(Caption: Left to Right: Dianne Dominguez, Chief Creative Officer; Cindy Engstrom, CEO)
Imagine a website where women can engage with their friends, take part in an internet style talk show and checkout samples of their soon-to-be favorite products. Is that odd? Tell me what you think? Founders, Cindy Engstrom and Dianne Dominguez asked those very questions.
Engstrom envisioned the online equivalent of story sharing and feedback gathering from friends. Her fourth startup, Is That Odd, Inc. dared to explore the complexities of “Tell me what you think,” and link it to access of high-quality brands and brazen content. Learn why every entrepreneur can and should force clarity, out-work the competition, push to execute.
Company: Is That Odd, Inc.
Founders, Age: Cindy Engstrom, 40 and Dianne Dominguez, 35
Location: Kirkland, Washington
Startup Year: 2009
Startup Costs: $250,000
How We Got Started: Is That Odd (ITO) is my fourth start up company. Nothing can match the energy or excitement of creating a new technology therefore I got hooked on startups. I constantly seek out new areas where consumers could be better serviced by innovation. Once I had the insight and idea for Is That Odd, my first step was to convince Dianne (Dominguez) to lead the design as our Chief Creative Officer. Only a designer and UX guru of Dianne’s caliber would say “yes” to my idea of making a site in circles.
Best Success Story: We unveiled the concept on January 20th so the best moment is each time we see new people joining the Is That Odd community and helping each other “get a clue” while they earn Odd CoinsTM. From a growth perspective our best partner moments are seeing how easily the beauty brands understand our customer acquisition tool. We enable girlfriends on IsThatOdd.com to use their virtual currency to acquire product samples. Our advertising platform is SircleAdvertising.com.
Biggest Startup Challenge: Talent and execution. Finding world class talent, brave enough to blaze a new product path is challenging. Given that we have launched many startup companies, we know instantly whether a person has start up mettle so it helps us weed out a poor fit. We’ve been quite lucky with our team but we do know what to look for. The second challenge is execution. You must push yourself to execute. For two years we have been building this company and that is a long time to wait for a “woo hoo” moment of seeing a delighted consumer but it is worth the wait.
#1 Tips for Newbies: Write down your plan in a word doc and PowerPoint presentation. That exercise forces clarity and make the entire team sign off. Evolve these documents each time you gain insight. Also, tell yourself you can sleep when you’re dead. Get up early every day and work a little bit longer each night. Out-working the competition always gives you an edge. There is no “work smarter, not longer” in a startup because there is always a lot of work to do. Lastly, have fun! Isn’t that what it is all about? I get up every day so excited to do my work and work with my team.
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