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Chris Strub, Author of “50 States, 100 Days: The Book”

By Cheval John

January 17th, 2018

Today’s episode of What’s The Word? features Chris Strub, author of “50 States, 100 Days: The Book.”

The live streaming revolution officially started in early 2015 when Meerkat, now defunct, and Periscope was introduced at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

This led to many small business owners joining the live streaming community and building a strong personal brand.

People like Cynthia Bazin, Brian Fanzo and Sabrina Cadini.

Mr. Strub set a goal of live streaming from all 50 states of the United States while volunteering at non-profit organizations.

From the accomplishment of live streaming from every state, he got the opportunity to work with brands in the non-profit sector and was the good will ambassador for The Salvation Army late last year.

In this episode, you will hear:

-what led him to live stream from all 50 states
-the importance of businesses embracing social media
-the relevance of snapchat

Snippet on Vallano Media TV

Full episode on BlogTalkRadio


Twitter: @chrisstrub

Quotes from Chris Strub on:


At Binghamton, I studied English and Economics.

From the economics perspective, when you think about the value of your life, when you think about opportunity costs, which is if I don’t do this today.

What is the cost of not taking action?

What is the cost of not starting my own business?

What is the cost of just sitting there and do nothing?

For me, the cost of visiting 50 states in 100 days was somewhere around $11,000 to $12,000, which is a lot of money.

In the grand scheme of things in life, $12,000 is not the end of the world.

Certainly when you are comparing that to the cost of college, when you are comparing it to the cost of a graduate degree, it’s nothing.

It can be a drop in the bucket especially if you go to a State University of New York (SUNY) institution like Binghamton.

I’ve been reading this book by Chris Guillebeau, the first person to visit all 193 countries around the world, called “The Art of Non-Conformity,” where he talks about the alternative college experience and the way that the world has changed over these last few decades.

You can really gain so much valuable experience at so much less of a cost than going to obtain a traditional master’s degree just by reading certain books, connecting with certain influencers or download an app that will teach you a new language for free.

That is the philosophy I took with 50 states in 100 days.

I believe that I earned a master’s degree in the United States of travel, live streaming and social media.

That’s very special to think about.

I do not have a piece of paper on the wall to mark it down.

I think that having the chance to speak at conferences around the country, being entrusted with brands like The Salvation Army and working with Humana last year.

These are enormous opportunities that did not require me to get a master’s degree.

I went out and did all of this on my own.

You can make more money, but you can not make more time.

When you are thinking about what you are doing with your time, where are you investing your time, where you are living and who you are spending time with.

Even now in 2018, I have been thinking more and more about where I am spending my time, who I am speaking to, what stories I am watching on Instagram, what am I watching on YouTube, because your time is your most valuable asset.

It’s the one thing that we can not make more of.

When you invest your time in big idea and reading books and learning.

Reading books like “Talking In Pictures” by Chelsea Peitz.

You can learn so much just from taking action on what some of these influencers are recommending.

It is not rocket science to get a Gary Vaynerchuk book.


The more you define your goals, the more you understand what success looks like for you, the better you can understand the importance of taking these steps along your journey.

For me, I think I have been a victim almost of not setting goals high enough.

In 2015, my goal was to visit 50 states in 100 days, that was it.

Know what happened, I visited 50 states in 100 days and then I looked around and said, “Now what happens?”

You almost expect the universe to deliver you something if you achieve your goal.

You are not promised the next step up.

You have to know what’s next.


If you are podcasting, if you are writing a book or going to a social media conference, what do you want to get out of it?

I’m blessed to have a lot of people from houston deep in my tribe like Rebecca Councill, Kristy Gillentine and Kristyna Torres-Cruz.

They are all such incredible special people.

I want to leave each conference with at least person who is in my circle.


I would say that the biggest change we are seeing is good customer service being the new marketing.

We as customers come to expect, maybe not necessarily this great institutional social media strategy.

If I send them a treet, if I send them a facebook message, am I going to get a response?

What is the value of that response?

This one person said at Wendy’s, “how many retweets for free chicken nuggets for a year?”

Wendy’s said, “Eighteen million retweets”

So this person went out and get eighteen million retweets.

This was not a planned campaign.

It was a customer service representative at Wendy’s intelligently replying on-the-fly and that turned into one of the most brilliant social media marketing campaign of all of 2017.

What did it cost Wendy’s?

A couple hundred dollars of free chicken nuggets?

So I think that businesses need to be able to listen better.

They need to be able to understand the conversation that is taking place around their brand.

I would start with focusing on the micro-level.

Making sure that if someone is looking for a response from your brand, that you are answering it.

I think you are going to get a lot more return on investment (ROI) from starting there than you might get from trying to envision this enormous awesome social media strategy that only promotional.

Social Media Professionals Houston Businesses Needs To Know In 2018

By Cheval John

January 12th, 2018

Houston has long been known as the energy capital of the world.

It makes sense because the entire city was built directly and indirectly through the discovery of oil in the spindletop area in the early 20th century.

The riches made from the oil boom allowed people to form their own businesses in the growing city.

It even led one former Houston Post reporter Marcellus E. Foster to form the Houston Chronicle in 1901 despite the fact they already had two newspapers in the city with a population of about 45,000 residents at that time.

The Houston Chronicle outlasted the other newspapers to become the official newspaper of record (the Houston Post was bought and shut down by the Chronicle in 1995).

Another result of the oil boom was the creation of the Houston Ship Channel in 1914 which allowed the Port of Houston to become one of the largest cargo exporters in the United States due to connecting with the Gulf of Mexico.

The riches made from the wealthy also allowed them to create the Medical District, the largest area of hospitals in the world, the houston symphony orchestra, the houston ballet and many other places which has enriched the vibrancy of the city.

Why I went through the history lesson of houston you might ask?

Many outsiders only know the city of houston as the energy capital of the world.

They might not understand there is more to this city than meets the eye.

Though the oil and gas industry are the drivers of the houston economy, there are other business sectors which are comparable to other cities in the united states and even the world.

The city has a vibrant music scene where many independent artists create their sound and eventually get discovered by major music labels.

The food industry is very hip as well as they are thousands of restaurants in the city which some have said will take a lifetime to visit.

The above is quite impossible because many restaurants are closing every year while new restaurants are appearing at the same time.

Super Bowl 51 allowed visitors to see the different coffee shops, bars, burger joints, barbecue joints and restaurants the city had to offer.

Visitors also had the opportunity to see the thriving arts and entertainment scene the city has to offer.

They also might have been shocked to know the city of houston is among the few cities in the United States to have the the major artistry of the symphony orchestra, the ballet and the theather based in one area.

Many might be also be surprised to know Houston is among the places where the tech startup community is based.

Matt Mullenweg created this platform in the city of houston in 2003 from a code called b2/cafelog before changing the official name to wordpress.

And higher education institutions like the University of Houston and Rice University has set up incubators to allow startups to grow at a pace where they can be profitable on their own.

The non-higher education company which has also been a resource for startups is Station Houston.

Station Houston was created in March of 2016 to help startups connect with potential investors.

They give workshops on pitching to investors, growing your customer base and building a community around your brand.

Houston is also a hot bed for the social media industry.

Since every business sector must be on social media, they have to understand how to grow their audience and their business through this platform.

Unfortunately, people will have a tough time finding work as a social media professional in the city of houston.

According to Conductor, Houston was not even in the top ten for content marketing work and seo work.

It leads back to the oil and gas industry as they are rules and regulations on what you can report and what you can’t due to the competitive nature of the business sector.

Which leads to this point.

CEO’s, executives and C-Suite will have to be on social media in addition to the employees of each of the business sectors because people transparency from each brand.

They can not afford to do business as usual like they did in the past with comments about certain crisis or a change in the business structure with quote “said in a statement.”

Yes, they have to be very careful of what they say because it can become misunderstood by the public.

However, they can let the public know when an event is happening as quickly as they can, “We will answer all of your questions as soon as we can once we know all the details” in a crisis like an oil spill.

Or in the case of Walmart shutting down 63 Sam’s Clubs stores yesterday without giving their workers any warning about their change in direction of the business.

At least the rest of the workers in other stores within Walmart know they will be out of work soon.

Samantha Kelly, who is a twitter expert and founder of “The Women’s Inspire Network” said this statement in Social Media Examiner:

“CEOs will no longer be able to avoid social media. They’ll become the company’s biggest marketer by engaging with customers and allies more regularly and showing more behind the scenes and the human side, which will increase sales and brand advocates.”

This further explains that leadership from every business sector especially here in the city of houston must be on social media this year or wind up losing business to their competitors who are already there.

It does not mean for them to just broadcast their message hoping to get a sale on the first interaction.

It means taking the time to build trust with their customers consistently.

So they might be wondering how to get started with building a community with their customers on social media.

And which social media agency or professional corporations and organizations can work with.

Here are the top social media professionals here in houston I believe will be the best bet to guide them in taking their social media activities to the next level.

This list is not in any particular order


Kami is the founder of Zoetica Media, an agency which provide social media services to the health care sector, the non-profits and the travel industry.

She has been a public relations professional for more than twenty years prior to founding her company.

Kami is also the co-founder behind the Social Media Breakfast Houston, a monthly event which started in 2009.

Social Media Breakfast Houston is also live streamed on Facebook.


Known as “PR Kristyna”, she provides workshops and seminars about social media to the non-profit sectors.

Kristyna also does some live streaming surrounding tips to using social media to build an audience.

One of the best advice a person can follow from her is this: “Do not post the same content to other social media platforms because each of the platforms have different audiences and it comes across as lazy” #paraphrased.

Kristyna worked as a social media volunteer during Super Bowl 51 last year.


Rebecca is a social media professional who provides services to small businesses.

She is also a certified evernote consultant and businesses who needs helps with this platform can find her.

Rebecca is the founder of Social Media Day Houston, a one day event which brings together speakers on different social media topics and is indirectly part of the global Social Media Day event which was started by Mashable.

She also had the opportunity to work as a social media volunteer during Super Bowl 51 last year.


Kristy is a former journalist and producer, who is the Vice President of Public Engagement for Drive West Communications.

She is also the creator of #chatsnap, the first twitter chat talking all things surrounding snapchat.

Kristy has done some snapchat takeovers including one for her former employer, KTRK-TV, a Houston media station.

She has also been featured on top blogs including Hootsuite and Social Media Examiner.


Ken is the founder of Watson Knowledge Services, a agency which provides small businesses with social media audits and consulting.

His main expertise is instagram.

Ken started #chatgram, the first twitter chat about all topics surrounding the instagram platform.

He also worked as a social media volunteer during Super Bowl 51 last year.

Bobbie and Lisa are the co-founders of Quirky Owl Media, an agency which provides social media services to small businesses.

It is the parent company of Blog Elevated, an annual conference which brings together speakers on topics surrounding blogging.

They also co-host #blogelevated, a twitter chat which is an extension of the conference and was featured in Hootsuite’s blog.

They have spoken at Social Media Day Houston last year.


Eric is the Digital Director for Go To Marketers, a Canadian based company.

He has spoken at Social Media Marketing World twice and was featured in media outlets like Forbes and The New York Times.

Eric has also been the guest speaker at Social Media Breakfast Houston and has build a strong online presence.


Anh is the founder of Amplified Marketing, which provides services for mid-sized organizations.

She is also the co-host of #mobilechat, a twitter chat about topics surrounding mobile technology.

Anh has made appearances on Livestream Universe and has spoken at Social Media Breakfast Houston.

Madalyn is a twitter expert who has build communities via Twitter Chats.

She was among the first to live tweet at a conference event when Twitter was in the early stages.

Madalyn hosts #twittersmarter, a chat about topics surrounding twitter.

She is also the host of #socialroi which recently celebrated it’s one year anniversary and is produced by Manage Flitter.

Madalyn has made many appearances on many media outlets including Al Jazeera and the Huffington Post.


Jillian is an instagram expert and influencer.

She blogs at Cup of Charisma, where she shares tips on fashion and social good.

Jillian is also an account supervisor at Integrate, an award winning digital agency.

She was among the speakers at the inaugural Hispanicize Houston event last year.

Jillian has spoken at Social Media Breakfast Houston and was featured in the Houston Chronicle.


Basya is the founder of Pink Cilantro, a digital agency which focuses on social media and data.

The company has worked with brands like AT&T.

She has spoken at Social Media Breakfast Houston about data focused social media.


Ashley is the founder of Mouth Marketing, LLC, a marketing agency which provides consulting to small businesses and startups.

Their specialty is LinkedIn because they have grown their business through the social platform.

Ashley has spoken at Social Media Day Houston in 2016 and 2017.

She has made an appearance on media outlets including Texas Business Radio and Voyage Houston.


Aimee is the founder of The Black Sheep Agency, a marketing company which works with non-profits and for profit businesses who does social good.

She has been recognized by the Houston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2014 and has been featured in media outlets including the Houston Chronicle, Fast Company and the Huffington Post.

Her company took part in former first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign, “Better Make Room” which brought one billion impressions on social media.

There you have it, the list of social media professionals who I believe will add value to your corporation and organization.

Did I miss anyone who you believe should be on this list? You can leave your comment below.

Lauri Nilo, Social Media Manager at Simply Measured

By Cheval John

Today’s episode features Lauri Nilo, social media manager for Simply Measured.

This interview was recorded months before Simply Measured got acquired by Sprout Social.

You will hear

-how Lauri’s entrepreneur mindset led her to start her blog

-how she helped grew the readership of the Gonzaga University Student Publications’ Bulldog Blog by 1,141 views

-the importance of studying abroad

-the one person she admires past or present who she would spend one day with

Snippet on Vallano Media TV

Full episode on BlogTalkRadio

Simply Measured’s website:

Lauri’s LinkedIn Page

Quotes from Lauri Nilo On


I think it’s really important for college students to have an internship before they graduate so that they can see what it’s like in the working world.

A lot of times what you learn in the classroom can be different from how things are actually implemented in the real world.

Let’s say for example, I anted to be a social media manager when I was in college and I thought that this is what being a social media manager meant and then I just went straight into this position and I found out like, “Oh no, this is not what I want to do.”

That’s why you need to have an internship before you graduate so that you have a better realization I guess of whatever it is you want to do.


I started #simplychat because I really was looking into engaging the community that we have on twitter.

When I looked at the data, I found that impressions were not the roadblock for us, it was getting the people to engage back with us.

So I started asking questions in the tweets I posted and then I was like, “Okay, what can I do to really get this community together?”

Then I learned about twitter smarter and I was like, “Okay, how can I create a community like twitter smarter” because that’s an example of an amazing community.

I was like, “Well, why can’t simply measured start their own twitter chat?”

So I talked to my manager about it and wrote up this whole proposal of expected outcomes and why we should do this.

Together we decided to give it a try.

It’s going pretty well.


I think it’s natural for people to have doubts when they are taking a step in what they consider a risk.

So I definitely had some doubts but glad I took this opportunity at simply measured.


My main mentor is actually my manager.

I remember talking to her about this during my interview process and she mentioned that it’s really important for her to not really be seen as a manager, but as a mentor.

So she is my biggest mentor right now.

There’s so much I can learn from her.

For example, anytime I write copy for twitter, sometimes I’ll mull over it for like 15-20 minutes and then I realize, “This is 120 characters, I probably should not be spending fifteen minutes on it.”

So I’ll send it over to her.

She’ll look at it and ten seconds later, it’s ten thousand times better.


I like twitter in my role as a social media manager because it’s easy to learn from other people about building relationships on social media in general.

On a personal level, my favorite is definitely instagram because it really challenges people to present their best side which is a good thing and a bad thing.

I think it’s really fun to look at other people’s lives through this curated fashion.

Janette Speyer Makes Guest Appearance on International Podcast Day

By Cheval John

This blog post is out spontaneously because today is International Podcast Day.

I actually forgot about this celebration and did not plan out accordingly.

In this article, you will hear the episode featuring Janette Speyer.

Janette made her second appearance on the show to chat about her recently launched Twitter Chat called #FlipBizChat.

She is an avid fan of FlipBoard which is a curating platform which puts together content like a magazine.

The first time Janette appeared on the show, she shared about co-founding Web Success Team and Hot Ice Media.

In this episode, you will hear:

What led Janette to co-found #FlipBizChat

What is internal learning

The process of starting a twitter chat

The episode was recorded on Facebook Live via Blue Jeans Network

Snippet on Vallano Media TV

Entire episode on BlogTalkRadio

What are your favorite podcasts to listen to? You can leave your comment below

Codie Sanchez: Former Journalist Who Become an Investor

By Cheval John

Codie Sanchez is not your typical entrepreneur.

She is also the Head of Latin America and Offshore Sales for First Trust, a firm that helps people to reach their investment goals.

Codie recently made an appearance on my show, What’s The Word? to share about how she decided to become an entrepreneur.

In this episode, you will also hear:

What led her to make the transition from a journalist to an investor

How she balances her time between running her own business and being an investor.

How social media plays into her daily life.

You will also hear me speak Spanish in this interview as I allow people who are broadcasters, podcasters, television journalist, or the former to ask me a question on the show.

I will add that Codie, who speaks three languages, demonstrates the importance of knowing a second or third language because it allows her to do well in business and understand her fellow colleagues’ cultural norms in the process.

Hope you enjoy this episode.

Upcoming Podcast Recording on Facebook Live:

Deidre Breakingridge, Founder of Pure Performance Communications-September 21st 4 p.m. eastern, 3 p.m. central