The Inventive Journey
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What Is The Inventive Journey?
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
ai generated transcription
speak with as many people as you can but always know how to listen and what to learn from every type of conversation from every interaction um [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we've got another great guest on the podcast adam frank and uh adam was born in australia um and went to or moved to jerusalem when i think when he's around eight years old um joined the army of the air force he'll have to remind me which one it is and i was there for about a year um and then ended up leaving that and did some analytics i think it was for the air force and then studied computer science got an mba as well um did some interesting work on twitter correlations with presidential campaigns they'll have to hit on that and then work for a startup also worked for a startup as a student continue to work for that startup after graduating then decided to do his own startup with a partner partner had a bit of hesitation so had to convince him to do the startup got funded scaled quickly pivoted in a new direction and uh and the change to change things around a bit and then has arrived at a bit where they're at today so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast adam hey thank you thank you so much for that great introduction a pleasure to be here how you doing absolutely so i just took a much longer journey and condensed it into the 32nd version of it so let's unpack that just a bit so um tell us a little bit about how your journey got started in australia and israel and and how things got going from there okay um so yeah i was born in australia um 35 years ago uh i you know start i um lived in melbourne and then at the age of eight my parents just decided that uh it's about time for us to um to go and move to israel the the promised land or jews so um you know we have to go and and live uh in israel so that's that was my parents ideology uh nobody asked me as soon you know as soon as i know and you as soon as i knew i just uh popped here in israel started my life it was it was quite a change when i say okay you know i'm sure that the the difference between israel culture and uh in australia is a bit of a different contrast and um sounds like it'd be uh you know a good move and uh was beneficial now i think at one point as you're growing up you joined it was the army of the air force i couldn't remember which one it was right so i joined the air force in the army um i was there for five years uh the first year i was in the flight academy and then after a year they kicked me out um unfortunately or maybe fortunately they usually start from like the first first first uh interview 20 000 and they finish with 50 pilots uh every six months so when they kicked me out uh we were 100 people out of the 20 000 so i was very very close to graduating um and then after the flight academy i um i went to um to the uh intelligence units within the air force so i was an officer there for four other years and that makes sense and so you know and i have a brother-in-law that's also in in the is an air force and he flew for a while now he's moved over to doing some uh drone piloting in other areas of his career but sounds like you know i think in every area in every country being the elite of or flying the the planes even if you're awesome at it is still a very competitive program so sounds like your experience was very similar but now then moving over to analytics sounds like it was a great opportunity so now as you're coming out of the air force you're finishing up there doing the analytics and i think you went moved on or then continued on and studied computer science and got an mba is that right right so then i went to um to study computer science at the hebrew university um and it was a really great degree and i i was exposed to so many amazing things in the in the in the math world and in the algorithm world and it was great as a matter of fact that's where that's when i actually met idan my co-founder and that was also the first time that we were actually exposed to the creator economy um when we were studying for tests we were following small size creators who are explaining really hard algorithms and interesting uh things that we just couldn't understand uh during the lectures so um you know at the time it was it was really trivial that we would reach out to those creators and ask questions um but they never answered us so um you know that that was the beginning of who we are today wizio but uh we'll get we'll get there but but at the end of the day we reached out to so many creators and and nobody answered us now you're doing all that and so you're getting into computer science you're viewing the mba and you're also reaching out to creators now circling back to one other thing that is off topic but on topic uh that you mentioned is you also i think while you're at school and correct me if it was during school or after you also worked on a twitter correlations campaign for presidential or for presidential campaigns or understanding the correlation is that right yep yep yep so so after my first degree i immediately continued to the to my mbas um and the final project there was with a really great professor called ronan feldman he is an nlp expert so i got exposed to all of the the nlp machine learning technologies uh while working for for that project and we did an amazing amazing final project where we were trying to find correlations at the time it was between um between hillary clinton and donald trump and we want they were like running for the elections and we tried to automate and understand the correlations between their daily tweets and the change in the daily polls the day after and so we built a robot that knew how to extract all the tweets and understand them and understand what what what what is the topics of these tweets and what's the sentiment about around these tweets and we found really crazy correlations we found that um like i think that the number one um the number one thing that really moved the needle uh was them crashing about each other and not about and not talking about any really important things um we also saw that when hillary got sentimental in specific topics then um the daily poll usually went down for her and when trump got sentimental saying the same topics he usually got up and that's you know probably because of many gender issues and things like that but but we found like really really interesting correlations and that was the first introduction to machine learning technologies for me oh and i think that's a both an interesting and fun uh application also you know kind of a bit real world and so it gives you a lot of a great insights as to how you might apply that or you know apply some of that machine learning so now as you're going along and doing that and you know you're studying getting the mba studying those things i think at some point while you were a student then after you graduated you started working for or someone else's startup is that right true yeah i worked for a startup called talk media it was backed by jvp one of the biggest vcs in israel um and i started as a student i i was the qa there and um with more lux luck than brains i actually ended up being their cto and i worked there for about four and a half years um and it was it was really more like the brain because i was uh i was relatively affordable um and i had tons of passion and they just couldn't afford the the mega star cto so they just uh i just i just got there and one once i was there i had a huge support from from the ceo ron um which is actually part of the the c-level team today in wizio and we're working together again but i had a huge support from him um to uh to to become a proper cto i was like totally afraid and intimidated by this by this mega position out there but you know he was so encouraging and he believed in me and at the end of the day i i owe him so much uh due to that because i got exposed to all the managerial aspect of starting a startup becoming a partner in startup i was added to all those important meetings together with ron and i actually learned so much about every single aspect of a startup from from from from you know from bottom to top that's awesome and that's always a great insight to have i mean there's a difference between having a good idea or getting it and you know and developing it versus getting it out in the marketplace and you know why people think hey all it takes is a good idea and implementation there's a lot more to the business side and to get that exposure early on definitely sounds like it was beneficial so now as you're you know bit working for the startup going along and doing all those things and and you know learning along the way you know what kind of at what point did you decide you wanted to go to your own startup you know or kind of what prompted kind of saying hey you know i'm getting a lot of experience getting a lot of insight which is awesome and great now i want to kind of go my own way or do my own thing you know at what point did you um kind of what triggered that and what prompted to go in that direction right so i think i owe this a lot to edan my partner um he came to me after a few good years that i was working in talk media and he said hey adam listen you know you're one of the most creative people i know uh and together we're a very very good team um let's start a startup together and i was like hey buddy dan you know we we don't have an idea we don't have this we don't have that and he was like don't worry about it we'll be fine and um and i'll send you some materials to go over them and and well dwell on it and and uh it was like he really pumped me up and he pushed so many so many materials to me and eventually after about i don't know maybe two months i said you know what he done you're totally right i can see the opportunity we um we understood that there's a huge opportunity in the emerging creator economy it was about six years ago maybe five and a half years ago it wasn't as obvious as today that it's such an amazing amazing amazing market at the time it was a relatively small market you had a few kardashians out there nothing too serious um but but we saw the huge potential and we saw that the trend and we also understood that the cheaper mobile phones will be the cheaper uh videos video cameras will be um we will see more and more and more creators out there and you know the market today is exploding with 50 million creators out there and it's expected to be two at 150 credits by 2025 so our assumptions were very very right to uh start building solutions for that market oh and that definitely makes sense so so you have you know the you had some encouragement you had some there your teammates and team members you're saying hey this will be a great experience or great opportunity how do i pass it up type of a thing and so you go along and you do that now one of the additional questions that you know that comes up is you know there's a difference when you make the leap or you you know you you move or make that leap forward as to going out doing your own startup and moving forward on that was it everything that you'd anticipated that was smooth sailing and everything went perfectly and the business got up and going was it bumpy or rocky or kind of how did that how did that go along the way right so um it's a great question so i i remember the first day ever that we started working together we got accepted to um this accelerator here in jerusalem and we got a desk we had a bottle of whiskey uh and two pretty faces that's everything we had um we arrived and we had like no idea where to start from what to do and we just drank the whole bottle of whiskey within a few days um and you know we slowly slowly started to speak with people and do some research and like we saw the the lean start we were at the lean startup we saw how to start a startup from white from yc such a great great great uh uh um session of of um of lectures there um and and you know at the beginning because of the fact that we are both engineers so we managed to build a very beautiful mvp with zero cost and very very relatively very quickly so um after building that mvp we are knocked on a few doors of uh most i would say mostly jerusalemite investors um out of seven investors we reached out to five immediately said we're in so for us it was very very relatively a very easy start um it's i'm not implying on on the rest of the journey i was just saying that you know it was a relatively easy start we worked um on the mvp for like two months and after two months we already you know got our first yes from investors so we had a lot of luck there sounds like it was an exciting journey able to get to a quick mvp get people on board and be able to uh you know kind of hit things out of the gates uh quickly which is always a great place to be so now now just kind of for the audience how long you know so you started the business and i think at one point um you know when or i guess to a couple questions but when did you initially start that business or when did that get kicked off for you right so um we started we um we quit our jobs in 2016. uh we started working on our first startup on our first idea we called it scale about um and scalebot was a um was a solution for the long tail of creators it was a machine learning solution that uh that solved the exposure problem of the long tail we didn't want social media creators to rely uh on the social media platforms to get exposure so we built scale about that knew how to take their content from the social media and post it outside the social media in a very interesting and smart way so um we built we built them an mvp it took us you know a few months we got funded then we started this uh this pilot with a very big publisher um and um and yeah and we ran the company for about three years until we pivoted to vizio that's awesome and so now you're saying okay you know you ran that company had some initial ideas now what what prompted the pivot to what's now visi or vizio as well as the the rebranding of it was it you know slow acceptance in the marketplace was it a better path forward or kind of what prompted that switch of that that change over to kind of what you guys are providing now right so when we got funded at uh 2016 um publishers were our real estate publishers were our solution where we actually posted the social media content and at the time they were a little more um dominant than what they were in 2017 18 19 and eventually uh at 2019 we understood the publishers are kind of like a declining player uh a declining player their publishers today are definitely not like publishers they used to be 10 years ago and i project that they won't be you know as close to what they are today in 10 years from now because of many reasons so we understood that our solution is relying on a declining player and we really really didn't want that and actually one of our one of our design partners just out of the blue told us one day okay we're stopping the collaboration you're an amazing product but i need to sell my real estate to um abusive ads because i need money so at the end of the day publishers told us guys you're amazing i really want to use your solution but you should your solution is a little less better than you know than the horrible abusive ad system that i can use and this is what i prefer to do i don't i can't i it's not that i don't care about my readers but they they had to have some sort of source of income uh that is that is you know stable so eventually at the end of the day we we got replaced by one of our major design partners and that was a huge wake-up call the second thing that happened that led us to pivot to vizio was that i actually became a social media creator myself uh and once i was a social media creator myself i saw the huge opportunity that uh that we're solving today at vizio so um and that that's a really great personal uh positive story if you wanna i'd love to share that yeah absolutely go ahead okay so um so yes about a few years ago i i had an early mid-life crisis i was overweight and i decided that i want to make a change in my life so um i decided i wanted to become a ninja warrior i don't know why i don't know how i didn't know anything about it but i just i just signed up for the auditions and i started training and eventually you know i got i got i got in i lost 25 kilos i um i started climbing and i learned all about how to how to become a ninja warrior and actually i documented my journey on instagram i opened an instagram channel and posted everything about uh uh uh weight loss and transformation and climbing and entrepreneurship and ninja warrior and i gained a few thousands of followers and once i gained a few thousands of followers i said hey i'm part of the creator economy let's make money so i took a look at the existing solutions um and i saw that none of the solutions fit me because i wasn't big enough to do marketing i wasn't expert enough to offer courses and i wasn't famous enough to offer shout outs i wasn't trendy enough to sell merch and i wasn't committed enough to offer exclusive content on patreon for example such an amazing company and i wasn't committed enough or businessy enough business oriented enough to build communities and websites so at the end of the day i i saw that you know i have great following i've great content i have an amazing channel but i have no way to monetize my channel and then taking a look at the market we've noticed that i am part of a way bigger wave we call gen 3 creators which are 80 percent of this market who don't have a substantial substantial way or sustainable way to make any money and to earn from their channel and from their assets and then i noticed that my followers are reaching out to me um through the dms of instagram they wanted more for me they wanted my opinion my advice my love my attention um my feedback and you know they just reached out to me trying to understand how i coped with being overweight and how to do a transformation where to start from and questions about ninja warrior and entrepreneurship and some people just wanted five minutes of my time and i totally ignored all of them and the reason i ignore them is not because i don't care about them but because i had no way to manage all these incoming approaches and then we had the aha moment then we understood something that nobody understood before we understood that every creator is a potential mentor advisor and even a friend but they just don't know it yet and this is how vizio was born wizard empowers all creators to become mentors advisors and friends with solutions that suit the long tail and then and their needs awesome and all that sounds like it's a that's a cool journey so just to wrap it up just curious so you went on to ninja war and you competed is that right or did you almost or how did that i got accepted to the show and it was a blast and then up until today i take part of every season since here in israel that's awesome that's that's uh that's a cool goal to set and definitely uh exciting that you were able to take part in that so no that and that was a it sounds like a great journey and kind of interesting how you figure that out as to where the current company with wizio is going to be your position itself is based on a lot of your own experience of kind of going through and figuring out how to position them for yourself so that definitely is very interesting well now as uh as we kind of reached the the present point of where you're uh where you're at in your journey today it's a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode um so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what'd you learn from it yeah well um there are many mistakes that we made we may i think we made more mistakes than than not non-mistakes um but i think that looking back i think that our big our biggest business mistake was actually um not closing the company uh when we pivoted i think that at the time it kind of makes sense to pivot because we still had a few uh some cash in the bank and we had a lot of support from our investors and um and you know it was very intuitive to pivot and everything just made sense um but looking back these days um we're an old company right so we're instead of being a two and a half year old company or a two-year-old company we're a five-year-old company and it really uh it really um makes it hard to raise money um because you know investors don't want to know what's happening and you always have to explain yourself oh no listen we've been a different company and we're recapping the cap table anyway and everything everything's going to be fine don't worry about the founder shares we've got enough we've we've reached an agreement but it always requires me as a ceo and a fundraiser to explain myself instead of having this wow effect telling our telling future investors hey we're a two-year-old company look at what we look at look at what we've achieved so far so i think that you know looking back knowing today what i like knowing what i know today i would definitely close the company and reopen it from the beginning i would give you know the opportunity for all of our investors to rejoin of course um we extremely appreciate them every each and every one of them they're extremely supportive but i think that that would uh that would that would make our lives very easy uh or or way easier than it is today to fundraise and to deal with all the cap table and all the equity issues uh and the mess that that is there due to a pivot you know and i think that there you know there is it is an interesting dichotomy because i mean you know investors especially get into venture capital they're going to want an upward trajectory right they want to see that hey if we put in money we we're pouring gasoline on the fire so to speak and it's going to make the company take off well if you're going through a pivot or if you're figuring things out or having to go in a different direction either by choice or by necessity either one then it's going to introduce those questions as to why do we want to invest in a company that's or that's not doing well or it's been on hiatus for a couple years or this kind of peaked or is going downward and i certainly get the qualm of you know the quandary of now you're having to explain and dance around that and sometimes to your point is maybe you're better to shut down that business and then even if it's the investors that were on there previously give them a you know arrangement that makes it beneficial for them to join again and so they're not losing out but at the same time it makes it easier to go out and fund to raise more so i think that that's a definitely a great uh certainly an understandable mistake to make but a good lesson to learn definitely definitely and i i wish i wish i would know i would know that uh earlier but you know you sometimes just have to make those mistakes to learn absolutely no i think that you know sometimes that is those while it's it'd be nice if you could go back and not make the mistakes you also have a lot of times the opportunity to learn more from those mistakes that you then are not making that same mistake again so i think that there's a definitely that that balance so well now the the second question i always ask is if you're talking to somebody that's uh just getting into a startup or a small business what'd be the one piece of advice you'd give them right right um so the i think the number one advice would be to speak with as many people as you can but always know how to listen and what to learn from every type of conversation from every interaction um and and i'll try to like break it down just a little bit uh when we started the startup like when you speak about when you when when i tell people that i'm you know founder of a startup they always say oh are you are you um okay with sharing your idea and you know this is like some this is from the past this is a conception from the past where where you know everything has to be very secretive and you know you can't share your idea to anyone because they'll steal your idea and do it but it doesn't work like that today your your idea will change a million times and it's not about stealing your idea it's about the team and about and it's about implementation and implementing uh your ideas into reality uh and that's that's why i really encourage you everyone to discuss your idea with as many smart people as possible you don't don't talk about with your grandma unless it's a grandma startup but but um but on the other end always be true to yourself and try to really extract the gems out of every piece of advice try to understand what is behind what people are trying to say while you know uh going through your agenda so so you'll always fine-tune your idea uh and and and um and with the help of of crowd of the crowd and i think maybe maybe if i could also add to that advice never ask people if your idea is a good idea or not this this is not a good question to ask the market always wins do you want to know if your idea is good or not ask the market and do the best to release a you know a poc in the most uh uh in the most fastest time le as as as less resources as possible and go and ask the market if if half of the companies would ask people do you think it's a good idea uh the companies that we know today um they would they would say no before they even existed you know like the best example would be a tablet right before the tablet nobody wanted or or thought that a tablet would be necessary and you know now it's a huge chunk of the market and i can give you a million ideas out there so you want to know if your startup is it is if it's a good idea go and ask the market oh and i think that that is an absolutely great uh takeaway and i think you know the now because you have to be careful if you're to ask a few people i like the example whether it's a tablet whether it's the even the smartphone at the time you know when apple came out with that and keep on the apple example you know blackberry was out there and people say but i want my little keyboard and until you experience it until you understand it sometimes you're just not going to grasp it and so putting out that you know kind of quick you know minimally viable product or you know kind of that uh initial offering so people can understand and grasp it and then go out and test it and get their feedback and understand that i like that as the one thing you hit on the other one is i think having an intentionality to the conversations you're having or at least taking advantage if you're in front of someone that has a lot of knowledge that has a lot of experience and they can help it elevate your business you'd be a fool not to you know take advantage of that conversation and to learn those things as you're talking with them so i think those are a great uh both great takeaways and uh definitely are a good piece of advice yeah well now as we wrap up the podcast if people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more uh well i think my best business card will be my uh instagram account it's uh adam bottom line frx um and you could always find me on linkedin facebook all the other media channels out there awesome well i definitely encourage everybody to uh to reach out to you connect with you and otherwise uh be a customer and and support you guys well thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you um feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show a couple more things make sure to click listen or click subscribe make sure to click share make sure to leave us a review because we want to make sure that everyone finds out about all of these awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents or trademarks or anything else with your business feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with this chat we're always happy to help thank you again adam for coming on the podcast and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last my pleasure thank you so much [Music] you
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