Experts in the Industry: Kenny Tomlin (73 of 45)

Kenny Tomlin, President & CEO Rockfish Interactive, is one of the rare few in my Experts in the Industry series that I don’t know that well. But when my friend John Andrews of Walmart tells me that I need to include Kenny because he’s the principal of “the hottest digital/social agency in the nation,” who am I to argue?

Fortunately, Kenny and I now follow each other on Twitter and I will be adding the Rockfish blog to my reader later today. In the meantime, let’s all get to know Kenny a little better based on his answers to THE five questions:


How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
In the late 90’s I built an on-line social community for real estate agents (though we didn’t call it a social community at the time). About the same time I launched an ecommerce site that we grew utilizing much of what today would be considered social media marketing.

If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
Based on their use of social, then I would have to invest in Amazon. They invented how most ecommerce companies today create social community on their sites and they continue to innovate as evidenced by their “See a Kindle in Your City” program. Then, I would donate all the profits from the investment in Amazon to Kiva. They have done a great job using social media to enlarge our view the world along with practical and easy ways to make a difference. One of the most powerful yet underdeveloped uses of social media is it’s power to be used for good.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
Historically, Abraham Lincoln. Contemporary, Rick Warren. Whether you agree with his spiritual views or not, Rick is one of the most innovative and brilliant marketers of our time. (The Purpose Driven Life is still today the most effective social marketing strategy ever executed in my opinion). In addition, he built one of the largest churches in the U.S., authored the best selling hardback book of all time, gives 90% of his money away, and now is focused on global issues with his P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
No. I don’t have the expertise to contribute or the passion on the subject to eavesdrop and learn.

Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
The entire world, with one small exception, is composed of other people. The social web gives us an opportunity to connect and learn from them like never before.

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