Brian Norgard is founder of Namesake—a conversation community. He is also an active angel investor, advisor and adventurer.
Prior to founding Namesake Brian founded Ad.ly (largest micro endorsement network) and Newroo (acquired by FOX Interactive Media in 2006).
Brian graduated with honors from Brown University.
Brian’s personal interest areas: spending time with my family, surfing, fishing, Costa Rica, Fiji and The Sea of Cortez, NFL draft, gardening, architecture, college football, history of California, fantasy football, equities, weather, succulents and American history.
Brian’s professional areas of expertise: product design, social design, viral design, network effects, finance, real-time, advertising technologies, social networking, marketplaces, evolutionary product development and team building.
Brian Norgard was born and raised in beautiful Del Mar, California. Today he resides in Los Angeles.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently the founder of Namesake — a conversation community. I am the product lead and continue to work with my talented and humble business partner of many years Dan Gould. Life is great.
What does your typical day look like?
I spend most of my time with my team crafting the Namesake product.
I do a ton of reading on new trends and technologies. I usually spend 2-3 hours per day hanging out on Namesake meeting new people and discussing interesting subjects. I try to do something active everyday like going for a run or surfing. Normally I sneak in 2-3 calls or walks a day with Dan Gould to discuss key issues and ideas. The highlight of my professional day is hanging out with Namesake product team members Scott Hurff and Mike Viamari. They push me everyday as they are as good as it gets.
5 trends that excite you?
Mobile. The entire deck is being reshuffled.
Technological ubiquity. I am fascinated about the implications of a ‘persistently logged in’ world.
Finance Disruption. It’s 2004 for this vertical.
Design as a key driver. For years design was perceived as a commodity. That’s false. Design is the substrate of experience.
Entrepreneurship. We’re in the early stages of a revolution. Every industry that does not adapt to the blistering pace of innovation is at risk of disruption. Our smartest minds are forgoing grad school, investment banking and consulting jobs to become industry revolutionaries. Their tools? Code + community. I am humbled to be living right now. It’s one of the most interesting times in the history of the world. I hope I can continue to create for many years.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I get into the mind of the customer first. If you can’t empathize with the customer you don’t have a chance.
After I feel comfortable that I understand the customer, I try to build as fast and furiously as possible. I call it evolutionary product development. No one knows exactly what the customer wants. That’s where building quickly enters the equation. We live in an ultra-complicated world.
As I see it, people don’t want more choice — they want less. Today’s product renaissance centers around developing simple, engaging and serendipitous experiences.
Customers want to feel something different when they come to your site, application or place of business. It’s my job to cut through the morass of noise and offer something they will love. It’s often said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. It’s true. People want magic. I’ve always believed it’s my job to bring it to them.
What inspires you?
My mother (creative) and father (business/execution) have provided an amazing platform for me to express myself as an artist and entrepreneur. I am inspired by them and always will be. I don’t have heroes — I don’t need them when I have my parents.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I wish I would have embraced even more risk on in the early days of my career. I was deeply involved in social in 2002 and sometimes I wonder why I didn’t move even faster during that period of my life. Young people need to take more risk. We’re starting to change somewhat as a culture but I still feel we can improve.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t give business ideas out like candy. The greatest ideas are formed around passion and dedication from inside. If you need an idea from me you’re screwed.
What do you read every day? Why?
My dear friend Paul Kedrosky’s blog: Infectious Greed
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar. It’s a classic.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Why is Namesake getting so much buzz?
Namesake taps into the desire all humans have to converse with one another. On Namesake we offer an open environment to converse with interesting people around the topics you care about most. It’s a simple concept that people have fallen in love with.
A personal quote you like?
Quemar los barcos.
Namesake works best. Here’s an invite link if you’d like to come say hello and meet insanely interesting people: http://nmsk.co/fF9cMr
Feel free to follow me on Twitter as well: http://Twitter.com/BrianNorgard