What I’ve learned from vlogging in the first 13 episodes of NS4L.TV

Once upon a time (2011–2012ish) a UF student bought a scooter from my company. His name was Austin. (Great name if you ask me.) A year or so after buying the scooter, Austin needed to get some accident repair work. Austin came to me and told me that he didn’t have the money at the time to complete the couple hundred dollars of repair work necessary and proceeded to ask if I would trade the scooter repair for a 2-minute promotional video for my business. This was the day I found out Austin was a videographer. I agreed and a short time later, Austin delivered this video to me. To make a long-story short, Austin and I became great friends and I recruited him to come work on our team full-time. #winning

I decided to take a risk and invest in documenting everything. The documentary is called NS4L.TV and it’s my journey (with the help of my amazing team) making NS4L the most impactful scooter company in existence and making Gainesville the Scooter Capital of the World.

We record one day, edit the next, record the next, edit the next and so on. Right now Austin is a one-man production company, but I believe this won’t always be the case.

Here is what I have learned through the process so far, only 13 episodes in:

The camera freaks everyone out. People aren’t sure what is going on. When you are sitting in a restaurant with a camera on you, servers don’t want to interrupt, patrons are staring at you strangely trying to figure out who the heck you are (“Is this guy a celebrity?”), and A LOT of people try to avoid it. Even a couple of our team members aren’t so sure about it, but because Core Value 4 is to Embrace and Shape Change, I know they will get used to it :)

You have to remember to recap. The camera is always with me. So, if a team member comes to me to assist with a situation, it doesn’t always make sense from a viewer’s standpoint, because the camera didn’t capture that situation when it happened. I have to remember to bring context to what’s happening ‘now’ by recapping the situation that just happened.

Transparency is difficult. We run a great shop. There is a reason we are where we are today, but the truth is, we deal with a lot of ‘real business stuff’ that just sucks to talk about and isn’t the most fun to ‘share with the world.’ Situations around upset customers or when I have an emotional moment like this can be difficult to share, but I don’t want to hide anything, I want to show others how we handle these types of things. I want the viewer to know who I am and where my heart is.

Captioning is the worst. One of the necessary evils of video today is captioning. Think about it… how many of you watch video in complete silence and just read the captioning? Most of you.

YouTube Auto-Captioning, LOL!

The auto-captioning (where YouTube guesses what you are saying) is terrible. Don’t use it. We started off by doing the captioning ourselves. Then we had our interns help us. Finally, after hating how tedious it was and how much time it was consuming, we tried outsourcing the work. We used a company called Rev. They charge $1/minute of video (15 min video = $15) and since we started using them we’ve kept paying for the service. The grammar is awesome, it’s pleasant to read, and they have the captioning back to you in 24 hours or less. The only thing we really have to ‘re-edit’ after they return the captions are spellings of people’s names.

I can ‘feel’ the future. My gut is telling me that even though a lot of this will be tough, overall, it will be AMAZING for NS4L (and for Gainesville). I can see where it is going to help with:

  • Growing our scooter family. Customers are going to see who we are and get behind-the-scenes with our business. They will see how we operate, be exposed to our values, and become a part of our story.
  • Recruiting. I believe that people are going to see our story, see who we are, experience our values and culture, and say, “I want to work there!”
  • Holding me accountable. In reviewing some of the videos, there have been times where I’ve told myself, “I wish I would have handled that better.” or told myself, “How about saying ‘please’ Collin?” when asking a team member for help. It will definitely serve as a tool that helps me become a better leader. It will also hold me accountable to my goals. If I’m going to share my vision and goals in this vlog, I’m definitely going to want to show me accomplishing those goals.
  • Showing off Gainesville. It’s no secret that I LOVE Gainesville. I want to have so much impact on this community and I think this vlog will help show off other amazing businesses, and collectively, our vision as an entrepreneurial community.

People think I’m crazy. This one isn’t new to me, so I’m cool with it. I look at it like this… One of two things will happen:

  • We will tell one of the greatest stories of how NS4L made Gainesville the Scooter Capital of the World. OR…
  • We fail and end up writing the greatest story of what NOT to do. Lol. Let’s hope it’s the first point!

Subscribe to NS4L.TV and watch the journey.

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