Hot Seat (with guest David Thier)
David there you saw actually some of his articles earlier, but he is a as professional journalist as they come he's written for forbes, the atlantic, the new york times, garden and gun and a host of other publications I've gotten to know him. We ended up way spent some time in new orleans together when I was living there writing my book, and I felt like we're talking about this with ellen, where you don't you feel like it's a black box, you pitch reporters and you don't know why it's working or why it's not working, and so I thought that this would be a really cool opportunity have a re alive journalists come out here and you guys can explain your product and things to him and all critique it from a marketing perspective, and he could explain, as a journalist who's interested in writing and telling interesting stories what he feels like your story is missing as well. Great let's get david out here, do it, use it there and then who wants to go first? And you can just sort of way could d...
o real slow this way won't be mean if you want to get uncomfortable way like your talk show right now, you do it right so you meet david for coffee, you go to a meeting or what you get a shot at him and you write about technologies and aps and things so he's actually someone you would legitimately picture how would you tell him about your company so I have a company called freakin genius we went through ah techstars and the microsoft connect accelerator um we will run our building ah mobile app that allows anyone to impersonate anyone else or anything um and you can share it with friends a super fun and funny and it's free so what if you go out with me what jumps out to me though and wrong david you're not telling your your pitching the hardest kind of media which is the general profile about me and who I am right? You probably write those pieces that the least frequently what is this a picture of coffee conversation either one okay either one but what I'm saying is I don't like to talk to journalists about generally who I am I'm telling them specifically what I'm doing and what's newsworthy about that thing so the light bulb goes off and david's head that says that's a story right right so what did you say? What do you think? Well I need to hear a little more you know what I was hoping you'd say that ah great yes so it is a mobile app ios we just launched a google glass video charity so you can download it on the ios app store it's a free app free to play you essentially just grab a photo, you can use your camera, you could grab it from anywhere else on the web facebook friends, google images I impersonated ryan to get into this workshop on dh you simply within thirty seconds you can record a video, you can change the voice and then you can share it back out. So so so the the end product is a video of you it's, an end video of whatever that images that you have put him animated message through. Okay, so so the video is an image of ryan and you saying something silly or serious or seriously, yes, potentially serious, so but, uh, I'm not quite seeing I'm not quite seeing why I care in a sort of a general way, so I think a little bit more about why, you know, does this fit into ah broader thing that people are already interested in? Yeah, sure. So ultimately we're kind of tackling animation as a whole were focused right now on the specific message that I would want to share with you personally, I've noticed that in our early beta users that they really love connecting with people through communication, it allows them to get more of their personality across the way that does not exist people look teo amada cons and ways to really when you say connecting to people through communication yeah what what does that mean? It doesn't mean anything right? Problem that's what he's jumping on? Yep eso sharing their personality getting across an emotion getting across how I mean something so if if I'm uh uh let's see right now texting is even twitter or facebook it's text is dry communication it's ah it's it's hard to actually get a sense of what you mean when you say something especially if you're sarcastic or if you're trying to poke fun at something you how often do you run into a situation that just doesn't translate and then actually friction builds right happens to significant others all the time or new friends so in this way you can't get across more of who you are and how you would say something, but it can be also used for really simple messages, so I'll just use a quick example I'm coming home and it's my duty to grab milk for my girlfriend instead of saying, hey, am I the story? I'm away snap a quick photo of milk saying her I'm coming home to you baby blot about and you send it over it's the same message we're still communicating, but it adds more flavor and flair to that communication, so it's kind of weird starting is the communication piece we've built another product that's more full body that allows you to create full cartoons in real time so I'm gonna cut you off because in reality you probably wouldn't get this much time and so you've done a lot of talking but you haven't told him the most critical thing which you have to communicate to any journalist you want to write about, which is what is the angle for them and what is the story they're going to get out of this so you're you're dancing around it but I think the angle and crime wrong david is like this app lets you communicate real emotion through technology and that's what you're pitching and you've got to get in and get out it's we making out that does funny viral videos andan example of that would be instead of like texting your girlfriend go pick me up milk which might be offensive you're saying like, hey honey like like I'm thinking about you you go get milk and you're doing it through ah funny app right and it's easy and cheap and fun and cool and you think this this is similar this's going to be similarly disruptive as the following other products that david has heard about and no r successful were interesting stories that people are interested in s o before you try again just just remember this that you know, we talk about stories and we're looking for stories and that's sort of how we refer to them but it's it's really true that these are stories and stories have a beginning, a middle and an end, and that is the way to conceptualize your product and sort of how you're going to get people interested in it. And so the beginning is the world as it as it is now, as it was before your product, the middle is what you're going to dio, and the end is the utopian future in which your product has changed communication, and so, well, david's gonna come tomorrow, so you'll get a second crack at pitching after we sort of talked about it, but it's also, and before you get to the story, it also has to be a headline, and it's got a photo and it's got to have an angle, and so you've got to present all those things quickly, insistently and in a compelling way or it's, just not gonna work cool, but you're good and you're getting better, so we'll keep going. What's your hurry. Good ellen teo. So I'm with witchcraft. We are a quick service restaurant based out of new york city, but with seventeen locations across the country in new york, las vegas in san francisco, we create riel food that is handcrafted every single day for anywhere between five thousand six thousand people around the country, in addition to being a quick service restaurant with fantastic locations where people just sort of camp out we're also doing a lot of caring for corporations and businesses as well as full service events and I think that's somewhere where we are able to utilize our chef roots in multiple different ways and for multiple different audiences the reason why I think you should be paying attention to us is because we've been doing chef inspired food for a long time before local seasonal was popular are three co founders who have worked in new york city fine dining restaurants, their careers or for their careers prior to witchcraft and during witchcraft have really pushed the envelope with the food and so we continue to do that as we grow as a company we have new locations that have been opening up within the last couple of months we're going to do savory organic yogurt we're now doing daily sandwiches which are chefs have put together just like if you were to go to gramercy tavern and they have a daily special we're doing that with our food now we're doing it in a way that's accessible for the masses so these are the same ingredients you would get a fine dining restaurant at eleven dollar price point and so it's all the same ingredients but was chef processes and preparation and so we're really proud of what we're doing so so what what was the story specifically that's on the supermarket stuff on the on the s o you know what I think the story were trying to tell us that we're utilizing fresh seasonal ingredients were using local farmers and partnering with them to the greatest extent we can we have helps a tomato farmer up in connecticut grow his business as we've grown as a business, so we're supporting small businesses along the way. I am sorry, I think something that the anglo jumps out to me is maybe how witchcraft is bringing the farm to table approach to the masses or is taking over the world like what's the active thing that you're doing that allows him to write about it or anyone to write about it like today or tomorrow rather than they could if your pitches to general, they could write about it any time and any time may as well be never yeah, so I think I mean, to get that that's one of our challenges is so we've been around for almost ten years and we're really excited about that, but in the media market, how do you stay relevant and fresh and above the fray of everybody else's coming into this face, we know what we're doing is special, but it may not be the new kid on the block well, I mean, that's a story is always gonna be new, so I think what you're talking about you have to constantly produce news stories that get people a reason to talk about you again, otherwise they'll be this new kid and you'll say it's like witchcraft, but the new kid is what the story was going to be about, and so to think about your pitch, I think that one of the things that that people always ask about with this kind of thing is it doesn't, you know, people have been asking, does it scale for a long time and that that's a real question that I think, ah, journalists would be entered interested in that I'm interested in not seeing no local fresh food were cool way know about that good job, but if you have to say, you have to think about not just, you know, what has been interesting, but how it's going to evolve and why this is interesting now, because it was interesting five years ago and how that's changed enough to warrant a new story, and so I think the scaling angle is probably where you're going to get that. What about something about the ten year anniversary? That sort of pseudo event of look apple comes out with a lot of products, and so do a lot of other tech companies, but apple makes an event out of it every time and everyone's like, oh, sweet that's, a lot of easy page views and that might be something to think about is how do you make an event which is inherently newsworthy, which then get your message across so that's why I think your point about beginning middle end I want to talk about the middle in terms of the daily chef sandwiches that we're doing right now to draw your interest in so that when we do something new in a month from now, you're paying attention to me again. I mean, I guess that's how I'm thinking about my goals? Well, I think I think the daily show sandwiches that you're doing it held its witchcraft nine and a half years, so that's that's the beginning at this point with the chefs daily sandwiches, we just started last month, okay, so yeah, so that's the middle now and then the end is, what does it mean and what's next? I'm trying to sort of say, okay, well, we're pushing the envelope on food. We're pushing the envelope in terms of what quick service restaurant groups typically do and why what you'll get at our place for two dollars more potentially is ten times better than something you could take it a grab and go place around the corner yeah, and I think you're you're moving to something there and it's just about remembering what in that is not something that we've heard before and remember you're competing with all the new places who just opened and so that's this you have to be more interesting than that because you already had your day in the sun so to deserve another one you've got to be better than that and I like the tomato grower in connecticut there's there's some in there that's good you know you do one more uh we could do a few more about that yeah got great students here with awesome businesses so look let's help him out feel like we should give these guys a round of applause for going up casey most major let's put you to so I'll give you a little bit of background on myself how we're food the coming war forgot started and what we're about so I grew up on a diversified organic dairy farm in upstate new york I got my degree from cornell were about south of syracuse okay, yeah, I grew up in western massachusetts on the border okay? They might talk to you about personal details. It might happen a real pity. So our co founder got his mba from cornell and our investor teaches at the cornell business school and that you see san diego business school so I moved to san diego in september and uber food started selling meals in january and now we are the first uh san diego based online food delivery service that provides families and businesses with freshly prepared gourmet dinners, sandwiches, salads and soups made from organic and locally sourced ingredients so I think with yours it's very important to think about about what source you're talking tio you're not talking to me really because there is no national story necessarily but that doesn't really matter to you because you don't need a national story because you're a a local business you know people in san francisco aren't necessarily going to be ordering your food that doesn't yeah and so uh I guess then we need to think about is it because it happens on such a small scale is who in particular you're going to be pitching and and what the specific story is going to know if there's a san diego magazine that's going to say five past delivery services and try and get in there what once you're dealing with that level of becomes very specific yeah unless you want national press but I don't really know what I would say that would be a waste because unless you're doing something so revolutionary that like it's this is the rise of this new trend and you're looking to expand nationally anyway and if you've got the plan and that plan for that in place I would your pitching someone who's who's gonna have to say no to you because it's not in his wheelhouse and you don't want to make people have to say no to you sure if you were sandy, if you were writing about food in san diego, which is someone who I would realistically be pitching to you, is that some? Is that a something that's like that you'd want to write about? Yeah, definitely, I think you just need I don't know about the market specifically, but you've come to someone until you know a little bit about sort of the dominant delivery services, why yours is different and and how it's going to change things right now, how it already is because with with local things, especially people are reading local magazines because they want to pick it up and pick up a phone seconds later, you know, you know, good brunch, boss, go to a brown spot, and so that needs to be a very kind of immediate story. It's it's a practical story and it's sort of a different way than some of these other things are, you know, the communications admits very there's a lot of sort of conceptual stuff there, which is cool, but yours is all about just getting people to order the food, and there are, you know, their plans to scale nationally, right? I mean, we just launched so we're working things out, I wouldn't start with who who you are is less important than what you're doing to a local news reporter. Like it's a great afterwards you're like this is this is our product and by the way, like we have deep ties to the community and like we're you know, leaders and important people in that space that's extra and it goes like because first they have to be intrigued by the idea then they go, what color can I add to this but it's not like, oh, I'm gonna throw the they're all nice san diego ins right send its ever been settled, but they're not going to be like, oh it's a super boring story, but because these people are from san diego on the right about it, you know what I mean? What must come first? So just put the personal stuff afterwards, what's your most popular food, the lemon thyme grilled chicken sandwich. Okay, because you didn't tell me anything really about the food. Well, so let me know what it is, you know, let me know what I'm going to go and order right now, especially with local things. This is it. Like I said, it's practical stuff, it could be very detail oriented. That's what we talked about earlier and you're telling me you kept saying it's like high quality, good organic food, I don't know what that is and nobody does, and since you're not, uh you're not sources it's not like you're seamless or something, which is all restaurants you're making the food, so you've got to tell me why I want food from you instead of from my favorite chinese food restaurant. Is there a way to do that? Do you think with words or is is that a video or is that a picture? Is that actually doesn't bring up the video thing again, which is maybe the best way? Maybe not pitching david, you're doing it over email you're like, hey, david, this is my company, bob law check out this video that sort of shows are cool life distribution system or something is going to be hard to get me to watch a video really you don't click links uh, maybe one that people do always is like here read these ten attachments what no one opens or read this long press release, but I feel like video maybe may I feel like for me, what it always is is that, you know, you get two paragraphs and what you get one paragraph that was good to get another one and attachments india's conservative, very nice supplemental stuff or basically I'm sold and I'm killing a little time by reading that that additional stuff, but as someone who writes also and gets pitched occasionally, usually when I see the the paper clip attachment icon I'm like it's a pitch not going to read it right? So you not only are those things a crutch but they could be a liability as well? Does it behoove him potentially to do some of that social deals groupons of the world those type of things look everything's marketing right? So you do you get written about by david the local san diego food writer maybe you get a hundred customers out which would actually be a huge conversion rate to get a hundred customers out of an article or you could do a group on deal which gets you seven hundred customers forced through your system the conversion rate there is actually better so anything is anything that gets new customers in your door or exposes your business to them is marketing so I advise, eh? Expansive definition of what marketing is and the smaller you are, the less likely media directly is the best way to spread your message. Okay, even and satya must I am the founder discover peak, which is an online share a room that offer's members exclusive access to history that I've discovered around the world so I'm inspiring women to leave their pants at home they're a little more sure tell mum think that it is one thing a month sure uh women go online to the showroom which I curate each month they have access to things that are not available in local department stores or sometimes not offered in the united states and they still like their product and arise to them beautifully packaged each month so it's similar to like a shoot as a which is run by kim kardashian similar to a bird box but the women are selecting the products versus not and as laura and I discussed at break it's like going uh shopping in paris without leaving your home so same thing is as you were food again what's some hosiery not that I know a lot about hosiery but just give me some examples you know that that's great so I have found my clients that and because you're a man you might not understand this but when a woman wears like uh heels versus flat she feels sexier which you feel more confident so I'm providing an access to pieces that will make women feel a little sexier stand a little taller which directly what are the pieces that's what I'm curious about uh like just just just tell me about you know they're all around the world is there an egyptian some hos everything whatever you know um so for example this month valentine's day I offered a hi and version of what would be considered crotchless panty house really but really beautiful super high end finally made in paris I had to suspend her about you know, missing some areas and the best part is own why name the company discover peak was its to pique your interest right? So when a woman's wearing thes pantyhose and she's wearing a dress you don't know what's underneath but she does, you know or when you ring pattern and it's fun, you get noticed so I'll be walking down the street and we're so interesting pattern tights and I almost always get stopped by at least ten women asking me where did you get your tights? I never see patterns like that here that's what it is right there at the end is that this is not something people necessarily think about all the time, but if you do think about it, your life will be great, you know I likes tio maybe explaining it like that. This is a comedy problem that you're solving in some way, which is like that shopping for ho's arreaza pain they wear out and so this is like you're guaranteed at least one pair a month that's going to be awesome, you don't have to shop for it and it's it's too high. I like the way you discover it piques your interest in new things that otherwise you wouldn't have tried so it's kind of like a a sampling service that that also solves the problem of the fact that you have to do this every month anyway absolutely yeah, so don't even go into her no, no, I was just just think about adding that to to your thing and I liked that what she did so every additional thing that she was saying I could maybe I'm wrong, but I felt like it was adding more layers rather than getting around to explaining it to you like you understood you had a vague idea than you had uh you had an idea that you had a better idea that a better idea then a better idea then a better idea rather than like you have no idea and now you have a little bit of an idea and now like all these muses to an understanding, right? So every your pitch is improving and it's like he was talking about with the chuck norris facts it's pulling you from piece to piece and I like that she brought up two competitors who are media worthy and dyed them too like a celebrity you made this kind of like a trend or something so he knows like birchbox shoot as all those air to other companies this is newsworthy because it's like a trend yeah, we'll do it last one let's do it and then we'll transition some quick maybe closing that you have that what were apple appear sure while she's coming up david question for you typically when you meet with somebody whether someone send you an email or any of them in person how much time they have to get your attention you pushed elite on the email within what how many seconds uh we like it or not I mean if if there's a big stack of them it might be zero you know if I'm just going through it and open I mean oftentimes that really will just be subject lines subject and then if I go you know if it's a good subject line go into it maybe ten, fifteen seconds and if you happen to meet with someone you know was forced to have to sit across from you on a nice comfortable couches like these do you know sometimes within the first thirty first thirty seconds like yeah, I know oh yeah definitely I mean, luckily in an in person thing I can't leave so you know if you got me I'm just you know, if you're sitting across from a journalist he's on your team you know, because he doesn't fit in the funnel yeah, he doesn't want to waste that a half hour so he's going to trying to find a story so two quick questions on that then I'll throw some exams what what's the best subject line you've ever gotten and what do you think of usually as what? How do you sound of someone? Stop your attention in the headline and with the subject line and that's that that's hard to say visit me when you consider some of the volume of subject lines I'm getting I can't remember the best thing I've got you know there's this one video game lee that always types in all caps and says weird things and they usually read those kids there there what do you write about her problem? You know where the games aren't good so this is something I want to do maybe it doesn't work but I felt like anecdotally does work I like teo and I stole this from its a blogging thing why do you why do bloggers put questions in headlines? It's because you're like, oh I have to click to get the answer I don't ask questions but I like question marks in my subject line those were so you're like uh I don't know maybe you would say like uh crotchless panty hose for valentine's a question mark david's going like what is this right rather than like like attention for immediate media release which is weird people avoid formula at all christ because if I see something that looks like something I'm going to delete I'm going to leave you know and that's a lot of people do this to you right? They put in re colin I do that all right thinking it's ah reply to an email chain when we figured it out okay, so here's another one I like to do I like to do like almost like keywords or hash tags in the sense that I'll just say like uh you know like this is bad so don't actually do this but it would be like subscription slash pantyhose slash like new web business or something like I would just sort of hint at what the words or themes are with like slashes which because it's like a little bit perplexing but it's sort of evoking a mood of what's going to be in the email I mean that that might draw attention for a second it's not something that I would when I'm thinking about what makes a good subject and right but send me an email tomorrow we'll see if oh yeah what what I say is like ok let's say er for instance let's say I was like introducing you to someone I might say like like intro slash casey nap splash like pool new business you might open that right? Yeah well in't intros that's an interesting notion sort of an action were right well that could involve me right? You know those air always good because they give you some indication of what's gonna happen or or how it's gonna work so we'll talk more subject tomorrow what I just wanted to get off your sorry okay hi david laura to meet you my company is bone mountain bristlecone and we sell an extremely rare would directly to woodworkers online the uh seethe story um I'm a little nervous no no take your time and this is what this is why it's good practice because this is like a not a real thing um the this I'm selling I'm selling would directly to woodworkers and the reason is it's um extremely rare into an impossible to get commercially is that this is a very special wood that comes from a specific mountain in colorado it was trees that lived a thousand years and then burn and forced fire in the eighteen eighties so and it sat up on the mountainside and was weathered by wind, rain and fire for one hundred years and then was collected by hand and is now available for sale for woodworkers teo write the next chapter of this story no really it wasn't all the pieces are there just not in the right order. Yeah, I mean the woods cool. I mean dude, that lead with that I mean what's its name bristlecone it's it's I don't know if you are into woods you might know that bristle cone is very bristlecone is one of the is the oldest living organism it's they there are bristlecone there's, a national park in california nevada that has great basin bristlecone these air four thousand year old trees um they're illegal to harvest for obvious reasons but in this case are wood is a, um very similar species to that and we actually have one of the on ly permits to commercially harvest this would and so it's this is basically the only way to attain this wood if you're a woodworker and you want a chance to work with it this is your chance I would I would go with a little like the the tea's so I would say like what do you do? I sell thousand year old wood that survived a forest fire and then a millennia of sitting out exposed to the elements two woodworkers who want to use this to make beautiful furnishings and knickknacks and things on dh you know it's called uh what was it called a good bristlecone what's that for the mountain bone mountain bristle mountain bristle bristlecone I think she should add like wood company to the end of the name just because looks most people aren't good workers but they might be buying the products from the so I think that's something seriously think about okay but so it's lead with the wood that survived forest fires that's a thousand years old that is beautiful and twisted and weird and dark and that you have an exclusive permit to distribute it and this is your company and in david's going to like what that's ridiculous tell me more I mean you're you're in a nice position where that sounds really cool right? And sometimes you know you know what sometimes like a food company or something you need to really you know, you need to really tell your story and why it's important but that's already sounding really cool so you couldn't really lean yeah and was like we'll get to you excited and if you're a woodworker and you wantto and and you're really into buying rare woods which lots of people are to make different things, the other thing is that it it's it's it can be really hard when you're purchasing online to know what you're actually going to get and actually are what is all individually photographed so so you khun you can go and look at the photograph and that is actually the peace that you will actually receive we have a lower line that's a little cheaper but you know, like for the premium stuff like that you're getting that because it's so unique you're getting the actual piece that is there's so many photographs I don't know if that's interesting you know there's a million you know like entrepreneur sells thousand year old wood on the internet that's weird and there's stuff to write about their images there's you could do a slide show like this's like new york times like home section interesting or like sunset magazine or home and I know that's sort of I mean, I've definitely had that thought I mean the people that collect this wood which is my mother and father in law actually live in the middle of nowhere in colorado completely off grid they bake bread and wood fired wood stove I mean this there's there's a whole lifetime of story that and but I don't know how to communicate it well waiter on you you know you lead with the wood you know because that's totally cool always lead with the wood when you have the chance thinks he's going to product yeah you're going to start the story with the description about that no one knows that's a thing yeah you know what I mean on buddy knows they want it yet right right right yeah I think that's another thing to you when you don't really think about source cause I do think this is that could be all number of major national publications and those air good but aside you know the middle ones are not that interesting to you until you get down to like what workers weekly or whatever that is and then it becomes really great again because you know you're not selling to a general audience right yourself very net yeah and so that the targeting is very important there right you're not into the sacramento bee you're pitching uh the new yorker and then you were pitching you would what arts and crafts stores directly because the big ones are always going to be good trade shows at school, you should. You should. You should feel good about that story reasons.