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Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns 0:19
It's beautiful day for the #PirateBroadcast™. Today we have Dennis from biz 360, we're going to be talking about an event that is going to be a global event. And we're going to be talking about business, a little bit of #inspiration, #motivation, whatever happens to come our way in the #PirateBroadcast™ today. So Dennis, good morning, thank you so much for being here.
Dennis Pitocco 0:42
Good morning, Russ, it's nice to be here, I look forward to an inspired chat with you.
Russ Johns 0:46
And well, you know, you are actually located in another part of the world today for a number of reasons. So it's an afternoon for you, it's morning for me and I want to break into biz 360 and allow you the opportunity to kind of explain to those that are unfamiliar with biz 360 on what it actually is. So give us a little snapshot of what this 360 actually encompasses.
Dennis Pitocco 1:17
I'll do that. Thanks for the question, Russ. Our website is called biz catalyst 360. But we shortened it to what Russ just said, biz 360, for those that challenge with all those syllables, but we've been around eight years. Last month. As a matter of fact, what we are is something really different. And I'll tell you what I mean by that. We portray ourselves as a global media digest, but you really can't put us in a bucket. We're not business. We're not life. We're not culture. We're not breaking news. We're not politics. We're a little bit of a lot. Now we started out eight years ago, primarily publishing articles from people that wanted to write about business leadership, social media, sales and marketing, human resources. But over the years, we started morphing into other things. And that was all because of the quality of the writers we were getting. And quite frankly, the feedback from the audience and without taking it through each year. As I roll forward. It's eight years later, again, we just celebrated our anniversary. I just did some stats on this week for another reason, but we've now got just about 800 writers, we got them on every continent. And Russ, let me just say to you and your audience, if somebody can just find me one writer in Antarctica, I'd love to be able to say all continents. If they would just write a one sentence piece of poetry and send it to me, I can then honestly say it. So right now we're on six continents, literally around the world. We published just over 23,000 articles, we were probably going to see about 2.2 million million visitors this year. And just two months ago, I'm excited to say we were awarded one of the web marketing Association's international awards...
Russ Johns 3:08
Dennis Pitocco 3:09
....which is gratifying when people come to you, so you don't pound your own chest, they're pounding it for you. That kind of took us over the final hurdle. It's a second award we've gotten, we got one very early on from another organization, but it kind of ratified everything that we had done. And just a wonderful way to finish out the year.
Russ Johns 3:30
Have you been on board for the entire ride?
Dennis Pitocco 3:34
Yes, we founded it. In fact, I'm, as you mentioned, I'm not normally in my operating area, which is Tampa Bay, Florida. I'm in England right now. This catalyst was launched right here from Southampton, England a years ago. And it was a hobby for lack of a better term, turned into...I wouldn't call it an occupation. I'll call it an occupassion.
Russ Johns 3:57
I like that word.
Dennis Pitocco 3:58
What it's done, Russ, is it took...let me back up a little bit. The theory was, I want to build a website. I'm not a technical guy, but I know what I would want in a website because in business for many years, I was in banking internationally, I traveled the world and I was always struggling with going to one place to get what I'll call good stuff, which means it's current, you know, it's respectful. It's fact based, and there's real people writing. It's not coming out of a textbook. Well, I was challenged for many years. So when I built this thing, I built it from the ground floor up. And that was from a user perspective, rather than ordering a website and having somebody come to us and say, okay, Russ, here's what our website looks like. And they put all the bells and whistles in it, looks like everybody else, but it's a technical version. We build it from a user perspective to make it easy. Key distinctions, you will never see an advertisement, you'll never see pop ups on our website. We're blessed that we've done everything for good which means we can drive this bus and whatever direction without an advertising board to say, well, you can't really go in that direction. So it's been quite a ride.
Russ Johns 5:07
Well, congratulations on that ride. I, I have to believe that there was a pivotal moment in your life that ou probably had some decision. You know, if you're in banking and a lot of traditional jobs, there's a shift or anything, was there a moment in your life where you just decided, okay, this is worth investing a lot of time in to do much better work than what I'm doing now?
Dennis Pitocco 5:35
Oh that's a that's a great question. I apologize. I skipped over how I segwayed from business, classical business for...
Russ Johns 5:43
international banker to...
Dennis Pitocco 5:44
Yeah, yeah. I came in from the cold. But here's what happened, Russ, seriously, I traveled the world, did a lot of banking. I was over here in England doing some work and I ran a company over here and sold the company. Somewhere along the line, I met my wonderful wife over here in England. We got married, I sold all my business went back to Tampa, but too young to retire. But it's the best analogy I can give you, Russ. It's like the dog that's chasing the car. We caught the car now what do you do with it? Yeah, we were blessed. With enough success that we could technically retire, we'd love to travel. So we could just go cruising for the rest of our life. But we wanted to, you know, we took a lot of long walks and say, all right, we're blessed with this opportunity to do what we would like to do. Now, what do you do? Well, we decided number one, we wanted to do intentional travel. Now I did a lot of business travel. So did my wife. But Russ it's a kind of travel where I can tell you I went to South Korea. But when I saw South Korea was the airport, the meeting room, the taxi and airport, but I never took advantage of that. So we said our one thing we're going to do a part of our time is we're going to intentionally travel around the world to learn about the cultures. And we're going to put America at the bottom of that list. Because you can always do America. And it's amazing to me just how many people have never left America. So we wanted to go out and see the world together, number one. Number two, we wanted to spend a lot more time with one of our true labor of loves. And that's nonprofits and giving back and I'm sure you hear the words giving back a lot, Russ. But we mean, not just writing a check, rolling up your sleeves, getting in the mud, and truly volunteering, delivering meals. So we've done a lot of that. I've been on boards, I've chaired boards, we deliver meals every week to the local Meals on Wheels. And the third thing we wanted to do is keep our minds active. Well, a lot of people in retirement again, we're a little young for that. But a lot of people do the Sudoku and the crossword puzzles. That's where the website came in saying I wonder if we can build this thing. And I say we, because my wife has always been what I can best call my chief #inspiration officer. She pushes back when I'm off on the wrong road here and keeps me focused. But that's where it came from. So we had the energy to do the website. And as you know, you can do it from anywhere. So we could still travel. And nonprofits we did while we're home, when we've taken that nonprofit thing a little further, which I can talk about later. But the point is, we divided our time, three different ways. And that was the #inspiration behind building this thing, and truly severing all ties with the corporate world and just saying, What can we do? And how much can we learn? How many people can we meet.
Russ Johns 8:22
And I really applaud you, Dennis, for that. Because there are so many people leaving the workforce every year that people don't realize this. And there's so much talent, and there's so much experience, leaving the workforce that never has an opportunity to get shared in another way. And so I applaud you for your efforts in giving back to the community in multiple ways.
Dennis Pitocco 8:50
Thank you. Thank you for that.
Russ Johns 8:52
So I have to also mention and dive into this idea that there's, you know, 2020 hasn't been a typical year in most circumstances. A lot of remote working, a lot of people reflecting on different activities. One of the things that I wanted to kind of dive into is you have an event coming up, that is going to hopefully include a lot of people that we can come together in a kinder, more productive, positive way. Why don't you share that with us and dive into that a little bit.
Dennis Pitocco 9:34
Thanks. Thanks for a great question because we are that in, you know, if you asked me when I came on with you here, what are you most excited about? What are you most focused on? That would be what I'm about to talk about. But I'm going to give you a little story to tell you how we got there, then I'll tell you what it is when my wife and I again, we're based in Tampa, every morning we get up and we walk, just kind of when the sun's coming up. And that gets us away, we're unplugged. We're away from all the media out there. When you're in the publishing business, you know, we live on social media, we can't help it. So it's that one time in the morning, Russ, where it's quiet. We're walking around the neighborhood, we may see a few neighbors, some dogs and all that. But that's when we do our thinking about, you know, what do we want to do next, whether it be the nonprofits. Absent this year, we talked a lot about travel. But obviously, that hasn't happened a lot. We talked about...and this goes back into early September, we're walking and I said to my wife, her name is Allie. I said, you know what, there's just so much darkness that are out there out there right now. And the pandemic, obviously, the presidential politics going on, the police issues, the race issues. I mean, you just keep piling it on people out of work, as you mentioned earlier, and said, you know, there is such darkness, we need to find...we're blessed. We've got this giant website where we can speak to the world, in so many different ways. We've got a substantial social media following was going to be a way we can use this to do something bigger, bolder, braver, and probably scarier than we've ever done before. That's where the notion of the last one, we invented what we now call hope fest 360. Now, this will be on our website for people that want more details. But here's what it is. We said, we're going to keep it simple. We're going to go out to the people that we know across our networks, our friends, our family, and we're gonna ask them one question, Russ. And picture it this way. Dennis is walking down the street. He sees Russ on the sidewalk, I come up and say, Russ, you don't know me, but I'd like you to tell me what are your hopes for the new year? And then Russ would just rattle off from his heart, unrehearsed. It could be 30 seconds. It could be five minutes, whatever Russ is thinking about.So that's what we did. We started..we had no idea Russ, how many people would respond, it was early September, we're thinking we're going to do this and then we're going to stitch it all together and do something on New Year's Day. Because we want to bring hope and healing into the new year. Well, this is September, we started out for the second week of September, we reached out to a bunch of people. And when we said, when you answer that question, whoever you are, record it, send it by phone, put it on YouTube, whatever you want to do, just give us a link. And we're going to stitch it together. Now. Here we are. It's October, and we're just literally eight weeks later. And I was doing some totals this morning because we're now in what I'll call the production stage of this event. And when I tell you this thing went well beyond our expectations and got scary, as I said earlier, it did. Let me say what we've ended up with, as of this morning, we've got 130 videos from all six continents, countries and countries galore. multiple languages, the youngest contributor is age five, the oldest is over 85. We've got 188 380 voices within those videos. We've got and this this just shocked us along the way we we were contacted by over two dozen recording artists, one of which is a Grammy nominee and said we want to donate our music to this thing. So and it went on and on and on. And I think what it touched a nerve, obviously for us because there's a lot of darkness. And we were bringing light. And I think I talked to people that said, you know, why is this thing morphing into this giant event? I said, Well, if you look around, then it's we're actually going to go to get such an uplifting messages from real people. These aren't, you know, you and I professionals, right? These are people off the street. Yeah, there's some professionals in it, because that's who you're connected to. Sure. We have a five year old girl here in England, we've got an eight year old boy up there in Pennsylvania, their messages are so innocent. And so pure. And I think the other part of this is it reflects who we are as a website and what we believe in and that is there's no catches, there's no surprises. There's no cost. This is a free event, everything we're doing all the time, all the expense, anything we're investing, including the the recording artists, everybody is doing it for good. And that's the magic of it. And you know, call it the butterfly effect, if we can create some ripples of good coming into New Year. So what's the end result? Well, we told everybody in the beginning, that we're going to record this whole thing, we're going to stitch it together. Now again, nothing would have ever done anything like this, Russ. That was the scary part. We did some research on YouTube.
Russ Johns 14:22
Navigating new water.
Dennis Pitocco 14:24
Right. So here's where we ended up. Starting at noon, Eastern on New Year's Eve and continuing for the next 24 hours. You're going to see this broadcast, we think it's going to be around seven hours long with all the videos and all the music stitched together. There's a reason why we're starting at noon on New Year's Eve. Originally we said well, we broadcasted from sunrise to sunset on New Year's Day. But then we did some research and we said well wait a minute. Sunrise happens, as you would know, different times around the year. The first location in the world that apparently sees the New Year is Christmas Island. So at noon, Eastern, that's midnight, or 1201. So it's going to start broadcasting, then it's going to go through the day. And then just about three weeks ago, through some good people that were talking to us and said, Dennis, we love it, we're going to get involved, we're going to give you videos, but you know, seven hours could be a long time, six or seven hours. So some people have it on in the background. But why limit it to New Year's Day? And we thought that was brilliant. So we've now morphed into the next page, which means rest on the day, we broadcast it, you'll be able to see the whole thing. But for the next 30 days, we've chopped it into bite sized chunks. So every day you can see maybe 15 minutes of hope. So it's an entire January of hope, which is just again, well beyond our expectations, and it's consuming us, but it's truly a labor of love.
Russ Johns 15:51
Well the thing that comes to mind, Dennis. is the legacy that it leaves and that idea that somebody can speak into this idea of hope. And imagine a different outcome or a better outcome or continued hope for free humanity. And right now that, more than any other time, we need something to hang on to. We need something...
Dennis Pitocco 16:21
If I can interrupt you, you said the magic word there. And that was imagine if you look at our site and our page for this event, we talked about imagine the possibilities. If you can do what you just said, Just imagine it for a minute, you know, put aside all this negativity and just imagine it and see what you can do with it.
Russ Johns 16:41
So I want to kind of go back a little bit and there's a couple of people in the room Guten Tag pirates. Morning from Angie. Mike is in the house. Morning and afternoon, gentlemen. So Jeffrey's here. Hey, Russ and Dennis glad to catch you live this AM. Thank you so much for being here. Mike says I love occupassion. So Mike would be a good contact for you, Dennis. He's interviewing mayor's around North America. So biz catalyst 360. Sounds awesome. Love it. Gabriel. Gabriel was on the broadcast last night, it was a four hour broadcast, Dennis. And we were all laughing and having a great time and letting off some steam and allowing people to enjoy the conversation. It's one of the things that I'm sure that you would appreciate. So hello, Ross and Dennis from Gabriel. And then Jeffrey says leaving corporate America was the best decision I made. Because my vision was bigger, and they could not fulfill it. Philanthropy is one of my passions. And then thank you for sharing that. Jeffrey. Dennis, I want to talk about you know, you have your website, you have your community, you're building on Hope, you have this event in January. What doesyour vision look like? And in 18 months, two years from now?
Dennis Pitocco 18:20
Well, we, we took a position, you know, after building this thing, if you know much about websites, they're never really done. I mean, every day you're morphing because the audience is changing. But we got to a point roughly about two and a half three years ago where you know, we had our nonprofit thing going, which is a totally separate website. It's called good works 360 and that's where we spend all our nonprofit time. And then we have this catalyst. And then in the middle of that we were developing a lot of other things like these events and saying, well wait a minute, people were saying, well, who are you? What are you going to be? We finally decided we would take all this and put it under one umbrella called 360 nation. And the tagline for that is kind of where we're heading and that's humanity rediscovered, which means we got tired of, you know, you see all you go across social media like you wouldn't I would and you see a lot of the slogans and you see all the pretty pictures and you had a great quotes. We said it's time for people to start walking the talk and start to it starts with us because we can't be preaching that so we started doing things. In fact, it's funny we started this, I wrote an article, which I don't write a lot, Russ, because I've learned you can publish or you can write, it takes too much time to do both. But I said to my wife, you know, we want people to do more. We want people to go beyond just saying all the wonderful words, but you know, do something and particularly in the middle of a pandemic, we thought that was even more important. So we had people after I wrote the article and publish it they said well, you know, we love what you're saying, we love what you're doing but help us understand what do you mean by doing more. Now that was an awakening because we just assume everybody thinks like that. So we decided to define it. And there's an article out there. But it's basically...I think I titled it in search of humanity, time to do more. And within that we started out by listing, I think it was just eight things that Russ could do in the morning or I could do. For example, more joy, how can you create more joy? Well, we gave them a paragraph with some ideas. How do you have more gratitude? How can you show more love? How can you show more hope? Well, we started out with seven things and then people started commenting, the magic of social media. As of this week, we're up to 38 do mores. So it became called a manifesto, a roadmap. But it started to define, Russ, for us who we were and what we wanted to do. So when we do things, we want to make sure they coincide with this idea of giving back and truly not just the words giving back, but truly doing more. And this talks about creating ripples of change again, and I don't know, just shocking humanity a little bit because we think with the pandemic coming on, and I've talked to a lot of people about this, Russ, we think the door to humanity is open just a little bit more for us, because everybody kind of stopped, so to speak. And there's a reset kind of going on, and I've got my foot in the door right now. Because I'm trying to pull people into this, let's talk about rediscovering humanity, not the way things used to be, because they'll never be the same. But let's start with the kindness. Let's start with the #gratitude. Let's start with the beauty and all those wonderful words. And then talk to me. About now everybody's on zoom. Well, we've got a few on zoom, too, but the idea there is to get down and dirty as they say and walk the talk. That's where I think we're heading.
Russ Johns 21:50
I think it's, it's more important to have compassion over conflict, empathy and understanding over, you know, your argument. And it's really an opportunity where a lot of people right now, because of the requirements of change, all of a sudden, you know, few months into it, they're thinking, well, I don't necessarily need all of the things that I used to have. I'm still surviving, and I'm doing just fine. I don't want to diminish the challenges that some people are having and I want to make sure that I emphasize the idea of hope. I've been promoting this idea of kindness and smiles for years, Dennis, in the hopes of giving somebody a little slice of #inspiration to say, it costs nothing to give back to someone, you know, a smile, it costs nothing to reach out and say, hey, I was just thinking about you. I was inspired by what you said or did online and recognize people for what they're doing. It sounds like you're in alignment with a lot of individuals that are feeling a little bit lost. And they just need a home to go to and write out what they're feeling and what their stories are.
Dennis Pitocco 23:19
You're right Russ, and we're, I keep using the word blessed because I mean it, but we're in a unique position that we can actually do something on a grander scale, not just Hope Fest, but other things to send those ripples across. And if Russ has a good story to tell, that can uplift people, we can publish it. If he wants to do a video, if he wants to participate in events, our doors are open to anybody that genuinely and authentically wants to do more. There's plenty of opportunities, as you said. Here's an idea. How about just, starting tomorrow, we all listen to a little better? Russ could be having a bad day, and I mean, listen intensely. And you've heard these stories, I'm sure, where you know, don't load up with your response. Just sit there and listen to Russ. And then when Russ is done, ask him for more, that lifts so much, even if you're hearing all these terrible things come out about you know, the economy, well suddenly you feel better because you got it all out and somebody actually embraced your words. We talk about doing more as you know, Russ, like a smile, it is just that simple. If you start there and you start to see the effects, you start to understand it is true, the old quote that you get more when you give more, it really does ripple back to you. So we've seen that catch on. And I think once again, without beating to death, the idea that the pandemic, this has created a broader opportunity, as you say, you're stripped of all the normal things and some of the control. Now I've got time, well how can I use it? Can I pick up my phone and start calling my neighbors to do a wellbeing check? Russ, I haven't seen in a long time. I just want to know how are you and the point of that call, other than listening to how Russ is, magical, magical moments.
Russ Johns 25:05
Yeah. So how do people connect with you? What's a good process? And how does it, from the individual perspective, there's lots of people in the pirate community, they might come back and watch this a week from now, we want to get active in this process, Dennis. So share with us before we wrap up today, what that looks like, and how do people get involved and engaged in what you're doing and supporting you?
Dennis Pitocco 25:37
The very first thing I'd recommend you do is just go to biz catalyst360.com, everything I've said, all of our stories, 360 Nation, Hope Fest, everything is wrapped in that umbrella. And it's very visible, it's a very visual website, because it was created by some guy like me, who had no idea what he was doing. If you want to get a little more connected on LinkedIn, you know, it's Dennis J Pitocco. Just search me on LinkedIn. And you'll see that on the website, too, because I've got a byline there. But go on from those two angles. If you'd like to get more involved in anything I just talked about, you know, we're producing this video right now. And we're two weeks into production. The door was closed about two weeks ago for more videos. But for your listeners right now, we'll open the door again, if anybody would like to have their voice heard answering that simple question. We'll put them into the broadcast.
Russ Johns 26:32
Well, I'm sure that there's a possibility that this may be an annual event, I don't know. I'm just thinking.....
Dennis Pitocco 26:37
Well, we don't know. Who knows where we'll go. That's right.
Russ Johns 26:40
Well, and the way things are right now, you have to, like you said, imagine the possibilities, not the challenges. Let's focus on what could be instead of what is? So let's make sure that we take the moments and make the best of them?
Dennis Pitocco 27:01
Well, somebody said to me, a long time ago, and you know, you always get the naysayers out there that say, why would you waste your time doing that? The people that are pretty much skeptical everything. And the guy said to me, in the midst of another conversation, you know, you're not going to change the world. And I said, that's interesting. You said that, because if everybody took that position, number one, you're right, it wouldn't happen. But number two, I know I can't change it. Well, it's changing around me. Yeah, that's why we're doing what everybody calls the butterfly effect. If Russ and I are talking and because of that talking, Russ hangs up and tomorrow morning, he does something better or different. Because he's kind of been touched by this notion of kindness you already have or listening? Well, then that's creating a positive ripple chain. So if we get a bunch of people through Hope Fest, or other things we do, rippling that out, aren't we kind of changing the ground floor of humanity while the top floor we can't control?
Russ Johns 27:58
Yeah. Yeah. Well, and we can reduce and remove things that we have no control over.
Dennis Pitocco 28:07
Russ Johns 28:07
And just put positive energy into the things we can.
Dennis Pitocco 28:10
Well, as you said earlier, you recognize very quickly in the pandemic, you don't need all these things. What's really important. I think that comes from practice, because so many people kind of stopped and have this time to actually think and stop being robots. And we're hoping that the robots don't come back when the world shifts back to more of a normal.
Russ Johns 28:31
Yeah, yeah. We got a few more people in the room. Mike says remind me of the hope website. That is bizcatalyst360.com, and you can go there and find it. And Mary-Ellen Shay says Russ, so good to see you again. I'm still tired from last night. She was on the call last night, Mark Davis from Houston. Good morning. from Houston, Texas, Mr. Johns. Mark's a great, great friend and mentor of mine. LinkedIn user, good morning, Russ and Dennis, Mary-Ellen says, my creative juices have been flowing during these times, which is a positive thing. And then she says I'm definitely going to contact Dennis. Wonderful Mary. And then Mike Baker says, cool, I will look into it. This is the kind of activity that is really, I think, inspirational for a lot of people because I think what it does dennis is two things. Number one, if if you can illustrate how you've done it, and you can share that story, you know, on the #PirateBroadcast™ or anywhere else, you share it. It also inspires people to think well, if Dennis can do it, I could probably do it too. You know, there's a kind of a roadmap or an idea that this concept of this path can actually be built, this road can be paved with a little bit of effort. Also, it inspires others to take ownership of their story and share it out as well. I think that's a positive move in the right direction. So thank you so much for doing it.
Dennis Pitocco 30:18
All the people that write for us those 800, and some writers, they are the storytellers. And what you said is just right on the money, the people that can speak from the heart, with their stories, boy they're creating immense change, particularly right now, because the stories they're telling us are different than what they were telling a year ago. They're not about their office and leadership. They're about what's going on in their lives right now. And how are they dealing and what it says to the world as they're reading these stories is, you're not alone. Other people are going through it. And they understand that they're helping people, even people that don't comment on what they write. It's just reading it and digesting it.
Russ Johns 30:53
Yeah. Well, Dennis, this has been a tremendous value. And I'm, I'm certain that you'll probably see a few people knock on your door. And I hope maybe make some comments, or at least consume your content as a publisher, and thank you so much for sharing the message, sharing the #motivation and the #inspiration today. I, as you know, we have a long way to go and any legacy thoughts you want to leave with the audience right now today?
Dennis Pitocco 31:24
Just I'm gonna go back to those two magic words. I kind of started with Russ and that's just do more, do more.
Russ Johns 31:32
Thank you so much. As everyone knows, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday. Thanks, Dennis.
Dennis Pitocco 31:43
Russ Johns 31:45
Don't go away.
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