Our small but mighty two person team declared June 5th D-Day. By this date, we not only had to have all of our technical “stuff” worked out (and, well, working), but we also needed all of our flyers printed, actually functional, and a general idea where we were going to hang them. After much anticipation, D-Day finally came calling, and even though we had a few “challenges” thrown our way at the last minute, we were successful.
We initially planned on taking all of Saturday and Sunday to plaster all of San Francisco, Berkeley, Mountain View, and Stanford but our plans changed Thursday evening, when Kevin and I found out we had a meeting smack in the middle of Saturday that we couldn’t miss. At first we thought we’d just wake up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and hang as many flyers as we could prior to our meeting but a few bugs in our app prevented that. Kevin ended up spending his Friday night killing bugs (the technical kind, that is)…while I peacefully slept. (The good thing about being the creative one is I don’t have to write code.) Kevin didn’t return for the evening until the early hours of Saturday morning which pretty much put a stop to any thoughts we had of getting our flyer-hanging on early in the morning. So, instead, we went to our meeting and hit Mountain View right after that. We had planned to spend a few hours (tops) in that area and ended up taking nearly six hours once we started to wander Stanford’s campus. Everywhere we looked, there was yet another place begging to sport one of our flyers! We “decorated” the town until it got dark and headed home. And that is where the night got interesting.
About halfway home, minding our own business on the 880, we were nearly lapped by two racing cars. This personally annoyed me because I think racing on the highway (or anywhere) is completely stupid, reckless, and well…lame. As I was cursing the stupidity of Mario Andretti’s distant cousins, one of them lost control and FLEW off the road into a cloud of smoke. Kevin, having spent his earlier years as a lifeguard, was immediately bombarded with the urge to save some lives and pulled over. He jumped out of the car, along with another person who witnessed the accident, and I followed closely behind while on the phone with 911. (I’d love to hear that 911 call; I think I dropped no less than ten profane expletives.) Anyway, we searched for the wrecked car for a good five minutes…only to finally find it on the overpass above. Apparently, it was going so fast that it not only lost many of its car parts when it wrecked, it actually jumped an embankment and crashed into a family above. To say the scene was nuts is an understatement. I’ve never seen so many paramedics, fire fighters, and police in my entire life. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured but it was a mess all the same. Kevin and I had to stay and give our statements and were finally allowed to leave…but only in the back of a police car. I toyed with the idea of sending a picture of me in the squad car to my mom but I decided against it; after all, I’m the only “good” child left in my family. Kevin, on the other hand, took countless pictures of himself and sent them to every living relative he has.
We finally got back to good old Emeryville, where we live, around 11:00pm or so. Not only were we exhausted from the day’s activities, but we had to be up around 5:00am on Sunday to be out the door by 6:00am to do the rest of our flyer hanging. Somehow, we managed…though I looked like a complete beast. We hit Berkeley first (at least part of it) and then took to the city. Our first stop in San Francisco was the Fisherman’s Wharf area. We had one gentleman approach us with some curiosity. Fortunately he already had an idea how QR codes worked so we didn’t have to break it down to him like Rainman. As Kevin told said man about our flyers and the idea behind it (research on consumer interaction with QR codes for those of you that are brand new to our blog), I got scolded by the guy responsible for taking down flyers at Fisherman’s Wharf. I managed to convince him to leave them up for at least an hour, but not before he told me I was stupid. Fortunately, I have thick skin, and found this quite amusing. I was tempted to ask him to make sure to leave a comment with his smart phone that I’m stupid but I decided against it. I was sure I’d have an opportunity to use my obnoxiousness later in the day.
After Fisherman’s Wharf, we headed to the Marina where we hung a good deal of flyers. I think most people were too busy drinking their mimosa’s and eating their fancy-pants brunch, so we didn’t get too many curious looks. (Perhaps they thought we were stupid, too.) After we left our mark there, we headed to the Haight where we plastered almost every single thing in sight. We spent a good deal of time here and I’m pretty sure unless the Haight is inhabited by blind people, our flyers got some great visibility. The Mission District was next, and finally, the rest of Berkeley. By this time, we were both deliriously tired and our feet felt like they were going to fall off (that would have actually been a welcome relief). We did the main streets (Shattuck, University, etc.) and then headed to campus. Like Stanford, we found the holy grail of flyer boards, and we went to town. By the day’s end, we had hung almost all of our 300 flyers and all we had to do was go home and wait…and stuff our face with pizza and get in the hot tub.
Our work in the Haight!
Almost immediately, we began to see some results (thank you, analytics!). We had a few people actually leave comments on the corresponding Twitter feeds and several people click the QR codes on the flyers to decode them. Within three days, we had 106 hits, 70 decodes and 18 comments. We didn’t really know what magic number we were shooting for, but we were happy that we weren’t crazy and people actually did interact with the flyers. Interestingly enough, almost nobody interacted with the flyers that had the positive messages…though people went bananas for the ones that were “darker”. Though by the time we actually hung the flyers, our idea had changed quite a bit (we’re learning this is “common practice” for people getting an idea off the groud in the beginning), it was still a fun way to gather some data and do some research.
As mentioned, our idea has changed some, though we think we have a pretty good idea of the direction we are going. We are still doing something that involved social media and we are working on really defining our idea this week by doing some market research (I’ll get to that in our next post). In the meantime, keep reading, stay tuned, and enjoy this always evolving ride with us!