Newsweek called Grand Rapids, Michigan, a dying town. Rob Bliss, local entrepreneur and event planner, was not pleased. Nor was the town of Grand Rapids. What he did in response went viral and was far more powerful than Newsweek‘s criticism. Rob led production of this 10 minute video, done in one take, thanks to the whole town of Grand Rapids. Yep, the whole town!
What can entrepreneurs learn from Rob’s daring, ambitious video response to Newsweek?
1. Get in the Game. Get active, get mad, whatever it takes, but get going. That’s what Rob did. Rob wasn’t afraid of failing – and that’s how he launched a massive project.
2. Tell Your Friends. Rob had the support and creativity of his partners, and that led to 3,000 volunteers ready to help out. Tell other people your idea, enlist their help, and be willing to share credit.
3. Delegate. You cannot do it all yourself. Rob was not the athletic cameraman who did the Grand Rapids shoot in ONE take! You have to see the camerawork to believe it, from standing on a rolling platform to trotting in front of a moving crowd to a smooth transition to a helicopter liftoff at the end. Likewise in business, the biggest mistake rookie entrepreneurs make is attempting to do it all alone, being that lone cowboy or cowgirl out on the range, handling all problems, stoic to the end.
4. Choose Your Ground. Rob couldn’t dispute Michigan’s high unemployment. He didn’t engage in an academic debate. He focused on Grand Rapids taking action and creating a powerful emotional response that is meant to move people to further action.
5. Use the Tools at Hand. Rob did not start a magazine to take on Newsweek, he didn’t write a letter to the editor, and he certainly didn’t do what most of us do, which is to uselessly bitch and complain about how unfair things are. He got on YouTube, and look at the results! 4.3 million views so far.
Did Rob’s effort really change anything? I don’t know. But now I know who he is – and so do you. Next up comes…you! Show us the parade you are going to lead.