Bryan Rahn

Search Marketing, Lead Generation and Living Exceptionally.

Tripple Option, To Go, Please

With Alabama rolling into Mizzou today as 21.5 point favorites, it has me thinking of simpler times on the college football landscape.

No one was (is) more excited about the move to the SEC. I still support it. The college football landscape was (is) changing. Had to make a change or risk getting left behind. If you want to be the best, you have to play with the best. Still, some things just stand out at me and make me think of earlier times.

Miami, The U, is 7.5 point underdogs today. At home. Against North Carolina. Miami should never be bad. They need to beat everyone they play by 40 points. UNC? All I think of from them is Tyler Hansboro. Don’t we need Miami to be good to complete the college football experience?

Wisconsin is having a trouble season and is an underdog at Purdue of all places this weekend. That’s unbelievable. Wisconsin should be able to recruit every decent high school football player from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota. They should never lose a game. What other state has coverage like that? What happened?

The Tigers and their new uniforms are coming off a home loss to Vanderbilt of all places, and that just makes me sad. I miss the days when Mizzou would put on white uniforms with black pants, black helmets, with our without a solid block golden M, take on Kansas at 11:30 am on Fox Sports, win 63-10 and never throw a single pass. Now we (and every team) has to run either a spread offense or pro style, and all the highlight reel plays are 4 yard slant passes.

And these games now, wow for long. When I went to the Georgia game, I looked at my watch and realized I’d been in the stadium for four and a half hours, and there were 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter. They just go on forever. In the pass happy SEC with all these quarterbacks who can’t pass, the constant incompletions make the game go on forever. With the TV timeouts, promotions in the stadium, recognitions in the stadium, it’s never ending. Try to watch an entire tv game. It will take close to five hours. Who has this kind of time? I have more free time than just about anyone I know, and I certainly don’t. Games used to take three hours on the button. Kick off at Faurot 11:30 and you’re at Big by 3pm for afternoon games. You get one game a weekend now, then 4 hours of highlights on Sports Center of 4 yard pass plays.

Texas Christian in the Big 12? No thank you. For me, TCU is supposed to play teams like New Mexico and Wyoming, then get waxed by Texas. West Virginia might win the Big 12 this year. That just doesn’t feel right.

Next year the Big East will add Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist and Central Florida. Rack up the frequent flier miles. The WAC, a conference that produced three BCS teams in as many years is on the verge of dying, and is currently boasting Texas San Antonio at 5-0.

I miss the days when conference alignment made geographic sense. I miss days when all uniforms didn’t have pink on them.

Nebraska fans tell me the thought of running the option playing Iowa State, Kansas State, Colorado … (Who didn’t love the Friday day after Thanksgiving Nebraska vs Colorado game by the way?) are fond memories they’d love to see again. Now they play the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. Snoozer.

So even though I know these changes had to happen, I still look fondly back at college football and miss the simpler times. And don’t get me wrong. my chili is certainly boiling for the 2:30 feature SEC game on CBS this afternoon with Verne Lundquist. I have a feeling the Mizzou Team from Tiger down is upset minded and ready to dangle.

Love, Blossoming

For the second time in my life, I was asked to describe love at the Bryan Helmig and Amy Ward wedding this weekend. Who better to really put a finger on what love is other than me, right?

Anyone who knows Bryan will understand that I wasn’t all that surprised when I tell you he sent me a text message at about 2pm yesterday asking me to ‘give a speech sort of thingy’ . . .

I first wanted to thank Amy and Bryan for having me here this evening. It’s really a pleasure to be able to tell you a little bit about them.

For those of you who don’t know me. I’m also Bryan. I’ve known Bryan since he was a bright eyed and bushy tailed college student. He was an aspiring MBA student, looking to climb that corporate ladder. My how times have changed. Back then, we used to terrorize the rough streets of Columbia, drinking whiskey and writing country song lyrics.

Actually, I think Bryan still does that.

So what can I say about Bryan Helmig? B-Rye – B-Roni.
Zapier Co-Founder
Between the Lics Guitarist
Brogrammer and Redditor
Wild Turkey enthusiast.

I can say I’m proud of Amy for taking on the task that is dealing with Bryan. Because I know that putting up with Bryan means, putting up with Bryan’s . . . . shall we say . . . . ways.

I mean . . . It’s everything.
-When I asked him when he was getting married, he said, “Um, when engagement rings don’t cost more than a car.”
-When I asked him how wedding planning was going, he said, “Amy handles all that. I think it’s sometime in October.”
-Or the time when he demanded Amy pick him up at the intersection of two streets that don’t intersect, and I’m pretty sure might not even exist.
-Oh . . . . wait, that was actually me. Sorry about that.

There were the times he’d play Mizzou golf across the entire campus, and his famous ‘Wild Turkey’ nites the evening before Thanksgiving.

His friends? We know what it’s like with Bryan as well.

Many of them couldn’t be here today, but we don’t have to look further than our trip to Costa Rica. After 24 hours in snowstorms, traveling a few thousand miles, everyone was ready to just be done. But that nite, there came Bryan, walking down the gravel road, wearing only a swim suit, carrying a case Costa Rica’s finest beers, leading the charge to brighten everyone’s spirits, and to get the party started.

The point is – Amy, I know that you have your hands full. And I know that you know this too . . .

When I went out to the Valley to visit Bryan, after entering Zapier “headquarters,” I could only look around with terror, fearing what would happen if you saw the living arrangements. To describe it to the rest of you, imagine what you think a two bedroom apartment with three dues living in it looks like … and it looked exactly like that.
Nothing higher than a foot off the ground, dishes everywhere, I believe Bryan actually offered me “a pile of clothes to sleep on if I wanted.”

For the record, I’m pretty sure the rest of us call that “laundry.”

Bryan has moved from 3pics dot me to Rankiak to Zapier, and we couldn’t be more proud. But you see Amy, as much as he’d like to pretend he could, he couldn’t do it without you. This fabulous wedding would have never gotten off the ground without you. Without you, we’d all be eating from dirty dishes, and sitting on piles of laundry.

So Amy, you’ve always been there for Bryan. You were there to drive us around in our tailgate trailer, and you were there that nite to rescue us from the menacing Russians, and I know you’ll be there for him the next time he needs you.

Because you see Amy, I do know Bryan does love you. You know how I know?
I know this because he actually watches ‘The Biggest Loser’ with you.
I know this because he adopted a dog named Tuna.
I know this because deep down, he’s really excited about this ‘wedding thingy’

Recently, Bryan and Amy had to exit Columbia stage left, off to Silicon Valley. Bryan once told me they were going all the way to an IPO and a private jet. Even if you don’t make it that far, just know I’ll drunkenly tell anyone who’ll listen that two people from mid Missouri taught me everything I know about start-ups, finance, brogramming, library sciences, but most importantly what a relationship should be like, and it will be the truth.

So. Ladies, gentlemen, and B Rye’s Hair

To Amy and Bryan. May your life together be filled with safe travels, good health, happiness, and much love.

You Can Choose Where You Live

I’ve spent the better part of a decade discussing with people why I chose to live where I do. They always try and steer the conversation to all the offerings other cities claim make their city the best place to live. Things they claim will enhance your life. They talk about museums, new restaurants, outside actives and anything you could put together in a brochure to make Anywhere, USA sound like the lost city of Atlantis.

But when it comes down to it, the museums are gone to once and never again, the places to eat offer the same food as anywhere else. The beer is just as cold anywhere else as it is here. Festivals are never as good as expected, and outdoor actives are forgotten about and never done.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to visit other cities, and I love to take in what they have to offer while I’m there. I’ve visited more places than most people I know can imagine. I have a great time taking in new sights, sounds, and everything that comes with visiting somewhere new.

Columbia, MO

But if there is one thing I’ve found, it’s not the things other cities offer that will make you happy, but rather the people you can share them with. Columbia has offered me more than I could list. To working for three Inc 500 winners, to game day Saturdays, to basketball games, to golf tournaments, to Thursday nites, to trips taken out of town, to ‘Suns Up Guns Up.’ It’s the people I’m with that make all those events fun and possible, not actually the events themselves.

I always say that you can’t choose where you were born, but you can choose where you live. I love this town. I always have, and I always will.

I’m not crazy. I know Columbia isn’t London, Paris, New York or even San Diego. But it’s a great place to live, have fun, and work. And working with the people in this town is an honor, and a privilege.

You see, every town in the world claims it’s the best place to live. And that can’t always be true. But somewhere, some town, really is the best to live in the world. Somewhere, that place exists.

So why can’t it be here?

Love is in the Air

This weekend I had the pleasure of being Big Joe’s best man in the much anticipated Gove – Stanislawski wedding. As is customary, I delivered the Best Man speech. It is below.


Good morning Everybody. Can I get a Hey O?

Now, before I came up here, Clint pulled me aside and said “Be sure to thank everyone for coming.” So let’s go ahead and get that out of the way . . .

I first wanted to thank Anna and Joe for having me here this evening. It’s really a please to be able to tell you a little bit about them.

For those of you who don’t know me. I’m Bryan. I’ve known Joe since 6th grade. Back then, we used to terrorize the rough streets of the Plymouth Wayzata area, riding our bikes to Pizza Hut Lunch Buffet.

Actually, I think Joe still does that.

So what can I say about Joe Stanislawski? Big Joe. Joey Bear.

Starting center for Wayzata West’s Pearl Jamma Jamma’s.
Avid minivan driver
Broken tailbone more times than I can count.
Bratwurst enthusiast.

I can say I’m proud of Anna for taking on the task that is dealing with Joe. Because I know that putting up with Joe means, putting up with Joe’s . . . . shall we say . . . . shenanigans.

I mean . . .
There was the time he inexplicably knocked over a full two liter bottle of RC Cola on my parent’s new carpet.
Or the time at the Par 3 golf course, when he insisted on teeing off just a little too close to a parked car . . . and hit it.
Or the time we had to get all the other golfers on the driving range to stop hitting, so we could retrieve his Mom’s new golf club that he had thrown onto the range in his follow thru, so we could retrieve it.

Actually, I may have forgotten to mention . . . All three of those things happened on the exact same day.

There was the time he T-Boned a car riding his bike.
There was the time he ran face first into a closed sliding door window.
Or the time we got chased on our bikes across town because he’d mouthed off to some hooligans, not that they didn’t deserve it.

Our friends? We know what it’s like with Joe as well.
We don’t have to look any further than our trip to Pensacola. My Dad had given us his new frisbee for the trip. We went out, Clint threw it to Ryan, Ryan threw it to Jay, Jay threw it to me, I threw it to Joe . . . and Joe threw it into the Gulf of Mexico.

Joe’s Mom and Dad? They know this better than anyone.

You’ll remember the time he put a hole in your basement wall playing ping pong.
Or the time he lowered the blade on your riding lawn mower and you took a chunk out of your lawn.
Oh . . . . wait, that was actually me. Sorry about that.

The point is – Anna, you have your hands full. And I know that you know this too . . .

Two weeks ago we had Joe’s bachelor party. As we traversed the disc golf course referred to as ‘The Crown Jewel of Des Moines’ I heard the story of when he first told you he loved you.

Joe was visiting friends in Chippewa Falls. As they were walking home, Joe, in typical Joe fashion, in his size fifteens, inexplicably took off running. So the rescue party went out to find Joe. When they found him? There he was, standing in the middle of an intersection; clutching his phone “I don’t know where I am!”

But on the other end was Anna reassuring him that all was well, and this is when Joe told Anna he loved her.

So Anna, I do know Joe does love you. You know how I know?

I know it from the countless trips ne made between Lincoln, Minneapolis, Rochester, Mankato and beyond.
I know this because he updated his status on MySpace.
I know this because he moved in with two cats.
I know this from the way he smiles when he talks about you, and I know this from the way he so intricately planned how he ask you to marry him.

I’ve never known Joe to be much of a romantic, but, growing up in a house with four women apparently developed the softer side of Joe as well.

Before, Joe’s idea of a romantic proposal would likely have involved Eddie Veder and a stick of beef jerky.

But you’ve been able to reach in and pull out a side of Joe that we all hoped was there. I think we can all agree, that the ring hidden in a Geo cache was pretty good . . . especially for Joe.

So. Ladies, gentlemen, and Schaber’s Beard -

To Anna and Joe. May your life together be filled with safe travels, good health, happiness, and much love.

Survey Sites are a Proven Way to Promote Products

There’s no shortage of survey sites on the internet. These sites allow people to participate in a swath of online opinion polls regarding all sorts of company policies, products, and services, and have the ultimate goal of providing companies with insightful feedback on the things they provide to the public. In exchange for taking surveys, participants receive promotional codes and other valuable gifts that can ultimately be exchanged for money, relative to the amount of surveys they participated in.

Some surveys online have had guys operating these kinds of organizations since the early 2000s, while others seem to be popping up everyday. By now, maybe you’re wondering how sites like this matter to anybody on the low rung of marketing power out there. You’re forgetting that as much as companies say they use these services to get better information about consumers, what they really like to use these services for is to send out promotional codes and other gift deals that are used to hook consumers onto their products in the first place.

Getting yourself onto these sites is no problem, depending on which one you choose and what kind of product or service you provide. The important thing is to know that ultimately so long as you’re giving people the chance to use what you have to offer in a promotional or otherwise rewarding way, it increases the likelihood that they’ll respond positively to it and come back for more. That’s the founding of a firm customer base right there, and it won’t take so much as a few hours worth of effort on your part.

Plus, the added benefit of getting some data from the consumer isn’t bad either. You won’t have to worry about gimmicks or expensive marketing ploys so long as you’re offering folks the chance to speak the truth about your line of business while also offering them a free or discounted sample of what you have to offer. Depending on the state of your business, this kind of promotional could cost you close to nothing, but net you countless clients and/or consumers.

Companies are anxious to take advantage of survey sites to better their understanding of consumer behavior and to also provide consumers with a chance to use what they have to sell under optimum circumstances. If you’re serious about promotion, I suggest you look into them too. It’s really no surprise why these sites are popping up like crazy everywhere you look.

A Marketing Lesson Lifted from Bad Health Habits about Customer Bad Habits, and How to Beat Them with Social Media

The idea came from watching cigarette smokers trying to quit. More specifically it came from pondering the successes of the electronic cigarettes in helping people conquer their addiction. It’s as much about the physical actions, the experience of your senses, in craving a cigarette, as it is about the actual chemical dependency. In similar ways, customers persistently attracted to more archaic marketing methods need to be coerced into more modern and practical forms, but only through consideration for their sensory perception.

What I mean by this is that we instinctively want to move our customers onto more exciting and elaborate ways to encounter us online. But we often forget that many folks out there running into Flash-driven visual explosions of marketing content still consider that kind of tactic, developed years ago, as being too in-your-face. Some people have a hard enough time navigating simple hyperlinked instructions if the site you’re posting your link on is littered with overzealous advertisements. Forget about the right string of words here – if you fail to bring yourself down to the comfort level of your clientele they won’t be looking for anything in particular.

If you somehow were to find a way to ask your customers directly what’s in the way of them finding their way through the maze of modern internet marketing strategy, they’ll end up saying all they want is something easy to navigate – to use. This is where social media and social networking sites come in so handy: even your most inexperienced online shopper is going to typically understand any marketing applied to the sites they visit the most. More and more generations are getting onto sites like Facebook, which are in many ways the online equivalent of the fake cigarette: they provide familiar action and experience in steering users towards modern advertisements.

It’s shocking then to read about a Harvard Business Review study that revealed not only did 75% of more than 2,100 companies polled not know where their customers were spreading positive buzz about them online, but about 30% aren’t even taking measurements of how social media affects their business. In a time when it’s a certainty that many of these businesses are trying ways to have new means of marketing affect valuable customers who have a hard time responding to these new techniques, it doesn’t make sense that they’d be ignoring what could possibly be the bridge that closes the gap: social media.

Our customers seem perpetually addicted to certain ways of conducting themselves online: mostly ignoring information that comes at them in alarmingly different fashions than what they’re used to. The smoker craves the actions of their habit. Encourage online habits of conservative searching and lack of interactive participation by seeking out a golden mean that uses a proven source of modern online marketing – social networking – to inaugurate newfangled ways of marketing onto the experiences of your customers. If it feels right to them, then it typically is.

Shout Out to the Homeland

I have been told I am a young professional. This is why I needed to get a loft downtown.

But I don’t really feel like one. I don’t have a bogus job title at a bank and I don’t carry a day planner with me. I don’t drink Starbucks all morning or use phrases like ‘At the end of the day.’ I’ve never been to an office Happy Hour, or tell people that ‘I’ve just been buried in paperwork for the last 48 hours.’ I don’t use hard copies of anything, or fax machines, or carry a briefcase. I don’t even wear a tie. Or a collared shirt, or pants.

I much prefer my Twins t-shirt for my day at the office. I come in each day wearing a backpack. I Ice people at work. I spend my time surfing the net, meeting like minded people and letting my hair down at Big 12.

Either way, I was excited to see that the Great State of Minnesota was well represented today. Minneapolis made the top 3 cities for young professionals.

If I ever become one, I’ll have to move there.

Going Back to School

I was fortunate enough to be asked back to the University of Missouri to teach a class on search marketing. Although I can’t recreate the humor, passion and excitement I brought to the class, the slides are below.



I believe they called it Honorary Degree or perhaps Professor Emeritus . . maybe it was Guest Speaker.

Perusing the Internets

Some cool sites to check out on a nice spring Thursday in Columbia, MO.

I got back into what Life in the Blue was meant to be all about – Achieving Google’s covered Blue PPC ranking – before the top spots where changed to gold. I helped out one of my friends at our new start-up, GrowthPartner.com. Follow along for some pointers while we achieve pay per click success with one of his campaigns.

I have also recently been enlisted as the webmaster for the all-time NCAA Most Accurate Kicker, Jeff Wolfert. Jeff was a walk on at the University of Missouri, and was their place kicker for the next three seasons. He ended his career at Mizzou as the all time leading scorer, and went a perfect 185 for 185 on extra points. He was a key part of the Tigers run to a BCS number 1 ranking in 2008.

I was live in person for one of his career highlights, kicking the game winning field goal against Kansas at Arrowhead stadium, where he was carried off the field.

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