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Ep 16: Dave Amirault. From humble beginnings to an award-winning ad campaign for a major ski resort

Ep 16: Dave Amirault. From humble beginnings to an award-winning ad campaign for a major ski resort

Host: Joshua Strebel | Published: November 25, 2019

From humble beginnings on the east coast riding back mountains & tinkering with perl scripts to winning an Adweek award for his ingenious “one-star” ad campaign, Digidave Amirault is a marketing wizard. In this interview Joshua talks to Dave about his humble beginnings hand-coding HTML sites, to making a marketing a name for himself at multiple ski resorts, the development and success of his famous “one star” ad campaign, what it’s like hob-nobbing with celebrities and a look to the future. Enjoy!

Watch

Show Notes

0:01:02   Welcome and context
0:01:30   How did you get to Salt Lake City?
0:05:08   So you got started back east. What got you to the Rockies?
0:08:38   And you went to Aspen Snowmass next?
0:11:26   How many famous people did you run into on a daily basis?
0:13:38   You were there at the peak of the drought in CA when it didn’t snow?
0:16:52   Tell me about your time at Snowbird
0:23:32   Can you talk about your “One Star” ad campaign that won national acclaim?
0:30:00   What happened after the One Star campaign?
0:32:02   Tell me about the Summer of Digidave
0:48:42   What are you reading lately?

Show Transcript

Joshua: 01:03 Hello everybody. Welcome to the podcast today. I am with my great friend Dave Amirault who has a self-confessed face for radio. How are you doing Dave?

Dave: 01:15 I’m doing fantastic.

Joshua: 01:16 Excellent. I’m so glad you could join me today. We got to catch up in person in salt Lake city this summer and that was quite a bit of fun. So take me back to how you got to salt Lake city.

Dave: 01:33 Oh my God. Salt Lake. How, how like physically like what vehicle I, I mean you’re a car guy. So is this like a car question or a life journey question rich of your stable of vehicles? Well, I only have two. It’s not like I have two moderately priced Mazdas and really balling out here in salt Lake. No, I don’t know yet. Here. I took a, you haul the can here, dragging all my stuff. My journey to salt Lake was at that point, a seven 16 year history in the ski industry, bouncing around from Maine to Boulder, Colorado, Aspen, Tahoe, and then here. So I got a, I got the big call up to go work at Snowbird about four years ago and run their marketing and communications and advertising.

Joshua: 02:21 So not just run the marketing. You were Director of Marketing, you were the head honcho. It probably one of the greatest ski resorts on the planet.

Dave: 02:29 I was, yeah. For awhile.

Joshua: 02:32 Wow. And so you say you started 15, 20 years ago, was that right? Out of college

Dave: 02:39 20. It was actually before college. So I annoyed the ever living crap out of a place called Sunday river in Maine at that point. They were one of the growing ski resorts back East and they had an internet forum, which was essentially just like a big Perl script. CGI been massive, like a message board. And they quickly realized that I could either be on their side or against them. And at this point, I’m like a 15 year old kid who knew how to make websites cause I taught myself HTML way the hell back in the day. And I was like, your website’s terrible and I can do better. And they hired me to help them manage the community and fix their website.

Joshua: 03:23 So did you literally go to them and say I could join you or I could beat you?

Dave: 03:29 No, no, that’s, and I found this out later because I had friends that worked there and they were like, internally we just didn’t know what the hell to do with you. Because I have like limitless energy cause I’m a 15 and a half year old kid, like with a high speed internet line like in Rhode Island you know, one of the first people on the block with a cable modem. And like I had a broken arm so I was just like feverously typing and like developing these like super remedial websites back in the day. But that’s what the web was, right? It was just like simple HTML hosted on like shared servers and like maybe you had Microsoft front page if you were a baller, like, but you know, front page suck. They just made it strenuous markup. So this was like way before like CSS and like any database Drinnan everything was just super static. But I knew how to make static pages and some dynamic stuff with really remedial web hosts that like I could convince my parents to like enter their credit card so I could have like monthly hosting back in the day. But yeah, it was crazy.

Joshua: 04:30 So you combined your kind of natural interest that tech and you know most of my peer group, my age, you know we all got started at around that same time dinking around with a dial up modems and you know, goofing around scratching an itch or this new thing called the internet. And so you combine that kind of interest with your love of snow sports

Dave: 04:50 Pretty much. And that say the bar was set pretty low. Josh like ads, I mean these webpages at like splash screens when you like logged on them, it’s like wow, this can’t get any worse. So yeah.

Joshua: 05:05 Oh yeah. So you got your start back East and what got you out here to the Rockies?

Dave: 05:12 Well eventually like you grow up, right? Like, it’s not like you open powder magazine and you’re like, man, check out this eight page feature on like Wildcat or like any new England based skiing, right? Like the aspirational goal of every true skiers to go find bigger, better mountains with more snow. Right. And that eventually just leads you out West. Right? So the lower of the West kind of drew me in. And the segue to that, I think what you’re trying to scratch at is how I got to free skier magazine. So that was how I moved out West. I was lucky enough where my cousin lived in Boulder, Colorado, like a mile away from their office. And I knew a bunch of the homies that are priests here because every time they would come out East I’d be with them at events and driving them around to rail spots and just like all the things that like they just didn’t know cause they weren’t from back East.

Dave: 06:06 And then when they heard I was coming out West, they’re like, why don’t you stop by the office? So I landed in DIA, drag my bag, like to my cousins house. And then said, drive me to free ski your magazine. And she was like, why? I’m just going to go say hi to the guys and I left with a job. I had no idea. I was like even going for that purpose. But you know, we, we sat down and talked for a couple of hours and then next thing you know, I was the online editor of free skier magazine.

Joshua: 06:36 Bang bang boom. Wow. And that’s a correct me in front of, I think it’s storm mountain publishing that runs free scheme.

Dave: 06:44 Yeah. So they have I think they still have this snowboard product has been a hot minute since then. Really pumped her on that. But yeah, storm mountain publishing as free magazine and snowboard magazine. Yes. Then they have like some custom publishing stuff as well and all that.

Joshua: 06:57 I can speak to that. They’d still do have this snowboard property because a fast forward a little bit when I met you in Tahoe you introduced me to the fine folks over there and to this day for the free skier.com site is our oldest VPs customer. They’ve been with us the longest. Look at that. Yeah. It was right about that time. We were shifting from kind of the shared hosting model to the VPs, kind of more enterprise level model and that introduction, it snowshoe, they’re there. They’ve been our longest customer on that platform.

Dave: 07:34 Okay. It’s a good customer to Hatton, man. It’s a cool customer to have.

Joshua: 07:38 Yeah. So, Oh, so technological requirements probably aren’t that taxing on you guys. Well, they’re not now. In the early days it was a little difficult at times, but we certainly help them figure out how to do some caching better to make a much more efficient use of their resources.

Dave: 07:55 Well, that’s when everyone got my, well, the migration to you guys was off of a content management system that I wrote with a friend. Oh wow. She did most of the heavy development. Yeah, it was a PHP based thing that we jokingly called creamy filling

Joshua: 08:09 And

Dave: 08:12 It, you know, we, we, we put like, I forget if it was varnish or whatever it was, but yeah, we were like, Oh my God, like we’re getting 800 concurrents and we don’t have caching. Oh, let’s stay up all night and ad caching. Like, Oh man, the comments are crushing the database. We need to find a way to like fix that. Like, and I was like, why don’t we just go to WordPress?

Joshua: 08:30 You’re a one man dev ops machine. Look at you. Oh, you used to be, so you were a free skier for several years and then you went on to Aspen Snowmass, correct.

Dave: 08:42 Aspen Snowmass after that. That is correct. Yeah. when you get tired of traveling and at, at riskier, I found that my bag was, or if my car was at the airport more than my house, and I really had a great time working there and got to travel the world and do some really unique things. But at the end of the day, like I lived in Boulder, I wanted to be closer to skiing and you know, be kind of more in the mountains and that’s when I got a job at Aspen skiing company.

Joshua: 09:10 So you just said two things there that I think you’re an interesting one. Boulder is really not that close to the security’s arts. No, it’s not very far actually. And two, you probably had the ideal gig for a 20 something young man that you could possibly want. Travel the world ski, hang out, party, meet your, meet your idols, the whole just six feet of powder over your head thing

Dave: 09:37 You’d think like, yes there was a lot of that. But what I realized was I was going to these great places and instead of like skiing, I was standing around like helping the sales team close deals or like sitting on the side of a halfpipe with the camera, freezing my ass off. Like it got to a point where it was like, I’m not skiing as much as I want. And I’m like, at some point you’re kind of partied out. So you know, you moved to a calm little ski town like Aspen, which doesn’t party at all. Yeah. But I, I did like, it was a dream job, right? Not dream money by any means. And I had to hustle pretty hard to make ends meet, but definitely like a dream situation where these guys, like what I was watching him ski movies and have posters on the wall, like reading about them in these magazines where all of a sudden my friends and I’m doing trips around the world with them. That’s, that’s pretty unique and I don’t think really happens anymore just due to the shifting nature of media and consumption. Right. Like

Joshua: 10:37 Wow. So that’s interesting. So you don’t think the kind of boots on the ground staff writer, staff, photographer is like following the whole trip? It’s all done with freelancers on location. They just mail it in or

Dave: 10:52 All right. But I’ve been so removed from that process of like building an editorial product outside of what I do for ski resorts. But yeah, I don’t, I don’t think they have a staff photographer anymore. Like I know they have someone making sure the websites on social media and doing partnerships, but I really don’t, I don’t think the editorial team is as sizable as it was when I was there and that, I think that’s pretty universal across ski media properties right now. So

Joshua: 11:18 Yeah. So Aspen a beautiful little town. I’ve been there a couple times. How many famous people did you run into on a daily basis?

Dave: 11:29 Ha, you, you con they kind of like blend in, right? Like you’re, you see them but you know that they’re, they’re trying to get away from their life. Like the ones that are trying to make a scene are like Mariah Carey and Paris Hilton. Like for I carry, you can set a watch by it. Like every Christmas she shows up with like those stupid boots that like come up to here and like the fur and like cannon on her arm or at least he used to write and she’s really just there to like make an Instagram moment or whatever. Like, Oh, alright, Carrie, you seen an Aspen, Oh blah blah blah. Like Paris, Paris Hilton’s partying again. Yeah. Crap. But like most of the other people are just there because it’s an amazing authentic mountain experience and it’s expensive as all hell. We haven’t, you know, it’s, it’s in their wheelhouse.

Dave: 12:17 So you know, you see celebrities all the time, but like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s not like you’re like bashing them out of your way. There’s a sea of them to fight your way through the Mike stiff army. Right. Like actually that was funny. I did ride the abdominal up with Kenny G once and I didn’t realize it was him until he took his helmet off and I was like, don’t forget that’s Kenny G, you know, skiing or snowboarding is a good outlet I think for celebrities because it does offer some in the nominate [inaudible] enlist. If you don’t have your entourage with you, you don’t have goggles and a helmet. You can be anybody. Totally. Unless you’re Rihanna who like shows up in strips naked in the gondola am I just posts an incident like I still think to this day, like the most popular Instagram and Aspen was like Rihanna, like in a bra and Lagonda logo surrounded by hot chicks like, Oh, just down here for my birthday, like a occur.

Dave: 13:20 This is the way they live their life. I’m just, I just, you know, just get a drink of water. No. Okay. Oh, is it hot in here? No, it’s a gondola in January. The social media shit has just gone way too far. We’ll touch, we’ll touch on that in a minute. So you, you, you spent some time in Aspen then Sierra Tahoe where if I recall correctly, it did not snow that year. It just didn’t like, it was the peak of the drought in California. Like I moved on from Aspen. We got like my first like big kid, like senior staff see that the table gig where it’s like, Holy crap, I’m like running a ski resort. This is so cool. Am like God’s California got like, I went, I moved from this like 400 square foot apartment and ask them, that was like right downtown. Like it was me and my dog, like two bikes, seven pairs of skis.

Dave: 14:10 Like there was a gear locker with a bed and like a house. Wait. So like this two bedroom with a two car garage, like a real kitchen, like a house, like with a yard, like in Tahoe, like Holy shit. I made it like this is going to be amazing. And then like it just didn’t, it never snowed like it. I think it’s known 130 inches. The resort closed the middle of March. Like I had to write that press release like, Oh my God, what is happening? Like furlough my staff, like all just such a downer. Yeah. Jesus didn’t come back. A couple of years later, they had a decent season I think. But you had already gone by then they called back. I was only there for one year. And by no means was I looking to leave that job. I just got offered a crazy opportunity that I have to jump on. And it’s funny, I still talked about team, like to this day, last night I had like an hour and a half conversation with one of their marketers about like them going to a new tech like technology platform.

Joshua: 15:13 Yeah. You know, and so your next jump was to my favorite mountain, but not my home mountain, my home mountain. What is your home mountain? Well, so I grew up in salt Lake and I had this little trick where for all you people in the salt Lake Valley, I would take the bus from my house up to East high school, check into first period, walked down a half block, take the bus up the Canyon, go to Brighton, get a two or three, a four, four runs in at Brighton, have the bus back down the Canyon and be back at school by sixth period to check into homeroom again. No absences, got to ride. You can’t do that any like, that’s the magic of salt Lake dude. So, yeah, I, I, I, you know, I don’t think I did, but you know, if I was going to tell a good story, it’s like I spent more days at Brighton than I did in high school.

Joshua: 16:10 So, but you, you landed at, what is my favorite mountain snowbird. And you were there for quite a long time, right? Yup. Four seasons. Okay. Here’s what I love. I love that mountain. I love the snow and I love knowing I had a guy in there taking care, a guy I knew, you know, a friendly taking care of the brand and the marketing and just blown it out. You know, snowbird went from this kind of, it’s steep, it’s, it’s rough. It’s kinda ragged. The locals love it. But you know, it kind had this, this raw image and you’d go in there and you’re like, yeah, yeah, we’re going to do this. So tell me a little bit about your work at snowbird.

Dave: 16:54 So I kind of, I’m not going to say I inherited a fixer upper because there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of the products that they sell. Right, right. That you nailed it. That terrain is legendary. The snow that they receive is like super rare. They get some of the most snow on the planet, the best type of snow. The access is crazy close to the city. But when I started digging into like the job, like I have been a lover of, of skiing there for a long time. Even when I lived in Colorado, I would drive out here and ski. But like the way that they were marketing themselves wasn’t true to the brand or the product. Right. So I start looking at it and all the marketing materials and communication, I’m like, this is a little soft, like yeah, it, if you covered the, like the logo on the corner, you’d be like, is this an ad for park city?

Dave: 17:43 What is this? Why or why is it like this white family dressed up like Skittles? Like that’s I get, but there was some, like there was work that needed to be done with like brand perception and messaging and content and like this Stella needed to get her groove back. You know what I mean? It was, so, you know, we, we sharpened it up a little bit, right? Like we are building up a little bit, a little like I think we went from like being a toothpick to a samurai sword. But yeah, we, it was kinda kind of a rebuild from all the systems aspects. Like no consumer database, nonresponsive website, like good photography but not really killing it on social media. Yeah. Like there’s, when you looked at like everything, you’re like, all right, the product is rock solid, but there’s some work to be done here with everything else.

Dave: 18:36 So systematically one by one I just started like going after it. Like we need to start collecting more data. We need responsive email templates, we need a better ESP, we need a new website. We need to like start leveraging the data. We need to roll back this legacy by it. It was like radio and direct mail and billboards and yeah, at that point they had not even made any online advertising. It was a complete blank slate. Right. So I, I looked at the budget, I’m like, where’s, where’s the line item for online? No. Like, yeah, we don’t do that. Even at that point that summer and the winter marketing budgets were intertwined. So like you’d just be stealing from one to fund the other. So like it was kind of a complete tear down from a systems perspective. So before we even got to like nurture the brand, there were, there was a lot of back of house stuff that people didn’t see that had to like get changed. So, so I spent a couple of years doing that.

Joshua: 19:32 That’s a common thing, you know, I think our own companies suffer from that just a little bit and that we feel like we have the best product, we have the best, you know, starting position. But to just communicate that brand value, you got to do so much more work. It’s not good enough to just to have the best snow and the best terrain in the entire United States. You have to actually put the work in to build a marketing stack, to build the tech stack to make sure that teams are talking to each other. You’re breaking down those silos and you’re actually taking that wonderful product you have and put it in front of the people that need to see it.

Dave: 20:10 Yeah. It’s, it’s not just one thing to like blindly beat your chest. Like there’s a lot of finessing that goes into it and you kind of nailed it with the tech stack, right? Like their tech stack looked like a Jenga tower when I got there, it was wobbly at best. Right. And it was, and it just wasn’t nurtured. Right. But that’s because they had people running the ship that weren’t technological marketers. And like to be a modern day marketer, you need to have some sort of awareness of data systems. Like you don’t need a computer science degree, but like it sure helps. Like, or you need to surround yourself with a, a, a team that understands that. And then like, realize as a leader, these are my soft spots and soft skills and I’m not really good at it. So let’s hire around that and build a team that, that understands this and can help build it with me. Right. And it just wasn’t there. So over the course of those four seasons, like that was my goal. Like create a new and modern marketing team? No, it’s not just me that understands it that like I have a person that does CRM and database and I have a dedicated web person that dedicated content person, someone that’s managing like our online workflow for all the processes that we have to bang out like all the signs and menus and like really create like what I felt was like the modern name ski resort marketing agency [inaudible]

Joshua: 21:29 Future and I’m dead confident that they have that right now. So you built a Madison Avenue quality agency in house at snowbird essentially.

Dave: 21:42 I’ve never worked with a Madison Avenue quality agency, but I do know that the agencies that we work with looked at us with a lot of respect because we had similar talent levels and agencies that we would bring in to compliment us were ones in areas of weakness that that we didn’t have or the money to like hire someone like okay, like I can’t hire a team of developers, but I have a great agency in Portland, Maine. That’s going to help us build this website. Right? I would love to have internal people all day long, but like, you know, at some point you run out of money and the budgets only one. It is so, so yeah, I think that we built like pretty strong contingent, really smart marketers. So also passionate for skiing, which is a big thing, right? Like if the paycheck’s not going to be that thick, you got to be able to have the passion for skiing and running.

Joshua: 22:31 Oh, absolutely. Right. work, if you do work that you love, you know, you can, you can make some concessions on some of the other sides. You know, maybe you’re not getting top dollar, but if you get to, you know, every day after lunch you get to go, you know, get a couple tram runs in and then back at the office. Totally. I mean like girls gotta eat right? Like, it’s not like we’re paying people like obscenely low amounts of money, but like, you know, you can have a good life in salt Lake. Yeah. You’re killing me.

Joshua: 23:06 Oh, okay. I love you, man. You’re just so great. Okay. So all right, so you built this kick ass marketing team, you redid that marketing stack, you put this wonderful hidden gem that we all know and love is snowbird on a global map. And he did it with style and you did it with SAS and it’s one thing to blank, you know, Pat yourself on the back, but your work yielded some accolades from the public, right? Yeah. Yeah. So the one start, do you want to go to one star before you get to that or, I would love to talk about the ones that are, this is my most favorite thing I’ve ever heard.

Dave: 23:46 Do you want me to like explain it to please dance at home? All right, so we created an ad campaign and I’m not sure how you guys are going to cut this all together, but I can send you the PDF. So the JPEGs, if you go to snowbird.com/one star, you can still see the campaign even though it’s, it’s, you know, they’ve moved on from it. We created an ad campaign taking all our one star reviews from guests. Either they were from post departure surveys TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Yelp, and there’s no shortage of people complaining about ski areas. Right? Like, and we just kind of sifted through it and found the ones that maybe this person shouldn’t have been. It’s snowbird. So you know, one of them was from a guest on, well, let me see if I have it on.

Joshua: 24:43 Oh, well that’s so convenient. You just, you just happen to have it

Dave: 24:46 So convenient. I just happened to have some of the frame national awards on the actually I should just open a browser tab. So it was, it was people that maybe shouldn’t have been there and we took their review and we juxtaposed it with a photo showing why they were calling.

Joshua: 25:05 So yeah. So I got one on the top of my head here. The best one I remember is this beautiful Bluebird sky. You got the Cirque in the background and just a dude sending it off the end of the Cirque. Right. You know, snorkel level snow and down in the corner at some guy from Los Angeles saying, you know, snowbird, no, bunny Hills, you know the terrain’s too steep, you know. Oh, I’ll read it. It says [inaudible].

Dave: 25:31 Yeah, it was Greg from Los Angeles. And Greg said you gave us one star and said it was too advanced. Greg’s reviewed, read. I’ve heard snowbird is a tough mountain, but this is ridiculous. It felt like every trail was a steep shoot. Litter, wood tree Wells. How is anyone supposed to ride in that? Not fun. So we took a gorgeous photo like you were mentioning, like down Canyon, beautiful view of snowbird and we were like, this guy is insane. That’s why you come to snowbird and you come because the terrain is challenging because the snow is intense. Like this guy is crazy. And

Joshua: 26:12 Some kind of owning the hate mail essentially because you know, we, we get customer satisfaction surveys too. If somebody is like, we love you but you’re too expensive or going somewhere else. Okay, that’s fine. Yeah. But you’re, you’re taking that kind of like, it’s too steep and saying, yeah, dude, that’s what we’re all about. That’s why we’re here.

Dave: 26:31 Well, it’s the way I would, I would tell people is it’s like going to Matt, like you’re surfing. It’s like if you go to Maverick’s and complained that the waves are too big, like, yeah, that’s why you go mad. It’s like skiing dude. Okay. In skiing, there’s to me two types of skiing and I equate it to people that like going on beach vacations versus surf trips. Park city mountain resort is a beach vacation. [inaudible] Snowbird is a surf trip. These are people that wanted beach vacations. Yes. But then got thrown into the deep end with, with the highest, well, yeah, I was gonna say Greg would also probably do fine at the canyons. Oh my God, it’s here. That would [inaudible]. I ended up at the canyons once on a snowboard and within about 30 seconds wanting to end my life. You know, if you don’t know the canyons, it’s just 10 miles of flat and a lot of Wells and it’s fine if you got skis and poles and you can kind of push yourself.

Dave: 27:40 But no no, I would not advise the canyons if you’re on a snowboard, unless you have like some sort of Jetpack to get you out of every little trough or unless, you know, that’s the magic of, of salt Lake, right? We literally have a Whitman sampler of like all different types of terrain soap, like a beginner snowboarder. The canyons is phenomenal. Yeah. And they do have some steeper terrain there. But like, is it like snowbird? No, it is not like snowbird, but some people love the canyons. Believe me. They would ask snowbird why that their Epic pass wouldn’t work at snowbird. Like they would ask all sorts of questions. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We have seen it all. So the one star re the one star campaign, I just thought it was legendary. I watched you kind of go through it on social media and just people are so the static to kind of see a brand be real.

Dave: 28:31 Like we get it, we’re not for everybody and here’s what we are about and if, and if you want to get on board, let’s go. It’s kind of like you don’t have a new Corvette coming out like, Oh yeah, it is a beautiful brand new, very radical mid engine car. And apparently it’s like the fastest car you can get under like $65,000 starting price. Stupid. It’ll be with like either, it’s not zero shit, maybe this is you six packages, but like 60 grand for three seconds, zero 16 in a mid engine car. Like that’s bananas. And so it’s like, it’s purpose built for a very specific audience to do a very specific thing. And so when, when Marjorie from Demoines gets in it and says, Oh, it’s not roomy enough and I can’t put my groceries in my golf bag in it. Okay, it’s not the car for you. We get it. No, no, no, no. It still can fit instead of golf flawed. It’s still like when GM engineers a car, they know that Marjorie has been saving up all her money cutting coupons, right? Like dude, the new Corvette still holds golf clubs and like weekend luggage. Well it’s just Mart for Marjorie. The engine isn’t in Nuprin anymore and it’s in the back way to blow up my perfectly

Joshua: 29:42 Thought out example. No, no, no. Like workshop and we can edit this. Yeah, I love it. All right. We’re going to iterate this bad boy until we get it right. Okay. So it’s like a motor. No. All right. So after the one star review a campaign, what happened after that?

Dave: 30:01 Which, okay, so the thing went viral within Oh, well after one star. So like one star went viral. It was the top story on Reddit. It got national recognition. Like it’s super rare that anything in skiing crosses over into the mainstream. Right? That rarely happens. And when it does happen, it’s usually for really bad reasons. Like a lift, breaking celebrity die. Sunnybuck yeah, you get it right. Like, so for us, it was a positive tongue in cheek thing that all of a sudden catapulted this brand into like national and international recognition. It became everything I can measure in the most successful ad campaign that skiing’s ever done. And it was true and it was true to what snowbird was. It’s not like we pulled something off that wasn’t true to the brand, like it was at its core snowbird. So it did super well. Like everyone’s hot takes on, it came out like the blog is the blogosphere. Everyone would a frigging LinkedIn account or a medium accounts or writing about it. And then, you know, we got some national recognition from places like Adweek and some others and it did quite well. Doesn’t add, we give out awards. Yeah, we got a best print. Wow. Nice. Yeah. Top 10 print of the year. You know, with some other small companies like Toyota,

Joshua: 31:24 Maybe you’ve heard of them. I just, I just love it. I just love it. So, so from your humble beginnings back in and in the East coast riding ice mountains and tinkering Pearl scripts to winning an ad week and ad Adweek award and national recognition for sending it with the sickest campaign I’ve probably ever seen in my life.

Dave: 31:48 Nice. My man. Yeah. Nice. Quite quite the ride.

Joshua: 31:52 So yeah, you’ve moved on. You’re, you’re a mercenary for hire now and you’re doing what you’re calling the summer of Digi. Tell me all about your summer plans.

Dave: 32:03 I am so summer’s kind of winding down, so I should probably figure out what I’m gonna do for work now and maybe get a job at September 19 days or 19 days left of summer so I can, I can fuck around for 19 more days. So I left silver [inaudible] June 1st. You know, it was a great opportunity, but there are some things in my life that came up, like me coming out, getting a boyfriend and having that boyfriend graduate med school. And then having him moved to Kansas city to do his residency and wanting a job that kind of respects my personal boundaries a little more where I’m not bringing work home with me and it can be a little bit more flexible in where I live because I was at snowbird about seven days a week from end of October until end June usually. So I was living there. I mean it’s a, it’s a very demanding job.

Joshua: 33:01 And one sec. As you mentioned, you, you came out, you introduced everybody to your, your boyfriend and you’re doing this in salt Lake city, which is not, we’ll say the most open minded town on the planet. Salt Lake city

Dave: 33:17 Self. Yes. Okay. Yes. Rounding areas, not so much and that I learned that [inaudible] hard way from, you know, some pretty fucked up stuff like death threats people taking the one star campaign and leaving one star reviews about me, my boyfriend, my dog, like some pretty hateful, hurtful and nasty things that no one should ever have to deal with because you’re good at your job. So yeah, that was kind of a bummer. Like definitely had some rough moments where, you know, I’d wake up and my Google news alert for the search terms that had set up around my name and everything were relaying back some pretty hateful shit. And that’s a bummer. Like that. I don’t wish that on anyone. But yeah, that was

Joshua: 34:09 A bit of a drag. Yeah. Bit of a drag. Right. Well, Hey, if you’re in salt Lake and you’re listening, why is the fuck up quit being so mean to people get, you know, I’m like, what?

Dave: 34:23 Well really you’re going to come after the marketing guy who like,

Joshua: 34:26 Yeah. Didn’t you say something like some somebody had mentioned something about boycotting snowbird because of you. It’s like, okay, really

Dave: 34:36 I’ve sought all like they, people blame me for a second cause that’s what the icon pass said that I was behind it, which I am not right. I am, I have absolutely nothing to do with the founding of the icon.

Joshua: 34:49 So is that a competing product just so we’re clear?

Dave: 34:51 No, no. Well not to snowbird, right? Like snowbird accepts the icon pass. You can ski there. Five or seven days on the icon pass if you have the base version or the big version. But they were like, you know, we had a great year. The resorts had all sorts of records or skier visitation and other things, which I can’t tell you. But they were say, Oh let’s do marketing guys. Cause if I come past and he’s behind that and I’m like, I am like really like, cool, when did I do that?

Joshua: 35:23 That’s so sad that somebody’s got, you know, not enough going on in their life and so much hate in their heart that they’re going to just, you know, put it all on you because of your life choice you like, they don’t, they don’t know you. They don’t have to you anyways. Where am I success, right? Like, yeah,

Dave: 35:41 Sorry. Am. I’m very good at my job and the resort might be a little bit busier now, but we had a great snow year and we had a great ad campaign and we have a great website and we have great communication and great social and we’re enticing people to ski more. And we now have a product base that lets more ski here. Like w should you tell me you’re gonna kill my dog because of that? No, that’s not. No.

Joshua: 36:07 All right, well let’s not give that anymore. Nah. Yeah, we can give you the airtime, but let’s not give the, the, the haters out there more types. So you your wa your wonderful new boyfriend. He he Kansas city or something?

Dave: 36:23 Yeah, he’s in Kansas city, so he just graduated from the university of Utah med school and is doing a highly competitive program in med psych. So there are 26 spots across the whole country that have this program. Or maybe it’s 13, I forget. It’s super, it’s sounds elitist too, but he hit it well, he’s a brainiac. He speaks a few languages. Like he’s a bit of an overachiever much like his boyfriend. And yeah, when you go into your residency they have something called the match and it’s really a computer algorithm that dictates like where you move [inaudible]. So at the same time, like I think it’s like 11:00 AM mountain standard time and like on every time zone, every med student opens this envelope and then that’s where they find out where they have to move and they’re legally bound to do it.

Joshua: 37:16 It’s kind of like the hunger games or our Hogwarts where they pick your house or something. I’ve never seen the Harry Potter movies, but probably, yeah. Okay. I’m like go only geek that hasn’t seen here, you know, I’ve only seen a couple of them. I was a little too old. I didn’t read them all. My kids haven’t seen them yet either. Oh wow. Yeah, we’re both, we’re both bad people. So the summer of Digi, your, your, your Bay is excepted to a residency program. You got a convertible bikes and a lot of time on your hands. What are you doing?

Dave: 37:52 So I’ve been going back and forth between here in Kansas city. So when summer did you first started in June? I had my sister’s amazing wedding in Rhode Island. We both went back for that, spent a week in Rhode Island, just kind of relaxing and I got to show him like my hometown and spend time with my family and like, it was really awesome. And then we flew back to, yeah, Utah. He had already moved into my house. So this room that I’m in was actually all of his is crap. We had to move to Kansas city, so we loaded up a U haul attached a trailer to his car. I, I went and bought another, I bought two cars this year cause I’m an idiot. So I’m the only guy that like quits his job and buys two cars. So I was lucky enough it’s snowbird to have a company car. So I had a Subaru Outback, then I had to turn in naturally. Right. Resigned from your job. And I went and bought a Mazda CX five SUV and I had bought a Miata a few months. Really. So yadda, what the answer is, the answer is always Miata on my budget. If I had a higher budget, the answer would not be me. Yeah. What do you want for breakfast Miata? Where do you want to go to Nitel? Yada yada.

Dave: 39:12 So I bonded me out in like March and then realized I couldn’t really go mountain biking or across the country to be honest. So I bought the Mazda SUV as well. Gotcha. So do the halo products work? That’s, that goes to show you halo product work. Yes. So on that note, we have a hosting plan on our website, which is called Pollstar. It’s $20,000 starting price. And that’s, that’s just setting the benchmark, you know what I mean? But you know, everybody buys the stuff below it, but at least they know where the ceiling is. Hey, yeah. Hi. It’s financial high tide. Right? So, you know, I follow your Instagram, you know, as not as a stalker, not as a fan, but as a friend. And, you know, I, I see you out there on the Wasatch trail, you’re just beating it down on the mountain bike and spending it.

Dave: 40:06 What seems to be an ideal it summer in the, in the Rockies. So what are your plans now that you, as you say, summer Digi is almost over. And by the way, great job branding your summer, by the way. Hey, Hey, we’re the marketing guy. Can brand things, right? So strange. Oh man. It’s really funny, like this is, this is a side note, but I’m at the top of park city mountain. I just climbed like an hour and a half on my bike and I just like cute little year. That’s like a Bavarian year. And they have like, you know, like Brie plates and all this and I’m like, Oh my God, I’m gonna get like a, like a beer. And then like a, a Sandow like, and I’m placing my order and then the guy taking my order goes, dude, some red Digi look sweet. I’ve never met this person in my life.

Dave: 40:52 Right? And I’m like, what is happening right now? You’re, you’re, you’re, you’re Instagram famous. Some are getting, I only have like 9,500 followers, but like it’s, people know, like you’re like, Whoa, did she’s here. Like, Oh my God, what’s happening? But yeah. So summer did you, you nailed it. Like I spent three weeks in Kansas city in June, like setting up this apartment, getting to know Kansas city didn’t really dig it that much. Surprise, surprise because there’s no mountains. And it doesn’t really snow much snow. It’s like 16 inches a year there. And it’s in the Midwest, but you know, he’s, he’s loving his, the hospital’s great. The apartment set up in a great neighborhood. Like I’ve been back there already again, like it’s great. So I come back home July 3rd, snowbirds open July 4th. So I go seating on July 4th. That’s no big deal.

Dave: 41:47 Right? Like 711 inch here. I’m back in Utah with all my friends. We’re at closing day. It’s snowbird on July 4th. And then honestly since then I’ve just been doing a lot of things that like, I didn’t have time to do. Cause I mentioned like I’ve been working so hard, I haven’t really taken any time. Like I haven’t been on a vacation in forever, so I’ve been catching up with friends that I, I didn’t have like the time due to both of us having busy schedules, been netting out and getting to know salt Lake. I’ve been mountain biking and road biking. My brain’s out like, like my house is finally not a disaster area. I’ve been traveling, I’ve been back to Kansas city again. I’ve, he noted a, a digital marketing conference. Like I’ve just been kind of carrying or going wherever the wind carries me and I haven’t been really actively on the job hunt.

Dave: 42:42 I’ve just been kind of rewiring my brain to not be answering emails at two in the morning and waking up early and like just grinding myself into a paste. So, you know, I’m trying to figure out what, what’s the next 20 years of my career look like? Yes. And without just locking myself in a room and like coming to a decision, I’m like, you know, it’ll happen. Do I want to stay in skiing? Do I want to spend more time in Kansas city? You know, what, what is it going to be? So now that summer ends in 19 days, I’m starting to have a hard kind of look at what, what’s the next thing? So I know it’s marketing. I love digital marketing. I love traditions. I love traditional orient. I love all aspects of marketing. I love the creative process. I love branding, I love building websites. I love crapping campaigns. Like all of it. That stuff all gets me on. But is it, is it going to be for technology or is it going to be skiing? Like I went to school for marketing and computer science. I can, I have this like rare blend of volt. So, you know, my nickname is Digi, Dave. And that’s not by accident. You know, I love computers and technology. So maybe, maybe it’s a time for a pivot into tech.

Joshua: 43:58 Yeah. Well, so you know, and if you’re, you’re summer comes gracefully to, to a, to a close. You just turn it into a sabbatical and keep going. Yeah. I’m gonna bet you gotta remember I bought two new cars. Yeah. Car payments. I still have rent. Like my burn rate is kinda high, right? Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, I don’t think you’ll have a shortage of opportunities once you, once you decide to, you know, put yourself out there and start looking again, I don’t think you’ll have a shortage of for sure.

Dave: 44:32 Yeah. But you know, it’s gotta be an opportunity that allows me to go between salt Lake and Kansas city. Yeah. You know, I and M ski obviously, like I fell in love with salt Lake. I, if you told me that living in Aspen that in five, six years I’m going to be in salt Lake city. I said, you’re fucking crazy. I’m never moving to salt Lake. And here I am sitting in my home office in salt Lake. Like it’s the greatest blend of like mountain culture, convenience, and everything else that I like. Like I love living in Aspen, but when you’re like, my oil needs to be changed and I need to take a day out of work to drive to Denver to get it done. Yep. Or may I really like new shoes. Maybe I can drive to them or to get shoes, right? Like

Joshua: 45:19 I’m hooked on convenience now, you know, salt Lake, I, I grew up there and went to high school there and then left and haven’t been back except for visit, you know, so right after high school I moved away. But you know, every time I take Sally back there and we take the kids and we see the family, there’s always something in the back of my head that I’m like, God, I could almost see myself living here again. I just, it’s so stinking beautiful and just, yeah, you get all the seasons, you get all the terrain and by and large, you know, the people are pretty decent and friendly. You know, they have, they have some definitely conservative slant to them that you have to work around, obviously, but by and large, it’s a wonderful community and I love that. Like, as you said, there’s that blend of the mountain culture. Like, I dunno if, if, if you can’t picture it, salt Lake is amazing. It’s flat. And then bam, 11,000 foot mountains right there and then it’s all of 30 minutes from the airport to five or six world-class Gary’s or it’s, it is amazing. The airport’s amazing. It’s not like we have this

Dave: 46:27 Podunk airport. It’s an international hub for Delta. Like phew, if you want to get out of salt Lake, it’s 15 minutes door to door to gate to gate. Like it’s easy in Denver. The airports in actually in Kansas, I think DIA is in Kansas. Denver’s a shit show. Oh Denver is a shit show dude. Oh my God. Denver. When I thought when I do, when I thought Denver was getting busy. Oh man, the front range is getting busy. I should move into Aspen. I go back now and I’m like, Oh my God, I left this one. I thought it was busy. That wasn’t busy. This has been issue.

Joshua: 47:03 Yeah. Denver’s suffering I think from a bit of a tech boom, kind of like Austin and Boston and you know all the non San Francisco’s or kind of, yeah. Dealing with their own [inaudible]. Right now

Dave: 47:16 We’re getting a two man Silicon slopes. Yeah. He’s blowing up Adobe Domo, even in FinTech, like we’re seeing a lot of money getting pumped into Wells Fargo, fidelity, like those guys are moving Californians here because the cost of living is cheaper for now.

Joshua: 47:32 Everything down around the point of the mountain right down there in Lehigh. It’s crazy. Yeah. It’s crazy. Well, okay, but here’s my biggest knock on salt Lake. You ready? MLM capital of the world.

Dave: 47:48 Oh yeah. Yeah. There was a lot of multilevel marketing dudes.

Joshua: 47:51 It’s that stuff is, it’s, it’s incepted and you know, because of the culture of salt, because of the culture of salt Lake city there tends to be a exorbitant number of wives with free time on their hand that then gets sold into doing essential oils and Oh yeah, watch out. Salt Lake will get its hooks in ya, you know? Yeah.

Dave: 48:16 And next thing you know, you opened your social network of choice and you’re seeing like, Oh my God, clean up your skin today. This magical product [inaudible] for detailed like, Oh, report is spam, unfriend, blocked. Like throw my computer into a fire. Like it’s brutal.

Joshua: 48:37 Well. So before we wa wound down here you know, I’ll just ask us a few random questions. What are you reading lately? Any books on your shelf?

Dave: 48:48 I just re-read Chris Diamond’s book, which is called ski inc, which is really, if you’re in the industry, it’s kind of a Savage take down of, I’d say the last kind of period of consolidation we came on with American skiing company and some really insider stuff. But I worked for American skiing company for a little while, so it was, it was kinda fun to read. I am a voracious consumer of all sorts of tech news. Like I have a browser tablets called morning coffee and it’s literally like, if I go to it right now, it is just ARS Technica the verge. Like obviously it life hacker, a hacker news. Got what else can gadget. Not really so much anymore, but like I just rapidly consume tech news. And then I’m kind of hooked on YouTube university. Like what are you learning? I, Oh, well I just bought myself a cheap little Motorola handset, so then I can just bang on Android a little bit just to kick around and see how hard app development is.

Dave: 50:04 I don’t think I want to get into app development again. I built an app with snowbird. Oh my God. It’s hard. Yeah. It’s probably a much more fun than promoting it. Well, I mean I worked with my developer in Pakistan and my project manager to build it, but I was by no means like writing any code anymore. Yeah. That’s kinda like what I, what I’ve been reading. I don’t read for like, I don’t read [inaudible] I read, it’s like highly technical and like, you know, I’ll, I’ll go through like something on a new version of PHP for some reason. Like I’m just, I’m just a dork.

Joshua: 50:40 What’s your social media? Guilty pleasure.

Dave: 50:47 I don’t know. Like I’m pretty, it’s not like, I mean I’m big on Instagram. I rarely use Facebook now link. I got backed on LinkedIn and the like the last two weeks cause it’s, well I’m going to go on LinkedIn and I still hate it. I love Twitter. Twitter is definitely my favorite way to stir the pot. Like I think like last Saturday I made this like kind of, there’s just like little poke at the ski industry and I think that tweet probably has like 60,000 impressions.

Joshua: 51:21 Oh, that’s what I’m talking about. Yeah. Like I do get to cook it just definitely Twitter. I do get a, wow, that’s funny. I forgot the word. I do get a kick. How do you forget the word kick? I do forget it. I do get a kick out a poke in the bears on days.

Dave: 51:40 Oh yeah. Like tell him, tell them something they don’t want to hear, but everybody knows.

Joshua: 51:48 Yeah. Speaking truth to power, the emperor has no [inaudible]

Dave: 51:52 Well it’s also like no one can tell me that. Delete my tweets anymore.

Joshua: 51:56 So you ain’t going to sensor me. Ah. All right, Dave rock baby. Well thank you so much for joining us today. Please tell everybody where they can find you.

Dave: 52:08 Yeah. Obviously on the internet my Instagram and Twitter handle are both Oze, skier, O. Z. S. K. I. E. R. You can follow along for the next 19 days on the summer of Digi, which we’ll be entertaining. Cause Luke actually my boyfriend lands here Friday for his first vacation and we’re going to be torn around the desert and going to some pretty cool places. So that’s that’s, that’s where you can find me. Excellent. Please, please just don’t send me any hate mail.

Joshua: 52:38 Yeah, let’s be nice. Let’s be nice. Everyone’s so, all right. You heard it here first. If you’re a tech company or any sizable company out there looking for a technical marketing genius, a mercenary for hire, I dare say, and winner of Adweek awards and the admiration of me, my friend Dave AMRO. Thank you so much Dave. Take care. Put a price tag on that. Thanks buddy. Thanks for having me on. Cheers.

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