1) What led you to start this company? What was the whitespace you recognized?
I have always been an entrepreneur and since 13 have been primarily self-employed. After college, I founded a software company and an eCommerce business. Both were sold in the late 90′s. After which I was recruited by Walmart and spent 4.5 years before I got the itch to go out on my own again. I wanted to start a company that combined emerging technology and marketing acumen. I knew that this type of company would have relevance in the marketplace serving clients as well as be a great platform that we could use to launch other successful businesses. I believed that digital wasn’t just a marketing opportunity but that entire organizations were going to be transformed by digital innovations. We positioned Rockfish, not as a digital agency, but as a digital innovation partner that could provide value to the entire organization.
2) What’s your advice to others trying to start a company?
Startups that become successful companies are a combination of the right idea at the right time by the right team. As we are thinking about new businesses to start through Rockfish Labs or looking at investments through Rockfish Brand Ventures I ask myself three questions;
A) What makes this idea unique and why will it succeed? There are a number of possible answers to that question and many startups have two or three good answers. If you can’t clearly articulate an answer to this question then your startup will likely fail.
B) What conditions or innovations in the marketplace make this the right time for this idea? Timing is often undervalued in what determines the ultimate success or failure of a company. There’s a reason that pioneers die young and it’s rare that the first person with a good idea is the one who ultimately is able to capitalize on it. I love startups that are taking advantage of market timing.
C) Why does the team have the right to win with this idea? Rockfish is great at incubating companies but we rarely have the right leadership in place to commercialize our own ideas since all of our executives are focused on serving our clients. Today when we are