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 economy may be paying for Brexit for a long time to come. 
The concern of many member states is that the EU is getting too big for its boots, writes Paul Mills.
The Co Wicklow studios where the hit series Vikings, is shot has made a fresh bid for a €90m expansion that would create 1,500 movie-related jobs.
The European Commission has called on the Government to install “systematic” reviews of all its reduced rates for Vat, such as its low level of tax on hotels and restaurants, and has warne
The deputy head of the Central Bank said any influx of financial services firms to Dublin, arising out of Brexit, could pose “a broad range” of risks to the Irish economy.
AIB is to appoint Brexit advisors all around the country as it advised customers not to become complacent about its impact on industry.
Farmers have given a cautious welcome to Glanbia’s plan to sell 60% of its Irish dairy business to Glanbia Co-op, creating a new Glanbia Ireland joint venture in a deal worth €112m.
French car maker PSA, which owns the Peugeot and Citroen brands, said Thursday net profit for 2016 nearly doubled as the group pushes plans to buy General Motors' European brands Opel and Vauxhall
Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said Thursday he will quit the post to focus on overhauling scandal-hit Mitsubishi Motors, but will stay on as chairman at the Japanese automaker he was credited wi
British bank Barclays returned to profit in 2016 after slashing provisions set aside for legal and compensation costs linked to foreign exchange and insurance scandals, it said Thursday
Computer distributor Mustek experienced a slowdown in revenue growth for the six months to December.
Cell C has rejected a bid from Telkom, which had reportedly offered R13 billion to buy the debt laden cellular company out.
Azerbaijan has invited Turkish companies to establish joint ventures in various fields in a bid to deepen the economic interaction between the strategic partners.
Details of the first direct transatlantic flights from Cork to the US will be unveiled today, with special one-way introductory offers of €69 expected, writes Eoin English of the Irish Examiner.
Telecom operator Vodafone Romania has launched its 20 years brand campaign called „You have the power to make your future.” The TV spot presents the story of a child from a Romanian isolated village w
Barclays is making plans in case the UK loses access to the EU single market after Brexit, but is committed to London, chief executive Jes Staley says.
New India Assurance will continue to outperform the general insurance industry, says G Srinivasan, CMD of the company.
Massmart, majority owned by WalMart, reported robust growth despite a tough environment last year.
The supporters of Shiv Sena and BJP today clashed after some Sena activists burst firecrackers outside the BJP office at Dadar in Central Mumbai as trends for the BMC polls started pouring-in, police
Indian spinners manged to break the resistance of Australian batsmen by hunting down three of them in the second session as the visitors struggled to 154 for four at tea on the opening day of the firs
Dearth of qualified professionals and change in priorities of candidates have made headhunting much more difficult today than what it was a year ago, a study says. The global study, released by the F
As counting trends showed the Shiv Sena surging far ahead in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the BJP today said it will "introspect" reasons for the party's performance which was "not as per expec
Two Uzbek nationals have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold valuing about Rs 44 lakh at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here. The accused were intercepted
Opposition Congress today staged a walkout in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly alleging that the government-run power companies have been harassing the consumers by issuing inflated bills. Congress also a
Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd today said ICICI Bank has acquired its 81.44 crore shares under the strategic debt restructuring plan by its lenders. "ICICI Bank Ltd has acquired 81,44,90,000 shares of
Barclays boss Jes Staley said the British bank is "just months away" from completing an overhaul as he unveiled a surge in annual profits.
Sibanye – a South African gold and platinum miner – reports record annual operating profit for the year.
Mazda’s most important crossover gets a stylish new chrome grille, sleeker headlights and slimmer taillights, a fresh new interior, sharper steering and a more vivid interpretation of the company’s si
Saikawa in as Nissan CEO, Ghosn not out as chairman of Nissan, and a few more
Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) opened its representative office in Italy.
Australia were 153 for four at tea on the opening day of the first cricket test against India at MCA stadium, here today. Australia lost captain Steve Smith (27), Shaun Marsh (16) and Peter Hands
Scorebard at tea on the opening day of the first cricket Test between India and Australia at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, here today. Australia 1st innings: Matt Renshaw
Gold prices recovered by Rs 100 to Rs 29,850 per 10 grams at the bullion market today on positive global cues and uptick in demand from local jewellers. Silver also rebounded by Rs 100 to Rs 43,200 p
Tribal Affairs Secretary Anoop Kumar Srivastava was today sent back to his joint cadre state Assam-Meghalaya before completion of his central deputation tenure. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet

Recent News

Blast at Pakistan shopping centre leaves at least 8 dead

A bomb blast in an upscale shopping centre in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore killed at least eight people and wounded 20 on Thursday, officials sa
Read Full Article

'I'm just as glamorous as them'

Hulya Arif is one of a number of disabled women breaking into the beauty business.
Read Full Article

Brexit: Barclays 'committed to London'

Barclays is making plans in case the UK loses access to the EU single market after Brexit, but is committed to London, chief executive Jes Staley says.
Read Full Article

FTSE 100 lower despite RSA Insurance boost

RSA is the biggest riser on the FTSE, but British Gas owner Centrica weighs on the market.
Read Full Article

BIR misses P1.62T target for 2016

Read Full Article

Gazans excited over territory’s new indoor shopping mall

In a welcome sign of normalcy, the new indoor shopping mall – complete with an international retail chain, three-story bookstore and bustling food court – has opened in the Gaza Strip.
Read Full Article

Eyeing Opel, Peugeot says 2016 net profits soar by 80 pct

French car maker PSA, which owns the Peugeot and Citroen brands, said Thursday net profit for 2016 nearly doubled as the group pushes plans to buy General Motors' European brands Opel and Vauxhall
Read Full Article

'Enjoy the jolly ride at the top'

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane fired a warning shot at the clubs that have been swapping the No1 spot.
Read Full Article

Breakdowns are key to victory over the Kiwis

Sometimes suffering a defeat is one of the best things that can happen to a team. Just ask Stormers coach Robbie Fleck, I’m sure he’d agree.
Read Full Article

Popular Finance

 

Top tips to boost your state pension by DWP

There are simple ways to boost your state pension ahead of your retirement - here are This is Money's top tips.
Read Full Article

India's January rubber imports drop 39 % y/y as prices rally

The country's production in the month jumped 27 percent to 66,000 tonnes from a year ago as farmers increased tapping to cash in on the price rally, the board said in a statement.
Read Full Article

Huila: Matala gains new structure for AGT

Matala - Matala municipality, southern Huíla province, gained on Wednesday a new Tax Office of the General Tax Administration (AGT), to regulate the tax responsibilities of taxpayers of the surroundin
Read Full Article

Angola: Internet Technologies Angola expects to reap 7 billion Kwanza

Luanda - Internet Technologies Angola (ITA) expects to reap about 7 billion Kwanzas this year, against 3 billion collected in 2016 in Internet and telecommunications services. , Focused on the impl
Read Full Article

From the Archives: Lakers 1968 Hall of Fame bench

The Dec. 22, 1968 Los Angeles Times caption stated, “Laker coach Bill Van Breda Kolf, left, applauds play against the Warriors–and why not be happy with a bench like this to call on.” This Laker b
Read Full Article
 

British Gas owner's profits set to hit £1.4bn

The firm’s parent company Centrica has indicated that profits for 2016 will be higher than originally forecast and so could top £1.4billion.
Read Full Article
 

Are you on the right side of the savings divide?

A look at the savings divide is more than just an exercise in helping to establish ‘I’m considerably richer than you’ bragging rights. It highlights the issues our divided society faces.
Read Full Article
 

The 812 Superfast: Is Ferrari's naming team on a vacation?

If you thought LaFerrari - translating to TheFerrari - was bad, the supercar maker has taken terrible names to the next step with the latest addition to it's six-figure fleet.
Read Full Article
 

Top tips to boost your state pension

There are simple ways to boost your state pension ahead of your retirement - here are This is Money's top tips.
Read Full Article