Cult of Startup Podcast

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Apr 30, 2018

Today's guests are the amazing Steve O’Dell and Robbie Page, the founders of Tenzo Tea. These two guys wanted to make a massive impact on the world through a product that really makes a difference in people’s lives.

In this interview we cover a wide range of topics from:

  • What lead them to choose matcha over other energizing products?
  • What are most important steps to get an E-commerce company off the ground.
  • Why the lessons learned from playing professional sports directly translates to success in business.

If you'd like to catch the NEW LinkedIn Edition of the show, head over to my profile here: Luke Bayard.

Follow Tenzo on Social:



Mar 22, 2018

Mark Kithcart is the Vice President of Marketing, Sales, Client Management and Contracts at AVRS a software service for the automotive industry. Post graduation from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mark worked as a mechanical engineer, but he trained himself in the late hours of the night to be a professional marketer.

In this interview we discussed topics like:

  • Why customer service is the lifeblood of any business?
  • How to find a mentor?
  • Why marketing comes down to human behavior?
  • Why is it important to marry the right person when you are an entrepreneur?


Contact Mark:


LinkedIn: Mark Kithcart

Articles Mentioned: The Complete Guide to Understanding Equity Compensation at Tech Companies

Feb 2, 2018

In 2005, Sandy Grigsby founded Brio Five, a creative studio specializing in branding, photography, web, and graphic design. She is most well known for her work as an Empowerment & Brand Photographer with over 15 years of industry experience working with high power CEOs to celebrities.

Sandy's talent lies in her ability to evoke and capture images that demonstrate a woman’s true essence and power.

Her in-depth knowledge of web design, coupled with her vast experience as a model, actress, and spokesmodel allow her to fully understand the branding needs of her clients.

Instagram: @BrioFive or @SandyInFocus
LinkedIn: Sandy Grigsby

Jan 19, 2018

Erik Huberman is the Founder & CEO of Hawke Media, a full-service outsourced CMO based in Santa Monica, CA that launched in 2014 and has been valued at $60 million. In just 3 years, Hawke Media has grown from 7 to over 120 employees and has serviced 400+ brands.


Prior to Hawke Media, Erik founded, grew and sold Swag of the Month and grew’s sales to $1 million in four months. Erik is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including Forbes “30Under30”, Inc Magazine’s “Top 25 Marketing Influencers”, Influencive's "Top Influencive Influencers of 2017". Erik is a regular contributor to major media publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider, and is proud to have and recently joined XPRIZE as their key marketing advisor.


Some Questions I Ask Erik:

  • What is Hawke Media? 1:50
  • What about the traditional marketing agency model is broken? 2:26
  • How is Hawke Media's business model different from the competition? 4:50
  • Where did the concept of an “outsourced CMO” come from? 5:38
  • How did you start slinging Beanie Babies? 6:56
  • Why did you focus on learning opportunities over making money in college? 13:09
  • Why the hell did you take the LSAT? 15:18
  • From your early entrepreneurship days, what are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from that time? 18:10
  • What was Swag of the Month? 24:33
  • What are some of the biggest lessons you took away from founding a ecommerce company? 25:40
  • What advice do you have for young ecommerce companies? When does unit economics come into play? 26:30
  • Take me through on how you sell 80k worth of product in 2 weeks? And how you did 2 million in the first 6 months? 30:30
  • The fitness clothing brand completely changed their game plan all of the sudden, why do you believe that was a huge mistake? 33:15
  • Why did you decide to start an agency over going to get a job? 35:51
  • When you first started Hawke Media were you outsourcing or hiring people right here and there to cover the needs of clients? 39:23
  • Walk me through the hiring process you used to grow Hawke Media? 40:19
  • How do you qualify clients and how do you keep them happy? 41:57
  • What would recommend to a startup looking hire agency? 44:22
  • Why do have a huge neon sign in your office that says “Get shit done, learn quickly, be cool” and what does it stand for with Hawke Media? 48:40

Connect with Erik:

Twitter: @ErikHuberman

Instagram: @ErikHuberman

Dec 7, 2017

Nicole Behnam and Mariella Rudi are founders of the media company Beyond The Interview, where they curate a collection of interviews, essays, and social news. As two women who left full-time careers as successful journalists to pursue entrepreneurship, their story is one of taking creative control of their work and embracing a new age of personal, digital journalism.

In this show, Nicole and Mariella talk about their adventure in leaving their careers to pursue entrepreneurship, the importance of having a co-founder, writing authentically but still following a successful formula, and how to monetize a growing audience on any platform. They also discuss in general the media’s trend towards personal, vulnerable, and emotional news, and how young entrepreneurs can tap into these subjects to create a viral hits.       

Some Questions I Ask Nicole and Mariella:      

  • What is Beyond the Interview? [1:34]
  • What’s the dynamic with your friends who became influencers? [4:18]
  • Why start this when you have full-time careers already? [10:10]
  • Did you feel like your managers were telling you to write meaningless stories? [11:45]
  • Is this what your parents wanted you to do? [21:26]
  • What are the safe versus frowned-upon means of monetization? [27:19]
  • Were you both straight-A students or more focused on entrepreneurship? [28:12]
  • What are some subject matters that aren’t talked about enough today? [32:20]
  • Are there any other noteworthy stories that might be surfacing soon? [38:11]
  • How do you balance authenticity and following a popular writing formula? [40:00]
  • Are college instructed social media courses helpful? [42:15]
  • What’s been your most successful article and why was it successful? [48:20]
  • What do you guys feel like is your next big milestone? [56:10]
  • Has anyone ever turned down an interview? [59:29]
  • Any other stand-out experiences when trying to reach out to people? [1:06.30]
  • What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to get press coverage? [1:10:23]
  • Should people be paying for PR? [1:15:10]
  • What are some books you would recommend? [1:17:30]
  • What advice do you have to future entrepreneurs? [1:24:50]


Some Things You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • is a collection of interviews, essays, and social news.
  • A deep dive into the thought process behind leaving a full-time job to pursue your own work.
  • Why having a co-founder can create a strong sense of interdependence which is healthy for a startup.
  • A lot of entrepreneurial relationships between founders start out as friendships, but it can also happen in the reverse direction.  
  • The struggle of female founders to fight societal pressure to get married and ignore their career.
  • Understanding the difference between a hobby and something you can get paid for.
  • How to monetize a nascent service with a growing audience.  
  • The key to creating shareable, viral writing is tapping into a subject’s vulnerability and emotion.
  • When generating content, learning how to take advantage of people’s natural inclination to talk about themselves and promote their work.
  • How the first 10 words of an Instagram DM are the most important in determining if someone will read it and respond.


Get in Touch with Nicole and Mariella:

Nov 22, 2017

Sean Allen is the CEO and Co-Founder of WizeFi, a personal finance platform that helps you make the most of your money and helps you make more money so you can live your ideal lifestyle. With 20+ years experience in the financial advising industry, Sean is bringing a tool once reserved for professional financial planners to the masses.


In this show, Sean explains how important behavior change is to achieving your desired financial goals, and how WizeFi illustrates how each decision you make can impact your current and future net worth. Through his platform, he believes that anyone, no matter their income, can learn to spend their money in a way that makes them more money, which in turn lead them to their best financial future. Sean also speaks to his journey back into startups after decades in the professional industry and gives advice to new entrepreneurs, young and old, on how to structure a business to eventually become passive income.


Some Questions I Ask Sean:      

  • What is WizeFi? [1:42]
  • What does WizeFi do? [2:00]
  • What carries more weight on the platform, the affiliate program or the investment side of it? [2.44]
  • Do you provide training to your users on how to onboard their friends? [3:41]
  • What’s the benefit of going with WizeFi over a Wealthfront-type competitor? [4:50]
  • Why do you think it is that doctors/lawyers/dentists bring in half a million a year but end up having so much debt? [10:53]
  • Where does the quote “Wealth begins in the mind” originate from? [13:23]
  • Why is it that people behave as if they’re wealthy when they’re not? [15:49]
  • It seems that people are always chasing but never reaching their financial goals - why do you think that is? [18:05]
  • Productive and nonproductive assets - why is it important to understand the difference? [21:41]
  • What would be a very tangible example of a productive asset? [23.37]
  • Does the current market climate impact what is a productive or nonproductive asset? [25:38]
  • Is affiliate marketing a good example of a productive asset? [28:31]
  • What’s a nonproductive asset? [34:01]
  • Is your goal in your own businesses to replace yourself and let it run on their own? [36:42]
  • What advice would you have to founders who are trying to replace themselves? [38:41]
  • Why do founders try to do everything? [40:38]
  • When have you learned from your business failures? [47:37]
  • Why circle back around to a startup after 20+ years in the industry? [51.48]
  • Why is dedicating time to planning so pivotal? [59:14]
  • What books would you recommend for financial help? [1:00:18]
  • What are 3 primary pieces of financial advice you would give to someone? [1.03.49]

Some Things You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • Invest your money in productive assets - things that bring you additional income. Otherwise you’re just transferring your wealth to someone else.
  • A budget by itself is useless if not accompanied by behavior change.
  • The first step to achieving your financial goals is making sure they are realistic.
  • As an entrepreneur, your goal should be to surround yourself with talented operations people. It opens the door for you to remove yourself later.
  • The hardest moment in starting a new business is the idea phase - step one, get it onto paper and figure out what your role should be. Whatever you can’t do, you should look for in a partner.
  • Great companies are 1% good idea and 99% good execution.
  • Most great entrepreneurs will say that they wouldn’t be where they are without learning from many failures along the way.
  • We’re a product of our surroundings - influences from the media and those around us can heavily impact how we behave and spend.
  • Pivoting quickly is essential to success - otherwise you risk spending too much time running down the wrong path.
  • The best entrepreneurs take their business one quarter at a time - execute for 12 weeks and spend one week in reflection and planning.


Get in Touch with Sean:

Nov 8, 2017

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a platform and software serviced based out of San Francisco. Interact creates quizzes (“like the ones that you see on Facebook”) and assessments for clients wanting to reach potential customers whose interests may align with those of their company’s.


After cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit at the start of high school, Josh had to switch gears and buckle down for college, where he met the person who would later become his co-founder. When he and his co-founder launched Interact in 2014, Josh began building quizzes for clients and brainstorming new, innovative ideas for a wide range of different companies. In addition to that role, he’s branched into the public relations arena and also creates continuous, original blog content for Interact.


Some Questions I Ask Josh:

  • What does Interact do? [1:03]
  • Do both small and big companies use Interact’s product? [5:25]
  • What are your thoughts on how people brainstorm their business ideas? [26:30]
  • What’s your take on growing your business in its beginning stages, as opposed to just being able to pay yourself? [31:00]
  • How do you determine who your next hire should be? Do you use any sort of formula? [35:47]
  • After you finished school and launched the business with positive results, did you stay in L.A. or decide to move, and what was the criteria for making that decision with your co-founder? [40:15]
  • How did you and your co-founder communicate, being and working in separate cities? [41:48]
  • What was the timeline of your initial user acquisition like? How did you go about accomplishing the phases that went into making that happen? [45:02]
  • When customers initially signed up for Interact, was it using a SaaS business model? [54:25]
  • Was there ever a moment where you thought, mathematically, the company may not work out? [55:08]
  • Who’s been the wildest customer you’ve had for Interact? [58:44]
  • What was the business structure like after you moved to the bay area and began gaining more customers? [1:02:01]
  • How were you structuring your payment during those initial stages? [1:04:19]
  • What does your day-to-day look like now? [1:18:20]
  • Why do you feel now is the appropriate time for you to focus on and do PR? [1:19:24]
  • Are there any books you’d recommend people read, whether it’s in or outside of the business/startup field? [1:21:25]
  • What’s your morning routine consist of? [1:23:18]
  • Is there any structured involved in your journaling habits? [1:24:07]
  • At what point did you decide to bring on an executive coach? [1:26:03]
  • What do you do to wind down at the end of the day? [1:29:00]
  • What words of advice would you give to anyone looking to start a company? [1:31:49]

Some Things You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • How much the public really enjoys taking quizzes
  • Some of the clients Interact provides services for
  • How Josh created and grew into an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age
  • What platform Josh used to advertise his business services in high school
  • How Josh met his co-founder
  • The framework for how Interact hires new people
  • How Interact came up with their idea for interactive ads and quiz creation
  • What the problem with his business model was when he was in high school
  • How Josh and his co-founder made living and working in different cities work
  • How content marketing got Interact its first, legitimate clients
  • Some of the nonprofits Interact provides services for on a pro-bono basis
  • What the first big challenge for Interact as a business was
  • How much time passed before Interact’s revenue really increased


Get in Touch with Josh:

Oct 11, 2017

Ladan Davia is the CEO & Founder of Beeya, a company she founded in January of 2015. Beeya is a platform that automatically matches employers and employees using a unique algorithm while generating an automatic matching score from your data. The platform combines the elements of online job searching, social networking, and professional work concepts to create a cohesive solution for the user.


Before founding Beeya, Ladan was the founder and president of Accelerate Test Prep for two years, and prior to that worked in broadcast media. Driven by a passion for philanthropy and education, she made the switch from working in the entertainment industry to the tech sector where she’s able to utilize both her drive for helping others and skill in technological entrepreneurship.


Some Questions I Ask Ladan:

  • How does Beeya differ from companies where the emphasis is placed on job seekers taking personality tests to find matches? [8:21]
  • What are some traits you’ve seen as being pivotal for job seekers? [10:16]
  • What do you think influenced you to want to start your own company? [18:53]
  • How did you get involved with your first business involving test prep? [28:16]
  • What were some of the other events occurring around the time you founded Accelerate Test Prep? [39:50]
  • What important things happened after winning the business competition that helped launch Accelerate Test Prep? [48:20]
  • What has the experience of being a female founder been like? [57:31]
  • Why do you feel like adding money to a startup doesn’t really solve its problems? [1:02:50]
  • What kind of volunteer work are you involved in? [1:06:19]
  • What’s next for Beeya? [1:09:54]
  • What’re some of your favorite books you’d recommend to other startups or entrepreneurs? [1:10:48]
  • What advice would you give to future founders? [1:12:01]
  • What inspires you? [1:12:32]

Some Things You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • How Beeya differs from different job matching sites
  • What kind of company Ladan founded before Beeya
  • How Ladan came up with the idea for Beeya
  • How Accelerate Test Prep acted as a catalyst for Beeya
  • What Ladan discovered about what she wanted to do for herself after her first company
  • What the biggest mistake with Beeya was when starting out
  • How Ladan’s degree in Broadcast Journalism helps her business and life now
  • Why Accelerate Test Prep didn’t work out and what Ladan learned from it
  • Why you can still create a successful business without a lot of money


Get In Touch With Ladan:


Sep 30, 2017

Andrew Healy and Alex French are the Co-Founders of Bizzy Coffee, “coffee for people who don’t have time for coffee.” Bizzy Coffee comes in the form of an organic two-ounce cold brew shot and can be found in a multitude of grocery stores, as well as on Amazon.


Bizzy Coffee was created by two people who complement each other well: Alex’s background is in in Finance and Entrepreneurship while Andrew’s is in Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing. After trial and error and some product tweaking, they created something that truly works -- an especially impressive feat in the competitive market that is Food and Beverage.


Some Questions I Ask Andrew and Alex:

  • What was the worst and best experience you had during your road trip to promote and sell Bizzy Coffee? [4:05]
  • What was involved in the process of recruiting people for the trip? [6:45]
  • What do each of your backgrounds consist of? [11:27]
  • What was the e-commerce business you both had at one point, and why did you decide to ditch it? [19:24]
  • What made you choose coffee as a marketable product? [23:26]
  • As soon as you got your cold brew recipe dialed in, what was the next step? [31:40]
  • Were you able to secure any funding prior to applying for and getting accepted to an accelerator? [35:24]
  • What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned from going through an accelerator? [37:19]
  • After the accelerator program, was there a demo day? [39:23]
  • After having gone through an accelerator program and getting that initial investment, do you think it was easier to raise money from local angels as a result? [41:12]
  • After you raised money and your backs were against the wall, what was the next move? [42:01]
  • Are there any other notable examples where you utilized data to make a business choice? [48:01]
  • What exactly do you mean by “PPC”? [49:10]
  • Since moving into producing coffee shots alone, has your consumer base further evolved? [49:52]
  • What are some of your best marketing channels right now? [57:50]
  • What is the next step for Bizzy Coffee? [1:00:00]
  • Are there any books you’d recommend for entrepreneurs? [1:01:27]
  • What other resources would you recommend for entrepreneurs? [1:02:46]
  • What do each of your morning routines consist of? [1:04:13]
  • What advice would you give to an entrepreneur looking to go into the Food and Beverage industry? [1:06:55]


Some Things You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • Where Alex and Andrew traveled to on their recent road trip
  • What Alex and Andrew learned about the value of finding a good business partner
  • Why their initial e-commerce product attempt didn’t work
  • How long it took Alex and Andrew to get smart about coffee and what attracted them to it as a product
  • How many rounds of consumer learning tests went into developing Bizzy Coffee
  • What methodology Alex and Andrew used for manufacturing their product
  • Why getting the first round of capital for the product was exceptionally difficult
  • How Bizzy Coffee’s first investor came about
  • What the pivotal first point in the business was
  • What Alex and Andrew’s “aha!” moment was when they were figuring out how to tweak their product format
  • One of the biggest advantages Bizzy Coffee holds as a product

Get In Touch With Bizzy Coffee:

Sep 20, 2017

Baird Hall is the Co-Founder of Wavve, a platform based out of Charleston, South Carolina. Having launched in 2016, Wavve helps podcasters, musicians, radio show hosts, and various other content creators easily turn audio clips into social video content -- whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever else.


Wavve – a platform created by two people who met a mere 2 years ago and have successfully grown their company to help a plethora of users since – also provides multiple video templates and cards to help creators add animation and text prior to sharing their final product on social media. Combining audio and visual elements, Wavve introduces an entirely fresh approach for content creation.


Some Questions I Ask Baird:

  • What about the business model of your company wasn’t quite right before it was rebranded as “Wavve”? [6:10]
  • What’s involved in running a marketing test? [11:50]
  • When you first set up a marketing test, what data were you using? [13:01]
  • Where do customers commonly find you when they’re seeking out the platform you provide? [15:57]
  • Have there been any “aha!” or eureka moments during interactions with customers? [19:03]
  • Have you encountered any roadblocks since launching Wavve? [23:15]
  • How did you and your co-founder meet? [26:02]
  • What kind of co-working space do you utilize in addition to working remotely? [28:51]
  • What has been your experience so far being in Charleston while working? [34:10]
  • What books would you recommend, both inside and outside the startup world? [54:32]
  • What’s been the most surprising podcast to utilize Wavve as platform for their content? [56:15]
  • What podcasts do you listen to? [57:41]
  • Where do you see “podcasting” going in the next 3-10 years? [58:31]
  • Do you follow any specific bloggers or influencers? [1:04:05]
  • Do you have any words of advice to budding entrepreneurs and startup owners? [1:06:02]


Some Things You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • The kind of approach Baird takes to the company
  • What the toughest thing, in Baird’s opinion, about building a startup is
  • What kind of framework Wavve uses for their approach to business
  • How Wavve markets their product and the mediums they use
  • What Wavve found out from their user testing
  • The wide range of users that Wavve attracts
  • The difficulties Wavve came across when it first launched
  • How Wavve has used the gig economy to its advantage
  • What a typical work day for Baird looks like
  • How long it took before Wavve became profitable


Get In Touch With Wavve:

Sep 13, 2017

Ryan McLeod became an indie app developer after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2014 and briefly working as a web developer.


After working on a social music startup for a time that ended up disbanding, Ryan switched gears and started learning iOS. Originally a side project, this knowledge led to the creation of the popular iOS app Blackbox, a game that helps players practice creative thinking by solving puzzles without actually touching their screen.


Some Questions I Ask Ryan:

  • What got you into indie app development? [2:58]
  • What happened after you finished up school? [4:24]
  • What about taking risks with app development scares you? [6:36]
  • How did the idea for Blackbox come about and were there any parameters? [10:08]
  • What do you think provides the biggest value when having people test out an app before releasing it? [16:22]
  • Have you ever done a soft launch on an update? [20:39]
  • How do you market the Blackbox app? [22:32]
  • What is the story behind Snapchat and your successful marketing? [34:18]
  • What tools do you use to measure the effects of Blackbox? [39:34]
  • Is the indie developer game realm big? [49:38]
  • What would you give as words of advice to anyone looking to bring their product to the app store? [54:39]
  • What’s next for Blackbox? [1:00:00]
  • How do you develop the levels for Blackbox? [1:02:23]
  • What was the award you received? [1:04:28]
  • Was there a large bump in users when you received this award? [1:06:20]
  • What’s the story behind your Gravity app? [1:07:20]
  • What advice would you give to entrepreneurs? [1:15:35]
  • Would you recommend that entrepreneurs release products right away? [1:16:05]
  • Are there any books, audiobooks, or content you’d recommend? [1:20:06]


Some Things You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • Why Ryan wouldn’t recommend getting into the music startup industry
  • The work Ryan was doing before training in iOS
  • Ryan’s thoughts on taking risks when there are possibilities for big rewards
  • What aspects of app development Ryan has a particular interest in
  • What Blackbox’s beta testing process was like
  • What program Ryan used for beta testing to tease out flaws
  • What Ryan wished he would have done with the soft launch during testing
  • Why Ryan doesn’t utilize push notifications for Blackbox
  • What the hardest part about developing levels for Blackbox is
  • How the idea for Ryan’s Gravity app came to fruition
  • What kinds of products Ryan personally doesn’t like

Looking to get in touch with Ryan? You can find him here:

Twitter: @Warpling

Instagram: @Warpling

Jul 17, 2017

In this episode, we speak with Kyle Rawson, the founder of SyphonSound. Syphon Sound is an audio company that came to fruition in 2011 and specializes in motocross and snowboarding sound technology.

Kyle grew up snowboarding throughout junior high and high school. After 3 business competitions, he finally decided to pursue his idea intermingling these passions while being able to listen to his favorite music with comfort and ease. Some good luck with investors and years of research and development later, Syphon Sound is thriving.

Some Questions I Ask Kyle:

  • What were some elements you came across in the evolution of your business idea? [3:14]
  • After participating in business competitions, what kind of feedback were you receiving? What convinced the judges to look more into your idea? [4:51]
  • What did you discuss in the initial conversation with your first investor? [8:45]
  • What step came after landing your first investment? [12:25]
  • After completing research and development, how did you find a supplier for your first product? [15:13]
  • What advice would you give to an entrepreneur looking to have a product manufactured in another country? [17:12]
  • What was the issue in quality of audio after you put your first product out, and how did you resolve that issue? [19:05]
  • How did you resolve your first product’s issue when it came to customers? [22:32]
  • Was there an “aha!” moment that spurred you to expand into motocross, in addition to snowboarding? [27:19]
  • Were there products similar to yours when you were developing it? [30:42]
  • Do you think there’s any underlying benefit to selling out? [37:11]
  • Is Syphon Sound’s website hosted on a specific platform? [41:09]
  • When it comes to e-commerce, is your platform providing the tools you think you need? [42:44]
  • Have you wanted to expand your product line? [46:07]
  • How have you been able to take advantage of outsourcing the fulfillment of product orders? [49:35]
  • What have you noticed as a huge marketing strength for yourself, and what are your thoughts on marketing within your company? [51:24]
  • What was a time where you felt Facebook advertising really hit home for your business? [55:18]
  • Where did the idea of using correlation tables for Facebook advertising come from, and how did you use that as a way to dial in your audience? [1:04:06]
  • What resources would you suggest to a novel start-up wanting to sell online and narrow down their market? [1:08:00]
  • What are some sources you frequently use in order to pick up information on your target market audience? [1:10:00]
  • Are there any tools you use for retargeting? [1:13:53]
  • How is the Facebook Pixel incorporated into your marketing? [1:15:04]
  • What other tools today do you feel are benefitting your marketing team? [1:19:01]
  • What can you tell us about the social media marketing company you’ve started? [1:24:20]
  • What are some things you enjoy when doing professional video development? [1:28:36]
  • Do you have a favorite quote? [1:30:12]
  • What do you feel is the number one reason entrepreneurs fail? [1:31:18]

Some Things You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • How Kyle transitioned from snowboarding into motorsports within his company
  • Who the first investors in Syphon Sound were
  • How Kyle’s experience with his startup’s first stages was different than most
  • How long research and development for Syphon Sound’s first product took
  • Where Kyle’s product idea really came from
  • Why Syphon Sound has been successful from the get-go
  • What mode of business Kyle is most comfortable with
  • What Kyle has realized about his business aspirations as the company continues to grow
  • What platform Syphon Sound uses and why they’ve stayed on it for so long
  • The percentage of sales Syphon Sound has outside the U.S.
  • Where Kyle’s interest in video development began

Check out the Syphon Sound Soundwrap here!

If you're looking to get in touch with Kyle you can find him on Instagram @KyleRaw

Jul 3, 2017

In this episode of Cult of Startup, our guest is Brad Gauthier. Brad is the founder of Sitecast, Founded in 2013 and based out of Portland, Oregon, is a platform of configurable API’s to rapidly build and deploy serverless web projects with ease.

Brad discovered a talent for building websites at the age of 12 when he landed his first client. He pursued that skill to get where he and his company are at today, with a few crucial detours along the way.


Some Questions I Ask Brad:

  • What route did you decide to take after graduating college? [8:30]
  • What were the audiobooks that influenced you the most during college? [13:30]
  • Are there any other books in audio format you’d specifically recommend? [19:22]
  • What was the company you started after you left your first job out of college? [32:30]
  • What type of benefits comes from learning about a variety of subject matters? [34:30]
  • How did having so many bosses at once drive you to leave your job? [38:07]
  • What did you discover about yourself after you sold your possessions and started traveling? [56:45]
  • What was the “aha!” moment for Sitecast and how did you make that moment into a reality? [1:01:29]
  • What have you learned from customer development since starting Sitecast? [1:08:31]
  • What kind of pricing model does Sitecast use? [1:22:00]
  • What are some of your favorite book recommendations? [1:38:52]
  • Do you have a morning routine? [1:42:32]


Some Things You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • What opened Brad’s eyes at age 12 to his life and career possibilities
  • What Brad would consider himself an apprentice at
  • The main reason Brad started to check out of college
  • What Brad falsely assumed regarding his college degree
  • What big grocery store chain Brad wanted to create an online version of
  • What article acted as the true catalyst for Brad switching job gears after college
  • Why it’s good to future proof your business name
  • How Sitecast is funded as a company
  • What Sitecast is working on and why Brad considers it to be the future of the platform


Connect With Brad

Jun 21, 2017

Today’s guest in this episode of Cult of Startup is Alex Littlewood, the founder, and CEO of Motoroso. Founded in 2013, Motoroso is an online hub for motorsports and automotive enthusiasts alike to plan, build, and share their dream vehicle projects -- from drawing ideas and inspiration through content to locating specific parts, accessories, and service providers.

Motoroso stemmed from Alex’s passion for working on and riding cars and motorcycles. In today’s episode, we get to the root of what the company’s all about and how it got to where it is now as a result of that passion.

Some questions I ask Alex:

  • How did growing up in motorsports influence the work you’re doing today? [7:47]
  • What was the experience of working at a startup that was later acquired by Google like? [11:40]
  • What was the next phase after you left Google following the acquisition? [35:39]
  • What the plan for making Motoroso happen while also working a 9-to-5 at your then-job? [45:37]
  • What were some of the lean methodology procedures you used to get to the point of figuring out your idea before having the code for it written? [52:36]
  • What was the application process for Techstars like? [1:07:59]
  • What was it like going from Silicon Valley to Detroit? [1:16:05]
  • What was the makeup of the Techstars experience and program? [1:26:32]
  • What did the day-to-day of the Techstars program consist of? [1:35:02]
  • What’s your opinion on the environment of accelerators? [1:38:05]
  • What were the criteria in making the decision to move to San Luis Obispo, and where is Motoroso at today? [1:53:07]
  • What do you want Motoroso’s next stage to be? [2:03:35]

Some Things You'll Learn In This Episode:

  • What differentiates a “market network” from a “social network”
  • What website inspired Alex’s idea for Motoroso
  • How Alex’s career turned into a path focused on marketing
  • What the challenge in helping to position the company for success was when it came to dealing with larger enterprises while at Wildfire
  • A word of advice to anyone thinking about going into a startup
  • How the idea of Motoroso came to fruition
  • What factors went into deciding to start Motoroso and realizing it was the right move
  • What side jobs Alex took on to make ends meet while making his vision happen
  • Why it’s not necessarily the case new startups should always be in the Bay Area
  • Why every startup founder should apply to an accelerator
  • What accelerators are actually for
  • The difference between an idea and an actual startup


Apr 30, 2017

Today’s guest in this episode of Cult of Startup is Steve Irby. Steve Irby is the founder and president of KICKER, a company he began in 1973 that produces high-performance home and personal audio, car audio, power sports products, and other vehicle-specific solutions.

Steve’s learned a wide variety of lessons when it comes to creating your own company from the ground up, especially when it involves something you love doing. For Steve, it all started with building and constructing speaker systems.

Some Questions I Ask Steve:

  • Did you have any desire to start a business while you were going to school? [2:50]
  • What was your major in before you decided you wanted to go another route? [3:46]
  • What exactly happened post-grad school that made you do a 180 on your goals? [5:18]
  • What else began to occupy your time when you were close to finishing your thesis and wrapping up grad school? [6:49]
  • Do you have a specific system or method for jotting your ideas down in? [16:14]
  • Do you use the Gallup StrengthsFinder as part of your hiring process? [36:26]
  • What was it like not earning revenue in the early stages of the company? Did you ever want to quit? [44:58]
  • During the company’s growth years, how many employees were there and what sort of contracts did you get that created a new landscape for you? [51:32]
  • During the time period where you weren’t making revenue, what was the toughest day you had? [1:04:54]
  • What would your top one or two pieces of advice for young startups be? [1:13:11]

Some Things You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • What it was like for Steve to quit grad school
  • How Steve was introduced to building speakers
  • What you need to do if you really want your business to stand out
  • Steve’s views on quitting
  • What KICKER’s biggest sale was in the company’s formative years
  • Some ways in which Steve expanded his business overseas
  • What Steve realized the most important thing about business is
Mar 23, 2017

Today’s guest is Raj Singh. Raj is the founder of Tempo AI, a mobile productivity app that was recently acquired by Salesforce.


Raj has had extensive experience in the technology and startup industries. And in this interview, we talked about what it takes to create a startup and the best methods and strategies for working in one, as well how to maneuver their ever-evolving structure in society.


Some Questions I Ask Raj:

  • How can a student find a position in a start-up or find a company that would enable them to meet their peak potential? [19:07]
  • What do you define “business model innovation” as and what would an example of it be? [26:26]
  • What exactly does pattern-matching with startups refer to? [33:30]
  • How does someone keep up to date on developments within the startup community, and what are some resources they can use to make sure they stay on the cusp of this information? [37:35]
  • How should a startup map out their milestones? [49:03]
  • What are the main attributes that distinguish a great CEO from an ordinary one? [44:06]
  • What is concentric marketing? [56:25]
  • What’s different about startups and patents now compared to in the past, and what should startups be on the look-out for when it comes to developing a patent? [57:32]
  • If you could buy a build-board that overlooked Silicon Valley, what would you want it to say? [01:09:00]


Some Things You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • How Raj began working in the startup industry
  • The shortcomings of Raj’s first startup and what he’s learned from them
  • Why the goals of sales teams aren’t always aligned with where their products are going
  • Some obstacles and struggles that come with the territory of being a CEO
  • What the size of a company has to do with its politics
  • Ways you can grow your network within the startup community
  • Why team dynamics are so important in a startup’s early stages


Raj Twitter: @mobileraj


Jan 21, 2017

Today’s guest is Marcus Noel, who is the founder of Heart of Man which aims to EMPOWER YOUNG PEOPLE TO THINK LIKE CREATORS, NOT STUDENTS. In this interview, we discuss a variety of topics from education reform to why students should walk away from high school with an entrepreneurship toolset in their pocket.

Marcus recommended that we all take Strengths Finder by Gallup.

As always thank you for listening! Please feel free to leave us a review in iTunes. 



Dec 24, 2016

Today’s guest is Alex Henige, who is the founder of Reduce Reuse Grow, a small compostable packaging company that provides packaging for small coffee shops & food venders. And with each product they serve Reduce Reuse Grow will in turn plant a plant at a local restoration site.


We start by talking about his indirect approach to Kickstarter & how that grew into over 20k in contributions from backers. How a product can evolve by running it through the business model canvas? Why your first idea isn’t always the best idea? How we can impact the environment with every purchase we make? And much much more!


Thank you for listening!


Visit their website at or on Instagram @ReduceReuseGrow

Nov 4, 2016

In this episode I sit down with Seth Hiatt, serial board game entrepreneur & founder of Mayday Games.

Originally Seth ran a successful online business selling through eBay; however, that all ended suddenly when eBay shifted away from a single listing fee to taking a percentage of each sale.

Overnight Seth had to make a choice between going back to his previous career as an accountant or to rework his business model.

Follow us through our conversation as we discuss his journey & discover tangible takeaways you can apply directly to your startup.

Oct 8, 2016


Today’s guest is Boman Farrer, the co-founder of LunoWear, a stylish watch brand made from bamboo that nearly raised half a million through crowdfunding. Even when they had to switch funding platforms after raising 400k!


In this interview we discuss the following topics:

  • The value of family tradition
  • Building a loyal audience before launching a product
  • How to properly execute a crowdfunding campaign.
  • Instagram strategies using hashtags & influencers
  • How to use Facebook ads
  • The pros & cons of Amazon exclusives
  • And much, much more!


You all are the greatest! Thank you for listening & enjoy!

Sep 8, 2016

Today’s guest is Tod Nelson, the 8th hire of Amazon and now the Executive Director of the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (

In this interview we talk about what the early days of Amazon were like. In addition we address topics that range from PR stunts to unorthodox hiring practices to Jeff Bezos leadership style on down to what you learn from packaging someones books.

If that isn’t enough, we dig deep into the following questions:

  • How to manage explosive growth?
  • Why you have to sometimes just show up, roll up your sleeves and work your ass off?
  • Why you needed to think big at Amazon when came to implementing new processes?
  • Why you should never hirer someone less talented than you?
  • How entrepreneurship is best taught at the university level?
  • How to maintain company culture while scaling?

Thank you for listening! Keep in touch with me @CultOfStartup on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & Twitter.

Aug 19, 2016

Information can tell a story, but without structure, that story remains incomplete.

Today’s guest, Nick Grant, is completing that story with eye dropping designs created by his agency Killer Infographics.

Nick’s business evolved from serval fledgling ideas that earned their wings, but never really took flight. In the interview he talks about your first business idea not always being your best, nor your last.

We also discuss the struggles a startup must face in growing, including things like office space that fits your team, but has sufficient wiggle room for new hires to properly invoicing clients to make sure they are paying on time.

We also dive into the different types of freedom created because you've built a business and how his family influenced him to do the same. 

I hope you all enjoy this interview as much as I did. Thank you for listening & enjoy!

Looking for more information about Cult of Startup? Follow us on social media at CultOfStartup on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.


Aug 2, 2016

Our guest today is Cameron Manwaring and in this interview we discuss how hustling & being present for opportunities completely changed his life.

We start by talking about his early days in entrepreneurship. Where he started his own window washing business to avoid working at a taco joint & how he broke the all time record for a class assignment to have $1,500 in revenue before the end of the semester.

We then get into the meat of our conversation, where Cameron started working with Devin Super Tramp, a YouTube celebrity who at that point in time had around 30,000 followers. Devin invited Cameron to be his manager & together produced over 70 videos and today Devin’s following has grown to over 4 million.

From this Cameron started a company that consulted on creating viral videos on YouTube called Shareability. To date they have worked with brands like Turkish Airlines, Poo-Pourri & Cricket Wireless and not to mention celebrities like Kobe Bryant & Ronaldo.

Additionally, Cameron was selected as a Forbes 30 under 30 in 2015.

If you are looking to find the right reasons to go into YouTube for your business, this is the interview for you!

Jul 25, 2016

In today’s podcast, we have with us, special guest Austin Craig. Austin got his start in YouTube by acting in a video for the brand Orabrush, which makes a special tongue cleaner that rids your mouth of bad breath. From this one YouTube video Austin has had opportunities to work with numerous brands and has helped them sell millions worth in product. We conclude the interview talking about his production company & how it has been recently hired by Brigham Young University to produce a series all about creatives.

We cover the following topics:

  • What was it like when YouTube first released the ability to pay for advertisements?
  • How can a company adapt to stay relevant with evolving social media platforms?
  • Why you should consider the specific strengths and weaknesses of a platform before producing content on it?
  • Why content is KING, but distribution is QUEEN?
  • How to choose wisely team members and co-founders?
  • And my personal favorite takeaway which was a formula to use when you want to win people’s attention and get them to act. Which is entertain, educate, organize and mobilize.

Watch Austin’s first big video with Orabrush here: or watch when him and his wife decided to live the first 3 months of their married life entirely on bitcoin:

Feel free to reach out to Austin on Facebook or at his website

For updates on show times and future guests connect with me on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat all at the handle of CultOfStartup.

This episode is brought to you by Audible, which is a service I have used for years because I am not the fastest reader. In the time it usually takes an average person to complete a book, I take about twice as long. This is why I prefer to listen and digest great reads through audio.

And I have a book recommendation for you! One of the most eye opening audiobooks I’ve listened to is “The 22 immutable laws of marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Which left a huge impression on how I perceive marketing and what startups can do to avoid falling into the trap of a “me too product” along with a variety rules any business should be aware of.

All you have to do to get your free audiobook… and free 30 day trial is go to and you can choose from their selection of over 180,000 titles that range from books to magazines, you name it. Go to Audible and snag yourself a book! YOU LIVE!

Jul 18, 2016

Today’s guest is Chris Kelsey, a high school dropout who left school with only six months left to go during his senior year. Now almost 2 years later his company is set to gross over 4.8 million in revenue for 2016.

His business has built 100 plus mobile applications amounting to over 50 million total downloads. They have grown from a small team to now nearly 50 employees located around the world. Can you believe he's still a teenager?

We go over some topics that a lot of young entrepreneurs come to terms with such as:

  • What is the value of a college education?
  • How to deal with parents when dropping out of school?
  • Knowing who you will be and sticking to your gut feeling about the future.
  • How do I network when I’m young?
  • How to come over personal constraints we set on ourselves?
  • And what resources are available to all entrepreneurs who are willing to do a simple google search?

We also talk a lot about of how the world and our inner ego will set limits on what we can achieve and ways to dismiss those thoughts and roll forward with where we wish to be.

I hope you all enjoy this journey I went on with Chris, it’s one hell of a ride.

We all love links and here the ones to find Chris on the inter-webs! Email or Instagram @itsapptime 


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