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Brandon Caruana: Founder of TopThat.com

We published an article about a new competition site, TopThat.com, last week and thought we’d give you a little more insight as to what the company’s all about.  Here’s a brief interview Her Campus USC snagged with the founder of the company, Brandon Caruana!
  1. How did the idea for TopThat come about and what was the process of turning the idea into a reality like?
    The idea for TopThat was from a golf game.  A friend and I were arguing over who had the best golf swing and after getting the swing on video we were trying to find a website where we could pit the two against each other. The process of turning the idea into a reality has been a roller coaster ride.  A lot of ups and downs but it has been extremely rewarding both personally and professionally.
     
  2. Since your site deals with a variety of competitive challenges, how would you describe a great competition?
    I would describe a great competition as one where people have lots of fun trying to beat their opponents.  I like to compare a good competition to a game of Monopoly.  In the beginning of the game everyone is have fun but by the end of the game it gets a bit more competitive and people are really trying to throw down against their opponents.
     
  3. What are your thoughts on how social media has contributed to the success of many companies in today’s society?
    Social media gives voice to the people and takes away some of the over bearing authority that some institutions used to have.  Social media allows people to collaborate and execute on a scale never before possible in history.  The world is now a very small place and no longer can the will of a few overshadow the will of the many.
     
  4. What do you hope users will be able to take away from the competitive environment found on TopThat?
    I hope TopThat provides users with a fun environment to have friendly competitions.  Who can do the best 360 on a snowboard, who has the cutest dog, what new smart phone should I buy.  We are always looking for ways to make the idea better and encourage users to fill out the contact us form on the site to help us know what to build next.
     
  5. What advice do you have for students who are looking to establish start up companies or websites?
    I would tell anyone looking to establish a start-up company to be prepared for a real roller coaster ride.  Make sure to take the good and bad with a grain of salt.  Also, don’t brush of criticism of your idea but rather try and use the criticism to refine the idea and make it better.  Everyone has an opinion, some people will just give you praise without telling you their real feelings, others will just try and shoot the idea down.  The trick is to listen to everyone and read between the lines.

 

After crawling around Honolulu, Hawaii as a toddler, exploring various cultures in Singapore as an elementary schooler, and roaming the exciting streets of Seoul, Korea as a teenager, Nicole finally made her way to the University of Southern California. Currently a junior Communication major, she's still trying to figure out what exactly it is she wants to do, but is looking to someday be involved with a career that will allow her to incorporate her love for writing, fashion, and the entertainment business. In her downtime, she loves to read blogs, eat sweets, embrace her inner shopaholic, watch movies, swoon over Mad Men, and laugh it up with her friends.
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