Chocolate FAME?

In high school, my old Scoutmaster gave me a modem for my computer. When I asked “what is this for?”, he replied with “So your computer can talk to mine.” My response, “Why would I want to do that?”

Fast forward about 20 years and now we all live in a world awash with terms like “viral marketing” and “YouTube” (often used as both a noun AND a verb). Loosely, these ideas stem from unusual attempts of ordinary people (or savvy marketers posing as ordinary people) who post home-made video to the internet for the world to see. Sometimes, it’s a short film, sometimes it’s just plain bizarre and other times, it’s a more serious message. Enter Adam Bahner a/k/a Tay Zonday creator of “Chocolate Rain“, one of the internet’s most famous stories of viral marketing success. See his appearance at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show here:

Why did this video become such a “success”? Well, that’s to be determined. What it DID do, however, was slingshot this grad-school student into international fame and demand by a media hungry audience. All he did was follow his creativity to play up a goofy video and highlight his unusually low voice. What happened next was unpredictable. I just hope in a few years, we don’t find out he’s in a crisis state or rehab due to not being able to handle the end of his 15-minutes of fame and “celebrity” status.

So, the next time you have a corny idea for a video post. Say to yourself: “Self, let’s shoot some video and see if by some random happenstance of events I might wind up getting paid for corporate and media appearances.” Why not!

A Cell Phone Salesman?

Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of “reality television”, but I do have one weak spot. For some strange reason, each Monday night I am glued to my TV for Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Gordon Ramsay lets his ego fly in what amounts to a boot camp for culinary hopefuls. He has no choice but to be tough, given that the grand prize is a stint as the Executive Chef for a multi-million dollar restaurant at Las Vegas’ Green Valley Ranch. (I still don’t know how Aaron, the “asian-cowboy” ever made it onto the show, but I digress.)

Over the past few of weeks, however, a story has risen which truly caught my attention. It is the story of Paul Potts, a cell phone salesman from south Wales. While I’d caught bits and pieces of Mr. Potts story across the internet, it was an interview on NPR’s Day to Day I had downloaded as a podcast that captured my heart. Truly a story resonating with reason for why no one should ever give up on their dreams.

The story is told here, in this clip from Britain’s Got Talent, a show pop-icon Simon Cowell is involved with across the pond. Be sure to watch his face when Mr. Potts steps to the stage with his awkwardly pudgy body, chipped front tooth, and nervous demeanor. Then watch the reaction, not only from the judges, but the audience as Potts belts out a sound no one on earth would have expected from this fellow. Opera. It was absolutely stunning. In an instant, this cell phone salesman won the hearts of underdogs around the world, catapulting himself onto the world stage. (See his final, winning performance of Nessun Dorma here.)

This week I was reminded that God works “behind the scenes” to make so many things happen in our lives. Call it luck. Call it divine intervention. Call it talent. Simply stated, it is success! Never quit! Ever!

Paul Potts, you have a fan in me!