Hailed as the best DJ in America, Claude VonStroke regularly performs for five to ten thousand people and even more.
He shares his origin story, how his truly genius and original plan to learn from the best DJs made him America’s #1 DJ and how worked for 15 long years to make his dreams come true.
“I’m trying to tell you that going after the golden goose isn’t always the best path to success… only a few can get lucky so we don’t even try to go that route. We just try to be legit. We just try to be who we are, and because we do that, it works.“ – Claude VonStroke
Claude’s Early Foray into Music
In an industry that celebrates mostly teenage geniuses, Claude stands out as someone who did gain music production until he was about 32. He grew up in a realm where a youngster could not just find anything on the Internet. Nobody in the neighborhood played the music he wanted to create so he had to forge an unusual path.
“There’s no generational group of artists, every six years flipping over, that’s showing another group of younger people that, ‘Oh, you can be a huge techno DJ from Milwaukee.’” – Claude VonStroke
Cleveland-born, Claude’s musical influences evolved after moving to Detroit. From listening to Uncle Vic playing Journey in Cleveland, he went on and began listening to The Electrifying Mojo’s playlist of Prince and Run-DMC. As the kind of kid who was obsessed with listening to the radio every night, these artists shaped his music taste.
Fifteen Years in the Making
Claude didn’t always want to make music. In the past, he also wanted to be a film director. He took a solid fifteen years to realize that he “sucked” at the project and people management aspect of filmmaking.
“The path is just totally different. It’s like you need to be a real manager of personalities to be a great filmmaker. But to be a musician, you just kinda have to learn to manage yourself.” – Claude VonStroke
Music remained in the closet for years.
Claude knew he was good at it but he didn’t want to admit it and didn’t see that DJing could be a job. He didn’t start going to underground raves until he was 23.
A Genius Plan to Learn
To overcome the fact that he did not know anybody in the music industry, Claude put to use his filmmaking talent. He decided to make a documentary about some techno music and every music DJ who came to San Francisco after moving from Detroit.
In a fascinating turn of events, his inability to license songs forced him to make music that sounded like his interviewee’s. By the end of it, he not only got every single piece of information about these DJs. He learned to make the songs that they made, and the rest is history.
“My first record was big because I’ve been bottled up for 20 years waiting to release a huge record.” – Claude VonStroke
To hear more about Claude’s story of creativity, entrepreneurship and massive risk-taking, download and listen to the episode.
Barclay Crenshaw (a.k.a. Claude VonStroke)
- DJ Magazine says he is the best DJ In America
- Billboard Magazine says his label, Dirty Bird is one of the top 5 Independence Dance Labels
- Mix Magazine named Dirty Bird the label of the decade
- He’s also got a critically acclaimed Radio Show and podcast called “The Birdhouse”
In this day and age of music cross-pollination, Claude VonStroke sits at the forefront of all that is good, proper and most importantly, fun.
VonStroke is just as relaxed in his home studio building beats as he is dropping massive underground records in a room filled by thousands.
DJ-wise, his relentless touring of every major city, festival and basement after-party around the world has only enriched his unique perspective on music.
As the owner of the record label, DIRTYBIRD, Claude also built an impeccable A&R roster signing acts like Justin Martin, Julio Bashmore, Catz n Dogz, Riva Starr, Tim Green, Breach, Eats Everything, Shadow Child and Shiba San, well before they broke out of their hometown scenes. (And even naming a few of these artists.)
Today, DIRTYBIRD continues to surprise and innovate in the underground dance scene, releasing an enigmatic combination of house, funk, dirty-bass and electronica.
Sonically, VonStroke has released three original artist albums, a remix album and several high profile mix and remix compilations.
Highlights include working with and on records for Bootsy Collins, Rihanna, Disclosure and Green Velvet as well as a few number #1 & #2 hits on Beatport.
Most importantly, VonStroke has kept it original, fun and funky.
A lot of his success can be attributed to a good attitude. Claude does not scowl and look mean while he DJs.
He does not pretend to know everything and he truly loves his fans.
He is grateful to be curating, creating and performing music for a living and he knows that the reason people go to parties is to shake their booty and have fun.
Catch him play at numerous festivals, clubs or even better at his legendary DIRTYBIRD BBQ series of outdoor events.
We hope you enjoyed Claude VonStroke on this episode of Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and subscribe on iTunes!
In this follow-up to Episode 20 with David Cancel (DC) the founder and CEO of Drift, Christopher talks with Dave Gerhardt (DG), the head of marketing for Drift and fellow podcaster.
They are co-authors a of brand new, number one best-selling book called Conversational Marketing: How The World’s Fastest Growing Companies use Chatbots to Generate Leads.
In this episode, we unpack how Drift is designing a new category and we go deep into the strategies and tactics Drift is using and how they executed this most legendary lightning strike centered around the new book.
If you’re into marketing, there’s a ton of gold in this episode.
- You’ll get insight into how to get a massive amount of attention for your category, brand and point of view.
- How to execute an approach called the Multiplier Effect so that each component of your marketing mix multiplies the value of the other components.
- How to make your company and your category undeniable.
- And, how to do my favorite kind of marketing which causes your competition to have emergency board meetings.
“Whether the (category) name is sexy, good or not, you have to name it.” – Dave Gerhardt
Almost two years ago, Dave was introduced to Christopher through his book after Sequoia invested in Drift, Pat Grady sent him five copies of his book Play Bigger and said he needed to read it. Dave was blown away that how much was in the book was what they were doing without really talking about it. Play Bigger clarified what they were working on.
Hurdles to Overcome
The team at Drift knew they were building a category but didn’t’ really know about category design. During their efforts to write the book and get a publisher, Dave and David discovered that thing, that category that they were building meant nothing until they named it.
“In order for us to win, we need to elevate the category of Conversational Marketing.” – Dave Gerhardt
They had a little traction but not enough. They needed a following, big investors, and the social proof. Fast forward to early 2018. They spent the year writing the book and published on January 30, 2019. After a month, it’s a top 20 business book in the US and in the top 1.5% of all books being sold on Amazon.
Why Competition is Good
In order for the book to succeed, Dave wants competitors and people in the conversational marketing space. They don’t want people to just think of Drift when they think of conversational marketing.
Dave compares it to a part of Play Bigger. Apple didn’t invent the tablet but they created a category that elevated it. That’s Drift’s goal; to elevate the category of conversational marketing.
To hear more about Dave’s legendary marketing strike, download and listen to the episode.
Dave Gerhardt Bio:
Dave Gerhardt is a B2B marketing leader, brand builder, and copywriter.
As VP of Marketing of Drift, he’s helped grow Drift from $0 to over eight-figures in revenue in just two years, and his work has been featured in 100+ news sites and publications, including Forbes, Fortune, Inc., Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Harvard Business Review.
He also co-hosts the popular Seeking Wisdom podcast with Drift CEO David Cancel, and he’s the co-author of the definitive book on Conversational Marketing.
We hope you enjoyed Dave Gerhardt on this episode of Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and subscribe on iTunes!
Today Christopher talks with Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell the world’s leading expert on elephants. Dr. O’Connell-Rodwell explains how she discovered that elephants are just like us, they communicate through the ground and what all this means for human beings.
“Are (we) going to allow elephants to exist. Aside from poaching, it’s a land-use issue” – Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell
Like the US/Mexico border issue, elephants struggle with similar issues. They recognize where it’s safe to be, when it’s hunting season and when to sneak into the cornfields when it’s ripe. Like humans, elephants know when is the best time to raid a resource.
“Like humans…the great leaders have an equal balance between carrot and stick. They are respected because they are tough but they are also soft.” – Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell
Historically humans have always put themselves above other species. We are now at a time in history where we must re-evaluate that paradigm. There are critically endangered species and it’s up to us to decide whether they survive.
Elephant’s and Their Value System
Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell says they have a value system but it’s also character driven. You have the confident matriarchs that help other elephants if they are in distress and then the young inexperienced ones will become nervous, scream and slap others away.
It’s a similar dynamic with the males, there are the aggressive brutes that others don’t want to follow because they are so aggressive. The leaders are the ones who have balance a good balance between strength and also the ability to be soft. Much the same as in human culture, the elephants with the best balance are followed.
To hear the rest of what Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell has to say about what we can learn from elephants and why they are so important to our future, download and listen to the entire episode.
Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell’s Bio:
She has dedicated the past twenty years of her research career studying elephant communication and how their societies are constructed and maintained, resulting in numerous scientific publications.
She is the author of the internationally acclaimed nonfiction science memoir, The Elephant’s Secret Sense (Free Press, 2007), which highlights a novel form of elephant communication as well as the elephant’s conservation plight.
Her photo book, An Elephant’s Life (Lyons Press, Fall 2011) conveys the complicated social lives of elephants through images, and her co-authored, The Elephant Scientist (Houghton-Mifflin, Scientist in the Field series, Summer, 2011), is designed to attract the 6-8th grader to a career in field biology.
Along with over thirty peer-reviewed journal articles, her essays have appeared in a number of popular magazines, including Smithsonian Magazine, The Writer and Africa Geographic.
Her work has been covered by multiple international popular magazines, newspapers, radio shows and documentaries.
We hope you enjoyed Dr. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell on this episode of Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and subscribe on iTunes!