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
As British prime minister Theresa May prepares to trigger Article 50, which marks the formal start of the Brexit talks process, the subject of funding for small businesses here will be even higher on
Efforts to boost house building could end up in a bloated construction industry and the economy ultimately overheating if the Government were to fail to rein in spending, the Economic and Social Resea
Family-owned bookseller Dubray Books last year posted its “best trading performance since the recession” as it recorded profits of €495,589.
An economic think-tank has urged the Government to ditch its ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ plan in favour of a new housing model centred on a commercial semi-state utility system.
A leading aviation analyst has warned passengers could be the biggest casualty after the EU ordered UK-based airlines to relocate to EU countries or sell shares to EU nationals to avoid losing major r
The EU is determined to sign a Brexit deal by 2019, but has warned the UK it won’t get everything it wants.
US wireless carriers Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc said on Wednesday they have suspended digital advertising on Google`s YouTube and other advertising platforms not related to searc
Royal Dutch Shell plc, Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp signaled the oil industry`s return to the Gulf of Mexico`s deep waters with high bids in a government auction up 76 percent over a year ago.
The collection fee could be as high as 16% and would hit a very specific group of student loan borrowers.        
As mega malls become an endangered species nationwide, here's an overview of metro-Detroit malls.        
Reliance Infradevelopment offloaded a total of 18 crore shares over three days starting from March 20. The shares were sold in three tranches to Reliance Wind Turbine Installators Industries at diff
Journalist Dan Rather took to Facebook on Wednesday night to ask an important question about President Donald Trump’s administration, particularly CNN suggesting the FBI has new evidence of Trum
Given that an average person spends four hours each day (translating to 60 days in a year) commuting in his car, manufacturers are working overtime on a host of innovative technologies aimed at maki
Condemning the recent terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India stands with the United Kingdom in the fight against terrorism.Prime
The company that earlier maintained a clean regulatory track record failed spectacularly in the US FDA#39;s audit last December.
A CNN Panel on Wednesday smacked down Kayleigh McEnany as she tried to claim her fellow panelists don’t care about the Fourth Amendment. The panel was discussing House Intel Committee Chairman D
A new vaccine that is cheap to make and does not require refrigeration has shown promise in preventing rotavirus, a contagious and fatal disease that disproportionately strikes children in Africa, res
South Korea will inject 2.9 trillion won (USD 2.6 billion) into Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co to keep the world's second-largest shipbuilder from going bankrupt. Financial Supervisory C
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea announced Thursday a fresh capital injection for Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., seeking to prevent the world’s second-largest shipbuild
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commer
Carl Bernstein, a previous investigative journalist on Watergate, joined CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday night to comment on the ongoing Trump-Russia connection and the leaks coming out of the W
The top executive of the SpeedVegas track south of Las Vegas has denied allegations made in a civil lawsuit filed Monday that calls for the attraction to be closed until safety improvements are ma
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today strongly condemned the UK Parliament terror attack describing it as "an attack on parliaments, freedom and democracy everywhere". "Australia's heartfe
You have to draw the line somewhere, and I’m drawing one at the three-star 2017 Kia Niro hybrid.        
The companies cited concerns that Google was not doing enough to prevent brands from appearing next to offensive material, like hate speech.
Howard Schultz’s last Starbucks shareholders meeting as CEO began with patriotic flourishes, ended with the passing of a key from Schultz to his successor, and was peppered throughout with talk of co
The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles is said to be examining the extent to which the North Korea government aided the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank.
Kia seems ready to take on the Toyota Prius in a contest no one is watching because gas is less than $2 a gallon. But that could change once gas prices eventually go back up and people start looking a
       
Hailing newly-elected Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's directive to ban pan masala in the government offices, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said the decision was a positi
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian stocks rose on Thursday, taking their cues from a Wall Street bounce, while the dollar crawled up from a four-month low but remains clouded by concerns about U.S. President
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices on Thursday recovered from losses chalked up the session before, but the market remains under pressure as bloated U.S. crude inventories and rising output dampen OPEC-
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma House met to discuss engrossment of its controversial House Bill-1549, which would prohibit anyone from seeking an abortion in the case of a genetic abnormality. Oklahoma Stat
EDMONTON - Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says $30 million the federal government is giving to the province for the oil and gas industry is good news. She says her government will use the money to foc

Recent News

Metro Detroit's malls: Down for the count

As mega malls become an endangered species nationwide, here's an overview of metro-Detroit malls.        
Read Full Article

Susan Tompor: Student loan defaults may get pricier

The collection fee could be as high as 16% and would hit a very specific group of student loan borrowers.        
Read Full Article

PJ Ryder celebrating 10 years at the Lager House

Love of Detroit music motivated owner of Corktown establishment to take the plunge a decade ago        
Read Full Article

Donald Trump Jr criticises London mayor after terror attack

The US president's son hits out at Sadiq Khan for comments made last year about terror preparedness.
Read Full Article

Afghanistan hoping U.S. sends thousands more troops

Afghanistan wants the United States to send more forces to help meet shortfalls in the battle against the Taliban and the Islamic State group, the na
Read Full Article

U.S. veteran randomly targeted black man in fatal stabbing, NYC police allege

A white U.S. Army veteran from Baltimore bent on making a racist attack took a bus to New York, the "media capital of the world," randomly picked out
Read Full Article

Spying claim by U.S. intelligence committee chair renews fight over Russia probe

Republican Devin Nunes's comments that private communications of Donald Trump and his transition team may have been scooped up by American intelligen
Read Full Article

Beyoncé Fulfills Teenage Cancer Patient's Last Wish With FaceTime Call

We can see Beyoncé's halo. The music superstar made one cancer patient's dream come true when, after a campaign started by her family and friends caught Bey's attention,...
Read Full Article

Diandra Cries as She Breaks Up With Evan on So Cosmo: "Things Have Gotten So Out of Control"

Diandra made the decision to end her relationship with Evan on Wednesday's So Cosmo. On the episode, Diandra learned that people at work were talking about her office romance with...
Read Full Article

Popular Finance

NABARD projects Rs 1.72 lakh crore credit potential for Rajasthan

This is 14 percent higher than the credit projection made for the year 2016-17 by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Read Full Article

EXCLUSIVE: Aadhaar may replace PAN as govt readies crackdown on tax dodgers

Over the last 2 years, I-T dept has hastened pace of seeding PAN with Aadhaar that contains citizensâ?? biometric other details.
Read Full Article

Jason Day withdraws while Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth lose at Match Play event

Defending champion Jason Day lasted only six holes at the Dell Technologies Match Play until a heavy heart forced an early departure. Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth might not be far behind. The
Read Full Article

Passengers react to ban on carry-on electronics on flights from the Middle East

Passengers on flights from the Middle East to the United States are used to being searched and aggressively questioned before boarding. But for many, the Trump administration’s new ban on bringing
Read Full Article

Angels' Andrelton Simmons hopes to get a jump on the season after playing in the World Baseball Classic

Andrelton Simmons loved everything about his second World Baseball Classic, except for the logistics. Between Feb. 28 and Monday, he and the Netherlands’ contingent traveled from Seoul to Tokyo to
Read Full Article

Mater Dei point guard shoots for the stars

Essential Education: Cal State to vote today on tuition hike March 22, 2017, 7:25 p.m. Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Here's the latest:Cal S
Read Full Article

USC's JuJu Smith-Schuster would welcome staying home with Rams or Chargers

The Rams added a former USC receiver to the roster when they signed free-agent Robert Woods, the Trojans’ all-time receptions leader. Could they add another in next month’s NFL draft? USC’s JuJu S
Read Full Article

California files brief supporting challenge to Trump's threat against 'sanctuary' cities and counties

Essential Politics: Gov. Jerry Brown visits Washington, D.C., Schwarzenegger blasts Trump's approval ratings March 22, 2017, 7:46 p.m. This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California poli
Read Full Article

For one day, Occidental quarterback Bryan Scott gets to perform like a Division I player at USC's pro day

Occidental College is nine miles from USC. In football terms, the schools are galaxies apart. Somehow, quarterback Bryan Scott bridged that divide. The four-year starter from Occidental handled th
Read Full Article