Daniel Evans – Founder of GarbShare

Keeping a daily log. At the end of the day, I recommend taking the time to do a brain dump and write out your day’s happenings in Evernote. It’s a great way to clear your mind and see how productive you were with your time.

Daniel Evans founded GarbShare in early 2015 and currently serves as the company’s CEO.

Over the years, Daniel has worn a variety of hats: designer, developer, product owner, executive, and entrepreneur. Building innovative products that deliver an exceptional user experience has always been his passion, and his unique ability to paint a vision of the future and drive toward it has always been his strongest asset.

As CEO of GarbShare, Daniel is primarily focused on developing the company, managing its day-to-day operations, and building relationships with partners and investors. He’s also involved in the company’s design and user experience optimization efforts.

Daniel is a passionate advocate and fundraiser for autism and a variety of local causes. In his downtime, he can be found playing golf, playing sand volleyball, or spending time with his three children.

Where did the idea for GarbShare come from?

GarbShare’s current CTO and I came up with a version of the concept back in the early ’90s when I was in college. But the Internet was still young, and bandwidth still included those horrible dial-up tones. Today’s version was inspired by my daughter and a P!nk video.

I used to take my daughter shopping every few months as she grew or seasons changed. Within a few weeks, she would literally have nothing left in her closet. She would take clothes to her mother’s house so she could wear them to school, but she’d never bring anything back. I needed a way to track what she was taking and send reminders to her and her mother about what needed to be returned. The more I talked with other divorced parents, the more I heard about this issue, so I built an early version of GarbShare to solve that problem.

As I was working on it, I happened to be watching P!nk’s Funhouse Tour and caught a behind-the-scenes video that showed the singer walking around a room full of suitcases and clothing racks looking for things to wear. I looked at a friend and said, “She really needs a closet app so she can pick out what she wants to wear while sitting in bed at night or in her makeup chair.”

I started walking through features and designing an iPhone UX the very next day.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

I keep a daily log using Evernote, and we manage tasks using Asana. Before I go to bed, I go through those logs and create a to-do list for the next day. I like to wake up already knowing what’s on my plate.

My typical day starts around 7:30 a.m. when I respond to emails and return phone calls. I also like to spend about an hour reading various blogs and news feeds. I’ll check in with our CTO around 10:30 after his team’s scrum, then I’ll catch up with the marketing team. Most days, I have some kind of lunch meeting — whether it’s with investors, potential partners, or potential recruits.

In the afternoon, I try to focus on what I need to get done. I leave the office around 6:30 p.m. and head home for dinner and family time. I’m usually back online for a couple of hours before bed, answering emails and catching up on news from the day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I started my career as a designer, and that skill set really lends itself to creating new ideas. You tend to see how things should be (with the right design), and you have the tools to develop that end-state solution. With today’s technology, you really have this blank canvas to bring almost any idea to life quickly.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The emergence of socially minded startups. We sorely need leaders who want to solve problems. The political world has become so polarized; great ideas are shot down in a knee-jerk fashion based on their source and not their merit. What we’re seeing now are entrepreneurs and, more recently, investors who are saying, “We can do better.” And they’re going out there and doing it.

I hope GarbShare has a positive social impact. Once people have real visibility into what they buy and wear, I believe they’ll be more selective in what they purchase and pass along items they no longer wear to help others. The more control we exert over that part of our lives, the less manufacturers will need to guess what people want. This will eventually reduce waste and make transactions more efficient.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Keeping a daily log. At the end of the day, I recommend taking the time to do a brain dump and write out your day’s happenings in Evernote. It’s a great way to clear your mind and see how productive you were with your time.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

My freshman year in Illinois, I worked at a co-op as a janitor. It taught me two important things: how to properly mop a floor (lots of water and finish with a figure-eight pattern) and, more importantly, that there are good people who take pride in their work regardless of their wage.

These are the people who work to live their real life, and by doing a great job, they don’t fear for their employment status. As entrepreneurs, we tend to live for work; our work and life become integrated. That’s not true for everyone, and you should respect that.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

We’re still fairly early in our journey, and I feel pretty good about the decisions we’ve made to date. One thing, though, I wish I did was build an all-internal development team. Unfortunately, some of the large corporations in St. Louis have hijacked the pay scale for developers. Even entry-level developers expect to make six figures. These companies have really done a disservice to the region. If I can pay a developer in Chicago less money than one in St. Louis, there’s definitely something wrong.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read. If you’re going to lead, you have to know what’s going on around you. There’s an overwhelming amount of reading material out there, but find some trusted blogs or news outlets, constantly scan their headlines, and read everything you can. Encourage others on your team to read by giving them ownership of specific topics and asking them questions about what’s new in that area. This will expand your capacity and build a culture of learning.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Hire designers, then teach them social media and UX. Social media is all about content these days, and designers have an eye for creating engaging content for their customers. They draw tremendous satisfaction from engagement and will find creative ways to reach your audience.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I started a web development company years ago that landed a major client and an investor, but we struggled to attract good talent. The major client turned out to be a golden anchor, its demands continued to mount, and it ultimately sank us. All of our resources were focused on trying to satisfy the client’s needs rather than attracting new customers.

The lesson: If you’re a small company, be honest about your capabilities, and work with your customers. You’ll find that most clients would rather work with a small firm, but make sure you set realistic expectations for yourself and have outside backup. Interview outsourcing candidates early on so you’re ready to supplement your team when the time comes.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

It’s not so much a business idea as it is a direction. One in 68 children ) have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. We as entrepreneurs should put some focus on creating businesses where these young men and women can thrive and grow. GarbShare is working on some ideas internally, and I encourage everyone reading this to research some of the great stories about people who created businesses to give jobs to these amazing people.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

Burnout racerback tank tops. We ordered a dozen of these as an afterthought for an upcoming event, but they were gone in two minutes, and within a couple of days, they started showing up all over social media — photos of people working out, sitting by the pool, or just out for a summer day. They were well worth the money, and we’ve ordered a whole lot more this time around.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Google Drive for document storage and sharing, Evernote for daily logs and meeting notes, Asana for task management, and Slack for internal communication. I also love Pocket; I use that app constantly to save potential blog content, social media posts, and business ideas.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. The CEO of Scribe Software referred this to me when we were at Newmarket International together, so hat tip to Shawn McGowan.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I really like Gordon Daugherty’s blog, Shockwave Innovations, out of Austin, Texas. It has a lot of great content and actionable insights. I’ll also hit media outlets like Fast Company, WIRED, and Forbes, and I like communities like Reddit, Quora, and Inbound.org. Finally, Alltop is a great tool for news aggregation.


Daniel Evens on LinkedIn:
GarbShare on Twitter: @garbshare
Daniel Evans on Twitter: @danielpevans