Episode 10

Nicholas Niespodziani, Smoothly Sailing Yacht Rock Revue Where No Band Has Gone Before

Published on: 21st September, 2021

We start with a little Step, and we'll end with some Bad Tequila.

Between those moments, Nicholas Niespodziani is joining me for this Episode.

Nick is one of the founders and frontmen of the wildly successful band Yacht Rock Revue, a band that literally created its own genre, Yacht Rock, and even owns the trademark to prove it.

They’ve risen from humble beginnings in a basement all the way to headlining shows all over the country in partnership with LiveNation and Sirius XM.

Yacht Rock Revue began in the least-yachtiest of states, 2,000 miles from breezy Marina del Rey.

Nick Niespodziani and Pete Olson met in the fourth grade in suburban Indiana, then went on to Indiana University in the late Nineties, formed the band Y-O-U, and then escaped – Rupert Holmes reference intended – to Atlanta.

One night, Y-O-U tucked their tongues deep in their cheeks and played a show of Yacht Rock songs. The rowdy (which is a nicer way of saying drunk), sold-out crowd loved it.

Over the years, YRR (where there’s also a Dave, a Greg, and literally three guys named Mark) have turned themselves into human wine spritzers, playing 120 to 150 shows a year, mastering Yacht Rock’s slick chords and mellow grooves, and partying like it’s 1979.

What began as a joke among friends soon put a ripple in the zeitgeist, starting a national trend through YRR’s concerts, which have been lauded as “unabashedly joyous affairs” by Entertainment Weekly.

They’ve accumulated an extensive wardrobe of white belts and polyester shirts. Today, Yacht Rock Revue is revered and well compensated! Their life is a tenor sax solo!

This is what every musician wants.

Now THAT’S Storytelling!

I think you’ll find Nick as fascinating as I do.

Next Episode All Episodes Previous Episode
Show artwork for The Narrativ - Hosted By Geoff Galat

About the Podcast

The Narrativ - Hosted By Geoff Galat
A podcast about storytelling, and the stories behind the storytellers.
Over the course of a long career in technology marketing I’ve developed a deep appreciation of storytelling. Going deeper into why something matters.

This podcast takes a slight twist, by exploring the roots of the storytellers themselves - conversations that explore the backgrounds and stories of interesting people, some of whom are dear friends.

There is no guarantee of which direction we might go, but topics might include sports, pop culture, business, marketing, family, travel, food and maybe even current events.

About your host

Profile picture for Geoff Galat

Geoff Galat

Geoff has spent his entire career leading companies as they transform or adapt to new market trends and opportunities:

Mercury Interactive – VP Corporate Marketing
At Mercury Interactive, he led the transformation of the value proposition from developer/QA centered “tools” to the more valuable business value of continuous software quality, all the while addressing shifting market waves, from UNIX to Windows, Client-Server to “packaged” ERP applications and the onset of massively scaled Web-based applications.

Luminate – VP of Marketing
At Luminate, he led the go-to-market of one of the original Managed Services Providers (MSP), as well as one of the first companies to use a free limited-functionality version of software as a lead generator and brand awareness vehicle – in the year 2000.

Tumbleweed – VP of Marketing & Product Management
At Tumbleweed, he re-packaged a suite of built or acquired stand-alone secure messaging tools into a cohesive platform for secure communications, in the earliest days of digital security threats.

Tealeaf – VP, Marketing & Product Management; VP, Marketing & Product Strategy; CMO
At Tealeaf, he was one of the earliest members of the team, and lead marketing & product management & strategy over his tenure and crafted not only the value proposition – shifting a simple record/replay capability originally built for debugging web-based self-service systems into a rich business analytics solution, driving the creation of a new category – Customer Experience Management, where the solution was sold to business management, rather than to IT.

Over 13 years, Geoff became the world leading evangelist of digital experience as the business grew – speaking at hundreds of events, including eTail (East, West, London, Germany), Internet Retailer Conference, PhoCusWright (leading travel & hospitality event), Digital Cream, JUMP, Festival of Marketing, Forrester’s Customer Experience, Marketing and Financial Services Forums and Gartner IT Expo.

Tealeaf was acquired by IBM for $600M in 2012, and Geoff was asked by IBM to lead the product and go-to-market definition of a new “Customer Analytics” offering combining Customer Experience (Tealeaf), Digital Analytics (Coremetrics), Business Analytics (Cognos) and Social Media Analytics.

Geoff was a key part of the due diligence team for another IBM acquisition – Silverpop, and after completion of the acquisition, he was named CMO of the newly-acquired marketing platform business.

AGT International – Chief Marketing Officer (Company & Joint Venture)
At AGT International, Geoff joined the company as part of a new effort to combine his marketing expertise in customer experience and analytics with the Internet of Things (IoT). This quickly transformed into a truly unique business idea – a start-up within the larger company devoted to changing the way live sports and entertainment were experienced by fans, in-arena and at home. Geoff was instrumental in creating the messaging and go-to-market & investment presentations around the cutting-edge idea of “Social IoT”, where audience engagement and content were driven through sensors was the big idea, one that ultimately led to more than $40M of investment through a joint venture with the largest media, sports and entertainment agency in the world.

Clicktale – Chief Marketing Officer
At Clicktale, Geoff joined a company that to the outside appeared to be another contender in the Customer Experience Management category that he created at Tealeaf, when in reality he joined as part of an effort to transform that business into something more powerful, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver entirely new classes of Experience Analytics, and to utilize those analytics to actually change customer experiences based on knowledge of their wants, needs and desires. Additionally, the company was transitioning from a historical small business market (SMB) and mid-market focus that was less strategic and less lucrative into a business focused on selling to the leading enterprises in the world.

In addition to his many speaking engagements, Geoff is expert in public and analyst relations, (both strategy and relationships), and has been a frequent interview subject on marketing and customer experience topics. Geoff has been a frequent author on customer experience, marketing and business topics, holding ongoing columns at Digital Doughnut and Econsultancy and contributing to Forbes.

Geoff also prides himself on developing strong relationships with customers and prospects, and has typically been very involved in sales, from presenting value throughout deal lifecycles, and through to customer success, enabling him to get unfettered feedback and validation of messages and deep understanding of the dynamics within individual businesses and industries, as well as leverage a deep pool of referenceable relationships..

As a Chief Marketing Officer, Geoff has led numerous branding and go-to-market efforts, but always with a simple primary philosophy in mind – that marketing ONLY exists in order to sell something. To that end, Geoff is fond of saying the following:

Branding is vanity, unless it can be connected to creating value, differentiating and driving demand.
Demand is really only demand if it becomes actual pipeline, and ultimately transactions.
Understanding your product or service’s ideal customer profile, understanding the business benefits your customers can and should derive and creating simple, repeatable value propositions and resonant messages that differentiate is Geoff’s strength and the primary objective of Narrativ Lab – to help every stakeholder within a business (from BoD to CEO, Product, Marketing, Sales and Customer Success) truly understand the problems their technology or service solve and creating a story – Your Narrativ – that becomes your company mantra and core value, and can be deployed across all of your content assets and human resources to drive towards your business objectives.