Jeremy Gocke Loves Bruce Lee, Loud Music And His New Company, Fliptu
Social media, social media, social media! We all know it’s important (essential, really) for brand success these days; practically everyone’s on Facebook and people are Tweeting until their thumbs fall off.
Social media is an excellent way to reach your customers or fan base, but the reality is that there’s no way they’re ever going to be able to see every single piece of information your company puts out there, even if they have an iPhone glued to one hand and computer monitor glasses that make them look like that dude from Star Trek.
Well, lucky for you, some badass guys with a background in mixed martial arts (MMA, you know, that thing were guys beat the crap out of each other and it’s totally legit?) have come up with a solution. Jeremy Gocke and his co-founder Doug Deluca started getting annoyed with how much time and money brands need to put into social media without getting much in return. Their answer: Fliptu.
Fliptu is a social media dashboard where brands can aggregate all of their online information, giving fans and customers instant access to everything a given company is putting out there. It’s an aesthetically pleasing site, combining elements of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for a design that’s familiar enough to the social media sites we already know, without being reductive.
Jeremy took some time to chat with us over here at KillerStartups about why his company rocks, Bruce Lee and finding a work/life balance.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
Fliptu draws its name from the act of “flipping” through a lookbook. In the apparel and marketing worlds, a brand’s “lookbook” is a physical book featuring montage albums showing the brand’s vibe and personality, where customers or buyers “flip” to certain theme pages in the lookbook. “Flip” + “to” = Fliptu!
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
Pinch myself. We are building an awesome company with great people, and I really can’t believe it sometimes. If I don’t physically pinch myself, I definitely reflect each day before I get started on how fortunate I am to do what I love to do.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
I started the company myself, but within a few weeks had gained support from a handful of great guys and advisors in Brad Harrison, Kelly Perdew, Doug Deluca and Rick Levy. Doug, Kelly and I had worked together at Proelite, which was a major mixed martial arts event production & broadcast company backed by CBS & Showtime, so it’s kind of a mini-reunion working together on Fliptu. Right now, there are three of us full time and a handful of part time interns working with us, not to mention four awesomely active advisors.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
I initially went out to raise a seed round based just on the idea and a pitch deck. And although I’d had success in other ventures, none were direct tech ventures… everything I had done was only on the fringes of tech.
I spent a few months taking meetings, doing phone pitches, and really not getting any buy-in. It was then that it dawned on me that until I built a prototype and showed a couple of end customers using our solution, I had no shot. Once we built the prototype and showed some basic user traction, things really started to come together. Now, the one piece of advice I give other entrepreneurs without fail is JFBI – “Just F#ckin Build It!”
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
Startups present frustrating situations multiple times a day. When I was a younger entrepreneur, that frustration could eventually make me hit a boiling point, which wasn’t good for anyone. Now, I’ve come to terms with frustration, and actually project it into something positive… I treat everything as problem/solution and completely extract the emotion out of it. When something that pops up that would have frustrated me in the past, I just focus on the problem itself and not the associated feeling of frustration.
What’s your office environment like? Is it the kind of place where everyone is bumpin’ away to house music or is it more traditional?
Our office is pure early-stage startup —minimalist but fun. Short on amenities, but long on craziness. Music blasting, spontaneous jiu-jitsu matches, and lots of pranks.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
We’ll be the go-to media and product discovery engine for fans and brands.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food? Give us the deets, dude!
I’ve been a huge Bruce Lee fan since my childhood. Everything he taught in the martial arts can be applied to startup life – the style of “no style” is a profound way of thinking; to shed techniques from your arsenal that don’t yield results. Bruce Lee was the original “lean” process guru before it was trendy.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowd-funded? Where’d you get the money, man?
I bank-rolled the first prototype. I then used that product and our early traction to raise a small “pre-seed” round which I used to recruit a small team and build out a more polished product offering, which we launched in private beta in June. Based on the great traction we have now and some major partner deals recently signed, we’re going out to raise a more traditional-sized seed round in early fall to help us grow the business.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Don’t pay for office space until you’ve raised a big round of funding. Work from home or better yet, co-work at another startup or a local co-working loft in your area. You’ll save tons of cash and probably meet some of your early employees or partners in the process!
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend (and you couldn’t spend it on your currently startup / projects)
I’d absolutely grab the family, jump in a big RV and travel the country for a year. That sounds like the typical, old-timer retirement cliché, but I’ve wanted to do that since I was a kid. But I’d take the $500K and invest in promising entrepreneurs we met along the way.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
Yes, I consider myself a successful entrepreneur. I’m beating the house in terms of win-loss record, using a traditional “success” metric. But more important than that, as long as I’m building something that provides value to people, improving on the offering day in and day out… I couldn’t be happier. I think that’s a better metric for success and happiness.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
I’ll have to go old-school and say Google. It’s still the most generally-useful tool out there, in my opinion. However, I’m playing around with some emerging “social search” services and I’m excited about the future of that industry.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
Shazam. I’m a music junkie, but I’m the worst at remembering song & artist/band names. Shazam would be the app I would have built myself if someone didn’t beat me to it!
Dogs or cats?
Dogs! Ruff ruff!
iOS or Android?
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website/idea?
We’re trying to solve a problem no one has really figured out.
Brands spend an incredible amount of time, energy and resources on social media to create deeper engagement with fans. The problem is that fans are missing 90%+ of the media and offers brands put out. If we can execute on our vision, we’ll create significant “found money” opportunities for brands by increasing the discovery and engagement touch points with fans.
Fans will have a 24/7, one-stop shop to discover, curate and share media & products from their favorite brands, interests and people .
Is balance important?
It’s a badge of honor in the startup world to work 18-20 hour days, often sacrificing social life, fitness, and personal activities to the startup gods. I’ve done this myself in a few ventures, but I’ve never been more productive, healthy and happy than I have been in the last few months launching Fliptu. I attribute 100% to finding balance in my life.
I now exercise every day and eat much healthier (down 40 lbs in 4 months); I spend quality time with my wife and kids; and I take one weekend a month to get away. Contrary to popular belief, balance can (and should) be achieved in startup life.
Where can our readers get ahold of you? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Personal blog?