Favorite Productivity Tool: Wunderlist - I love lists.
Most Recommended App: “Here - Places Worth Sharing” - authenticity and context are so refreshing.
Last Thing You Read: The Alchemist… again.
Tell us about your journey? Social Media and Film are the two verticals that no matter what crazy twist and turn my path takes, I always end up back on their doorstep. Early on I ran all the social media for Emory University. Having studied both marketing and film in school, my social media strategies always skewed content-heavy, particularly video-heavy. I guess you could say I love telling stories - film is one vehicle in which to tell a story, and social media is another. From there I took a bit of a left turn and got into the apparel world, founding two companies over the course of three years. My draw to apparel was the story that clothing tells about the person wearing it. Your clothes introduce you… they do the talking before you even have a chance to speak. When building a lifestyle apparel brand, the story that you build for that brand becomes part of the story of the life of the people that wear your clothes. That idea has always been so fascinating to me and I love the power that apparel has on an individual. But come early 2017 - I felt social media trying to pull me back over, and I couldn’t resist.
Around this time the social media landscape was changing drastically. The game had changed but many people were still playing by the 2012 rules. If I was going to get back into social media full time, I wanted to dive in head first in a big way. There were three fundamental principles that were getting left behind by social media in its sprint to win our time and attention… Context, Authenticity, and Discoverability. So instead of getting on the field and playing the game, I expanded the field and created: Here- Places Worth Sharing. Here is a social mapping platform with a mission to bring Context, Authenticity, and Democratized Discovery back to our content. The way Instagram is designed to promote people and their stories, Here is designed to promote places and the stories that happen there. But the differences don’t end there. All Here content is created in-app, in real-time, and in its real location… in other words… no camera roll uploads. With Here, you know that what you’re looking at is real, and well… authentic. Also with Here we use MapFeeds instead of NewsFeeds - so now all your content is found on a map interface so you know where to find it, what’s around it, and how accessible it is to you… that’s the context. And we democratize discovery by letting users self-curate their Mapfeeds to find exactly what they’re looking for - instead of algorithms showing what’s already popular or what they “think” you want to see.
So Here is my new baby, in addition to my actual new baby girl, Ella, who was born this April! So we’re full steam ahead with growing and continuing to innovate with Here, Here Video is coming later this summer! But a few months ago, the film part of me was starting to get jealous - so I also built and launched: RoleCall - A Casting Management System. RoleCall is a faster, more efficient, and safer way to cast actors, models, and brand ambassadors for any project you might have. Right now we help content creators and event organizers find the people they need to make their projects happens. But we’ve got a few huge surprises to expand on that service coming this fall that I’m super excited about - but I’ll save those details for later.
So stepping back and looking at this winding journey I’m on of startups and story-telling, I think it all whittles down to - I just like taking ideas and turning them into a reality.
What's your favorite part of your day? I love the 30 minutes or so after the sun has set but it’s still light outside. That’s always been a nice window of time for me to ponder the day that just passed, and to plan out the day to come. The light is peaceful, calming, and perfect for reflection.
When do you feel most successful? Two months ago I would have said getting a new user on the Here platform. Now I’d say when my baby girl smiles at me #DadLife. But if you’re a potential investor… then still getting a new user, along with them coming back to use the platform daily and spending a lot of time in app each day! :-)
What do you do to recharge when you're feeling drained? I was a track and field athlete all through high school and college so I consider myself still resting from running. But I’ve recently started swimming and I love it. The water is warm, and I feel safe (no rolling ankles or cars zipping by me). Also no phone. I love not being able to engage with my phone for a bit. Knowing that I have a full hour of just me with no dangers or distractions, combined with the monotony of each identical stroke - is the perfect combination to clear your mind, put things into perspective, and recharge.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurship has been way over-glamorized, it has its pros but it definitely has its cons (not to mention stuff like expensive health insurance and trying to do anything with a bank as a non W2 employee). But with all this “start up” buzz and valuations and burn rates, and growth curves this and that - I sit back and just think that people have been starting business for thousands of years and that I’m just a business owner that wants to grow a business that brings in more money than it spends to make that a money.
How do you optimize your day? I try to keep my emails at bay. 99% of the time I can get to a zero inbox by the end of the day, but I try to email in chunks so that I’m not constantly replying all day long.
Who is the person/people who allowed you to imagine more? I have a really supportive wife, family, and friend group, all of which are pretty creative. So in my case, it might be more valuable to imagine less. Let me explain. I have so many ideas running through my head that it can be distracting. I had a real problem a few years back of waking up in the middle of the night and buying domain names. I’ve since toned that down and let most of them expire. But I’m really learning to value the people that are helping me stay focused on the ideas I’m already working on and making sure I see those through to the end. It’s easy to have the ideas, the execution is the hard part.
What does imagining more mean to you and your story? This can be a blessing and a curse - but I don’t usually like the status quo. I don’t subscribe to the idea that there is only one way to do something. I like to think, or imagine if you will, that there might be a right answer, but more than one way to get to that answer. So that mindset motivates me when creating things. That product might already exist, or that story might have already been told, but how can I look at something through a unique lens and share it in a fresh way?
If you could do more of one thing every day what would it be? Maybe not everyday, but more often for sure, I would like to be sailing more. I forced myself to learn to sail last year by buying a sailboat on Lake Lanier. Let me clarify a few things: First off, I’d never even been on a sailboat before, and second off, I’d never been to Lake Lanier before. But I thought if I didn’t commit I’d never do it. And a year later I’ve yet to sink the boat! I did run aground once though, but I got out of that one okay. I love the feeling of moving fast through the water, but having no engine noise. It’s so swift, yet so peaceful.
Favorite social media platform? Reddit - really informative, with really funny comments. And Here of course… I’ve always loved looking at maps.