The Digerati: 7 Profiles of Successful Entrepreneurs
In the Day in the Life Series, Mashable hand-picked seven successful tech entrepreneurs to follow for a day. We wanted to know what their routine is like, what they eat for lunch, how much time they spend in meetings, who they seek out for advice and what keeps them going day after day on little sleep. What we found is that these entrepreneurs are driven by insatiable passion, and they’ll let nothing stand in their way. Read on and get to know these entrepreneurs; click through for the full story, which will include either a cinematic video or a beautiful photo gallery of go-getters at work.
Few people know YouTube stardom more than actress Felicia Day, who memorably co-starred in Joss Whedon’s Internet musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. In April, Day launched Geek & Sundry, a multimedia company and premium YouTube channel dedicated to indie geek entertainment, and the sixth season of her web series The Guild will be released on Geek & Sundry soon, along with six new web shows. While shooting season six, Day let us follow her around to see what it’s like to be in her shoes. (Hint: It involves long days and a lot of caffeine.)
Typical New Yorkers are always hustling, always busy. But when you’re a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Alley, you might find yourself busier than most Manhattan dwellers. In fact, you might look at your Google Calendar only to see a collage of color and very little white space. And if you’re like Nihal Mehta, that’s exactly how you like it.
Mehta is the founder and CEO of LocalResponse, which targets social media content toward consumers who’ve displayed intent to purchase. For example, a Foursquare check-in at Walgreen’s might yield a targeted tweet about a special discount.
“A phone knows who you are, where you are and where you’ve been. But no ad platform was taking advantage of that [when we launched],” Mehta told Mashable.
Fab has become the darling of the Interwebs. What started as a gay social network has pivoted into a design-focused, socially charged ecommerce site that sells everything from rugs to wine glasses to decorative tchotchkes. And co-founder/CEO Jason Goldberg is incredibly involved in every element of the Fab product.
We followed Goldberg around for a day to get a sense of what a typical in his life is, but we learned quickly that there’s no such thing as a “typical day” for Goldberg. Just last month, he got married, and he parlayed his honeymoon into a trip to the Fab office in India. He returned stateside for a week, so he could have a board meeting and a global all-hands meeting, and then headed to Berlin for a week to visit Fab offices, before heading to Tokyo to check out trends in the design-forward city. Such is the life of a busy CEO, but you’ll see in the photos that Goldberg does it all in style.
“I don’t really have a set schedule,” says Ge Wang. His name may not be familiar, but his work certainly is. Wang is the co-founder and chief creative officer of Smule, the app developer responsible for the Ocarina and iPad violin and other things that started out as “crazy-ass ideas.” To date, Smule has accumulated more than 65 million downloads. Also in Wang’s repertoire are the Stanford Laptop Orchestra and the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra. On a day-to-day basis, Wang explores social music-making, both as a Stanford professor and an app developer. For someone with interests and obligations as widespread as Wang, would you expect him to have a set schedule? And yet, between teaching, research, coding and product testing, Wang finds plenty of time to “goof off.” Take a look at what a “typical” day entails for Wang. If you’re like us, you’re bound to be jealous.
Despite the early success and $12.5 million in funding for Codecademy, Zach Sims doesn’t get a whole lot of sleep. He goes to bed around 2:00 a.m., usually wakes up by 7:00 a.m. and works almost non-stop. But he doesn’t mind.
“I’m pretty much working whether I’m in the office or not. Having a phone means always being tied to work. That said, work isn’t always ‘work.’ It’s spending the day with smart people and building something that can change the world,” he tells Mashable.
When Scott Heiferman and his co-founder launched Meetup in the wake of 9/11, their mission was to revitalize local communities in America. With these numbers 10 years later, it’s safe to say, “mission accomplished.”
But Heiferman is still hard at work helping people find “Meetups Everywhere About Most Everything.” The platform uses the power of the Internet to get people off the Internet, so they can develop relationships IRL with those who share their passions, from book clubs to entrepreneurship networking to running groups. If you have a passion, there’s a Meetup for it.
Heiferman himself starts many days with a Meetup. “It’s so important to stay connected to what you’re doing,” he says.
When Pinterest launched in 2010 and exploded in popularity in 2011, the big joke was that people use it to plan their weddings (even if they’re single or not yet engaged), or to decorate their hypothetical dream homes. But little did brides-to-be know that there was something better for wedding planning, something more tailored to their precise needs. That product came from Los Angeles native Kellee Khalil, who received $1 million in seed funding to get her idea off the ground.
“We’re in execution mode. You have to move 100 miles per hour in any direction you can. It’s all about momentum and keeping the momentum going. That’s what I love about business — you get to go hard,” says Khalil.