The Non-Linear Journey to Product-Market Fit

The Non-Linear Journey to Product-Market FitRyan Croft is the co-founder and COO of TransitScreen, a technology company in DC that helps millions of people save commute time by providing real time display of local transportation information at different locations.

In this episode, Ryan shared the story of how TransitScreen found its market sweet spot by continuously studying its customers, trying new approaches and failing repeatedly. The journey to product-market fit is not a straight line. And Ryan’s story demonstrated that so well.

“I was a serial networker. I would go to an event every night or every other night, to meet as many people as possible, to get our name out there, and to try to understand our market. It was a lot of trial and error, with people saying no over and over again.”


– Ryan Croft




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From One-Man Shop On eBay To DC’s Best Place For Work

From One-Man Shop On eBay To DC’s Best Place For Work Joel Holland is the founder and executive chairman of Storyblocks, a subscription-based online platform for high quality stock media.

Joel has won numerous awards for his work with StoryBlocks. His company has been listed on the Inc 5000 list six consecutive times and was named one of Washington. D.C.’s best places to work by Washingtonian magazine.

In this episode, Joel tells the story of how he started the business selling videos he made himself on eBay, gradually built up his customer base, and bootstrapped the company to what it is today—an online digital media subscription service that offers millions of royalty free videos, audios, and images.

“Until people are voting with their real dollars, you don’t know how customers are gonna behave.”


-Joel Holland




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How to find your business’s unique positioning through continued experimentation

How to find your business’s unique positioning through continued experimentationAlex Hastings and Mike Galyen are co-founders of Guerrilla Vending, a company that creates custom curated vending machines, in collaboration with local Washington DC businesses.

In this episode, Alex and Mike talked about how they started Guerrilla Vending with a refurnished vending machine they found online, and how they discovered their business’ market sweet spot by constantly experimenting with different products they could carry and learning from their own mistakes.

“We had too many ideas (about what to put in the vending machines). We had to see what worked and what didn’t. There was a lot of trial and error.”


-Alex Hastings

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How To Grow A Business Through Low-Cost, Grass-Root Marketing

How To Grow A Business Through Low-Cost, Grass-Root Marketing

Robert Kinsler is the founder of DC Fray, a company that’s on a mission to make living in DC more fun through organizing social sports leagues, special events, and scouting out the coolest things to do in the city.

In this episode, Robert talks about how he started DC Fray as an informal passion project, and grow the business through grass-root marketing with low or no cost.

“I woke up every morning thinking ‘how can I make sure 100 more people know about [DC Fray]’s skee-ball league today?’ Literally grassroot (marketing) to the nth degree.”


– Robert Kinsler

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Why Investing In The Local Community Will Get You More Customers

Why Investing In The Local Community Will Get You More Customers

Lisa Wise is the founder of Nest DC, a boutique property management company that has a strong social mission.

In this episode, Lisa talked about how she started Nest with little industry experience, acquired customers through engaging with the local community and relentlessly focusing on customer service, and why investing in social mission has a positive impact on the bottomline.

“We try to position ourselves as community experts that offer property management, rather than property managers that might know a few things about the city.”


– Lisa Wise

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Content Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

Content Marketing Tips for Local Businesses with Chris Marentis, Ep 48

Chris Marentis is the founder and CEO of Surefire Local, a software platform that helps local businesses generate new customer leads by getting discovered online.

Chris originally started the company to provide consulting services to local businesses who want to strengthen their online presence. Their services got so popular that Chris decided to build software to automate their methodologies. In this episode, Chris shared many useful tips on how local small businesses can use content marketing and other organic methods to build their online reputation and attract more customers.

       “Your blog posts need to be answering questions your typical customers have.”


        -Chris Marentis


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How To Build An App Business That’s Positioned to Scale

How To Build An App Business That’s Positioned to ScaleJunaid Shams is the co-founder and CEO of Rooam, a mobile payment platform that lets users pay their bar tab or restaurant bill directly from their phone. He has received numerous national recognitions, including Businessweek’s “Top 25 entrepreneurs under 25” and Under30CEO’s “Top 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs under 30.”                  

In this episode, Junaid talked about how he started his first business while in medical school, how he obtained funding to start Rooam, and his strategies for getting early customers when his app was still in beta.

 “We were very strategic about which potential customers we were going to approach at the beta stage.”                                               

-Junaid Shams

How To Create Network Effect For Your Product

Param Jaggi

Param Jaggi is the founder and CEO of Hatch Technologies, a company working to democratize the software development industry.

Param is an inventor and serial entrepreneur. At the age of 13, he invented the EcoTube, a patented device that reduces carbon emissions from cars. At the age of 18, he founded Ecoviate— a R&D organization focused on redefining consumer sustainability. Param has won numerous awards and was twice featured in the Forbes “30 under 30” list.

In this episode, Param talked about how he built his first mobile app while in high school and acquired users for the app largely through network effect, and how he started his second company, Hatch, in the process of doing traditional software development work for other companies.

“I’m a strong believer in building network effect into your product. You want to figure out how people can use your platform in a way that lets other people know about the platform as well. ”

– Param Jaggi


Hatch Technologies

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Halcyon Incubator


From Freelancer To Hip Design Company Owner


Aaron Scales, owner and director of BroCoLoco, an architectural design company in DC that turns buildings into brand ambassadors.

Aaron started his entrepreneurial journey as a freelancer working on ad hoc design jobs. Through a series of serendipitous events, his hobby projects gained community attention and before long, he was running a one-of-a-kind architectural design business. In this episode, Aaron talked about his experience in starting and running BroCoLoco, and the wins and challenges along the way.

“When you call yourself unemployed, you put the responsibility on others that may hire you. When you call yourself self-employed, you put the responsibility on yourself to sort things out. I prefer the latter.”

– Aaron Scales



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What To Do When Your Entrepreneurial Idea Didn’t Work Out First

Thomas Schneider

Thomas Schneider is the founder of Rooftop Roots, a non-profit organization that designs, builds, and maintains vegetable gardens and native landscapes in the DC area.

When Thomas first started the organization, his idea was to build vegetable gardens on rooftops of buildings in DC. But after experimenting for a while, the idea didn’t prove to be very practical economically. Thomas had to try something else while still pursuing his passion of sustainability and urban agriculture. In this episode, he talked about how he pivoted his organization and business model and what he learned along the way.

“It’s taken a long time to build the body of business knowledge. But I’m stubborn and I hate to give up on things…And I consider myself very lucky to be able to do what I do.”

– Thomas Schneider


Rooftop Roots

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