Meeting Mark DeSantis & Recording a Tammy Thompson Keynote

Mark DeSantis

No business meeting is exactly the same. Today’s video is a great example. We went from beta testing our new keynote service for Tammy Thompson, to recording a podcast interview with Mark DeSantis.

Tammy grew up in poverty and spoke to an audience of dozens about her experience with homelessness and trauma. Mark Desantis talked about starting multiple companies and walking to a different path as an entrepreneur.

Tammy Thompson

Tammy had previously been a guest on the podcast. After seeing our media skills in action, she hired us to record a keynote that she gave. It went really well.

Tammy has been speaking around Pittsburgh for years, but never recorded her talks for digital consumption. She does see the value of producing media because Tammy created a documentary about the psychological effects of poverty called “We Wear the Mask

We’re excited to work with Tammy further in the future.

Mark DeSantis

Mark DeSantis is Pittsburgh-famous. He ran for mayor of the city in 2007. He’s had multiple successful technology startups, including kWantix, an energy hedge fund, kWantera, a GE Ventures-backed energy predictive analytics company, and Think Through Learning, a venture-backed online tutoring company.

Currently, Mark DeSantis is running his newest startup, Roadbotics. During a podcast interview, Aaron and Mark discussed how he got interested in road maintenance, the commercial use of artificial intelligence, and the challenge of being an entrepreneur.

The name for our vlog cam from a powerful statement that Mark made towards the end of the interview.

“The World isn’t Designed for Entrepreneurs”

We agree.

To choose the path of entrepreneurship is to choose to struggle. To choose for your friends and family to be confused by what you’re doing. To choose a different timeline than most of your peers.

But folks like Aaron, Hannah, and Mark DeSantis wouldn’t have it any other way. We need to make our mark. We need to see our plans and dreams come to fruition.

Salud Juicery Photo Shoot

Salud Juicery

We’ve been trying to eat more healthy food as we build our company. Salud Juicery makes that easy with delicious juices, smoothies, and acai bowls. Their menu of superfoods also looks really good, so we’re helping them produce content for their Instagram page.

In this episode, Hannah and intern Nick sample some smoothies and take a bunch of photos at the Salud Juicery in Oakland.

Salud Juicery Story

Ginny Corbett started Salud Juicery in 2013 before the juice and smoothie craze was in full effect. She’d been working as a licensed psychotherapist and was tired of just prescribing pills.

Ginny’s research into how nutrition could impact mental health lead to her current entrepreneurial venture. After opening her first juice bar in Sewickley, Ginny opened a second location in Shadyside a year later.

Now, the business is expanding rapidly with locations around Pittsburgh and in State College.

Ginny gets to educate people about the healing properties of foods every day.

Always Connecting Dots

Later, Aaron and Hannah met with Tori Meglio and Josiah Gilliam. Josiah and Tori are bringing their unique skill set of business savvy, strong network, and operations experience to help local nonprofits adapt and grow.

Tori is also a major part of Salud Juicery’s franchising efforts.

Tammy Thompson – Important Conversation

Tammy Thompson

Piper Creative came to the Circle of Greater Pittsburgh Office to meet with Tammy Thompson. Tammy Thompson is the new Executive Director of Circles and calls upon her experiences with trauma and poverty to help others.

She joined Circles because it was the type of program she needed when she was in a low point. The program’s core value is in the community and network of people that are developed. A strong social network is essential for support, perspective, and unity.

Tammy was very honest with us about the trauma she experienced as a child. Her family came to Pittsburgh looking for work and a better opportunity. When their fortunes turned, they faced homelessness.

Tammy eventually pulled herself out of poverty and built a career in real estate. But, after the 2008 housing crisis, she went in search of work with deeper meaning.

Now, she’s focused on serving others and teaching the basic of financial literacy that should be in every student’s curriculum.

In addition to learning finances, Tammy Thompson focuses on treating the root causes of poverty. It is essential to address trauma and loneliness in order to change people’s lives. Circles of Pittsburgh helps to address those core issues.

We wish Tammy luck in her new role as Executive Director.

Intern Meetings

Later, we conducted our weekly intern meeting. There, our new interns Nick & Aaron introduced themselves and the focus they plan to bring to the internship.

Finally, we ended the day with an interview at Commonplace Coffee. Callie heard Hannah talk at a local high school and followed up to participate in our internship program.

She rocked the interview and showed a poise and competence beyond her years. The potential is apparent and we are really excited to serves as a part of Callie’s development.

Our favorite days at Piper Creative are the ones with lots of meetings and great people.

Pittsburgh Twitch Phenom Brad Driscoll

Brad Driscoll

Brad Driscoll is a great friend to Piper Creative. He’s helped us a lot with our SEO and is a great digital marketing mind. In addition to understanding Facebook ads and Clickfunnel, Brad is also one of the biggest Pittsburgh Twitch streamers.

He built an audience of 10,000s by conducting a 365-day challenge to stream consecutively without interruption.

Hannah and Aaron went up to the Industrious Pittsburgh coworking space on a Sunday morning to record a podcast interview with Brad.

We discussed his Twitch channel, starting an SEO business with his brother Bryan, and what he’s learned from Dilbert comic creator Scott Adams.

Dan McCoy

Dan McCoy

Dan McCoy already won a gold medal for sled hockey in 2014 Sochi winter Paralympics. Now, he has his sights set on competing in adaptive kayaking. As he starts to train, Piper Creative is encouraging him to document the journey on YouTube.

While discussing his plans to vlog, Dan, Aaron, and Hannah discussed the basics of setting up a vlog and creating valuable content.

The most important thing for someone in Dan’s position is to press “Publish”. Instead of overthinking his strategy, he just needs reps at talking to the camera, editing, and sharing his content.

We’re not meeting with him to sell him our services. We just want to serve him and see him succeed.

It’s also going to be cool to share this “found footage” of Dan McCoy after he blows up.


Bill Flanagan on Pittsburgh Economic History

Bill Flanagan Pittsburgh

Piper Creative recorded a podcast with Bill Flanagan Pittsburgh has undergone a significant reinvention over the 30 years he has been a business journalist. He shared some stories of Pittsburgh’s economic history that few people know.

Bill hosts “Our Region’s Business”, a Sunday-morning business affairs program co-produced by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and WPXI-TV. He is also the Chief Corporate Relations Officer for the Allegheny Conference.

How did we make this interview happen? We actually have footage of us pitching Bill at the Pittsburgh Business Show. It’s a great look into the guerilla networking you have to do when you’re in startup mode.

Bill Flanagan Pittsburgh Perspective

Over the course of our conversation, Bill talked about how Pittsburgh has changed between the 1980s and today. Bill saw the local economy crater after many of the steel mills closed down and other large businesses moved their headquarters out of Pittsburgh.

A lot of the groundwork for the current boom was laid in the 1940s. Leaders like Mellon, Carnegie, and Frick founded schools and invested in industries other than steel. That took real foresight.

In the intervening years, investments in education, healthcare systems, and technology have given birth to a new “golden age” for southwestern Pennsylvania. Now Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Uber all have offices in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh needs to continue to maintain its long-term vision over the next two decades.

Providing Value

After conducting the interview, we continued to provide value by giving Bill some tips to improve the performance of his show, “Our Region’s Business”, on YouTube.

One piece of advice we offered Bill was to add End Screen links to all of his videos. He has such a rich library of interviews with business leaders around Pittsburgh. The digital tools available would make for compelling callback and deeper dives.

We are currently utilizing the end screens on our own videos, but believe we can get so much more creative with how they are utilized.

ARM Institute & Connection U Meetup #4

ARM Institute

Pittsburgh is already a leader in robotics thanks to Carnegie Mellon University and the companies on Robotics Row. The ARM Institute will further extend western Pennsylvania’s lead in this emerging technology.

The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute (ARM) is an independent non-profit that won an $80 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The grant is for funding efforts in robotics innovation and to accelerate growth in US-based manufacturing.

The ARM Institute is further supported by $173 million in commitments from more than 100 members and partners in industry, academia, technology, government and economic development groups.

We interviewed ARM Institute’s Chief Operating Officer Jay Douglass about the genesis of the organization, how their work moves America’s technology forward, and whether we should be worried about robots stealing jobs from humans.

Jay was candid and compelling while opening our eyes to the realities of the technology.

After the interview, we interviewed and accepted the first intern of Piper Creative. Cong Lu, a graduate student at CMU, was interviewed by Hannah& Ashley. She impressed with her ambition, strong resume, and interest in getting outside her comfort zone.

We ended the day by heading to Community Forge in Wilkinsburg. Community Forge played host to the fourth Connection University Meetup. The building used to be an elementary school that was shut down when the neighborhood fell on hard times.

Now, executive director Michael Skirpan and local residents are a remaking it into a community space for opportunities. Local businesses rent office space, provide after-school activities for kids, and fight gentrification.

Connection University loves featuring spaces like these at our meetups.

Dozens of super-connectors came to Wilkinsburg to expand their network, deepen relationships, and find ways to give to others.

We love every busy day like this. Excited for the future of Cong, Connection University, and the ARM Institute.

Playing Pickleball at the Pittsburgh Business Show

Piper was invited to record an episode of the Going Deep podcast at the 2018 Pittsburgh Business Show. This episode of our vlog covers our interview with Bill Laboon about cryptocurrencies, features John & Rachel from YaJagOff podcast, and our cold pitch to Bill Flanagan of Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

After hydrating with Salud Smoothies, we drove into Pittsburgh towards the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. A quarter of the convention hall had been rented by Higher Images, the marketing firm behind the Pittsburgh Business Show.

This was their 2nd year running the event and there was a moderately strong showing.

Our results

  • We recorded a great interview about Ethereum, Bitcoin, and other altcoins with Bill Laboon. Bill is a Computer Science professor at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Piper Creative met Bill Flanagan, who hosts a week business show named “Our Region’s Business”
  • We met Meesha Gerhart, a web developer & small business owner in Pittsburgh.

What do you love about conferences and live events?

Interviewing Civic Science founder John Dick

Civic Science

We did a podcast interview with Civic Science founder and CEO John Dick. Over the course of our conversation, Aaron and John discussed the challenges of recruiting technical and sales talent, the pros and cons of basing the company in Pittsburgh, and how empathy has played a role in understanding the 2016 presidential election.

John grew up in rural Pennsylvania and understands both country and cosmopolitan life. The data that he accesses through Civic Science gives him an even deeper understanding of the forces driving political preferences.

His data reveals that the media you consume and your socioeconomic status strongly influence how you might vote. It’s not as tied to independent thought as you’d like to believe.

How can we trust the data?

Civic Science is a thoroughly modern polling company that is built to be digital and mobile-first.

Unlike older polling companies like Gallup and Nielsen, Civic Science meets audiences where they are actually living their day-to-day lives.

Despite being in Pittsburgh, Civic Science does not spend much time celebrating the region or focusing on local media. Since they are not selling to many companies in town, they focus on getting their research into articles on Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg.

They also blog regularly and execute a thorough content marketing strategy.

Both Piper Creative and Civic Science know that content is the gateway to sales. As viewers, listeners, and readers come to rely upon your insights and findings, they become more and more open to working with you.

We just take different routes to the same goal. Civic Science focuses primarily on blogging, while Piper is playing primarily on YouTube, Instagram, and podcasts.

You should listen to the whole podcast interview on Going Deep with Aaron Watson. Then, you should listen to John’s interview on the Lefsetz podcast.

The podcast was recorded at StudioMe in East Liberty.