Interview with Brian Fanzo by Adam Fraser
This is a transcript of this podcast interview with Brian Fanzo.
Adam: I’m delighted to welcome Brian Fanzo to the EchoJunction Podcast. Brian is currently the partner and chief digital strategist at BroadSuite, helping enterprise technology companies utilize new technology such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud computing to be more productive and become more involved in their communities as a social business.
As a technology and social business strategist, Brian has presented at numerous technology conferences and recent recognition and awards include Top 25 Social Business Leaders of 2014 by IBM and Top 50 Most Re-Tweeted by Digital Marketers in 2014 via Social Fresh. There were many more.
Brian, a big welcome to the EchoJunction Podcast.
Brian: Oh, thank you so much for having me on, and yes, thank you. I’ve had a heck of a ride. I have been very lucky to have an awesome community and I have a very exciting last couple of years. So the big one there was when I got the award for Top 25 Emerging Social Business Leaders. It was kind of the catalyst of where, it’s kind of helped me jump off to where I’m at today.
Adam: Great stuff. Appreciate your time. It’s great to have on the podcast. So Brian, I am sure many of the listeners will know all about you, but for those that don’t maybe just talk us through your back story and your career to date.
Brian: Sure. So I am a technology guy. I am a computer science major. I went to school in Virginia. Majored in computer science. After school, actually took a job with the government, US military, supporting US military, working in cyber security. So I worked in cyber security for about nine years doing training and deploying cyber security tools and social business tools. I have always been a big fan of technology. I used YouTube and social media early on as really, I could say, I went to YouTube University because I never took a class in cyber security and I used social media to kind of teach and learn along the way. And so I worked in supporting the US military. I was able to travel about 45 weeks a year. I have been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Germany, around the world a couple of times. And it was a great solution. But cyber security really, it never had my heart because I felt like it was a worn on drugs. It’s hard to ever be ahead. Most of the time it is delivering bad news, you are not delivering great news. And so for me I took a major jump and leap in my career and decided to go to a start up and work really as a technology evangelist where my job was to help our internal employees connect with our external customers, prospects, and community and really bridge that gap and it was a great experience.
I was able to, we tripled in size in two years and really with all that growth and so much change, I thought it was perfect time for me to leap and grow on my own. So now I am the Chief Digital Strategist and partner at a company called Broad Suite Media Group [SP]. And what we do is we help brands really connect not only their technology but their social and really embrace change. So I host two podcasts myself. I love technology and because of that, I kind of fell into what is Meerkat and Periscope and that has really consumed a lot of my life over last four months as the live streaming apps have kind of jumped on the scene. I was very lucky that I was an early adopter of both of them and I streamed, one of my podcast is a live streaming podcast and I stream multiple times a day, connecting with brands and influencers on really how they can embrace change and technology to do better things.
Adam: It’s a great back story, Brian. You are certainly extremely active across a number of the platforms. In fact, Brian Kremer is on an earlier episode of this podcast and at the I asked sort of top three people to follow on social and Brian very kindly flagged yourself and he said, “He talks fast and he tweets even faster.” So we go from Mr. Kremer.
Brian: That’s a heck of a complement. I am a big fan of Brian Kremer. He has been a mentor and friend and, yeah, I actually got that. So when I came off the stage at VM World and I was speaking at a tech conference and I was on Twitter but it was early on. It was 2000, I think it was 2009 and not many people were on Twitter at this event and someone came off and said, “Wow, you do talk fast but I think, you tweet faster.”
Brian: All these years later, I now have it on the back of a hat, it’s kind of become my mantra and it actually helps me just disarm people because if I let them know out of the gate that I talk really fast, they usually don’t worry about it as much and kind of can get used to it as we go on.
Adam: Yeah, great stuff. So look Brian, you have obviously got experience across a range of platforms. I would really love to jump into the live streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope today. You have jumped on them in a big way. So lots of questions to get into but before we do, look as much as, all of us in the marketing fraternity are very close and probably intimate with Meerkat and Periscope and maybe some listeners that are just not familiar with them at all. So let’s jump in it sort of higher level. Just describe a bit about the functionality that Meerkat and Periscope provide.
Brian: Sure. No, that’s a great place to start. I think that’s probably the best place to start. Live streaming isn’t new. Live streaming is without question not a new technology but what these apps have come out, Meerkat came out in the end of February. It really launched onto the scene at South by Southwest which I was at there as well and it was part of that crazy launch. And then Periscope which was bought by Twitter launched at the end of March and really what these apps are is they are mobile phone apps and they embrace, they use your mobile camera and your mobile data plan or if you are connected to Wi-Fi, with a simple as clicking one button on any one on these devices, you are able to go live to the world and when I say that, it pushes a link to Twitter and anybody who clicks on that link can then watch you either on the app on their phone or in the browser. So really what the new capabilities here is, our mobile phones are now powerful enough with the cameras and the processors to actually be able to host this and our data plans and Wi-Fi are actually strong enough for us to be able to actually to use this technology. So the real, the new part of this is, it’s mobile, it’s very simple, and it integrates already with Twitter.
So you’re bridging your existing community. You don’t have to start a brand-new community like you might on live streaming apps like Ustream or YouTube or even YouNow and some of these other ones. So it’s still very, very new. I actually tested out a third app or maybe even the fifth app today, I was beta testing and before we had this call. So we are very early on in where this mobile live streaming technology will eventually go.
Adam: So you sort of touched on it there, Brian. I guess some people may be listening, going, “Hang on a sec, we had web cams for a long time, we had Ustream, we had Justin.tv, what’s different about this?” But I guess, you are saying, it’s the confluence of mobile and social and I guess the infrastructure being ready for it.
Brian: It is, and also it’s, a lot of live streaming, you feel like, I did a video blog for year and a half and I loved my video blog but my video blog was very much like talking into the ocean, nobody talked back. And the interesting part of both of these tools is that the comments actually show up on screen. So as you are broadcasting, as you are streaming people are actually able to engage and a good example is actually my very first Meerkat ever. I was in Barcelona. Someone texted me and said, “Ashton Kutcher and Gary Vaynerchuk are on this new app. You should try it out.” So I of course downloaded it because that was a very good recommendation. And I clicked the live stream button with the hashtag of the event and I was walking down the aisle and I am like, oh this is interesting. I wonder how this is different than my video blog. And someone commented, “Is that the Samsung booth? Can you walk over and show me that new phone?” And as soon as they said that, like, my mind was blown because I was like, now someone that’s commenting or someone that’s in your community can help shape the content that you are providing and actually become part of the story.
So for me, although it’s called live streaming and broadcasting is the term, it’s really a conversation platform using your mobile phone and your mobile camera and that’s really where these apps have taken off in my opinion.
Adam: So I guess, I mean, Periscope is owned by Twitter so it’s user experience is very closely tied to Twitter. Meerkat, I mean, I see, LiveNow, Meerkat all the time on Twitter. It’s a great work disturber. You are in the middle of something and someone says YouTube, live now on Meerkat, but again you have touched on that. In essence, I mean, almost the social network, in many ways the community aspect of these is key, is what you are saying?
Brian: Yes and especially from the standpoint of, you know, it’s really everybody talks about the word authentic when you are building content on social media, on online. But it’s really hard to be authentic always by just using your words and I will say, there is lots of people that have made it by faking it. By tweeting what they would consider value but it really wasn’t who they are and these apps because for you to get on the live stream, you have to be able to, you are allowing people to look you in your digital eyeballs, I like to call it. And with that, it’s a very authentic feel and you have people that ask you questions on the spot and yes it can be a little bit intimidating at first, but if you are willing to say, “I don’t know,” or, “Let me look into that,” or really just build a trusting relationship by being honest, these apps really build a community at a rate I would have never believed, because Twitter changed my life, both my career and my personal life by connecting me with people that I would have never had the opportunity to. You mentioned Brian Kremer who was on an early episode of yours. He became, he was someone, I read his book, I tweeted at him. He invited me out to one of the events that he was hosting with IBM.
We became friends offline. I know think of him as a best friend and a mentor and that was all because of Twitter. And I like to think that, it was because we bridged that social friendship to offline and with these apps, these mobile live streaming apps, I think that relationship bonding can actually happen at a faster pace because it’s really hard to fake it. It’s really hard to be like that online dating site, right, where someone says, you know, they are 6’5″ and they have perfect abs and like long walks on the beach. Yet whenever you meet them, face-to-face, they are a video game playing, Mountain Dew drinking person. So for me what this does is it really skips that element and it does scare some people because if you are fake, if you aren’t willing to say, “I don’t know,” and you can’t really show your true authentic self, this is a scary platform because it’s really hard to hide behind the video and the engagement aspect of both Meerkat and Periscope are presenting.
Adam: I understand. Look, reading more and more and blogging in fact, this week all about trust and authenticity and how important that is for brands in 2015, so I understand where you are coming from. Brian, I saw one of your podcast, I would say, it was a podcast, I think, you were simultaneously streaming on Meerkat and Periscope and it ended up on YouTube. So you put it in an upper place but you are talking about FHOMO and I was thinking what on earth is FHOMO? “Fear of Missing Out”, you quickly made clear. So I understand why you jumped on these pretty quickly in February and March. I guess, in the three, four, five months since you’ve immediately become a global authority on these platform. What led you to dive so deep? You are obviously someone that likes to try all apps pretty quickly but did you immediately think that this is going to be a breakout sort of technology?
Brian: Well, I would love to say that. I would love to say, I would love to admit and say, man, I knew Meerkat was going to be uber successful at the beginning. But I can tell you, I embraced that FOMO, that fear of missing out, but I have done and embraced new apps and new social networks and new technology and they have almost always failed, right? I have jumped on it first, I have had the first account. I go get my username. I dive in there and use it and it doesn’t have much value and eventually down the road, it’s an app I end up uninstalling. But with these apps, the thing that was really interesting for me is I’ve almost been building a strategy for these apps for two and a half years. And what I mean by that is I believe in the power of engagement with social media. I don’t think social media is a communications channel, I believe it’s a conversation channel and so I’ve always felt that I, if someone tweets at me and has something to say, I am going to reply back even if it’s a thumbs up or a thank you, and because of that when these apps came out, I kind of felt as though I could tell my story and really connect with an audience without having to do much work.
Because I was able to bridge my Twitter community and my Twitter community was so used to asking me questions and me actually responding which sounds kind of basic but a lot of the people that, I think got on Twitter early and built a huge following kind of forgot what brought them to being a great Twitter person and it was that ability to engage with your community. So for me as these apps grew, I was actually blown away. I’m still amazed that I was able to create such a huge following on here because I have been working really hard at this personal brand and building engagement on social networks and really what this has allowed me to do is people can see the passion on my face. They can see how fast I talk. They can see my animations and my craziness that goes on and I’ve always kind of felt that I am who I am. I wear bright colored Chuck Taylor shoes, I have a hat on almost all the time and that’s just who I am and what these apps has allowed people to do is kind of see that and then decide if I am worth value or not and I have truly been blessed. The community on both of the apps have embraced me and they’ve embraced my story. I am very lucky to have a great support system and some mentors but it’s still crazy. I remember downloading the app the first time and I can tell you, I didn’t think it was going to change my life and it has this many months forward and I am very thankful for that.
Adam: That’s okay. I am sure, in terms of authenticity and transparency, you probably know the podcast, I am talking about, it was only a couple of weeks ago where you had terrible Apple computer challenges that day. You were recording, I think the first podcast simultaneously streaming on Meerkat and Periscope. One of which wasn’t working but it was kind of as what you are actually drawn into the humility and honesty of someone going, “Look, you know, you are seeing it, what’s and all.” So it came across very well.
Brian: Oh, thank you. I appreciate it. Yeah, that was actually my first FOMO Friday podcast episode. So yeah, that was, I still don’t have my Mac laptop is still not fixed right now so I am actually using an older iMac and I think that’s actually part of it. Part of the thing, and I joked about this, someone was streaming Richard Branson and Richard Branson was getting off his private jet and all of a sudden, he looks down and he goes, “Oh, God I forgot my wallet on the plane,” and goes back to plane and I thought to myself, well, Richard Branson forgets his wallet, too. Well, he’s human.
And that’s what this app does, it really allows you to connect with people. We are all human, we all put jeans on the same way, we all have our shoes that we lace up and I think, what this app allows us to do is connect human to human, and that’s a Brian Kramer book conversation. But I truly do believe in that element of it’s human, you can fail on here. I mean, I’ve had my audio not work a couple of times and I’m talking and all of a sudden everyone is like, “We can’t hear you,” or my camera all of a sudden, I dropped the phone or the phone actually fell off the desk the one time in the middle of a keynote that I was giving and all of a sudden it started making noise and everyone started laughing and I am like, well, you got to learn how to roll with the punches.
And I think that’s what this app does. It allows people that have value and are human to really just show off who and what they are and it doesn’t make you, one of my lines that seems to be really popular from my keynote is I say, “A perfect live stream sucks.” And you know, that might come across weird but your goal on live stream isn’t to be perfect. And that’s why I don’t believe this replaces YouTube. It doesn’t replace a standard video because this is all about real, raw engagement, uncut, unfiltered. You know, it almost plugs into that reality TV craze that we have right now. And because of that, you almost have to treat it that way. You have to be okay with failures. Like you said, I was recording my first podcast for FOMO Friday which is when I demonstrate a product on the live stream and I couldn’t even get the product to demonstrate because the laptop was messed up but I don’t think I lost people like that and like you said, it might have actually gain people to understand, “Hey, this is how I work,” and I might be a technology evangelist but technology fails me just like it everybody else.
Adam: Now, that’s right and another theme that consistently coming up in this podcast, the world of the sterile press release and brands having to pretend that they’re perfect. People just don’t buy it let alone sort of push, you know, hard sell, push marketing messages. So this is sort of a natural, it’s almost the other end of the pendulum. So that’s a nice segue way Brian, actually. So I understand, your context and background in these apps. So in terms of enterprises, obviously very early days but where do you see business cases, use cases sort of big around the town for brands and enterprises to use these apps?
Brian: So for me I have a simple philosophy, simple in phrasing but it’s not simple to implement. But it’s called, “Think like a fan. Think like a fan.” Every brand, every person has a fan. And what I think these apps are allowing us to do is it’s allowing us to give insights and aspects and views that we’ve always wanted but we have never had the ability to give and one of those examples is every time I hear a CEO or someone tell me that we have a great company culture, they always point to the website or this polished video that shows like, you know, all their, they have a ping-pong table or something. If a company really has a great culture, why not fire up the, kick off a Meerkat or a Periscope and walk around the business? Show off your food truck Fridays. Give a behind the scenes look and that actually shows that you have a great culture. It just doesn’t say you have a great culture. So for me, brands that are willing to do that could be a great use case. Another one that I love is like a product release. Everyone wants people to be excited about a brand new product. I work with IBM. IBM is releasing a new mail product called IBM Verse and they have actually released it before these apps came out but how cool would it have been to be able to sit in the control room for the final hour before they hit that submit button to submit that app to the app store and you are able to kind of be a part of the rage and be a part of the craziness.
Then all of a sudden, they submit it and the app is live and now as a whole, everybody can kind of feel a part of it. And that’s why I say “Think like a fan.” Because one of my favorite Instagram accounts is the PGA Tour. Because they give it to their employees who are sitting behind the ropes and maybe Tiger Woods private putting green and you are able to see things that you as a fan can only dream of and I think that’s what this app can do, is if you are willing to kind of think like a fan, give them access to maybe a boardroom meeting or the end of a boardroom meeting or maybe your CEO is very animated and loves to do a big conversation on a Friday, why not give that CEO the Periscope and broadcast that to the world and say, “Hey, this is how I get my team excited on Fridays.” So for me, the possibilities are endless. I actually have a slide share and I challenge people to give me an industry that I couldn’t make a use case for. Because I believe no matter your business, no matter how small or how big, it starts with trust and it has to start with a little bit of embracing the fact that it might not be perfect but if you think like a fan, you can probably come up with a dozen use cases per company, per industry to really embrace this technology.
Adam: Yeah, Brian, and as you are talking, I was immediately thinking, okay, retailers, hotels, restaurants, everything from behind the scenes or just before a sale kicks off or again, as a new product is being put in the store, you could really get deep with a brand by showing that sort of authentic behind the scenes footage.
Brian: For sure. I was very lucky, I worked with Applebee’s last week and Applebee’s was giving away two million free appetizers around the united states at all 1,800 locations and what they did is they brought myself, a friend, Vinchinzo [SP], and friend, Sunny [SP], and we sat in their control center and what we did was we actually got a group of 20 live streamers to go into the Applebee’s and eat the appetizers on live stream and give us their real live feedback and they piped that in to Applebee’s.com and talking about a really cool experience, because they were already giving away two million appetizers to people that came in the restaurant but rather than them sending some professional crew to show a polished food, they actually allowed us to get live streamers to give their insights and views of them actually eating that food and consuming it and to me, talking about engaging the community and really giving an authentic conversation, I mean, that was my first example of a huge brand like Applebee’s doing it and I can tell you, they gave away two million free apps and they end up getting a little over a billion impressions on the hashtag, it was “Taste the Change,” was the hashtag. So a billion impressions on that hashtag thanks to social media and live streaming. So if that’s not a great example, I am not sure what is.
Adam: No, it’s a fantastic example and what’s interesting Brian, it sounds like, in Australia, I have seen apart from here, the social and marketing and tech fraternity all of who have jumped on it, so a lots of Meerkat, you know, this is me having coffee, this is me driving somewhere. I haven’t seen too many sort of serious business use cases. Yeah, some use in journalism one’s but it sounds like in the USA some sort of fast moving, forward thinking brands are already jumping on this.
Brian: They have and I think some brands jump on it early. You have like the Mashable and Red Bull and Hootsuite. Some of them jumped on it very early and just kind of mirrored over the video strategy into this live streaming strategy which I thought was actually extremely smart. But I will tell you, three of my favorite streamers are Australians. So we have talked with Johnny. He is awesome. His sales have drastically increased especially with sales to the United States all because of what he does on Periscope. Australiawow, who is Nathan, who is actually been a friend of mine long before live streaming but in my opinion, I have learned more from Australiawow is his Twitter handle, Nathan, I learned more from him than any other person in 2015. He is a genius growth hacker. He has a fitness software company that he does and then the third one is Chris Ducker [SP] who of course is a podcaster and who has found unique ways to use it. So I can tell you what, three of my favorites, I actually watch a lot of Periscopes at this time at night. It’s 7:00 or 8:00 at night on the east coast because three of my favorite that are out there doing great work are Aussies down under.
So I’m impressed. You guys are doing a good job and not to mention when it comes to social media, I think Australia has been doing an amazing job of doing social right. Learning from some of the mistakes that happened early on here in the states.
Adam: That’s right. And look, in terms of enterprise use cases, Brian, it maybe too early for anyone to be doing this but do you see down the track customer service coming into sort of play for this? That you know, if people have got how to questions or fixing technical items, could live streaming become, again, a tool that enterprises are using to provide better customer service?
Brian: I think so. I think it’s a easy segue way. I think, actually one of the other ones is think about it this way. When someone calls customer service, majority of the time, they are calling to complain or they have a problem, right? And so disarming that person, it’s really easy to yell into a phone that someone doesn’t have a face and they just only told you their name when they answered. But if you are able to actually live stream and see their picture, it’s a lot harder to get mad at that poor customer service person who is just doing their job. So for me, that actually has a little bit of an aspect to it.
But also being able to, for me to like, if a new product release comes out, let’s say, I am using iOS beta for Apple and I am having all kinds of problems with which I am right now. iOS 9 is very glitchy. If Apple wanted to, they could post out and say, “Hey, we are going to do a live Periscope, right now. We are going to do a Periscope. Anybody who is having issues, we are going to let you jump onto the stream and we are going to walk you through the troubleshooting.” Not only does this give you the ability to provide that video out there for everyone to consume, but people can actually comment and say, “ow, that’s interesting. In settings, mine doesn’t have that setting.”
You can almost do on demand customer service, but the same time, if you are smart, a product team could get real feedback live. Imagine the turn around on feedback if you are able to get that feedback customer service wise live in the moment. Go back and fix the tool and update it maybe an hour later, compared to pushing an app out, waiting for everybody to fill out a form or send you an email. To me, it’s a game changer for that real-time customer service.
Adam: Now look, the more we talk about this, Brian, the possible use cases and applications are endless, if you sort of have an open and creative mind to it. So agree, that’s a great example of where it could go with customer service. You sort of touched on it there, in terms of businesses, you know, marketers listening that are thinking about live streaming, how can and should it dovetail with their other social media activities on Facebook, obviously closely tied into Twitter already, maybe Instagram, YouTube and others? How do you see this fitting into the broader picture?
Brian: So I think one of the biggest mistakes some brands are making is the fact that it’s real-time scares them. And I will put this out there. Just because it’s real-time does not give you the excuse not to have a strategy. Because it’s real-time, because it’s on your phone, it still means you should have a strategy and so for me, it should fit into your content, your content strategy as well as your storytelling strategy. Someone asked me about, you know, monetizing and really where this fits in and people buy from people they like, yes. But they also want to hear your story. They want to relate with you. And so if you are creating content and one of my favorite things to do is, if I don’t know what content to create, but I know I want to talk about cloud computing, I jump on live streaming and I bring up cloud computing. I say, “What are some pain points that you are having?” And you get all this live crowd sourced feedback and what better way to create content, because the whole goal of us creating content is to solve people’s problems so that they either buy more from us or continue to be a customer. Why not crowd source what your content would be and kind of fit it into your content creation strategy or even fit it into your philosophy on what you are going to do for the next month and say, “Hey, I want to run some of these ideas by you,” and I think that’s a great way of doing it.
So for me, it requires a strategy. I think first off brands must get on there and just listen. Engage and comment. People oftentimes ask me, “Meerkat or Periscope, which one?” And I like both of them. I think they both have unique features and I advise all brands to understand both of their features and then make a decision yourself. I don’t think there is one that is drastically better than the other. But for me, get on, test them out, listen, and then just jump on and try it out. But I don’t believe it’s going to add a ton of work to your work cycle because if you do it well, not only does it add or eliminates some steps from other processes in your marketing strategy, but it also can give you evergreen content because you have the ability to download these videos to your camera roll and I can tell you, I have about 30 videos right now that are, I send off to a video team that they are going to boil down like my hour long live streams into ten minutes consumable content chunks that I’m gonna embed into blogs in the near future. And to me, it’s maximizing my time and now rather than having record a video blog or record a podcast and make a piece of content, I am able what I call up cycle one great piece of content and turn it into all of those avenues, while I am able to crowd source it.
I mean, what better feedback in crowd sourcing can you get than being able to do that live in-depth and if you are embrace it from your marketing strategy standpoint, it can be a game changer.
Adam: Now, look Brian, great stuff and that’s a great summary of the sort of the strategic level for this. I might just shift gears, Brian, and take advantages of, if I can, of having you on, and I’m sure some listeners that may not have dived in yet, have got some sort of how to questions about the execution of using these apps. So look, just firstly, just summarize if you could the key differences between Meerkat and Periscope.
Brian: Sure. So Meerkat is the startup. Meerkat is the one that has, it got some funding early on. It was released South by Southwest. Twitter purchased Periscope before it was released. And so when you look at the features, to me, Meerkat is definitely the one that’s innovating faster. They are willing to integrate new features. They actually just released this week that they are going to allow users to connect to a Gopro camera from their phone. I mean, that’s pretty revolutionary in my opinion. That could really change a lot of this live streaming. And they have such things, so on Meerkat, you have the ability to, the people that are commenting for their, when they comment, they have the option to post that comment to Twitter. So that’s a really nice feature for brands because they can actually bridge and continue the conversation after the live stream is over. And although Twitter owns Periscope that option today is not available inside of Periscope. So that’s one of the things I like inside of Meerkat. Meerkat also gives you the ability to have a call to action at the end of your live stream. And you have the ability to schedule a live stream in Meerkat. Those three features don’t exist in Periscope.
Now in Periscope, on the other side, Periscope because it’s backed by Twitter and it has the Twitter funding, it does kind of have that big boy feel where it’s very reliable. And you know that it’s not going to go away. And the other couple of nice things that Periscope has is, they have the option inside of Periscope for you to actually to share the broadcast with your followers. And what that does is, it actually does a push notification to everybody who has the app. It says, “Brian Fanzo wants you to watch such and such live broadcast.” That is very powerful especially in this world where everybody is distracted and just because it’s posted to Twitter like on Meerkat, it’s hard for someone, if you don’t catch that tweet, live in the feed, you really don’t know if someone is live as much and because you are able to share broadcasts and use a push notification on Periscope, that’s a pretty powerful one and another thing that I really like in Periscope is, Periscope allows your replay to live within the app for that 24 hour period. So what that does is it kind of embraces that FOMO and I actually tweet the broadcast link out many times over the next 24 hours and I tell people, “You have ten hours to watch this video before it goes away. You have four hours to watch this video before it goes away.” And because of that, it kind of requires people to consume the content in a quicker fashion.
If that was a blog post, someone would just add it to their read later and put it in their email box and probably read it a week from now. But Periscope has really done a great job of embracing that. Now I will tell you, early on, Meerkat had an amazing community. But since Android app was released for Periscope, the Periscope community has grown extremely big as well. So I would say, both apps have a great community. Meerkat seems to be innovating faster but Periscope seems to be really focusing on some of those nuances and new user features that kind of give people the confidence to jump on the apps and try them out from the beginning. So those are kind of some of the high level feature differences between the two.
Adam: Thanks, Brian. Great summary. And look, I just want to clarify, in terms of the video saving, because I think that’s a big point that people would be interested in. So from what I hear you said, Meerkat, you literally need to watch the live stream or you’ve missed it whereas Periscope, you have got a 24 hour window to sort of share again and broadcast again.
Brian: That’s correct from the app perspective, but there is a third party tool called katch.me. So katch.me, and what that actually allows you to do is they actually will capture the live stream from both Meerkat and Periscope and they will actually upload it to YouTube for you on their channel but they will send you the link. So although on Meerkat the replay of the video does not live within the Meerkat app, you still have the ability to not only save the video but have it uploaded to YouTube automatically. So on both apps, you have the option for truly making the content evergreen.
Adam: Okay. Got it. And Brian, in terms of settings, is everything public or can you and I do a one to one or one to a few private stream?
Brian: Great question. So only on Periscope can you do a private stream. So on Periscope, you have the option to take a stream and make it private and then select only certain users that can see it. So the link will never be posted to Twitter, it isn’t a public URL. There are people that you assign to watch the private broadcast will get a push notification that says, “Hey, you’ve been invited to this private broadcast.” So on Periscope, that is a great feature. I like that for, if I’m on a mobile phone, I want to do it to a team of people but I don’t want it to go out there for everybody, Periscope does give you that option to do a private broadcast and Periscope also allows you to actually decide who can comment. So you can actually turn on comments, turn off comments, or turn on comments for only the people that you follow on the app because some people do get worried about the trolls and the haters and those people that are on there. I would say, both apps are very good at allowing you to report and block those people. But if you wanted the options say, I only want the people to comment are the ones that I am following on this app, you have that option to limit that on periscope.
Adam: Great. And look, you have sort of touched in already. In terms of a preference it sounds like everyone should just dive in and try both as they’ve both got pros and cons and both are worthy apps, so you don’t particularly lean towards one or the other?
Brian: No, I don’t. But you know, I think, it depends on really the use case and what, I always ask the brands that are, I have a lot of brands that are looking out to work with me now on deciding a strategy or how they can use these tools. I ask them two questions. Really I ask them, “What does success look like,” and, “What is your current video strategy?” And I think those two answers usually dictate where I am going to go where if you need to really prove ROI and you need that call to action and you want to take somebody to your own media, majority of the time, I am going to lean towards Meerkat because Meerkat pushes the information to Twitter. They allow you to have a call to action. You can schedule the content and have a permanent URL. Whereas, if success looks like to you is, “Hey, I want to grow my following. I want to bridge my existing community. I want to get out there. I want my streams to be extremely popular and be mainstream,” I usually lean people to Periscope. But for the most part, I think you can, I don’t think you can go wrong and something I just got reminded by another brand and I told them and they started laughing is, one of the brands that I was working with picked Periscope out of the gate. They wouldn’t listen to the features. And they came back to me just this week and said, “Brian, we realized now that a majority of our audience is more engaged on Meerkat.” And I say, “Well, guess what, the only thing, you missed out was a week or two that you are using Periscope and that’s not a big failure when it comes down to it.”
So they are able to fire up their account on Meerkat and now go live on Meerkat and bridge a lot of their audience from Periscope over to Meerkat. So I don’t think you can go wrong in this situation. If the listeners are listening to one thing, what I advocate for is let’s not fight over which app is better because a reminder that Google was the 27th search engine. We are early on in the days here and I believe the power of live streaming is extremely powerful and this mobile live streaming can be a game changer. So I would rather people talk about all the benefits and all the things that they get from either app rather than fighting between the apps because I don’t think that does any good for either one. And I think the innovation on both apps is good for each other because, I joke a lot of times that, if you are an iPhone user, if Android didn’t exist, we might not have copy and paste because it took us four years to get copy and paste functionality on iPhone and you know, it’s that innovation and that competition that drives faster innovation and that’s why I’m a huge advocate for both Meerkat and Periscope. I’m even wearing a Meerkat shirt right now while we are doing this broadcast, yet I was on Periscope broadcasting all day. So for me, I truly believe in the power of both apps.
Adam: It sounds like a long term for the sector as a whole, Brian, do you think, both make, it’s not kind of which, who will be the winner? You think both can flourish and in fact, you can see space for other live streaming type apps to come into the market?
Brian: Just this week, there has been three new ones that have come to the market from the standpoint of really pushing themselves out there and I don’t think we need more copy cats, but I think, one of the ones I tested today allowed four broadcasts in one stream. And so it kind of gives you a little bit of that conference type feeling where you are almost are doing a webinar. I think there is plenty of space for new apps. We are going to see them. I also kind of feel this doesn’t replace Snapchat, this doesn’t replace some of the other apps that you have out there. But there will be some apps that are going to go there to compete against the Meerkat and the Periscope. And I think, I wouldn’t be surprised if two years from now the best app that for the mobile live streaming is one we haven’t heard of yet. Because they are going to learn and innovate and I think it’s a great thing and who knows if Meerkat gets bought or what Twitter decides to do with Periscope and maybe even embed it into the Twitter stream. I think we are so early on, I mean, one of my reminders is that, it started in March, think about how quickly this has grown just from the beginning of March to now where every conference you go to people are streaming, at every event, if it’s the Grammy or live streaming or you have Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon and Ashton Kutcher and all of these people are using it for all different things. I mean, Taylor Swift can do it for behind the scenes backstage of her tour to give her fans insights they’ve never seen before. And this, I mean, U2 actually takes Meerkat on stage with them every night and does a live broadcast. I mean, how cool is that? I mean, I get to be on stage with U2 every single night. I mean, that’s something we would have never imagined just in February of this year.
Adam: Now look, it’s come a long way so quickly. But again, just as you give me the answer, Brian, I’m almost, you hear a lot about the pace of change and disruption and innovation but it is just astonishing that what three, four months into disrupters, they themselves are already potentially being disrupted by others. I mean, like that sounds like a great innovation one you just said about four live streams at once and webinar so it’s, yeah, incredible pace of change.
Brian: It’s exciting times. I tell you what, I say a lot that I am so glad to live in this age because I am being able to connect. You are in Australia and I am in Virginia and that’s thankful to the amazing technology, digital and social, and we are able to connect through our mutual friend who connects us and we’re kind of linked together. That didn’t happen ten years ago. We were only as strong as our tribe that was local around us that we were able to locally travel to. So I love the digital change era that we are in right now.
Adam: Agree. And look, for those that are listening that maybe haven’t had too much experience with Meerkat or Periscope yet and are thinking, “Look, I just want to dive in and watch a few and understand a bit more about it first.” What’s the best way, let’s gets sort of quite tactical for people, if they have got a certain type of interest, how can they find live streams relevant to them just to check these things out?
Brian: Well, both apps do a pretty good job of serving you up some of the more popular content. So if you download both of the apps, they have an iOS version and an Android version for both of these apps. You can dive in, you can see who that you follow on Twitter is broadcasting and just click, all you do is click on the broadcast and then you are watching their camera. Oftentimes people kind of get afraid like, “Wait a second, is my camera on?” And no, as long as you don’t hit the stream button, your camera is not on. But you can sit in there, you can watch, you can also watch on the browser. One of the things I recommend during is if you are a social media person and you use Twitter, put in either Hootsuite or tweet deck, use the hashtag Meerkat or use the hashtag Periscope because every broadcast that’s pushed live uses that hashtag. So for me, I put that hashtag and I filter and save, only show people that I am following on Twitter that are using this hashtag. Therefore as I’m scrolling by and mayb, I am wasting time before I get on conference call, I can look on that hashtag and say, “Oh, look, my friend just went live because he is sitting at a soccer game,” and then I am able to click on that the link and you can watch it on the browser.
So remember, you can watch on the browser but if you want to engage, which I think is the real power, the comments, you have to use on the app but I wouldn’t be, if I was someone that was teaching someone that was new, I would say, jump in watch a couple on the browser, bounce around. It doesn’t hurt to jump in out of 10 or 15 feeds and just see how people engage. It’s an extremely friendly community. Almost so friendly that everybody that jumps on the first time tells me, “Well Brian, I was welcomed in there and I started commenting and people started following me and they are asking when my first broadcast was.” And it’s because we are all learning together. There is no such thing as an expert. I don’t care if someone puts on their handle, if someone proclaims it on every single one of their live streams, they are not an expert. I am not an expert. I have done over 600 live streams on these two app combined and I can promise you, I am not an expert. I learn something new on every one of these broadcasts and I think that’s the fun part. Jump on and learn together.
Adam: That’s good stuff, that’s good advice for people who want to get their turn on this. So Brian, just a couple more questions, just cognizant of being respectful of your time. In terms of intellectual property and copyright, I guess any lawyers, in fact, I do know a few lawyers in Australia that do listen to this, maybe either rubbing their hands with glee at the future work or holding their head in their hands if they maybe are representing a media rights owner. But I remember when the big pay per view boxing, Mayweather and Pacquiao fight was on recently and immediately a whole bunch, and people in the US I think were paying $100 US to watch that fight and immediately on Periscope a whole bunch of people live streaming the fight came on. It was actually quite interesting for Twitter management. On the one hand sort of pushing, wow, this is a great use case of Periscope, and on the other hand, but officially, we don’t condone copyright breaches. But where do you see this area because it’s really like, can open worms everywhere. Where do we go with this?
Brian: I will put this out there. These apps did not invent piracy. We could turn our web camera towards the TV since day one. I remember watching the very first iPhone announcement on somebody’s Justin.tv wired hack camera, right? I mean, that’s where we were doing that. And we also can fix stupid. I broadcast, I actually streamed during the entire Pacquiao Mayweather fight but I never showed the TV. I actually had my phone on top of the TV facing towards us, the fans, and so if someone wasn’t watching it but they want to see how we were reacting and kind of behind the scenes, they could do that but there were people that were pointing it towards the screen and my answer to that is, that makes no sense. Like, you know, if someone, for me even the NHL came out and said, “We are going to block our fans from live streaming in the stands,” and I said, “That’s crazy.” And I love the NHL. I played college hockey and for me, if I’m going to watch a hockey game, it’s hard to follow the puck on an HDTV. If you think I’m going to follow a puck and get the same experience from some person’s mobile phone that’s bouncing while they have their beer in the other hand, you’re crazy, right? So for me this element of, “Don’t stream stupid.” Don’t stream something that you have paid for.
And I have done a lot of times, it’s amazing. I go to events that they are paying people to live stream. I say, “Hey, I am not going to live stream a whole keynote but would you mind if I interviewed the person, I live stream interview the person before they went on stage and the first 5 minutes of their broadcast or the first 15 minutes of one of the keynotes?” I have yet to have someone say no. And I think that’s what it’s all about. I also believe part of this is, we have to get into a new day and age where you don’t control anything. And maybe something, my advice for like a Broadway show, that’s a great example. That content is only consumable by being there. It doesn’t stream online. It goes away after three months. For me, a Broadway show, if they were smart, I would put a cell phone jammer on top of the building. I would offer free Wi-Fi like an airplane but I would block the streaming capabilities. So therefore people can still text, they can still get out if it’s an emergency, they can still get all those features but you are telling people, “Hey, embrace this for what it is,” and I think we have to take that approach because people are still going to try to stream it. I mean, I was at a Jimmy Kimmel show at South by Southwest and everybody had their Meerkat up even though he said, Please don’t take pictures or take video.”
But eventually I think we are going to get to a point where we understand where that goes and I refuse to share or watch anybody who is streaming content that is paid for or that is privacy or that hasn’t asked for permission. But we also are in a day and age that’s changing. So I think the lawyers are probably going to have some fun with it. But they are also going to have to treat these policies that said no live streaming. One of the things that I can give you as a great example is Sports Center. I watch Sports Center all the time but I never looked forward to the commercials until now. Because Robert Floras, every single night on the night Sports Center, as soon as the commercial comes on, he gets on Periscope and answers questions from the guests, from people that are on Periscope. And I thought that’s an amazing way of connecting with the audience to where I probably watch Sports Center more now because then I know I’m going to jump on and ask him, “Well what did you think of that highlighter,” or, “I can’t believe you guys just showed the Pirates loss or you didn’t show something going on beforehand.” And that real-time engagement, I was actually surprised that ESPN allowed that because their commercials are what paying for the broadcast, right?
But I ask that question and their answer back was, “The people that are tuning into Periscope to engage with Robert Floras weren’t going to watch the commercials in the first place. They were going to have their head down in social media. They were going to be going out to the refrigerator to begin with. So why not provide additional value when you can.” And I think that’s the future compared to someone saying, “We are not going to let anybody in our 60,000 person stands broadcast live.” Not only is that not feasible but it makes no sense and that’s kind of my philosophy and strategy when it comes to the whole privacy aspect of it.
Adam: Brian, you have touched on so many interesting points there. It’s going to be so interesting to see how that area pans out but the genie is out of the bottle so there is no turning back now. So Brian, I really appreciate your time on the podcast. Thank you so much. I think you’ve added enormous value to people listening that may not have known too much about Meerkat and Periscope, both at the strategic level and at the sort of tactical level, so thank you very much. Before I let guests go from the EchoJunction podcast, I do lighten things up a little bit and we end with a quick fire round. So you all set over there in Virginia?
Brian: I am ready. I talk fast and tweet faster, so I say bring it on.
Adam: Okay. Here we go. Question one to Brian Fanzo. iSocial fans. If you could only use one social network for any purpose in the next 30 days, which would you choose and why?
Brian: Twitter without question. Twitter allows me to engage not only with my friends but it allows me connect with people I didn’t even know I wanted to be friends with thanks to hashtags and content sharing. So Twitter is my favorite platform and the one that I couldn’t live without.
Adam: Okay. Twitter hands down. Thank you. Good answer. Question two. Brian, what’s the most influential and impactful business book you’ve ever read?
Brian: I have a tie for that and it’s two of my books that I talk to everybody about and I actually read them both at the same time and they helped me change the value that I could provide on social media and the way I created content to create value and they both have kind of the same mission where you help others. Nobody will ever tell you, you are providing too much value or you are helping too much. Jay Baer’s “Youtility” and Gary Vaynerchuk’s, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.”
Adam: Okay. Great stuff. And finally, Brian, this may be tough for you to hone down but if you could only follow three people on Twitter, who would they be?
Brian: Wow, only follow three people on Twitter. Okay. I would say, Ted Ruben, he is a friend and mentor but he has 200,000 followers and engages with every single one of them. So I feel like he would be a must follow, because you can always engage and have a conversation with him. I would say Vala Afshar [SP], is another one. He is a CMO of a tech company and he does a great job of providing amazing great content and then the third one, the third one, let’s see. My third person would have to be, I would say, Mark Andreessen. Mark Andreessen is a great thought leader and he uses Twitter the right way to have conversations and ultimately provide value.
Adam: Great stuff. I will link all of the two books and the three handles up in the show notes. Brian, before I let you go, is there any way you would like to send people that may want to learn a bit more about you and what you are up to online?
Brian: Well I do personal brand coaching, I do a lot of things on that and I always say it’s great to be consistent. So I am, I use the Twitter handle, iSocialfans, lower case I and social fans, a play on my last name. My last name is Fanzo and I am a Apple fan boy. So lowercase I is for the I products. Of course, this was my social media handle. So it’s isocialfans and I am that way everywhere. So I’m on SnapChat, I’m on Periscope, Meerkat with that same handle, and it’s isocialfans.com is my website. That’s where you will find links to my two podcasts that I co-host as well as two Twitter chats that I co-host each week as well. So isocialfans everywhere and anywhere, Instagram, Facebook, everywhere you can imagine. So that’s where I recommend it.
Adam: Fantastic stuff, Brian. Thanks so much for being with me.
Brian: Thank you for having me on. It was truly a pleasure.
Adam: There we go. ladies and gents, Mr. Brian Fanzo on all things Meerkat and Periscope. I really hope you enjoyed the conversation. I think Brian brought a huge amount of value for people just wanting an overview of what these apps are all about, both at strategic levels and the execution levels. So great stuff from Brian. Very appreciative of him coming on the podcast.
Here are the show notes and links for this podcast interview with Brian Fanzo.