Some of the best people I have met are through random introductions. Brian Wong was introduced through a mutual acquaintance of mine and after five minutes of meeting, I was completely fascinated by his endless amount of energy, enthusiasm and all of that on two hours of sleep. Even more fascinating is the company he has started with his co-founders and what they are up to right now.Followformation is a media darling at the moment as they are the start-up company from Vancouver that is making big waves in the social media world. If you don’t believe me, at the end of the interview there is a list of the press coverage they have garnered so far!
1. Tell us what you do.
Right now, I’m the co-founder of Aer Marketing Inc., an online start-up. We are the dudes behind Followformation. I am responsible for the ideation, the design concepts behind all our work, and business development (i.e. full-time networking) + anything else that needs to be done.
2. You just finished university, how did you find the time to run Aer Marketing and also startFollow Formation while dealing with exams plus an internship with 1-800-got-junk?
I tell people I practice polyphasic sleeping, but the real truth is just that I sleep very little. I would my manage my time by following what Tim Ferris would call a low-information diet, while separating certain parts of my day for certain things. Followformation was started during the summer, so it was a little less stressful then. But near the end of my last term at university I was working my internship during the mornings and early afternoons Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, going to classes in the remaining time during the day, and allocating “aertime” every evening between play-time and dinner to work on our projects.
3. What was the most challenging aspect of being a young entrepreneur from your perspective?
Young and old, I think the hardest challenge is to “keep trucking” – there are always things that get in your way, and every day, it’s a battle. All I know is that this work has empowered me as a youth to go out and learn new things and meet and work with amazing people – things I would not have been able to experience had I thrown myself at a yawn-worthy line of work.
4. You have had a ton of press lately from the Georgia Straight to the highly sought afterMashable.com, what was the biggest reason for your success with getting press for your company?
Mashable was a complete fluke, but I took it upon myself to leverage that buzz. I have been up very early every morning since then hitting journalists on their blackberry’s and iPhones right before they hit the office. I’m actually pretty bad at it though. The other big reason is, and I hear this a lot – if your idea or concept at its core is not sticky or buzz-worthy, pushing it can only go so far. I think all the blog posts and tweets are a good litmus test for that.
5. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself regarding your business?
Don’t assume that everyone’s on the same page even when they’ve nodded their heads.
North America Press Coverage Mashable: http://mashable.com/2009/07/14/followformation/
Fast Company: http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/chris-dannen/techwatch/super-charge-your-twittering-followformation
The Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/x-11216-Twitter-Examiner~y2009m7d16-Alltop-model-for-Twitter-from-Followformation
Killer Startups: http://www.killerstartups.com/Web-App-Tools/followformation-com-make-following-make-sense
Blogger Institute: http://www.bloggerinstitute.com/2009/07/how-followformation-helps-your-blog/
Local – Techvibes: http://www.techvibes.com/blog/followformation-makes-sense-out-of-following-on-twitter
Local – The Georgia Straight: http://www.straight.com/article-241644/followformationcom
Local – Sauder School of Business Newsletter:https://secure.sauder.ubc.ca/360newsletter/20090716.htm
International Press Coverage Brazilian business magazine: http://www.papodeempreendedor.com.br/tecnologia/para-tirar-melhor-proveito-do-twitter/
French social media blog: http://www.tubbydev.com/2009/07/qui-et-comment-suivre-sur-twitter-.html
Singapore top Tweeter blog (@techxav): http://techxav.com/2009/07/16/followformation-lets-you-follow-the-top-people-in-the-areas-of-your-interest/
And all the rest of our blog hits: http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?q=followformation