Ethan Bloch – Co-Founder of Flowtown

[quote style=”boxed”]Wake up, breakfast, email session, start tackling MITs, lunch with the team, MITs, dinner, MITs, write out tomorrow’s MITs before bed, read: instapaper, twitter, maybe a little netflix, bed.[/quote]

Ethan Bloch started an e-commerce site selling electronics at 13. He was an early adopter of social media, attracting an audience for his groundbreaking hit internet TV show on WSYK, later syndicated by Revision 3. A financial accountant at Lockheed Martin at 20, he studied international business in Spain, and guest lectures at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Always intense and spirited, he loves snowboarding.

What are you working on right now?

We’re heads down on the new version of Flowtown which helps businesses turn their best customers into their best marketers.

What does your typical day look like?

Wake up, breakfast, email session, start tackling MITs, lunch with the team, MITs, dinner, MITs, write out tomorrow’s MITs before bed, read: instapaper, twitter, maybe a little netflix, bed.

Additionally throughout the the day I will touch base with the team to see if anyone’s blocked and how I can help.

3 trends that excite you?

Low cost entrepreneurship. Anyone can have an idea an see if people care in an hour. Sell something in 3 hours and start scaling a business the very same day. Just because it’s low cost doesn’t mean it’s low risk, just means more people can take part. Win for everyone.

The speed at which new technologies are being adopted. Helped by the trend above, the adoption of new technologies into real products is faster than ever. Which means instead of creating products for the 1% we’re creating products for the 40, 50, 60%+ of the world. Facebook is the now the world’s 3rd largest country and mobile phones are proliferating all the way down to the folks living on less than a $1 per day. Just look at what’s going on in the Middle East to understand the impact this has.

For-profit business with social good foundations. I’m really not a fan of the Non-profit. It just doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Businesses are most efficient when they’re run for profits, so why create an inefficient business to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems? TOMS is a great example of for-profit actually making a big impact, they’ve now given away over 1 million shoes and they make money for their share holders. That’s winning.

How do you bring ideas to life?

First in thought, then in tests. I might come up with something I think is awesome, I’ll look at it from a few angles and mental models and then figure out the smallest piece I can quickly build to test in the real world.

What inspires you?

Connecting with people who create.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

Too many to list. I’ve learned that we all make mistakes, it’s how you recover from them that matters. This single difference separates the people who change the world from the people who don’t.

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

I don’t understand why we still have checkout lines in food stores, drug stores, electronics stores etc… think amount how much time, money and productivity is wasted in a single day from waiting in checkout lines.

Why can’t I just pick up the products I want to buy and walk out of the store? As I walk out sensors scan what I’ve taken, read my account details from a card in my wallet and bill me. Done.

What do you read every day? Why?

Twitter. I’ve curated my own micro-channel of people I allow to influence me. Usually these are friends, people I admire or people that make me laugh. This is where I start almost all of my my information journeys.

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

Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography.

I value strategy over tactics, principles over ideas and simplicity.

It’s all about principals. With a solid base of principles you can conquer anything.

This book has ’em in spades. Plus it’s a quick read.

You don’t need to keep up on this year’s best selling business books to stay ahead of the curve. Not that much changes when it comes to principals and Franklin was the world’s first self-help, business guru.

It also doesn’t hurt that he’s achieved more in 1 lifetime than most of us could achieve in 3, nor that he was doing all this in the day of candles, horses and boats.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?

My iPhone. It’s become an extension of my brain. Everyone and everything I know is accessible through it. Plus it helps me make the occasional phone call.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Zao Yang, the co-creator of Farmville. He’s off to a new startup and that dude is smart.


Email me: [email protected]
Twitter: @ebloch
My Blog:

[box size=”small” border=”full”]This interview was brought to you by Rohit Jain who works in business development. You can follow Rohit via his blog and on Twitter. [/box]