One Day on Earth

Every day we hear surprising stories and helpful advice from our users at Highrise in every kind and size of business and we want to spread some of that to the rest of the community too! Brandon uses Highrise to organize thousands of people at his business One Day on Earth, but this story isn’t about Highrise…

Over the years we have shipped more than 1000 cameras to 150+ countries

Wait. What? Does Amazon even ship to that many countries? Here’s a quote from Amazon Global: The majority of items in Amazon’s product catalog can be shipped to over 75 countries.

So, how do you do this?

There is no way that would be possible without our partnership at the United Nations.

🙂 But really, why is Brandon Litman, shipping cameras to so many places?

One Day on Earth is exactly what it sounds like. People from all over the world are showing you what the entire planet looks like through their eyes, all at the same time. It takes a herculean effort, and the results are impressive. You can see a teaser of their latest example here:

Let’s learn a bit from Brandon on how he even got started.

If you really want something, you should work to get it.

Brandon Litman

From renting out his Game Boy in elementary school to handling a global film screening in over 160 countries, Brandon Litman has been running businesses for quite awhile. “Doing business was something that always excited me,” he says. Litman started early, and his entrepreneurial drive continued through high school, when he made ramps for fellow skateboarders, and into college.

“The college environment is so primed for young entrepreneurs,” he says. Litman was a licensed skydiver by his freshman year, which brought about his most significant college project. After making a deal with a local drop zone to get volume pricing, Litman coordinated groups of students to do their first jumps, making “a killing on the margins.” Litman organized up to 80 students to do tandem jumps in a single weekend.

To grow his business, Litman looked further afield than college students:

I even momentarily joined the Army officer training program because I thought they would be good to recruit. That didn’t last long — I quit when they asked me to jog with a log on my shoulder.

Though he enrolled in an architecture major initially, Litman quickly decided it wasn’t for him:

I arrived at my first class at USC where, within 10 minutes, I learned architecture was a 5-year program with a starting salary of 35k. I immediately left and changed my major to “undecided”.

Unsurprisingly, Litman says he naturally fell into his school’s business program. After college, he continued growing his business acumen. He worked on plans for a dry cleaning business, and managed new business efforts for an ad agency in LA before starting a video production company in NYC where Litman worked for 8 years.

These days Litman is co-founder and Executive Producer at One Day on Earth — a company started in 2008 with a lofty goal — to have thousands of participants around the world film simultaneously over a 24-hour period. From this initial project idea, One Day on Earth has grown into a foundation that aims to build and support a global community of media creators.

The initial project idea came from Litman’s business partner, Kyle Ruddick.

Kyle edited a brilliant trailer and asked me to take a look. I immediately fell in love with the project and came on board as an investor and advisor. Within months it snowballed into something much bigger and I was obsessed with the project and all it had to offer. It didn’t take long for it to become my fulltime focus.

Several years on, Litman’s responsibilities include fundraising, partnership building and business development. He says producing the initial film concept has been the highlight of the One Day journey so far:

In 2010, when we said we were going to film in every country in the world on the same day, people thought we were nuts. So there was nothing more magical than sharing the film, which was done via a global screening premiere involving 220 locations in over 160 countries, with the flagship screening at the General Assembly of the United Nations (1700+ guests). It was one of the best days of my life.

Mission accomplished. Now what?

With a global focus, Litman’s day is almost always full of meetings and calls. One Day on Earth has community managers to help them coordinate with people around the world, but Litman says international partners and their existing networks have also been an important part of scaling the company.

Looking forward, Litman’s focus in on fundraising. So far the company has been mainly funded with grants, but with new ideas in the pipeline, Litman’s looking for the right investors to help take One Day to the next level. The company is working on a platform to help independent filmmakers and producers organize their own large filming events, similar to One Day’s successful past events.

“We uncovered a great model of engaging people with media creation and we want others to be able to use that model in a turnkey way,” says Litman.

And personally? Litman wants to get away from the computer and work with his hands more.

Working with my hands is very important. It is meditative. It makes you appreciate not just craftsmanship, but also the mechanics and thought put into the everyday things we use.

Litman used to rent space in a wood shop, and says he hopes to find more time to get back to woodworking in the future.

I try to have a project in the works at all times. A few hours a week is all I need to remain sane. You know you are doing something you love when you get to that Flow State and you suddenly realize the sun is coming up.

Though the younger Litman didn’t have any firm expectations of where he might end up, he’s surprised at how small the world seems these days.

“The biggest difference is perspective and the feeling of accessibility,” he says. “I’m lucky to have broadened my personal scope of international affairs and have built a much greater appreciation for the complexities associated with topics we hear debated in the media.”

With such a wealth of experience behind him, the biggest lesson Litman keeps in mind when working on something new. “If you really want something, you should work to get it.” And that’s what he continues to do.

He also says “I probably talk about Highrise too much at parties.” Thanks Brandon! Couldn’t help but throw that one in! 🙂

P.S. If you need help organizing anyone from yourself to thousands of people, you should take a look at Highrise. It’s a utility knife for anyone who needs to communicate online. And you should follow us on Twitter: here.

And thanks to Belle Beth Cooper for doing the interview and write up of Brandon’s story!