Today's post comes from Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia, sharing his perspective on how stories are made to come to life through Time Traveler Tours & Tales.... 

Deb Shapiro, Emma D. Dryden, Sarah Towle, and me at Kickstarter headquarters, May 2015.

Deb Shapiro, Emma D. Dryden, Sarah Towle, and me at Kickstarter headquarters, May 2015.

The “lone ranger” small business model works perfectly for some creators – those people who can successfully wear all the hats in their creative business and have no need for additional team members. But big visions require more hats – and more people to properly execute.

Sarah had a big vision:

Combine the traditional power of storytelling with the latest in touchscreen technology to create portals to the past and bring history to life at the tips of your fingers.

Her vehicle is Time Traveler Tours, a new generation of tour guides for a new generation of traveler, and Time Traveler Tales, the multi-format cousins of her story tours. Together, they #TurnHistoryOn.

Sarah’s goal is to harness cutting-edge technology for the benefit of educational tourism, bringing history to life for young people through story-driven interactive mobile tours, then turn the same stories into e- and audio books as well as printed matter such as paperback books, maps, and school-based curriculum guides.

Sarah, me, Frank Totaro, and Deb Shapiro meeting while eating, Dec 2015.

Sarah, me, Frank Totaro, and Deb Shapiro meeting while eating, Dec 2015.

This is indeed a big vision. Could Sarah have hacked through it herself? Sure, with months of 14-hour days, no backup, and no strategic or even emotional support. Anything is possible.

But how much fun would that be?
Besides, as the vision grew there were things Sarah had to do that she did not enjoy doing and did not do well. Like marketing. She eventually realized she needed support, that the vision would never be realized without collaborators.

That's where I came in.
Two years ago I joined Sarah's team as Marketing & Messaging Consultant to help cast her view out into the future to craft the strategic road map as well as to hone TTT’s messaging and develop a process of regular communication with her community. We saw the team through two website upgrades, a Kickstarter campaign, and now the launch of our first official company product: the storyapp, IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GIANTS.

The rest of the team brings their own set of skills and perspectives to support's Sarah's mission:

Community Management quickly became something Sarah could not do alone. The business of managing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, the group blog and near-weekly newsletter is today so time-consuming that if Sarah only did that, she’d never write another story, never mind fulfill the promise of her mission. Diane Krause now manages the editorial calendar and holds the reins of TTT’s weekly content marketing output.

Just as every writer needs a great Editor, so every publishing endeavor needs an Editorial Consultant. For Team TTT&T this person is Emma D. Dryden. She steers every TTT&T blog post and story to publication.

All of the above costs money, which comes from customers and clients. To help Sarah better connect with her target audience and potential future clients, Melissa Halverson came on board as Museum Liaison.

Sarah and Oliver at Bologna Children's Book Fair, April 2016.

Sarah and Oliver at Bologna Children's Book Fair, April 2016.

Oliver Latsch, Sarah’s literary agent cum business partner, is actively pitching the company and concept to investors and potential partners alike. Frank Totaro, as Financial Advisor, works in lockstep with Sarah and Oliver to ensure the TTT&T business plan and current and targeted.

And then there are all the contributors helping to produce Time Traveler Tours & Tales' future list: Elizabeth Dulemba, Art Director; Cynthia Carris Alonso, Photo Editor; Robert Marino, Copy Editor and Audio Coach; Joe Bianco, Voice Actor and Sound Engineer; Deb Shapiro, Publicist; Marcie Colleen, Curriculum Developer; Debra Kass Orenstein, Legal Counsel; Mary Hoffman and Michelangelo and all the future authors -- and historic characters -- we hope to bring on board!

The key is collaboration. It is the very definition of the growing TTT&T machine. That and the belief behind the effort that enables Sarah to keep showing up day after day after day.

So, as you watch IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GIANTS come to life, or the next time you view a new movie or read a good book, I hope you’ll appreciate all the talented people who played even a small role in bringing that work of art to life.

Sarah and David, Florence, June 2015.

Sarah and David, Florence, June 2015.

It's official:
is now available for pre-order.


Be among the first to tour
Renaissance Florence
at the tips of your fingers.