Shaq’s Tweeted Retirement Boosts Business Investment
When Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement on Twitter on Wednesday, he gave a tremendous boost to a startup called Tout.com, a site that allows users to make short 15-second long videos and share them with their friends.
O’Neal’s video post linked off his Twitter announcement reportedly gave Tout, which launched a little more than a month ago, 500,000 views in the first three hours. According to Shaq’s agent Perry Rogers, the process of getting Shaq and Tout connected began last month when O’Neal discovered the site. He shared it with Rogers, who contacted CEO Michael Downing.
“Next thing I knew he was flying to Vegas to meet me,” Rogers said. “I asked him why it was so important to do this in person. And he said that the CEO of Twitter had said that Twitter wouldn’t be what it was without Shaq, so knowing what power Shaq had in this space, he knew he had to get this done.”
The two men made a deal. Shaq would announce his retirement by posting a Tout video to his more than 3.8 million Twitter followers. In exchange, O’Neal — who told ESPN he considered himself “the emperor of the social media network” — would get a seat on the company’s advisory board and get a small equity stake in the company.
Rogers wouldn’t say what percentage O’Neal got, only to say that it’s not like Shaq sold out to the platform. He wanted to do the deal because he liked the company’s premise.
“Monetarily, it’s not a big deal for Shaq,” Rogers said.
It’s not going to be a one time thing between Shaq and Tout, which trumpeted the O’Neal announcement on its front page. Amy Jo Martin, founder of Digital Royalty, which trains high-profile individuals and companies in the social media space, and counts Shaq as a client, said that Tout will soon host short videos of O’Neal’s extensive memorabilia collection.