Crossover Agenda + Pinterest Expert + Hoagies

With KEEN kicking off eight weeks from today, it’s time to get the lowdown on content, is it not?

NashvilleUnlike other conferences that cater to very niche and specific topics—such as a summit that’s only geared toward mommy bloggers or a forum strictly for foodies—we wanted KEEN to be small enough for you to get value out of meeting the right people while also offering multiple tracks of specialty. Which is why you’ll see our speakers divvied up in four categories: Food & Spirits, Travel & Lifestyles, Family & Entertainment, and Technology. Those of you who work for web-based companies may be mostly interested in learning the ins and outs of e-commerce, affiliate programs, email marketing, and the like by attending all courses under the tech umbrella, while some of you who operate blogs might be interested in our lifestyles-based tracks.

Thus, we’ve broken up the two learning days like so: On Friday morning, Travel & Lifestyles and Family & Entertainment will run parallel in two different ballrooms, with Food & Spirits and Technology taking over their rooms in the afternoon. On Saturday, Family & Entertainment and Food & Spirits will run at the same time in the morning, while Technology and Travel & Lifestyles occupy the afternoon sessions. This way, if you’re only interested in one particular track, you have an intensive few hours of learning and then some free time to explore the best Nashville has to offer.

But we also know that not every digital entrepreneur fits a one-size-fits-all model. For example, you may be a parenting blogger who Instagrams your meals and dabbles in travel writing. In that case, you might very well be interested in hopping between the Family, Food, and Travel courses, which we strongly encourage you to do. We want you to take advantage of the expertise our 50+ speakers are sharing, and get as much out of the conference as you can!

Your all-access pass to KEEN grants you admission to all content—which is broken up in 50-minute panels of two or three speakers and a moderator or 30-minute “snapshot sessions” with a single speaker (like author and former Virgin America CMO Porter Gale) or company (such as HGTV)—so you don’t have to decide now. Rather, sit back and see where the weekend takes you. You never know what synergies might arise after three days spent among like-minded creatives.

More to come on the content side, but in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for our full-on schedule, which will be launching very soon!

Your KEEN Mates


FEATURED SPEAKER: Daniel Bear Hunley

Daniel Bear HunleyThis week’s featured speaker, Daniel Bear Hunley, has made a name for himself as one of the top style Pinners on the Internet. Daniel, who will be talking at KEEN about placing your products and services on Pinterest, answered some questions concerning what exactly you need to know about social media’s most addictive platform.

You’ve made a name for yourself in the Pinterestverse. Why should individuals and digital marketers be paying attention to Pinterest?

There’s a significant opportunity for brands to be seen on Pinterest. The site excels in helping well-designed products gain brand awareness among an eclectic audience. It’s no secret: The site slants toward women. But that presents us with the opportunity to reach out to members of the family who typically have the largest purchasing power. Whether it’s recipes, fashion inspiration, travel destinations, or creatively designed products, people are seeking out inspiration for what will make their life better—and they’re using Pinterest to find it. And that opportunity doesn’t even account for the multitudes of style-savvy men who use the site.

How did you jump on board Pinterest in the first place and build such a captive audience?

I jumped onto Pinterest with every intention of pinning on the site like a normal user. I collected pictures of things that I thought looked good. Like most people in the beginning, I would spend chunks of time on the site, combing through picture after picture of industrial loft spaces and natty men’s clothing. I’ve got a unique aesthetic, a keen eye for what people would probably find interesting, and a background in digital marketing. All of the pieces came together without me realizing it and my page started to grow and grow.

Why do you think people are so interested to see what Daniel Bear Hunley is going to pin next? 

My style is pretty unique. There are plenty of more feminine-focused pins, but I bring in a man’s perspective. The recipes I share are what a red-blooded Southern-bred boy wants to cook (and drink). The men’s clothing I share are what I feel like a Southern man who balances a respect for the traditional and the trends would want (without going over the top). It isn’t high fashion. It’s what well-dressed men from Jackson, Tennessee wear, which is where I’m from. A “New South” perspective. People seem to like it, so I’m rolling with it.

Many social media platforms seem to have a shelf life before being overshadowed by the next big thing. What other platforms do you have your eye on now?

When I look onto the horizon for what we’ll see next in social platforms, I can’t help but feel that Google+ will work its way into prominence. As Google continues to invest in the next generation of tech, leading the field in consumer-ready wearable computers, we can expect that their social platform will be seamlessly integrated to create an online social experience that we haven’t had before. I don’t know if this is necessarily the next big thing, but my gut tells me that it will definitely be a big thing that will dramatically impact the social landscape for users and the brands that want to reach them.

What’s the craziest thing that’s resulted from your Pinterest celebritydom?

I was in Publix right after I moved to Nashville from Chattanooga. This was during the first round of media frenzy surrounding Pinterest, and I was then ranked as the second most followed dude on the site.  In the next aisle over, I heard a mom tell her teenage daughter, “Look! There’s Daniel Bear Hunley. You know he moved to Nashville?” It was surreal and, fortunately, it hasn’t happened again.


FEATURED RECIPE: Steak and Avocado Hoagie

The dog days of summer may be but a fading memory, but with football season gearing up, there’s never been a more perfect time to fire up the grill. Our friends and KEEN speakers John Carruthers and Jesse Valenciana, cookbook authors and co-founders of virtual grilling club ManBQue, share their favorite game day feast.

Regional note: People use “hoagie,” “grinder,” “hero,” and “sub” interchangeably in different areas of the country. We don’t care what you call it. Get a nice soft oblong roll, split it in half, and go to town. Use a spinach wrap or your two mitts if it makes you feel better—just nothing that’s going to take your beautifully cooked steak and make it taste like straight bread.

Steak Hoagies

The Setup

  • One 2-lb flank steak
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed or other oil
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp freshly crushed (not fine-ground) black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 3 avocados, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 red onions, sliced thick
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • ¼ c cider vinegar
  • 12 oz refried black beans, heated through and covered
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Cotija cheese, to top
  • 4 hoagie rolls, split


1. Pat the steak dry and brush lightly with oil. Cut a cross-hatch of shallow diagonal slash marks in the steak on both sides, taking care not to cut through.

2. Mix the salt, paprika, pepper, and mustard powder. Rub evenly on the steak.

3. Mix the diced avocado with the salt and garlic. Squeeze over a wedge of lime, mix, and cover with plastic until you’re ready to use.

4. Place the sliced onions in a heatproof vessel large enough to fit the onions, packed loosely. Mix the water, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and pour over the onions, enough to cover. Cover and let sit at least 20 minutes while you prepare everything else.

5. Preheat the grill to high. Scrape and oil the grate.

6. Place the steak on the grill over direct heat. Cook 7 minutes per side, rotating each steak 90 degrees halfway through cooking each side.

7. Remove the steak to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Let sit at least five minutes while you spread the bottom of the hoagies with beans and avocado.

8. Slice the steak thinly against the grain and cut slices into bite-sized pieces. Throw the steak on the roll, give it a squeeze of lime, and top with onions, cotija, and any leftover avocado. (Wasting avocado makes California Baby Jesus cry.)

9. Slice in half and serve with a cold craft beer.



the bee’s knees [adj]

A saying popular in the 1950s meant to convey that something is excellent or outstanding. Similar in meaning to “the cat’s pajamas.” While etymology suggests “the bee’s knees” might have originated in England and others say it started up north during the Roaring Twenties—the jury’s still out—you’ll find that Southerners claim it as their own and don’t use the expression sparingly.


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