TED + SXSW = The Gathering w/ Ryan Gill


There's only one way to end your time at The Gathering the conference Forbes calls the best "Marketing Conference To Check Out In 2019".

You talk to the guy who helped start the whole thing, of course. Here's Ryan Gill!


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Chad: Okay, Joel. Quick question.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: What happens when your phone vibrates or your texting alert goes off?

Joel: Dude, I pretty much check it immediately. I bet everyone listening is reaching to check their phones right now.

Chad: Yeah, I know. I call it our Pavlovian dog reflex to text messaging.

Joel: Yeah. That's probably why text messaging has a frickin' 97% open rate.

Chad: What?

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Chad: How do you get this discount? You're asking yourself right now.

Joel: Tell them Chad.

Chad: It's very simple. You go to chadcheese.com and you click on the Nexxt logo in the sponsor area.

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Announcer: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Chad: My mike is on. Can you hear me? Is everybody in?

Joel: There you go.

Chad: The movie is about to begin.

Joel: I've got to turn my down, because Ryan's going to be like off-the-fucking charts, I love it.

Chad: Hot mic.

Joel: Okay.

Chad: Here we go. Bring it.

Joel: This isn't the weekly, this is the Ryan Gills

Chad: I might do something with this, I might splice this into the weekly, and then do like, by itself.

Joel: So we're just spittin.

Chad: We're riffin.

Joel: All right, cool. All right guys, so this is Day Three in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Chad: It's fuckin beautiful dude. This shit is amazing.

Joel: At the backdrop are the Rocky Mountains in Canada.

Chad: With an IPA.

Joel: We've got beer in front of us. We've got Bloody Marys.

Chad: Grizzly Paul.

Joel: Caesars, wings, pita bread and whatever else, so we're having a great time.

Chad: And Ryan Gill, the mother fuckin founder and idea guy behind The Gathering. Say Hi.

Ryan Gill: Hello everybody.

Joel: Most people don't know that listen to us, what The Gathering is.

Chad: Not at all.

Chad: Which is ridiculous.

Joel: Ryan, tell us what it is for someone who doesn't know what in the world The Gathering is.

Ryan Gill: Yeah, first of all I've been listening to you guys podcast for a while and there's a lot of content out there and I love the depth of the content, the smarts I get from it. But I think when it comes to podcasts, you gotta like the people and relate to them. So I love your guys podcast and getting to know you guys and flying out here

Joel: It's weird how our fans are like us, and maybe that's why.

Ryan Gill: That's a great way to segue into The Gathering. I don't believe in metaphysics or putting stuff out there, but we just attract amazing people so that's the first thing. That's very broad, but if you like amazing people, you wanna come to The Gathering. But The Gathering, for those listening, and if anyone's been to South by Southwest, or they know TED Talks, I believe if TED Talks and TEDx, and South by Southwest, had sex and had a baby, it would be The Gathering. I'm not joking. Sometimes TED Talks are too cerebral, and a bit boring, but they're amazing and soulful. And sometimes South by Southwest is too much a party. Even though it's very inspirational, and so I think it's both. You guys, is that a good ... it's cerebral, but-

Joel: I explain it as sort of Davos meets South by Southwest. Similar to your description I guess.

Chad: Yes, and you're in Banff. I mean, Jesus man, this is picturesque. I mean, you come here-

Joel: I didn't know this place existed until six months ago.

Chad: You don't want to leave-

Joel: I thought it was Branff, and I still kind of do.

Ryan Gill: Part of that is because we do not ... This is a public service announcement. We're not inviting Americans to be on the show. I'm just joking, we love you guys.

Joel: He's not joking.

Chad: But seriously, it's an hour and a half drive. You've gotta be committed to come to something like this, and we saw huge brands. And not just huge brands, but we're talking about high level individuals. VP of Operations from the LA Lakers.

Joel: Not just big brands, but movers and shakers at those organizations.

Chad: How do you get these guys?

Ryan Gill: Yeah, it's a commitment to excellence from Year One. We're in our sixth year. It's those cliches that are true. They really suck, but it's like, take care of people. And so our first year, we begged people to come, and crossed our fingers. I think we said we sold 200 tickets. We didn't. We gave away a hundred and fifty. We sold fifty. But we knew we had something good. And we wanted to tell stories about brands, yes, but more about the leaders behind them. You guys are parents and business people. Business is an art, and it takes sacrifice. Like working long hours, being away from your kids, they're not great things to do, but when you believe in something enough and it makes a difference in the world, it's worth it. And I think business people behind these brands need more attention for the sacrifices they make. So we celebrate the Lakers, but we celebrated Tim Harris, because he's a bold, honest, no bullshit guy.

Joel: I think you're hiding a secret, because Tim let it slip that you impressed him so much with your invite. Sort of alluded that there was a video of some sort. So how do you really get people to come to the show? What's the big sell?

Ryan Gill: It's direct mail, baby. You think I'm joking. Did you wanna hear the story or not? Okay. This for sure is gonna be the best podcast you've ever had, like most views. I'm just kidding. Maybe it will be.

Ryan Gill: So early years, no one knew about us. But everything ... you think about all these things that start, no one knew about them at start. 'Cause you wanna create just unique cult brands, and there's not lots of them. There's tens of millions of brands, there's probably only 500 brands. So we write them all down, we do some research, Google them. And we write them this letter about what I just said, we want to honor brands and lifetime achievement, not just ... People don't just buy from them, they buy into them. They tattoo Harley-Davidson on there, or Red Bull. So we find their email, address to their head office, find their CMO or CEO. We sent one to Dana White, UFC, he was here one year. We send them out. They're so well designed. I'm not joking with direct mail. So well designed.

Joel: Were these FedEx deliveries?

Ryan Gill: I'm getting to it. Don't jump ahead.

Joel: Sorry.

Ryan Gill: 'Cause I'm in advertising, we get our best writer to write the thing. If you got it, you're like, "I'm going to read this, it's beautiful." And it's their name, and their logo, and then we put it in an envelope that's handmade. Then we put a wax seal on it. It's black, it's so cultish. Then we put it in FedEx. FedEx is a beautiful thing. Powerful people want to get their FedExs. They're getting contracts people, they're getting subpoenas through FedEx. So if you want to get through, spend the extra $15, or $20, and then make sure what's inside. So they open them, and it's sincere, and they literally have no fucking clue what they just read. Then they email us because they're curious.

Joel: Do you tell them what you want, or do you tease them to say-

Ryan Gill: No, they say they have to call Gatekeeper or the