Real Stories: Stefan Didak Part II
At the start of 2015, I was pretty tired of what had become 10+ hour days, and I was looking for options to scale back. Once again I saw a window of opportunity to do just that when I got a call from Gregory Conley informing me that he had just talked to a journalist who mentioned some sort of campaign by the Department of Public Health in California. He said that they were going to run next week and that the campaign was going to be called “Still Blowing Smoke.”
I did some online searching and found the campaign website. I saw what the group was preparing to launch in a 48-hour period. I sat back and wondered why a health department would engage in this level of intentional misinformation to the public? Being a tech guy, I also have a strong background in SEO, so the first things I looked for were their social media properties, only to discover that they had none! I quickly registered as many “still blowing smoke” accounts on social media platforms as possible. I managed to register the notblowingsmoke.org domain and decided to spend the next two days glued to my desk and hammering out a similar looking campaign, but with all the accurate and correct facts. While I did it, I collected about 100 trusted vapers around me and gave them specific instructions on how to help launch the NBS site once I gave everyone the green light.
We launched within the same hour and I think the correct term here is “the rest is history.” I felt really good about it recently when the British Medial Journal published a research paper showing how our NBS campaign obliterated the SBS campaign in social media. Alas, what I thought was going to be one of my last big efforts in vaping before going back to my business turned into something completely different. My e-mail, text messages and phone were completely overloaded the same day it launched. It was one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life. A lot of people in other states started asking me if I could do campaigns specific to their issues. Many of them were asking if we could also do variations of the messaging, etc. They were coming out of various places to lend their hand to spread the word of the NBS site and its content. Those people ended up helping out in many ways including building up our social media channels, making parody videos of the SBS videos, you name it. It was crazy!
Danielle Bloss was inspired to create the Truth About Vaping video in which she addresses how the Master Settlement Agreement works and how it pertains to vapor. We met up in Sacramento a day later (another bill hearing, this time for SB-24) and together with Jason Downing, we decided that if NBS was supposed to do more than what it was intended to do we should do it seriously, professionally, and transparently. So our path led us to transform this effort into a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. We incorporated in California in August of 2015. We have since launched numerous industry assets such as the nomorecastualties.org campaign, the fdaregs.info website, and the vapersvotingguide.com. We have also been involved in nearly around the clock efforts on many battle fronts as we shape into an organization that addresses misleading information brought to the public. We aim to strengthen ties with the mainstream media to focus on undoing some of the damage done by millions of dollars of taxpayer money spent on lying to the masses. So much for going back to my business plans and earning a living again, right?
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