Tag Archives: Social Media


FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2111-3001by John Jonelis

This is a winner. You wanna wow the judges?  Win the crowd?  Get your game face on, kiddo!  Hit ’em with real passion, overflowing personality and a canon shot of enthusiasm.   State what you want to do with bravado.  With humor.  With intelligence.  With dazzle and power.  While you’re at it, throw in a pair of fitted black leather pants so they’ll sit up and bark.  It never hurts to be feminine and smart.  By the way, she’s an award-winning mathematician from MIT.  Really!

This is Joy Tang and she’s pitching InstanTagThe Social Fashion Network at the Funding Feeding Frenzy in Chicago—a private equity arena with no speed limit in an industry dominated by sweaty men.  Men pack the judging panel.  Men pack the audience.  That doesn’t stop her.




Tang moves forward with authority, hitting every detail and point required of a superb private equity pitch. She plucks an orchestra of human emotions and plays each to her favor.  Curiosity, Compassion. Avarice. Anxiety. Hope—lots of Hope..

FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2128-500

She isn’t tall, isn’t boardroom, and speaks in somewhat broken English.  You think that slows her down?  Guess again buddy!  Tang is stunning, smart, and rivets your attention.  We know nothing about her but make no mistake—she steals the show.  Everyone falls in love with her sizzling energy and she backs it up with a complete business story for as nice a package as I’ve seen in a long while.  She’s not asking for your money, Mr. Investor.  No—she’s demonstrating an opportunity, and she’s ready to sail.

FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2127-500So I’m thinking, Another social media play?  But this is different—it’s all about fashion—and she’s holding the judges between two dainty fingers.  You think, just maybe she might pull this off?  Yup.  I’m betting Tang will turn a successful business no matter how many times she pivots in this or that ballroom.

FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2132-300Between pitches, the leadership of three angel groups ask me what companies I like. I like Nano Gas Technologies.  I like Team Interval.  I like Geek Bar.  But most of all, I like InstanTag’s Joy Tang.  Turns out, she’s already at the top of those three lists.

FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2157-500


Two weeks later at Business Network Chicago, it’s a reunion of FFF FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2136B-200speakers. And in a roomful of sweaty men, there’s Tang in her black leather pants, asking the tough business questions—pinning down the speaker and making him squirm—but with such consideration and aplomb!  As the lyrics to the song go, “Don’t change baby, please don’t change.”

And Mr. Investor—catch this boat before it sails. This is the time to bet on the captain, not the ship.





InstanTag – The Social Fashion Network

Joy Tang, CEO & Co-Founder   jtang@instantag.com


FFF 9-17-14 JAJ-2117-200Nano Gas Technologies

Team Interval

Geek Bar

Funding Feeding Frenzy

Business Network Chicago

Photography Copyright © 2014 John Jonelis

Lyrics from the song Bella Donna as performed by Grace Slick


Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2014 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, Bella Donna, big money, BNC, Characters, chicago, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Events, FFF, Heartland Angels, Marketing, new companies, pitch, Social Media, Software


PIVOTJohn Jonelis—Verbatim from special correspondent, Donatas Ludditis

Welcome—welcome to Ludditis Shots & Beer! Glad you come in.

Got question for you.

Don's look-alike

Don’s lookalike

I hear about this guy: Nikhil Sethi his name. No, don’t ask me—I never say it right. He got easy way to advertise on social web. His outfit called Adaptly. Got three slick platforms that work as if by magic. And his company, it grow like crazy! This I want to know more about.


Ludditis Shots and Beer

Pivot to Success

There you see? Is quiet now.

So I go to big Northwestern University event and hear him speak—entrepreneur@nu they call it. Hey, finish drink. I give you highlights only. Here, I got notes—wait, my thumbs too big, even for this gadget.

Editor’s note—Ludditis keeps his notes on a huge Samsung Note II phablet but his fingers look like sausages. Ah, he’s found his notes:

Business only three years old. It still baby but look how big already! He start when still at university. So how he get funding to grow so fast? He say, “If you ask for money you get advice. If you ask for advice, you get money. We ask for a lot of advice.”

Nikhil Sethi at e@nu

Nikhil Sethi of Adaptly

He make me think. He say, “Technology just way to copy some kinda human behavior,” or words like that. I crank that over in my old noggin a long time. It finally sink in.

Then he say, “At any given moment, eight groups are working on the same idea. Somebody will do what you’re doing whether or not you do it yourself.”

So outa all them company’s, maybe only one is winner. How you become winner? I like answer he give. He keep pushing to next level. You think he too pushy? That is what make success. Drive, he call it.

Hey – there no be this bar if I not drive business.

Is same for this guy.


Another thing—nowadays startups all in big hurry. Wait, I check word: “Minimally viable product.” Yeah that is what these kids make nowadays. They put junk out there and see how people like it, then change, then change again. “Pivot,” I think they call it. “Fake it till you make it,” he say, “You don’t know you missed it till you miss it.”

You want truth? I like this new way. Is quicker than expensive marketing study and faster too.


What Makes a Great Team?

What about his people, you ask? Every team member must understand deep root of why they do what they do. That way it make sense to them.

Then surprise: “Don’t hire your friends,” he say. “It is about going into a world that’s not so friendly.” Then he say, “One of the biggest reasons for failure is difference of opinions between founders. It’s like dating. You want to know each other’s deepest and darkest secrets. If you don’t find out now, it will come out later.”

Seem like – how you say – contraption. Non-sequencer maybe. I mean I cannot put his two ideas together, but lots o’ times I no can put two ideas together. So I give him benefit of doubt. Here, I pour you another—no worries.

Nikhil Sethi

Nikhil Sethi

How he keep growing so fast? Is initiative! “We make sure we keep reinventing ourselves at a high rate. Our rate of change is ridiculous. We have to destroy and reinvent the business every six months.”

So he create when he destroy. “These things are working and growing but they’re not going to keep working and growing forever. It’s hard to throw something that’s working in the garbage but you gotta do it. There no lack of opportunity—only lack of focus.”

I say it take special talent to do that. Startup is high-stress. I like bar a whole lot better. So I get rough and throw out troublemaker sometime. That – what you call – therapy. Let off steam. Is good for the old ticker. Here, have another shot.

When can he break his own rules? “When you need to.” He says. “It’s a gut feeling. You first have to understand what the rules are.”


How he know what advice he take? “Ignore everything and only do what you think is right. Otherwise, it hinders making a decision.” Then he bounce this off wall: “Get your advice from a limited group of trusted people. The biggest decision on picking a board is you trust each other. Find people you can trust.” To me it sound like another contraption, but I see wisdom on both sides. I live my whole life with people I trust. Is best way to live. Best way do business.

You already have enough drink? Come back and I tell you how student companies make money.




ContactsInc Magazine Cover

Follow Nikhil Sethi on Twitter – @nsethi


Entrepreneur@nu Pivot to Success Conference

Forbes - NU most entrepreneurial Inc. Article on NUvention

Forbes article – “63% of NU students claim they want to start their own businesses”

Photographs courtesy Northwestern University, Adaptly, John Jonelis Studios.


Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money. .Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved . .


Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, Biography, Characters, chicago, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, Donatas Ludditis, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Events, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Internet, Internet Marketing, investor, Kellogg, Mobile, Mobile Marketing, new companies, Northwestern, Software, vc, venture capital


Mobile University Part 1

John Jonelis

MobiUHow do Social Networks, the Mobile Internet, and Mobile Apps get put to profitable use by Big Corporate Marketing?   I’m at MobiU to find out.  And the big companies are here to tell us about it – Anheuser-Busch, ESPN, United Airlines, Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Walgreens, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pepsico, Best Buy, Deloitte Consulting, Kimberly-Clark, and many others.  This is the annual Mobile University Conference with speakers on multiple stages at the same time.  Heartland Mobile Council puts on this event at the Microsoft Innovation Center in Chicago.

The Tektite Group’s Jean Pickering runs the volunteers here and she puts the arm on me.  So, how am I gonna cover thisTektite Group event?  I already scheduled the article in Chicago Venture Magazine. 

Then something happens that seems like providence.  I run into Donatis Ludditis.  Good old Don!  Always ready to lend a guy a helping hand!  And a good head on his shoulders, too.  Robust–that’s what I’d call him.  White hair—kinda like Einstein.  Age doesn’t seem to phase him. 

“Don!” I shout, “Don, I need your help!”

He scowls, suddenly guarded. “What you want I should do?” he asks in his mix of Baltic and Chicago dialects.  “I too old for that no more.  I legit. Lawyer say I legit.”

“Just gimme your personal impressions on the talks.  And take some photos—here’s my camera.  Meet me at the old place afterwards.  I’m buyin’.”

“No break nobody’s legs?”  He grins.  “Okay!”  He says it with enthusiasm and grins some more.  “You buy I talk!”  But he hands back my camera.  “I no work dis kinda contraption.”

Smartphones - Photo by Gilly Berlin

SMARTPHONES – Photo by Gilly Berlin

I shrug and pocket my camera.  We shake hands and go our separate ways.  I should’ve known he’d refuse to use a digital camera.  Explaining technology to Ludditis is like talking to a caveman.  This is the guy that labeled the VCR the work of the devil.  I happen to know he never owned a computer in his life.  So what’s he doing here?  But here he is—here in this world of Social Networks and Mobile Internet Marketing—some of the most confounding stuff happening outside of particle physics.  Now, while Jean keeps me busy, I’m counting on Ludditis to give me the man-on-the-street slant on mobile tech.   And I’m worried.  Can he do it?

The Lithuanian Cathedral

The Lithuanian Cathedral

Ludditis is one of the few left from the old days when Lithuanian was the primary language in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood.  He knew my relatives Father Stanley, Father Johnny, Sister Clarita.  He actually attended the old Lithuanian Cathedral.  He’s up there in years but you’re not gonna mess with this guy.  He’s stocky with huge biceps that he uses to crack walnuts.  And even at his age, he still looks plenty dangerous.

At the Diner

The day goes by in a blur and it’s 10pm when I walk into Ludditis’ favorite diner in the old neighborhood.  I find him at table, slowly pouring beer in a glass intended for milk or juice.  That’s the only kind of glass you get in this place. 

The Lithuanian Plaza - Chicago

The Lithuanian Plaza – Chicago

Three empty bottles already stand on the table—labels I can’t read but recognize as Lithuanian.  “I want potato pancakes,” I say as I take a chair.”

“Already order.  You buy dem, we eat dem.” 

I wonder what Donatis Ludditis can possibly know about Big Corporate Mobile Marketing.  I want to understand how they do it and what it means to Startups.  Thirty years back, when Don gave up the noble profession of bouncer (some say enforcer) he bought a tavern of his own, under the ‘L’ tracks.  Paid cash.  Calls it ‘Luddites Shots ‘n Beer.’  Why didn’t we meet there?

The waitress materializes from nowhere lugging two heavy plates.  Ludditis says something to her in Lugan and she comes back with a beer for each of us.  In his robust way he offers cheers.  “Sveikas!” he says as a toast and we clink bottles.  He still talks like an immigrant and he’s not gonna change, even if he makes it past a hundred. 

The beer goes down good.  The thing I like about potato pancakes at this place is they crunch when you chew and now I remember with all my senses why this little diner is the place to be.  “So Don,” I say. “How’d you get mixed up in a Mobile Internet conference?  I’d expect you to curse it as some kinda sin.”

MOBILE DEVICES – Heartland Mobile Council

The Convert

“No, no, is wonderful—so small—carry in trousers.”  He produces a huge Samsung Galaxy in one hand and an iPhone in the other. 

I drop my jaw.  Then, as Ludditis goes on, I take the opportunity to shovel in more potato pancakes and sour cream

“Fit in pocket, see.”  And he slips them away like a gunslinger holstering two six shooters. “They say it soon be part of clothes.”  He talks between bites of food.  “Maybe even put in body—in bloodstream!  No lug around heavy bag.  Is beautiful thing!” 

“It’s technology, Don.”

He shrugs.  “Friends all use it.”

“But you hate technology.”

“Is progress.  Cannot fight such things.  Besides—” He turns over a hand. “Is so easy to talk to a person.  And not stuck at desk.  I hate desk.”

Without warning, he pulls out the iPhone and goes silent.  He bows over the thing and then utters a healthy laugh.  “Is Mary—you know Mary, my great granddaughter,” he says after typing something with his big thumbs.  “She finally get that bum to marry her.  She want I tell her best place for wedding.  Monastero’s is place to go.  Best food.  Best service.  Best price.  So I text her.” 

He texts too?  I shake my head.  “Don, that’s a Sicilian place.”

“So what?”  All kind of people make up city.  Even old neighborhood not same no more.  Not so many speak the language.  New generations take place of old.  People move around.  He points the huge Galaxy phone at me and I see an image of a beautiful ballroom dominated with huge candelabra that look like bouquets of flowers.  “Nice place, you agree?”

In nod and he smiles.  Then he empties the remaining beer from his juice glass in one gulp.  “Look.”  He runs through a series of pictures taken at the MobiU event that day. Nice photography–I have to admit it.  Did he really take those with a phone? 

“What your email address?” he says.  “I send pictures to you.”

I stutter and then tell it to him.

Engaging Your Audience

ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE – Heartland Mobile Council

Now he gets out the other phone.  “Manager give two beer if we Like dis place.  You like dis place, Yon?  If you do, I press dis icon.  I no say–you say only.” 

“Yeah, I like it.  Plenty.  Call me John.”

He touches the screen and then thumbs the virtual keyboard and more beers arrive almost immediately.    

“Don, let’s get down to business.  What can you tell me about the conference?  Start from the beginning.”

HUGH JEDWILL – by Ludditis

“Well, that gonna be Hugh Jedwill.  He good boy.  Heartland Mobile Council – it his outfit.  No profit – not never.”


“That what I just say.   Hey, you take notes Yanulis!  I say these things one time only!”  

I pull out an MP3 recorder and switch it on while he forks another glob of potato pancakes. “Their mission, Hugh call it—Change industry.  Do things the right way—not like dot com bomb.”

Not the Dot Com Bomb

“’Scuse me a sec, Don, but whadaya know about big business?”

Ludditis seems genuinely hurt.  “What—you think I no buy stocks?  No do research?  Am I crazy old man and let money rot in bank?”  He strokes the Galaxy and shows me the charts of a couple big tech companies. 


“Is okay.”  He brightens and I know the anger is instantly gone.  “Chicago—” Ludditis thumps the table with a meaty Heartland Mobile Council Logoforefinger.  “Chicago is best place to put on dis—dis MobiU.  People come from all over country.  It hub for airlines.  Railroad all pass through here.  Interstate squeeze through.  Dat mean trucks.  Is commodity capital of world.  Chokepoint for Internet.  Lotsa huge consumer brands in town.” 

“Okay, I get it.  Just like the ancient camel route that built Petra in the wilderness.”

He ignores that and goes on. 

No Force Feeding

“After Hugh, I hear Steve Surman from Anheuser-Busch.  He tell us, Do not be needle in haystack.  Dis is big company make Budweiser and he say that.  Old ideas, they no work, he say.  Used to be, ‘Buy me, I’mwhatever’—you fill in blank.  Everything brand-focused.  Nothing for people to say or do.  That is old way.  No good.”

I stare at him, amazed.  There’s really something here—something powerful enough to bring Donatis Ludditis out of a lifelong anti-technology shell.  And I marvel at his sturdy intellect.  I start taking notes like he told me to do. 

“Mobile,” he goes on, “It is big change in way people use tecnostuff.  Everybody want a say.  A say in what they buy.  Brands yusta ram message down your throat.  No more.”  Don squeezes his eyes closed.  “I memorize quote for you:  Surman say, ‘Intense expectation of engagement.’  That is it—exact words.  World not dis way—not for many, many years—such long time you do not even remember!”  He sits back and beams.  “So today, Mobile Contraptions bring back past.  Now we have job for brand and also job for buyer—just like old days when we haggle at market.  Dis I like.” 

I’m in awe.  Ludditis is telling me the same thing Google’s brain trust predicted.  They call it
The Zero Moment of Truth.

Now Ludditis is fooling around with one of his phones again.  “Good movie tonight.  You like movies, Yon?”

“Sure, what’s playing?”

He works his thumbs and then pockets the phone.  “Hugo.  I get bargain.” 

That raises a laugh from me.  “So that’s how you finally fall in love with technology?  The cheapskate in you is overcoming the barriers?”

Ludditis flashes a stern look.  “Smart guy.”  He holds his stare and I shut my trap.  “Is completely different, this Mobile Internet.  No need office.  No need computer.  No file cabinets.  No paper.  Store it all on cloud.  No lug briefcase like some bean counter.  Do anything anywhere.  No lose track of family.  It make me happy.” 

No Sex

“Yon, I think you not see how this make huge change–change in way companies do business,” he says. “This force new kinda advertising on Madison Avenue sharks.  Surman say old crutches no work on Mobile.  Yusta be sex, sex, sex!  Sex sell soap.  Sex sell beer.  Now people with these gizmos say sex get in way.”

“You mean to say sex is a distraction for Mobile users?”

“You no listen?  Here.  The app—she must be practical.  She must function.  And direct—easy to use.  Not just sex.”  He straightens in his chair.  “Dis I like also.”

So the old crutches don’t work in Mobile advertising?  I ponder whether that’s really true but Ludditis moves on and doesn’t give me time to consider it. 

Gatorade and Pandora

GATORADE and PANDORA – by Ludditis

Let me give you the short version of what Don tells me:  He sees Kim Luegers from Gatorade together with Sarah Bild from Pandora Radio.  Pandora’s got a teenage audience.  80% of these kids own smartphones and use the mobile Internet.  75% of their radio gets heard on mobile devices.  These kids pay attention to Mobile Ads.  80% tell friends about what they buy on social media.  They crave it.  And pretty soon they’re gonna be adults. 

We clink bottles again in a toast and I decide to test Ludditis.  “Can you define social media?”

The table immediately sags in the middle from the impact of his fist.  “Shuttup ‘n’ listen, Yonulis.  You think I make this stuff up?”

I show him both palms.  He continues more calmly.  “Turns out,” he says, “Gatorade choose special types to match music on Pandora.  They got active audience.  Kids like brand.  Gatorade does not tell them what to do—no, they listen to customer and talk to them.

They listen.  Of course—that’s the key to it all.  It’s no longer a one-way feed. 

Microsoft Innovation Center

I push away my plate and stretch my legs.  My gut is full and I’m feeling a little sloppy from all the beer.  I wave for the bill.  On the way out the door, Ludditis says, “Yon, you still want see movie?”  He sounds kinda eager, so what the heck.

“Yeah sure,” I say as we walk the dark empty street. 

Ludditis grins.  “I give you rest of the story after de show.”





Heartland Mobile Council:

Online: http://heartlandmobilecouncil.org/

Twitter: #mobiu2012

Facebook: HeartlandMobileCouncil

The Tektite Grouphttp://tektitegroup.wordpress.com/

Photographs and comments used by permission of Hugh Jedwill and Heartland Mobile Council.

Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.
Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


Filed under Chicago Venture Magazine, Conflict, Heartland Mobile Council, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Invention, Mobile, Mobile App, Mobile Marketing, MobiM, mobiU, Social Media, Tektite


I’m at BNC Venture Capital. I came to see two exciting companies that have already crossed my radar screen. One easily won the recent FFF event and the other was in the top three.

BNC Venture Capital

BNC Venture Capital – jaj

I like Business Network Chicago events because they’re ALL BUSINESS. Most other events are all hype, but here, each company gets grilled with five standard questions:

1.) Exactly what is the product or service?
2.) Why should the customer buy it?
3.) Is the management team the best in the business?
4.) How does the company make money?
5.) How does the investor make money?

That’s tough and hard-nosed and that’s why I like it. Not every startup is ready to subject itself to this kind of rigor, but Len Bland manages to find three each month. The fact that he and Ray Markman are starting the Midwest Renaissance Fund probably creates a big draw to qualified companies.

After the presentation and grilling, the audience votes on a 1-10 scale. A score of “1” is considered “entre-manure” while a score of “10” means, “Where’s Grandma’s pension fund?” I’ll give you a quick peak into what two of these companies are doing:


Editor’s Note – YOUTOPIA picked up three angel investors at this meeting and achieved their stage-one funding goals.

The e-Harmony of Altruism

• Today, school districts across the nation require 40 hours of community service for graduation. Kids get stuck doing meaningless tasks that don’t match their interest. With Youtopia, the engagement starts with “What do you like?” The answer might be, “I like cats.” So maybe the system hooks-up the kid with an animal shelter.

• Under the present system, tracking is almost non-existent. With Youtopia, a web and mobile application enables schools to track and generate an organized social report card complete with recommendations for college admission offices.

• The business connection is huge as well. Corporations dearly want to advertise this kind of altruism.

Simeon Schnapper & Brett Singer of Youtopia

Simeon Schnapper & Brett Singer of Youtopia

Become a Youtopian

They already launched two weeks ago with three customers while they continue to develop their model. I like that aggressive approach.

This company was the subject of my previous article, DOT – A FILM

Some Backstory – I was already familiar with Youtopia.  I saw them present at the recent Funding Feeding Frenzy.  It happened at the end of a long day—after the judges got plenty hot and cranky. One of them turned on the presenter.  The others followed like lemmings.  As far as I could see, they’d just blown their chance to invest in a really exceptional company.

Disgusted, I visited YouTopia at their downtown offices. These guys are highly creative and very coachable. I gave them a transcript of their FFF presentation, complete with Q&A.  They took all my suggestions, even improved upon them.  Then they accepted coaching from Len Bland and crew and delivered a sparkling performance at BNC.  And they picked up three angel investors tonight.  That completes their stage one round.



Jerry Freeman of PaletteApp

Jerry Freeman of PaletteApp – jaj

PaletteApp is a digital design tool that helps manufacturers, designers, architects, and contractors, accelerate the design and sample ordering process. With a vast library of products, designers can put together a package in mere minutes.

This company recently walked away with the Funding Feeding Frenzy grand prize—and well deserved. Tonight, at BNC, they make a big stir. PaletteApp proposes to change the 150-year-old way architectural design is done. In the process, they’ll transform a job that takes many man-hours into a joyful process that takes just a few minutes.  What used to take 5 hours now can be done in 15 minutes.



These two tied for first place in the voting. At present time, PaletteApp is further along while Youtopia holds the promise of going viral and becoming over-the-top profitable.

Youtopia – Simeon Schnapper and Brett Singer – https://youtopia.com

PaletteApp –Jerry Freeman – www.paletteapp.com

BNC Venture Capital – Len Bland – http://bnchicago.org/Groups.php?group=8

Funding Feeding Frenzy – David Culver – www.fundingfeedingfrenzy.com





Find Chicago Venture Magazine at www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

Copyright © 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved


Filed under BNC Venture Capital, Chicago Venture Magazine, Chicago Ventures, CORE Insight Story, Entrepreneurship, FFF, Innovation, Invention, Midwest Renaissance Fund, Software


Verbatim—as told to John Jonelis

Last time I saw Loop Lonagan, he stuck me with a big breakfast check. Then he invited me to lunch, promising the low-down on the Zero Moment of Truth. Now, instead of lunch, he emails me an MP3 file he dictated during an event held at the Chicago Booth Alumni Roundtable. I’ve transcribed it word-for-word, exactly as I heard it spoken:

Loop Lonagan here. I’m at this event at the Gleacher Center and I’m confused. There’s only two grey hairs in the room and we’re both lookin’ like deer in the headlights but for some reason we showed up. Looks like about 200 people. Most of ‘em I never met. All these brown hairs are usin’ a new vocabulary. SEO. What’s that—a new union out there someplace? Something about sex offenders? I don’t know.

The speaker is very bright. Jennifer Howard. Regional director of sales or somethin’ for this company called Google. This is a talk on the effects on advertising and how it really, really changes. I’m in trouble. Don’t know nothin’ about Google even though I use it every day and even own the stock. Don’t know if I’ll learn somethin’ tonight or not, but we’re gonna give it a try. I figure we all shoulda gone to school to learn how to learn insteada learnin’ facts then doin’ a file dump.

Okay, Jennifer’s givin’ some background now. Turns out this stuff got defined by P&G years ago and I remember it. She draws a line with three points: STIMULUS, FIRST MOMENT OF TRUTH, and SECOND MOMENT OF TRUTH. Classic advertising looks at everything as a response to The Stimulus. The First Moment of Truth is when the actual purchase gets made—the buy point. The Second Moment is when the consumer uses it. Now she’s inserting what she calls the ZERO MOMENT OF TRUTH between the Stimulus and the Purchase.

Talk about inserting somethin’ between stimulus and purchase, this Chicago Booth is so cheap, they only charge you ten bucks to get in the room but they make you pay for your beer. Most o’ the time they charge me 35 bucks and only give me one or two beers. I guess this is cheaper. Maybe I shouldn’t complain,

Jennifer’s putting numbers on it. You know I like numbers. She says, on average, people search the Internet for 10+ sources BEFORE they make the buy.  Consumers are a lot more proactive about gettin’ input FROM OTHER PEOPLE to make a decision.  That’s a big switch.  With that goin’ on, advertising as we know it might be a dinosaur.  Can she prove it?

She asks the audience, “How many of you read reviews online?” Answer—damn near a hundred percent.

She asks, “How many have written a review?” Answer—a lot.

Now she’s talkin’ about video. She says 84% of people are looking at YouTube video before the buy. That’s huge.

Nowadays, 15% of all advertising gets spent online. That’s stuff that used to go to magazines and TV and direct mail. I can believe it. I’m surprised it’s that low, considering the way everybody talks about the Internet as if it’s the next perfect world for everything. It doesn’t amaze me. And it doesn’t matter how I feel about it because it’s happening. I can’t control it. I guess I better join it rather than fight it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a struggle.

Okay, online advertising and social media keep getting more of the bucket. Are we past the early adopters and now in the mainstream? Didn’t Geoff Moore write “Crossing the Chasm?” Well, looks like we’re crossing it now. Anyhow, if his paradigm plays out then 50% of the spend is goin’ to the Internet in 2-3 years. But advertising only makes people aware. It’s word of mouth that moves people to buy.

So she asks, “When in the buying cycle are people asking each other questions?” And that’s the whole point.  This Zero Moment is a resource to tell you what’s good and what’s not. And the reason it didn’t exist before is we didn’t have access to it except for a very small circle of friends that we had contact with. So word-of-mouth marketing is now digital. You open one door to four or five people and all of a sudden, you open another door and find a crowd of millions of people out there. It’s hard for a lotta baby boomers to grab onto that. The Internet makes the world flat, to use Tom Friedman’s analogy. Bottom line, you gotta look at the Zero Moment to know how to influence buyers.

What she’s sayin’ makes a lotta sense. Maybe I was a too incredulous and didn’t wanna hear the truth before. Did I say incredulous? That reminds me of the old joke of why the South Dakota farmer sent his kid to Harvard. You ask me, “Whaddaya mean, why?” Answer: So he could learn to say “incredulous” instead of “no shit.”

Anyway, back to the presentation.  She says you gotta look at the Zero Moment to influence the buyer. She’s tellin’ a story about Mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip. Mayonnaise says somethin’ about Miracle Whip and right away, Miracle Whip has a counter on Facebook. That’s agility.

Do people really follow Mayonase on Facebook? I have a hard time getting it onto a sandwich. Hey, talkin’ about food makes me hungry. They got these microscopic hamburgers here. Microsliders or somethin’. No bigger’n a thumbnail. Hafta eat a whole plate of ‘em just to get a bite. Guess they must be those fancy hors d’oeuvres or whatever you call ‘em. Gonna stop somewhere on the way home for a real hamburger when this is over.

Okay, she’s done now and people are clogging the aisle.  So what else did I learn?  Anything practical?  Yeah. Five keys:

1.) You can’t win without showin’ up. People gotta be able to evaluate your product. Start a conversation with the millions out there.

2.) You gotta answer the questions that people are asking. If you don’t, they’re gonna move on and leave you in the dust.

3.) Only 20% of sites are optimized for mobile phones. You gotta do this. If you don’t, you won’t even get one or two seconds of their time.  And don’t forget video—it’s bigger every day.

4.) You gotta be fast. It’s like an earthquake. The earth moves too fast under your feet for you to just stand there. Jump in and fail fast. If you try to make it perfect, you’ll never make it. Be biased for action.

5.) For any group o’ people, you gotta put a CMFIC in place. If you think that stands for Chief Master Fascist In Charge, you’re crazy.  It’s an old army term. The troops understand it. You gotta have somebody accountable who leads the strategy for you. Be intentional.

Anybody can download a 60 page writeup in PDF or e-book format and see video about this stuff, FREE from Google at http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com

That’s the crop, John. Hope it opens your eyes. Everybody can tell you need to do that.

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Comments and re-posts are welcomed and encouraged. This is not investment advice – do your own due diligence. I cannot guarantee accuracy but I give you my best.

© 2012 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved.


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