The funny thing about opportunity is that if you are vocal about the opportunity you want it seems to quickly find you. If you had asked anyone who knew me prior to about.me running their contest, they would tell you that, I, Patrick Millegan was entrepreneurial and looking for a way to break in to the start-up scene in Silicon Valley. Because of this, my friend Charmaine Ng texted me hours after about.me began their internship contest on April 4th – she said she thought this would be perfect for me, and she was right.
The contest was simple: drive traffic to your page and gather as many votes as possible until contest end on April 22nd. This was a win-win for me, because not only would I be telling people to vote for me, I would be able to use this as an engine for announcing to the world and all my social networks that I’m graduating, searching for a job in a specific field, and that I’m good at what I do – marketing and driving traffic. So, yes obviously about.me was getting free marketing, but I saw it as an extremely valuable trade-off because even if I didn’t win the contest I would be getting a lot of value myself.
I got Charmaine’s text as I was walking from class at UofO to my job as a leasing consultant at an apartment complex in Eugene, Oregon. I began brainstorming ideas to get the votes rolling. Of course I had my own personal networks on Facebook and Twitter, but I wanted to reach the biggest audience possible. I figured the best way to do this would be to do something newsworthy enough to get picked up press and shared by people I might not even know.
As I walked into the leasing office, I briefly thought it would be cool if I could somehow get the about.me team to vote for me, and even better, if I could get them to do it in person. From what I had gleaned from my knowledge about start-ups is generally that their work environment is fun and relaxed enough, that they would probably be just working and hanging out in their office, and on a Friday afternoon – probably looking for a distraction. Why can’t that distraction be me? 😛
I kid you not, as I was looking up the address for the about.me HQ – in walk 3 Yemeni students who I didn’t know very well, but live at the apartment complex, to tell me that they were going to San Francisco for the weekend and wondered if I would like to come with them. Funny how things work out sometimes, right? Their names were Ammar, Rabie, and Sami and they became very good friends of mine. I heard about the contest on 4/4, and on 4/5 I was in a red 2009 Mercury Milan with 3 awesome Yemeni kids driving to SF. So the #PSmoovment began.
On twitter, my name is @PSmoovvv – a nickname I got from playing basketball in high school, so #PSmoovment was natural. I gussied up my about.me page, made a cover/profile photo for my Facebook and started blasting out the link http://about.me/pmillegan as fast and frequently as Oregon’s Offense scores touchdowns (S/O my alma mater: GO DUCKS!).
For the duration of the contest, my about.me page, in all of its glory, looked like this:
You can see all of the YouTube videos I made from my trip by searching “#Psmoovment” on youtube, or by clicking here. I’ve actually been told that it makes for a pretty good watch. But, back to the story!
I live-tweeted/YouTubed my trip in an effort to catch the eye of @aboutdotme, so that I could maybe secure an audience while I was driving down, but really I wanted to show up unannounced and meet them for the first time as the kid who just kind of showed up at their doorstep. To many of my friends surprise, my road trip paid off and I ended up meeting about 8 members of the about.me team, which turned into 8 votes 🙂 (9 if you include Nicole, the front desk receptionist at AOL- Palo Alto).
They were incredibly nice, as nice as they could be to some guy that walked into their office. The AOL Palo Alto office was incredible and I could quickly tell that this was environment I wanted to be in. I hung out with the team for about an hour and then proudly exited the office.
Side note: My thinking also behind this trip was that I wanted to show my networks/people who would vote for me that I was clearly putting more effort in trying to get votes than it would take to type in “http://about.me/pmillegan” and click vote. If I was willing to drive 600 miles, couldn’t they take the 2 clicks and 5 seconds? This was the thinking that inspired this video of me shouting at a group of people near the Golden Gate Bridge.
As I drove back to Eugene from SF I knew I wasn’t going to have the time to really put into the campaign. I had 2 jobs and took 18 credits. So, when I got back I scheduled out my campaign. I wrote a press-release about my roadtrip that I was going to ship out to every relevant news source I could find. I scheduled reminders to vote on my twitter through twuffer, and I decided that I would screen shot my vote total every morning and post to facebook. In addition, I set up a mailchimp newsletter that allowed people to sign up for daily reminders.
My launch was complete, my campaign was in place, and now it was in the hands of the many to respond to my call for more votes. The only follow-up I did was holding some videos of a-12-year-old-me-singing-some-of-your-favorite-disney-tunes hostage until I got a certain amount of votes.
In the end I ended up getting the call to come to San Francisco to intern with the amazing people at about.Me. I am honored and excited to be spending the Summer as their intern in SF, and can’t help but feel super SUPER blessed/lucky/fortunate to be given this opportunity.
Oh yeah, and THANKS TO ALL THAT VOTED FOR ME!!!
Now all I have to do is make the most of it and kill it at this internship.