Thu, 29 September 2016
For most entrepreneurs, the real test isn't whether or not you can grow a successful business, but how well you can bounce back from failure. For some, this will prove to be too much and they'll hang up the gloves and never try again. For the true entrepreneurs, though, they'll find a way to jump back into the ring no matter what.
That is exactly what Eugene Woo, co-founder of Venngage, did.
“I had like a taste of failure, but I still went ahead anyway and did it again,” Woo says.
After his first startup went under, Woo found himself back in the corporate world feeling like a failure. Despite it all though, he dusted himself off, took it all as a learning experience and refused to give up.
Armed with nothing but a nagging idea about helping job applicants by turning their resumes into beautiful infographics, Woo went ahead and pitched his idea at Startup Weekend in Toronto and, to his surprise, he won. One thing led to another and he found himself quitting his job once again to work on his startup full time.
The startup known as Visiualize.me blew up, getting featured in places like Mashable and Tech Crunch and gaining more than 200,000 signups before the product was even properly released.
But, once again, it was anything but smooth sailing for Woo.
“I made a lot of the classic mistakes. One of the main ones was I started a company with people I didn’t know very well.”
Within a few months, founders started leaving the company, with one even refusing to turn up to an interview with Y Combinator and leaving shortly after. Stung by failure again, Woo didn't know what to do and ended up selling his company. Despite it all, he knew he had a good idea on his hands. He charged right back into the startup world, this time with Venngage, a tool that allows you to easily make your own infographics, and armed with lessons he learned from his previous failures, he was determined to make Venngage a success.
Today, Venngage has tripled in size with over a thousand new leads to their site every day, and over half a million users per month.
We talk with Woo about the invaluable lessons he learned on his journey to success and ask him to share his best advice on how entrepreneurs can overcome their fear of failure, and the best marketing tactics to quickly grow your startup.
In this episode you will learn:
Thu, 22 September 2016
Every morning of every day, Sujan Patel starts his day by getting out all of his creative energy onto paper.
The process is relatively simple. He starts by recording himself talking about whatever topic he wants to write about as a way to order his thoughts. He'll then send this recording to a transcriptionist and when he gets it back he'll spend around an hour cranking out a 1,500-2,000 word blog post. For Sujan, this is the secret to being one of the world's best and most prolific content marketers today.
Just 10 years ago, content marketing just wasn't a thing. Sure, blogs existed but they were rarely used in marketing. Today, content marketing is one of the go-to strategies for businesses everywhere. But with everyone eagerly jumping onto the content marketing bandwagon, simply having a high-quality blog just doesn't cut it anymore.
In order to really harness the power of content marketing and see some tangible results, you're going to need a little out-of-the-box thinking.
"Everyone's writing content for their customers, their existing customers, or who they think their customers are. What I like to do is, I don't even talk about any of that stuff. I talk about content circles. And what a content circles is, is [the] content that circles your industry."
As the founder of ContentMarketer.io, the ultimate tool for content marketers, Sujan is one of the most knowledgable people around, and he shared a ton of his wisdom on the subject with us.
In this week's episode you will learn:
Thu, 15 September 2016
During a creative career filled with awards and recognition, it took Alex Bogusky a while to realize that none of it mattered unless he loved the work.
“You could win the Grand Prix at Cannes—the next day you’re going to go into your office and look at the same dude across the office and try to think of something. It doesn’t feel any better; it didn’t make you any smarter; it doesn’t make anything any easier,” Bogusky says.
He did, in fact, win the most prestigious award at Cannes Advertising. Actually, under his leadership, the firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky won in all five categories, and became the world’s most awarded advertising agency. Bogusky himself was named Creative Director of the Decade by Adweek magazine, and Fast Company has called him both the Steve Jobs and the Elvis of advertising.
Looking over his many endeavors, Bogusky is a hard person to pin down. There’s a friendly, surfery quality about him, but he’s also gained a reputation as a perfectionist and ferocious supervisor. He’s worked for both car companies and Al Gore’s climate change initiative. He’s overseen iconic ad campaigns for junk food, and the most successful youth-focused anti-smoking campaign in U.S. history. Having left the agency six years ago, he’s now focusing on work with a social responsibility component, supporting multiple creative agencies and a startup accelerator.
But for all of the goals he’s achieved, Bogusky says the happiness he’s found in his career comes from loving the journey—that practice of sitting down with other people and thinking really hard to solve a problem.
“I’ve found that I had to learn to love the process and forget all the goals. Because the goals, as you achieved them, they didn’t really change anything.”
In this interview you will learn:
Fri, 9 September 2016
108: The Key Elements to Building a Successful Media Company (The Next Web) with Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
The future of media, if not the present, probably looks a lot like The Next Web, which is odd considering co-founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten says it’s not even really a media company.
The Next Web instead thinks of itself as a tech company, firing on multiple cylinders at once, including international conferences, ecommerce, online courses, and of course, one of the most influential and trafficked news sites on the web. Soon they’re even opening up a brick and mortar space in Amsterdam that will serve as hub for technology startups.
“For some people it’s sort of weird, ‘What, you’ve got a conference and a website and now you’re opening a space? That’s a totally different thing,’” Veldhuijzen van Zanten told Foundr (we’ll just call him Boris from now on).
“For us, it’s a logical next step, instead of losing focus or branching out into different areas. They’re all connected by the brand and a curiosity in technology and the future of technology.”
The Next Web actually started as a conference host. Its annual event in Amsterdam draws some 20,000 international attendees.
However, the company is probably best known for its tech news site. That branch of the business is staggering, drawing up to 8 million visitors a month. But with its conferences expanding, its growing online marketplace, and Boris and his partners always looking for the next opportunity, the most impressive thing about The Next Web is how it merges such a wide range of services to meet the needs of its loyal community. And they do it all with a relatively small staff and a squad of remote contributors.
“Everything is part of a circle that is growing stronger over time,” Boris says. “Part of our revenue comes from advertising on the sites with all the traffic we have, an important part is the conference, and now the ecommerce part is growing stronger.”
Next could be research, consulting, video, anything within reason that the people who have come to love and trust the company might want. And that’s the secret to The Next Web’s success. It’s not a company that makes a product—it’s a network of people.
In this interview you will learn: