Story In A Bottle Podcast

When creating a product, often times the best approach is to start small with core group of users and use cases and grow. Michael Pryor successfully bucked that trend when he co-founded Trello, basing his company on the idea of “bringing structure to any process,” regardless of the aim of the project or industry using it.  Since its launch at TechCrunch Disrupt 4 years ago, it has gained 10+ million registered users who are utilizing it for projects that span from wedding planning, to HR onboarding for small companies, to Sales CRM and beyond. Their reach is only growing thanks to the evangelization of the product by many core users.

Trello wasn’t Michael’s first attempt at digital products. Growing up in Lancaster, PA, he had early interest in computer science. Over a few cans of Mama’s Little Yella Pils (generously provided by Alphabet City Beer Co.), he remembered his ‘tech’ origins (which involved meticulously inputting Basic code from coding magazines, into his Texas Instruments computer), his time at Dartmouth building websites for professors, and his subsequent years working for Juno and a development consultancy that weathered the pop of tech bubble by creating their own products (most notably Stack Overflow).

Several decades, products, and teams later, he’s continuing to get to the root of user obstacles, creating the best tools to solve them. Needless to say, he’s on to something good.

Direct download: SIAB_MPryor_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25am EST

Kellee Khalil grew up surrounded by entrepreneurs. Her father moved to America with a one-way ticket and an eye on the American dream. His business-minded attitude, paired with the creative influence of her florist mother, set a lifelong example of finding an opportunity and making it work. As a true California girl, she attended USC where her major was entrepreneurial studies. This gave her not only the foundation to become an eventual business owner, but helped solidify the business acumen she had grown up with: “identifying problems and building solutions around it.”

As the Maid of Honor for her sister’s wedding, she found such a problem to solve as she was constantly turning to Google for answers to everyday, commonplace, wedding planning needs. The outdated and unhelpful businesses that comprised the $99 billion dollar wedding industry needed innovation and that’s just what she was going to bring to the table with her company, Loverly.

Over Tito’s vodka sodas, provided by Alphabet City Wine Co., we discussed her take on outside capital (“Sometimes it’s better to sell the dream and get as much money as you can, then you have enough time how to figure out how to execute.”) and how ripe the wedding industry is for an innovative overhaul.

Direct download: SIAB_KKhalil_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:50pm EST

Growing up, every kid wants to be an astronaut. For Inder Singh it wasn’t just a dream: he “did everything in [his] power to get there.” He threw himself into the field starting with attending Space Academy as a kid, learning to fly a plane at 16, and finally working at major rocket labs while studying engineering at the University of Michigan (which he was compelled to attend because their symbol flies on the moon). This full-speed ambition, along with a with drive to constantly be learning from the best and the brightest is a theme throughout Inder’s life and has produced a dizzying number of accolades: the founding of a successful nonprofit, 3 master’s degrees between MIT and Harvard, and public praise from Bill Clinton for his work in bringing more affordable malaria treatments to the third world, just to name a few (though his mom still wanted him to follow in his family’s footsteps and become a doctor).

His latest venture, Kinsa, looks to combine his extensive background to revolutionize how the spread of infectious diseases are tracked, starting with a simple device that every household has: a thermometer. In this episode, we sat with Inder to walk through his story and what he sees next on the global health tech horizon. While he may not be an astronaut or doctor, we think his mom is still pretty proud.

This episode’s Wodka tonics were provided by our friends at Alphabet City Wine Company.

Direct download: SIAB_ISingh_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46am EST

As a day trader at JP Morgan your life often resembles that of a startup founder: too much to do, constant pressure, and around the clock hours. What you may not see is a key difference in a lack of flexibility. Carolyn Lanzetta entered the finance world after graduating from Dartmouth. She was drawn to the banking field by the clearly defined roles and expectations. After the birth of her first child, though, she knew something, mainly her profession, had to change. Parents, especially mothers, were not abundant on the trading floor and the rigidity of the job allowed for zero flexibility. In the cut-throat world of big finance “you barely grab lunch from the delivery guy who brings it to the lobby, let alone an appointment at your kid’s school.” So she quit and left a world of clear cut rules and entered the completely foreign world of startups.

Plum Print is the brainchild of Carolyn and her cousin. Together, they pooled their knowledge and sought to address a need of many parents: preserving their child’s artworks and momentos in a meaningful way, while also reducing the clutter. They started small, and as the company grew, so did their web footprint. Over John Daly’s we sat to discuss the parallels between finance and the tech world, how, with zero tech knowledge she has found both her footing and place as a startup founder, and the challenges, mistakes and lessons that she has encountered along the way.

Direct download: SIAB_CLanzetta_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45pm EST