Each Wednesday, the Soaring Startup Circle welcomes a different founder, CEO, or influential individual from the startup atmosphere, giving the teams the opportunity to learn from people who have a wealth of knowledge to share. On Wednesday, July 15th, Chase Garbarino, a graduate of Hamilton College, sat down with the SSC at Jebbit's office about his experiences and insights launching startups. Garbarino was a co-founder of Streetwise Media, the company responsible for BostInno among other regional tech hub related sites. American City Business Journals acquired Streetwise Media and Garbarino now spends his time building VentureApp—an app designed to help streamline the process of founding a company by pairing founders with essential services like legal, accounting, and insurance.
Chase Garbarino is a big fan of "taking what the defense gives you." He plays the game of entrepreneurship strategically—using data when possible to guide decisions.
Perhaps one of a startup's greatest sources of data is its audience. Speaking of traffic and conversions, Garbarino remarked, "Not all traffic is created equal." If you have a business model dependent on selling to local advertisers, 5,000 meaningful and regional visitors are more valuable than a host of random traffic drawn in from Google. Quality traffic is key and it's a lesson that all startups should learn. Quality traffic will mean different things to different startups depending on their business and revenue model.
Expanding on the lessons startup founders need to master, Garbarino spoke of what he believes to be the most difficult: determining what advice to ignore and what advice you should take into consideration. In today's world where nearly anyone will meet up for coffee to discuss a topic, feedback is plentiful and easy to come across. Figuring out what advice is helpful is not as easy. Garbarino approaches advice via the mindset that there are three metaphorical buckets of advice.
Bucket #1 contains negative feedback for the sake of being negative. Some people will always look down upon others trying to accomplish something. The negative advice isn't constructive criticism, but rather flat out critical.
Bucket #2 is critical advice and very helpful. It's most likely represents the smallest percentage of the advice you will receive.
Bucket #3 is unwavering support and affirmation that your product is great. You want to optimize for these staunch supporters, but at the same time recognize that there's always room for improvement (which is where you go back to Bucket #2).
In terms of finding people who can give you the advice you need, Garbarino recommended stepping outside your industry. Sometimes the best advisors know a lot about business, even though they aren't in your area of expertise, and can provide a refreshing perspective or new framework to approach challenges.
The Soaring Startup Circle would like to sincerely thank Chase Garbarino for spending time with the teams and answering their questions about starting a business.