When I was in middle school, my email address was positivityiseverything. Despite the corniness, it was a step up from my hail2daskins AIM (teenage code for Hail to the Redskins) and a true representation of how I approached life.
Ten years and a normal email address later, I’m a firm believer that combining a positive attitude with a strong work ethic is the best way to make an impact in the world.
Positivity is what drew me to Lucas and Lee Brown, the founders of TUNE. TUNE's core products, MobileAppTracking and HasOffers, enable marketers to manage their campaigns and analytics to stimulate company growth.
Whether we were discussing emerging markets, international expansion or early challenges, the twin brothers spent the majority of our conversation smiling.
Lucas and Lee greet each challenge with the genuine belief that their team will find a solution. It’s that enthusiasm that’s paved the way for their 2009 bootstrapped HasOffers product to grow into TUNE, which brings in an annual revenue rate of $60 million.
Here are some of the key beliefs driving their success.
- Include a targeted way to gather feedback in your earliest MVP. This is especially important for young startups who should prioritize product, above all else. No amount of advertising will sell an average product.
- Locate your office outside of your city's startup scene. Not only will you save money, you’ll also elevate your team's focus by eliminating distractions.
- Promote team members who are passionate about an upcoming expansion to develop new offices. Identify the individual who is deeply immersed in your culture and has a keen sense of how to develop products, interact with clients, and lead the team.
- The best way to maintain the rookie’s mentality is to continue doing the work you’re most bullish about. It’s programming for Lucas and Lee allowing them to work alongside their team members. Your job as a founder is to identify your strengths and capitalize on them as often as possible.
- The key to assembling an exciting team is bringing on new members with a deep seeded hunger to learn. Instead of worrying about the programming language they work in or past experiences, take risks on individuals who are wildly passionate about your mission; This is the key to building a responsive culture.
- Consider bootstrapping if you have a great idea but are still struggling with some unknowns. Understand your clients and what you want to build before seeking investment, this will keep you from rushing into the market.
- Try purchasing used office furniture or opt for less expensive choices, like Office Depot and Ikea, to cut back on startup costs. Maintain this perspective through scale.
- When it comes to identifying investors choose individuals who are experts in areas unfamiliar to you. For TUNE, Lucas and Lee targeted investors proficient in growing sales and marketing teams as well as experts in international expansion. The goal is to work with mentors who will ask the questions you’re not experienced enough to recognize.
- How MeUndies Made Merchandising Their Competitive Advantage — When MeUndies thinks about their underwear subscription service they compare themselves to Netflix. What the streaming pioneer did for TV, the Los Angeles startup wants to do to your underwear drawer. The goal is to provide monthly subscribers with the staples they love while delivering elements of surprise - Think briefs with donuts and dinosaurs - right to your doorstep.
- Seedling Relies on Childhood Curiosity to Inspire a Creative Team — On a recent flight home, I spent over an hour browsing a children’s play website, completely enamored by sets like Design Your Own Superhero Cape and Invent Your Own Insects. After sharing Seedling with everyone I know, despite few of my friends having children, I wondered why the brand struck a such a meaningful chord with me.
- eero Designs Wi-Fi for the Smart Home Era — Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Principal at Shasta Ventures, recently distinguished exceptional founders by their ability to prioritize. “It all comes back to prioritization, speed, paranoia, and knowing that if you don’t iterate, even after finding product market fit, you can be disrupted by the next product,” he says.
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