A 2015 Look Back And Look Forward To 2016



2015 was… well… errrr… ummm… one heck of an interesting year; full of challenges and yet, for all the challenges, I sure learned a lot. A lot about myself. A lot about pushing boulders uphill. A lot about pitching ideas to millionaires. Perhaps this is strictly selfish and cathartic but I thought I’d take a look back, and then a look forward.

The year started out with January laughter. Ron Tite invited me to be a guest on Monkey Toast; which was pretty incredible considering I’ve been a fan for a few years (thanks to Warren and Remi for introducing Kelly and me to MT).

January also included the ‘snowmaggedon’ (that wasn’t) in New York that cancelled a conference I was speaking at. The funny thing is that it morphed into a much more intimate industry expert discussion with those of us who made it there, and were snowed in.

February included a trip to Brisbane for our global social media conference and, what could be viewed as, the beginning of the end of my time with FC. The conference was a huge success by all accounts. It had been two years since our last global conference and I felt that the time together renewed a connected team. It’s a challenge to keep a globally dispersed team feeling like a team when they are so far from each other; when I was so far from them. In the early days of our global strategy it was looked at as a positive that I was not located in Brisbane. As the years progressed it became increasingly difficult to push those boulders uphill from the other side of the planet.

I experienced my first southern hemisphere cyclone. Hey, wait a minute, foreshadowing?

March and a family ski vacation at Sun Peaks.

Tough day at the office. Tough, tough day. #sunpeaks360

A photo posted by greggtilston (@greggtilston) on


And a coffee in Vancouver with someone whom I’ve respected for a long time, Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite. Ryan – thank you for your thoughts, guidance, and wisdom. From that first coffee six years ago to today, you’ve always been more than generous with your time.

At the end of March I was honoured to participate in DX3 and Boost Agent’s “Coffee With A Guru”. What an amazing group of up and coming digital/industry young minds.It made me realize the future is bright; for all of us, for them, and for me.

April and May brought about a lot of introspection on the previous six years. What we had accomplished and what was ahead; good, bad, or ugly. It was two months of investigating the lay of the land.

April included a closing speaking engagement about the Millennial workforce for a call centre conference at TPC Sawgrass.

May included a day with the very smart Andy Sernovitz and his team in New York. A room full of peers leading Social Media in some of the world’s biggest brands sharing our challenges and successes. It doesn’t get much better than that.    

May also brought a good mate, Ian Cummings of Travel Massive, to my town. Normally he and I raise a cheer at Bondi or some Sydney haunt, but not this time. Ian’s a very smart guy who knows a lot about travel and tech and someone I greatly respect.    

Ian and Gregg 

What I can unequivocally say is that our social development team were continuing to put out killer, and bleeding edge/well ahead of their time, social applications. Huge thanks to Lars, Tim, and Richard for your contributions to the team.    

June started with an amazing speaking gig in Miami, and ended with the hammer. There was reorganization and realignment going on, but that happened every year for the start of the next fiscal year. This year was different. All global roles were being eliminated. Wait, my title had the word ‘global’ in it. And sure enough I received the news. The ironic part of it was that the news came about an hour before I was to speak at Travel Massive Toronto about how awesome it was to work at FC. I told myself ‘deep breath and suck it up buttercup’. Travel Massive July included my last day at FCTG and this amazing goodbye video from the team. I’ve never shared it until today but have felt the subsequent months have provided me with new perspective. Thank you Alicia and the entire current and past FCLSM team. Your thoughts meant, and still mean, a lot.

As I said to our team in my goodbye email ‘Colin, Sean, and I said five years ago that the day may come where the team were rocking it and didn’t need the global support, and that day has come’.

July also included my good bud and all around awesome guy, Karim Kanji, asking me to join him on his podcast to talk a little about social and digital, and a lot about my musician days.

Welcome! Episode #7: Gregg Tilston by Welcome! By Karim Kanji on Mixcloud

After some self-imposed down time in Northern Ontario with the family, and a road trip with my wife Kelly,


Amazing afternoon and tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater yesterday. A photo posted by greggtilston (@greggtilston) on

I joined a travel technology startup in August. I was so excited. It was an opportunity to build something from scratch. Unfortunately, I realized after a couple of months that it was not the right opportunity for me, and I resigned. In the opening paragraph I reference that I learned a lot this year. In the few short months with the startup I learned a lot more about creating the documentation, revenue forecasting models, and presentations for prospective investors and valuation, pitching to those prospective investors, and the process around US provisional patent submission. I also had the pleasure of managing the UX/UI process with the amazing team at Junction.

2015 of course, included being involved and supporting George Brown events, speaking panels, and the Program Advisory Committee.

And there’s the support of CPJ.

You know who you are and I’m not sure how I could have got through 2015 without all of you.

There are so many other friends, family, peers, and coworkers who I want to thank for everything in 2015.

So it’s New Years Day and what’s planned for 2016?

There’s a business book idea I’ve been working on for far too long. My lovely wife (she’s really smart) has made me commit that 2016 is the year I get it done. If you’re killing it in the social/digital space inside a Fortune 500 sized organization or government agency, let’s talk.

There’s an app concept a couple of us are working on and a few of you will be approached soon for guidance.

Lastly, I’m looking for a brand or agency that’s looking for a kick-butt senior marketer. One whose strength and passion is in finding the audience that are passionate about a product, brand, or segment and harnessing that passion to align marketing activities from acquisition, through engagement, crowdsourcing, activation, and data analysis, to conversion.

That’s a lot of passion my friend.

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