Miriam Rupp, a true Berliner, found her calling in public relations for online startups right after university. It was 2007, a time when the concept of Web 2.0 was still in need of explanation to most people. After two years of being the main point of contact for PR clients like Last.fm or MyVideo, and at the age of 24, she decided to found the agency for PR and digital storytelling Mashup Communications. Pivotal for her decision: being inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of the digital age, the desire to help startups go from geek to mainstream in the media, and the plan to create and shape her own world and the ones of the people around her. Consequently, her agency focusses on startups and founders within the online and mobile sphere. With their mission to always tell new stories, Mashup Communications has grown to a team of 14, each of which has the chance to actively shape the company. This fundament as well as the support of Co-Managing Director Nora Feist allows her to manage the company and her clients from the other side of the world by now. For three years she has been regularly commuting between Berlin and Cape Town.
Always monitor your financial outlook! Always talk to your employees and clients! Always have fun!
Next to her PR expertise she is responsible for Sales, Business Development and Finances at Mashup Communications. Miriam studied English/American studies, Business, and Media at the University of Potsdam and the University of Technology in Sydney.
Where did the idea for Mashup Communications come from?Getting the word out and reaching the mass consumer audience is a huge challenge for startups. Without any reputation or branding, they need to break down the barrier between their daring vision and the skepticism of journalists and social influencers. Seeing myself in the role of a diplomat, I want to bring those two parties closer together, by turning products and companies into stories as well as by infecting journalists with the fever for great new ideas that will change our lives. That’s why a typical day for me and my team consists of many negotiations and conversations with both of these camps. Our diplomatic tool is great content. In order to create new stories every day, we look from all kinds of angles at both the world of our clients as well as the ever-changing media landscape and audience preferences.
How do you bring ideas to life?First of all, you have to allow yourself to welcome great new ideas into your life. That’s why I keep a positive perspective on anything new, greeting it with an optimistic “yes, why not?”. None of the things I have achieved would have been possible without the support of other people and a great team. In fact, I’d rather spend more energy on bringing the right people together than trying to bring an idea to life on my own.
What’s one trend that really excites you?Crowdfunding is one of the most exciting engines for innovation at the moment. I have participated in crowdfunding campaigns myself, I have helped campaigns with PR, and I just love to observe what kind of inspiring projects are trending at the moment. It’s mind-blowing to see how many ideas probably couldn’t have been put into existence without the help of the crowd.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?Regular exercise and spending a lot of time outdoors really charges up my battery and cleans my brain from the daily clutter.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?During my studies I worked, amongst many other jobs, as a supervisor in a summer camp for children. The daily activities were not the problem, neither were the kids. The most frustrating part was the second supervisor, who turned out to be very unmotivated and uncreative. Sure, the job wasn’t paid well. But instead of watching him killing time, I should have invested a bit more energy in motivating my colleague to turn this week into a great experience for all participants.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?I’d definitely get more funding. Even though I believe that organic growth is the more sustainable way to go, having founded my company on my own money has made it hard to exploit the maximum growth potential.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?Always monitor your financial outlook! Always talk to your employees and clients! Always have fun!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.We believe in our own product, which is PR and Content Marketing. Since we started creating and seeding content and stories for our own business, trust and traffic have increased substantially.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?At one point in the distant past, my company was almost broke, employees lost motivation, and so did I. How did I overcome it? See answers to question 7.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?With body size scanners and 3D printers for all kinds of materials on the verge of mass market appeal, I would love to see more mass-customized fashion. Not just in terms of prints on a t-shirt, but for the whole design and fit of a dress, jacket or shoe.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?In school, I skipped 3rd grade. Closely connected to that: I’m not a good swimmer (swimming lessons happened in 3rd grade).
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?Online collaboration is a huge thing in our company. Most people in our team work at home from time to time. We also have two separate offices. Collaborating with tools like Redbooth, Dropbox and Skype also allows me to spend half of the year in South Africa.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?Danny Wallace “Yes Man”
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?Many people on the TED talks.
Mashup Communications on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MashupCommunications
Mashup Communications on Twitter: @mashupstream
Miriam Rupp on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/miriamrupp
Miriam Rupp on Xing: https://www.xing.com/profile/Miriam_Rupp