Burning Man, Barack Obama and the Founding Story of Social Media Week with Grey Matter, a New Podcast from Grey Group



“Great ideas are only worth what you’re willing to put behind them in terms of effort and execution.” – Toby Daniels, Founder and Executive Director, SMW


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“How Did You Think of Your Great Idea?” is the single focus for the weekly episodes of the newly announced Grey Matter podcast by the leading creative agency.

In the episodes, Grey experts explore how the most interesting, provocative, and entertaining ideas in the world are conceived through conversations with thinkers, entrepreneurs, activists, inventors, performers, and more. The goal in sharing these stories is to explore the creative process that leads to culture-changing ideas, how individual experiences can shape that process, and identify key themes and learnings to help others in the business looking to come up with better ideas themselves.

In the most recent episode – Toby Daniels, Executive Director and Founder of Social Media Week – talks with Grey Worldwide Chief Innovation Officer, Dan Bennett, about how he devised then developed the idea for the industry’s foremost social media insights platform.

During the conversation, he underscored his passion for unlocking the potential of self-organization around the creation of an experience stemming from his attendance to the 2008 Burning Man event. He also shared how the catalyst for his idea was underpinned by a mission to create an event not only around the tools, technology, and platforms behind social media, but what social media means for businesses, society, and the human experience.

In discussing his encounter of skeptics both back in 2009 when SMW was launched and today, he shared one piece of important advice: “If you can turn someone who is important from a critic into an ally, then that’s worth the time and effort.” Put simply, there will be people who aren’t worth your time and it’s objectively identifying this difference when scrutinizing feedback that is most critical when scaling a business.

When asked how he continues to obtain inspiration for new ideas, Toby emphasized the word ‘conversation.’ “Every problem I’ve ever solved, every idea I’ve ever had, every meaningful collaboration that has happened occurred as a result of my enthusiasm for connecting through conversation.”

“Great ideas are only worth what you’re willing to put behind them in terms of effort and execution.”

Finally, in sharing where he hopes his business will be in five years time, Toby reiterated that he strives to continue to impact and change the world by leveraging SMW events as a platform for driving the necessary — yet sometimes difficult — conversations and movements that fuel positive social impact. “We exist to ask the difficult questions and to move the conversation forward and hopefully provide some leadership to the industry in terms of getting to a place in the future where we feel better about our relationship with technology.”

Check out the full podcast below:

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