Sent with ❤ from Join inCrowd
Every business has a story. This is ours.
As a child of the 80’s, none of my friends were thinking, “When I grow up, I want to launch a tech company”.
In fact, the tech we were using back then required us to use DOS Command (I’m going to guess that most people reading this today won’t have a clue what that means…#CommandPrompt).
In fact, I wanted to be an animator for Disney.
That was my goal. And it stayed my goal all the way through high school. But after several attempts to get into California Institute of the Arts, with one son and another on the way, it was time for me to move on.
By the late 90’s, we didn’t use the term “Entrepreneur”. Back then, there was “employed”, “unemployed”, “self-employed”, “small business owner” and “Corporate”. So, even though I was really “driven” at work. I was just a “motivated employee”.
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, we were the last of the generation thinking we might retire from a job someday. At this point in time, we were focused on having a “consistent resume”. A concept that by 2018, would be replaced almost entirely by a new term called “Gig-Economy”.
In the early 2000’s, I landed a job as a CAD Drafter for a lighting company in Santa Ana California. Three months later, I made supervisor. Three months after that, I made manager and wrote the owner's 5-year plan and exit strategy. By year five, I was head-hunted to a competing lighting company in Culver City, CA.
I now had a "career" (Meaning, for the first time I'd stayed within an industry)
I didn’t stay there long. And at a year (after opening the Wynn Encore in Las Vegas in December of 2008) I quit my job and started my own design consulting business.
This was my first venture into “self-employment”.
Self-employment was not easy. But ultimately, I was able to earn more money annually, on my own, than I had ever earned working for someone else.
By Winter of 2011, life was good as a self-employed business owner. That’s about the time I found myself sitting in a lodge in Big Bear Mountain, working from my laptop, drinking a whiskey and Coke, watching my kids and thirteen of their friends snowboarding down the slopes. Life was pretty good.
It was in that moment that I realized that I didn’t want to have to sit in front of a computer in order to earn a buck. I wanted to be snowboarding with my kids!
Over the next few years, I made it my mission to create a way to make passive income.
So, in 2012, I launched my first venture into tech. And by August of 2013, I was completely broke, with only $100 left in my account.
What I learned…
Launching a tech company is not the same as starting a small business. It was an expensive lesson. And one that I will never forget.
To keep a roof over my little family’s heads, I rode my bicycle 130 miles a week to earn $12 and hour.
A little know fact...
Since I was barely making enough to keep a roof over our heads, I also couldn't afford to buy real bike shorts or bicycle clothing. So, I doubled up on spandex men's underwear I bought at Ross and wore my underwear into work each day, changing in the bathroom when I'd get into the office.
Yes. I wore my underwear to ride a bicycle to work each day.
(Please don't try to picture this in your head...)
Ultimately, this was the wakeup call I needed.
In 2014, I rounded up a great team and launched my second tech company, Dezignwall. I had learned that tech companies were as much about the team, as the original concept.
So, between 2014 and 2017 we built a very impressive platform.
The concept was simple. A social platform for the design community.
I felt that “the future of design collaboration would be a social platform”.
At the time, the path to monetization for social platforms (Think Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.) was simple…
”Get a billion users. Then figure out a way to charge each user one dollar”.
So, by 2017, when we hadn’t hit a billion users, and we’d run out of investment money, Dezignwall came to an end.
In October of 2017, I went LIVE on Facebook for the first time.
I had posted an event the night before. Back then. when you posted an event on Facebook, they asked you to give it a title. I titled my event, “Fuck the Trends”.
Now, at the time, I only had about 1,500 people following me on my personal account. I had networked to grow my lighting consulting business and my Dezignwall platform. But my network wasn’t quite at the level of "influencer".
So, when I went LIVE, I had no idea that 2.2K people would tune in to watch my rant, LIVE.
The next day, I got calls from companies wanting to sponsor my “show”.
By week 6, I brought on my celebrity co-host, HGTV’s “The Queen of Bling”, Donna Moss. By week 9, I hosted the top design industry podcasters, and cleared 100K views of a single episode in under 7-days. By December of 2017, I was getting calls from celebrity’s PR reps, asking to book their celebrities on my weekly talk show.
Between January of 2017 and Fall of 2019, I attended, hosted, and spoke at over 91 tradeshows and events.
In 2018, my 1-hour a week talk show cleared 3.2 million views.
What I learned…
Your network is everything.
In September of 2019 a new digital business card was popping up all over social media.
So, while I was checking my mail in my midrise in Las Vegas, my neighbor John noticed that I had just received my “Blue Card”. He was super excited to see how it worked. He was considering getting four of them (one for each of his businesses).
But as we were testing it out, there were several features that were just not working.
This “Blue Card” was based on the “Tap” function. The problem with that is, not everyone has the same default settings on their phone.
So, the next day while attending a local networking group, when I went to “tap” my card with a group of about ten people, the card only worked with about 3 of them. In the meantime, some tried to fix their settings. The rest just gave up.
So I called up my developer from my Dezignwall platform and said, “I have about 87 pages of spec for you. Would you be willing to work with me on a new platform?”. She said yes.
My next call was to an old friend of mine from my early tech networking days, Paul Vasey. I explained what we were working on and why. So, he came in as our first and only investor.
By December of 2020, we began development on Join inCrowd.
Now, development took longer than we were originally hoping for. But here we are, February of 2021. And we are proudly in Beta on our new digital platform, Join inCrowd.
Join inCrowd is not a digital card reader.
Most digital business card platforms are card readers. And though the technology is getting better, each business card is designed differently. Which makes reading cards very difficult.
Join inCrowd does one thing and it does it really well. We make it easy for you to share your contact information with new friends to help you grow your network and stay connected.
Whether you or your new connection prefers to send or receive your card via Text (SMS), QR Code, Email or through social media, Join inCrowd makes is easy for you to share your contact info.
Then, we went above and beyond.
If you choose to upgrade for only $1 a month, Join inCrowd lets you display a video banner, download your contacts and view your cards activity.
No other digital business card platform provides these features.
It seems simple. Yet no other company offers these features.
Ultimately, my hope is that you are able to make more friends, grow your network and stay connected with Join inCrowd.
Why share my whole story?
I just wanted you to know that Join inCrowd was never my “dream”. And it wasn’t some solution to capitalize on Covid19.
Join inCrowd has been an evolution that started when I was a child and was born out of my own personal need to find a solution to my own networking problems.
Join inCrowd solves my information sharing needs. And my hope is that it answers yours as well.
When you Join inCrowd, you are not just creating a digital business card. You are joining a group of people that are also seeking to grow and realize their goals and dreams.
You are Joining [the] inCrowd.
You are the inCrowd.
My best wishes and warmest welcome!
CEO and Founder