My Story

Hi! So you’d like to know more about me, would you? I usually find a good “About” page to be pretty interesting reading, so I’m going to do my best to give you the goods about why this site is here.

First, my name is John Smiley and I live in Calgary, Canada. My reason for creating this blog is to share what I learned about blogging about events in my local community and the whackload of benefits that came as a result of it. In 2011, I started a blog that changed all kinds of things in my life for the better. I set out with a vague set of goals, and achieved all of them and even more to boot.

At some point in maybe 2009 or 2010, I came across a blogger in Vancouver, Canada named Rebecca Bollwit, writing at Miss604.com. Now, I don’t live in Vancouver, but I was always intrigued by her blog–an event blog. I read Miss604.com with some regularity and what she did really intrigued me. She wrote frequent, short posts about upcoming things to do in Vancouver. One of the reasons that I read her blog was because it gave me ideas of things I could search for in my city. If she wrote about a Turkish Festival, I’d google and see if I could find out if there was a Turkish Festival here too. It turned out that there was. I was using a blog in Vancouver to find out about things going on in my own city that I was never hearing about because I was getting ideas of what might be going on based upon what was happening in Vancouver.

I’d always hoped I’d find someone in Calgary that had a similar blog for my city, though I never came across anyone with the posting regularity or content quality as Rebecca. I finally recognized (or perhaps resigned myself to the notion) that I could be that event blogger that I wanted someone to be.

MisterYYC.com was born.

I e-mailed Rebecca and asked for some advice on how she did what she did. She gave me a couple of tips, and I was off to the races. I put up my site in December 2010 and slowly began creating blog posts about upcoming events in early January.

Fast forward two years, to January 2013…

While I didn’t officially wrap my blog up until a few months later, I was already starting to close things down. January and February were always very busy times for me at my day job, but more than anything I just figured I’d had enough.

While I had just attended the New Media Expo in Las Vegas on the weekend after New Years in 2013, and though I was excited about the future of my blog, I just didn’t have it in me at the time. This really had nothing to do with being an event blogger (it’s not like it’s all that emotionally draining or anything), but it seemed like time to wrap it up.

By that January, two years after launching my blog, I had changed from a pretty anonymous guy with a small circle of friends (which was dwindling due to losing folks to marriage and kids) to a guy who had a hard time attending events without five, ten, or even twenty people to say hello to. And I got to do stuff:

  • I was invited to emcee charity events;
  • I was a judge in a steak cooking competition (the winner of that competition got to serve a steak to William Shatner);
  • I was the auctioneer for a charity art auction;
  • I went whitewater rafting and spelunking (both for free);
  • I helped to organize community networking and fundraising events;
  • I went from zero to 3,500 (all local–I curated my followers for some reason) twitter followers;
  • I was taken ziplining, bobsledding, and rally-course driving;
  • I was invited to attend wine festivals;
  • I was the guest of Ford Motor Company at the North America International Auto Show in Detroit (all expenses paid, of course);

and that’s not all.

In the course of all of those experiences, and attributable entirely to being Mister YYC:

  • I made hundreds of new acquaintances;
  • I developed long-term friendships with at least a couple of dozen people;
  • I raised several thousand dollars by holding a charity scavenger hunt;
  • I raised another few thousand dollars for other organizations by fundraising using my influence and social media connections;
  • I helped local events to reach the masses;
  • I got important community information into the hands of the folks active in our local Twittersphere, and beyond; and,
  • I gained a better understanding not only of the amazing things that my city has to offer, but I also got a better understanding of the amazing people who are its citizens.

I achieved all of these things without any special skills, no pre-existing network, and no notable platform like a tv show or anything else that automatically granted me authority and influence.

I am convinced of this: anyone can do this.

I have some pretty good ideas of why others would want to do this, but all of that belongs somewhere other than an About page.

I hope that the information that I can provide is helpful to you. If you ever have any questions about any of my content, or how I did it, or what I can do differently, please do reach out and say hi. I’d love to hear from you.