2015 Conference Six Questions

6 Qs with Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)

Scott Stratten (sometimes better known as @unmarketing) totally rocked when he spoke at HighEdWeb 2013 in Buffalo. He returns for HighEdWeb 2015 in Milwaukee with a keynote talk at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, and will be joined by his wife and UnPodcast partner Alison Kramer. Link Chief Editor Tim Nekritz recently had the opportunity to ask him six questions … and learned he likes us, he really likes us!


Q. You’ve clearly struck a chord with UnMarketing and all the work that followed. What led you down this path in the first place?

A. It was really out of frustration with hypocritical marketing. People were marketing in the ways they themselves hated being marketed to – putting yourself on the “DO NOT CALL” list, but trying to get better at cold calls. Forcing ads in places where people were doing everything to try to avoid advertising. I knew there was a better way. A way that people who hated being “that marketer” could market and connect naturally. To go with their grain. UnMarketing is all about putting yourself in front of your target market/community with content and connections, so when they have a need for your product/service, they choose you.

Q. When you spoke at HighEdWeb in Buffalo, to say that you were a big hit would be an understatement. Why do you think your 2013 talk particularly resonated with a group of web nerds and geeks like us?

A. To this day, the audience in Buffalo that day ranks at the top of my best audiences, ever. I think it resonated first because I am a geek. I logged onto the Internet in 1995 and haven’t logged off. I still have an affinity for my Commodore 64 (Summer Games FTW!) and love technology. But I also understand what it’s like to be in the trenches. To be told to do something because someone higher-up saw a cool thing online or on TV and said “WE NEED A VINE STRATEGY!” without any thought of point, execution, or reason. Lastly, I have a huge passion for education. I was a college professor, winning the student community award the same year I nearly lost my job a half dozen times because I didn’t like the system. Learning should be a right for every person on earth. The further pursuit of education for students is something that gets me going. HighEdWeb are my people. And we bond on the hatred of QR codes.

Q. One thing that has taken off since we last saw you is the UnPodcast with your wife, Alison. What has it been like to develop this new venture?

A. The best. That’s the only way I can put it. Every month we rent a studio and record the episodes and it’s like Christmas for me, but monthly. Alison is my muse, and, lucky for me, also my wife. To have the person that sparks your creative fire be with you every day, and to create a show together, is the greatest thing in the world.

Q. You have many stories about businesses that do awesome (and other) things, but do you have a particular favorite you don’t tell as often?

A. The best stories to me are the kindness ones no one talks about because no one knows, except the recipient of it. I can talk about the Ritz Carlton Joshie story all day, but our lives are made up of every day little occurrences. Catching an employee in the act of good, paying for a coffee for the person who lost their wallet, giving a slice of pizza to a homeless person without putting it on Instagram. Do good for the sake of doing good, not “Likes.”

Q. What’s the next big project (or projects) from you we can look forward to?

A. HighEdWeb15, obviously.

Q. And finally, it’s clear you’re setting out to make the world a better place, one less QR at a time. What do you think a truly awesome world would look like?

One where we put our phones down and talk to each other. They have a time and place, but that isn’t every second and everywhere. Talk with your kids, listen to your significant other tell a story about their day, be present.

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By Tim Nekritz

Tim Nekritz is Link's Chief Editor and the communications director for SUNY Oswego, where he also teaches a class on blues history. In his spare time, he is an active musician, booker and promoter who leads a monthly Songwriters Circle.