It isn’t every day that you get an invite to dinner with the king of social media. So you can imagine the excitement and nervousness that accompanied me as I sat across the table from Scott Stratten at Foster’s Inn in Stratford last Wednesday night. Luckily for me and my dinner co-guests, Tobi and Jodi (UW’s Stratford campus) and Von (Huckleberry Films), Scott was friendly, funny and insightful. [If you’re wondering how I snagged dinner, check it out here.]
If you’re new to Scott Stratten and unMarketing, Scott is something of a big deal in the social media world. He is a contributor to publications like the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Fast Company, advises the business big guns on engagement and has over 70,000 followers on twitter (resulting in his ownership of a “I’m a big deal on twitter t-shirt). The book he was in town to promote, “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging” is already a national bestseller. Scott is also a local, living in Oakville when he isn’t on the road.
Stratford got Scott on his 27th stop of a 30 stop tour, which he is completing in a total of 10 weeks. The dinner conversation was sprinkled with tidbits about previous stops, like the Social Media Camp in Victoria, BC (crazy), the famous Duck Room in St. Louis (Chuck Berry performs there once a month) and London’s UnEvent (which was created by interested people without a host organization or sponsors.)
We also dished the dirt about kids (I have a cat), hairy airport experiences – think extortion and toilet paper – and, what I think Scott’s second favorite topic is, food. Scott is a “carnevator”, a fact that I knew from his posts about a serious lack of fruit and veg in his diet when on the road. He not only ordered Foster’s man sized steak, he ordered whatever the polar opposite of a lean cut is.
I also got to know the tight knit team of UWaterloo’s Jodi and Tobi, who are doing an amazing job of building the Stratford campus community and furthering the city’s smart city status (the Intelligent Community Forum just named Stratford a Smart21 Communities of 2011) and Von, who is busy turning her corporate film studio into what I’m sure will be a juggernaut in no time.
As dinner progressed it became apparent that Scott really walks the walk. He has figured out how to talk about social media (or just talking as he refers to it) to both the layperson and the established marketer. Engaging people is a way of life for Scott, something he has modeled in the very undertaking of his tour, not simply a catchy book title. And even though tired and somewhat fried from being on the road Scott takes the time to ask you about you and answer whatever question is throw his way with respect, humor and a well chosen story.
Two days later, I’m still jazzed about spreading awesome and am a confirmed and proud member of the Scott Stratten UnMarketing UnArmy.
A special thanks to the University of Waterloo Stratford’s Jodi and Tobi for this memorable experience.