By @SimonCocking

Great honest, insightful and entertaining interview with Scott Eddy, @MrScottEddy  the super global travel blogger, company social media consultant and now Brand Ambassador for Zipkick (featured in last week’s Business Showcase@Zipkick. In his words “I’m Jamaican-Lebanese-American. From Miami, lived in Bangkok-Portugal-Spain-UK-Manila. Top 10 Global Travel Influencer on Klout”. 

Tell us about what you’re up to now?

Before we talk about what I do now I should just explain my background.

I had a fairly normal childhood, mother and father, married. The one different, or slightly unusual thing was that my dad was a cop. I had imagined I would follow in my father’s footsteps, having tried out the polygraphs, seen corpses, and a good idea of what was involved. Then three weeks before I was about to graduate from high school my father was killed in the line of duty. As you can imagine this brought a big change in my life. I didn’t follow a conventional college route after that. I went into an investment banking program, taught how to sell, an essential skill, which will enable you to deal with most things

Eventually I trained and worked as a stockbroker for 10 years. This taught me that almost every job, apart from those like being a doctor which require a special skill, is about selling. If you can sell then you will do well. I discovered I also liked working with startups, and travelling. Since that it has been a blast doing the things I have done. I am very much a glass is half full sort of person. After my dad too, I think what’s the worst that could happen and I know that it already has. Looking forwards this makes me very willing to embrace new things and try new things out. I’m a hard core optimist. In my head the worst thing that could happen has already happened, so I’m willing to take risks that others won’t.

Where are you based now?

For this year, since the end of January, I have been in California. I had planned to give it 6 months but it’s been going great, so who knows, perhaps even till year end. It’s been really intense and exciting working with Jason @jasonbwill to develop Zipkick and we’re about to go on the road this Friday for 50 days to promote it in 20 states. However I’m now also in talks with a major American TV broadcaster in San Francisco about a travel series. This is super exciting and I’m hopeful that I can announce more about it soon.

You have a great comment about ADHD and OCHD. Has social media helped you in this regard to live in a manageable / happy / fulfilling way?

“I have OCHD (Obsessive Compulsive Hyperactive Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and I LOVE it. To me, these are not disorders but constant opportunities to challenge myself and excel.”  Quoted from Scott’s website.

Repetition is normal in my head, and you need to do that to build that up for social media. I do have ADHD, and I bring this to my social media life too. I look to develop relationships, super aggressively. I want super engaged people. I have a great following on twitter (670k) but I could have had 10 million. However I don’t want to follow or be followed by people who don’t engage with me. I have great engagement with my followers. If I put something out, my levels of engagement are off the scale. I want you to either love me or hate me.

As you have spent time in London, would it be fair to say you are aiming to be Marmite @marmite for your followers?

(Laughs) Absolutely. If I tweet too much for you, then please don’t follow me, I don’t want you to follow me. I also don’t agree with that bullshit about having more followers than people you follow. If you follow me, I’ll follow you back!

(Laughs more)

Top tips to companies trying to do well on social media?

I teach companies this stuff. I do social audit on them,  tell them how they need to humanise their brand. To show your human face, people like and buy from that. Don’t communicate as a brand – some companies do it really well – Oreo Cookie @Oreo for example. Brands also have to be consistent with their message, passionate about it, and know that some times you need to tweet more and sometimes less.

I also get hired to help to hire people to do social media. I call it turning the dinosaur mindset. Sometimes it only takes a few days and then they get it.

Do you encounter resistance from some companies about the value of using social media to communicate their message and sell their products.

Oh man, on a daily basis! I get a lot of resistance. Remember it is still a new industry, I still have to convince people. However lots of people do get it too, and all the studies show that the companies whose CEO’s are active on social media do better than those that are not.

Have you ever been to Ireland? The Web Summit or anything else?

No, but I would love to come and I think I am right up their demographic. What I do would be so suited to them. I spent a lot of time in London prior to 2008 and working to launch a new financial initiative. We worked really hard on it, and then the downturn came and the opportunity passed. As a result I didn’t get out of Chelsea hardly at all. I would have loved to have seen the north of England, and then Ireland too, I’d be all over that, I’d love to come and see you in Ireland!

[Hopefully the Web Summit invite him over some time]

I love to talk about travel to events. I’ve worked with StartupGrind as a speaker too, Mindvalley as well, also in Malaysia and Thailand, and founder of Wework coworking.

We featured Zipkick last week, you’re their brand ambassador, how is that going?

Zipkick is already in the Appstore , with an update due in 2 weeks too, with less bugs. We already have 800 beta testers which is awsome. We begin our roadtrip on Friday too. 50 days, 20 states, it will be great. 

How did your collaboration with Zipkick begin?

We just clicked. I meet a lot of people like Jason, startups with an idea. But he had it all lined up, everything to suggest it could be a massive success. They have a patent pending. They asked me to be the brand ambassador. I flew to SF, to help them build out their social strategy. His go to market strategy was to use a social media influencer. They had no money, just offered me stock to  build it out by leveraging my brand as an influencer, to promote this company. I helped him to build his network. We have great relationships with 44 ZipKick bloggers.  These are top travel bloggers. We’ve been paying forward the support and help, giving to them, then once we launch, we will use this coalition of bloggers to promote our story to a massive audience.

Social media, connecting, communicating is your business, how do you manage the life / work balance aspect of it? I think I can guess your answer but …

Yep. There is no balance, it’s 24/7. When I was a stock broker it was like this too, whereas this is not work , it ‘s fun, it’s perfect. I love it. Social media is not ‘work’. Yes I am in the ‘interesting’ business. I need to keep coming up with new and interesting shareable content, but that is fun too.

Travel, where else would you like to go?

South America and Africa, everywhere anywhere. When I travel I like to build a network. Chile has a great startup community, it would be cool to spend time there. Hangout, build relationships. Yes it is good to see the tourist sights for a couple of days, but after that the value is seeing the rest of the place and getting to know people. I only knew one person when I went to Thailand, and from there I built a massive and really useful network.

Africa would be awesome too. I was checking out Periscope this week, and know what I watched? A safari in Botswana! He was really close, and I was thinking how on earth has he got the wifi to do this? It was so cool. Periscope is great, I’m going to use it on our road trio.  It’s good to not act like an adult, to have fun, to do funny things, and to keep that determination. Kids have a good attitude, they keep doing something till it works, they don’t quit.

What tech tools do you wish were already available to make your life easier?

I wish was born today, because future will be so cool.The things we saw in the Jetsuns, well so much of that is starting to become available. There will be even more of that soon. The future will be sick if it’s used in the right way. Digital can make you lazy. It can complicate things too. Fat burning pills for example. So if used wrong way, it will detrimental to human species, but if you use it properly then it will be great, I’m really excited about it!

I can’t wait till they perfect driverless cars too. After living overseas, mostly in 3rd world countries, then coming back to US, there too many laws. I have no desire to drive, I am now always thinking about content. Constantly thinking about this, and what to create content next as I’m in the ‘interesting’ business. Driveless cars will make it easier to focus on this.

Tips to others trying to startup a business in terms of using social media to grow it?

New founders really need to focus on building up their audience and need to be super visible, to make everything public, not private. Founders that are more visible, do better. Build up your platforms, get an intern if you need to, they get it. But most companies don’t. Your personal brand is your most poweful asset. Steve Jobs was great in many ways, but one of the key areas is that he was the asset for Apple. You talked about Apple, and it was Steven Jobs that you thought about. He was part of the brand.

It’s been great talking to you and follow us on the hashtag as we begin our road trip on Friday!


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