Zennie Abraham CEO of Zennie62Media Biography. (Update at Oakland News Now Blog, click here.)
Chicago-born Zennie Abraham has emerged as one of the premier media entrepreneurs in Oakland. Zennie Abraham, and by extension his Zennie62Media company, has established a platform of 97 blogs and hundreds of social media outlets that is amoung the largest in the San Francisco Bay Area, if not the largest.
Zennie Abraham has a long history of work in and service to his beloved Oakland, California. While at Skyline High School, Zennie entered a design contest for the then-proposed reformation of what is now Frank Qgawa Plaza. The zig-zag step pattern that’s part of the lawn today came directly from his plans – even though at the time, he finished as runner-up (something that haunts him to this day). Zennie thanks Frank Qgawa Plaza architect Yui Hay Lee for not forgetting his idea.
After earning his BA in urban planning and economics at Texas-Arlington, Zennie returned to Oakland, and became a student at the number-one-ranked Master of City Planning Program at the University of California at Berkeley. Zennie’s focus at Berkeley? Oakland economic development.
That formed the foundation for his internship with the Oakland Redevelopment Agency, his establishment of an economic consulting company, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson’s placement of Zennie on the Alameda Base Reuse Committee, Chris Treadway hiring him as a columnist for The Montclarion, then-Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris hiring him as his economic advisor (and asking him to work with everyone from the Oakland Raiders to real estate developers), and Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and City Adminstrator Robert Bobb tapping him to run the effort to bring the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland.
Out of Zennie’s Oakland Alameda County Sports Commission and Super Bowl 39 Bidding Committee, Oakland, given zero-chance by the national media, emerged to become one of three finalists for the right to host the 2005 Super Bowl. While Oakland lost to Jacksonville, the NFL’s then “Mr. Super Bowl”, Jim Steeg, observed that “Zennie showed Oakland what it means to bid for a large sports event.”
That experience, the NFL’s help, and an investment from Oakland businessman Mark Anthony Jones, and cheerleading from his Mom, encouraged Zennie to start Sports Business Simulations: an Oakland company based around two online sports games he made for the classroom: the Oakland Baseball Simworld and the XFL Simworld. Anxious to draw people to the site, Zennie discovered the then-new field of blogging. In 2004, he established Oakland’s first true blog, Oakland Focus. In 2006, he discovered the then-new field of video-blogging, started the Zennie62 YouTube channel, and a Blip.tv channel, was on the iReport before CNN later bought it, and had “his eyes opened” at Vloggercon San Francisco in 2007. In 2008, YouTube made Zennie62 a YouTube Partner Channel – a distinction that remains, today.
That started the media tech period of Zennie’s life: he learned a number of programming languages, formed an expertise in online reputation management, and became a friend of many who are regarded as tech media pioneers today: he was at the launch parties for Twitter and Reddit, was on the CNN / YouTube Democratic Debates, and was featured on CNN several times during the network’s fascination with what was called new media. He was also CNN’s featured iReporter at the historic 2008 Democratic National Convention, where Barack Obama became America’s first black president.
Zennie62Media and it’s Zennie62 YouTube Channel is now the largest in Oakland with over 13,000 videos, 40,000 subscribers and 72 million video views. He has three Oakland blogs: Oakland Focus, Oakland News Online, and the brand new Oakland News Now. Zennie62Media is on the White House Press List, has covered the NFL since 2005, and made more YouTube-based videos from the NFL Draft, San Diego Comic Con, and the Night of 100 Stars Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, than any other media outlet or person.
Zennie is most proud of the number of Oaklanders he has interviewed, from politicians to business owners, to just people on the street, and of people who have taken up video-blogging to tell their stories just because they were influenced by him.