I’ve been an entrepreneur at heart since the very beginning. I had my first job when I was 14 making $3.25 an hour which lasted all of two months before I thought "there has to be a better way". It didn’t hurt that I had been reading books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and beginning to understand that if I started down the road of the “rat race” I would be stuck in the race forever with very little to show for it. So I decided that I was going to take matters into my own hands. My first genius business idea….sell candy at my school, which worked until I was competing so much with the vending machines that the school decided that I had to stop my activities. So I switched to selling custom mixtape CD’s and eventually graduated to starting a record label. All of this entrepreneurial momentum led me to go to college at Babson College, the #1 Entrepreneurial school in the world...and this is where I really got my exposure. Being around some of the top young entrepreneurs that were starting big businesses at 18 and seeing how easily they thought of ideas and just “did it” was super inspiring. This inspiration led to me being hungry to find a great opportunity to take my entrepreneurship journey to the next level. While I was in college I met two of my friends that were working with a then, little known artist by the name of John Legend. We decided to do digital marketing for John creating his website, launching an on campus organization to help supply us with a steady flow of interns to support other artist projects and before you know it we had a six figure business while we were in college. We went on to pick up other major artists during and after college from Ludacris, E40, Raphael Saadiq, Chingy, and more.
This business success would inspire me to continue to expand my view and I began dreaming bigger about what I could do with my love for entertainment and technology. I came up with one of the earliest digital street team concepts that would mobilize the fans of an artist to post things on Myspace and get points that they could redeem for merchandise. This concept not only worked...it worked significantly better than all the marketing we could do from the labels budget and required almost no money other than loyal fans. Around this same time Twitter had just come out and I had the novel idea of leveraging Twitter in the same way, but expanding our view beyond just promoting musicians into thinking that if we could determine the impact of any social media account on a particular subject and allow brands to buy the voices of these people we would create the largest word of mouth platform in the world. And so we did, I went on to build twtMob, one of the founding companies that arguably made influencer marketing what it is today as I turned a $10k investment to almost $2m in 18 months, become one of the 78th fastest growing companies in the nation, with more than 80k of the top influencers in the world as members of twtMob, and eventually raising more than $10m to support $25m revenue.
Jeremy and I have been friends for years watching each other’s journey. We’ve experienced all sorts of highs and lows together. After I resigned as CEO of my last company, I was essentially retiring for a while. Jeremy found out that I was a free agent and thought there was no better person to lead his sales team, and provide him with a little CEO therapy :-). I have found in life that timing is so important. Reflecting on this, Jeremy definitely recruited me at the perfect time in my life. Having already been the leader of an influencer company, my love for closing complex deals was always a passion. At Speakr, over 40 of the top Fortune 500 companies were clients, and most, I was heavily involved with. After seeing what RAD was up to, I got inspired to finish some of the narratives we missed with my previous company. This was also an opportunity to be in a supportive role (aka #2) to someone, which I’d never experienced in my career.
Not at all. While I’d say that my track record has created a perspective of a lot of success with minimal hiccup, the behind the scenes hard work that I have done to create the results have been nothing short of intense and required deep commitment. I continue to work harder, longer and (hopefully) smarter as I’m driven by a desire to achieve excellence. I am constantly seeking the challenge in things and am driven by adverse situations. The startup world has always provided me infinite possibilities and problems to solve. If it was easy, it would likely bore me quickly and I’d look to find a larger problem, which is something that drives a lot of my innovation and reinvention.
I am extremely excited about the progress of our product, the new fundraising and the new team members we have brought on. I’ve been given the opportunity to create the sales strategy and contribute deep knowledge into RAD from my previous experiences in twtMob and Speakr. I believe that RAD is right on that curve that I felt in my previous company when I knew we really had something. That momentous energy when you begin to see that your platform is a MUST BUY for clients and you just feel excited to share something, that is when you transcend selling and move into just sharing an awesome nugget of gold that brands need. We get to bring maximum value to our clients, influencers, shareholders and have a lot of fun while we do it.
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