About two weeks ago, my friend Ewan at Mobile Industry Review posted a request for someone from America to purchase and ship an iPad to him in the UK.
Because the iPad was being launched in the US only, he couldn’t get his hands on one.
But if someone purchased one for him, he would happily reimburse the individual for the cost of the iPad and shipping.
As I recounted in my Dear Santa post, someone did, in fact, hook him up.
I was impressed by Ewan’s ingenuity because he tapped the power of his personal network to achieve his mission: getting his hands on an iPad.
I was also intrigued.
Did I possess such a network?
Could my network be galvanized by a similar call to action?
Anyone who knows me, knows that I think I possess the gift of gab.
I believe myself to be highly persuasive, with all the skills and characteristics of an effective marketer.
Inspired by Ewan’s initiative, I decided to put my skills to the test.
Could I convince my network to get me an iPad?
More importantly, could I get them to pay for me to have an iPad?
With my 40th birthday approaching, I’ll admit I was playing with a stacked deck.
I was essentially asking for a birthday present.
But I was asking solely through my social media networks.
Using Facebook, Twitter and Buzz, I began the campaign to get me an iPad.
It started off with the Dear Santa letter, and was followed by regular Facebook updates and daily countdown tweets.
The initial response was, ummm, underwhelming.
My wife told me I should be ashamed of myself.
A few folks said I should wait for the 2nd generation so that Apple could get the kinks out.
At least one person told me that I should be saving for my children’s college tuition.
Several of my friends openly mocked me.
Why would anyone buy you an iPad?
But as I persevered, the responses became more encouraging.
Someone inquired if anyone had contributed yet.
Another asked where they could go to make a donation.
And then people started to put up money.
My sister threw in $100.
My friend George from college threw in $5 and then another $5.
Erica Robinson added her $5 contribution.
Slowly but surely, the momentum began to build, and then took a life of it’s own.
My frat brother suggested I set up a Chipin page to give folks the ability to micro-support my little endeavor.
One of my sorors input that I could ask people to donate Apple gift cards.
Folks asked where they could send checks and if I had a PayPal account.
One of the best ideas I received came from my friend (and up-and-coming brand strategist) Ben Tannenbaum, who suggested that in exchange for the generosity of my network, that I contribute my time to a charitable cause. FYI, I’m going with CASA (wifey volunteers there too).
Universally, over the course of the past ten days, well wishers and the inquisitive chimed in on my iPad campaign (many are still inquiring today about the success of my efforts).
On the eve of my birthday, I had raised enough to purchase my iPad.
You know what?
I learned, unequivocally, that I possessed a powerful network.
One that could be galvanized around a particular (albeit self-serving) purpose.
One that, properly approached, had the capacity to help achieve any goal.
These are lessons that I intend to bring to the brands I represent.
I don’t have the iPad yet.
The 3Gs don’t ship until April 30th, but as soon as it arrives you’ll be the first to know!
Thanks to everyone who helped make my 40th birthday memorable (and everyone who put up dough for my iPad).