HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
KS: Missteps are part of the experience when running a startup, and at Lockerz, we really try to celebrate our failures. We’re always trying to experiment, and for a short period of time we offered online auctions to our members. Initially, it was incredibly popular, but the problem was that for every 10 people we made happy, we made 100 people unhappy. Even though the auctions worked, the negative feedback we were getting made it apparent that this wasn’t a customer-focused experience that rewarded everyone. So we are no longer doing it.
HC: What is the best part of your job?
KS: By far, the best part of my job is working with a world-class team that includes some of the brightest developers, engineers, and marketers I have come across. Together, we’re working on a big challenge: the answer to social commerce. We’re doing this by keeping a customer focus in our work. The team is staying true to our mission in every decision we make, and they always want to meet that challenge.
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
KS: I look for someone whose personality embraces our core values: innovation, guts, respect, optimism, wit, and engagement. Our underlying principles are respect for the innovation, ideas and input of team members who are working for the good of the customer experience.
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
KS: I have four top-level tips for young entrepreneurs.
- Think big. There are always people who want to make you think in a smaller box, so you have to consistently think on a broader scale before you dive into the minute details.
- Look beyond partnerships focused on your product or monetization, to those that will help you think strategically about your business. This forces you to figure out what people can do to support your mission.
- Sell your vision upfront. Your vision shouldn’t only include what you want to build, but also who your audience is, how you want to monetize it and how to create barriers for the competition.
- Be quantitative when defining your success. Build this quantification into your presentations so your potential investors know you’re thinking that way.
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