digital.
Emily: Yeah, absolutely.
Lauren: And speaking of being…
Emily: Hot. [laughs]
Lauren: …hot and digital, we are very excited to have several digital guests today…
Emily: From DUMBO.
Lauren: …all from DUMBO.
Lauren: Our first guest on the show will be Greg Galant, the CEO of Sawhorse Media.
Emily: Very cool.
Lauren: Very cool and we’re thrilled to have him on the show.
Emily: And then after that we are going to be talking to the founders of Digital DUMBO, which is actually a monthly meetup in DUMBO founded by The JAR Group’s very own Andrew Zarick and Kaitlin Villanova from Carrot Creative, which is another agency in DUMBO. So we’re thrilled to talk to these guests, so hold up and we’ll bring you all back after the break.
Announcer 2: Real Time Digital will be back after this download from our sponsors.
Announcer 2: Welcome back to Real Time Digital presented by TheJarGroup.com, online marketing with measurable results. Here are your digital divas, Emily and Lauren.
Emily: All right. Welcome back to Real Time Digital. We are thrilled to bring you our first guest of the day. This is Greg Galant, the CEO of Sawhorse Media. Greg, welcome to the show.
Greg Galant: Thanks a lot. It’s great to be here.
Lauren: Yes, we’re very excited to have you. I guess let’s just get started. Just tell us a little bit about the background of Sawhorse Media and where you got started, how you got the idea.
Emily: And what it is you do. Tell everybody, tell the world.
Greg: So about a year and a half ago we’d noticed that Twitter was really starting to take off in an interesting way where for the first time ‑ unlike Facebook at the time, unlike MySpace, unlike Friendster ‑ people were really taking it seriously in terms of publicly creating content that was useful to audiences aside from their friends. So, people were actually starting to cover topics.
We were fascinated by this and we thought it was completely unstructured. How could anybody every find who’s worth following? So, we thought, Well if it’s a form of media ‑ movies have the Oscars, plays have the Tonys ‑ there should be an award for the best Twitterers on various topics.
So, we hacked together this site in two weekends called the Shorty Awards where anyone could tweet a nomination for another Twitter user. At the time you’d write: “@shortyawards I nominate @so and so for the #whatever award” and our site would create a real time leaderboard.
We did this thinking that it would just be a small, fun project, and we’d do it so there would be an awards ceremony. We thought there’d be 10 people showing up. And then we launched this and it took off virally over Twitter. The first year we got 50,000 tweet nominations, the second year we got 300,000, millions of people tuning in.
So, after that first one took off, we put together a big awards ceremony. We have the Knight Foundation, Pepsi, FedEx as sponsors. Then, I can talk more about some of our other products in a bit. Bu,t it put us on this path of creating a network of websites that tell you who’s who on the real‑time Web.
Lauren: Awesome. Unbelievable how quickly it took off.
Greg: We honestly weren’t all that big of believers in Twitter until only after we did the Shorty Awards and we saw how quickly they could grow over Twitter.
Emily: So did Sawhorse Media exist before Twitter, or was this how it all started?
Greg: Well, we existed before Twitter. Early on we were experimenting with a bunch of different products at the time. So, we were actually really interested in short form media. We were working on a couple websites that were kind of inspired by Twitter but we didn’t build them on top of Twitter because we didn’t believe… Again, Twitter was also a lot smaller at the time, but we didn’t believe that as a platform that you could ever build another business using.
Then, it was only because the side joke project took of that we saw: “Oh wait, there really is something to Twitter.” Then, we repositioned the whole strategy to go from short form content on its own website to plugging in with existing social networks and existing profiles people have.
Lauren: So, how do you see Twitter now at this point? Obviously, it’s played a big role in especially the Shorty Awards. But, given that and your changed attitude towards it, how do you see it factoring in at this point?
Greg: It still just continues to grow and get much bigger. The second year, we more than doubled the size. We also launched a network of vertical sites including Muck Rack that aggregates all the journalists on Twitter. Venture Maven that aggregates all the VCs on Twitter. Then we’ve also started working with American Express to power our site for them, and Conde Nast. Most recently we launched a site called Listorious that’s a directory of Twitter.
So, we’ve seen that the challenges to find good stuff on Twitter have only grown because there’s just many more people on Twitter. Whereas, a year and a half ago it still felt like virgin territory and people weren’t taking it terribly seriously. Now, there are just so many Twitter accounts.
So, we’re finding that the chaos of Twitter and social media in general is only increasing and we think that creates more opportunity for filters and people who can tell you what’s important.
Lauren: So, how do you determine what’s important then? Who are the top Twitter people who Tweet to follow?
Greg: We find that the real key to it is to crowdsource and get lots of people. A lot of people have been crowdsourcing content, famously Wikipedia and then Google tried with Knol. There’s been a whole effort to do that. We’re really working to crowdsource curation.
So, our premise is that now… five years ago you’d need to create more content, make content creation easier. Now, we’ve got lots of content out there. You need to make it easier for people to curate and for lots of people to say what’s important of all this content.
So that’s really how we do it. With the Shorty Awards it was primarily through the nominations. So we got hundreds of thousands of people nominating each other. That was the first filter. Then we paired that with the Real‑Time Academy of Short Form Arts and Sciences to choose a winner ‑ a group that we helped to create of various industry luminaries.
Then with Listorious, that one we took advantage of Twitter’s new list feature. So, when Twitter launched their list feature last November, they approached us about just publishing all of our sites and Shorty winners as Twitter lists. This is a feature that Twitter introduced so anyone could make a list of other twitterers. So, you could make your list of experts in SEO. Put them on this Twitter list and then other people could find it.
Except with Twitter, we were talking to them and they said they really weren’t building any features to find these lists. They would just let everybody make it. So we saw that as an opportunity. We called them back two hours later and said, “OK. Well, we’ll make a directory of Twitter lists. And we’ll build a search engine around it and analyze it.”
With that we launched Listorious. So with that site we’ve had tens of thousands of people create these Twitter lists, then submit them to us and tag them so that we have some classification of what they are. Then, through that, we were able to index this metadata of the lists and the tags on over a million Twitter users.
So if you go to Listorious now and do a search for “SEO expert” or “New York City venture capitalists” or whatever term you want to throw in there. It will give you pretty good search results as a result of tens of thousands of people creating Twitter lists.
Emily: Dang. [laughs] That’s seriously crazy. There is so much content on Twitter. It’s pretty unbelievable. So where do you see… it was such a great idea when that started out, because like you had said before, before it was like, “OK. Well, we need to grow the content.”
But, now there is an unbelievable amount of content on Twitter. So would you say that the main way that you dig through the content to find these lists to follow, is that mostly on user interaction and just people submitting the lists?
Greg: Yeah. We found it just has to work that way. We tried doing it with an editor‑driven way. Where we would have editors take on different verticals and try to categorize who is in it. Then we were mapping out. Like:”OK. What would it take to scale and have enough editors to go through every vertical and find out all the people who are important?” And we did the map. And it was just overwhelming.
Probably the most famous example of someone doing it with an editorially driven way is About.com, where they had said: “OK. We want to do topic pages on every category. So we’ll just hire…” They hired hundreds of editors to create content on all these different categories.
But, About.com had going in its favor that, one, the Internet was a lot younger then. So there was less stuff out there. Two, that it was all permanent content. So, you had that person write the guide to the best tourist spots in New York City once. And, it’ll change a little bit year‑to‑year. But pretty much it’s evergreen content.
With the real‑time web you have a few challenges. You just have much more content out there. You imagine just in one day of this year we’re probably creating more content than they did in an entire year back in the 90s. And that’s a totally made up statistic, by the way, so don’t check into it!
Emily: [laughs] I would believe it though.
Greg: The other really big challenge is that it’s real time. So, whereas before you’d only have some blog posts come out everyday, or newspapers articles come out maybe once or twice a day, now you have tweets coming out extremely quickly, and when news breaks, when a trend happens, people expect to hear about it within seconds or minutes. So, to put a human editor in between the tweets and the reader, just isn’t practical, or would undermine the entire point of real time.
So, what we’ve found is that the challenges coming in, is you get lots and lots of these updates, and you really can’t spend the time to have anybody process each individual tweet, each individual update. What you have to do instead is be able to analyze the millions of sources that are out there, and to know which sources are trustworthy, which sources have expertise and which sources are worth listening to.
Emily: So, another point is that you’ve seen the evolution of Twitter go from a thing that was really cool in the tech circles, and then it got a little bit more mainstream. Then, eventually, businesses caught on to it as a way to market their services, or run promotions et cetera. So, how has that evolution of Twitter, to have become this huge blow up thing, really affected what you guys do with Sawhorse?
Greg: It’s really let us grow our company, and grow our brands around it. Where we found even when we did the Shorty Awards the first time around, the late ’08, early ’09, we found it was notable in that, it was at the early adopter phase then, but it wasn’t just techie early adopters. It was early adopters, a lot from the advertising, media and entertainment circles, which delightfully surprised us, and it let us have an event that was very diverse, in terms of the industries that it drew from.
We got to interact early on with a lot of journalists who were on Twitter, and figuring it out. I think part of that too, because it’s strong in media, gave New York ‑ where we had the event ‑ a bit of an edge over San Francisco, even though Twitter itself is based in San Francisco.
It made the evolution of it much more interesting, in that even the big figures of Twitter, early on, back then it was Shaquille O’Neal, Ashton Kutcher, names that everybody knew very quickly, all the presidential campaigns getting on there. Whereas it didn’t have to go through the cycle that we’ve seen of so many other trends, where it just stays within techie circles for years, before starting to break out into other industries.
Emily: So Sawhorse Media is located in DUMBO, and you just happen to be being featured on our DUMBO edition. So Sawhorse media started out in DUMBO, how many years ago? When were you guys founded?
Greg: We got started about two, three years ago now.
Emily: Awesome, awesome. And so you guys, then, were located in DUMBO before it became this huge competitor, almost, to Madison Avenue. The “Wall Street Journal” just featured an article about how DUMBO is the new digital Mecca.
So how do you see DUMBO, and the digital services that are located in DUMBO, evolve over the years that you’ve been there?
Greg: To me, my real metric was when we started, I’d call people up, partners, clients, potential employees. Nobody would come out to met us, they’d be like: “DUMBO, where, in the middle of the day?” And I’d have to meet them all in Manhattan.
Now, it’s really easy to get people to come out here to meet us. Everyone’s heard of DUMBO. They’ve heard of great companies that have come from DUMBO. They’re intrigued to come and check it out and go under the East River.
So, that, to me, has been the real measure of success, is can you get Manhattanites to leave their island? I think that we all have achieved that. And even… I think a lot of the events here, now… You meet a lot of people who neither live nor work in DUMBO. They’ve come out to check it out.
I think that the Shorty Awards, the ones that we did the first time around in early ’09… I think it’s safe to say that that was the largest tech advertising/media event in DUMBO up until that time. Since then, there have probably been a few others of at least equivalent size, if not attention.
It was really exciting to be able to bring the Shorty Awards… Do the first one at DUMBO. That only happened because we were fortunate enough to connect with Galapagos, and they were very supporting for us, getting it off the ground in just a two month time span.
It was a lot of fun. The reason I wanted to do it down here the first year was just to take people out of their element, into something completely new for them, and make it a full on experience. I think that’s what DUMBO offers.
Emily: Definitely become the envy of the town. That’s super exciting.
Lauren: Speaking of events in DUMBO and digital, are you coming to “Digital DUMBO” this week?
Greg: I will be there.
Emily: Fantastic, then I will meet you in person. That’s so exciting.
We just have one more question for you then. What are your next thoughts for Sawhorse Media? Where are you guys going to go? A lot of odd changes are happening on Twitter, where their user base is still growing really, really quickly. They’re introducing Twitter as an advertising platform; sponsored tweets are huge.
Where do you see the opportunity lying, and how do you plan to use those benefits with Sawhorse Media?
Greg: We’re still staying focused on figuring out the who’s who of this all, so the who’s who of Twitter. We’ll also start to be doing some stuff with Facebook, where we provide similar value to tell you who’s who on Facebook, since they’re starting to open up in the style of Twitter. We think that that’s the area that’s really our niche, our sweet spot within all that.
We’ve got a lot of new products coming out now to deliver on that promise. So, over the next month, you should see us launch these two big new products. They should provide a lot of value, in terms of figuring out who’s who.
Lauren: Very exciting.
Emily: Very exciting. Thank you very much for being on our show. We are huge fans of Listorious, and it’s quite an accomplishment to have some of the number one directories of Twitter. So, that’s very cool.
Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to talk with us.
Lauren: We can’t wait to meet with you at Digital DUMBO.
Emily: Absolutely. Any of our listeners can meet you, too. We’ll be looking forward to that.
Greg: My pleasure. It’s always great to talk to fellow DUMBOites.
Emily: Absolutely. [laughs] All right, thanks so much. Great talking to you, Greg.
Lauren: Thanks, Greg.
Announcer 2: Real Time Digital will be back after this download from our sponsors.
Announcer 2: Welcome back to Real Time Digital presented by TheJarGroup.com, online marketing with measurable results. Here are your digital divas, Emily and Lauren.
Emily: Welcome back to Real Time Digital hosted by The Jar Group. Check out our website at TheJarGroup.Com.
We’re really excited to bring on the next two guests of our show. They are Kaitlin Villanova from here at Carrot Creative, Hi, Kaitlin. And we have Andrew Zarick, from The JAR Group. We’re super excited to have you two as guests. Thank you so much for joining us.
Do you want to start out by just giving us a short introduction?
Kaitlin Villanova: This is Kaitlin Villanova. I am the director of account services and business development for Carrot Creative. We’re a full‑service social media shop, focusing on everything digital, from strategy to creative development, and really focus mainly on our flagship clients, which are Disney, Ford, the NFL, The Onion, Ralph Lauren Chaps, and a number of different clients.
Andrew Zarick: My name is Andrew Zarick. I’m digital strategist for The JAR Group. I’m on the execution team, and managing strategy, communicating business goals between clients, and those goals back to our internal team.
Lauren: All right, to get the ball rolling, how did you guys come up with the concept of Digital DUMBO?
Andrew: Digital DUMBO started in January of 2009. It was a collaborative effort myself and Kristin Maverick from Carrot Creative, and since then, Carrot Creative has played a tremendous role in supporting the event.
Basically, the idea of the event was to create a forum in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn so that people could come together to share ideas, and educate each other on what’s new and developing in digital, as well as fostering new business in the area.
For those listeners that aren’t exactly familiar with what DUMBO is, it’s a neighborhood in downtown Brooklyn. It’s about a four block radius between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge. There happens to be a tremendously large population of digital shops, creative development startups of all sizes. So, well established companies, and then growing agencies and entrepreneurs, as well.
Kaitlin: I think the important thing to note is that Digital DUMBO, when it started back in January… Before my involvement, it was really 20 people in a bar getting together, having a chance to learn about what other agencies were doing. Now, it’s turned into a 400‑person, with people from all across the industry, and giving them a location and a place to really get together and learn.
Emily: As you know, last week the “Wall Street Journal” released an article pointing DUMBO as the next rival to Madison Avenue and it is pretty awesome that Digital DUMBO has been able to play a part in that.
So, how have you seen DUMBO evolve, since being there with Carrot Creative and the JAR Group? And how do you think Digital DUMBO plays a role in that evolution?
Andrew: Digital DUMBO, like I said, was started at the beginning of last year. I’ve been in DUMBO personally for about three years. In those three years it’s been amazing just to see the number of digital companies that have moved to DUMBO, mainly because the cost to rent office space in DUMBO is very reasonable compared to that of Manhattan.
So, as more companies began to move to the neighborhood and people began meeting each other, we created Digital DUMBO to, like I said, serve as a forum to enable networking, people to meet.
So, I’d like to think that Digital DUMBO, having grown over the past year in attendance, has brought more people together and has also kind of brought the spotlight on DUMBO in addition to the neighborhood being coined the New York Digital District. So, the press we’re receiving around Digital DUMBO combined with the New York Digital District effort has definitely served to put the spotlight on DUMBO.
Kaitlin: So Digital DUMBO is really the catalyst that led to the development of the New York Digital District, which is a non‑profit parent organization that really was guided by the draw of Digital DUMBO. And we were thrilled to see mentioned in the “Wall Street Journal” article promoting not only the agency that I work for Carrot Creative, but also the fostering of technology’s new headquarters right in Brooklyn, New York.
Lauren: So how do you guys then use digital media to promote Digital DUMBO?
Andrew: Initially we kind of seeded the concept with a few digital thought leaders in the neighborhood and got the word out to them to let them know that we were forming this meet‑up. From there, the first thing we really did was establish our social media presence. So we set up a Twitter account, a Tumblr account, a Facebook fan page and also set up a group on LinkedIn.
So between tapping the influencers in the neighborhood and seeding the idea for Digital DUMBO, we then leveraged our social media presences to organize and grow the attendance. Clearly at this point we’re still working on developing our website. So, the social media presences have really served to spread news that there was this new meet‑up in DUMBO and it virally spread and attendance has continued to grow through both word of mouth and across social media over time.
Emily: So, how have you seen Digital DUMBO grow since you guys started out? I know it’s had amazing growth, but just firsthand, why don’t you talk a little about how it’s just become so huge.
Kaitlin: A lot of the growth of the event has really been around word‑of‑mouth marketing. I think that social has played such a part in the outreach for the event. Whether it’s the Twitter handle, or the Facebook page, or even the fact that on the Eventbrite invitation, you can see the attendee list. I think that there’s a lot of draw in that you want to know who is participating, who is part of the community, and really if you’re looking for whether it’s a job or a client or a certain service, you can find that in a comfortable, non‑intimidating community, unlike some of the other tech groups that are more Manhattan centralized.
This has a really welcoming vibe to it, and I think that the spread of the event has really… We can attribute it back to the fact that it’s a comfortable place for people to go and really just get a chance to have real conversations.
Andrew: One thing that’s definitely worked in our favor, I think, is the fact that we are in DUMBO and we did start the event in DUMBO and there’s somewhat of a built‑in audience there since there is such a high concentration of companies in the neighborhood.
So it’s not too hard for people to stop in, to grab a drink and to see some like‑minded people on their way home, catching the F train or the A train. So, that factor along with what Kaitlin said, the format of our event.
So, we usually try to have a free drinks, which in itself is a bore, but also we do have a sponsoring company and we let that sponsor plan the event as they want it. So, usually a 10 to 15 minute presentation and some of them, they like to brand it in other ways, too. Whether it’s icebreakers, or giving away gifts, that sort of thing as well.
I think, initially, most of our audience was in DUMBO. But, over time we definitely see more Manhattan people make their way over to DUMBO. We’re by no means exclusive to only people that work in DUMBO, and that is a question that comes up a lot. We’re open to people attending no matter where they are.
Emily: Right. Yes, so I guess some of the bigger agencies have a new kid in town that they got to deal with. Do you think it’s going to be a peaceful co‑habitation, or do you think there’s going to be some Madison Avenue versus DUMBO wars?
Kaitlin: Well, Andrew And I have been asked a similar question in other interview segments and we don’t see it as much of a rivalry at all, only because if you are in the digital age, the idea of this elusive Madison Avenue almost doesn’t exist.
I think the days of traditional, you know, I’m picturing a “Mad Men” type environment isn’t really part of our culture working in digital. So, we don’t necessarily see any animosity at all because we don’t necessarily work in the world that acknowledges that side of the… You know, it’s not part of, or something that we engage with daily.
Andrew: Right, I would agree with that as well. We’re in an age where traditional is merging with digital and we’re hoping to embrace that and we’re obviously open to anybody that works on quote unquote Madison Avenue to join us, because there’s a lot we can learn from them and there’s a lot they can learn from us as well.
So, we’re trying to do foster that collaboration, but I definitely don’t see it as a war, per se.
Emily: That’s a really good point and an awesome outlook. So, we’re happy to hear that. So why don’t you just tell us a little about this week’s event. What’s going on this Thursday? I know it’s hosted by The JAR Group, so we’re really excited about that. Do you want to tell our listeners a little bit more?
Andrew: Sure so this week’s event is of course taking place in DUMBO at a venue called the DUMBO Loft, sponsored by the JAR Group and DumboNYC.com. We’re announcing a program to give back to local charities. DUMBO has a large population of artists as well, artists and a number of other non‑profits. From this event on forward we’d like to give back to those charities by giving a portion of the tips that go into the tip jar.
So, this event will, like I said, be sponsored by the JAR Group and DumboNYC and all charitable donations will be going to the Brooklyn Community Foundation.
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Lauren: Awesome. Well, listeners if you’ve never been out to DUMBO, here’s your chance to come take a visit this Thursday and be a part of something great.
We’re out of time but we want to thank Andrew and Kaitlin for being on our show and we’re very excited about this Thursday’s event.
Kaitlin: Thank you.
Emily: So come on out to this Thursday’s event and we hope to see you guys next week. And tune in to Real Time Digital again, hosted by TheJARGroup.com. Thanks so much.
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