Andrew: Hey, I want you to see Daniel Delaney’s work before you see his interview.
Daniel: Hey, I’m Dan Delaney, and I’m traveling the world tasting the best street food around. Today we’re heading to downtown Portland for a taste of the Mediterranean. Right here on VendrTV. [Music]
So this is Habla Grill. They serve really healthy, fresh, delicious, great food. Let’s check it out. [Music]
All right, so we’re here at Sayib.
Andrew: All right. My sponsors are WuFoo.com, and by the way, WuFoo makes these great embeddable forms and surveys that you can add to your website for free. Well, I’m going to have one embedded in the post where you see this interview. I’m going to ask you to use it to give me feedback on what I could do to become a better interviewer. So use the WuFoo form, and WuFoo, thank you for sponsoring me. Second sponsor’s Grasshopper.com, the virtual phone system that entrepreneurs love. And Shopify.com is my third sponsor. When you go to Shopify.com, you can create an online store for yourself in minutes. So check out Shopify.com. Here’s the program.
Hey, everyone. It’s Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy.com, Home of the Ambitious Upstart. And I’ve got an ambitious upstart here who I’m interviewing today. One who is a little nervous around my excess energy. The guy runs a site called VendrTV. And I was telling him, before we started the interview, “I’m not an interviewer. I’m not comfortable in front of the camera. My goal in life was never to be a performer. It’s to be an entrepreneur. But I’m curious, and I’ve found that the best way to learn is to get on Skype video with people, and ask them questions. And so I’m doing the best with what I’ve got.” Meanwhile, you, Daniel, to me you’re like a, you are an expert. I see the way you’re shooting your videos. I see the way you’re editing them. Forget about Food TV, you’re like a food network all on your own. All right. For people who aren’t as passionate about your work as I am, who haven’t seen it, can you tell them what Vendr.tv is?
Daniel: Absolutely. VendrTV is a weekly podcast that I produce. And it’s all about the nation’s best street vendors. Maybe one day it will be international, but right now we’re focusing on the wide array of food carts that are right in the country. And we go city to city, and we meet vendors that are hard-working, and pumping out delicious food. And we get to taste the food, and meet the people, and get a flavor for the city. And we edit them down to these like five or so minute episodes. We put them out every Wednesday, on our website, which is Vendr.tv, and to a bunch of other places, too, like YouTube, and you know, whatever. But that’s it. And it’s like fun. And it’s high-energy. And it’s just, it’s delicious.
Andrew: Where did you come up with the idea to put this together?
Daniel: Yeah, well, you know, when I was in college, I have a Fine Art degree, and it’s sort of in design, and I studied like how vending is affected by design, for my thesis. And then, you know, I was kind of down to the choice…
Andrew: Vending machines, as in the trucks?
Daniel: Street trucks, yeah.
Andrew: Street trucks? You studied street trucks in school?
Daniel: Yeah, yeah. And so when I was done, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But I knew that I’ve always sort of been a entrepreneur, like I was that kid that walked a bunch of dogs, and like whatnot, as a child. But also had business cards and contracts, like unnecessarily. And so like the whole entrepreneur story was in me. It always resonated really well with me. And I love food. I jokingly said I was abused as a child because I only kind of ate Italian food until I went to college. And pretended, and I was in college, and like my girlfriend at the time was like, “Well, let’s get sushi”. And I, “No. What? Really?” But you know you don’t want to act like, oh, you know, I haven’t had this before. And you have to be machismo and what not, so it’s like, “Yeah, of course”. And it turned out to be delicious. And since then, I was sort of like “hooked” on trying, like consuming everything possible. No holds barred. Just get it all in there, and see how it is. And so how I started the show was that it just kind of made a lot of sense. It was this happy intersection between the love of entrepreneurs, and the want to support them, my passion for food, and then also, like my knowledge of design and multimedia and technology. And it just, it made a lot of sense. And so we launched it.
Andrew: And we? Who’s involved in this, beyond you?
Daniel: You know, I think that right now we’re very streamlined. But you would not believe the, I can’t say that, the…
Andrew: Don’t you Daniel? You edit yourself, right? I’ve got to have you be completely open. Don’t worry.
Daniel: All right. The shit show that went on to try and get this thing together,
Daniel: You know, we tried, I tried, so many times to instill passion into people. And I found it to be so difficult. And you know, I think it’s a great example of stumbling, when you’re trying to get something off the ground.
Daniel: I very poorly decided that it would be better for me to, instead of trying to be the leader and aggressor in the project, I said, “All right. Here are 11 friends of mine that have strong knowledge in this area. Let’s kind of all try and work together, and see if we can develop something organically.” What happened was, people weren’t passionate. They didn’t feel vested. They didn’t feel as if they had any sort of stake or claim in the organization or the entity. And it just didn’t do anything. It just sat around. And it sucked. And I kept cutting away, trimming the fat, streamlining it. And finally, it started to take a little bit more shape. And what I did…
Andrew: Cut? Wait, I’m sorry. Cutting away and streamlining what? The episodes? You mean more editing and improving the look?
Daniel: No, no, no. This was before we even had an episode filmed.
Daniel: I was trying like to get a team together, trying to get people to do research. Trying to get people to do this and that. And this and that. And they just kind of felt like maybe I was, I don’t want to say using them, but they just didn’t feel vested. They were like, “Why am I researching food carts? Like what?” You know. And so I kept cutting away. All right. Maybe we don’t need six people to do the shoot. Maybe we only need five people to do the shoot. Maybe I don’t need three research people. Maybe I can just use one. Maybe I can do all the research for myself. And I kept cutting away, and cutting away, until I got to a core that was a little bit more focused. But we still didn’t have a product. We had one that was just rubbish. It was rancid. And we shot like another pilot. Same thing. It was crap. And I felt like people were losing steam, so I set a date. And I said, “February 15th, the show’s launching”. And I sent a letter to each of the major food bloggers in the country, and said, “Hey, we’re starting this show, Let’s Street Food. We’re launching February 15th.” And we didn’t have an episode. We didn’t have a launching episode. But I felt like sometimes it’s important to set a constraint for yourself, because it will get the fire going under your ass. And it will get you to hustle. And it did. And the true story is, we launched on February 16th, at 12:03 AM. So we were three minutes past our deadline, but we got it up. And I’m pretty proud in our first episode. I mean our first episode of the show is definitely a, it’s far from where we are today. But our first episode is a lot better than most people’s first episodes of web shows. So I think that we sort of hit the ground running from day one, which was really important to me.
Andrew: And how many people were there on day one? How many people were involved in putting together that first episode?
Daniel: Yeah, it was a disaster, it was like, at that time we were using cheap camermen, and it was our first time shooting in high definition. We started the show in high-def. We had a sound guy who was in charge of wireless microphones, which were horrible. We had a PA on the shoot, it was me, and I did all the editing for the first episode as well. Before the episode I already had someone make motion graphics for the show. And then I had my friend Frank build the web site for it. And so, that was sort of the cluster of people.
Andrew: So, for the counting, I got, one, the sound guy. Two, PA. You, number three. Motion and graphics, four people. Fifth person is Frank, the web master. Do I have it right?
Daniel: Well, there’s two camermen.
Andrew: Two? Seven. All right, OK. And so, was that too much, and you had to pare down even further?
Daniel: Yeah, and you know what? It was too much, and it was too much, not because the footage was difficult, but it was too much for me to be, because I was also the producer, right? So, I was also producing and hosting. And honestly, it’s a lot easier when you’re scheduling a shoot, to deal with two people’s calendars versus three people. Or three people versus four. So, each time we’re able to remove a cog from the wheel, and I don’t know if that made sense. And just streamline the process, it made things a lot easier. And it made things more elegant and faster and lighter.
Andrew: How many people are you down to now?
Daniel: At this point, we’ve switched from using the cameras we were using to a new type of camera. We went from two camermen to one camerman. About three weeks ago, I scrapped our sound guy, we no longer use a sound guy. We went completely wireless, with a very high-end wireless system to be able to facilitate it. And I still edit the show. My camerman also edits sometimes. I think it’s one every seven episodes he’ll edit. So, we went from , on a shoot, having seven people, or six people…
Daniel: …or six people, down to two people. So, that’s really streamlined and what’s kind of cool is that we’re producing the best content ever. So, I found is that sometimes more is not better. Having a smaller team that can focus more elegantly and more perfectly sometimes nets a better result. So, we’re down to two people on the shoots, two people to produce the videos, I do all the research still. I coordinate all the shoots and everything else like that. Frank is the webmaster, he and I worked together to design the web site, vendr.tv, that web site. But then, I manage the web site. I update the posts, and write the posts, and things like that. Yeah, and that’s sort of where it is.
Andrew: So, if I’m counting it right now, it’s one camera guy, and you, and the camera guy sometimes edits. And Frank helps you out with the web site as a webmaster.
Daniel: Occasionally, yeah. So, it’s two, sometimes three.
Andrew: So what was it like when you had all those other people? Why was that so tough?
Daniel: Well, I think that it was tough for a few reasons. First, I mean, sometimes you realize that the first, now let me be clear and say that the team that I had to work with was great. And we wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have them supporting me from day one. So, it’s not in any sense the term that I’m knocking them. But sometimes it takes many iterations to find a synergy in creating anything, in this case, it’s web video, but in anything. It takes some time to find the right team. And we found that right team, but it took a lot of refining.
Andrew: I’ve seen a lot of my interviews here with internet entrepreneurs that better off starting off with a simple idea that might be crappy than one that aims for perfection but has too many pieces and too many things involved. Not just because they often can’t afford it in the early days, but more because they, it gets overwhelming and it sounds like that what happened with you. And also because it’s hard to figure out what works. And if you have this big overhead and you realize you’ve gone in the wrong direction, you have too much, too big a company to turn around.
Daniel: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. I think you can’t make those blanket statements because every company is different. In my sense, with my show, I said from day one I want to be analogous to something you’d see on the Food Network. I had no interest to standing in front of a camera talking about wine or something like that. I believe that as the platforms become more closely tied together, it’s important for content producers to start to produce television quality content. You can do it on the cheap now. It’s about effort, and it’s about diligence and work. But it can be done for really cheap. So, in my mind, there are no excuses for putting out poor quality content. You know, Marshall McCluen, the medium is the message. It’s not just what you say. I don’t care how many times, I mean, Gary Maynerchuck is a very close friend of mine, and he constantly says that ìcontent is kingî. And I think that he’s right in a certain sense, but what I think that’s it’s important to illustrate is that, content is not just what you say, it’s how you say it. And as I said a second ago, McCluen said ìthe medium is the messageî, and I believe that it’s very important to make an impactful statement from the get-go. There’s a great filmmaker, Surigate Issenstein, who has this quote that says, ìa smooth transition is an opportunity lost.î If I’m going to start something, I want to hit it off the ground with a bang. I’m not interested in slowly building something from a crap position to something that’s more refined. So, I mean, it’s not that we didn’t do it, because obviously, the show’s better than it was the first episode. But the first episode is still better than a lot of other web video shows. I feel like I’m sounding arrogant. I don’t mean to be.
Andrew: No, I’m getting a sense of your creative tastes here. But Gary, and other people who’ve done video online, keep saying, ìit’s not about the technology that you use.î Gary specifically will not edit his programs because it takes too long and it gets too involved. And here you’re spending 130 hours a week working on your show.
Andrew: So, does it feel overwhelming? Why not cut it back to as much work as he’s doing? Why not cut it down…
Daniel: Yeah, but, but, think about this. You know Gary now. He’s been at it for three years. We’re getting something…
Daniel: We’re getting something, like we were getting twenty thousand views at six months. That trajectory is very different, it’s very different.
Andrew: Okay. Alright, how do you and Gary know each other?
Daniel: I don’t know, I guess we just know, I knew him when he started doing his show, I’ve known him for some time. I love him, he’s a great guy, I trust him with a lot, I’ve done some design work for him. I don’t, I’m not knocking Gary, I think that he,
Andrew: No, it’s a different approach.
Daniel: what he does, we have different goals.
Andrew: What is your goal? What are you trying to do with this?
Daniel: It’s a different, it’s a very difficult question to say and I don’t know that I have the answer right now, but I will say that I’m adamant about, not just creating content but creating content that I’m very proud of and that I would like to watch. I don’t watch whine library TV, I can’t stand it.
Daniel: ëCause it’s fifty minutes of him talking to a camera. It’s very boring.
Andrew: [laughter] What I like about, first of all I love whine library TV, but you’re right, he’s, it’s mostly him just talking to a camera. With you, it’s you talking at a camera but there’s a lot of movement on the screen. How did you learn to, how did you learn to do that?
Daniel: Well, I mean, I don’t know, it was, it’s all been a lot of happy accidents, I think, I never, I mean like I never took a class on speaking into the camera or anything like that.
Andrew: What about on editing? How did you learn to edit these shows properly?
Daniel: Oh I’m just a, it’s just a charade, I just, I watch things and I say, ìoh, okay, the shots have to be that tight and that long.î You know, you can watch the Food Network and you kind of get a good example. But also, you know what, I do take some data into account. We track our analytics on Google and, and with Get Clickie and we monitor how long people are on the websites and how long people are on each individual page. I watch how long people are watching the episodes and where their interest drops on, through Youtube metrics. And we use Crazy Egg to monitor where people’s mouses, mouse is moving on the screen, and all of that informs our process. We are, when we put out our first free episodes which were like seven or eight minutes long, we saw where people were dropping off and we said, ìwell why is that? Oh, maybe the shots are too long. Maybe the pacing is not good enough, maybe we’re talking too much about this,î and I’m constantly trying to refine the show to make it something that’s more enjoyable for people to watch. Because honestly, I don’t know, right? And if the data can inform that, then I trust it.
Andrew: How long do you go before changing shots? How do you know? Do you have a number that you go for? Does it just feel right?
Daniel: Oh, when we’re editing?
Daniel: Well, the editing process is usually more like, you know, we’ll get the footage and I have to scrub it all, we go through it all and review it, or, I keep saying we, it’s me, I go through it all and I review it, and that’s, and I also just think about the day and if it was like a more gray day or if it was a really bright day, what the tonality of the piece was, how we were feeling that day, and then also like how the cart wants to represent itself. Right? And then it’s like you know you just, you watch it and you try and find, and music is really an important part, so I’m watching the episode and I’m like, you know we did this one and it was like Mock Xerox[sp] and what happened that day, right before we went there I got, from a person that was trying to help me out with publicity at the time, like wasn’t tracking his email and we missed off like a front page Wall Street Journal thing. And I was really not happy going into that shoot that day in Portland, Oregon and it was also raining because it’s Portland, Oregon.
And then we went into the shoot and this lady was just the sweetest person and she made all this like comfort food and it was, and like, and then like going into it was just like, you know, it was like, very sublime it was a very like mellow day, and then, and then she brought me up, you know she like brought me up so when I was trying to figure out this music I was trying to come up with something that, where the person was like really folky but then also had like a pick me up beat to it and we found this great song that was like, bah di, bah di, bah di duh. Abba dubba. And then it like starts to pick up the beat and then, and like, so the music is always the foundation of the show, for me. It’s how I edit best. And then it’s very much about, you know, finding, finding the shots that best keep up rhythm and so often the piece is either music driven like we did our Red’s Eats Episode and, and we
Daniel: And I edited the shots to the baseline, you know, so it’s like, ta doom, ta doom. And so the shots are going on the 8th notes there. And so anyway, I haven’t started. I’m getting into it, but I generally try and edit to music. I try to make it a very tight process fountain.
Andrew: [coughing] No, I’m baffled by this. It feels like every time I talk to anyone artistic, I’m completely lost. I can’t follow along the editing to music. I can’t follow along the “it just feels right”. It seems like a lot of this stuff probably comes naturally to you. Yes?
Daniel: You know, there’s this great psychologist, Csikszentmihalyi, Miihaly Csikszentmihalyi. And he is the guy who coined the term “flow”. And it talks about this idea that we can into a flow with certain things, but only after thousands and thousands of hours of exposure. I have a Fine Art degree. I studied multimedia. I studied design. I’ve had, as a result, I’ve had to elevate my perceptions in certain areas. That’s just, but you know what? I think that, you know, if you…
Andrew: What do you mean? How have you done that? Can you give me an example of an area that you had to elevate yourself in, your perception in, and what it did?
Daniel: No, no, no. I don’t mean you have to elevate. You just, what I’m getting at, it’s like Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink. Right? After a certain amount of time, and a certain amount of exposure, to something it becomes the actual, the motor skills of doing something, the typing, or the painting, or the sawing, that becomes rote. That becomes memory. It’s like, you know, just like you know how to walk. I know how to edit, so now I focus on other things. Right? And it just happens. It happens after time. So what I could say to someone is if you’re interested in embarking on something like this, what you need to do is to keep iterating. And keep iterating and keep iterating. And constantly try and refine and refine and refine. And I think that’s really the only way to eventually get to something that you are proud of.
Andrew: How do you refine? You told me a little bit about how you look at the statistics, and you see where people are dropping off. What else do you do to improve your show?
Daniel: Well, I think that, you know, I was at this thing the other night, and well, maybe it was like two months ago, and this was a big change for me. I heard Cory Doctorow’s quote, which was, “Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.” And that like hit a chord for me because like I’ve heard other people hit on that principle, but just not, you know, far less articulate than Corey’s quote.
Daniel: And what that made me realize is that it is really great that I’m adamant about putting out content that I’m excited about and proud of, but it is also important to engage. And I think that when I heard that quote, I started to change the show a bit. We did a lot of things, like we made the show a little bit less formal. It used to be like, “Hey, I’m Dan Delaney, and I’m…” And now it’s like, you know, “What’s up, friends? What’s up, cardivors?” We came up with the term “cardivor” as a label for those who watch the show, and as an effort to create inclusion in the show.
Daniel: And so we just sort of made the show a little bit less formal. We tried to make the shots a little bit tighter, to create a sense of intimacy. When things went wrong, like there’s this Fung’s Dumpling episode, and Andy, my cameraman, is going in to get a tight shot, and he hits the dumplings. Like he hits the plate of dumplings, and we both laugh. But like normally, before, I would have edited that out as a mistake. Now we keep it in because it adds a sense of humility to the process. And it also adds, it makes it a little bit more tangible, I feel. So those are things that I’ve started to include, that I think are important. And, you know, the one thing that I do really appreciate from Gary is his vigor, his energy. And so, you know, like I just finished reading his book. And I didn’t get anything new out of it that I didn’t know before, but I did have my heart racing. And I remember, it was like 3:00 in the morning, and I finished reading. I should have made my bed. [Laughs] I was reading…
Daniel: I was reading, and it was like, “I can’t go to sleep”. So I got up and I started doing more work and more work. And so…
Andrew: What was the concept? You’re talking about his book Crushing It. What was it about his book that got you all excited?
Daniel: It’s not something especially that got me so excited, and it’s not specific to his book, but it’s just the re-affirmation that really, anything is possible. And right now, with platforms as democratic as they are, and technology as ubiquitous and free, the only thing stopping you is you. Period.
Andrew: You know what? Actually, I see two different takes on this. Some people will say the only thing stopping you is you. You can take on the networks. You could become this great new network, all on your own. And other people say, “Hey, it’s just you shooting video on YouTube. You and the guy who just got slammed in the head with the hammer. You’re competing against him, and he’s got more views than you.” It seems like the people who create quality work have the kind of attitude that you do. But are we deluding ourselves? Can somebody shooting from home, shooting on a camera, two-man operation, really take on the networks, really build something that will reach more than a thousand people a week? More than 100,000?
Daniel: I don’t think so.
Daniel: I don’t think so. And I think that that’s a fundamental difference that I have with Gary. I don’t think it’s as simple as getting a flip camera, and starting to talk about something you’re passionate about. Will I say that you can build a following? Yeah, you can build a following. You can build a thousand or two thousand people that are interested in what you’re talking about. But I think that if your goals are larger than that, then it takes a different method of execution.
Andrew: What’s the method?
Daniel: I think a lot of it is emulation. I think it’s about, if we’re talking about video at this point, I think that a lot of it is about… I just, I don’t know how to answer it, other than saying that my mentality is that I need to create a show that’s better than something on the Food Network, if I ever wanted to get it on the Food Network.
Andrew: But is that the goal then? Not to take over the Food Network, and show that VendrTV can become better than the Food Network, but to create something so good that you can get on the Food Network. That you can have their distribution, without having to wait in line, without having to go for a cattle call and hopefully, make it on the show. To earn your way on there by yourself.
Daniel: It’s a funny question because I’ve gotten the question so many times. And originally, my answer was no. And my answer was no because I also, at the same time, loved the fact that I know Oscar in Mexico, and Quan, who is in China, and I know Jess that lives up in Massachusetts.
Andrew: Because they’re watching you, and you’ve met them through the show.
Daniel: And they interact. And it’s not just the content, but it’s the community around the content. And I don’t think, I don’t really think, that many people on the television have embraced that yet, and have executed that properly. And for that reason, and really that reason alone, I’ve always sort of said, “Well, I’m happy with the net. I’m happy with the internet.” And I also didn’t know that I had the ambitions of becoming really famous or big, or anything like that. If I was able to sustain myself and my cameraman, and Frank, and put out great content, things that we’re proud of, and travel and support these entrepreneurs, that was exciting enough for me.
Andrew: Yeah, it seems like you’re more of a creative person, than a entrepreneur.
Daniel: Shall we end this?
Andrew: Why? Am I…
Daniel: No, no, no. I was kidding like…
Andrew: Oh, because I’m not… Listen, I’ve got to tell you. I always have trouble doing an interview with someone who’s creative. I don’t know how to get at what makes you brilliant, but I’ve got to say, I see it. In fact, I would like your permission to show part of your video before this interview, so that people can see what it is about you that I think is so freakin’ incredible. And how I’m trying to learn it here in an hour, and it’s not going to be possible. Instead, I just have to let you talk, and hopefully some of it will sink in an hour, a week, later.
Daniel: Sure, whatever you’d like.
Andrew: I would like to do that. We’ll do that. We’ll show a little bit of your show before this, so people get a sense of it. So yes, are you more of a creative person, you’ve been more of a creative person throughout your life, than an entrepreneur?
Daniel: I don’t know. I mean I think that, don’t they say that you’re only an entrepreneur when you successfully exit your first company?
Andrew: No, that’s bull.
Daniel: I don’t know.
Daniel: I mean, honestly, to me, labels are a little bit of bullshit. I mean, …
Andrew: I interview some people who as kids will tell me that they were selling candy. As teenagers, they were starting companies or trying to go and work for someone who is trying to start a company, because it’s part of who they are. And then I interview other people who, as kids, were shooting video of everything, and they were using these old crappy VHS and they were trying to build some kind of a show. And it seems like from the beginning, they knew who they were. And it seems to, did you?
Daniel: What I was, I’ve been both. I’ve always been both. I would always want to create podcasts but I would have a business plan right along side with them. I’ve benched plan, I’ve always looked in both fields at the same time. I don’t think that, I think you need to have the full package. You can’t just do both, or you, it’s not good.
Daniel: I’ve seen so many people that are not thinking about how they can sustain themselves with whatever they decide to do. And inversely, so many people that are not really interested in understanding how to connect to people, and are just not really interested in the right things or the right reasons. I think you need to have a balance of the two. This show wouldn’t be, if I wasn’t an entrepreneur or had entrepreneurial spirits or entrepreneurial ideas or endeavors or drive, we wouldn’t be talking. We wouldn’t have done CBS News and we wouldn’t have been on blogs. This show wouldn’t be probably around now.
Andrew: What is the…
Daniel: You need to have…
Andrew: …on Vendr.tv?
Daniel: I use a lot of money on my credit card. You know, I mean, the business model is not different from any business model for any business anywhere. You put money into something with the hopes that eventually it will pay off. Web video…
Andrew: Monetizing, in this case.
Daniel: Yeah, web video, right now, is you monetize through the sale of things, and then the sale of things could be advertising, it could be T-shirts, you can also monetize off of donations. But, it’s like, that’s it. It’s sponsorships, ads, or actual retail. And, that’s that. And I’ve, yeah, I’ve tried to monetize this to the best of my ability. The show is not operating at a deficit anymore. We make enough money to cover the costs of the show, and a little bit more, but not that much more.
Andrew: What are you making the money from? Where’s the revenue coming from?
Daniel: Well, it comes from advertising.
Andrew: Actually, I didn’t see any ads. You don’t play them in the video, do you?
Daniel: The ads. We partnered with the [Nextdu] Networks, and they now distribute the content for us, and they sell it. Their ad sales team sells ads against the content for us.
Andrew: I see. OK, and you mentioned Katie Couric. You were on CBS. How did you get on there? Could you tell us some of the story behind it?
Daniel: Yeah, we were in Los Angeles filming, and, or maybe we were in San Francisco. And we were making our way down to Los Angeles, and I got a call from a producer or an e-mail, and they said ìwe’re putting together a story on street food, and we know your show. We’d like to see if you’d like to be a part of that story, and if you had any thoughts, or would like to give us any assistance or anything like that.î So, I gave them a call, and we met over coffee, and I told them about all the different vendors that they should probably be covering, those that they don’t need to really cover. And, I brought them along to a few of our shoots, and they interviewed me, and I gave them sound bite after sound bite after sound… And I knew that’s what they needed, so I just kept spewing these sort of succinct sound bites towards them. And then they aired the story and I called them when they aired the story, I called her cell phone, the producer’s cell phone. And I said ìthank youî. And I guess she doesn’t get thank yous very frequently from people that she produces content about, because she was taken back, and she said, ìI’m going to take it back and see if I can get it to run againî. And she did, she got it to run on the Sunday Morning News. She also got it to run one evening during the week, and that was very great.
Andrew: How did you come up with all those sound bites? Were you planning them in your head for years, or were you planning…?
Daniel: No, no, they were just asking me questions, and I… No, I’m not really sure. You just have to, when you’re being interviewed, I think you just have to keep it in your mind that there’s a format to everything. There’s a format to shoot video, and there’s a format to the CBS Evening News, and understanding what that format is, going into it, and how you need to connect to their audience, allows you to operate efficiently…
Andrew: Ö efficiently.
Interviewer: That’s ëcause I did interview with radio star ??? the founder of team dating, and he’s a whiz at getting publicity for his site, and he says that what he does is he’ll sit down, he’ll write out the sound bites, and he’ll just keep working on them, keep working on them until he gets them right and he’ll remember them and when he does an interview he makes sure to spit them out. Now I was wondering if other people use his technique too.
Daniel: No Ö I’m just, weighing in there.
Andrew: Cardboard. How did that come about?
Daniel: It’s a person that eats street food, I don’t know, it just makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?
Andrew: It just came to you. Yes I love it!
Daniel: yeah, I love, like, kerbside cuisine, eat the street, carnivore, I don’t know, like, maybe I should be a copywriter and such. I dunno, it just, just ???, And these things come out.
Andrew: all right. And you’ve, you’ve got a book contract, are working on a book right now?
Daniel: yes, we’re working on a book, we might even call it eat the street and it’s gonna be about the best street food in the country, and I’ll have beautiful photographs and recipes, and, and stories and, yes, I mean, I can’t really say much more about it now, but, I’m excited about it and, I, like I want to show to be the best thing, I want this book to win the James Beer award, I want it to be gorgeous, and, hopefully will be.
Andrew: What else, what else do I have here in my notes? Distribution. We talked about all the different places where your show is playing, Virgin, Foxy. How, how much time were you spending getting distribution?
Daniel: I don’t understand what you mean by getting distribution.
Andrew: giving, partnering up with the Virgin and with Foxy and a bunch of other companies that you were telling me about?
Daniel: Not much time at all honestly, it’s not in my hands at this point, we started the show using Vimeo, And Mike, the CEO, ??? Emailed me and said why don’t you put the show on Blip, and so we moved from Vimeo to Blip, that was very nice of him, and, we were with Blip for the first four months, and, we weren’t on YouTube, we weren’t anywhere else but our own website, and iTunes, and, and then we started to work with the ??? networks, and they help us get our ??? In to even more places. So, it’s actually been very much out of my hands or my control, you know? But, we do try and listen to whatever people are asking for, people wanted, you know we only made the show available in one version on iTunes, but we were filming it in HD, we were filming it, and so we, you know started to do a high definition version of the podcast which, you know, people wanted and we weren’t giving to them, and so, I guess why I’m bringing that up is that I have learned that some reason in the beginning I thought that it was important to just, you know, in one place and it didn’t really matter, but more and more, unfortunately, it’s important to be in every place, because just as people want to consume media in their own, sort of, streams, you know, that people stick to the channels that their most familiar with.
Andrew: Why do you say unfortunately?
Daniel: because, like, it’s just hard, comments come in, like, like in all places now, I have to check your to check YouTube and VO and this and that for comments and, it’s just, it’s difficult. Plus, our site has, has, it’s not just like I’m editing and looking at comments, coz, our website has a lot of other things, why we have our map, we can see where we did, we went, via map, and, and then we have our, like, we have other things we have to deal with as well, so just, it makes for a lot of very minute Ö It’s funny, the one time that the, the biggest, the biggest picture the broadest strokes of the show are when were filming. Everything else is very intricate.
Andrew: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get into video? One? Who wants to do start doing what you’re doing?
Daniel: Yeah: I do. And, and it’s not like, just do it, it’s not hustle, it’s none of that shit. It’s, really think hard about what you want to do. Think hard about how you gonna execute it Ö Study! Study study study all the people that are doing it well ??? Frank is, in my opinion, still the best content creator for the web that I know today, I think that he’s a textbook example. Read 37 signals getting real, if you don’t
Daniel: If you don’t have the resources to do something at this level, then do it at this level, but knock it out of the park. But I really think that it’s important to understand constraints. Constraints are my best friend. Understand constraints. Like if you want to do a show about cocktails, well, I mean, I don’t want to use that example. But if you want to do a show about cooking, for example, and you only can afford to have a flip cam, and you know that the quality of the video content is going to be at flip cam level, then don’t create a six minute show about cooking. Could say, do cooking in 30, and create 30-second episodes, so they’re so tight that it doesn’t really matter that you didn’t have the HVX camera to shoot with. Or something like that. So I think it’s really important to understand what your constraints are, and then like manipulate them to work to the best of your ability.
Andrew: Do you have an example of how you did that?
Daniel: As an example. I mean I honestly am a little, I’m not the best example, because we shoot with high-end equipment. We shoot with really expensive video and sound equipment. And I edit on a MacBookPro. And like I have the resources to be producing high-end content. But I mean I think that, I don’t exactly know that I have, but I have. But an example is like, let’s say you want to do a cooking show. And you want to do like some, but you’re not really sure what the theme is. Like if you decide that your theme is going to be like a little bit more haptic, of the hand, a little more handmade, then you can make your title cards out of paper. And you can hold them. And then it’s not like you’re just… Or you can try and create a shitty piece of merchant graphics and after-effects. And it’s going to look like crap. But understanding your constraints. And your constraint right now maybe is your tool set. You don’t have the tool set to rock after-effects and make it look beautiful. Understanding your constraints, which are that, “Well, I can make a sheet of paper look, if not beautiful, in esthetic. Then do that. And it’ll look better, and it’ll be more homogeneous, and more in line with your final product, than trying to pull things from all different directions, because you think they might be nice.
Andrew: All right. Well, I see we’re coming up at the end of the interview. So let’s leave it there. How can people connect with you beyond going to check out Vendr.tv?
Daniel: Yeah, well, it’s VendrTV. But the website is…
Andrew: I keep saying VendrTV, and I’m giving the url, isn’t it?
Daniel: Oh, I see. I see. Well, you can… I’m on Twitter @danieldelaney, and feel free to say hello to me there. And people can drop me an email, and always I will respond. I respond to all of my messages. And if it’s more of a technical question, that I think my cameraman or the web, my, Frank, would be able to answer better, I’ll forward it over to them. But my email is dan, it’s just firstname.lastname@example.org. And so you know, that’s how I get all my emails.
Andrew: All right. Well, thank you. Thank you, everyone for watching. And I’ll see you in the comments.
Daniel: Thank you. Thanks for taking the time to interview me.
Andrew: You bet.