[quote style=”boxed”]The simple answer is I take action. There are so many people who sit around and talk about their ideas, but talk is the only thing they do. However, taking action doesn’t mean blindly starting a business; you have to walk before you run.[/quote]
Kevin Tighe II currently serves as co-founder and CEO of LA-based startup WeBRAND. Previously, Kevin founded a digital marketing agency, Cross Coast Group, and a popular college-oriented blog, and he served as CMO to a financial tech startup. Kevin grew up in Washington, DC, and moved to Los Angeles in 2005 to attend the University of Southern California.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a startup called WeBRAND, which I’ve been developing with my partners for about a year. WeBRAND provides influencers with an efficient, engaging, and risk-free platform to monetize their digital audience through limited-edition physical products and brand licensing.
Where did the idea for WeBRAND come from?
We spent almost a year honing the concept and business model for WeBRAND. We would develop the concept, poke holes in it, refine it, and then poke more holes in it. We finally came to a point where we felt the concept, process, and business model were very strong, and that’s what WeBRAND is today.
Initially, I was working on another influencer-related project when the different people we were working with started bringing me ideas for businesses they wanted to launch and find funding for. That got the wheels turning, and I started working with my partners to develop a platform that celebrities and other influencers could use to fund their different business ideas. From there, we would use research and our experience to test the different models and look for larger areas of opportunity. After going through what seemed like a million iterations, we arrived at WeBRAND.
What does your typical day look like?
My daily schedule is constantly changing, but my normal routine goes a little something like this: I get up at 6:45 a.m., pop on CNBC, and then feed and walk my three dogs (Tili, Scrappy, and Blue). I’m at the gym around 8 a.m., then off to the office to work with the team and take any meetings.
Since I’m in LA, I wait for traffic to die and then leave the office around 8 p.m. I finish up the night by having dinner and watching some reality TV with my beautiful girlfriend. Before bed, I finish up any leftover tasks and prepare for the following day. Usually, it’s lights out around midnight or 12:30 a.m.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The simple answer is I take action. There are so many people who sit around and talk about their ideas, but talk is the only thing they do. However, taking action doesn’t mean blindly starting a business; you have to walk before you run.
Once I commit to an idea, I take the time to develop the idea into a concept and conduct a lot of due diligence and market research, as well as create organized, short- and long-term plans. If the business still has legs after conducting the necessary market research, I work on a developing a minimum viable product and proving the concept on a small scale.
Once you have a strong proof of concept, you’re off to the races. Get out there and raise capital if you need to, and start scaling your idea into a real business!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I’m very excited to see entertainment platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube focusing on creating their own quality content. This trend will create a lot of opportunity in the online entertainment space with the continued increase of ad dollars being spent online, as well as this content becoming more accessible to viewers. It will also increase the pressure on cable and satellite TV providers to adapt and offer more flexible plans and service.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I had was as a waiter during my senior year of high school. The job itself wasn’t that bad, but serving beer and chicken wings until midnight on a Saturday isn’t exactly a dream job for any 18-year-old. Working as a server was a great learning experience; it taught me how to work with all sorts of people, from the catty management to some of the whiny patrons. It also made me a great tipper.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
There are a lot of things I would like to say I would have done differently, but the mistakes I made and the experiences I’ve had made me who I am today. The one thing that always comes to mind is when I raised a little bit of money for my first company when I was 20. Instead of trying to run everything myself, I would have brought on a much more experienced person who could run the show while I learned what to do — instead of what not to do. Doing that may have sped up my learning curve, but I guess we’ll never know.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, I’m constantly analyzing myself to find weaknesses and look for areas that need improvement. I can’t express how important it is to continue to grow as a person and as an entrepreneur. The minute you become complacent with yourself and with your business is the minute you fall behind. Currently, I’m really focused on improving my management and organizational skills. As the team grows, it becomes increasingly harder to manage and organize, so I’m doing everything I can to be ready for that growth.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If my other ideas were that good, I would probably be doing them! However, I really would love a Pita Pit within walking distance of my house. If someone wants to start that, I’d be your first customer.
Tell us a secret.
Thousand Island dressing is really just ketchup, mayonnaise, vinegar, and some other seasonings. Keep that one between you and me.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
Most of my favorite tools have to do with productivity and organization:
Basecamp: I love using Basecamp for project management with small- and medium-sized teams. The interface is easy to use, and it allows me to easily stay up-to-date and involved in all of our projects, whether I’m in or out of the office.
BetaPunch: BetaPunch is a new platform that’s great for beta testing your own or a client’s site. For a reasonable price, BetaPunch users will film themselves using your site and offer critical feedback and commentary. This is an efficient and effective way to get firsthand, unbiased feedback on your site.
Any.do: There are a lot of to-do list apps out there, but Any.do’s interface really clicked with me. The app has a plugin for Google Chrome and a cool feature where you can set a reminder for “Any.do Time” each morning to review and add to or edit your to-do lists. I also love the act of crossing off a task with my finger when I’m done.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’m really big on learning from the experiences of others, so I definitely suggest Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good by Sarah Lacy. The book chronicles the successes and failures of some of the most high-profile and successful tech entrepreneurs of our time. The biggest takeaway was reading about the mistakes and failures that some of the entrepreneurs made and learning how they persevered through those.
What’s on your playlist?
I don’t really keep a playlist; I’m more of a Pandora guy. I have a pretty eclectic mix of Pandora radio stations. Right now, I’m really into Capital Cities, Of Monsters and Men, and The Neighbourhood, but some of my go-tos are Tom Petty, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia, and The Killers.
If you weren’t working on WeBRAND, what would you be doing?
Good question. I would most likely be working on another consumer Internet platform.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
1) Amy Cosper because she dishes all sorts of entrepreneurial news and articles.
2) This one is kind of a guilty pleasure, but I’ll share it anyway: TMZ. I’m not going to lie: I have a little thing for celebrity news. And believe it or not, TMZ is one of the top 10 most trusted news sources in the world.
3) @kevintighe2 Me because I need more followers!
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laughed last night when my girlfriend put one of our dogs in a dress with a little tutu. It’s probably one of those things where you had to be there.
Who is your hero?
I don’t have a single hero, but there are lots of people I admire and try to model aspects of my life after. I love the audacity and passion of entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Richard Branson, as does every other entrepreneur in the world.
I think Elon Musk is pretty much the man. He dreams big, builds companies that change the world, and dates supermodels. Then you have Ryan Seacrest, who’s an anomaly. I don’t think there is a harder-working person out there, and he has built an empire out of himself. Even though all these people work more hours than there are in a day, they all find time to give back to community and make an impact through their philanthropic efforts, which is truly inspiring.
What are your tips to being able to work long hours while staying productive?
Working long hours is tough, and it takes time for your body and mind to get used to it. I usually start my day with a large triple-shot iced latte from The Coffee Bean, which definitely helps jumpstart my mind.
Throughout the rest of the day, hydration is key. I usually drink two large Smartwaters each day. If I can’t have a Smartwater, I put electrolyte packets in my drinks. Once you get dehydrated, you get tired and usually develop a headache, which will definitely kill your productivity.
I also avoid eating large meals during the day. Eating a large meal will put you in a food coma, and you’ll be yearning for a nap. Instead, I eat five smaller meals or snacks throughout the day. This keeps your metabolism moving and energizes you. Finally, get some exercise. Get out of the office and go for a jog or hit the gym at some point during the day. This will help you de-stress and energize you as well.
What do you like to do on your birthday?
I’m not big on birthdays anymore. I think my 21st birthday in Vegas tided me over until I hit 30. I usually like to take a day to just relax and do the things I enjoy that I don’t get to do as much as I’d like. Maybe I’d do a quick trip to Palm Springs to lie by the pool and barbecue. If I’m at home, I’m definitely going surfing or stand up paddle boarding, and then spending quality time with my girlfriend and some close friends with a dinner at Mastro’s Steakhouse.
Kevin on Twitter: @KevinTighe2
Kevin on LinkedIn:
Kevin on Google+:
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.