“This is how you are going to live your life.”
That was the gist of Pacific Life founder and CEO Mike Ziegler’s presentation to a group of media executives in the early hours of Monday morning.
In it, Zieglers presentation touched on everything from his own personal and business history to the lifestyle trends that he thinks will continue to shape the entertainment industry.
“This is the life,” Zieglings keynote said, “this is the lifestyle.”
Ziegler started Pacific Life with the idea of building a life-sized version of himself, which he’d call the “personal mini-comic,” with an avatar of himself that resembled a cartoonish figure, dressed in black, and sporting a white shirt and blue jeans.
It was a fun exercise in futility: It would have been easy to put this avatar into the hands of anyone with an Internet connection, but no one would have recognized it.
The company launched in August 2015 with a goal of launching a “personal comic” that would “provide a way to connect with people online, and to be part of a larger community,” Zeglings cofounder and CEO Michael Loeffler said.
Zieglers goal, which was to create a service that was both entertaining and personal, was accomplished in just three months.
“When I started, it was just me,” Zengler said, speaking in the first person.
“I would say it was about 10 months, and I think I was pretty good at it.
We had about 25 people working on it.””
It was the only company I ever thought about being good at,” he added.
“That’s how I got started.
So, the reason I started Pacific Live is because I really wanted to create something where people could connect with me.”
Pacific Life launched with only 10 employees in the summer of 2015, and it soon grew to be a global business, with more than 250,000 customers, and a number of major online media properties, including USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, among others.
Zieglers mission was to build a “lifelong comic” through which he could interact with people, create content, and get noticed online.
It would be a service he believed would work.
“I really think it was the right fit for me,” he said.
“You know, I’m an entrepreneur, and if you are an entrepreneur you know that the path to success is to start a company, you know, and then you do your best work and you take your work home and you put it in a book, and you write it down, and everyone loves it.
So I really felt like if I was going to do it, it would be good for me.”
Zegl’s life-size, 10-foot-tall mini-Comic, created in order to connect, would have looked nothing like a real person.
Instead, the avatar would have resembled a caricature, complete with a mask and hat, which would have also featured his trademark brown hair, and he would have worn a white turtleneck and black jeans.
Zegler, who is 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs 220 pounds, said the persona of the mini-figure would have allowed him to communicate with a range of audiences, both large and small.
“What you can say to the audience is that this is the best place for this kind of experience,” he told the group.
“This character is a character that is real.
You don’t have to look like you’re sitting there, but you do have to talk like you are.
You have to be able to make people want to be here.”
The concept of creating a “mini-comix” was a huge departure from Ziegls original idea of creating an entertainment company based on creating “an entertainment product that’s all about the personal.”
In fact, Pacific Life has gone on to create over 250 original shows that have been broadcast on major networks and syndicated around the world.
But what was unique about Ziegli’s new vision, he said, was the creation of a “selfie” persona.
“It wasn’t about creating a comic,” Zigler said of the new product.
“It wasn’s about creating something that I would be able and comfortable talking about.
It’s a character, so I was able to create that.
It was a real character.”
Zigler told the audience he hoped the new mini-film would be viewed as a “toy.”
“I think people should be entertained,” he explained.
“They should be amused, they should be intrigued.
But you have to actually be a fan.
If you don’t be a follower, if you’re not an enthusiast, then you’re just not a fan.”
Ziehl was surprised that people didn’t