Three Founders On Creating Success

 
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Last week I had the privilege of moderating the inaugural event called Making Waves by Port Products in Culver City.

I love hosting events, but in this case, it was even more exciting because a big part of the conversation was branding. Some of the surrounding vendors at Platform include SoulCycle, Sweetgreen, Tom Dixon, and Poketo, to name a few. These brands have had immense success and are doing something right. I also felt the same way about the three panelists that joined me. I guided the conversation, but I also played a student role. I learned a lot in short period of time. So, I wanted to share some of those tidbits of wisdom with you.

First, I asked them about essential parts of their morning routine.

David, the founder of Oliver's, makes his bed every single morning. He said there's something about completing that task each morning and also coming home to that sense of order. Both are conducive to productivity.

Matt, Port founder (and a good friend of mine) said he wakes up early. Really early and much earlier than he needs to. Why? This gives him time to think and get some clarity before the day begins.

Dave from David Kind said taking a shower is the first thing that he does. I can completely relate to this because if I don't take a morning shower, it's difficult to get the ball rolling.

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Things got even more interesting when we discussed everyone's perspective on success. Their answers weren't about hitting a certain revenue goal. Their focus was related more to the value in what they do. Each founder measured success by something more impactful. These goals were related to the customers, brand loyalty or engagement. They don't just want someone to try out their brand. They want customers to actually love it so much that they keep coming back.

I also asked the founders to define a moment of success. Each founder had only run their business for a few years, so I was eager to hear about these experiences.

Matt said it was as simple as launching a product successfully. We all know accomplishing that isn't exactly simple.

David said it was the reaffirmation they received when they launched via Kickstarter. People were banking on their product and buying into the concept before they even had something to sell.

Dave had a great answer. He said that at first, optometrists (his B2B customer) weren't very receptive to the idea of buying frames online. Today, the evolution he's observed has actually flipped that upside down. It’s the "I can't beat them, so I’ll join them" attitude. Doctors are jumping on board now. They're actually approaching him to form a partnership. It's pretty rewarding when your business can cause a disruption and you have an effect on that evolution.

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Finally, I asked them to tell me their favorite brands right now, other than their own.

Matt said Glossier, Dave said Tesla, David said Filson. I thought Filson was an interesting example. It's a mature brand that's evolved with the times.

When Matt flipped the question on me, I said Bench. That's a startup based in Vancouver that's made even accounting sexy.

I appreciated hearing insights from guys that are making a splash in crowded markets. The fact that they’ve had success in their respective industries and continue to grow, in my eyes, is inspiring. If you're in LA, I totally recommend checking out Platform. This was my first time there and the venue was incredible. This event was also a huge learning opportunity for everyone from hosts to attendees. I left with a new sense of the discipline, persistence, and creativity.

Lastly, I also want to give a huge shout out and kudos to Port Products for putting on an awesome first event.