Viral video gets one million views!

So back in January I’m sitting at Hoagies, the little diner down the street from my office.

My wife is sitting across from me watching a video on her phone.

This is called “phubbing”, by the way.

I recognized the song as “Royals” by Lorde, which is a really cool song, but it was no longer a big hit, so I ask her why she was watching this “old” video.

She says it’s a parody made by a girl who went to Hopkins High (where my daughter will attend in a couple years) and that it had gone viral. She handed me the phone and I got to see this:

I immediately liked the song, liked the video and liked this Molly Dworsky who put it all together. I tried going to to see what she was doing and guess what? It wasn’t there. The video was 24 hours old and had 6000 hits already. Being The Numbers Coach, I could see this was going to go crazy. I also knew that if she didn’t get ahold of, someone was going to, and they may not want to give it back to her!

So I registered the domain as soon as I got to my office. (Actually, I just checked – it’s still registered to me – I should fix that!)

I contacted Molly through Facebook or YouTube (I forget which) and we began planning.

I quickly built a website for her (it’s a three pager I spent about an hour on). We got a press release out using Mickie Kennedy’s excellent and we watched the numbers.

I should point out there is a cornerstone principle at work here: Where there is a spark, pour gasoline.

Molly also did a lot of interviews, especially on Minnesota media where the “local girl does good” aspect played really well. This probably played as important a role as anything else in getting her one million views. By the way, Molly doesn’t live in Minnesota. She lives in L.A. where she is pursuing a career in comedy.

Now, I don’t take any credit for her success. I helped a little bit, but she never became a client. I just did some stuff for free for fun and because I like her. Believe me, she’d have a much better website if we were actually working together!

I’m telling the story because it’s entertaining, but it also highlights a number of success principles. One is about timing. Most of those million hits came within a few days. So even though her website isn’t much, I had it done in one day, so at least people had someplace to go.

It also makes the very clear point that getting numbers isn’t always about being a math genius. Molly added a little twist on something that was already out there and managed to steal some of Lorde’s thunder. That one video got her more attention in L.A. than all her other efforts put together. A valuable lesson in alchemy.

I’m not recommending people make parody videos to get traffic. That worked for Molly, but she was already in the comedy business!

It’s the principles that underlie her success that are noteworthy. There are terrific lessons in making the most of an opportunity, of timing, the value of creativity, the value of being aware of what’s going on in the world and leveraging it.

Another cornerstone principle I have has to do with studying success versus studying failure. As much fun as it can be to study a success, I believe a lot more can be learned by studying failure.

More on that tomorrow.

Carpe numero (seize the numbers!)