The Non-stop 35th Birthday Party (and an important marketing lesson on ‘Conversation’)

Fun / Ramblings

After the ‘King Krawl’ to celebrate my 35th the next big outing was the weekend of Sept 27 and 28 up in Chicago. Eben Pagan brought together 100 top marketers for a special closed-door networking event (and party). And at the same time WIRED Next Fest was going on in Chicago. Since WIRED is a media partner of Maverick Business Adventures®, our members had special access to a VIP opening party and a semi-private breakfast with their editor, Chris Anderson, as he introduced concepts from his newest upcoming book “FREE”.

I wanted to get up there for that but I had a family function I couldn’t miss. But I did manage to hop on the last flight on Saturday night at 10pm and got to the Hard Rock in Chicago near midnight.

I hit the tail-end of a party and then a big group of us went out to an after-hours club and kept the party going to 4 AM. Ryan Lee, Underground® II’s “Mr. X”, decided it was his job to keep feeding me ‘blueberry muffin’ shots.

Then on Sunday night, we had a small get together at the Hard Rock to celebrate my 35th birthday with 35 minutes of open bar. Dan Schorr, our head of partnerships from Maverick, thought we should start the celebration off with shots of “small White Russians”. I guess he and everybody else found it amusing.

Here I am with the menu:

 maverick menu

You probably can’t make out what it says – so here’s part of what’s on there:

Short White Russian

‘Nuff Said

The “Original Maverick”
Johnny Walker Black, espresso and Amaretto

Black & Blue
Sambucca Black, Stoli Blueberry and a splash of red bull


As we wrapped up happy hour, one of the local guys, “Dr. Paul”, suggested a Karaoke place that has a live band backing you up. That sounded like a plan. We went out with 10 people and hit this hole-in-the-wall bar. Dr. Paul was a regular here and he got me on the list since it was my birthday. I wasn’t sure that was such a great idea because a) I wasn’t drunk and b) My wife, Missy, told me in no uncertain terms I should never, ever do Karaoke again. (It all stemmed from a night when she heard me doing ‘Coming to America’ by Neil Diamond. She was the only sober one at the table because she was pregnant. She was more vicious than Simon Cowell that night about my performance.)

I put those pesky memories in the back of mind and decided to go with the Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun”. Not exactly sure how I did but I did go around shoving the mic into random bar patrons faces to get them to sing with me. I even got a few high-fives from those guys so I think it turned out okay.

Here’s video footage expertly taken by Mike Filsaime. I think the audio is kinda screwed up on here so now there’s no way to know if I really suck or it’s just poor audio.


Now the real crown jewel in the evening (and a very real marketing lesson) is a place called “The Wiener Circle” around Lincoln Park.

This is a hot dog stand that’s normal during the day but at night it becomes chaos. You have these gals behind the counter who are into harassing and cracking jokes at your expense. You can give it them and they’ll give it right back 5x as hard. I couldn’t stop laughing. You got to be ready for it or else you’ll be shocked at the anecdotes and 4-letter words there.  (Look them up on or for the scoop here.)

Creating the Conversation…

The BIG marketing lesson is truly creating a unique experience. I heard from several people that we had to check out this place. There are hundreds of hot dog stands in Chicago (I believe the most in any city) but the reason we had to check it out is for the experience. Yes, the hot dogs were good – but they really weren’t that much better than others I’ve had. But the craziness – now that’s worth a trip.

So tied into all these shenanigans are a very real and important marketing lesson. It’s about creating the ‘conversation’. If you look at my previous blog post about the Modern restaurant – the conversation was created by an exceptional experience. Even better is something like Wiener Circle that has a compelling conversation as part of their day-to-day, regular activity.

What are you doing to try and create remarkable conversations that your customers HAVE to talk about you?

For Maverick Business Adventures® we work on this all the time and very consciously think about it. I believe a good deal of the conversation is dictated by extraordinary experience and surprise. Give it some thought.

Speaking of ongoing conversations…I can’t believe how a bunch of my friends and Missy’s friends cannot stop talking about my 80’s birthday party from the other weekend. This was the final celebration that Missy planned for me. We booked The Spazmatics band from New York City to come down and play our party. They are a totally cool 80’s cover band that dresses like ‘Revenge of the Nerds’.

Now the Spazmatics did something really smart. They realized they had a great hook and licensed their gig to others in different cities. Not sure how many of them there are – but I’ve now seen the Austin, NYC and LA ones.

The party was like a weird convergence of all worlds. We had my neighbors, some of my Internet buddies like Ryan Deiss and Jeff Johnson, some of my hockey buddies, some of my old college/high school friends and then a bunch of Missy’s friends. My 80’s character was taken from some characters we had at my High School. I had the full-on mullet, John Deere hat, cut-off jean jacket (complete with heavy metal band patches) and acid-washed jeans with holes in them (and SKOAL in the back pocket).

Here are a couple pics –

yanik with his cousin, Sophia

This is me and my cousin, Sophia.

80s party

I’m not really sure what I’m doing to Missy here but it’s enough to make her drop her jaw (and get a good peek at her gum)

yanik rocking out with the band

Here’s Yanik up with the band performing “Mickey”(while clutching my jack & coke in my cut-off gloves)

ryan deiss and my neighbor Stephen

Ryan Deiss and my neighbor, Stephen, both Univ of Texas alum doing the ‘hook ’em horns’ sign. (Too bad you can’t see Ryan’s super colorful socks he borrowed from me.)

You can see more pics of me in my mullet and other really bad 80’s fashion sense on my Facebook profile.


  1. October 15, 2008, 1:05 pm

    Wow, now that brings back some memories! The 80’s were “totally awesome dude!” Glad to see you had such a great birthday Yanik. Happy belated!
    – Glen Hopkins

  2. October 15, 2008, 2:03 pm

    I love Wiener Circle. The first time I went there I was in shock. While placing my order, the “lady” taking my order licked her lips grabbed her breasts and said “come on, baby… hop up here on the counter.” Someone behind me yelled, “hurry the f*$k up!” and this lady unleashed a shocking (and quite creative) multi-sentence curse on this guy.

    It was hilarious. Any time I take people out in Chicago, we always make a trip to Wiener Circle.

  3. October 15, 2008, 2:11 pm

    Voyeurism….an excellent marketing lesson for me.
    Enjoyed all of it!


  4. October 15, 2008, 2:11 pm

    Yanik –

    You MANIAC! Love it! Whats your Halloween costume gonna be???

    Thanks for the “inspiration” !


    PS…Catch ya at the next underground…

  5. October 15, 2008, 4:48 pm

    Man that is hilarious. Love the singing!


  6. October 16, 2008, 3:00 am

    […] Yanik Silver’s Non-stop 35th Birthday Party (and an important marketing lesson on ‘Conversat… Share and Enjoy: […]

  7. October 16, 2008, 9:10 am

    Hey, Great Party!

    Everyone seems to be enjoying…happy birthday!

  8. October 17, 2008, 4:39 pm

    That seems to be cool. Especially the old music.

  9. October 17, 2008, 4:40 pm

    Nice party eh? Happy birthday. And yes don’t forget to include me next year. The more the merrier.

  10. October 23, 2008, 6:03 pm

    I feel bad I missed all of those places last time I was in Chicago.

    That make’s me wonder about the ‘exceptional experience’ concept. Our “7 Success Killers” ( for online marketers doesn’t include that… I think we found an 8th one!

  11. October 26, 2008, 10:24 pm

    Dude, you keep hammering it and U r so right bruddah, it’s all about creating a unique experience!

    isn’t this why certain clubs in NYC had the buzz and lines around the streets?

    once the clubs all became the same the lines ended

    there was studio 54, limelight, cheetah club, etc.

    it was all about the experience and people would do ANYTHING to get in!

    u da man yanik!


    ps: when’s underground 2009!?!?!?

  12. February 1, 2009, 3:50 pm

    […] fun, success and contribution to most of his posts.  Here are a couple heavy on the fun side   “The Non-stop 35th Birthday Party (and an important marketing lesson on ‘Conversation’)“, or “Viva Baltimore….The King Krawl Hits Charm City (And a story of stellar […]

Leave a Reply