True Prince Stories

Hey folks, it’s been a while. That’s because I’ve been working hard lately, trying to launch several projects. One of those projects is a website called True Prince Stories.
I got the idea for the site after hearing several stories about Prince from my friend Harlan. He told me that there were still a huge number of people who still worship the little purple man from Minneapolis, and that he had just started posting about him as well on several message boards.

Naturally, being the money grubbing entrepreneur I am (or like to think I am), I said to him “why give away all of your information for free? Why don’t you put up a website that has all of your stories?”

Harlan said “You know what Jeff, that’s a good idea”.

trueprincestories.com was registered as a domain name 5 minutes later.

24 hours later, I had a site design up.

Within a week we already started our guerilla campaign.

Our underground marketing campaign was very simple, and it was simple for a reason. You see, we both weren’t really very sure how people would react to the site. Would there be interested? Would there be resistance? Would we be able to have enough material to keep people reading? We really didn’t know how to answer those questions (and to this day, a few may be unanswered).

So, rather than spend a lot of time attempting to figure out how to market the site, we received a great tip from Harlan’s cousin (Dr. Dallas – an attendee from our Hollywood trip in February). His idea was so simple, yet so genius at the same time.

He said “Why don’t you just post pictures on the Prince forums, and at the bottom put your url, trueprincestories.com”. Genius.

So, we followed Dallas’s plan, and Harlan (Huck) posted several pictures on the Prince message boards, all of which had trueprincestories.com at the bottom.

That was the only marketing we did for the site.

Within days, word caught on with the site. Soon, we were getting hits from all over the world (with a surprising number from the Netherlands. Prince must be big there!). We had all kinds of comments from well wishers, people excited for our first story, and just people glad to see something new in the world of Prince. I couldn’t believe how many visits we were getting to a newly launched website; this had never happened to me before!

Then came something that none of us were prepared for; our first incoming link. Yes, someone who had previously seen one of our pictures decided to post a direct link to True Prince Stories on a Prince message board (located at prince.org). That link gave us 1000+ visitors!!!! From a single link!

Now we were becoming big timers in the Prince world! There was a buzz, and it was becoming very loud. In fact, as I write this, the buzz hasn’t even peaked yet. People are still talking about the site, and are still excited for what we have to offer. We have posted a three part story, and it has been received very well so far.

Some people are even scared about the negative implications of the site. Harlan actually received a call from the little man himself (Prince) and talked to him over the phone for several hours! Yes, even Prince is excited for our True Prince Stories (well, perhaps he’s scared, I’m not sure).

So far the site is going well. We have a good buzz, and are getting a LOT of visitors (Over 1500 unique visitors this month, with 0 advertising and minimal self promotion). We are getting a lot of comments from former Prince tourmates and staff (many of them want to contribute to the site). Old friends (or perhaps just old colleagues) were able to talk for the first time in years (namely Harlan and Prince, but several others as well)! And, best yet, the site hasn’t been shut down yet!!!! Perhaps that’s the most important.

Anyway, that’s one of the many reasons why I haven’t been posting recently. I hope to change that over the next few weeks. Please comment on what you think about True Prince Stories.

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

Check out my Google Profile.

Comments

  1. Jon Oakvik says:

    While you and Huck may have decided to take the idea of True Prince Stories to the latest form of technology (ie. the net via a website) let’s give credit where credit is due, shall we? The basic idea of getting the Prince “family” stories together has been talked about over the last 10 years by Michael Oakvik (Hucky’s comrade in arms). His original idea was to put together stories from anyone associated with Prince (from Wendy & Lisa to the road techs to Prince’s personal hair stylist and chef) and compile them into a book form to be shared with all the other “family” members. While I admire Harlan (Hucky) for his endeavor with “Trueprincestories.com”, he has, after all, listened to Michael talk about this idea for a decade. A little shout out to Michael Oakvik for his original idea shouldn’t harm anyone’s ego.

  2. Harlan Austin says:

    Jon I must tell you I’m very surprised from the tone of your comment. It sounds like some feathers are getting ruffled here. As you know Michael and I have been the best of friends for over twenty years, and I’m also sure that you know that anytime I’ve done and event or project with regards to Prince I have always included my good friend Michael Oakvik. I want to be very clear; telling stories about Prince is Michael’s brainchild. As you acknowledged in your comment, the basic idea of getting the Prince “family” stories together has been talked about over the last 10 years by Michael. But you see Jeff doesn’t know that, and that reason is pretty simple, he just met Michael a short time ago. As a result of this, his relationship with Michael does not have the same depth as mine. This is not a question of ego’s I believe it is just an oversight that will be corrected. One last thing, in my opinion a private e-mail would have been a better way to voice your concerns.
    Hucky

  3. Harlan AustinJon Oakvik says:

    Jeff & Harlan I wish to apologize for the “Tone” of my comment (funny thing about typing…you can’t “hear” someone’s tone). I meant no disrespect towards anyone. I simply got a little derailed after reading on both your sites how “I got the idea for True Prince Stories…” and “I got the idea for the site after hearing stories…” I’m just a loving brother that stuck his nose in somewhere it probably didn’t belong. Hucky, I know you and Mike have been close for many years and you and I have worked together as well. Jeff, I don’t know you. But if your a friend of Huck’s, you gotta be cool!!! Anyone else out there that may be reading this, I just want it known that I look up to my brother, Michael Oakvik and I’m proud of him and what he’s accomplished!! I envy the time he spent with Prince, The Rev, Sheila E, Hucky and the lot! I think his idea of putting a memoir/story book together is a great idea! I think giving it to the fans via “Trueprincestories.com” is a fantastic endeavor. Kudos to Hucky, Jeff and my big brother Mike!!!!

  4. Kristi Sauer says:

    Ya know, whether this idea was generated 10 years ago or not, I give Jeff and Harlan a ton of credit for getting the stories out there via the trueprincestories.com blog. The people are obviously out there and inetrested in Prince stories….why make them wait any more?!
    I love trueprincestories.com and can’t wait to read more! If the whole former”crew” wants to help contribute, I think that would be an excellent idea!

  5. I didn’t realize that such a post would evoke so much emotion.A few points of clarification:
    I have been writing on this page since 2001. This seems to be the first time that anyone other than my immediate group of college friends has paid attention. Usually my posts evoke taunts such as “you’re a douchebag” from my friends. I guess this takes things to another level, while still maintaining the same premise: I’m a douchebag.
    To my knowledge, up until about 2 days ago, the only people who actually went to my web page were my college friends, and my awesomely supportive sister. I didn’t realize that people outside of that microcosm actually a) paid me visits and b) cared what I had to say. If you thought I had an ego before, you know it is going to be out of control!
    As for the stories, I never will claim credit for getting the idea for telling the stories. I mean, these stories have and will be told regardless of my presence. I have heard stories from both Mike and Harlan, and I think they are great! In fact, it was through their stories that True Prince Stories came about.
    I will, however, claim credit for the True Prince Stories website. Although I didn’t come up with the idea of telling stories about Prince, I did create the website. I registered the domain name, designed a website template, wrote several lines of html code, and did the necessary steps to put up that website. Nobody can debate that.
    The post that we are all responding to never claimed that I came up with the idea of telling stories about Prince. That would be ridiculous and naive on my part. That would be like the Iraqi information minister claiming that he wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays. It would be false and misdirected. It’s not who I am. Who am I then? Well, as you can see above, and as much of my friends would say, I’m not much more than a bag of douche.
    Mike Oakvik could kick my ass. He’s an f’ing body builder. He’s a f’ing cop. He used to be a bodyguard for the toughest 5 foot tall purple wearing musical artist this side of the Mississippi.
    Hucky Austin could kick my ass. He’s a security machine. He knows Karate. He wore speedos on the Beach in Jamaica during the 80’s! How could I even compete with that!
    This whole thing/issue/whatever you want to call it is just ridiculous. Jon, you should have just sent me an email if you didn’t agree.

    In summation, I feel like I have proved to you today that I’m just a guy who has proven that any douchebag with half a brain and $6.95 a month can put up a website, so don’t get too worked up about it.

  6. Michael Oakvik says:

    All I know is that strong, silent me is remaining strongly silent.