Sean Holladay – Co-Founder of The Spacestation and Angel Investor
The business and brand star you all need to know about is joining us on #TheKaraGoldinShow! Growing up in a business-minded family, Sean Holladay knew he would have his own business someday. From running a janitorial company in the early days to launching an app called Crowd Mics alongside his older brother, then finally co-founding The Spacestation. Nonstop! Today, he and his business partner empower hundreds of creators to help brands tell their stories. Learn more about his entrepreneurial explorations before and after co-founding The Spacestation, how you can tap into social media to grow your influence, and some great career advice on the latest episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow
Enjoying this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow? Let Kara know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout-out on social!
Follow Kara on IG: https://www.instagram.com/karagoldin/?hl=en
Follow Kara on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karagoldin
Follow Kara on Twitter: https://twitter.com/karagoldin?s=20
Follow Kara on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KaraGoldin/
Have a question for Kara about one of our episodes? Reach out to Kara directly at [email protected]
Mentioned in the Episode:
Sean Holladay’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seanholladay/?hl=en
Sean Holladay’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seanholladay/
Spacestation’s Website: https://spacestation.com/
Kara Goldin 00:00
Hi everyone, it’s Kara golden from the Kara golden show and I’m so excited to have Sean’s holiday here very, very excited Sean’s for actually. Yeah, I super excited Sean had actually reached out to me through LinkedIn and, of course, is a fan of him. So I mean, I was so excited to hear from him. But then the more that we started going back and forth, and I started looking a little bit more into the space station. I was really excited to have him on.
Sean Holladay 00:30
I think I had just messaged you and said, thanks for just creating a great product that I appreciate. And then it turned into like, wait, maybe you should come on the show. And now we’re here.
Kara Goldin 00:41
Yeah, no, exactly. I loved it. And I loved some of the videos that I saw of you and some of the other interviews that super cool. So Sean, as I mentioned is he has to Sean’s in the company, which we’ll talk about so Shawn Holladay, here talking to the co-founder of the Space Station. He’s based in Utah. And for those listeners that don’t know Sean, he’s just this awesome entrepreneur who’s truly killing it. And he’s also an angel investor. He’s a dad of four boys. So I
Sean Holladay 01:12
got a girl coming in May.
Kara Goldin 01:14
Oh, you’re kidding. Congratulations. I was the last to five Did you know so? Yeah. So I was I can tell you all about being the fifth kid so and or tell your daughter and me
Sean Holladay 01:25
was for a while. So I know the kind of right there at the range.
Kara Goldin 01:28
That’s awesome. Very, very cool. So he’s the business and the brand star y’all need to know about and Space Station integrations and Space Station gaming have everything from talent management, influencer marketing, gaming and business development, and just super, super cool. So we’re going to hear it on Shawn Right. Yeah. So living in Utah, but where did it all begin? So yeah, I
Sean Holladay 01:53
mean, I’ll go back a little bit. I’m actually from Arizona, as well as you are, you know, so I was born and raised in cholo
Kara Goldin 02:01
so North I know where a shallow shell is a lakeside little town. Yeah, it’s, it’s awesome.
Sean Holladay 02:08
So I was born and raised there and my mom early, so she just barely sold it. But a year and a half ago, she owned a dairy queen. And so we grew up obviously with my mom owning a dairy queen and then my dad started to air medical companies sell as helicopters pick you up on the road take you to the hospital. So growing up, I you know, learned a new all about just running your own businesses and hiring and firing and scale and, you know, in the, in the air, medical businesses, heavy capital, so it’s raising money, and it’s, you know, having partners and so I grew up, constantly learning about and just being in the environment of having to put the work in, and the buck stops there, right, if my mom didn’t wake up, and she didn’t make sure that the payroll is paid, and that the building’s lights and open the doors, you know, we didn’t make money. So it was kind of really like the genesis of and where I had this like, interest in creating my own piece of the world, like creating my own environment.
Kara Goldin 03:08
Sean Holladay 03:09
So that was Yeah, back in, you know, solo, and then fast forward several years, obviously, later. Yes. Started in is 2009. I’ve come off my mission. So I served in Honduras, with later the story will make sense with Honduras, my business partner, Sean McBride, so we had met there, but between 2009 and 2016, I had done I mean, this is horrible time and in the economy, right. So I do debt collection, first I do telemarketing, then I step up to debt collecting. Then from debt collecting, I run a janitorial company. And that was the first taste of the kind of real logistics and real growth potential was running this janitorial company. We had like 50 locations on Arizona, like Arizona Biltmore, the Fairmont princess-like, locations that you I’m sure, you know. Yeah. And so so we’re just handling the cleaning of kind of the common areas there. And so I really learned how to, you know, we had 120 employees. And so I really just learned how to, like, make sure that locations were taken care of, and follow up with the managers of those locations, make sure they were happy. And so I was like, wait, this wasn’t my company. I just worked for another guy. And I was just like, wait, this is there’s something here and I could see how I could scale it and do better and more. And we were doing that together. From there, I started my own company. So this is now like 2013, I realized that I had just more me and my brother had kind of thought of this idea called crowd mics. So it would turn your phone into a microphone and a live event. And so I was in nursing school, my brother was working in commercial real estate, Tim and he, we both said let’s just throw everything we’ve got and try to make this work. And so we threw literally all of our money. I’m a poor student. Like this is my My wife’s money, by the way, sort of throw all my money she had saved up, Tim saves, throws his money in, and we get this app developed it, literally imagine being in a room of two or 300 people, you talk into your phone, and it comes over the sound system. And we’re the first novel of its kind like we’re groundbreaking. So fast forward, we ended up raising money out of Silicon Valley, like 1.6 million on a seed round. And so that gets going around Arizona
Kara Goldin 05:28
at this point in a
Sean Holladay 05:29
in a garage with like a little air conditioning unit in Arizona, Mesa, Arizona. And that was really the breakthrough. When I realized that one, there was so much more opportunity in the world than I thought. And two, that it didn’t take like this, I thought it was always just this wizard person that had learned all these things. Like I had founded a company with my brother, both of us totally normal dudes, with no previous experience, in the specific turning a phone into a microphone with should never exist. And all of a sudden, were the thought leaders and we have influenced and we’re winning awards, and we’re raising money. And it just clicked that like, wait, I’m kind of do whatever, honestly, like I can create things. And people will react to those. And there are groups of people that love this. And we found that out by pitching hundreds of people and some of them would get really excited about them. Some of them didn’t care at all. And that was when it really opened up my eyes. And so we went on to sell that. To buy that crowd mics. We sold it to buy him and then it was like, okay, what’s next. And that’s really where now it’s December of 2016. That’s where get started with the space station. So that’s the backstory. Now we’re here at the space station near me to give like a high level of what do we
Kara Goldin 06:47
talk about the space station? How did you get that idea? And from going from mics that turn into mega amps and amplifiers? And I don’t know if that’s the right term or not? Yeah,
Sean Holladay 07:03
yeah. Yeah, one too many taking one microphone, and everybody could hear you. So I came up here for like, a week to meet with Sean, my co-founder. And we were just trying to see if this thing could work. And at the time, Sean was the biggest Snapchat account in the world. So he had figured out and he was, wasn’t like you never know famous friends or cousins didn’t live in LA. He lived in Utah. He just found that Snapchat was just this land grab. Right. It’s 2014 when he started. So by 2016, he had amassed this following by just making really kind of creative, fun snapshots in His Word doodles. So he would make these really fun, great doodles. He had been on like, American Idol in the audience where sea crest comes up, he does this like a cool custom thing. He was on the Forbes 30, under 30. He was all this stuff that he just created by just putting it in the world and saying, like, I’m the Snapchat guy. So by now, he had had YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and he had had a little team of four or five people here that were just kind of creating this really media, just YouTube videos. So I came up a couple of days, I see there’s a roadmap, this thing could get bigger, we could just do bigger brand deals and, you know, hyper-focus in and consulting Sean was just a really great marketer and pen. There’s something here. So when I came up, the first three months, we just went really heads down on the Honduras brand. And we ended up working and doing a consulting deal with Viacom and Taco Bell. And we worked with century 21, and Subaru and Xfinity and tillys. And we just, it was this roller coaster for three, four months. And then we realized that the inventory of scale was one guy. It all depended on Shawn if he got hit by a bus, we’re in trouble if he you know, he got sick for a couple of days, production went way down and, and revenue followed it. And so we realized, by about March, April, that it was time to figure out another way to scale because we both had a lot of ambition. We were it was great that the revenue is there, but we wanted to like really rocket ship. So intuitively, he looked around and said, if we could do with Sean’s brand in that way, could we do it with other influencers? And so the very first kind of outside of Shawn influencer was a kid named Tanner Fox. And he’s like an action sport athlete of lager. And at the time, he was 17 years old and didn’t have any management didn’t have anybody really on his team. So we met him. And I just said, Hey, I think it can bring you some opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t get. And we’d want to I’d want to take a cut of it, Shawn, and I write and I think we can help you and he’s like, Yeah, please, like, I thought I was gonna be way harder. And I was all ready to like, pitch him and he’s like,
Yeah, go for it.
Sean Holladay 09:48
So we pick up Tanner Fox at the time, we had about 2 million subscribers. He now has 10 on YouTube. Then the next talent was in May, we picked up a guy named Peter McKinnon. So he was a photographer, a really strong kind of storyteller. And at the time, he had 300,000 subscribers, he now has 5 million. So these are the first two guys that we just happened to start working with that were both on these just rocket ships. So June of 2015, we founded space station integrations, which was an influencer marketing agency. We found it space station gaming, which is a competitive eSports company, the Honduras brand kept growing, and kind of, we were keeping that going with videos and content. So now fast forward, that’s this is June of 2017. Fast forward space station integrations, has done deals with hot wheels, and sold-out show at the Staples Center in a backpack that we had created. We even did work with hint back in the day with Nick Sharma. And so, you know, we’ve, we’ve worked with this just fast, a big group of brands and incredible creators. And so that’s now you know, grown the internal teams about 15 people, you know, we’ve done 10s of millions of dollars of revenue through, you know, which is cool, because we get to pay these creators a ton of money. And these brands get these great case studies and growth in revenue. And so, so that company’s done really, really well like last year, we did 14 million this year, we’ll probably do 20 to 25 million in revenue. So, so that started going space station gaming, we wanted one of these two companies to work. They both worked. So space station gaming, fast forward, we won a world championship in Rainbow Six Siege, we’re number three, top three in the world and Rocket League. We’ve got a valiant team, we’ve got a smash slick, all of a sudden, we became this force in the gaming scene, where, yeah, we really had a different style, you know, very family-friendly, we wanted it to be focused on, you know, great, original content that our team was creating. And so yes, space station Gaming now has an incredible, you know, community, we’ve won some World Championships. It’s got this just really, really great momentum to it. And then size-wise, we’ve got about 6070, gamers and streamers, and then about 20 to 25 internal staff that are on that company. I’m almost done. And then I want a bunch of questions from you. I’m not trying to take over just talking the whole time.
Kara Goldin 12:20
Oh, I love it, it’s yours.
Sean Holladay 12:24
Then we kept doing the Honduras brand over those, you know that three and a half, four years, started a second channel called a for adley, which was just about having fun and educating kids. It was Sean’s daughter adley in the content, and it was really just shot and idly having fun and storytelling and teaching good principles of eating healthy and doing your chores. And you know, and having fun. And between those two channels, we do about 250 to 300 million views a month, insane.
Kara Goldin 12:55
So those just were generally
Sean Holladay 12:58
all YouTube, all on depth here all on YouTube. And so those really, really picked up which was phenomenal. And then in July of 2019, we invested in our first outset comm because this was all self-funded. We’ve never taken on any investors. We have no, you know, board the board is me and Sean. And so sweet self-funded all of this. And in June or July of 2019, a friend named Chris Bennett reached out and said, hey, I’ve got an opportunity for you guys to invest in a company. Right? We don’t need to invest. We have so much going on here. Like why would we invest like angel investing in companies that’s called Magic spoon? Right? It sounds cool. And he’s like it’s high protein cereal. keto-friendly, low sugar, no sugar. We’re like, that sounds great. I mean, we all love cereal. So we invested in the magic spoon. didn’t touch any other Angel stuff. Went back to work. July of 2020 comes back magic spoon has grown exponentially. And they’re offering to let us in this the follow-on round and we’re like 100% That’s insane. Like we had been working with them throughout the year doing their influencer. And so we were really stoked. So we invested in July of 2020 in magic spoon again. And then from about September. Till now we’ve invested in about 32 other companies so it’s about once a week. And so we’ve just been incredibly active on the angel investment a lot. Some of them are just a cool story that we believe in and just want the founders to have a chance. Some of them are really well-known companies like Ali pop or Koya. Or let’s see what some oats overnight slate milk via customer a yo by the canopy. I mean the list goes on. And so we found ourselves in this little food mogul spot where we’re investing in these incredible fast-growing foods. And so now Yeah, the team’s about like 7075 and then 60 streamers and gamers about like 100 30 140 on the payroll. And yeah, we’re not slowing down. I mean, things are looking up and doing really, really well, which is fun. And I’m on this podcast with you, which is great.
Kara Goldin 15:09
Where do you spend the most time between all of those companies,
Sean Holladay 15:12
I spend probably the majority of my time with Sean on the kind of trying to build our leaders here. So that’s how scale would ultimately happen is making sure that they’re all confident and can make decisions and that, you know, we’re infusing the culture and the sauce is what we call it, of the Space Station. And then outside of that, I talked to probably four to six founders a day, at all levels, doing 100 million in revenue down to launching their first product, you know, in the next quarter. And that’s where we source a lot of our investments, client work, just friends like you, I like to just learn from incredible people. So I spend quite a bit of my time there. And then yeah, just across the whole thing, a lot of time with Sean, Sean and I spend quite a bit of time together, just looking at the roadmap.
Kara Goldin 15:57
So social boom, I mean, obviously, the other Shawn, and Snapchat understands that platform, you know, very, very well. How do you think and you’ve introduced so many brands, as well to social media as a whole. How do you think that has changed over the? I mean, I don’t even know what data I mean. You said he’s been on Snapchat since 2014. And is that once? Yeah, just started.
Sean Holladay 16:28
It started early, a little bit earlier. But that’s where Yeah, he had really picked up and figured out that it was time to double down and make something out of this. I think it the not the biggest change. But I think one thing that we’ve realized and try to teach the industry is that there’s’s a massive, massive market. Everybody’s on social and some degree, whether it’s on Facebook, whether it’s Instagram, youtube, nowadays, stereo or clubhouse, or there’s one popping up, he used to be, you know, Meerkat and Periscope, if you remember. And, you know, there’s just been this evolution constantly of platforms and places to go. But there’s always humans and lots of humans there. What we found is, you can find now, these real niche, incredible communities. So instead of saying, I want to put paid ads to the world, and if they could just see my product, I know they’ll convert, you can say, I know for a fact that women 25 to 45 have an affinity for my product, I want to talk to them, then you can say, I really love them when they’re more keto focused. So now you can go and find a YouTuber who has keto? Yeah, you know, followers that are focused on women 25 minutes, like, you can get so specific. And you’d be surprised there is a community for every single thing. I’ll watch community, a headphone community, yes, shirt, community, microphone community. So you just go in and they might be small, maybe 10,000 people. And then you can find the, you know, right now, Logan, Paul, and Pokemon, this multi-million of people focused on Pokemon cards and trading and finding chars arts and that whole world, you can go really, really broad or you can go incredibly narrow. That’s probably the biggest focus, we try to help clients with an individual’s realized that like, stay niche, find your pocket of what you’re good at. And there are people there.
Kara Goldin 18:23
And also, I just think you touched on community. I mean, I think it’s, it’s a, it’s interesting, I launched my book in late October, and people in the book industry or other authors kept saying to me, just get on podcasts. And I said, Oh, what podcasts and they’d say, Oh, go get on Tim Ferriss podcast. And I was like, okay, like, give me his phone number, right. I mean, it was just, you know, I, I just didn’t know the sort of how to do that. Right. or certainly, you know, a few others that were mentioned. And so then people would say, Well, it wasn’t, it’s not Tim Ferriss podcast, but it’s somebody else’s podcast. And that is a friend of mine, or I can get you hooked up or whatever. So I would take those intros, and then I would get on these podcasts. Anyway, the net of it is between September 15. And at the end of the year, I was on 245.
Oh, my God. And
Kara Goldin 19:17
I see you and I met in the midst of that whole thing. And I was just like, I mean, it was a crazy town, right. Anyway, I got on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, Amazon bestseller, all of this stuff. And people are now asking me how I did it. And I think it has everything to do with exactly what you are just talking about. And, you know, podcasts are not social media, but it’s these small communities. And for me, it was a way to where initially my publisher when I was launching my book, they said, Okay, look, entrepreneurs are definitely going to love your book. But it’s really fascinating the feedback that I’ve been getting back From CEOs who are hearing me talk about in the book, for example, that I found the beverage industry. And it wasn’t that I wanted to become a bad beverage executive, I actually was going through my own sort of health issues and getting off of Diet Coke. And so it was something that I was passionate about. I mean, people always talk about, you know, when you have kids, like, you start to think about things, it’s just, again, it I think, when you fall into these things that you’re super interested in, and all of a sudden, you’ve got these ideas for business, a lot of people don’t, like, take that next step.
Sean Holladay 20:38
But there’s purpose there, right? reigning, your purpose was I want to get off Diet Coke. So I’m going to find the solution. I don’t have all this, you know, knowledge, you’re just industry expert, you worked at AOL before you didn’t work at Coca Cola. So it’s like, it was finding that solution. I think that’s one of what the communities look like, they’re really focused on wanting to learn how to play Settlers of Catan. Or they’re really focused on trying to learn where Tom Brady goes from here and talking about sports. Right? It’s like, that’s that same energy. And that same
Kara Goldin 21:09
Sean Holladay 21:10
you bring to, you know, your workplace, wherever you’re working at. Or if you’re founding a company, you bring that kind of focus, and specific energy to solving that problem or being a part of that community as a whole.
Kara Goldin 21:23
Well, that’s what is interesting about it is that so the person who was interviewing me for these podcasts, let’s say, for example, that it had nothing to do with entrepreneurs. And let’s say I was on a podcast for type two diabetics. And now, type two, our product is great for people with type two diabetes, but the view that product is theirs, right? Or, you know, they’ve you hint, because I’m in there talking about my book, why I founded the company, etc. But again, when I say to them, have you ever heard of this podcast that is based on like, the sky? David Novak, who does a podcast on CEOs of companies, and I mean, they’re very, very different audiences. Yet, when you’re speaking to that audience then they think it’s, there’s some kind of ownership there in it. And I guess it’s the same with this. It’s exact same thing was social. And so anyway, the net of it is, is that I’ve got, you know, the publisher now, who is wants me to, like, disclose strategy around how I made all this happen. I’m like, I don’t know. I’m still kind of chilling, right? I mean, do you hear what I’m saying? Like, 100%? Why did it work? Yep. And I think it really goes to what you just talked about, about the influence of these small audiences. And when you’re a brand or your book, or whatever you show up in those environments, then they jump on, people don’t
Sean Holladay 22:59
count the one community but they don’t count the focus and energy in the what the old one to one of like your best, you know, your best customers as a referral and comes from so we just want the virality immediately, we just wake up and just I want my video to be at a million views. And it’s good to get shared so many times truly not necessarily like finding and converting against people that are passionate, the type two diabetes that says this is our thing, and will tell everyone we meet why we love it so much more than just the person that casually passes by, maybe even buys it once and or gets it handed to them at a sample and it’s like somebody who’s willing to invest in see it and love it and tell like my mom who talks about it constantly and tells everybody how much she loves it. She’s a true advocate of the brand and she has influence. Right her influence just isn’t the influence Honduras has to hundreds of millions of people. But her influence is to those around that make it very much to heart and so yeah, I think this new social focus is around, you know, niche communities that really can help you even figure out the voice of your product more than you think in your head or you know, that you imagine or want it to be they can actually kind of just help you dictate what it actually is like, this is how we see what your product is. Yeah,
Kara Goldin 24:20
it’s so it’s super, super interesting. So I love that now you’re gonna keep me up tonight like thinking about this stuff because it’s and the
Sean Holladay 24:29
podcast stuff that you did was incredible because I think that just proves that if you can do it at scale, there’s no one too small or big. They weren’t just I was on Gary V’s and Tim Ferriss and no and Joe Rogan. It’s like, I was on random, this person’s and that to do 200 plus podcasts. There had to be something I was still
Kara Goldin 24:48
doing well, and it’s well. This that I think is so fascinating is that we sent everybody a code and said you know when you post The podcasts say, hey, go pick up Kara’s book. And so we’re sending them to Amazon to go or wherever to go buy the book. And but it’s interesting how these smaller, very focused communities where people actually know why they’re showing up for the type two diabetes community or whatever, versus these broader ones, the bigger name podcast that I was on, I hate to tell you, they didn’t sell as many books. Yeah, and it because people are just showing up because they think, Oh, I gotta go on and listen to this person. Because that’s what lots of people are doing. So they may have bigger audiences. But do they transact?
Sean Holladay 25:42
Yeah. And, and we, with the real, like, Whoa, yeah, run is when you have a big audience that trend, that’s when it’s just game over. But I think there’s strength in you know, really kind of figuring out and focusing on what that community and what the return and kind of call to action power are, you know, of those people, and I’m a true believer to of building your own, you know, influence. Right, and, and building and focusing on your brand, that content that you produce 200 and something times on the podcast, can be resurfaced in the LinkedIn post and into the Instagram post and into all this incredible stuff, not just for promotion, or it’s just storytelling, of what you’re doing. And what’s important to you. I think that goes underrated, you know, I think people, yeah, don’t spend as much time as they should. And I
Kara Goldin 26:32
think we do a lot of it. But I totally agree with you. I think that it’s just not even, I mean, even this conversation that we’re having right now, I mean, I’m sure my team will will come back out. But there’ll be like, wait a minute backup back. You haven’t talked about this stuff. So it’s, you know, it’s so interesting. So somebody said to me the other day, just because I know, you know, YouTube, we have not at hand paid a whole lot of attention to our YouTube. So I mean, don’t even go there. Because it’s real and I, somebody said to me the other day, and I don’t know if this is true or not. But it’s the second largest search engine. Yeah,
Sean Holladay 27:09
Google is just like, I mean, when you think about it, obviously, Google’s number one, Google owns YouTube, in the search. If you were to look up something right now, hint water, it would show the top results, and then it will usually show that middle section of videos,
if you want to
Sean Holladay 27:25
visually see what they’re talking about. So then people click into there, or people just go to straight up to YouTube and type in how to do this or water that’s cowardly free. And you know, they’ll search as if they were searching Google to just see what content is there around it. Yeah, I mean, we’ve seen tons and tons of traffic pushed through there. Specifically, that’s why you got to have the strategy. On the other end to make sure you’re capturing that much like the SEO for your website, and blog posts and all that we do very much the similar thing in our description of our YouTube videos, where we’re trying to target and make sure that, you know, no matter how you search us, you’re gonna find, you know, the Honduras and Adley brands and space station gaming, and then our partner, you know, influencers we work with, you know, giving them that strategy to focus and say, This is a search engine, let’s make sure that we’re in that top, you know, three to five videos when people find us,
Kara Goldin 28:19
I think so many people forget about that. And I think it’s, it’s definitely something that, you know, I think, as I was saying, to to a person interviewing me earlier today, I said, You know, I think that the thing that I’ve realized about being an entrepreneur, and I think you, obviously, participate or agree with this as well, it’s like, the puzzle never ends, right? You just keep, you know, you just keep adding on to it. And it’s just, I think, what would frustrate the average person who maybe wants to get the puzzle and the picture and they want to solve it, and it’s just you just keep adding on? I mean, that’s the fun. And if you don’t have that mindset, then the stuff will make you
Sean Holladay 29:05
nutty. There’s a challenge every day because like your guys’ website, beautiful, your retail approach and the doors you’re in insane, and then you’re like, on our YouTube-like, don’t go look at it’s like, then now you know, 2020 one’s got to be a focus on making long form content that tells a brand’s story, and convert, you know, it’s like, there’s always something that we can all kind of learn and focus on the same in our personal lives. I can drink less soda, I can exercise more, spend more time with my family, you know, do better and more productive at work. It’s, I think life it’s just a constant kind of moving target that we just have to constantly adjust to and figure out
Kara Goldin 29:42
so true. So tick tick tock. Are you like do you see where do you see brands on Tick Tock these
Sean Holladay 29:48
days? It’s interesting. tik tok is incredibly viral. Right? It has just this crazy element of reach and exposure. We haven’t seen the conversion there, but The Call to Action isn’t strong and in a swipe up or a click, because it just doesn’t exist, you have to click out, go to there, you know, kind of handle, you know, page, click out of their bio to then get to the thing. So, so we don’t see a ton of like an immediate call to action. However, it’s really great brand recognition and just kind of brand, you know, top of funnel approach, brand awareness. And we’re seeing brands that have grown significantly on there, that’s driving traffic over to other channels, whether that’s Instagram, driving traffic to their YouTube or to their website, you know, based off of kind of the content that they’re creating. And then you’ll see some like, the, you know, cranberry, whatever it was the guys spray, it’s like, you’ll see some of these pops where all of a sudden that brings them back into the light they haven’t otherwise been in. Tick tock, though, is just you throw, literally, you know, YouTube, you’re throwing a very dialed in curated piece of content that your audience expects 10 to 20 minutes, just really focused good content, tick-tock, you could throw 20 tiktoks a day. And one of those will go viral and do well. And the other ones, nobody even likes scrutinizes you or cares. It’s just like it’s there. And they just kind of look over it and look for the one that’s like, really, really great. And so I think the approach is just more spray and pray. And then when it goes, it goes and get the traffic and capture it but you’re not. It’s not quite as I’m not discrediting anybody creating tic tocs, we have tons of creators that create tic tocs. Just more the approach is just going to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll scroll, which creates this environment of just more volume than curation. So as a brand, we’re seeing brand spin there. We’ve spent plenty of money there. with brands, we still have tons of time they’re creating content. Yeah, it’s fast-paced, it’s viral. I think you’ve got to keep up with it. And you got to stay. It’s not dancing. People think it’s dancing. It’s very little of what the platform is. It’s just kind of got that from the beginning, because of the demons and some others. But yeah, it’s not.
Kara Goldin 32:16
Yeah, it’s actually interesting for I just started going on Tick tock, and I’m certainly not dancing. I more did it just because I was curious about it satisfying my curiosity. And you know, it’s interesting talking about repurposing some content, some of my talks that I’ve done, well, we’re talking like 15 second clips, and we’re talking about being an entrepreneur, that’s my focus on there, and about just building a company and just little things along the way. And it’ll go and a few of them have gone viral. And actually, what I think is so interesting for me as a CEO, is that my core audience is not the Gen Z years, right? yet. That’s who’s there. And they’re finding me, and they’re saying they’re learning and they’re learning. Totally, yep. And, and I didn’t know, I knew that they were in a house where their parents were buying our product at Target or whole foods or whatever. But I didn’t know how to reach them. And I’m actually reaching them right now. And it’s super, I mean, as a leader, it’s just, I’m curious. I’m just I’m super interested in it. So
Sean Holladay 33:22
it’s because I think we always think we have to speak to the demo that we’re at, like, Okay, how do I be like relatable and super cool and tick-tock? No, you need to speak to the platform, which the platform short form very quick, you know, nuggets and pieces of you know, whether that’s somebody falling, it’s got to be right when they fall, not 20 seconds of a building up and just random, and then all of a sudden, they fall, it’s like, they just want the very short build-up to get the context, they want the fall, and then they’re gonna move on. So you need to build to the platform, but don’t change your tone of voice because you want to be the aspirational piece there. You want to be the female founder that they can look up to and try to be one day. And so I think there’s a difference. And this goes for all platforms, but I think you feed into the platform’s needs, you’re not gonna make, you know, an incredibly short video for YouTube. It’s a longer form play unless you’re doing a YouTube short, but traditionally, it’s like, it’s a long-form, play your audience on Facebook, it’s a completely different style. Your tik to can’t be one, it just can’t be long-form because they won’t allow it. But you need to feed into that like, wow, moment, explosion to get people you know, to stay around and keep scrolling through what you’re doing. So yeah, I don’t think it’s a change of content or style. I think it’s just molding to the platform specifically.
Kara Goldin 34:45
Yeah, I think it’s so interesting. So in building all of these brands, so you probably had doubters along the way that you know, phone and megaphone things. Never get Don’t work, you’re never gonna get funded. You’re, you know, now you’re going to get into the esports. I mean, I’m sure you had the doubters along the way. I mean, how do you? How do you deal with that? And how do you kind of continue having this trying attitude, I think
Sean Holladay 35:19
it takes, it takes, you know, a village. And for me, I was so fortunate the entire time to have incredible co-founders, I don’t take that for granted. The first one is my older brother, right in crowd mics, and the microphone, you know, and that he was just this always I looked up to my whole life, and he was just this, you know, the character that I wanted to be. And so when we got into business together, and we’re going down that road at that very much the trust, obviously, being my brother, and the desire for us both to make something work was very, very strong, but then finding Shawn, my current co-founder, and not having obviously, like, blood brother, but having this trust and this appreciation for each other, and this overall goal, to make each other’s lives just better and funnier, and more sustainable. And then now being fortunate to make the lives of other people sustainable, and fun. And, you know, having given those freedoms that we always wanted, you know, when we’re trying to work for someone else, you’re trying to build a great company with other people. So I think for me, you know, the doubters and the haters, and we failed a lot, we always talk about all these successes in this in that we had three or four or five different things that just completely flopped. And didn’t go, we tried a shoe company, a toothbrush company, we tried a media company with tick talkers in a house, like, we tried a bunch of things that didn’t pan out and just didn’t quite go. But the whole time, it was constantly being able to look at the guy, you know, for us, for me as a guy, Shawn, but look at the person next to you and say, That keeps going, man, we got this, we can do this. Like that’s just a bump. We just got to stay positive and work harder and figure it out. And so all the heat in all those kinds of just those naysayers always came the actual roadblocks, whether it was financial or time, or, I mean, me and Sean were today. Looking through, we actually had had somebody that we just hired that is like building the history of the space station, from Sean Snapchat to now it’s like, currently, like 180 pages, just cool. But we were kind of going through this today. And just remembering like, all night trips, you know, literally going landing in LA at 6pm. And getting on the 7am flight The next day, and getting back to work and just going to work and flying to Ireland and then from Ireland to, you know, Washington and Washington to a conference in LA then Whoa, just like gnarly stuff. And just remembering like, we did that together. And you had somebody that just was willing to do it with you. And so I think no matter what, whether that support group is a co-founder is a spouse, his parents, a friend, a community, I think it can come in the forms of so many different things. But having someone that has your back, when you have bad days, you can get you to know, jump on a call with and just get through it. Because the next day can be better. And you can solve the problem again.
Kara Goldin 38:22
Yeah, I mean, another thing I talk about too, is the more of those you go through. And the more challenges that you just, they’re just a challenge, right? That they seem really big when you’re living in it. And but so many people at the beginning of the pandemic were saying to me, you know, like, you seem very calm. And I was super calm because I’ve been through all kinds of heavy things, you know, over the years and been through the financial crisis. And you know, I’ve been through, I’ve seen too much,
Sean Holladay 38:56
right, I remember the first legal email I got from another lawyer, and I was like, oh, our company’s done this horrible, and then just got one yesterday. And it’s like, it’s not fun, and it’s not ideal. And we’re not trying to put ourselves in those situations. But when they come you just kind of get through it and figure it out. And it’ll work out.
Kara Goldin 39:14
Yeah, no, definitely. And I think that that’s the thing. Somebody was asking, actually, a reporter was asking me is that age, or is that experience? And I said I don’t know. Maybe it’s a little both. Right. as you go along. You know, it’s but I think more than anything, you start to appreciate things, and some of the stuff I talked about, even in the book when I read one story in particular got booted out of Starbucks. I mean, that was a bad day on the calendar like, you know, it was not good on the timeline. It was a super high point when we got in there and everything was trucking along and we were doing triple what we were supposed to be doing. And then we got bumped out of there. And I was like, wait, you can’t do that. We’re doing triple and guess what? They can do whatever they want. And this is what I say to entrepreneurs all the time. I said Didn’t you know, and that was 40% of my overall business almost take my company, and but it’s gone. And so today, I don’t put all of my eggs in someone else’s basket. Oh, yeah, trust me, you know, go live in there.
Sean Holladay 40:21
Yep, I’ve been there where, you know, we own whales, right? Yeah, this one here, two big whales. And there was a couple of times where it’s like pump the brakes. We have to find other clients, we have to figure out how to diversify. Because if one of those goes, this whole thing goes. And so it’s like, it’s being disciplined and looking and saying, like, oh, I gotta like, quickly figure out how to diversify and make sure that we’re not just gonna tank and put all of our eggs in this one basket. And then just
Kara Goldin 40:49
one influencer, right. I mean, it’s the same thing. It’s the same theories. And so I think that, and oftentimes those opinions come when you’ve, I don’t know, call it being burned or call it, you didn’t see it coming, or whatever it is,
Sean Holladay 41:03
I think even for like the nonsomebody who’s listening to this, now, they’re not necessarily an entrepreneur, or think that they have the confidence or whatever. I think it’s also just in your normal work life is not just getting the golden handcuffs and being the one place where it’s like, oh, I can’t leave. Now I know, the flow. And I know the person’s like, constantly, just pushing yourself and just learning more, even if you don’t end up changing and you’re validating where you’re at is exactly where you should be at, which is incredible. And I’m hoping everyone that’s listening to this from the space station is thinking, I don’t need to go anywhere else. But I wouldn’t mind them, talking to other people interviewing other places, so that they are solidified that like, this is the best situation, this is where I can give my 100% and get it back. This is my career, my future, my everything. I would love for them to go validate that in other places, and come back and figure that out. And I think if you’re listening to this, and you’re not going to start your company, have a microphone and try to set like, even just wherever you’re at, it’s looking insane. I need to learn more, I can do more, you know, and being willing to not just put all your eggs in that one basket, because guess what, I learned this recently, and we learned it through the pandemic, those aren’t bulletproof. Those places aren’t just always going to pay your check and always going to have your pills covered. Oh, like, you need to have a network, you need to have a place where you can diversify yourself and make a phone call when things get weird or tough. Because you’ve you’ve already planted the seeds. And too often we just look and say, oh, Big Brother’s gonna pay for me. Right? Whoever the owner of the company is, you know, Cara’s gonna just hit the water is always gonna pay my check. I’m it’s like, yes and no, if you put in and you can do incredible, but haven’t network. Yeah, that doesn’t mean change your job every six months. And just, it just means after this podcast, go and reach out to a friend in another place. And make sure that they know that you care, and you’re appreciative of them just as a friend. So when hard times hit, it’s not like, now I’m ringing the phones. It’s like, I’ve been ringing the phones forever. We’re good friends. We’re good. Hey, do you mind talking to your boss? You know, it’s like having a strong network.
Kara Goldin 43:12
I think that’s important. Do you know who Porter Gail is? She used to be the chief marketing officer at Virgin America. And the purple lights. She’s awesome. She wrote this book a few years ago, called your network is your net worth. And it’s so I mean, it’s, you know, that book has a long tail.
Yeah, here. Yeah. From a LinkedIn message. Yeah.
Kara Goldin 43:36
Well, I’m that’s what I always say to people to that. I think in many ways living in this virtual world that we’re kind of and most of us are in right now. It’s just that, you know, if you don’t know how to tap into the power of these social networks, whether it’s LinkedIn or other places and actually connects with people, I think it’s, it’s pretty, it’s pretty easy to do it. And there are people that are doing it, and you can gain access to so many C suite people and get to anybody.
Sean Holladay 44:06
Yeah, honest truth. You can, I sat down with Eric, the co-founder of LinkedIn, the first CTO, I’m like, I’m gonna make it to somebody with LinkedIn, just to say I get it that I’m on the platform. And I sat down with him in San Francisco, in a coffee shop, like 2014 2013. Right? And it’s like, Wait, what? I’ve talked to crazy executives, huge investors, by just being a real human and just not asking, Hey, I need to get this or that from you. My message to you is just like, I love what you’re doing. And it’s incredible. And then you validated and said, Oh, I think what you’re doing is incredible. And it works. You know, I get obviously tons of messages every day that are just direct sales. I want to pitch you this and I got that. It’s like be a human. You wouldn’t want that coming into your inbox, be a human. If it relates, everybody wins. It’ll go somewhere. I think good people will give them time to everybody, meaning good people. Go down the road because that’s how they got where they were at was by learning from every situation and people
Kara Goldin 45:05
want to learn, I think even C suite executives, you know, want to learn. And so if you actually are doing something that they’re interested in and put yourself out there to go and network, so this is absolutely awesome, Shawn, I love it. Where can people find you and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn
hit me there. Yeah.
Sean Holladay 45:26
Shawn holiday on LinkedIn is probably the best Instagram, it’s all the same Twitter everywhere. Kind of all-around space station comm was one of our exciting moments. I remember back in 2017 when we acquired that domain, we thought we were so cool. Getting space station comm we always said if the worst case, we’ll just sell it to NASA or Ilan, and we should be able to recoup this whole entire expense.
Kara Goldin 45:50
Yeah, I love it. That’s so great. So super. So everybody gives john five stars and comes back and sees us every Monday and Wednesday with all kinds of cool, most founders and CEOs, but also every once in a while just people with super relevant stuff that they’re talking about that will apply to you. So thanks, everyone. Have a great week.
People Also Liked
Rob LoCascio – Founder & CEO of LivePerson Inc.
Esther Wojcicki – Co-Founder of TractLearning, Inc. and Founder of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Program
Laney Crowell – Founder and CEO of Saie Beauty
Arlan Hamilton – Founder and Partner at Backstage Capital
Gloria Hwang – Founder and CEO of Thousand