Instead of doing what every other owner did for Black Friday, write a few emails promoting their Black Friday specials, the Tim Tech nerds announced plans for an epic 102 hour spreecast marathon to unfold their 102 hourly Black Friday deals. What followed is the stuff that legends are made of. I doubt that Justin, Jon or Tim really knew the impact of living up to the philosophy they espouse, being the Purple Cow, standing out and being outstanding. What followed was remarkable in every way.
To begin with and my first remarkable, is how little planning actually went into the event. True there was all the background work that went into developing the hourly specials, creating the master list and the programing to announce each hourly event but beyond that something magical happened that all of us who were there witnessed with our own eyes. The event took on a life of its own, bringing together a motley crew of diverse people from all over the world who participated without any form of monetary reward or coercion by Tim Tech. Remarkable.
Anywhere else an attempt to broadcast for 102 hours would require producers and programmers and all kinds of managers to co-ordinate a schedule of appearances to make sure that the whole thing never falters and that people were cued and prepared for the times they were expected to take part. Instead of that you saw a remarkable flow of volunteers coming and going with no set schedule, no prompting, no real co-ordination, yet remarkably there was always some one on, most times even two or three and sometimes four people all on cam, chatting with the audience, talking about every subject under the sun, and remarkably managing not to lose the thread of hourly specials.
People who had never venture before a camera mustered up the courage to take a turn still camera-shy and nervous yet remarkably seemed to be on stage at the same time a a more seasoned veteran was there to guide.
Over the entire length of 102 hours an audience of 30 or more people where there to take part in chat, to cheer on those on camera and to support them with questions and chatter of their own. Even in the deepest hours of the night people where watching and encouraging and being transformed as were we all by this remarkable drawing together of a community that grew in passion and strength as the broadcast went on. And even more remarkable for hours and hours at a time this broadcast went on without any intervention of the Tim Tech crew.
And anywhere else a list of rules and guidelines would have been set out for the participants to follow. Remarkably there where no rules except those of decorum, about how you where to conduct yourself on cam….none. That fact alone speaks to a huge trust in the community to monitor itself and find ways to regulate if necessary while leaving the field open to every kind of inventiveness you could imagine. That freedom creates a magic you cannot reproduce any other way.
Remarkably, no one judged another through the entire broadcast. This created a safe environment for every one to give it a shot without fear of being put down for their efforts. In fact there was a great deal of cheer-leading, applause and encouragement to warm the hearts of everyone who watched the event.
What is remarkable is the sense of community that coalesced around the broadcast. What is remarkable is the broadcast was bigger than any one person. So many people participated that it would be a disservice to name names when this event clearly transcended “ego” . A very remarkable thing indeed.
At what is remarkable: at the end as the last minutes ticked down was to see the huge turn out to watch the final scene play out with amazingly, Jon and Justin at the helm, and the real sense that we really didn’t want it all to come to an end.
And was is astoundingly remarkable is in the end what will be talked about won’t be those 102 Black Friday Specials as remarkable as many of the were. What will be talked about are the stories about the event itself, the new friendships made the new relationships built…all of them the unintended by-product of a company that truly understands what it means to be a Purple Cow.
What is also very remarkable is the things I learned:
1. Never to be in the same room with Jon Olson during a football game without full body armor and earplugs.
2. Never mention wood pellets or pellet stoves within the hearing of Tim Linden.,
3. And the remarkable relationship building skills of Justin Ledvina.
In all one of the most remarkable events I have had the pleasure of being part of in a very long time.
I will leave you with just one other word: remarkable.