Maybe because we used to work on the dark side, we're suckers for a good viral marketing ploy (see: viral buzz, brand ambassadors, evangelizing, product seeding, online influencers, etc.). That being said, when we saw Digg founder Kevin Rose, L.A.'s own Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis and Rubicon Project's Frank Addante tweeting about chocolate covered grasshoppers the other day, we bit.
After about three pages into probably the most bizarre Twitter search we've ever done — and that's saying A LOT — we found this . Most influential people in America, huh? Had somebody been going through our iPhone address book? Yes, Grasshopper.com is a business that wants you to use their phone service, and the video that they link to doesn't smack of social media bullshit, but the more interesting question is, how the hell did they make their list of 5,000 “chosen ones”? And more importantly, how they hell did they manage to overlook @seanpercival (or us!)?
We found an answer with Grasshopper CEO Siamak Taghaddos; he and co-founder CTO David Hauser spent 2 ½ months culling the “the top 5,000 most influential people, senators, politicians, board members, and INC 500 CEO” from magazines and newspapers like the New York Times, Forbes, Business Week and INC. President Obama got one (which not-surprisingly resulted in a call from Homeland Security) as well as someone referred to only as “Obama's best friend.” Siamak described the process as follows: “We weren't looking for a particular category. It was how influential people are in general; for online people we considered # of followers on Twitter as well as blogs.”
Jonathan Kay “Ambassador of Buzz” for Grasshopper elaborates, “If we were reading about someone important in a newspaper, we would send it to that person, as well as the person who wrote the article (which explains how they got sent to the L.A. Times' Jon Healy).
The company sent a total of 88 packages to the L.A. area (suck it San Francisco) to such notables as P.Diddy and Arianna Huffington. And in case you like John Robinson are feeling left out, we've managed to obtain the