Four Questions for Taylor Clark to answer as she attempts Gary Vaynerchuk’s challenge to start a business in 30 Days

Taylor Clark is attempting to start a business in 30 days, on a challenge from Gary Vaynerchuk

As a fan of attempting challenges over a set period of time (like my current ambition to not only produce a second round of 90 videos in 90 days, but to also produce a podcast of at least 10 episodes), I have been drawn to 22 year old college graduate Taylor Clark’s attempt to start a business in 30 days.

Clark, and her project The Fabulous Journey came to fame when she was a call in guest on entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk‘s Ask Gary Vee Show in March 2017.  The phone call, which Vaynerchuk has repurposed into a podcast and article on his website, included powerful coaching from him about getting to work, ignoring the social media success of friends (and Kardashians) and building for the long term.

Here’s that episode (Her segment begins at 17:15 into the video):

The call ended with Taylor Clark agreeing to email Gary Vaynerchuk 30 days later. She has been producing daily content promoting her challenge with the hashtag #30DayGaryVeeChallenge. Daily content has been produced on her YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram and her website at thefabulousjourney.com.

Here are some questions for her (and anyone else attempting a similar project) to ponder, as Taylor Clark works to make her fabulous journey a successful one.

1. What are the specific goals that she needs to achieve by Day 30 to “start a business”? Does she need a specific business structure (Like LLC or sole proprietorship) established? Does she need her first paying customer?

2. What is the business that she plans to start? How does she want to make money through this businesses? How does she plan to have this business make money right now?

3. How transparent should she be with her content? Up to this point, she has not mentioned much about her personal life, outside of her travels, not that she needs to. There is video she took from the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Buffalo, NY, where none of her friends she attended with were identified by name.   There is no mention of a significant other, whether there is one or not.  Do these things need to be included?  There is no clear yes or no answer as that is up for her to decide.

4. What does she need help with? Should she ask her audience for specific needs? Does she need mentorship in different aspects of starting a business?

In the first few days of her project Taylor Clark has been showing through her content that she is working toward her goal.  If she answers these questions, whether publicly or privately, it may make achieving that goal, and realizing what that goal actually is, a greater possibility.

What I learned from making one video per day for 90 consecutive days

Now that it has been a few months since I completed my #90videosin90days project, I have had time to reflect on it, what I learned, and what lessons I have taken from it moving forward.

As you may know, back in the Fall of 2016, I produced and published one video per day for 90 straight days.  The videos were uploaded to both Instagram and YouTube (with some videos posted to Facebook on a 90days.site page I started.  This was a very fun project where I learned a lot.  By the end of the 90 days, my intention was to increase my experience in communicating via Internet video, and I believe I accomplished that.

To me, this was about way more than making videos, and more than becoming a better video creator.  This is a way to finally start consistently producing content.

The videos were daily.  If I missed a day, I had failed.  I could not take a day off and make two of them one day. (For those of you who have been using Facebook to watch my videos, I did not posted them there every day since uploading them from mobile is a pain).

One thing that was wonderful about my project is that it was a great experiment.  I continually added new things to it, to ultimately find out what worked and what did not.  My biggest surprise was that the videos got the most traction on Instagram over other formats!  I had barely used Instagram before this, but had been experimenting with it (along with Snapchat) in the months prior before jumping into this series.

This was honestly not something which was well thought out.  One day, on the way to work at Costco, listening to the audiobook version of Gary Vaynerchuk’s 2009 business book “Crush It”.  I was listening to it on repeat as I borrowed it from the library (I since purchased the audiobook to go along with my Kindle version).  I pulled up into the parking lot, and decided to record my first video.  Five minutes later, it was on YouTube.  Then, on a whim, I decided to put it on Instagram.  It was up, and I now had made the entire Internet (or at least people that I was connected to online) accountable.

I was more interested in making the videos then getting a huge reaction to it.  I did not promote it on my regular social media feeds (particularly Facebook) for at least a month.  I was learning how to make great one minute videos on a daily basis.  Each day, I asked a question of the day.  I found the ones which resonated the best were ones where I would react the next day.  There were videos where I asked the audience to ask me questions to answer the following day:

There were setbacks too, like the fact that I failed to read the book that my viewers suggested I read for an impromptu book club.  One day I may get to “The Professor and the Mad Man” by Simon Winchester, but it did not happen within the initial 30 day time frame, and ultimately the 90 days.  I’m human, and the videos went on despite one of my initiatives not coming to fruition.  It was a lesson of what my strengths are and aren’t, within this framework.

Another thing that happened through the course of the videos was to strive for creativity.  I liked finding different locations to shoot and different clothing combinations.  I had “special guests” like both of my nieces and both of my cats.  There was a point where my question of the day was a constant stream of “What is your favorite (something)?” that became monotonous at times.  But I wouldn’t have it any way.  The three dollars I paid to Times Square costumed characters made great online video!

Since I completed my videos, I have been asked what I will do next.  I have let it marinate.  Do I make 90 more videos in 90 consecutive days?  Should I focus on finally launching my podcast?  Do I make something else?

What I am doing next actually will combine the 90 videos with making a podcast.  My #90videosin90days has begun #season2.  In the next 90 days, I will make one video every day, as inspiration to finally make this podcast a real consistent thing.  By Day 90, my goal is to have ten episodes of my podcast live on iTunes and all other major places where podcasts are available.  My video audience will be there to keep me accountable.  Let’s go!

It is Day 1 of 90.  Again.

Chasing Season 2 of my favorite podcasts (and Episode 2 of my own)

Mystery Show was dropped by Gimlet, announced 14 months after Season 1 ended.
Mystery Show was dropped by Gimlet, announced 14 months after Season 1 ended.

Do you have a favorite show?
Are you excited when it has its season premiere?
Are you upset when that season premiere is delayed?
Are you angry when that season premiere date has not even been announced yet, despite the previous season ending months before?

This seems to be the story of the world of podcasting.  Unlike the hard release dates for television shows, podcasts tend to make their own schedules.  Sometimes, these shows have long waits between seasons, with new episodes sometimes being released with no prior announcement that they will!

I was inspired to write this post after the announcement that one of my favorite podcasts, “Mystery Show”, will not continue to be produced by podcast production company Gimlet Media.  On October 6, 2016, the show’s host Starlee Kine wrote a post on the show’s Facebook page that Gimlet ended her employment with the company in April 2016, about six months before the announcement.  Gimlet themselves wrote their own response that they are in negotiations with Kine to allow her to continue the series without them.

This is a story of how “Serial” led me to “Startup“, which in turn led me to “Mystery Show“.  This is also about testing my own patience in between seasons of shows that don’t have a traditional release schedule.

Serial started my real love of listening to podcasts.
Serial started my real love of listening to podcasts.

It began with “Serial”.  For me, a big part of the Fall of 2014 was listening to the “Serial” podcast.  It was a gigantic hit, beloved by many people besides myself, and popular enough to be parodied on “Saturday Night Live”.

A big part of 2015 for me was wondering “Where is the second season of “Serial”?  The show’s producers, including host Sarah Koenig continued to claim that it would start in 2015.  It finally launched on December 10, 2015, almost at the last minute to be “on time”.

In the meantime, beyond very much liking “Serial”, I decided to give other podcasts a try.  I even ordered a microphone and recorded some interviews to make a podcast of my own! (Check out my podcast “Isanberg” at http://www.yourfavoritepodcast.com.  As I publish this, only one episode has been produced.  Tell me what you think!)

Startup was my next favorite podcast after Serial.
Startup was my next favorite podcast after Serial.

The podcast that excited me most, post-listening to”Serial” was one called Startup.  This series followed a man named Alex Blumberg, as he told the story, in real time, about him quitting his job as a producer on the very successful radio show “This American Life” (which itself produces “Serial”) to start his own podcast production company.  That company is Gimlet Media  They also produce a bunch of different series, like “Reply All“, “Surprisingly Awesome“, “Science Vs.” and “Heavyweight“.

Oh, and in the Summer of 2015, they debuted “Mystery Show”.  In each episode, host Starlee Kine would solve a mystery by a listener or friend that could not be solved on the Internet.  Some of these mysteries included the height of actor Jake Gyllenhaal and the weird picture on a “Welcome Back Kotter” lunch box.  The final episode was released in August, 2015.

Just like my pursuit of a premiere date for a second season of “Serial”, I was clamoring for a new season of “Mystery Show”.  In both of these cases, the second season had not started (or had an announced release date) on the one year anniversary of the final episode of their first seasons.  (“Startup”, on the other hand, has constantly produced new seasons, with a few months between them.)

As I mentioned earlier with “Serial”, its second season was released without warning.  There was no transparency about why it took so long to come out, and why they did not announce a release date, or the season’s subject, in advance.  While Sarah Koenig and crew had no obligation to share those details about how the new season came to be, it would have been nice.

Now that the announcement of “Mystery Show” leaving Gimlet has been out, I feel a kind of relief.  It does not have to be in the back of my mind.  Yes, I’m super disappointed that there is no Season 2 (yet), but I know that it is not coming any time soon.  Yet, unlike “Serial”, Kine and Gimlet each shared a bit (although not everything) about how this came to be.  And that’s OK.

In the meantime, you can check in with this question about the release date for Mystery Show’s second season on Quora.

No, I did not invent the Game Boy (but I thought that I did for a moment)

The original Nintendo Game Boy, which I did not invent.
The original Nintendo Game Boy, which I did not invent.

When I was a child, I had an idea that I thought was so revolutionary that it had to happen.

As a Nintendo addict, I wanted to play my video games all day, even when I was at school.  Or at least during recess.  Until then, my issues of Nintendo Power (and later Electronic Gaming Monthly) just had to do.

The idea was, you guessed it, a portable video game console, kinda like the little arcade machine replicas, where you can play Pac-Man or Donkey Kong or something.  Except, this machine was a Nintendo Entertainment System, and can play NES cartidges.

My inspiration for a portable video game console.  The actual Game Boy was nothing like this.
My inspiration for a portable video game console. The actual Game Boy was nothing like this.

With my “brilliant” idea, I wrote a letter to Nintendo asking that they can make it.  To my surprise, I got a letter back stating thanking me for my suggestions and that they are considering making a portable system.

I thought that I invented the Game Boy!  I bragged all about it through my elementary school, with all of the details of my idea.  I thought that this major company listened to this little 7 or 8 or 9 year old kid!

Of course, it wasn’t meant to be.  When Nintendo announced the Game Boy, with a very different design that played its own, smaller cartridges, I was disappointment, but still thought that I, Ian Michael Isanberg was the inventor of the Game Boy.  I thought that I deserved compensation, if not money then a Game Boy for myself!

That lead to my second letter to Nintendo.  Once again, they responded saying that many people sent them letters and requests to make a portable system and that it was not just my idea for it.  Back then I was upset but as time went on, I accepted it as the funny story that it was.

In the end, I never owned a Game Boy, but I had a Game Gear, my only Sega product, with a color screen!

Raspberry Pi Mini Arcade Cabinet
Raspberry Pi Mini Arcade Cabinet

Fast forward to today, and anyone can build a mini-arcade system like the one I wanted as a kid using a Raspberry Pi.  I’m not itching to do it myself but it would be a nice birthday present.

Starting again


I had a blog before there was blogging. I made a lot of content. Texts, pictures, poetry and even an animated GIF. It was cool having a homepage. I kept on changing the layout over and over again.

And then the rest of the world caught up. Time passed and new generations started creating content. Some are even making a living out of it!

Over time, I have learned the different social media networks, including the increasingly big space of mobile only stuff.

Welcome to this modern, professional, adult version of the website I made and maintained in college and throughout my 20’s. I have been inspired by a bunch of social media icons over the years like Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jeff Pulver, Chris Dessi, Rony Seikly (former NBA player turned highly sought out club DJ?) and others. OK, maybe not Rony Seikly, though I am very fascinated by the fact that he isn’t just a DJ but a popular one.

Here, my goal is to provide valuable insights to enrich your lives, personal and professional. I will share facts (like that I like ice cream), opinions (Ben & Jerry’s made a mistake in retiring Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Snack, replacing it with The Tonight Dough) and other enjoyable stuff!

Post-Hack, Sony should rebrand its film division as Columbia

Retro Columbia Pictures Logo

There’s been so much written about Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) since its servers were hacked in November, 2014. As a lot of private information, including emails and full copies of unreleased movies were made public without permission. It has been a PR nightmare for the company in many ways, with calls for executives to lose their jobs, amongst other things.

The SPE brand, and actually the entire Sony brand is currently in trouble. As a result, Sony could drop its name from its film and TV entertainment properties and rebrand under the name of its flagship film studio, Columbia Pictures.

Now Sony, a Japanese company who’s primary business is home electronics, has gone the opposite way in recent branding. For the past few years, the Sony logo has appeared before the logos of its multiple film & TV brands, including Tri-Star, Castle Rock and of course Columbia. This same approach has been used in promoting Sony’s PlayStation video game consoles. The term for finding new places for a company to plaster their logo everywhere, coined by writer Paul Lukas is “logo creep“.

That is way too much Sony in Sony’s branding.

A few years ago, one company that failed to rebrand when there was a crisis was BP. After the BP oil spill, the company could have renamed it US business to the previous name, AMOCO or something else. As much as BP keeps its name and logo, they will continue to be known as “The Oil Spill People”, no matter what good they’re claiming to do.

Sony Pictures Entertainment can start the rebuilding of its brand as simple as becoming Columbia, and downplay its Sony corporate ownership.

Different approaches to streaming live concert video

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One great thing about broadband video is that programming can exist for niche audiences.  These are shows that might not have a big enough audience to air on broadcast or cable TV.  However, they have fanbases passionate enough to pay for them.

Live video of concerts are a perfect format for the Internet.  Fans now have the opportunity to watch a concert that they might have been shut out for tickets or taking place in another town, in their own living room.  This sensation is commonly known by live music fan as “couch tour”, and there’s a few companies currently getting in on the action.

1. Nugs.net This is a company who’s primary product is audio recordings of live concerts.  Their existing relationships with live acts, big and small has led to live webcasts of concerts.  Since Nugs.nets offers audio downloads of concerts, they can sell the live video stream and audio of the concert in a package deal.

2. Tourgigs Based in Austin, TX, a music/tech hotbed centered around the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) music and tech conferences, Tourgigs offers the option to own concert video after the fact, besides showing it live.  Tourgigs also boasts Roku access, unlike Nugs.net.

3. Live Nation/Yahoo Being the largest concert promoter and venue owner in the US, Live Nation has the most cloud on this list, and could possibly acquire one or all of these music startups.  Live Nation has been streaming free webcasts of major artist through the Yahoo Screen service.

4. Qello Unlike the other services mentioned, Qello is a service that shows previously recorded concerts and documentaries.  It is essentially a Netflix for live music.

5. YouTube The top video site in the world streams live concert videos, particulatly festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella.  YouTube also has a plethora of live concert footage, recorded professionally and by amateurs.  This may include video that is up there without permission from copyright holders and could be removed at any moment.

Live streams of concerts are (still) in its infancy, with room for tremendous growth.  As the services listed above, as well as others not included in this list (and those which do not yet exist), the “couch tour” experience will continue to improve.

Does the Fall TV season still matter?

Fall TV

This question has been going through my head for the past few months, as a new TV season has begun.  Just like every year that I remember, the broadcast television networks brought back many of their biggest shows for their season premieres.  Also, new series debuted with the hopes of becoming big hits on their own.  Many of those new shows get cancelled while others live on to “maybe” to become a big hit, lasting numerous seasons and making stars of its cast.

However, as time goes on, competitors to the TV season have emerged in numerous places, to the point that the fall season is increasingly losing significance.  There are other times of the year/ways to watch television that are increasingly competing with the status quo.  Here are some examples.

1. Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Their original programs tend to premiere outside of the Fall window.  “House of Cards” seasons have launched in February.  “Orange is the New Black” premieres during the summer.  Amazon has been an exception, with its original shows like “Transparent” going live in the fall.  Outside of their constant new programming, these services have entire runs of series that are no longer on the air, but were huge successes.  Why watch a new series on CBS when Netflix has every episode of “Lost” or “Breaking Bad”?

2. Cable: Speaking of “Breaking Bad”, AMC will bring its spinoff “Better Call Saul” to air in February.  The cable networks have year-round launches for new shows.  HBO has some of its biggest hits like “Game of Thrones” and “Girls” premiering early in the year.

3. The increasing role of the “midseason replacement”.  NBC programs its spring schedule around the fact that “Sunday Night Football” only happens in the fall.  Fox only airs “American Idol” (which spent most of the 2000’s as the highest rated show on TV) in the spring.  No longer is the cream of the crop of broadcast offerings reserved for just the fall.

4. Cat videos, and other non-“TV” video entertainment.
Autumn is still an important time for the entire commercial world to begin, especially with the school year (and major ad campaigns targeting the back to school crowd) starting.  However, it is only one venue now to launch new and returning TV shows.

In light of “Too Many Cooks”, how viable is a sitcom today?

If you haven’t seen the sitcom parody “Too Many Cooks”, watch it now. Be warned, it is eleven minutes long.

One of the observations that I had from this video (which I personally found to be funny), was a reminder of how less relevant the 30 minute TV comedy has been in the past decade. The last super mega comedy to air on TV was “Friends”, ending in 2004, ten years before “Too Many Cooks” aired.

In the decade since, TV comedy has become segmented. The biggest “hits” have mainly been on CBS, like “Two and a Half Men”, “The Big Bang Theory” and the recently ended “How I Met Your Mother”. CBS has a business model different from their broadcast TV competition, as their goal is to get the largest audience altogether, and not just winning a specific age demographic.

There were also shows like “The Office”, “30 Rock” and “My Name is Earl” on NBC, one camera comedies that were critically acclaimed, yet did not have much of a big office. Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” fits that mold (it’s run by a bunch of people that worked on “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”), where the show was saved by its surprise 2014 Golden Globe wins. ABC, through the success of “Modern Family”, has been lucky to have a comedy hit, even though it’s far from the network’s heyday of “Home Improvement” and the TGIF lineup on Friday nights.

A hit sitcom is the holy grail for the studios and production companies that make them, particularly for the rerun rights. A show that can air 5 nights a week in syndication is money. A hit show is even more valuable. The cast of “Seinfeld” never have to work again, because the show’s still popular in syndication 16 years after the final episode aired. I personally believe that Seinfeld’s success actually hurt the development of sitcoms for years, due to how it was so different from the norm at the time, and changed viewer interests.

So, back to my question of the state of sitcoms in the light of “Too Many Cooks”. There will probably never be another comedy (or scripted TV show) that captures the entire nation/world at once. With so many entertainment options, including cable TV and the endless video online, there will still be hits, but there just may be Too Many Comedies to watch them all.

FCC just might let Aereo be a cable company after all (if they don’t go out of business first).

Aereo

As I have previously written, I was an Aereo subscriber until a number of court rulings led it to shut down, at least temporarily. However, the FCC is considering rule changes to allow Aereo, and other online providers of broadcast channels to legally exist. The saga known as Aereo currently stands as follows:

1. Aereo was determined to be breaking the law by transmitting broadcast TV signals to paying customers without permission of those broadcasters. The Supreme Court ruled that Aereo was acting like a cable company, providing TV channels to subscribers for a fee.

2. A number of lower courts ruled that Aereo could not legally be a cable company, because they didn’t provide actual cable wire or satellite in customers homes.

The rules and laws that currently answer the question “What is a cable company?” are clearly in the favor of the status quo cable/satellite/telco companies that don’t want to lose their legacy subsciption businesses.

The success of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. has shown there is a market for “TV” available online. With Dish Network negotiating to launch a digital “cable” service (and enduring negotiation issues with Turner over some rights), it may become a reality soon.

With Aereo laying off employees, including their entire Boston-based staff, they may not neccesarily still exist by the time they become legal, but digital multichannel video services may soon, legally become a reality.