“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
Anyone that is active on the wine Twittersphere knows that Rick Bakas and I disagree about, well, almost everything as it relates to social media and the wine business. That being said, there can be no denying that Rick has done an amazing job building his personal brand and launching some interesting initiatives.
I first met Rick over three years ago for 10 minutes and a handshake while I was CEO of IBG. To my recollection he was attempting a wine brokerage in CO and decided to do a start up called culination.mobi. My #1 (Andrea Johnston) had made a biz dev deal with Rick to feature our wineries on his app paired with recipes. Not really sure what happened with that company or the biz dev deal but soon after I lost track of Rick. However, when the Murphy Goode competition arose, and we saw Rick’s application quality and the familiarity of Rick’s name put helped us pay more attention to his submission. He clearly had been working hard on amassing a gigantic Twitter following and was prolific about wine, food, and bacon (watch the video to see him give a history of bacon). We definitely liked the way he was successfully attempting to build his personal brand and picked him early for the original four choice. Rick made the top 50 but was cut when they went to the top 10 and joined St. Supery as the first ever dedicated Social Media Manager. A key milestone in wine/tech history. During his short stint there he was responsible for coordinating #cabernet day modeled after Twitter Taste Live. He joined industry thought leader, Brian Solis, for an interview and wrote a book called “Quick Bites – 75 Savory Tips for Social Media Success.” Recently he left St. Supery to launch his own social media/branding agency called Bakas Media and secured notable winery Chateau Montelena as a client. They have already launched an interesting social wine club which (*note – this part was adjusted due to Jeff Adam’s clarification below) – Chateau Montelena has recently marketed their new (and interesting) wine club model we look forward to seeing the success of this innovative initiative.
What we respect about Rick is his uncanny ability to be an incredible self promoter and personal brand builder. But what really impressed us was his ability to work tirelessly to help one of the other VinTank 8 (Frank Gutierrez – @frankloveswine) get his new job as well had Anita Gouloomian (Frank’s wife) join his team. For those last two acts, we plan to send Rick a Christmas card this year.
Note: We requested Rick to write his own version but we received no response.