Good evening and welcome back! As you may or may not know, today was our final day of company meetings for my west coast adventure, and we managed to “go out with a bang”. We started out our day at a nearby Peet’s Coffee and Tea where we met up with Cyrus Farudi, CEO of Capsule. Capsule is an app designed for a bride and groom to gather pictures from every guest at their wedding into one consolidated album. It automatically uploads pictures from the user’s smart phone camera or Instagram into the album, and the happy couple can have immediate access to a multitude of pictures taken by their own friends and family. It is an extremely successful and rapidly growing company, and Cyrus had a few words to say about contributors to its success.
The first of these was to (surprise!) make the product for and market to the customer. Cyrus came up with the idea for Capsule because, in his words, “everyone started getting married!” Before he began this company, he attended 14 weddings and 9 bachelor parties in one year. He came across the same problem at every one of these events, and thought “there’s gotta be a better way to do this”. It was in encountering these problems that multiple other people were having that he found his niche market. After finding this market, Cyrus had conversations with and was able to form an advertising partnership of sorts with The Knot. He also found that asking people to pay for the application was limiting the possible amount of customers, hence the application is now free and there are many options to purchase special additions to the product. These insights to what customers do and do not want and to where there is a niche are crucial to any company.
Second, Cyrus claimed that success comes from being able to “admit when you’re wrong, apply what you learn, and change based on that”. Knowing when something isn’t working and being able to pull the plug on a project is huge, as is learning from mistakes. This doesn’t mean that a company shouldn’t take risks, but knowing when to take a step back and see how the change is being received by the client is incredibly important.
And finally, “don’t pursue everything”. As Cyrus explained, people have lots of ideas, but you must be picky and not spend too much money. After going through a failed startup, he told us that “it’s very easy to spend”; but knowing why you need funding and exactly what it should go toward is incredibly important to consider before any major decisions. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
After our visit with Cyrus, a few of us headed over to Panera for a quick lunch before walking around the Marina for a while. After a bit of exploring, we headed back to meet up with the group for our final meeting of both the day and the trip!
Located in the same gated area where many famous shows and films such as Gone With the Wind and Arrested Development were filmed, FullScreen is an energetic and rapidly growing company. By connecting YouTube creators through a social-networking environment, FullScreen helps allow client creators (such as the amazing Lindsey Stirling) to share, collaborate, and work together with other creators.
The mansion from Gone With the Wind:
The entire show “Arrested Development” was filmed in this studio; here is where all the scenes for Lucille’s apartment were created:
Even Sony does casting work here:
Inside one of their main buildings, we met with three Luther College alumni (Drew, Jacob, and Aaron) in addition to the CEO, George. These four gentlemen had a few words to say about what exactly makes a company successful.
First, you must build off of what works and find a niche in the market. George found a niche in the YouTube market through working on the product at Google. After seeing so many videos and understanding how difficult it was for small creators to ‘make it big,’ he realized that he could find a way to help the ‘small guy’ out. He had a passion “to help the lonelygirl15‘s of the internet,” and along with this passion there was knowledge of what the client needs and what he could do to help them.
Along with making the client happy, George stated, “we want to continue to improve things to make FullScreen an enjoyable place to work for everyone”. By making it a goal to please current employees while bringing in new clients, FullScreen is an incredibly fun (and productive) place to work. By placing an emphasis on continual learning (FullScreen will pay for its employees to take educational courses and necessary materials) and allowing them the freedom to take their dog to work, be collaborative, and have fun, FullScreen employees become passionate about their job and strive to do even better work.
And the final advice of the trip: “you have to be the CEO of your own job”. Make decisions and don’t be afraid to fail; take the initiative and really gain experience (good and bad) in the workplace.
After our final meeting of the trip, we were invited to FullScreen’s Friday happy hour, where we were able to talk with and enjoy the company of many employees. After this, I met up with a very dear friend, Chris, for a wonderful movie night (we went to see Her- a fantastic depiction of the human/technology dilemma, and I would highly recommend it).
Chris lives in the Los Angeles area, and he will be showing me around the area (no public transport!) tomorrow. We will be attending a Habitat for Humanity event in the morning, followed promptly by lunch and an afternoon around the beach, and a Hollywood extravaganza to end the night! It’s Grammy weekend, ladies and gents, so it should be an exciting start to the finale of this amazing adventure. Stay tuned for more epiphanies, explorations, insights, and discoveries by the HTMelle on her West Coast Adventure!