#5000 Holy Moly

#5000 Holy Moly

As I was going through the guest submissions this morning I realized that this was going to be post #5000 on Dan330.com.  That’s kind of crazy. It takes a lot of contributors and worker bees to generate that much content. Thank you to everyone who follows us and contributes to our site. We couldn’t do this without your support.

I should probably give a brief history of how we got to where we are. First of all it is no secret that I am an old geezer and an unlikely candidate for social media and blogging. I spent most of my adult life on the road flying airplanes for a major airline. For nearly 35 years I was fortunate enough to have my dream job. In the blink of any eye, a medical condition grounded me. I had every intention of returning to my first love which is flying. I submitted myself to numerous medical tests and procedures that should have put me back in the air. It wasn’t meant to be. Captain Dan was grounded.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 9.01.16 AM
Airbus A330 – This is where part of our name came from

My wife in her infinite wisdom did not want me to be sitting around the house, which was her domain, for another long Minnesota winter without a hobby. She suggested that I start a Pinterest account. “What is Pinterest?” was my response. She thought it would be a great place for me to share my pictures that I had taken over years as I dragged my camera around the world with me on trips.

Greenland – I took this flying from PDX to AMS

I opened that account and started uploading my pictures on Pinterest. What I discovered was that I was an average photographer at best and my content was not particularly popular. Aerial photography, just not something that everyone cares about. Being a pilot I took great interest in meteorology so of course I had lots of cloud pictures. In fact my wife at one point threatened to divorce me if I took any more pictures of clouds.( Hi, this is the wife in my defense of my stand on the cloud photos. Dan started flying for a living in 1978 and took pictures every trip, which had to be printed to be seen in the pre-digital days. That meant we had boxes of small cloud photo’s that did not fit into family photo albums. Now that we can see the old photo’s on a screen and can color correct them, they are wonderful!)

Thunderstorms over the plains

What the Pinterest data painfully pointed out was that people didn’t care that much for my photography. I was kind of stuck with about a dozen followers which was the only metric I had to judge how I was doing on Pinterest.

Determined to improve my followers number I started creating new boards and aggregating pictures from around the internet. I spent hours trying to find pictures or ideas that people hadn’t seen yet. Low and behold things began to happen. My account was growing. Being old school, I kept hand written notes on how many followers I gained on different boards. Aggressively I edited the boards and content. If boards weren’t growing I deleted them. In eight months I had one million followers on Pinterest.

I started attracting the attention of social media types. One person I owe a huge debt of appreciation to is Danny Maloney. Danny is the CEO and Co-Founder of Tailwind. He reached out to me early on and gave me tons of great advice. In fact it was Danny that insisted that we start a blog. “What’s a blog?” I responded. It was a gift for me to pass high school english so this was a terrifying thought. Against my better judgement our blog was launched in late April, 2013.

I wrote a few posts on Pinterest tips. It didn’t take long to run out of things to talk about. Now what? Food. We all eat every day, so that was an easy choice. DIY. I am kind of handy so we did posts on making swings and fairy doors for grandkids. Soon we added travel posts as well.

6huhtoxs2vkr0nx3rawy51c054c71927f
Grandson’s Johnnie Walker and Jackson Daniel (really) enjoying the new tire swing

Some of you may have noticed that our web address was originally livedan330.com. We found this to be very confusing for people. The problem was dan330.com was not available when we started the blog. Dan330 was my user name on Pinterest. I am Dan and I flew the Airbus A330, get it? Anyway the live (live rhymes with give) was hard for people to say. Our thinking was that it was more of a lifestyle blog as in living life well and covering numerous topics. Fortunately, we were able to get the domain dan330.com so we have shortened our address.

Flash forward to today. Dan330 is a family affair. It is full time for my wife Laurie, my son Chris and I. Chris’s wife Sarah helps when she is not taking care of their four children.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 9.14.07 AM
Motorcycle trip – Monument Valley Utah

We all have different interests. Surprise, travel is my favorite topic and I do posts often as Captain Dan’s travel tips. Laurie and I both ride Harleys and travel long distances every summer documenting our adventures. Earlier this year Laurie and I won a trip to Hawaii for a post we had done a year ago.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 8.55.26 AM
On top on Mauna Kea – Big Island Hawaii

Laurie has a masters degree in design and is a metalsmith. She is also passionate about knitting, creating, DIY and cooking. She has the most repinned post we have ever done. Her green bean crisps post is 2 years old and has been re-pinned nearly 270,000 times. When you consider the average Pinterest user has 219 followers that is a huge reach.

Done-601x400
Green Bean Crisps – our most repinned post ever

Chris has a masters degree in organizational leadership. He is a great cook, gardener and photographer. He and Sarah write lot’s of posts centered on family. They have four kids so there is a wealth of content just following their adventures. In fact they just got back from Costa Rica.

IMG_1351-18-442x601
Costa Rica – Crocadiles

Chris created the Leviathan. It is the beast of a sandwich that won the Boar’s Head blogger recipe contest in 2014. I never knew the kid could cook. This was a big deal for us. This was a nationwide contest and we went through four rounds of voting before being declared the winner.

photo-33-601x400
The Leviathan – Winner of the Boar’s Head boldest sandwich contest 2014

We work with many other bloggers. Too many to mention them all, but one that stands out is Made from Pinterest.net. We have worked with these three sisters for a long time now. It is so helpful to share ideas and tips. We really appreciate all the great advice from them.

In addition to our own original and aggregated content we have about 60 guest bloggers who contribute posts on a regular basis. About a month ago I got up and found that there had been 35 guest submissions overnight. Yikes. It takes me a couple of hours every morning to go through posts we get from other bloggers. We appreciate the hard work so many of these bloggers have done. If you are interested in submitting content for consideration, the link for submission is HERE.

We are definitely on a treadmill with new things popping up all the time. We have gone from one Pinterest account to accounts on most social media. Today I manage 15 Twitter accounts on a daily basis. Chris was a presenter at IZEAFest this fall and came home with a whole batch of new things for us to learn like Periscope, Blab and others. It is a full time job for us older types just to learn how to use all these new media.

Chris and Sarah co-host a weekly show on Blab.im with Nick Evans of Macheesmo.com. The show is called Tasty Food Live. Each week they bring cooking tips and feature a guest blogger.

tastyfoodlive1125final-1
Promo for Tasty Food Live a weekly Blab

For a brief history, this has gotten kind of long. Thanks for following us. Thanks to our contributors. Thanks to Danny Maloney of Tailwind for encouraging us. Thanks to Tracy Van Overbeek from Made From Pinterest.net for all the tips she has shared as well.

One Minute Video Recipes

About Dan Ashbach 793 Articles
Meet the Dan behind Dan330. He started a Pinterest account in December 2011 while off on a leave from his day job as a captain on an Airbus A330. While traveling the world, Dan practiced his longtime hobby of photography and developed his eye for natural beauty and appreciation of great photography. Continuing his love of exploration and great pictures, Dan added Pinterest to his daily routine; especially during the long Minnesota winters. His eye for great photography was recognized by the Pinterest community and in just under one year, Dan330 had attracted over one million followers. Dan and his wife Laurie have three children, seven grandchildren and two grand puppies. When not pinning, Dan loves to travel and participate in just about any outdoor activity. There are a few exceptions to this, but to find out what they are you have to go to the Dan330 board dedicated to “Things he won’t do”.