Zach James is the co-founder of ZEFR, a leading SaaS platform for brand and content management on YouTube.
We connected fans with franchises. Movieclips.com was licensing official content, and we noticed that when fans would upload to YouTube the exact same film clips, they were getting ranked higher than Movieclips content (which we paid for and licensed). To be honest, it was kind of hurting our business. Instead of complaining about it or taking fan uploads down, we embraced it by building a model to harness the fan upload content too. And that’s how ZEFR was born.
Hitting the beach every Monday morning. Playing volleyball and surfing on a regular basis keeps the team recharged and connected.
The first day we were working with a client in an entirely new vertical, an issue arose in which sensitive content posted online. Our team stepped in and worked around the clock. We worked for literally 48 hours straight to monitor the coverage on YouTube on behalf of our client.
Be fans. We always wear that on our sleeve.
We’re fans that celebrate fans. We pride ourselves on our passion for movies, media, our company and our culture. Because we love this stuff, we want it to be valued, and we believe in the virtuous cycle of connecting fans and franchises for the good of all. No one can ignore that kind of true passion.
Have you ever driven to Burbank from Venice Beach at 4 p.m. (week after week after week)? ‘Nuff said.
We just walked into our engineering room one day and declared, “Everyone stop what you’re doing, and start working on YouTube. No one will work on the dot com again.” This rally call was before we had our YouTube deal signed, but we wanted it so badly when we were Movieclips.com. So, we went all in. And we ended up getting the deal.
When you’re building your board, you’re building a team. And when you look at the best teams, the coach has done a good job of bringing in excellent role players that gel together. So you have to find role players rather than generalists. Everyone on your board should have a role. When it’s really right, you’ll be getting things done and having a great time.
Celebrate your culture. For us, it’s all about Venice, so we’ve done some pretty fun stuff. We’ve hired fire-breathers, sword swallowers and one-man bands; we’ve held beard rallies, thrown raves and costume contests and held double dare competitions on the beach. It’s really nice to celebrate our amazing team in fun ways.
One night we had this crazy idea for our entire leadership team to jump off the Stratosphere in Vegas at midnight. Most of us did…a few live with the shame of bailing. We like to constantly bet each other and one-up. One exec raced a taxi through Vegas (in a suit). Another exec jumped off a 50-foot cliff in the middle of the French Riviera during Cannes Lions.
Our motto – Always be betting.
I’ve been lucky to have the best mentors in the business. My brother Josh taught me, “Work for five years like no one else will, to live the rest of your life like no one else can.”