It is Always Day 1
I’m excited to announce Adgile Media Group’s $5MM series Seed round, led by Brand Foundry Ventures with participation from Derris, Consumer Ventures, KBP Brands, Finn Capital Partners, Nik Sharma, Hannah Bronfman, Michael Preysman, Chris Hull, and many more!
Adgile has been my life’s work thus far and I’m insanely grateful to everyone who has helped Max Flannery and I turn our dream into a reality. There are so many people that deserve our recognition and thanks.
I had a long travel day yesterday, which was a great opportunity to pause and reflect on what this experience has taught me so far. I wrote some of those lessons down, and figured I’d share them with folks in hopes that someone finds them helpful.
1. DEVELOP MANTRAS – they provide a North Star when things seem overwhelming, and the path forward feels unclear. One that has always guided me as we built Adgile – “we sell trust first, media second.” We say no to business (a lot more often than people probably realize) when we don’t think we’re the right fit given the company’s strategy, maturity, or budget. That was really tough to do when we were early, because showing growth felt so important. But as I reflect on why this fundraise was a success, I think it was because we were able to show a staggering 90% client retention rate – something that would have only been achievable because of our unwavering commitment to trust.
2. HEALTH IS WEALTH – I had some extremely sudden, incredibly alarming vision and neurological issues begin about 4 years ago. I left McMaster-Carr multiple times on disability, and eventually got so frustrated with my inability to get back to a level of productivity / output that I once brought to that organization, that I just quietly left the company. When we started to find product-market fit with Adgile, it was supposed to be everything that I had ever dreamed of. Instead, as the company succeeded, I grew more and more scared, anxious, and depressed, as I began to realize that everything I had worked so hard to accomplish professionally might have been for nothing simply because my health was in a state where I couldn’t enjoy anything. I’m doing much better now, and I feel somewhat fortunate to have learned such a difficult, but important lesson like that so I could start forming good habits early in life. It changed my perspective on everything.
3. RWYA – Remember where you are. This saying means so many things to me. Remember that your success is not your own, it is a function of everyone that has ever invested in you and helped you get to where you are today. Remember to acknowledge that and remember to tell those people how thankful you are. Remember to pay that forward and help others. Remember to stay humble and grateful. Remember that being kind costs literally nothing. And when things get crazy, try to remember that this is the fun part.
4. CONFIDENCE IS KEY – I’ve learned that good things generally happen to those who really put themselves out there, and that confidence is valuable in pretty much every of arena of life. However, I fundamentally believe confidence is something that is a learned behavior, not something you’re born with. It is muscle that you strengthen by doing your research and showing up prepared. Telling someone they should be confident doesn’t feel like a productive exercise. Telling someone how they can be more confident does.
5. ENTREPRENEURSHIP ISN’T RISKY – or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Max & I de-risked the hell out of Adgile before taking any personal or professional risk on, and I encourage every aspiring entrepreneur I meet to do the same. Taking financing from people we had personal relationships with could’ve been a scary, stressful, and messy exercise. But we didn’t ask for a dime from friends, family, or investors until we had enough work to know that we had an above average shot at driving a greater return than the S&P 500.
6. IT TAKES A VILLAGE – while an expression used in the context of child-rearing, building a company is a similarly all-consuming exercise that often requires help from those around you. Society just learned an incredibly tragic and painful lesson during the COVID pandemic about the strength of infectiousness, virality, and exponential growth. But those same forces can be reframed and exist in a positive context, whereby activating and engaging your network or “rallying your base” can exponentially amplify your efforts.
7. KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW – and then surround yourself with people who do know. Max & I were 24 years old when we started working on Adgile. For those keeping score, that nets out to a whopping 6 years in work experience between the two of us. We had drive, ambition, and boundless energy, but we didn’t actually know nearly as much as we probably pretended we did at that time. Recognizing that, we had the good fortune of successfully convincing some very accomplished, experienced folks to join us at Adgile — Mitch Gordon & Marc S. Strachan. It raised a couple of eyebrows, but I think it was self-aware and mature in this particular context. It meaningfully shortened to learning curve for Max & I as executives, and my conviction that it was the correct decision has never been stronger.
8. PEOPLE AS A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE – there’s a saying that 10% of the people you hire will be “A” players, 60% will be “B” players, and 30% will be “C” players. Your “A” players will be more than 10x more productive than your “B” players. When you find an “A” player (you’ll know when you do), acknowledge it and find a way to structure a deal that acknowledges it.
9. BET ON YOURSELF – always.
10. IT IS ALWAYS DAY 1 – Jeff Bezos has referenced the “Day 1” mindset in his annual letter to shareholders for as long as he has been writing them. When asked about what comes after Day 1, he responded the following: “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”
We are early. It is Day 1 at Adgile. And it is always Day 1 at Adgile.
About Adgile Media Group
Founded in 2018, Adgile Media Group is the nation’s leading tech-enabled, data-driven out-of-home media company. The company’s fleet of trucks provides brands with a very effective and efficient platform to drive their marketing communications efforts forward. Adgile brings the components that made digital advertising so popular to the world of out-of-home. Adgile wraps last-mile delivery trucks on behalf of brands to help them reach their ideal customers and measure the return on investment using geo-location technology.
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