First they were mentors, then friends, eventually clients and now our business partners.
Today we announced a unique partnership with Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and Baron Davis, NBA New York Knicks point guard. (More info on the investment news in today’s Mashable article.) My team and I couldn’t be more excited about the like-minded people involved and the future ahead. Side note, Baron has also agreed to intern for Digital Royalty this summer. This is going to be fun.
While working for the Phoenix Suns several years ago, I was constantly getting my hand slapped for trying to recruit everyone from the mascot to the president of the company to embrace social media. This was four years ago when social media was still a fad. HR wanted to establish a social media policy and I wanted to write the rules because they simply didn’t exist yet. I DM (Direct Messaged) Tony Hsieh, who was a complete stranger, and asked him if he could share his social media policy given his company was clearly progressive in this area. I was seeking advice. Two weeks later I received a DM back from him that stated, “Be real and use your best judgment.” I thought to myself, “Wow, a man of few words.” Turns out those seven words are the Zappos company-wide communication policy. A month later, Tony visited Scottsdale for a speaking engagement and that first meeting eventually led to today.
Around the same time, the Phoenix Suns hosted the NBA All-Star game, which means the NBA Commissioner, David Stern, hosted his annual NBA Tech Summit in town a few days prior to the game. Not just anyone can get into the NBA Tech Summit. If you’re not the CEO of a major brand you’re not getting in the doors. Going to this NBA Tech Summit was a dream of mine so I decided to volunteer at the check-in desk and try to sneak inside after the games began. Turns out that Baron Davis, NBA Player slash nerd sans a Tech Summit invitation, also planned to crash the digital Disneyland. Long story short, we met at the Tech Summit, I helped Baron set up his beard on Twitter from the hallway because I wasn’t allowed inside afterall all and we became friends. Baron has always been an early adopter of social platforms with the ability to spot growth potential early on. Today, he’s our investor and our intern.
So, what does this partnership mean? Over the past three years, the Digital Royalty consultancy division has grown rapidly with clients ranging from large corporate brands to celebrities, athletes and sports properties. This new partnership allows us to continue to grow our consultancy business and also focus heavily on growing our education division, Digital Royalty University (dRU), which we launched a year ago.
Digital Royalty University offers customized education programs including strategic and tactical social media training for all individuals within a company. It’s important that every department understands how social communication channels impact their area of business. This new phase allows us to also begin providing education to small and medium sized businesses, in addition to large corporate brands, as we continue to automate our curriculum comprised of more than 100 training modules. Eventually, the curriculum will span beyond social media, offering personal and business innovation training.
As a result of this partnership we are moving our headquarters to Las Vegas, joining Tony Hsieh’s $350 million Downtown Las Vegas Revitalization Project. Digital Royalty will continue to have a presence in Los Angeles and soon in New York City, but we look forward to joining the Downtown Las Vegas Community as our new home base. Below is a video of Tony and I discussing the unmatched project. “If we fix the cities, we fix the world.” as Tony says. In the past, I’ve delivered speeches and written about the concept of Orthogonal Bliss. Where purpose, passion and skill collide, bliss resides:
My team and I are humbled as we write the rules for our next chapter and inject a higher purpose into our days – education. Together, as a community online and in the physical space, we can strive to accelerate the process of learning and innovation.
Amy Jo Martin
Digital Royalty Founder & CEO
More info on:
Below is a screen shot of Tony and I the day we finalized our partnership terms. Nothing like a Skype high-five on a Saturday afternoon versus a handshake in a boardroom.