Shaq surprised us all yesterday by going to Twitter to announce his retirement. It was a shock to us all that was spun as "Shaq's just doing it his way."
Well, there was more to the move than that. You see… Shaq posted his video on Tout.com… a new social media site that allows you to post quick 15 second videos and share them. It was an odd choice considering sites like TwitVid exist for that very purpose (and you can share longer vids). And now, Shaq's on a prolific video posting spree.
Which got me to wondering… "Does Shaq own stock in Tout or something?"
Why yes… yes he does.
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.
Slick move by the Big Business Man. He knew that announcing something as big as his retirement on a new site would get it flooded with hits. I'm sure there are hundreds… maybe thousands… of new users on the site. Go to the site now and it's nothing but Shaq's face everywhere.
So kudos to Mr. O'Neal for knowing how to make his investment pay off immediately. And also take this moment to understand one thing about Shaq: Everything he does has a purpose behind it. As fun-loving and spontaneous as he might be… he's a keen business man who has full control of his brand and knows his every move is a potential cash generator.
Shaq's the anti-Antoine Walker. If there's a way to turn his face into a money-maker… he'll make it happen.