As the Game II looms near it feels appropriate to highlight a key win by the National Rugby League (Australia) from Game I State of Origin — and that “W” was from the League itself… winning fans’ second screen.

NRL’s Instagram Story from sunrise through to post-game celebrations was incredibly well crafted. So much so, I wanted to break down the successful elements to help inspire creators everywhere.

First off, to pique the interest of anyone deep in the Stories game, here’s the high-level recap from this story.

Story Insights:

  • # of Total Snaps: 48
  • Total Story Length: 6m15s
  • Completion Rate: 66.9%
  • Change in Organic Reach: 143% higher organic reach vs. trailing 90 day avg. 

There’s a lot to unpack exactly why this story ticked the boxes of Instagram’s algorithm and flew off the circular top shelf of the app.

So buckle up and get inspired by the team at NRL.

Intro: what’s to come

An engaging 10s intro (high paced enough to keep you from feeling the need to tap next or swipe out) the Story starts strong with historical moments from Origin’s of past.

(note: shouting out Network 9 their broadcaster reminds fans where to find the footy tonight)

Putting Instagram Polls at the top of the Story helps drive active engagement. This inevitably tells Instagram your followers like not only this Story but also content from your account.

Another power move was cross-promoting their Snapchat Lens with a swipe up. Australia has a highly engaged audience of young-Snapchatters, so ensuring fans know they have AR (augmented reality) to play with shows precisely how well the NRL understands the importance of connecting with young fans on their level — an epic few frames here!

#Origin: a Storied History

In most instances, I would always advise a client to rethink having 2 x 15 second videos near the top of a Story as any videos over 10s tend to see an average drop off rate of 7-10%+. This can be an engagement killer and lead your organic reach in the wrong direction. Not with the team here.

There are a couple of reasons why this 30s clip plays, it’s:

  • made specifically for vertical, it was the forefront of the strategy, not the afterthought
  • cuts between clips with graphics and gives the feeling of shifting into a new Snap rather than watching a 15-second video
  • leans in on history: the past gets fans fired up about the present
  • links to longer form content for those wanting to dip their toes into this content at length
  • and lastly, for the OTT peeps out there too, you’ll note NRL had an easy awareness piece for NRLTV — done in a way to not detract from the Story itself

That 30 seconds flies by in the palm of your hands.

Back to the Present: who, what, where

Similar to the top of the Story, the tactic of active engagement to bring your followers back into the narrative across a full day Story helps immensely in Instagram’s algorithm.

  • A simple Poll — ‘who ya got’ — is an easy way to recalibrate fan focus
  • Refresher on the game at hand — quick video: Sound On (obviously)
  • Head-to-Head Game Stats from all 114 matches to date
  • Shots of the stadium tailing off on another easy engagement sticker (Slider) does the trick

Across these 5 Snaps (20 seconds) only saw a 2.12% drop off rate — total! (that’s insanely good)


Shout Out to the Future: when, how

Promoting the future NRL stars is a key to the game’s long-term sustainability so it was great to see them drop in details on when and where the U18 Game was going to be available.

Again, this was also a subtle tie to their own OTT – NRLTV (great stuff!)

Pregame: prepping for #Origin

We’re getting close to game time now, it was imperative to remind followers of the actual task at hand.

Cue stadium specific stats to highlight the home state and stadium advantage the Maroons have built for themselves over the past 39 years of Origin.

Always a win with fans is getting them behind the scenes. A couple quick locker room shots (bonus points for having team specific GIFs loaded into GIPHY) as well as a few of the team entering Suncorp Stadium.

Game Time: fireworks, legends & the Kick Off

Right before the broadcast fires up the full line ups were pre-scheduled to go live on NRL’s Story.

This is probably overlooked for its value by most. The reason this is important is it’s a timely reminder that the NRL has fans covered on their 2nd screen for the whole evening.

As the final festivities got underway the NRL went all out on offering unique content specific to the channel as both teams made their way on to the field

For those on their second screens, it’s a very timely reminder to get your first screen tuned into Network 9.

Again, another high quality pre-made and scheduled video helped to kick off the game in real time.

So there are a couple of things worth mentioning here (and it’s these subtleties which are those 1%ers that add up over time).

  • They made sure this ‘stock imagery’ wasn’t out of place by using recent Origin Imagery from Suncorp Stadium means a fan’s subconscious does not disengage with incongruent Stock Imagery
  • They’re using graphics that line up with what you find in Instagram, so even though this was made in InDesign, it still feels native to the channel

Live Updates: not just for Twitter

Twitter used to be the only spot you could get live updates… not anymore.

I absolutely love what they’ve done here:

  • Premade Blues & Maroons templates
  • Designed to drop in horizontal highlights (cutting vertical like this just is not practical for these videos)
  • Updated in near-real-time to all tries are populated throughout the game (2nd screen ftw)

Post Game: feel the realness

After the final whistle blows they do an excellent job again winning that second screen by making sure unique channel specific content littered their Story through to completion.

Putting the phone in the hands of the victors is adds to the moment for everyone.

Summary: this Story won because

  • High energy intro
  • Active engagement at key points throughout the day (read: IG Stickers)
  • Keeping the history and fanaticism of State of Origin front and centre throughout
  • World Class Vertical videos created
  • Any still images were great quality & well branded (and had important information to share for the day)
  • Behind the scenes before and after kept fans coming back at important times of the day
  • All content was unique to the channel


National Rugby League Digital Team credits:

Cassandra Wilkins – Social Media Manager

Reece Carter – Senior Social Content Producers


It happened, again

Another year, another MTA card.

This year I knew better than the last.

Let’s get it, 2019.


What an epic weekend of March Madness, if your bracket isn’t busted you need to go get checked out. Through all the ups and downs we’re looking at four from team mish into the Sweet Sixteen.

On the Snapchat front, one of the highlights we saw was Texas Tech getting fan centric with their Storytelling in the quest to find the farthest fan.

The Call to Action (CTA) was simple: send us a Snap from where you’re cheering on the Raiders — with a geo-filter to prove it (cuz, you know, nobody likes a cheater) — for a chance to be featured on the Story.


As you can see the outcome was pretty epic.

Texas Tech saw a 15% reply rate from their followers who were Snapping back #WreckEm, Guns Up and Go Raiders from all corners of the globe (seriously, Raiders are everywhere)

We’re looking forward to another big week ahead. In case you’re keeping track, here’s who we still got in our client bracket at Mish*:

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Want to chat more about integrating your fans into your Storytelling? Let’s chat.

*we love all our clients equally

This year’s March Madness kicked off with additional excitement in the Mish Guru offices (this type of chat usually resides cleanly within the Slack channel properly titled #sports).

Here’s why:

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That is because nine institutions and/or departments lacing up for March Madness use Mish Guru to tell their campus story.  And better yet, they’re actually having fans tell it for them (this is an example of Texas Tech pre-game today — Go Raiders!)

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I remember when we didn’t even have nine SaaS clients (we’re not even talking about nine universities as clients… or nine in freaking March Madness!).

This is an example of why it’s important for startups to build predictable, scalable, sales processes aligned to solving the needs of an addressable and defined market — in this case, higher education — and doubling down.

Had Mish Guru spent all its scarce marketing and sales energies in its early days on the random lowest hanging fruits from all the trees in the orchard, rather than getting specific, there is no way 14% of March Madness institutions would be using Mish Guru on their campuses in 2018.

I’m super pumped to be cheering on the Blue Devils, Wildcats, Jayhawks, Spartans, Friars, Jackrabbits, Raiders, Racers, and being part of the Wolf Pack this March Madness… and even more excited to continue to build on these wins and learnings in higher ed as well as the new verticals we build out in 2018.

Cheers to the madness,


Roger Bannister passed away today at the age of 88. He’s best known as the first person to break four minutes for a mile, which — leading up breaking 4 minutes in 1954 — was sometimes viewed as impossible to do on foot.

The following half decade after Bannister’s feat, another 20+ others joined the “sub-4 club.” It became seemingly easier to accomplish after one man refused to except expert opinion and an invisible barrier placed on human performance.

Here’s a narration of the race by the man himself:

RIP Sir Bannister,  thanks for changing the game.

Power for good

In late 2016 — which in start up years, was approximately 100 years ago — I dropped into Chicago for a few days to chat-Snap at Social Media Week & grab a few slices of deep dish (can confirm, both are a great time).

Anna Russett was one of the SMW speakers, and was the most on to it when it came to Storytelling. Anna hosted a session about How Snapchat is Redefining Traditional Media. The thing that was super epic about this presentation was learning how she’d built an audience across several channels and used the platforms to educate her fans and followers to be cognizant when it comes to (social) media. Or more simply, she gives a shit about the world around us and is actually doing something about it.

Chatting briefly afterwards we hashed an informal plan to run a campaign through Mish, amplifying the voices of her followers through Storytelling & UGC. We didn’t know what (or when) until a few months later when I got an email saying she wanted to do a UGC Story with her community on the Muslim Ban & how quickly could we get Mish involved in supporting by curating content and tracking analytics.

That night Anna created one of the most powerful conversations on the topic. It was overwhelming see what was coming in from her followers — not just in the US, but all over the world 👇

(s/o to Clare Cheyne for casually whipping this up among her mountains of Mish Guru things to do! It captures the power of the campaign perfectly)

Traditional Media picked up on it too, with several stories on the campaign and on Anna.

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Flash forward 12 months and Muslim Ban: Our Voice has been nominated for two Shorty Awards👇

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Muslim Ban : Our Voice, outcomes:

The results were truly staggering, and showed not only the power of UGC on Snapchat, but also the willingness of Millennials and Gen Z to engage in conversations about politics and the world around them in a real and genuine way to drive social change. A community of over 11,000 on Snapchat made 40 minutes worth of video.

Soundbites that speak volumes:

“I want to thank Trump for bringing to light the racists in my high school,” said one Muslim young woman who said she’d lived through the recent civil war in Libya and emigrated to Canada with her family to escape from violence.

“No one in this world should be feeling less than other people because of their race or religion”, said another young girl with the caption ‘I’m so sad’

Many of the submission invited others to add them so they could continue the conversations. One group formed on that evening calls themselves “the potato gang” and has kept up a group conversation about their lives and politics. Anna met one of them in late 2017 who expressed their gratitude in person, and told her of their plans to meet up soon.

By the numbers:

  • # of Story Snaps: 255
  • Total length (s): 2,334 seconds
  • Total Views: 1,379,371
  • Total Screenshots: 360
  • Total Views (s): 12,537,172
  • Total Views (m): 208,953
  • Total Views: (h): 3,483

Votes are open, so if you feel this Story helped shape a narrative in a positive and innovative way — we’d love a vote (or two 😉)

We all have those weird moments that cause you to stop for a second and think.

I had that this morning — 1 January 2018 — when my MetroCard was out of juice and wouldn’t reload. Much to my frustration after attempting to reload it on two machines I realized something… I’ve been in New York long enough now that my card expired.

  1. Yay me for never losing a MetroCard
  2. Wait, what? It’s been that long?

It’s been a wild ride so far, looking forward to more wild stuff in 2018.

Happy New Year, let’s make it a big one.

Mish Movember

Not going to lie, I felt a little naked waking up 1 of December this year after shaving off the Slug that had grown over the past 30 days. For those who aren’t familiar, Movember runs the month of November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.

Thankfully to date I’ve grown this nasty lip rug on November to support those around me who have battled cancer or mental illness and won, rather than lost. This has come down to good self-awareness and vigilance — which is why awareness is a big part of the magical month of Movember!

On the funds side, our team at has Mish Guru raised over $2,500 (& counting — feel free to help chip in here 🤗)

Check out the quick vid on why we were participating (shout out to Mish’s own Clare Cheyne for this!)

Lastly, a huge thanks to the friends, fam, colleagues, ex-colleagues, investors, etc who chipped in on my efforts. Here’s a snapchat of my 30 days of Mo 17.




I laughed to myself this morning as I pulled on my kit to go for a run.

The last time I wore these spandex was when I was still running at UBC.

This followed on to the realization of how long ago that really was.

Then I noticed the shirt I had pulled on told another story. The all black with a silver fern swag took me back to the years I spent working at Athletics New Zealand.

Then the final ‘holy shit’ moment came when I locked the door of an apartment on loan from a great friend and fellow UBC Alumni this week while I’m in Toronto.

This is just a snapshot of how Athletics has molded my life, with UBC Track & Field playing a major part. The connections, times, and experiences (and mileage) has extended far beyond four years of eligibility.

Next week, Beyond the Finish Line will be hosting an evening to celebrate the coaches who positively impacted so many of us. I’m gutted I won’t be there and would be if the distance was closer.


The dinner will be held 12 January 6-9:30 on campus at the Cecil Green Park House.

If you haven’t bought a ticket I urge you to grab one and make it along to what will be such a great evening to catch up and relive the glory days — whether you were a sprinter dick, a distance freak or did that field stuff.

I was recently chatting with a colleague about how the impending New Year and its associated resolutions is both a great opportunity as well as a bit of a joke. Most resolutions set are unrealistic or hard to measure and therefore aren’t achieved.

At Mish we’re pretty big about SMART goals so I’ve decided to add some public accountability to specific personal goals of reading more meaningfully as well as writing more often (the article Stop Trying to Sound Smart When You’re Writing was a bit of catalyst to making an effort on the latter in 2017).


What am I going to read?

Don’t expect Dystopian Novel reports because virtually all books I’ve starting lining up center around personal/professional development and new ventures or entrepreneurship.

How did I start compiling my list and how will I track it?

I have a running list of ‘to reads’ I keep on my Trello board. So I’ve used that to drop a card/checklist of around 20 books so far. (If you want to be super nosy, I’ve attached a screenshot of this list… and the list is very fluid so please feel free to hit me up with feedback on these and others).

I’m using Goodreads 2017 Book Challenge and Trello to track each book and this site to post write-ups.

So, what’s the actual goal?

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-11-33-05-pmI’ve set a goal of 26 books in 2017. Each book will be back-ended by a post on my feedback from the book. I’m thinking:

  • Why I chose Book “X”
  • What I’m expecting (done prior to)
  • What I got (overall comparison to what I was thinking I’d read)
  • Highlights or major takeaways
  • Who I would recommend it to and why it’s relevant

Here’s a first pass at some books for the challenge (note, I have read two of them before but they’re those type of books — can you guess which ones?) 👇