There’s nothing like attending a sporting event and experiencing competition live in real-time. And until humans can achieve massive molecular splitting that allows the super fan to divide and fully witness the contest of every favorite team simultaneously, the action will never play out fast enough or in sufficient abundance.
LockerPulse Co-founder Adam McFarland knows the itch for the latest scores and news so well that he went to work creating a startup scratcher. Self-built, self-funded, bootstrapped in Albany, New York, LockerPulse is a sports application that reads RSS for pros and beginners, tracks live scores, keeps schedules and standings, alerts fantasy participants to player news and action, and more. If you can’t bite your nails watching the game live, maybe the volume and speed of sporting details LockerPulse provides will supply a worthy adrenaline kick substitute.
McFarland invited KillerStartups into the locker room of LockerPulse to talk about his team, his experience as a startup coach, and share off-the-field extras. (His response to the last question deserves the toast of championship, champagne corks popping.)
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
We were looking for something that said, “We’ll keep you up to date on the latest sports news.” LockerPulse was actually the first name that came to mind. It sounded cool, the domain was available, no one else was using the name, so we went with it.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
Check my email. Email is the lifeblood of how I communicate with my business partners, our employees, and our customers. Some days my most important work involves stuff that’s in my inbox, other days, I’m done in 15 minutes and on to programming or marketing or something else fun.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
LockerPulse’s parent company, Pure Adapt, Inc., was founded in 2006 by myself and three partners. One partner has since left. We have three full-time employees and several contractors. While our primary site is DetailedImage, we invest a considerable amount of time in LockerPulse because it’s a service we really believe in.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describes the struggle you went through?
Oh wow. There are so many! I think my favorite is when we were looking for our first warehouse for Detailed Image. We had been operating out of my partner’s basement but had finally reached our limits and needed a “real” space. During the Summer of 2007 we found what we thought was the perfect place. Lease negotiations fell through over $50/month. We ended up having a slow winter that year. Had we moved, we probably would have gone out of business. Instead, we were able to weather the storm, move to our current facility in 2008 when sales picked up, and have never looked back. Sometimes you just get really lucky.
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
I’m pretty even keeled but I get frustrated with something just about every day. For instance, yesterday LockerPulse had a minor issue on its server that caused our backups to stop working. I worked with our cloud hosting provider to fix the issue, but it cost me countless hours and threw off my plan for the day. Frustrating, yes, but that’s just how business works. If you’re not getting frustrated, you’re not trying very hard. Besides, it makes me appreciate those times when things take less time/effort than planned.
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?
It’s a mix. We have a small office where all six of us can collaborate and work. We do always have music on, and it’s usually bumpin’ to rap or techno or whatever else our employees are into. My partners and I each work from home a few days per week to dial in and focus on tasks like programming that take uninterrupted focus. I’d like to think we all have a good time but also know that the reason we’re there is to get our work done.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
I think we’ll continue to grow, add employees, refine and improve our existing projects, and maybe start a few new ones. We’re so focused on what we’re doing today, tomorrow, next week, and next month, that I don’t spend all that much time thinking about next year, yet alone 5 years from now.
Who or what inspires YOU?
I’m really inspired by the 37Signals guys. They have this great work-life balance. No one can deny that their products, open source projects, blog, and books have had a tremendous positive impact on the world. But they don’t work crazy hours. Some people work remotely, some in their office. They have a really strong culture. It’s the type of company we want to be.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowd-funded? Where’d you get the money, man?
It’s entirely self-funded. We’ve bootstrapped profits from Detailed Image in to other more ambitious projects like LockerPulse.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
The #1 thing that bootstrapping does is that it forces constraints. You’re constantly having to ask yourself, “Do we really need this?” whether it’s a desk, a new printer, or a feature in an app. It seems like it sucks at the time, but it really does create great habits that become huge advantages once you finally do have money.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend (and you couldn’t spend it on your current startup / projects)?
Surfing. I’ve never had the time to learn. I’d spend a year in Hawaii learning how to surf, spending more time in the sun, and just relaxing in general. Hopefully soon!
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
Wow. This is a hard question. Yes, I’m successful in that we have a profitable company, I’m able to live comfortably, we’re able to support employees, and we work on exciting projects. I’m not sure I feel successful though, or that I necessarily ever will. Making things better is part of what drives me. I think we can have a much bigger positive impact on the world.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
Gmail. It’s by far the best way to do email. I’d cry if I had to use something different.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
My Tracks for Android. I love being able to get maps and nerdy stats for all of my hikes and bike rides.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs for sure.
iOS or Android?
Android. It’s all about the openness.
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet?
Italy. I have a lot of family there, but I’ve yet to visit.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website/idea?
The best thing about LockerPulse is that we built if for ourselves. It scratches our own itch. I’m LockerPulse’s #1 user. We all wanted a better way to track our sports news. During lunch, if you look around the office, most of us are spending our time on LockerPulse as users. If we love it that much, we think others will, too.
Where can our readers get a hold of you? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Personal blog?
You can find me at Adam-McFarland or on Twitter.
What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
My answer has probably changed over the years, but right now it’s the satisfaction of creating jobs. We only have three full-time employees, but those are three jobs that didn’t exist before we started and grew our company. How cool is that? Three more jobs that allow people to provide for themselves and their families. It’s a very satisfying feeling.