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Featured on Apr 07, 2011

Brett Petersel

"Everything is the same and everything is different."


I’m a former schoolteacher whose passion for media and technology introduced me to the NY tech community, and things have not been the same since! I'm the Audience Manager at Mashable, a source for news in social and digital media, technology and web culture.

  • Title: Audience Manager at Mashable
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Midtown
  • Contact: @Brett, LinkedIn

You used to teach at a public school in Long Island while pursuing your music initiatives (Community Associate at Invisible Records, Artist marketing at Digital Hardcore Recordings). What did you learn that was most applicable to your work in social media?

My experience as both a schoolteacher and working within the music industry has allowed me to work with many different types of people (and age groups). I did learn many things in each role, most that were life-changing, but a key element in each was the practice and process of innovation. I was able to craft new teaching methods to help my students learn and understand the material in the classroom (through the use of computers, websites, etc) and helped artists and record labels experiment and promote their music through new outlets/portals, including Buddyhead and P2P services. Innovation is an important factor when working in social media, and I continue to look forward to what has yet to come.

You’re a self-proclaimed horror movie buff. Are you more into slash flicks, suspense, have any favorites?

I proudly carry and wear this title wherever I go. I've been a fan of horror films since I was four years old, a time when horror films were "real" and didn't feature a number of teen stars and cheesy dialog, and when I was in elementary school I decided I wanted to become a horror film director. When you come from a family of doctors, this is not allowed. However, my parents did allow me to choose my Bar Mitzvah theme: Horror Films.

I've seen hundreds of horror films, so it's difficult to choose a favorite. These four are definitely in my top twenty:  Nightbreed, Evil Dead 2, Waxwork, and Dawn of the Dead (the remake).

What drew you to Mashable and what do you like most about your role as Audience Manager?

Since 2006, I have been setting up events in and around New York City. I had met most of the Mashable team (Adam Hirsch and Pete Cashmore) around this time, became more familiar with the company and its focus, and had attended some of their early events. In 2007, Mashable became an official sponsor of my events (and eventually acquired my group), and in February 2008 I was offered the East Coast Event Sponsorships position, which I immediately accepted. Since then, my position has changed multiple times as we've grown, but I am thankful for each team I've worked with to help build and grow Mashable. While my title may have changed and introduced new responsibilities and tasks, there's nothing more rewarding than being able to work with such an amazing group of people.

You advise a number of startups (WhoByYou, Girls in Tech). What’s the best advice you can give folks who are just starting their startups?

I've worked upon a number of new ventures, including my own, so I always tell people I advise one important thing: Be Patient. I always stress that there's no need to immediately launch  (sometimes in a saturated market) their application or product, and to space out their plan(s). It's important to also view your competition and find ways to separate yourself, and then create a feature that makes the app or product stand out from the rest.

You run Mashable’s weekly 100+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events. What are some of your favorite types of events?

I've attended over five hundred different types of events during the past five years. My favorite events include Blog World & New Media Expo and Internet Week (New York), but there are a few small events that deserve a mention. These include GasPedal's Word of Mouth events and BarCamp. I enjoy events that allow its attendees to make an/the event happen, and BarCamp's idea of allowing people to both collaborate and contribute to its schedule definitely gets two thumbs up from me!

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