Derek Omori is cofounder of Blerp a soundbite sharing platform that has grown to hundreds of thousands of users on Twitch, Discord and more. Derek is Chief Operations Officer and works with creators to add “soundemotes” to their content.
Where did the idea for Blerp come from?
My cofounder Aaron created the viral Shia Lebouf soundboard app on Ios around 2015. That app quickly got over 100,000 downloads in the first few weeks. It was after seeing everyone enjoy one soundboard so much that the idea to create a platform of all shareable soundcontent was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually meet with our small marketing and content team first thing in the morning. We talk about content we’ll be creating on Tiktok and any product or ad content we’ll be creating. We’ll discuss trends and new content series we may take advantage of.
The rest of my day is a mixture of management of our success and sales team, operational analysis and BD outreach for partnerships and collabs.
I’m a huge planner and schedule everything on my calendar. I tend to block out time for tasks and move them around as necessary.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We’re quite focused on key goals as a team, so we tend to look through the lens of “how does this drive the key objective?” from there we set a date and break down the tasks on how to get. Vision-> Goal-> Plan->Task.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Sounds are the new memes. Tiktok is a entire platform built off sounds that are remixed and millions of times. Memes used to be an image with different texts changed out, now its sounds with different videos on top. Blerp is in a position to provide sound memes to every new live platform.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Scheduling and timeboxing.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Spend more energy and time getting feedback from people that have relevant experience as opposed to getting feedback from everyone that wants to be relevant.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Having an idea is worthless, your ability to execute an idea is all that matters.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
MVP (Minimum viable product) is a mindset not a one time process you do to get your product out. The mistake we have made and several of my other friends with start up’s is to apply this approach to our first product but then neglect to implement that same mindset moving forward.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Product marketing. Everyone talks about “Product market fit” as the place where your product is so sticky and good that people naturally share your product but they don’t talk about Product marketing as much. I would define Product marketing in the key strategy to grow your product through word of mouth and current customers. Although the two definitions seem similar on the onset its different in WHEN and WHERE you employ product marketing techniques.
The biggest insight for us has been the difference in how you spend your resources to get to product market fit. Many companies spend 20-40% of their resources to grow their product either through sales or marketing efforts. For us “Product Marketing” is pouring all our resources into product and working with users. We grew from 30,000 users to 400,000 in a year by focusing on our customers. Our success team onboards and talks to users everyday. Our dev team interviews users 5-10 times a week. We haven’t spent any money on marketing yet as a result we’ve been able to maintain 80% retention.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We had a 4 month stall period where revenue flatlined and growth was stagnant. We refocused our efforts from user acquisition to retention. Over the next three months we saw a 30% increase in retention and we doubled in referrals. It’s always better to focus on fixing a leaky bucket than pouring more users in!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think higher education will have a huge reform and we’ll see a lot more “apprenticeship” and bootcamp educations that are focused on real employable skills. Focus on a vocation that is trainable and will be in high demand and “sell the shovels”.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a new computer chair. I mean its silly to think that we spend so much of our life in our chair and at least for me I didn’t invest in a good one. Having gotten a new chair its been a game changer. I’d say the same for a good mattress!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love Calendly as an application… but I hate the culture around it. Specifically who sends who the Calendly. I usually have to say “hey! we can use my Calendly to schedule a time if that’s helpful! or we can use yours!”
I literally don’t care I just don’t like the back and forth of scheduling.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Good to great. So many awesome lessons. Level 5 leadership and hedgehog concept is something all entrepreneurs should read and understand.
What is your favorite quote?
“Everyone knows something you don’t”. You can learn something from everyone.
- Always treat each project with a MVP mindset
- Listen to feedback from everyone, but question it all
- Product marketing -> 80% of your resources into your product. Including all customer success / sales efforts are all opportunities to learn more about your customer.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.