Video Transcript

00:12 Doug Ulman: Good morning. It's truly an honor to be here, and it's incredibly humbling to be here for several reasons, most importantly because everybody in this room has accomplished so much, and I wanna just congratulate you and thank you for the opportunity. I'm also humbled to be here because to share a stage with the likes of Guy Kawasaki or my good friends Scott Harrison, Marie Tillman, later today, Mark Kelly, is truly, truly, truly an honor. And lastly, I'm humbled to be here because if you would have told me four years ago that I would be speaking at this conference talking about social media, I would have said you're crazy. I knew nothing about social media. I've never used social media, didn't believe really in social media.

01:07 Ulman: And so I will talk a little bit today about how that has all changed. And how I believe that social media is not a communication tool or platform. If you think about it that way, you will not realize the potential that this new sort of way of working provides. It has to be a strategic decision. It has to be thought about incredibly, strategically to make it work for your organization, your company, or your mission. And everything that you do has to be based on your mission. So, for us, it's all about our manifesto.

01:53 Ulman: This is the beginning of our manifesto. Everything we do comes from this document. Now I won't read it to you, but it's all about helping individuals who are facing, what my mentor and good friend, Hamilton Jordan, used to refer to, as the three most feared words in the English language, "You have cancer." It's all about empowering and inspiring people to achieve a higher quality of life after their diagnosis. So everything we do, whether it be on social media, whether it be our programs, whether it be our advocacy, all has to tie back to this.

02:30 Ulman: So let me ask you to do me a favor. Close your eyes. Close your eyes and think about somebody you know who is 19 years old. Could be your son, daughter, cousin, nephew, niece, friend, neighbor. Think about where they are in their life. Maybe they're off in college, maybe they're serving in the military. Think about the optimism. Think about the belief that they have in the future. Think about everything that they have to look forward to. And then imagine being in a room with that individual and their parents, a real sterile brick building, in a major urban city, and having someone sit down across the table and say, "Well, it's confirmed. You have chondrosarcoma." Now open your eyes.

03:29 Ulman: That's what happened to me on August 26, 1996. And that meeting lasted more than an hour, and I don't remember one word past what I just told you. "Well, it's been confirmed. You have chondrosarcoma." Here I was, a young 19-year-old college athlete. Had grown up in the first planned city in the United States of America, a place called Columbia, Maryland. Highly... Yeah, Columbia, Maryland! Well done, I never get that, so that's good. Born to incredible parents, highly educated, and yet I knew nothing about this disease. I knew nothing about what it meant.

04:13 Ulman: Would I live? Would I die? What would my life be like? What were the next steps? I was so naive, was so naive to this disease that's all around us, and that's personal experience. And the personal experience of many of my colleagues, several of whom are here today, Mindy and Renee, to name a few who are also cancer survivors. That experience guides everything that we do. Everything that we do is focused on the individual and you'll see how that plays out a little bit later. So, to set the context for our social media strategy and how we use these tools, it's important to take a step back.

04:53 Ulman: Now on your seats this morning you received a yellow LIVESTRONG wristband, which some of you may have hard of or seen in the past. I will tell you that, in order to understand and appreciate this social media strategy, we have to go back to 2004. In 2004, the foundation had created a program to serve the needs of cancer survivors and their family, and we did extensive focus groups with hundreds of survivors. And after one iteration and another, and another, and another, this local marketing firm in Austin, Texas came back to us and they said, "We think we figured out the name for your program. We think we should name it LIVESTRONG." And at the time LIVESTRONG had a logo, it was orange and gray, and it was a program, a resource, and educational effort to serve the needs of cancer survivors.

05:42 Ulman: In 2004, our great partners at Nike came to us and they said, "Hey, we wanna raise 6 million dollars for the foundation. We're thinking about making these little yellow wristbands and we're gonna put the words 'Carpe Diem' on them." And first, we thought the idea was terrible. We thought we'd never sell anything remotely like this yellow wrist band. Second, we thought carpe diem is a little bit niche. It's obviously not an English word or phrase, and they started to talk about, "Well, what can we put on this wrist band?" And some of the executives from Nike went onto our website. They saw this program called "LIVESTRONG" and they called us up and they said, "That's it! Let's put LIVESTRONG on the wrist band". They said, "LIVESTRONG could be your 'just do IT'."

06:29 Ulman: So, we still thought the idea was terrible. They said, "We're gonna make these millions of these yellow pieces of rubber and you're gonna sell them for a dollar," and we called around the places and we tried to get them to take them. We tried to get them to take them and sell them in their retail outlets. I'll never forget one major retailer, major retailer said, "Well, can we take them on consignment?" And I thought, "We're a non-profit trying to serve the needs of millions of people, we can't take them back." About three months later, as we had sold out the first 5 million, 10 million, 15 million, 20 million, that retailer called back and said, "Can we get some?" And we said, "Unfortunately, we can't. We don't have them. We're sold out."

07:03 Ulman: So, nobody really believed that this could happen. But the reason that this was so successful was because, in my opinion, this yellow wrist band was the first form of social media. Think about it. I know that sounds crazy. There's no technology in it. There's no name like Facebook or Twitter associated with it. So, why was it the first form of social media? Because it connected people around a common cause who, otherwise, would have had no way to interact with one another to share their experience or to know that they were a part of something bigger than themselves.

07:40 Ulman: The other thing this yellow wrist band did, is it democratized philanthropy. Philanthropy used to be something you did when you had a lot of time and you had a lot of money. This said, "No, no, no, everyone can be a part of this for one dollar." And we got a lot of people approach us about doing high-end wrist bands or different levels of wrist bands, and we said, "No, no, no, no, no. That defeats the purpose." This gave everybody the chance to be a part of something. Now, many of you in this room are probably wearing a wrist band of another kind, which is unbelievable and incredible to all of us. If people or organizations or companies can use a piece of silicon that weighs less than an ounce that costs 11 cents to make to raise awareness or fund raise for a cause, that's a phenomenal thing. It's a phenomenal thing.

08:33 Ulman: So, the other thing that this wrist band did is it gave us this movement of people, all these people who came together, now almost 90 million people who purchased one of these wrist bands around the world who said, "Sign me up. I wanna be a part of this." And if you had told me at age 19 when I was diagnosed with cancer that I would now wear something every single day, out really showing that I was a cancer survivor, I would've said, "You're crazy." The stigma associated with the disease was so great, even in 1996. So, what do we do with this movement of people? All these people who've stood up and said, "I wanna be a part of this. I wanna serve the needs of cancer survivors. I wanna advocate on their behalf. I wanna fight for this cause?"

09:12 Ulman: Well, lo and behold, right around the same time, a lot of these social media tools that we all know and use each and every day or each and every hour, were coming to fruition. But everything that we do, whether it be social media or otherwise, is about people. It's about individuals who are facing this horrific experience in their life or in their families. There are plenty of great organizations that we partner with and work with that do biomedical research and we advocate for more funding and we work with them closely. But what we do is try to improve people's lives today. So, let me ask you to indulge me. How many people in this room have survived cancer? Would you please stand up, if you're okay with that? Now... Absolutely.

10:02 Ulman: Congratulations... And actually, stay standing, stay standing, stay standing for just a second. Now, how many people in this room have had a family member survive cancer? Stand up please.

10:20 Ulman: How many people in this room have lost a family member to cancer? Stand up.

10:28 Ulman: Look around the room. This is one of the largest epidemics facing the world and our goal is to focus on the people just like you who every single day, every single hour, in the time that we're here today thousands of people are gonna hear those dreaded words. And everything comes back to the individual. Thank you very much for standing.