Monday, January 13, 2014

Entrepreneur Profile - John Maddox of Serious Startups

Name: John Maddox
Company: Serious Startups, LLC
Location: Nashville TN
Favorite Tweeter: @dasjoshua

1.Please provide a 2 sentence biography for yourself and/or mission statement.

John is a serial entrepreneur, who has built and exited multiple companies, has a strong background in technology, digital marketing, business logic and strategy. He has worked with startups to publicly traded multi-national companies, and now as a tech startup investor, enjoys making a difference in the lives of entrepreneurs trying to make impact with their ideas. He and the Serious Startups team now take on mobile and web application startup ideas for equity positions instead of requiring the founders to have raised seed stage capital.

2.Describe your business and why you started it.  What is it that differentiates your business model from others?

Serious Startups as a business model sprang from being constantly bombarded with great startup ideas as the owner of a traditional interactive agency. After realizing the cost of design, development, marketing etc to launch their startup, most founders become either discouraged and give up, or try to gain seed stage investment and get turned down. Often not being able to get early stage investment comes from not having a working prototype of the idea. This led to many of them asking the idea to be taken on for equity.

Over time it became apparent that it was a smarter business model to look at taking on and growing great startup ideas for equity and long term ROI vs short term profit of the traditional client/vendor relationship.

Serious Startups now reviews startup ideas on a regular basis, and if a good relationship is formed and the team likes the concept, it is designed, developed, and launched for equity instead of upfront capital.

3.What is one example of success you have experienced in your business and what characteristic helped you achieve it?

I once closed a deal for nearly a million dollars in less than 24 hours. What made it possible is my ability to connect with people on a human level and also look at everything in business as part of the other person who is involved life.

4.Which entrepreneur inspires you and why?  What industry do they work in and what accomplishment is unique to them?

Cade Havard. He has built great wealth in multiple industries while starting from nothing. Oil, healthcare, publishing, technology; just to name a few.  One of his inspirational statements and business philosophies is what I call a  “Cadeism”. My favorite is “I don’t want to do what you do better, I want to do what you’ve never even thought about doing”.

5.What is one development you foresee in your industry in the next 10 years?

There will be a massive shift in the technology industry as more professionals realize that it is more profitable to take direct stakes in tech startups as partners not vendors, and will shorten the amount of time to get proof of concept and market viability.

6.What trait is most important to succeeding in entrepreneurship?

If you are an entrepreneur, you business is your life. You never turn you mind off and it consumes you. Just make sure you understand that unless you are able to share that same vision you have with your team, chances of making it through the hard times is very low. If you treat them right and they share your passion and vision, it’s amazing how they will rise to the occasion in your time of need.

7.What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering starting a business?

Never let fear of failure stand in your way. So many people think they are “safe” in their traditional job. Reality is you are LESS safe than if you start you own company. If business goes down, you have no control of being laid off or keeping your job. As an entrepreneur, you can control your own destiny and its up to YOU if you succeed or fail.

8.What is your favorite book on entrepreneurship and one lesson you learned?

My favorite book Blink by Malcom Gladwell. While it is not directly on entrepreneurship but more on decision making, it truly opened my eyes to making quick but sound decisions as an entrepreneur which has helped me make significant pivots in business and achieve success.

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