Innovators. They come in many forms. They dream big but they aren’t just dreamers. They form raw ideas into cool products with disruptive business models. They shatter entire industries and leave established leviathans running scared with their tails between their legs. The Innovators interview series connects you with the most driven people on the planet. What makes them tick? What advice do they have for tech founders? What tools do they use to get the job done? Read on to find out.
Markerly‘s founding team includes Sarah Ware, Justin Kline and Rahf Noor. This bunch was born out of two of DC’s hottest startups. Sarah previously worked at LivingSocial where she led a team across the US and London launching new initiatives. Justin Kline formerly led advertising campaigns at Drudge Report before joining AddThis and is a newly minted engineer. Rahf is Markerly’s primary engineer and also previously worked at AddThis. Anything you can build, Rahf can build faster.
What do you enjoy most about your work and why?
Building a company is naturally exciting. What’s even more exciting is crunching Markerly’s data and A/B test results to hone in on sweet-spots. We are always happy and eager to hop on the phone with our users to get their feedback, and we love being able to build products that really solve specific pain points. That’s one of the best parts of founding a company — gathering data and feedback and executing quickly to see positive results from changes.
Where does your passion come from? What drives you, inspires you, excites you?
Our passions come from different area’s. Sarah is a transparent people-person. Her passion lies with making sure that Markerly is on-target with what our users need most. Justin is an anlytical problem solver. His energy comes from reviewing data and testing, and he never goes to bed with a problem unsolved. Rahf is inspired by engineering challenges. His code is completely unique and he’s always excited when features get deployed.
Someone reading this wants to start a tech company. What’s your best advice for them?
Expect to pivot. Markerly started as a consumer product and it was a difficult decision to let go of that first version, and re-package that product into publisher tools. You can’t be married to an idea, be married to making decisions based on data and growth opportunities.
What are a few tech startups that you’re really excited about right now and why?
Rahf: Hipmunk. It makes me want to buy plane tickets even if I have nowhere to go.
Sarah: Brit + Co. – I’m on her site everyday. She’s a modern day Martha Stewart with a tech flair. If you go to her site you’ll get hooked too.
Justin: Dollar Shave Club. Check out their video. That’s why.
What tech tools (websites, apps, gadgets, etc.) do you rely on both for work and in your down time?
Tivo and Slingbox are our downtime go-to. Git during the work day. Zaarly for cheap airport rides. Lockitron gets us into 500 Startups everyday. Highlight helps us meet cool people randomly.