If your business does any form of sales, this month’s webinar is particularly useful to review. In it, Mike and I talk through sales forecasting, which is how to use Opportunity Tracking effectively. We lay out the ideal Enterprise, SMB and budget tools that can be used to achieve more clarity in sales forecasting. We then talk through the new innovations in augmented reality and touch on direct application to you. Our final topic was Mike’s passion of Engagement Art. See what Mike’s thinking, how you can apply Engagement Art into your life for increased sociability.



Mike:I do see your go to on the side Casey.


Casey:Perfect. Then I will hide that. Do you see our video?




Casey:All right. Now let’s get started. All right everybody welcome to another Marketing and Tech Insider webinar. This is Casey Stanton and I’m here with Mike Cline from Tech Guys Who Get Marketing. We’re here to talk about Sales Forecasting, Augmented Reality and Engagement Art. Now before we get started let’s figure out first who Mike Cline is. Mike Cline is a 6-2-7-5 if you are familiar with the Kolbe score, you’ll know that he’s a quick start, fact finder, robot. His leading codation is quick start, which means he’s quick to jump on new opportunities, but he likes a fair dose of facts as well.


 Notice that he has that 2 there, that’s his follow through. Which means he can’t do the same thing over and over again without getting bored. His strengths from Strength Finder are learner, achiever, intellection, activator, ideation. The reason Mike brought me in here is his intellection sometimes is hard to disseminate to the general population. I’m here to try to dumb down some of Mike’s great wisdom. For the past 8 years Mike has been eating sushi, solving bigger and uglier problems with technology, custom solutions and elbow grease. I also heard that he’s allergic to giraffe sweat.


Mike:I love giraffes actually for the record. I love that every time you do these intros Casey they keep getting more interesting and interesting.


Casey:I’ve got to have fun. Mike’s out in Eden, Utah which is out in the middle of nowhere because Mike’s afraid of the upcoming Armageddon. Is that what it is?


Mike:There’s a lot of preppers up here in Utah where we are, I will say that. I don’t share that particular theory.


Casey:Sure. Sure. All right. Now me, I’m a 6-1-9-5. Mike and I are very similar except a big difference we have is my follow through is a 1, where his is a 2. Which means I cannot do the same thing almost once. If it’s any more than once I tend to do really poorly on it. It’s kind of fun that we have a similar codation here. How that works is we can jump on these calls. We can jump on these webinars. We can have a great time. We can hopefully be useful.


 The next one might be very different than this one. My strengths are individualization, maximizer, input, learner and woo. I lead with individualization. I really care about the individual. I have a really hard time talking to a group of people because I see a group of people as a lot of individuals. I don’t do a great job at summarizing all of their needs together. I just see them all as different people with unique problems. I’m a marketer. I’m a Michigander. I’m a mutt lover. I’m a former marketing professor. I mitigate marketing misadventures with mercy. That’s what I’m here to offer.


Mike:[inaudible 00:03:17] In the sun here, Steve Miller.


Casey:Exactly. The first thing we’re going to talk about today is Sales Forecasting. I’ve got my notes. You’ve got yours. I just want to start off and give a general notion of this. In businesses that I step inside of Engaged Officers and then Tech Guys, there business owners have a great book of business. They have customers that they’ve had for years. They also have these sales opportunities. If the entrepreneur has a sales department they typically have someone selling. If that person is selling, where do they keep track of all that information? When I step into a company and look at what’s going on in the marketing and sales side of things. Typically one of the biggest faults I see is a lack of sales opportunity tracking, therefore an inability to forecast sales effectively. Mike how would you define what sales forecasting is?


Mike:Actually before we define it. Why don’t we give an overview of what we want to cover in the section too? It’s sort of like …


Casey:Just the big things. The big things are, this is like reeling in your sales team to make them more effective. It’s about recording the information from the different conversations that you have and being able to predict not only knowing what’s the P & L for the past 30 days or for the year to date. Also to know the sales forecasting to see if your business is going to grow. If it’s going to shrink. What it looks like year over year or month over month to see if there’s any cause for concern or cause for celebration. We’re going to be talking about different technology to use. We’re going to be talking about a book that Mike and I love on sales tracking. We’re going to be talking about the difference between sales and marketing teams. It all wraps around the notion of opportunity tracking. We’ll spend some time unpacking what that is.


Mike:Cool. Awesome. What was the question?


Casey:How would you define sales forecasting?


Mike:Sales forecasting is being able to predict sales in the future. It’s like predicting the weather. The only way that you can do that reliably is by having good tools for weather prediction i.e. sales prediction. That’s comprised of a lot of data gathering and then looking at that data in specific ways as applicable to your business. Just like a weatherman forecasting in the Caribbean is going to take a different approach… Fundamentals of amistrip weather are similar, but different regions, i.e. different businesses are going to have very unique components and qualities to them that are going to matter more than others in order to get an accurate forecast. That’s the way that I would describe it and the way that I look at it.


 The way it’s important is, if you can predict at least some semblance of the future with some accuracy, even if you’re only right call it 60-70% of the time with your sales forecasting, it gives you a foundation to make better business decisions from a place of abundance far more than a place of uh oh do we have enough sales?


Casey:Yeah, I want to add to this. A piece of importance. If you look back at our Kolbe’s, our Kolbe’s are pretty much the same. 6-2-7-5. 6-1-9-5. This one and Mike’s two are the issue here. We lead with our quick start which means we jump to new opportunities quickly. As Mike and I go out and we’re at some level the chief sales people of the organization. We go out and we find these opportunities, have these conversations and it’s really fun. We see a way we can solve a problem with Tech Guys or with Engaged Officers, or whatever. We love having those conversations. Then after that, a lot of times that excitement dies down and unless we have a system that’s stupid proof, we’re going to screw up and we’re going to let opportunities slip through the cracks.


 It’s really hard to qualify an opportunity unless it’s on paper. How do I know in my head am I giving the biggest opportunities, or the most important things the most resources? Or am I fighting with a high school bully in my head again when I’m in the shower? What am I wasting those brain loops on? You still do that?


Mike:No. No I don’t.


Casey:I went to my middle school after ten years of being gone and saw it.


Mike:That’s what you’re doing right now, right? You’re up there visiting homeland?


Casey:Yeah, I’m actually up in my childhood house. Up in Northern Michigan. I want to have a quick story on sales forecasting. I had a client, Engaged Officers that came to us, they’ve got a great business and they work in the B to B field and they had a ton of leads that they were nurturing. The person that was running the business was also the chief sales person and she didn’t have a way to track these opportunities. She couldn’t track the stage of them.


 The word opportunity is a weird word. It took me a while to get it. Lets talk about it like this. When you’re selling something to someone, you have an individual. We can call that person a business, at Tech Guys we use a person, so we sell to the person, not to the business because sometimes the person owns multiple businesses. What we have is we have an opportunity to sell them.


 If you have a product, lets say it’s a consultation, a paid consultation like you’re a doctor. You have an opportunity to sell them. If you can track the stage of that, someone says, “Hey I’m interested in coming to see you.” How do you track that? They said they were interested, you felt like they were pretty hot to come in and see me. Have they been followed up with adequately? What’s the stage of them? Have they been closed? Did they come in and have an appointment? What’s the lifetime value of that person? How many times have they come in to see you?


 That kind of tracking is really important. An opportunity is the opportunity to sell someone a product or a service, at a specific time. At Tech Guys, it’s a custom development software and marketing company and Tech Guys will produce all sorts of custom developments for different clients. We might have a client that has… I know we have some that have more than twenty opportunities against them. It’s one client, one person’s name, who we have the opportunity to sell multiple solutions to. Some of them we’d win. Some of them we’d get the business for and others of them, we’d lose. We’d lose it because someone had a better quote, they felt like. Or maybe it could happen internally. Or it was just not a necessary opportunity.


 We track these opportunities individually. We track them by size. We track them by close date. We track all the tasks specific to them in one screen on a piece of software that we like to use. Do you have anything to add to that Mike?


Mike:I think it’s a good explanation of it. I mean, another way to say it too is, anybody attending these webinars, is an opportunity for us as well to have another conversation. Are there needs that we could help fulfill? This mindfulness that lots and lots and lots of things are opportunities, and with Quickstart getting them recorded in a system is extremely important.


 A lot of entrepreneurs kind of drop the ball on appropriate opportunity tracking. I’m even at fault for that over the course of time. We’ve built a pretty robust sales, opportunity, sales forecasting, sales process system all on top of Salesforce.com for our internal use. For the very reason that I don’t have the Kolbe skill of a high follow through and I need that system to support me.


 Really, sales forecasting is about doing the tracking and then looking forward. All this opportunity data is useful. As Casey said, some you’re going to win. Some you’re going to lose. Recording both are equally as important as each other. Recording all of the calls that you had logged against those opportunities is important. So that we can look at a winning opportunity and a losing opportunity and say what are the attributes? Okay, well it looks like most of the opportunities we closed, we closed within two phone calls and it’s deals of this size. That seems to be our sweet spot. Okay, cool. Well how many like that have come in in the past month? What about the month before?  What about the month before that? You can start to see trends if you just look at the data, but it starts with recording it.


Casey:Yeah, that’s awesome. Being able to track not just the individual, but tracking the opportunity that way you can propose multiple solutions that can potentially solve the problem. You can sell multiple products. They might be interested in buying a couple hundred dollar product, or maybe it’s the two thousand dollar course, or maybe it’s the ten thousand dollar face to face time with you. Whatever it is, these are different opportunities to track.


 The great thing about this is, we can reference the opportunity record, excuse me the account record at a later date. An account would be Mike Cline and Mike would have ten or twenty opportunities against him. Where I tried to sell him a product or a service at different times for different amounts for different needs. I could look back because I forgot who Mike Cline was and I could say, “Oh yeah, back in 2013 I sold him this, and here’s all the information on that.” Okay. The chief sales guy was Bill. Okay got it. All right, this is coming back to me. We had these other opportunities, they didn’t go. I can look back at them, oh there’s a no here. Mike moved out to Puerto Rico to dodge some taxes and then, you know whatever the reason was I can figure all of that out on the opportunity record.


 It’s like a long term record of the relationship. This goes back to what we talked about in the last webinar, which was don’t burn the data. That was all about… There are billions of people on Earth, but really in our work world, it’s a small circle. We just can’t burn the relationships. What’s important is the long term relationship. I want to keep the long term customer information on someone that I talk to.


 Even if I talk to someone and it’s apparent that I’m not qualified to help them because their business is too young, it’s a startup. If I good direction and I give them great value and they feel really great at the end of the call, then we can have a conversation two, three, four, five years later when they’ve maybe done some of the things that I mentioned, or maybe done some other things and now they’re successful and they’re at a point where they could use our services. I have that record. I have the relationship. I can remember and it’s not that I have to rely on my own head which is the biggest issue in any company on sales, is relying solely on an individual and not on a system.


Mike:Yeah, that’s well said for sure. Some of these systems by the way too, that we’re talking about for sales forecasting and opportunity management, we’re really talking about a CRM. Customer relationship management piece of software. There are oodles and oodles and oodles of them out there these days. I mentioned we use Salesforce.com internally which is a legit enterprise level tool. You probably… Most people don’t need that level of horsepower, but it is a great tool. Extremely extensible, kind of at the very top tier of things. That’s not always the best. It can over complicate small businesses where a lightweight tool is better served.


 Fusionsoft is a marketing based CRM that we’re often utilizing for clients, or clients have and often working on or within for them. That’s another alternative. Insightly also another small, quick, easy, fast, lightweight kind of tool. [crosstalk 00:14:58] Even Trello.


Casey:Sorry, with Insightly, Engaged Officer started off as a project that we launched on the back side of Peter Diamandis’s exponential, or backend of his book launch in 2015 and we called it Exponential Think Tank. We wanted to scramble together a really lightweight software stack that could allow us to handle everything that we needed. We could have integrated with the Tech Guy Salesforce and done all that and customized records and all this. While that’s possible, it wasn’t worth it in the short term. What was worth it in the short term was to grab Insightly, do their fourteen day trial, tried their iPhone app, loved it. It was simple. Then it was a twenty nine dollars a month thereafter for two users and it was great. I could put in all the contact information of everyone, it was like their business card. I would input all that information, then the opportunity to sell them into our program and then the status of it. We could run basic reports to see how many people were active being billed. How many people said they were interested and haven’t paid. All that kind of stuff.


 All that happened in Insightly. Super lightweight. No customization. Without it, it would have been a spreadsheet nightmare. With it, it was really easy. It wasn’t the right long term solution for us. We ultimately moved off of it, but as far as moving quickly and being able to be nimble, I thought that Insightly was great.


Mike:Yeah. I mean, even go a little lighter weight and you can go to project management tool like Trello. I don’t know that I would manage… You’re not going to be able to get data analytics out of something like a Trello, but there are… I’m just siting other tools that are kind of lightweight.


Casey:Yeah, Trello is essentially Post It notes.




Casey:That’s kind of how it works. [crosstalk 00:16:38]


Mike:Fancy Post It notes. My point is do something. Do something to track this data. Even use Google spreadsheets if you have to. It’s just extremely important to not lose sight of one, I mean customers. Obviously customer list management is important, but opportunity management of those customers. That can give you a lot of valuable data that is always kind of easy to forget.


Casey:Then what’s really important here too is to put the opportunity size on the opportunity itself. The opportunity record is, I’d call it Mike Cline, $5,000 sale, $5,000 product. Whatever it is. Whatever I’m selling Mike Cline. The opportunity size is five grand. Maybe I have another one that’s one hundred grand. I have another opportunity size that’s one hundred thousand dollars. Should I be giving Mike Cline an adequate, or an even amount of time as I give that hundred thousand dollar opportunity? Or should I give the hundred thousand dollar opportunity more of my time because it’s worth so much more to me as far as maybe profitability?


 This is a big issue with just not giving the right opportunities the right focus. I think it’s easy to work with people that are fun. This is my Achilles heel in sales, is if I have a conversation with someone and their not a perfect fit, but they’re really really great and I have a ton of fun talking to them, I’ll prioritize that opportunity maybe subconsciously. Instead of the one that I could probably provide equal or greater impact to that could afford a much higher price point. I do it just because I enjoy it and that’s not the right way to grow the business long term.  [crosstalk 00:18:13]


Mike:[crosstalk 00:18:13] It’s pretty funny actually. I find it hilarious. It’s a lot of fun for sure, over the years, watching you do that. We took on a… There’s a book out there on this that goes into much much greater depth around sales forecasting and predictable revenue. The book is called Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross. Aaron Ross was involved with Salesforce.com in building some of those systems. If you want an in depth, deep dive on sale forecasting, all from an enterprise perspective, right. It might be more complexity than is needed, but if you want a deep dive on it, that’s a good book to read.


Casey:Fantastic book.


Mike:Some of the… Yeah, fantastic book. We implemented a lot of those concepts that were in there back in the day. The thing I’ll talk about real quick is, how do people do this wrong? What are the common mistakes when it comes to sales forecasting opportunity management?


 Two things. One is the under braining the process. Meaning you don’t track any of these metrics and you got through business for several years with complete scatter shot of what made it work and not. The other is over braining it. Where you add too many processes. You’re trying to track too many things and you get quagmired in information constipation around it.


 There’s a sweet spot that you want to find with the complexity as your business grows. As you step into this need of we’ll call it just sales in general. Some of you might actually be more in direct response, or direct sales efforts. Online marketing sales efforts et cetera. You’re not going to do opportunity tracking per say in a classic sense, but you might do it with affiliates. You might do it with vendors. It applies anywhere that you need to close a deal of any kind. Tracking this stuff makes a big difference.


Casey:Dan Sullivan has a great tool called an opportunity filter. Which is an opportunity to take on a new product line for your business. To partner with new people. To do all of these different things. All of these opportunities you stack and then you rate them based on their ability to bring in more business. Or be more valuable to you. Or use less of your time, or whatever.  Opportunities in that regard, different than on the sales side, but equally important to be able to manage those things and focus on the important metrics instead of getting quagmired in what’s interesting or exciting.


Mike:I’ll say the last thing on this and then we’ve got to jump to that next topic. Sales teams versus marketing teams. What’s the difference and what matters? You want to address that Casey?


Casey:Yeah, sure. I remember when I got started in marketing, I talked to one of my Dad’s friend who worked at IBM and he told me there’s a difference between sales and marketing. I just didn’t know what the difference was. It just felt the same to me. It became quickly apparent as I got deeper into marketing that marketing is something that takes the masses, pre-qualifies them and then puts them over into a sales process. That sales process could be an individual selling them on the phone. Or it could be a sales letter that sells them. It could be something that sells.


 If you look at Apple’s recent keynote, all of the buzz, all of the tease around it was the marketing and then kind of ultimately the actual keynote itself when they released the phone was the sale. I mean, I watched that and I was sold. I’m sure I have to go through the process of giving money over to the AT&T rep, but I was already sold. You can kind of see that last bit as marketing your sales. Marketing is the thing that brings leads into the business that are qualified. Sales then converts qualified people into buyers.


Mike:I’ll say it one other way too. Marketing is the thing that gets the crowd around the stage. Selling is what happens, what the guy is doing on the stage. Those two can be coupled if you really understand your sales message, you can automate your sales message and wrap it in with your marketing. That’s so much of what we do within Tech Guys and all the online digital services.


Casey:Yeah. Great. Okay cool. Lets move on to the next one, which you know so much about and I know so little about. Let’s figure out how do we add… How do we make augmented reality… How is augmented reality coming into the space of the entrepreneur, of the inventor, of just the layperson? What is augmented reality?


Mike:Well, I mean I think with your current Pokemon Go level, you’re more qualified Casey to talk about…


Casey:I’m on twenty one.


Mike:We may have brushed on this in a previous webinar as well, but augmented reality is the digital overlay onto the physical world. The most prominent device out there in augmented reality right now is the Microsoft Holo Lens. H-O-L-O L-E-N-S. You can look it up. Look up Microsoft’s demo of it. Amazing looking piece of hardware.


 Effectively what we’re able to do is create virtual spaces in our normal reality context. I could be walking into the kitchen and there could be a video playing on the front surface of my fridge. Virtually, as a hologram that’s laid over reality. I could be interfacing an entire game environment that’s coming out of my desk in front of me here, interfacing with it. I could be doing CAD design work virtually in front of me on the table. Picking up a virtual wrench and putting on a virtual bolt. The opportunities for augmented are massive.


 The way I see it, augmented reality is actually going to replace the mobile phone. I don’t know if it’s going to replace it with a wearable headset. Google Glass was kind of the first foray into wearables, but it’s by no means anything close to what the Holo Lens is with augmented reality. Google has been working on a contact lens project for a long time and I have a feeling when we get to that stage, when we can get the tech miniaturized enough, augmented reality as a contact tool, or a contact lens on our eye is going to be the tool that replaces the mobile phone. You will have that full computational interface. It will also replace the desktop computer in a lot of ways.


 Virtual reality on the other hand, will still be a very separate thing from augmented reality. Virtual reality is what you’re probably hearing a lot about right now on the news with the HTC Vibe and the Oculus Rift. Those are immersive, complete immersive virtual worlds that can really extend the way that we interact in ways we haven’t even thought of yet.  Both are very exciting technologies.


 Augmented reality kind of got a big shot in the arm this year which by the way, you could have your phone, using it’s camera and looking through the screen, I can see augmented reality overlay of the physical world. That’s another way that augmented has started to come. This is a little clunkier, it’s not immersive and you get a small field of view with the phone. We’re talking a headset or contacts, the field of view, the experience is immersive. That’s kind of when and where and how is this technology going to catch on? Immersion is one of the key parts to it. Casey I’ll let you talk about Pokemon.


Casey:Pokemon I think is interesting in so much as, at the keynote last week, Apple announced that they’re making sure that Pokemon Go is going to be able to fit on the Apple Watch. That’s probably going to be for finding the Pokemon. It’s not going to actually be the augmented reality. It really is the first game that’s had such massive adoption that’s used augmented reality. It’s a battery suck and it’s awful, but it’s still a neat proof of concept. People enjoy it. It’s an addicting game.


 We’ve got a client at Tech Guys who we’ve worked with for many years, a good friend of ours and he’s in the kitchen cabinet business. An idea that Mike threw out, a long time ago, which we’ll talk about why it didn’t work, but the idea was for kitchen cabinets, how hard is it for you to design you’re own kitchen from your house? I don’t have… If we go back to the Kolbe score, I’m not a high enough implementer, long enough implementer to be… Excuse me, a short enough implementer to be really great in my head, to be able to map everything out. I’m right in the middle. Just too dysfunctional. I can’t visualize my kitchen with different cabinets in it. I couldn’t do it.


 This idea was, what if you had an iPad app which you just CAD’ed out your kitchen. You just did a tape measure and taped off the little area and you said this is what my kitchen looks like. You give it… You say this is where my current island is, okay perfect. Then you just drag and drop different cabinets and then you pull the thing up and look through it and the camera shows you the actual house, but what you’re seeing is an augmented overlay of these new cabinets there. What would happen if that was the reality? It would be pretty cool. I would feel more confident buying things.


 I just bought something the other day on Amazon and it was way too small. This thing came in this big and I thought it was going to be this big. Had I been able to throw in some augmented reality and see what it was like in my hand, it would have changed my relationship to the product and I wouldn’t have purchased it in that situation.


Mike:That right there is the key part. You’re relationship and trust of buying something you can’t physically touch. E-commerce has… That’s the biggest problem with e-commerce. How often are you buying clothes online? Maybe more now, but back in the beginning that was the last thing you were going to buy. I’d buy computer parts online all day long, no problem. We watch these different verticals of e-commerce start to rise. Something that’s going to be fascinating with augmented reality and virtual reality, is let’s take the cabinet example.


 You hold that iPad up and you’re engaged, well or you put the Holo Lens on and you’re engaged in putting up the new cabinets in your house. What’s an ad look like in that world? Oh, on my counter there’s a brand new Vitamix Blender. You know what? That looks good there. I need one of those. Click, add to cart. Immediate up-sell.


 The value of that, right there. Capturing somebody in an immersive world by serving them with a taste of the flavor of what the thing, the next up-sell could be. That’s where… Advertising and marketing, really advertising is going to have to take that kind of an approach. Our current spammy approach, which is this, using the classic, fear Greek curiosity tactics and massive repetitiveness. We want more human connection. We want more real connections. We’re going to see it through these immersive worlds. It’s going to be pretty cool. You’re going to be happy when you turn around, you’re like, oh my gosh, I never thought about another table over there. Or the cabinet there, or the door hooks that way. That’s amazing. Yes I want that.


 Those pieces were placed there as part of a marketing immersive experience. I’m really excited to see where it goes. All of these tools are going to force better marketing. It’s going to help eliminate the, we’ll call it just spam that… I’m classifying a lot as spam. Garbage information being thrown at you violently. Getting rid of that and making it only the stuff that you want to see, need to see. That will tickle your fancy. That’s the next wave of this.


Casey:Yeah, right on. I think this is coming into the consumer space pretty quickly. There’s some new tech that’s coming out that I think you’re a little more abreast on. One thing that has been going on online is the CEO of Snapchat has had these circle glasses with little cameras on the side and he’s been caught out at a baseball game with them on. It’s this big to do. It’s no secret that Snapchat is pulling in augmented reality developers to figure something out. We don’t know what they’re figuring out, but if it’s a wearable and you can do goofy Snapchat faces, I don’t know the implications of that, but it’s interesting. Snapchat’s worth what? What did you read yesterday? Five billion, no. Fifty?




Casey:Eighteen billion?


Mike:I think that’s what the article said we were looking at yesterday.


Casey:Yeah, I don’t even touch it. I stay clear. I steer clear of Snapchat. What are these other devices that are out that you’re interested in? Is there anything specific?


Mike:Well the HTC Vibe, I haven’t got to play with one yet. I have an Oculus here, we’ve been looking at the Vibe. Particularly for some of the art and design tools. That’s virtual reality, right? That’s full virtual immersive, it’s not just augmented.


 I’m very curious to see how much more efficiency can be gained using virtual environment development tools. For the Vibe, there’s a tool out there called Tilt Brush that’s made by Google. It’s an open source, virtual reality, 3D environment, call it painting application. It’s by no means Photoshop. It’s better than Microsoft Paint. It’s kind of the first foray into crafting in these virtual spaces. I’m the most excited there because those industries… When we have people, we have designers, both engineering designers and graphical designers being able to get ideas out of their head much faster. That means it gets into retail hands much much faster. It means it gets into world much faster. Which means we accelerate more and more and more.


 You combine full 3D immersive development, CAD design with concepts of 3D printing out of a small room, you could build prototypes of things that would have taken a year to build before that you do in weekend with some friends. The collaboration environment. Multiple people in the same virtual space, working together. No different than [inaudible 00:32:53] people in a shop turning wrenches together. Or welding on a big sculpture.


 I’d say this quick too Case, that I was using the Oculus a couple weeks back and there’s a tool called Alt Space VR. Alt Space is think of MySpace sorta, kinda. Alt Space, you’re a character, you go in there, you can develop in this environment. Interact with others. I actually played a round of Cards Against Humanity in a basement pub in virtual space. We’re reading the cards out loud. We’re engaging with each other, it’s absolutely ridiculous. I was stunned to have that experience. I think it was maybe just a week ago now, or two weeks ago, I got an email that… I was there playing with some of the developers as part of a beta before they released it. It’s called Holograms Against Humanity was the digital version they made.


 Things like that. Virtual….


Casey:It’s so crazy.


Mike:Game space engagement. [crosstalk 00:33:54] Oh, go ahead.


Casey:Do you feel like you could be kind of alone in life? You could live by yourself and if you had that you would feel a level of human connection?


Mike:It’s getting there. I think Second Life, the community that is Second Life, that’s an amazing story to follow. That company and it’s sustained user base. It’s been stagnant… Second Life and Reddit both have similar cutting edge concepts that part of the world understands, but haven’t matured enough to become fully established.  Second Life is about computer horse power. The founder came and spoke at one of our events a year ago, year and a half ago.


Casey:Peter’s event.


Mike:The discussion was around facial expressions. Micro expressions. If we can start getting that dialed in in virtual space with camera tech et cetera, the human connection, the depth of it goes up significantly and we start to accept the virtual space far more than we currently do.


Casey:Awesome. Cool, as we wrap augmented reality, anything left?


Mike:Well, with augmented we were signed up to get a Holo Lens on the third wave of developer releases and the week before we got a notification that we could get one, Microsoft… Some of you may have been affected… Decided to do the forced upgrade of Windows 10 for people. I was just really disenchanted with the way they handled it, all those pieces [crosstalk 00:35:31]


Casey:So you backed out?


Mike:Say again?


Casey:You backed out then?


Mike:Yeah. I was… I actually had my main Windows 7 machine affected. It attempted to completely convert itself one day, by itself, as I was sitting here. Just like this, talking and it blip, tried to do it. Anyway, Microsoft has done some weird things over the years. I don’t know if they’re going to be the front runner with the augmented space. It’s interesting that you’ve got Snapchat in the mix with the glasses and whatnot. It will be interesting to see how all this unfolds. I’m really excited for Steam though. With the HTC Vibe.


Casey:That’s so cool. Steam is, I’m not much of a gamer, but Steam is the place where you get games? Is that how I understand it?


Mike:It’s not just that. It’s a game company that built the platform. They make games as well, but it’s an entire community of digital, being able to digitally game. A lot of games get released for Windows, for Mac, and for Steam. Steam is the one that’s becoming the most popular as a platform for easy purchasing, downloading, management of it, compatibility. It’s a great little marketplace. The company is awesome. It’s fully decentralized. Just the history of Steam itself and their employee manual is public, but they’ve done a lot of really cool corporate… Very evolved corporation we’ll say.  This project was one where they said let’s get into this space. Let’s get into the virtual reality space. How do we do it?




Mike:[inaudible 00:37:13] Magazine, which is one that I get, did a whole cover on it, or a whole history on it. It was incredible, the speed that Steam was able to step into this space. After the work that Oculus has done, everybody that’s played in it and get the traction they have and to partner with HTC, it’s really really neat.


Casey:Super cool. Okay, great. All right. Now lets move on to the grab bag topic of the week, which is Mike’s ideas behind engagement art. What’s engagement art Mike?


Mike:I don’t know.


Casey:Yeah, I don’t either.


Mike:I’ve got a good riff on this one that I’m very interested to share. It ties into the virtual reality and augmented reality spaces. The statement that you made about, could you be totally alone and be fulfilled with human connection with these tools and where they’re going?


 Engagement art itself… I’ve gotten into the art space just in the past four years, kind of stumbled into it out of the need to kind of get back to my roots. Which was working on cars. After having attended Burning Man, which was a very interesting art festival, art and music festival in the Nevada desert that happens every year. I was inclined to create an art car. We sat around for a while thinking about what should we create and the theme that year, actually which was Who Is John Frum? It was all cargo cult theme, if you’ve heard of anything in the South Pacific during World War II, you had some of the natives start worshiping the sky craft and sort of the magic that was brought by the GI’s that were there.


 they came and left quickly, so they became lore in those areas. It’s a whole crazy history if you’re interested in it. If you look up John Frum. F-R-U-M. We ended up deciding to create a giant peanut butter and jelly sandwich with wings and serve gluten free, gourmet, cinnamon butter, toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For fun. All of this is for fun. The event is about creating wild and crazy things for fun and this is what we chose to do. What we didn’t plan on is how it would be received. People engaging with this piece of art we created exceeded our expectations one hundred fold.


 To explain that, I want to back up and talk about Burning Man a little bit and really culture and kind of where we’re at. There is the notion of strangers. There are the notion of friends. Casey and I are friends. At one point in time we were strangers. We were strangers, randomly happened to be at a bar in Michigan, called the Eight Ball at a Cap Surfing event. Cap Surfing Meetup event and though interaction and dialogue we went from strangers to acquaintances, to friends, to really good friends.


Casey:I lived with you for a minute, so even like housemates.


Mike:Even like housemates for a minute back in the day. That process, we say, okay well how does that process happen? We kind of treat it as an organic thing. If you walk around New York City, everybody has their blinders on to everybody else. There isn’t engagement with other humans even though you’re surrounded with them. In fact, if you go up to somebody the first inclination is often, I’ve got to put my guard up for just a second. “What do you want? Who are you and what do you want?” There’s the inclination that somebody wants something from us.


 Now, go to a place where there’s less population, go to the exact opposite. Small, rural town, middle of nowhere. Same situation, somebody walks up, you’re like, “Oh, what’s going on?” There’s an openness to it. The human density has a lot to do with that. Has a lot to do with how we go from strangers to acquaintances to friends.


 The creation of this art piece, this giant sammich. S-A-M-M-I-C-H. Holiest of holy sandwiches, just for clarity. It got people to immediately bond in a very unexpected way. It took strangers and bonded them very very quickly. Part of that was because of the “show,” quote unquote that we made part of this. You can have a sandwich, we’re here to serve them. However, you’re sandwich will be completely flavorless unless you tell us a sin or sing us a song. That was the kind of caveats to it. That got people to engage and to play with each other. They would be singing… You would learn parts and bits of random strangers that you never ever could have got out of them otherwise.


 Now Burning Man is the context for this. It is a very open landscape that encourages people to bring art and express in any way that they possibly want. The fact that there’s no currency at the event at all. There’s no buying and selling. There’s no trading and bartering. There’s only gifting. There is buying of ice and coffee sanctioned by the event, but other than that there is no economy.


 When you walk up to somebody you can’t even say, “Well what do you want from me?” There’s nothing to get. There’s nothing to take. There’s none of that. That’s gone from this social experiment that is Burning Man for the week that it’s alive. From that, what we found with the sandwich is that there is a huge need in society for connection at real levels. At the deep levels. There’s lots and lots of people that are surrounded by other humans and they’re completely alone. That healing of loneliness, or at least engaging that loneliness and helping engage others with an art piece and bond with other strangers, that’s the premise and the basis for engagement art.


Casey:Cool. It’s all well and good, but what’s the application?


Mike:The application of this is we look at all the environments that we got into on a regular basis. From city sidewalks to airports, restaurants, all of these places can have these elements in them to help individuals actually connect. I mean, bars are made for people to go hang out and connect. I don’t know what your life was like in your early twenties, and post college and everything, in that bar scene, I believe you were part of that a good bit. I personally never felt like I could ever connect, even in those spaces.




Mike:But that’s why we go there. That’s why alcohol is one of the most consumed drugs in this country. It’s not a connection drug. It’s not what it does at the core of it, but we want that and that’s a tool that we have set up socially. Application is the art pieces can act as a symbol to it and they can help foster it. I personally am interested to build more weird and wacky art cars that really act as marketing vehicles. We’ve done a couple now.


Casey:In this regard… I’ve got a black dog, you know Pepper. I love my dog. I take her with me kind of a lot of places. As she comes down the stairs to see me. Because she’s a black dog, at night when we take her out, when we were living in New Orleans specifically, I could go everywhere with her. She’d get stepped on. We’d go out to a bar, we’d go to a party, she’d get stepped on because she’s a black dog at night. So i started dressing her up. It was the act of her wearing a dress out, or having a lobster costume on, in a month that wasn’t October, that just started so many fun conversations.


 People approached us, we had conversations. You got the weird people who love dogs too much. You just had some really fun conversations with people. It was a whole lot different than seeking a connection and then just kind of coming to me. Do you feel like that’s an application of engagement art?


Mike:Yeah. It’s just showing up. That’s you stepping into showing up regardless of what ridicule could have occurred, you’re like, no this is going to be fun. I’m going to own this thing. I’m going to put the dress on the dog and we’re going to go. Pepper looks great in a dress by the way, I have to say. Your dog in a dress is pretty awesome.


 It does start with the individual stepping into expressing their own creativity, their own creation energy for that to come back. That’s what creates community. That is community in the modern age. In the past, community was about survival. About physical survival. Now it’s about mental, emotional, psychological survival. This is part of the transition. It really goes back to what we all wanted when we were eight years old. Just to play. All we want to do as humans is to play. It gets masked with all this other stuff. Making money, having the nice house.


Casey:Collecting old shit.


Mike:You got it. This whole project, the engagement art project and having built the sandwich, building a couple other art cars, doing a couple static pieces, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been very educational and I’m excited to do a few more and just kind of see where it goes. I have no idea if I’ll forget this tech stuff and all this stuff we’ve done and we’ll go make art. Who knows? My quick start might be high enough, I’m not sure.


Casey:It might be. You might not finish it, but at least you’ll start it.




Casey:All right, so lets wrap. I want to just do some big nuggets and then an offer right at the end. Let’s recap going backwards. Engagement art, what’s the take away? That you want people to have? What’s the one take away? Is it do something that’s outside of your comfort zone a bit more to showcase who you really are so people can see that?


Mike:I would say the big take away there is openness. In that we all are the same. We all want the same thing at the core, even if we don’t know it. If we’re not living in abundance, but we’re living in scarcity, it’ll come out one way. If we’re living in abundance, that abundant mindset, we’re the ones that can open that door. As you live mentally and in a state of mental abundance, recognize those that are living in scarcity. When the opportunity presents itself to be open and to facilitate community. You’ll be very happy with the outcome.


Casey:Great. Awesome. All right. Augmented reality. One big take away.


Mike:Keep an eye on it. Keep watching it. Whatever industry you’re in, start noodling on how it can apply and keep an eye on it because it’s going to come very very fast. If you thought mobile came fast, this stuff’s going to come faster. The next iteration beyond this, it’s going to come faster as well. VR is first in my mind, at least from a deep generalized usage perspective, but I could be completely wrong. Just keep an eye on it.


Casey:Yeah, it’s going to be interesting. Even businesses that are grossly removed from tech, they still have the potential for application. Even just the transmission of information. What if your professor walked around your house? Instead of going to school. He was there with you, or she was there with you, whatever.




Casey:That would just change, that would change the dynamic and that’s [crosstalk 00:49:06]


Mike:In real estate sales, viewing houses, uh no. You’re going to walk through them. You’re going to be in an office and you’re going to through them in depth with a guide kind of thing.


Casey:Yeah. Awesome. Then sales forecasting, biggest nuggets to take away? What you got? Track? Do something?


Mike:[crosstalk 00:49:22] Do something, yeah. Be mindful of opportunity in sales management. That’s the big one there. On the virtual reality, or augmented, if you have an opportunity to try out any of the headsets at any of the electronics, consumer electronics show, or anywhere, do it. Make a little detour to go check out these tools. Microsoft posts, they have a bunch of places where there’s Holo Lens demo units and things like that. The same way with Oculus. If you haven’t played with them to feel them, this isn’t something that I can explain in total because of the level of immersion. Go and sample them.


Casey:Yeah. Awesome. Alright. Now, for the last thing here, on the last slide. Here’s what we’re offering on the backside of this. Engagement Officers, it’s a business that Mike and I have with our friend first and co-founder Bill Ferante. Engaged Officers is a business where we work as an outsource chief marketing and chief technology officer. We work with our clients for ninety day sprints with the option to renew every ninety days.


 We step into these businesses and we augment the capabilities that the team currently has by giving a high level marketer and a high level technologist so you can make sure you’re making the right decisions. You’re looking at technology the right way. You’re seeing how augmented reality comes into your life. You’re making sure your sales forecasting is… Your technology’s accurate. Your marketing’s strong. You’re taking all the different potential opportunities that are the most important for your business and you’re acting on them.


 We’re there to facilitate conversations. We have a unique process that we drive our clients through. We get some pretty serious results. What we offer on the front end is a five thousand dollar marketing and tech audit. This audit is a ninety minute deep dive. I just came back from JJ Virgin’s Mindshare Summit a couple weeks ago and I have a ton of these audits scheduled. I’m actually a little short on time right now. We just had some time free up Monday and Tuesday of next week and I could take up to four audits.


 What we’re offering is this five thousand dollar audit that we’ve charged for, for two hundred and fifty dollars. That’s the price you pay us on completion of the audit, if you’re happy with it. We’ll sit with you for ninety minutes, we’ll unpack your business in totality. We’ll figure out your marketing, your technology. We’ll figure out your sales strategy. We’ll figure out your management. All sorts of things with your business and we’ll hand you a road map at the end of it.


 The hope is that that road map, it may or may not need Tech Guys to do some implementation. It may or may not need Engaged Officers for the long term to commitment to support you. At a minimum, there’s been no client, there’s been no prospect that we’ve talked to in a marketing attack audit who hasn’t said, “This is absolutely worth my time.” We’ve been able to short cut success by making sure they’re focusing on the success of the campaign instead of on the traffic source.


 We take away all of the jargon around marketing and technology tools that sometimes can kerfuffle an entrepreneur. If that sounds like a position that you’re in, I encourage you to sign up for the audit. It’s engagedofficers.com/audit. We’ll ask you a couple questions about business size, about number of employees. Do you have marketers and tech people on staff? Because we want to know these things so that we can give you a solution in the end that best supports you. If that sounds like a good fit for you, go ahead and fill that out.


 At the end of that call we’ll ask for your credit card number and whack ya. That wraps it for us. Mike, any parting words?


Mike:No, if you have any questions, just reach out. Happy to continue the conversation on all fronts here. Thoroughly love both the topics of technology marketing and weird and wacky things.


Casey:Yeah, absolutely and send us your favorite dog photo in a dress.


Mike:That’s true.


Casey:See you all, take care. Bye.



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