Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My departure from Talking Finger by Erik Granato

This has to be one of the hardest things for me to write, not because I am someone who is not great with words but because this blog is about my departure from Talking Finger. For those of you who do not know, Bill and I came to an agreement for Bill to purchase my half of Talking Finger and I legally transferred all of my power over to Bill on Feb 28th, 2013, after 3 awesome years together building Talking Finger.

I wanted to write this blog to share my history of Talking Finger and wish Bill nothing but the best as he journeys on with Talking Finger and Dana and Chris. I know TF is in great hands, I would not have picked someone like Bill as a partner back 3 years ago if I didn't feel I would be able to have someone who would have my back as well as I had his. TF is in great hands and will continue to thrive.

It all started with Facebook, Bill posted a status on his wall (on an old profile) saying "With all my friends out there, we have so much talent that we need to do something together".  That was in early 2010...after leaving a weekend trip with my cousin in D.C. who has always been an inspiration to me, I had an idea that I punched into my phone while driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

As usual Bacon dominates my mind but a Social Media Marketing Company came into my head (and some really strange names for it as you can see) and I quickly typed it in. (I don't want to hear about texting and driving) I know that I should have known better but I'm getting older and these things need to be written down before I forget them. So I sent Bill this message when I got home. And by the way I didn't figure out the the name Talking Finger till June!
(As anyone who has followed us over the years knows I can't spell well...some things never change!)

The next day the guys gathered at Bills Cabana for our traditional night of guys night swimming, having some beers and general B.S. that guys do when they are together.  I asked him what he felt about the idea and his words were (plug your ears) "FUCK YA!...I know exactly what you are thinking, tomorrow we start planning this thing." So the next day I came over to Bills house with a giant pad of paper and some Spider man markers I bought at the local Odd-Job (Were a start-up...can't afford Sharpies at this point)  and we sat on the floor of the cabana and started to write out a very rough business plan.
(Our PR Photo, not the actually cabana)
When I got home that night that I realized that a list I had written up in 1994 was about to have one more thing checked off of it. 

(The last line says "Owner of a company") This was a list I made so long ago, but a few years ago when I found it again in a box of personal things I realized that I had actually accomplished 80% of them. Some of them are just not practical now...like a pilots license but I was able to cross of one more from the list. Game on!

So Bill and I became "married" for a lack of better words and spent a tremendous amount of time researching "what" we were going to be...we sat at the cabana with out laptops (PC Vs. MAC war had begun also) and we went to town learning everything social media.
(by the way that slot machine never pays out...its rigged!)
We acted as a team, we learned each other strengths so that neither would feel helpless if one of us was alone with a client. We started to promote ourselves as best we could and till this day we praise everyone at the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce for being so supportive as well as DiMatteo Group and our friend "Lauren P.K." for the same support and helping us get off the ground! Success came very quick for us through those channels as well as Bills knowledge of Trade Shows which we showcased at often.
Bill setting up at the "Oakdale"

We did Webinars together

And the GVCC had us handle the social media for the annual Chic-Fil-A leadercast
Everything was going AWESOME, and still is...I was doing a ton of speaking engagements in NYC for companies that had followed us and wanted us to speak on everything from Facebook to Pinterest to Social Media Strategy...

...Attended the Facebook F8 Conference in NYC to gain more knowledge for my Facebook Developer skills...

...We got to do some wild stuff and meet and gain clients not only from the local area but from all over the world...as far away as Greece. We also created and executed a successful political social media campaign for Mayor Staffieri to assist him in re-election...

...Hung out with Rap legends at a recording studio in NYC...

...and even made a relationship with Chaz from WPLR and he loved us so much he tapped us to do all the social media for this past Christmas's toy drive at the Webster Bank Arena...

 ...TV and Radio press was happening so often that we couldn't go anywhere without some going...I heard of you guys...

...In December we were awarded Entrepreneurial Growth Award from The GVCC...

I was managing along with Bill well over 150 clients from around the world, everything from simple Facebook makeovers to complex social media strategies...all this will attending class at night to check off another item on my list...the last line, Go back and finish school.

All this took a major toll on me which I learned how to power through and "just do it". The experience, relationships and personal pride I gained from all things Talking Finger is priceless to me....and here is where the "but" comes in.

I decided late in 2012 after finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when school was about to end that I needed to pursue my education to a higher level. Talking Finger was chugging along at a sweet pace and Bill as well as Dana our Social Media Strategy's/Content Writer and Chris or Graphic Designer were kicking some serious ass with their work. I had a long talk with Bill about potentially leaving TF and pursuing the next level of my life, heck I'm only 41, I have a lot of time in my life to start all over...I felt now was the only time I would have to go after the next level of my dreams...the problem was if I left TF I knew I would feel as if I was giving up my 3 year old child for adoption, which is how I still feel. Fortunately for me the people at TF are incredible parents so I know my child is in great hands but I knew I would miss TF everyday, I miss the people I engaged with frequently. I have made so many friends through TF...Clients that became friends is a special thing to me and that is one of the harder pieces of this departure to work through.

I am not one for inspirational quotes especially ones in a fortune cookie but I did get this one during my process of departing TF.

I want to thank everyone I met in my past 3 years at TF, we would not have been able to be where we got to be at if it wasn't for you. The warmth and kindness as well as the new friendships are going to be with me forever. 

I leave Talking Finger saddened that I have to close a chapter in my life, but its been an incredible 3 years.

Bill, Dana, Chris thank you for giving me the opportunity not only to have met you but the fun, the hard work and the success that we all achieved together. I wish nothing but the best for all of you as Bill takes you on to a new adventure...I will never forget you guys.