the next side something


I’m not a fan of the phrase “side hustle” because the word hustle seems overused these days, but I’ve always found myself spending free time on outlets outside of my day job. I tried my hand as a co-founder on a start-up venture that fizzled out. I am nearing the end of my second and final term on the board of directors for the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association where I co-lead programming. I also serve on the advisory board for SXSW where I get to help evaluate proposals and provide input on the content that makes its way into the Austin conference.

I also get energized by learning and trying to improve my craft. We try to do that on my team at Allianz by encouraging ourselves to expand our thinking, develop new skills and experiment when we can. Thanks to MIMA and SXSW, I’ve also been fortunate to connect with and be inspired by some wickedly smart people in the digital scene both locally and nationally. I believe that if you work in marketing – particularly digital marketing – and you aren’t trying to stretch yourself then you’re doing it wrong. That spirit of learning and developing is what I’m tapping into for my next side something.

It comes with a fun twist because I’m doing it with my friend Arik. But it’s not just us giving something a-go on our own; we’ve asked for guidance and counsel from colleagues in town whom we respect and believe are on top of their games. Here’s the short version of what we’re trying to do: we believe that there is an opportunity to help people get smarter, faster when it comes to digital marketing by learning from the people that are doing it each and every day as the top practitioners at big brands and agencies here in town. We’ve developed a test program that is small in terms of size – we’re limiting it to only 25 people – but will be big in terms of learning, building connections and walking away with a plan of what to do next to be successful.

Out of the gate, we’re starting with social media as the topic. If it’s successful, then we’ll see if the side something continues into 2018 and where it can go from there. And if not, then at least I can say I had a lot of fun brainstorming, putting something out into the world and learning from it.

Our initial program is scheduled to take place on November 4th. We’re calling it sparked: digital and social media training. You can read more about what we’re trying to do. If you like what you see, then please share the word. Even better, if you find the idea compelling then consider registering for it or sending someone from your team.


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