Recap of SMBMTL# 22 – A Conversation with Julien Smith

We’ve been super fortunate as a community to have such strong support from some of Montreal’s best known digital celebrities. Our luck has yet to run out as even though Mitch Joel got called away just a week before our event, he called in a favour and some reinforcements in the form of Julien Smith, founder of breather – who gladly accepted the challenge.

The format for these conversations are usually quite informal. And this time it was no different.


Julien treated us to some stories about how the last thing he thought he’d be doing online was renting real estate – which in effect is exactly what breather does. And how that sometimes, your path may end up very different than that one you would’ve seemingly chosen had you been given the opportunity without any outside influences. He’s done quite well to say the least..

A standard start-up culture saying was tossed around (how failing is good), albeit the verbage was dressed a little differently – how you need to keep working at and testing all those ideas you may have thought were stupid, cause that 1 of 100 you thought was stupid, can be stupidly brilliant – and make you terribly rich.

Those in attendance also learned about the seldom used or seldom discussed feature called Twitter Ads that he has been killing it with for the past several months. Something he says is bar none the most successful method of advertising for them – by like 5 or 10 times when looking at conversions. So good in fact that Twitter wanted him to write a case study for public consumption, which he turned down for fear his competition would employ the very same tactics that has made his work on that platform so successful. Part of the secret he says…was employing the ads via a personal Twitter account (how JLo or Kim Kardashian pimp out stuff for $ thanks to their engaged following). That this is a much more trusting/non-invasive approach to advertising to your following. That, and that it doesn’t hurt to have almost 50k Twitter followers yourself..which Julien does.


Forever the optimist, Fred Harper reminds us above about just how intense Julien can get when talking about business.


Pat Snow sliced out a little sound bite that spoke to some common themes of the talk where some people eager to learn just how they might pick up on an upcoming money-making idea/niche put the question to our guest. His answers were concise if not simple – get the product/service in front of people, and fast. Better for you if the data set was big, but with breather it wasn’t. They saw from that small sampling of university students huge potential – and are still riding that wave via breather.

A tremendous thanks as usual should go out to Julien, and the gang who put the breakfasts together, namely: Luis London, Natalie Riviere, Phil Leithead, and Dana and her team at La Bistrote.

A final mention and congratulations here to Brian Rotzstein, regarding his latest big achievement – a near 400 page mammoth of a book called “Content Marketing Ideas”. Bettina helped us along by breaking the story first with her tweet below as Brian had brought along a copy to the breakfast.