Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I think it takes a lot of courage to strike-out on your own and I’m forever intrigued by business success stories. I have plenty on my list that I want to share, but this one directly benefits my business and it will undoubtedly benefit yours too…
I gravitate to all different kinds of people for many different reasons, but I receive an email from this one particular person every day, three times a day – Peter Shankman. I wanted to learn about the man behind the messages and it was quite a humorous ride. Peter Shankman has been called crazy, witty, intelligent, progressive, leader, guru, zany…among other things, but his story is quite impressive.
The daily emails I’m referring to is from Shankman’s brainchild HARO – Help a Reporter Out. Morning, afternoon and evening every subscriber can read who is on the hunt for particular facts, products or services. The hunters are journalists from all over the world looking for their expert. Their stories are for International Newspapers to National TV networks to basic blogs. Some are looking for industry-specific experts, others to obtain a personal story, and many wanting to learn about a new trend or great gift item for an upcoming catalog. The categorized inquiries are diverse and endless. These emails have turned small mom-and-pop shops to well-known companies all from a click of the mouse. There is not one cent spent from the hunter or the hunted. Yes, it’s all FREE!
This is what I love about Peter-nothing ordinary, always effective, and out to help the “little guy!” He wrote a book, “Can we do That!? …Outrageous PR Stunts That Work -and why Your Company Needs Them” So if you’re looking for creative ways to get noticed and want to laugh at the same time, then I suggest reading this book.
He started his career as a Senior News Editor at AOL but now carries many different titles – CEO, Blogger, Author, Speaker, and Worldwide Connector. He is the Founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., which started as a PR firm in New York City but grew to become at one point, one of the most well-known tech and dot-com PR strategic firms in the country. Shankman.com is another place where you can receive inside industry tips, as well as, learn about personal challenges. Example: For the entire month of September he will not use mass transit, taxicabs, or car services and he shares the rules he must follow. In fact, he actually asks you to join him. His reason is to not become a suburbanite, but I have to assume it’s also to prepare for his very first Ironman competition in November. With 13 marathons and 3 Olympic distance triathlons completed, I say he’s got this. Go Peter! Other badges include: International Traveler, “B” Licensed Skydiver, Runner and Cat Enthusiast. Friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter too, his posts are sure to make you smile.
As always, I wanted to learn even more and I reached out to this extremely busy man. To my surprise, he acknowledged my five questions…
1. You were a Senior News Editor at AOL, and then eventually started The Geek Factory – why did you take that leap of faith?
“I got laid off from AOL. Nothing starts the fire for a new opportunity burning under your ass faster than getting laid off.”
2. What is your core passion at this point in your life?
“To have fun… Every day is fun. When it's not fun, I figure out other things to do - It's literally that simple. Life's too short not to have fun.”
3. What can we expect from you in the next few years?
“Good question - I want to keep helping people, keep helping companies grow. I've got another book coming out in January, and I'll probably wind up starting something new. Why not? :)”
4. Did you ever think about becoming a comedian?
“ Grow up as a fat kid, you have two options, get made fun of, or become the class clown. It wasn't really that much of a decision for me.”
5. What’s more gratifying, jumping out of a plane or the possibility of finishing an Ironman competition?
“Every sky dive is awesome, but when I cross that finish line in November, I can't even imagine how I'll feel. :)”
Simple, to the point, and effective… just like him… Every person I interview mentions helping other people, and that always seems to go hand-in-hand with success. I love his drastic approaches and outrageous ideas; it’s what makes writing about people so much fun for me. It never gets boring and I learn something new to take with me through my life.
As one of the owners of HipPurse.com, I read and respond to the HARO inquiries without fail. For that reason, we have received blog posts, write-ups, reviews and just recently, may have a potential spot on an upcoming TV pilot for small businesses…all for FREE! I’d like to personally thank Peter for the exposure and for breaking the barrier. Many would not be able to get through if it wasn’t for him!