News Reality

Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 45: Dan Miller and Brian Zuercher

by www.huffingtonpost.com
I always told myself that I would stop pushing forward when there was an overwhelming force from the outside saying that this is not working. But even when I reached that point, I continued to try to brute force it into existence. I wound up losing a lot. We followed every test and experimental process from the get-go but we didn't tell our investors we were doing that. They still thought we were building what we had presented in a PowerPoint slide. When they found out, they questioned my decision-making and me as an entrepreneur. The same passion that got your startup idea off the ground can blind you to signs that your company is failing. And not keep investors informed about changes to your business model can have serious consequences. How to recognize when it's time to pull the plug on your startup idea, and why founders can't operate afford to operate in a vacuum were the focus on today's Entrepreneurs are Everywhere radio show. The show follows the journeys of founders who share what it takes to build a startup - from restaurants to rocket scientists, to online gifts to online groceries and more. The program examines the DNA of entrepreneurs: what makes them tick, how they came up with their ideas; and explores the habits that make them successful, and the highs and lows that pushed them forward. Joining me in the Stanford University studio were Dan Miller, co-founder of Level Therapy, provider of mobile therapy sessions Brian Zuercher, founder of Seen marketing platform software Listen to my full interviews with Dan and Brian by downloading them from SoundCloud here and here (And download any of the past shows here.) Clips from their interviews are below. Dan Miller is the co-founder and CEO of Level Therapy, which provides access to psychotherapists through video, voice, and text. Before Level, Dan was the founder and CEO of Freshsessions, the world's first marketplace for musicians to find and book studio time anywhere. Before setting out on his own, Dan held various product, research, and operations roles at Salesforce, SurveyMonkey, Forrester Research, and The Ladders. He was also on the team that wrote the business plan for BlackGirlsCode. In 2014, Business Insider listed Dan as one of the top 46 African Americans in Tech. With Freshsessions, Dan thought he was on to a great idea. Other people thought so, too, but weren't willing to pay for the service: It was going pretty well at the very beginning. We built a landing page, and ran some ads, and started to drive targeted traffic to the ads to see if people would be interested in it. There was a lot of interest. But it was very difficult to find engaged studio owners that wanted to change how they were operating their businesses to adopt a technology-based model, and find musicians that had enough money to book consistent sessions through the platform We found the need, but no payers. To hear the clip, click here He wanted Freshsessions to work so badly that he was tone-deaf to signs that it was time to shut the business down: I always told myself that I would stop pushing forward when there was an overwhelming force from the outside saying that this is not working. Even when, I believe, in hindsight, that I reached that point, I continued to try to brute force it into existence. We were trying out different cities, and I was flying around the country, and we were trying different campaigns and various things, and ultimately they were not working. Through that process, I lost a lot including some relationships with individuals, and I started to develop symptoms of acute anxiety. To hear the clip, click here Brian Zuercher is the CEO and co-founder of Seen, a marketing software platform that is helping marketers tell the story of their brand and build relationships with their customers through consumer generated photos and videos. Seen was recognized as the "Innovation Game Changer" at the 2012 Ohio Interactive Awards. Actively involved in the local startup community, Brian is a Startup Weekend Columbus host and MC at the monthly morning pitch event for entrepreneurs, WakeUp StartUp. Additionally, he has an extensive background in building and launching consumer products at Seen, Clearwish (founder), and Woods Industries. Today, Seen has achieved some success, but it took Brian and his team several pivots to get where they are. They didn't always keep their angel investors informed about the changes they were making and it nearly cost them: We followed every test and experimental process from the get-go but we didn't tell our investors we were doing that. They still thought we were building what we had presented in a PowerPoint slide as the product, but that didn't work out in our case. We did three iterations of the product in less than 12 months, each one progressively going off of different consumer metrics that we found and then partner feedback. Ultimately, it didn't work and we decided we had enough time to maybe do one last iteration. We did the tough thing of letting everyone go, reducing the burn down to two of us from almost 10 at one point, and gave ourselves six weeks to turn into a new product. Meanwhile, the investors thought we were dead. We'd told them, "Hey, we let everyone go. We've got some money left, but we don't know if we've got much left." They questioned my decision-making and me as an entrepreneur. Fortunately we had the confidence of a couple board members as well who were able to stand up for us. To hear the clip, click here -- Seeking help to cope with the anxiety he developed as Freshsessions was falling apart, Dan tried some web-based mental health practitioners. The experience wasn't positive, and led him to come up with the idea for Level Therapy: I tried one that was solely web-based, with an interesting subscription model, but they didn't accept insurance. I walked away from that experience feeling cold, and more like a number than a person. Immediately, the entrepreneur in me started to kick in, and I started to think about why, objectively, was I having those thoughts? Where did this company miss? How could I build a solution that would address those points? To hear the clip, click here Dan suggests other founders seek out not just a single mentor but a network of fellow entrepreneurs that can act as a kind of advisory board: I would aim to find other entrepreneurs that are perhaps six months ahead of where you currently are as a company, or six months to a year or two years ahead of where you are, so they are contemporaries that have experience, potentially the same types of challenges that you're experiencing. They can give you timely advice. Also, individuals that are further out, so perhaps they have either sold companies or they've been operating companies for three plus years, five plus years, etc. They can give you more long-term strategic advice. To hear the clip, click here Based on his experience with Freshsessions, he also counsels founders to never work with friends: It was difficult to overnight go from being someone whose relationship was based around just having fun to actually motivating them and inspiring them and pushing them. Maybe that was a function of me being young in my professional career as well, but that was my experience. I wouldn't do it again. To hear the clip, click here -- In his first startup, Clearwish, Brian learned it isn't enough to focus on trying to realize your vision. The founding team must be on the same page about possible future directions for the company, too. We were approached to get funded and had enough success and promise at the time, but we couldn't find alignment around the notion of building a lifestyle business first, a venture-based business, and how big it could really be. We had never discussed everyone's expectations when we founded the company. Oh we had a happy, fun conversation over a couple of beers, but we did not sit down and say, 'Hey wait, where's everyone want to go with their life?" Instead, we launched the product, got momentum very quickly, and were swept up in this process. We misfired on that and broke down that team. It was a learning experience for sure. To hear the clip, click here Having worked with startups in Columbus, Ohio, Brian says it's not necessary to be in a startup ecosystem to make your startup work: When I was complaining about raising money in Columbus many years ago, Bill Diffenderffer, who ran SkyBus and is now one of the founders of Silvercar, told me, "You keep saying here, but there is no here here, so just go get the money." That really stuck with me. The place isn't necessarily going to make the business go. To hear the clip, click here His advice for other founders? Think big: I think I try to ask all the questions that I've been asking myself, like why are you doing this? Why are you making the decision? Why are you looking at that? Is this what you believe is right for the business versus right for what some financier asked you to do? I push them to think really big. To hear the clip, click here Listen to my full interviews with Dan and Brian by downloading them from SoundCloud here and here (And download any of the past shows here.) Coming up next on the blog: Emily Kennedy, founder and CEO of Marinus Analytics; and Chris Cabrera, founder of Xactly Tune in Thursday, Oct. 13, at 1 pm PT, 4 pm ET on Sirius XM Channel 111 to hear these upcoming guests on Entrepreneurs are Everywhere: George Zimmer, founder of Men's Wearhouse and now founder, chairman and CEO of Generation Tux; and Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert Steve Blank blog: www.steveblank.com

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Read Full Article On www.huffingtonpost.com
Latest
The UK will have to play by international rules after it exits the EU, limiting its ability to use tax breaks to woo investors, said Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
Irish investors have been warned off from increasing their bets on overvalued Irish and global shares because the risks posed by President Donald Trump cutting US corporation taxes and by Brexit-drive
The investors and executives who throng Davos every January are many things. However above all, they’re rich. And they’re starting to see plenty of opportunities to stay that way under Don
The EU’s ethics watchdog led by Emily O’Reilly has opened an inquiry into the participation of ECB president Mario Draghi and senior ECB officials in the work of an exclusive group that in
Private landlords’ group the Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA) has been reprimanded by the competition regulator over a press release and a meeting where it discussed levying new charges
The firm behind the business that was victim to a “very sophisticated cyber attack” in 2013 is to maintain its presence here, but with a reduced workforce.
The Corrs have started to enjoy the fruits of their 2015 comeback with the cashpile at their music firm climbing to over €310,000.
Wall Street analysts are predicting Starbucks could finally surpass McDonald’s to become the world’s most valuable restaurant chain.
West Bengal has received investment proposals worth Rs 2.35 lakh crore across sectors at the 3rd Global Bengal Business Summit held here, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said today. "I am glad to anno
The chorus supporting the bull taming sport Jallikattu is getting louder with people witnessing nation-wide protests on Saturday.Protests were seen in Maharashtra's capital Mumbai with people coming o
Endeavours for the attraction of donations and acquisitions of artworks destined for the National Museum of Romanian Art (MNAR) have been started for two paintings by Anton Chladek (1794-1882), classi
Tamil Nadu government has given away Rs 78.50 lakh to various sportspersons and coaches hailing from the state and who had achieved international honour. Chief Minister O Panneerselvam gave away
The Manipur government today celebrated the 45th Statehood Day at old Secretariat hall here in a function attended by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and other senior officials. Speaking on the occasion
He may have relinquished the India limited overs captaincy but Mahendra Singh Dhoni is still playing a proactive role in the team affairs as he today performed the leadership role, including inspectin
Two women arms smugglers and an illegal manufacturer of weapons were arrested and a six 9-mm pistols, five magazines and a live round seized by a combined team of Assam Rifles and Manipur police. The
Unlike his previous trips to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum (WEF), Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's latest visit has come under attack from the opposition parties, d
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Saturday urged the Muslim voters to cast their votes in favour of her, and not in support of the ruling Samajwadi Party, in order to defeat the Bharatiya Ja
Bollywood actor Taheer Shabbir considers himself extremely lucky to be a part of Neeraj Pandey-backed "Naam Shabana" as it is a huge learning opportunity for him. The actor was last seen in "Fan" in
The Bucharest-based nightclub Bamboo, which is owned by Italian businessman Joshua Castellano, was destroyed due to a violent fire that erupted on Saturday morning. Around 100-200 people were inside t
A city-based school teacher has been booked for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old student, police said today. According to API Anil Bhawari of Rabodi police station, the teacher Anwar Khalpe was book
BEIJING (AP) — Citizens of China’s capital Beijing are expressing doubts about President Donald Trump’s ability to steer the U.S. economy and manage China-American relations. Aaron Wang,
NEW YORK (AP) — Whether it’s to plan for their future once basketball is done, promote healthy living or just to have some fun, WNBA players such as Sue Bird and Maya Moore are getting involved
A 55-year-old woman was killed in Mokhwadi village here when she tried to rescue her son who was being allegedly beaten up by a villager over a family dispute, police said today. The incident too pla
Oakbay's claims are designed to deflect from the primary issues in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s court application, the National Treasury said.
Open markets and global trade have been blamed for job losses over the last decade, but global CEOs say the real culprits are machines
An excise inspector in Kadapa district was caught while she was allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 54,000 amount from a businessman, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials said today. Excise inspector A
A Junior Engineer in Assam's Nagaon district was allegedly made to apologise by touching the feet of a BJP MLA for removing the legislator's car blocking the road to the office, a BDO official said.
India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar today credited the Indian Premier League for his transformation as a death bowler and said the team would play without pressure as it aims for a clean sweep against Engla
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today wished the people of the Northeastern states of Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura on their 'statehood day' and hoped they continue to achieve heights in all-round devel
Prices of select edible oils recovered at the wholesale oil and oilseeds market during the week, driven by pick up in demand from vanaspati millers and retailers in view of ongoing wedding season agai
England wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow has replaced the injured Alex Hales in the squad for the three T20 Internationals to be played against India from January 26. Hales fractured his righ
A team of central government officials arrived here today to assess the drought situation in Tamil Nadu following a plea by the state government. The team is expected to visit drought-hit areas and d
The series in their grasp along with a distinct psychological edge, India would be aiming for a clean-sweep to dent England's confidence a bit more in their final ODI outing before the Champions Troph

Recent News

Suspect in murder of "Lambada" singer arrested in Brazil

Brazilian police have detained three men in what has been described as a robbery gone awry, Report informs citing foreign media.
Read Full Article

Ministry of Taxes gives extra 3 days to taxpayers for submission of tax returns

Ministry of Taxes has given an extra 3 days to taxpayers in order to submit declaration.
Read Full Article

Lucic-Baroni, Brady Take Different Paths to Success at Slams

For both the veteran, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, and the newcomer, Jennifer Brady, it's a completely unexpected position to be in: Playing for a spot in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open
Read Full Article

Trump to eliminate Obama's climate action plan, reveals White House website

It claimed that lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers
Read Full Article

Indian citizen convicted of citizenship fraud in US

He had sexually abused a child & did not disclose his crime during the application process
Read Full Article

Violence, protests mar Donald Trump's inauguration; 217 arrested

In Seattle, people threw bricks at officers during demonstration at University of Washington campus
Read Full Article

Toshiba prepares for sale of stake in chip business

The industrial conglomerate has distributed non-disclosure agreement forms to various funds
Read Full Article

Vietnam to allow locals in casinos under 3-year test project

Vietnamese gamblers will soon be allowed into local casinos under a three-year pilot project.
Read Full Article

Rescue teams pull 2 bodies from Iran building rubble

Rescuers found the bodies of two firefighters in the rubble of a commercial building that collapsed in Tehran after a blaze, leaving up to 30 dead, Iran’s state TV reported Saturday.
Read Full Article

Popular Finance

16 killed as bus carrying students crashes and burns in Italy

Police say 16 people died when a bus carrying Hungarian students returning home from France left a highway and crashed near Verona, Italy. Thirty-nine people survived.  Police Cmdr. Geralomo Lacqu
Read Full Article

Bomb blast in Pakistan market kills 18, wounds 51

A bomb exploded Saturday in a market in a northwestern tribal region of Pakistan, killing at least 18 people and wounding at least 51.  Dr. Sabir Hussain at the Parachinar main hospital said 11 cr
Read Full Article

Hot Property: Just when you thought things couldn't get any crazier

Now we have officially seen it all. The Bel-Air mansion that hit the market mid-week at $250 million is the most expensive home for sale in the U.S. Where to begin? Well, at the top of the four-le
Read Full Article
 

Mexican top officials will meet Trump administration to discuss bilateral relations next week

Mexican officials will hold meetings on January 25 and 26 with U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump's top aides in Washington, to discuss bilateral relations such as security, tra
Read Full Article

Nathan Chen dominates men's short program at U.S. figure skating championships

Hyped as the future of men's skating, Nathan Chen put the sport on notice that his time is now.  Chen dazzled and dominated as he stamped himself as a future Olympic medalist contender, connecting
Read Full Article

Boys' basketball: Birmingham unleashes 24-0 run to defeat El Camino Real

Anyone who wants to know just how good Birmingham might be when it plays at its best only needed to be in its gym on Friday night for a West Valley League game against El Camino Real. The Patriots
Read Full Article

Boys' basketball: LiAngelo Ball scores 60 points; Chino Hills winning streak reaches 55

Another game, another victory and another high-scoring performance from the unbeaten Chino Hills Huskies and senior guard LiAngelo Ball. He scored 60 points in the Huskies' 136-93 Baseline League
Read Full Article

Lakers roll past Pacers despite loss of D'Angelo Russell to knee injury

The Lakers should have installed one of those Turn-o-Matic ticket dispensers — like the ones at supermarket deli counters — outside their training room Friday night. “Now serving No. 1 … Now servi
Read Full Article

Storms delay start of Obama's post-presidential vacation

After eight years, Barack Obama had to wait a little bit longer to start his post-presidential relaxation. The plane taking the Obama family from Washington to the California desert Friday was del
Read Full Article