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Aussie Social Media Pioneer - Danny Bishop

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I'm here sharing a shiraz with Danny Bishop. A friend, father of two, a man who certainly knows his wines, and someone I consider to be a pioneer of social media in the Australian sports industry.

On Business...

You've done a number of interesting things to earn a crust. From changing light globes in traffic lights to running Essendon Football Club's website and social media campaigns, to your current role with IMG. Being the most die-hard Bombers supporter I've ever met, your experience with Essendon must have been very special?

Totally. When I was studying at Uni people asked me the same question everyone at uni gets - "What do you want to do when you finish?" For me the standard answer was "Oh, I'd love to work on the Essendon website - but there's only one of those jobs in the entire world, so I'll probably end up doing something else." Turns out I didn't get a chance to work on the "something else" for quite a while! Being involved in an AFL club is an amazing experience. The work is demanding and amazingly intense at times. The lows are draining, as a big loss knocks the wind out of every one's sails. But the highs are better than anything any other job has to offer!

"Probably one of the things I'm most proud of was completely redesigning the Essendon website in 2008. I was given virtually free reign to design what I wanted one of the most prestigious sporting brands' website would look like."

Recently you were kind enough to attend a Nillumbik Business Network evening, coordinated by my beautiful wife, as guest speaker. You did a fantastic job and held everybody's undivided attention for the duration of your presentation. You shared your career journey and told of social media opportunities that came your way which many of us can only dream of. Could you share some of your experiences with our TackleNappy friends?

I've been lucky enough to be involved in the bronze age of social media. When we started playing with it at Essendon we didn't even use that term for it. For us, it was all about "Fan engagement". Essendon have been the only AFL club who controlled development of their website, outside of the AFL/Telstra umbrella model. Because of this we were given a lot of free reign to come up with neat ways of making fans want to interact with the club. That culture of "let's try it and see" led to us playing with social media early on, and controlling and guiding it until it was big enough that Essendon needed to find internal staff to take over the day-to-day community management that modern social media requires. It was great fun at times - tweeting Essendon's come-from-behind ANZAC Day win over the Pies where Zaharakis made himself an instant hero was incredible. That day was the first time an AFL related topic trended worldwide on twitter. We had heaps of fans, including famous ones like Andrew Bogut, tweeting about the win and who should be named ANZAC Day medalist. Awesome! But the strings of losses made life hard in that space too. Fans of footy clubs are passionate, and the disconnect between the real world and social media means that many feel no problem posting some insanely vicious stuff on Facebook and Twitter after the team loses. When you've got to read hundreds of them at 2 am after a Friday night match it takes a toll on how happy you wake up Saturday morning.

Hmm, Zaharakis...I was at the game, it wasn't a great moment for this Collingwood supporter! You've had the privilege of attending some events most footy mortals can only dream about. You filmed the press conference announcing James Hird as coach of the club* and you shared pictures on Twitter directly from the Crichton Medal, as the winners were receiving their awards. Have you had any other experiences that would make us even more jealous?

* See attached photo taken by Danny on his iPhone whilst he was filming the press conference for the Essendon website.

Being in the rooms after a win is pretty special, especially when the win is unexpected or over a traditional rival. A couple of years back Essendon inflicted another loss on Carlton despite the fact they were favourites before the match. I was in the rooms as the players came in off the MCG. Getting high fives from the players and coaches as they walked into the rooms was great. The mad Monday's have been pretty good too!

How did you get into this line of work?Press COnference - Announcing James Hird as Coach

I studied multimedia at Vic Uni. Because Social Media is still an evolving thing there isn't a set path of entry to it right now. I know people who've studied a range of things before landing as community manager or social media manager. In the future it will be marketing degrees that get you noticed, but right now the people who have already completed their marketing courses weren't taught social media, so they aren't the only ones getting the jobs. I got into it because the sports clubs we deal with need to connect with fans, and when that's online that means me.

On social media, any tips on the 'next big thing'? What are the big trends to watch out for over the next year or so?

Crystal balling in this space is incredibly dangerous. Things can change so quickly. But if you want my guesses - Google+ will become more and more powerful and Facebook will try to hook into everything you do - not just the things you 'like'. And social media commerce will take some real steps into mainstream while still being a sideline for the time being.

Do you realise you have three times as many Twitter followers as I do? You have cool people like Francis Leach following you. I'm a little jealous.

Ha! When I first heard people talking about twitter - back when the earth was cooling - I remember someone said "It's not about who follows you, it's about who you follow." And it's true - twitter's most interesting feature is reading what other people are thinking and doing. Only got 1 follower? No problem as long as you're following lots of interesting people!

Which social networking tool do you spend most of your time on and why?

Definitely twitter. It's my constant companion to and from work on the bus and runs in the background on my Mac while I'm banging away at the keyboard during the day.

Your thoughts on Google Plus, LinkedIn, and what's that other one...Oh, Facebook?

Google Plus is like a geeky ghost-town at the moment, but given how important Google search referrals are to websites, and the way Google plus is already showing up in Google search there is no doubt that smart companies will begin investing heavily in G+. That means they'll build stuff to try and attract people to the platform, and that means maybe people will follow... maybe. I like LinkedIn, but it really does seem to be "Facebook for CEO's" at times, the jury's still out on the real usefulness there. Facebook? 'Too big to fail' or 'There's always something new ready to takeover'? Right now it's just insane how big Facebook is. In terms of traffic referrals, most AFL clubs have Google search in number one, and Facebook at number two - and the gap is narrowing.

"Google Plus is like a geeky ghost-town at the moment, but given how important Google search referrals are to websites...there is no doubt that smart companies will begin investing heavily in G+."

You also created and starred in, a video blog with Brad Patton. Tell us a little more about Wineweek.

We started it because we had the expertise to do a video podcast and love our wine. Back when it started video podcasting wasn't as simple as it is now, so it took geeks to make it happen. Because of that there were heaps of computer related podcasts, but not many wine ones. In fact in Australia there weren't any for a long time... just Brad and I banging on about how much we like Riesling!

Pulling the plug after 237 shows must have been difficult...or was it?

Very. But we kind of did what we set out to do - tell people about the wines we liked! 5 years of doing so was great fun and gave us some incredible experiences. Drinking Moet & Chandon from the mid 50s and deciding I preferred the 1976 served earlier in the day - that's pretty decadent! I'll miss that - and the free wine sent to us in the hope we'd review it!

You probably profiled half dozen wines each week, which means you've tasted each one (that's 1422 bottles of wine)...[long uncomfortable pause for interviewer]...Danny, do you have a drinking problem?

It was only 3 bottles a week! That means roughly 700 wines, so I say my drinking problem is only half as bad as you imagine!

Tell me honestly, do you hate when people like me call you from Liquorland asking for last minute wine recommendations?

Not unless they're standing in the cask aisle. I can't help people choose between goon-bags.

"...a few years back the Village People turned up at my birthday party - a few friends still tell stories about that one!"

How big is your, cellar, and which bottle do you consider pick of the bunch?

The cellar is split in three. There's a cupboard & wine rack at home for the general quaffers. There's a wine fridge I had built into the kitchen cabinetry during a renovation last year. And there's stuff in my parent-in-law's cellar - far enough away that I can't get smashed and decide opening something expensive is a great idea with pizza ordered at 1am. All up we'd have less than 500 bottles. Not a massive cellar compared to some of my wine wanker mates! The best bottle? Geeze. I don't know. There's a few expensive French wines in there, and a few bottles of Grange. But maybe the pick are the dozen Glaetzer "Bishop" shiraz from 2007 and 2009 - birth year wines for my two daughters that just happen to bear their last name on the labels.

Are you saving this for a particular the next time we catch up for a boozy Sunday afternoon BBQ?

There are a few set aside for particular times, mostly about aging them right. There's a bottle of Margaux - a French Bordeaux - that I've promised myself I won't open until 2025 at the absolute earliest. So I think we've got a few more barbie's to get through before that comes out.

You're still involved in the sports industry. Tell us about your role with IMG.

My title is Creative Director - but mostly when people ask what I do I tell them I'm a web geek. I deal in look & feel of websites and ecommerce facilites as well as social media stuff. I work with an arm of IMG called IMG Sports Technology Group. We deal with member based organisations including shop & auctions for the AFL, membership for NRL teams, event registration for Cycling Australa and more.

What would you consider your career highlights to date?

Probably one of the things I'm most proud of was completely redesigning the Essendon website in 2008. I was given virtually free reign to design what I wanted one of the most prestigious sporting brands' website would look like. When it launched we got so much positive feedback, including a lot of other AFL clubs telling us they wished we could deliver something similar for them.

On fatherhood....

Tell us a little about your family.

My partner Jacqui and I aren't married but have been together for well more than a decade. We've got two awesome little girls, one who is 4 and her 'little' sister who turns 3 soon. I say little with quote marks because she already out muscles and out weighs her big sis.

Has your line of work influenced what you do as a father?

They see a lot of sport on TV and both attended their first AFL match before they were one year old, but that's about it. They play normal games and such as we've made a decision that iPads and iPhones shouldn't replace puzzles, lego and banging around outside.

When Jacqui fell pregnant with your first little person, what was the craziest advice you received from others?

I really don't remember anything insane. I wish someone had told me to go out more in those last months of being childless, and to get more sleep in the lead up too!

Kid A resembled a frog in our first ultrasound picture so we affectionately called her Froggy. Did you have a name for your kids whilst they were still in the womb?

"The bean", it's actually taken from one of Nick Earls' novels, so I can't claim it as my own.

What one word best describes how you felt when you became a father for the first time?

Relieved! As Jacqui would tell you, I'm a worrier. Every ultrasound during the pregnancy I held my breath until we heard the heartbeat. When each little bundle was delivered healthy and perfect I felt a huge high of relief - then, and we're talking moments here - then the adoration and love kicked in. It's not like a mills and boon novel answer, but in my experience talking to other people, birth isn't a simple experience - I feel very lucky that I actually fell in love with my girls in the first moments they arrived. It's not like that for everyone, and there's no reason it should be.

"Every ultrasound during the pregnancy I held my breath until we heard the heartbeat."

Have you considered having more kids? Why/why not?

We have, but we'll see.

Did you select Christian or Middle names for a special reason?

We struggled with names, both first and middle. It was argument territory in fact. The big sister has a middle name, while her younger sister doesn't. Names are hard - prepare early I say!! Talk about it lots! Don't imagine that it'll all get solved when they pop out!

What Nursery Rhyme keeps getting stuck in your head?

I try to play the guitar with the girls a bit, and rather than nursery rhymes we go through some weird stuff. They both love the music from Beauty & The Beast, but recently they've been fans of me playing Sherbet's "Howzat". Humming that around the office gets a few odd looks, but it's not as bad as Incy-wincy Spider I guess.

Which children's book do you secretly like to read (mine's The Grufallo)?

Right now my girls have to put up with me reading "The Very Cranky Bear" lots. I dread the day they tell me they're too old for that, or - even more frightening - that the voices I put on when reading it are naff.

Private or Public? Which would you recommend to an expecting parent and why?

If you've got the money I thoroughly recommend private - at least for your first born. If you're having a second or third or, heaven help you, fourth or fifth then public is definitely an option to explore. You don't get as much one-on-one time in public, which make more difference when you don't know the drill.

A question from Clinton, a friend of TackleNappy. Sleep - any tips on how to get little ones to sleep and how to get enough sleep yourself?

Have a plan and stick to it. Our first born has never been a great sleeper. We tried controlled crying when she was about 6 months old. At first it was very hard, as my natural urge was to pick her up to settle her at the first noise. And in the middle of the night, when you're lacking sleep yourself 2 or 3 minutes of crying seems like an eternity. We ended up having to have a clock to mark the time so we didn't end up in a "It's been at least 15 minutes - No! It's only been 10!" type arguments. You're tired, stressed and lack control - a recipe for fighting. So work out your plan - what ever that plan is - and agree on it during the day. Then stick to it.

Getting sleep yourself? Buggered if I know! Don't drink too much?

Could you tell us a little about your parents and siblings?

I've got two sisters, both in Melbourne, both with their own families. My parents live in Greensborough, not far from where they lived when I was born. My dad has worked in the music industry since before I was born, and toured some little - and big - named artists over the years. Everyone thinks he's a powerful bloke who is in control of everything. My sisters and I know that's only partly true, and that without our mum he'd be completely lost.

Thinking back to your childhood, what are your strongest and fondest memories of your own father?

My dad spent a lot of time away when he was touring a band, which meant sometimes he'd go 'missing' for 6-8 weeks at a time. But when he was home his office was downstairs, so I'd see him every morning and every night up to when I left for school and the moment I got home from school. He was always a really loving dad. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be as good a dad to my kids as he was to me - that was a long time before anyone even wanted to see me naked, let alone have kids with me!

I have to ask, did your dad's occupation provide you opportunities to meet any 'music legends'?

Yeah... a few! Somewhere there's a photo of me as a little kid sitting on Johnny Cash's knee. He arranged for us to meet Billy Connolly backstage after a show in Melbourne. He'd told me we were catching up with Billy's manager and I fell for that right until we walked into Billy's dressing room. Also a few years back the Village People turned up at my birthday party - a few friends still tell stories about that one!

"Somewhere there's a photo of me as a little kid sitting on Johnny Cash's knee."

And your mother, what are your strongest and fondest memories?

Because Dad was away a lot Mum did a lot of the parenting on her own. She took me to the park on the weekends to watch me play soccer and baseball, she looked after three kids often singlehanded and never complained about the fact her husband was away a lot. She even stood-in at Father-Son nights at scouts. She's amazing and while people say I act and sound like my father, I look like her side of the family a lot and I know so much of who I am is because of who she is. I love her and my dad a huge amount.

If I asked this same question of your kids in 30 years time, what response would you hope for? What response do you think I'd get?

Geeze... um. I hope whatever answer they deliver the word 'love' as part of it. Hopefully the word 'dag' doesn't come up as much!

And growing up with brothers and sisters? Strongest memories?

The fights of course. But as we got older I have better memories. Being the only boy, and the youngest, might not be the easiest in a family that was often only females!

To Finish up...

As a father, what's the best advice you can give other fathers?

Don't get lost, to be a good dad you've got to be a good you too. Embrace your kids and tell them you love them... over and over and over. Be involved in stuff, if they like playing hairdresser then play hairdresser with them. They only person who will think that's silly is your wife/parter - and they already know your dumb side pretty well I would think!

As a son, what's the best advice you can give to your kids regarding maintaining a strong relationship with their father?

I find that hard - especially at the moment. Work is busy (for both he and I) and having two small kids means sometimes we don't see enough of each other. But he knows how much I love and respect him. I'm hoping as our kids get a bit older that we'll see a lot more of each other - we won't be rushing them off from Gran & Pop's house trying to make the sleep deadlines!

Do you have anything else regarding being a father that you would like to share with TackleNappy?

I remember, years ago, a girl I was dating telling me about male versus female characteristics. She claimed at the time that nuturing was a female trait. I think I blindly accepted that at the time. I certainly don't believe it now. Being a dad is a mix of being able to lay down the rules and being gentle, kind and supportive. Those softer things aren't exclusively feminine. They are part of being a great dad.

If our readers would like more information about you, where do they go? or

Would you like to write a guest post for TackleNappy?

Sure... especially if you can find an extra hour or two in the day!

Lastly, if we were to send you an "I Love TackleNappy" T-shirt, do you swear to send us back a picture of you wearing it?

Most definitely!

Danny Bishop, thank you very much for your time...can you please share this interview with your hoards of social media followers and ask them nicely to follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook Page?

Will do!


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Last modified on Monday, 06 February 2012 21:29

Bucky is a proud triple dad to three girls aged eight and under (Bookworm, Foghorn and Boo). He left the full time corporate world in late 2012 and he's not sure whether he's a SAHD or a WAHD, but either way he's spenidng more time at home with his family. Once upon a time Bucky played guitar for a garage band, now he can only play nursery rhymes.

Bucky would like to be an official chocolate, beer and scotch tester - please contact him here if you can help with this.Aussie Daddy Blogger Member

You can follow Bucky on nearly every social media network known to man, but maybe start with Twitter. You can also follow his dog on Twitter if you really like.

You can give Bucky Klout for "Parenting", "Dads" or "Social Media" here (Thanks!).

Bucky is a proud Aussie Daddy Blogger.



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