Gerard Adams

Elite Daily Co-Founder, investor and mentor

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 22, 2016

Discussion

Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
Hey! I'm Gerard Adams. I've been a serial entrepreneur for 13 years. I'm also an angel investor, a millennial thought leader, and a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs. I'm the co-founder of Elite Daily, known as The Voice of Generation Y, and my passion is connecting forward-thinking young creators with resources to make their dreams a reality. My mission is simple: to inspire other Millennials to leverage their passions for success. I'm currently building a unique mentorship program for early stage entrepreneurs, and launching an epic YouTube series focused on the truth of what it means to be or become a successful entrepreneur. I look forward to connecting with everyone on Product Hunt!
Justin Amoafo@justingq · Creative Director, Photographer
Many businessmen and investors choose to give back to the world after they have hit their peak, and can no longer be as active in the community. Some call it "burning out". You, along with the many other thought leaders of our generation have flipped the script and bombarded the world with inspiration, motivation, tips & tricks. How do you balance giving back to the world and working on your own journey towards more success and bigger projects? Do you believe there's an ideal percentage of time that should be invested in giving back / focusing on yourself, or do you have faith that the more you give, the more you'll receive?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@justingq I just have faith my friend. I give as much as I can to the world and believe when you put the desires of others in front of yourself then opportunity just manifests in your life. We don't know how much time we have on earth so focus on making an impact on peoples lives not "success" and watch how fulfilling it will be and how much kore successful you will become. I have a lot to give to this world. God willing.
Justin Amoafo@justingq · Creative Director, Photographer
@gerardadams Great way to look at it. Thank you for that outlook!
Matt Alexander@mattalexand · Person on the Internet.
What's next for you, my friend? You're involved in some amazing projects, companies, and concepts around the U.S., so I know your time's limited. Nonetheless, I have to imagine you've got some big plans in the pipeline? (Which you may not want to share, but I'm still asking.)
Justin Amoafo@justingq · Creative Director, Photographer
@mattalexand haha at "I'm still asking"!
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@mattalexand MATT! For full disclosure everyone, I invested in Matt and his team at NEED. One of the best curators of content and fashion of our generation. He understands what it takes to build a great product and do it well. You know me always pushing forward and collaborating. I continue to love to co-create and collaborate with entrepreneurs so Im doing just that. Near term projects I am focused on right now is launching my youtube series, Leaders Create Leaders on March 1st. It will be showcasing my entrepreneurial journey, leaders/innovators/founders/philantropists/gamechangers from around the world. Plus it will have me narratijg lessons within each episode. I am also having the grand opening of my Startup Lab in Newark, NJ. It will be a non-for-profit live/work creative space for the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders. Lots more just email me GA@GerardAdams.com for anyone interested in getting involved!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey! What are your favourite questions to ask founders?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@bentossell Ben, What is their story. Every one of us has a story and since I invest in people not ideas I want to know a persons journey that brought them to this point. Why are they passionate about their business? What happens if their initial business model is flawed, when do they make the decision to pivot? Is it growth capital they are looking for or startup capital... and why? I like to know about their team. What values do they stand for personally and what are the companys values. What is the outcome they are looking for as a founder? These are some off top.
Justin Amoafo@justingq · Creative Director, Photographer
@gerardadams @bentossell Those are really awesome things to wonder about founders, because these aspects reveal those who are true to themselves and their craft, versus those who just want to make money. Sure, making money is awesome but it's beautiful when a company or idea has a bigger purpose.
Nik Sharma@mrsharma · Director of Performance Marketing, hint
Hey Gerard! When you were first starting Elite Daily, what were the top 3 qualities you looked for in the early entrepreneurs you brought on board?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@mrsharma I get this question a lot. Truth is, I have a big heart so it took me awhile to realize not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. I constantly try to inspire people to create their own destiny through the principles of entrepreneurship BUT that doesn't mean everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. AND that is okay. Sometimes starting off working for a great startup and gaining experience is better move. I look to see if you can let go of ego and take constructive criticism. A lot of early stage entrepreneurs I realized don't realize this shit is hard, very hard and takes a lot of patience. Nothing overnight. You have to be resilient, determined, team oriented, a great communicator, FISH "first in, still here". Just some thoughts!
Nik Sharma@mrsharma · Director of Performance Marketing, hint
@gerardadams I agree. There are people that are a better "second in command" versus being the entrepreneur themselves, and vise-versa the entrepreneur may not be the best person for the other role. Thanks for the response, and the time! Hope to work with you one day!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What would you tell your 20 year old self?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@bentossell Don't focus on the money G, all those rari's, penthouses, clubs, trips etc mean shit if you aren't building sustainable viable value-driven businesses. -- This makes sense if you knew more about where I was at when I was 20.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@gerardadams happy for you to elaborate :)
Dillon Morgan@dillonmorgan22 · UNUM - Design Perfection for Instagram
Wow soo stoked that you're doing this!! You're such a boss! You have built, invested, advised, and influenced so many successful companies, but ignoring the varying levels of success, which 1)company 2)team do you personally value the most and why?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@dillonmorgan22 Dillon! Thanks homie for following the journey. Crazy even though it's been 13 years as an entrepreneur and a rollercoaster ride, my ambition and passion is stronger then ever. Good question...1) I admire so many of the teams I have worked with but Elite Daily was the most special to me 2) We were up against these media giants like buzzfeed that have raised $100s of millions yet we had this grit about us that nothing would stop us and that culture was infectious within the company. Everyone became family. I am so proud of each and every one of them... because of them we were successful.
Zameer Ansari@xameeramir · @nordible previous @nerdspal @nistencorp
Can you please share the most difficult thing you faced when starting as an entrepreneur. How did you overcome it? Also, thanks for coming live @gerardadams
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@xameeramir My pleasure Zameer! This is awesome, I can't wait to get my youtube series out and start connecting more! I def wanna do a tour later this year and have meetups in each city. As entrepreneurs we can change the world, we have the power. We have to unite and come together. The most difficult thing I faced was when I lost it all. I became an self-made millionaire by 24 and then a couple wrong moves and poof gone... I was rock bottom. I never told anyone... I never let it change who I was. But holding all of that pressure inside knowing I had the shirt off my back and had to build it all back again was very stressful. I work well under pressure though and knew NOTHING would stop me. That ambition and determination brought me to where I am today. Mindset is everything.
Brandon Rubinshtein@brandonshtein · Founder & CEO of @Verrehere
How impactful was timing to building Elite Daily? Do you believe it could be replicated today or did it succeed because of time and place?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@brandonshtein Timing plays a huge role. I've been very early on investments and sometimes late to the party. Elite Daily I believe was time perfectly and this did play a role in our success but was just one variable. There were a hundred other variables that then led us to our success. Most of all, hard work, consistency, versatility, and team culture. Anything is possible but I believe it would be MUCH more difficult today looking at the media landscape especially with Facebooks new instant article. Media is changing before our eyes... hence, there is huge opportunity if you can keep up and adapt with the changes.
Snah Desai@s_haverford · Operations Analyst, ServiceTitan
When will be the launch of your mentorship program?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@s_haverfordI want my mentorship program to be different than anything that is out there today. I am still studying the landscape of available mentorship programs and the educational system as a whole. Btw, I'll have an article out tomorrow about how I feel about college on Medium.com. Stay tuned... In the meantime, I have a mentorship program launching this summer out of my non-for-profit building in Newark "FOWNDERS". Also, I have a competition for the next millennial apprentice being announced end of this month. To stay updated sign up to www.GerardAdams.com and my snapchat HELLOGERARD
Rebecca@_rsamuelson · Senior BI Engineer
How do you feel about rampant sexism in the content from Elite Daily?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@_rsamuelson All I know is more then half our staff is female :) I apologize if anything ever offended you.
Rebecca@_rsamuelson · Senior BI Engineer
@gerardadams How's their pay compared to the other half?
Carlos Robles@carlos · Founder, Intravelist
Most products or ideas begin with an individual. How did the core team of Elite Daily come together and what role did you play in the development of the company. What steps would you recommend someone take when looking for new people to bring on to a team?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@carlos Congrats on being a Founder homie! Would love to learn more about Intravelist. The core team came together based off friendships believe it or not. My two cofounders were friends from Pace University and I was mentoring them. We were all passionate about the idea that we wanted to build a publication that was for our generation by our generation that covered mass verticals and saw an opportunity in the marketplace so without hesitation attacked. In the beginning, we all wore many hats and were scrappy to just get shit done. I was the big brother of the group since I was the oldest. David was 19 at the time. Therefore, I was President and as we grew I played a more high level strategy role as well as board of director role which played a big part making decisions on the future of the company while scaling. --- On team , make sure they are a fit into the companys culture. Make sure you know what their goals are and what value they believe they can bring to the table that align with your goals. Are they able to work in a team environment and are they going to be dedicated. Can they work well under pressure.
Carlos Robles@carlos · Founder, Intravelist
@gerardadams Thanks for the insight man! Again, thank you for putting your knowledge, experience and thoughts out there for those who are looking - It does not go unnoticed. I have been following you for about a week and I have already learned ton! I would love to tell you more about intravelist, I will shoot you an email in the next few days.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Gerard thanks for being here today! What are three things new founders should focus on above all else?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@ems_hodge FOCUS. Don't procrastinate. If you're making mistakes then you're moving forward and that is what matters. #1 thing to focus on is how are you bringing VALUE to your target demographic. #2 Whatever it is that you're doing focus in doing it extremely well. Build a GREAT product. Great companies are built on great products. Don't try to do too much from the get go... #3 Get small things consistently done. CONSISTENCY is key.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What do you most enjoy about mentoring?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@ems_hodge Emily, for me I just know how important it is to have a mentor in your life. My mentors growing up were my mother and father who I owe it all too. Later in my career I was able to find other major mentors that played a big role throughout my life. One in particular always told me he was no expert at any one thing but he was an expert of experts. That quote stuck in my head for 8 years. This is why I continue to surround myself with people who are smarter and more successful then me. As early stage entreprneurs, having a mentor is priceless. I was blessed to mentor my cofounder and CEO David early on before we started Elite Daily. To see how that effected his mindset when we started building the company was epic. I just simply have a passion for working with all entrepreneurs and if I could help someone get to where they want to be faster and smarter based off my 13 years experience then hopefully they will do the same for the next individual.... hence, why I always say leaders create leaders. This is my legacy.
Vinay Mimani@wiredmau5 · Founder : trbble
Hi! Any advice for a startup in the music discovery space? And, thanks for "The Life of Kanye" timeline. Hilarious.
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@wiredmau5 Whats up Vinay! Don't get me started on Kanye! What you think about his album? Tell me more about the startup? I tend to stay away from the music industry unfortunately. I do think TRBBLE is cool as shit tho! What have you done to market the product? Have you done any influencer marketing or involved any artists in the company?
Vinay Mimani@wiredmau5 · Founder : trbble
@gerardadams I think his album makes for a good gift :) Thanks for your kind words Gerard! Getting featured on @producthunt was the biggest shot in the arm for us. We are still in the "no money and will beg" phase, and reaching out to many influencers and artists. Would love to get any pointers from your end. Let me fire up a brief email to you about trbble. And thanks for your reply :)
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@wiredmau5 @producthunt What you think of Ryan Leslie's Superphone. That is a tech company in music I am paying attention too.
Vinay Mimani@wiredmau5 · Founder : trbble
@gerardadams Sorry for the delay in response. I was involved in one such product myself(ZipDial) where a single number as a CTA was used to personalise and interact , both for 1:1 and 1:many. I think it's a really cool idea to usurp the recording distribution! Let me not hijack this thread anymore, I will take this conversation over email :) Thanks!
Abdou Baldet@abdou_baldet
Hi Gerard, Thanks for your AMA. Let me introduce you briefly our company Air Spectral: Air Spectral designs miniature hyperspectrale cameras to see invisible things to the naked eyes on pictures. We built Air Spectral to help people to realize their own aerial surveys easily, quickly, at affordable prices. We replace recognition flights lead by satellites and airplanes with a single turnkey camera which can be handled or mounted on drones. Since July, to measure customer interest, we launched several interviews with potential customers and they love this idea. http://www.airspectral.com/ My questions: Which step I need to reach to have a chance to raise money to realize the MVP ? Are you open to support French Tech Startup? If you like this concept, can you upvote for me :) ? https://www.producthunt.com/tech... Thanks a lot. Abdou
Jj Burns@jj_burns
Do you still trade stocks? What are your thoughts on current market conditions? Enjoy your investment knowledge!
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@jj_burns I believe we are in the midst of another economic downturn. I also feel within 18 months we will start to see more down rounds and could be the burst of another tech bubble. I don't trade nearly as much but looking into a lithium battery technology pub co, researching twitters future, also still like junior precious metal miners with string balance sheets. Also, still angel investing a ton.
Mike Haedrich@mike_haedrich · Founder, PRracer
Thanks for participating and having this chat. When you see a technology you like, how important is the team and the entrepreneur? What do you look for in the team before you are ready to make an investment? You mentioned passion, but what else gets you excited?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@mike_haedrich Hi Mike! Would love to learn more about what you are building at PRacer. Technology always gets me excited but the team and entrepreneur is the most important to me. Other then the mindset and characteristics/values I mentioned in another response above, I want to see the business model and how viable it is to actually go to market successfully. I like to see an MVP and proof of concept. What is their differentiating factor. What competitive analysis was done to verify their thought process. I also like to see their use of proceeds. I want to see they are smart with the budgeting and they have the run rate to actually get to the next level. Focus is really important too. Can they explain what they are doing and their goals in a concise message.
Mike Haedrich@mike_haedrich · Founder, PRracer
@gerardadams Would love to share what we are building ;)
Shane Caulfield@shanecaulfield6
What's up Gerard? Any advice to someone who wants to start a business but doesnt hace a clue where to start? Should i go to College at the age of 25? Lot of money though.. I'm 50/50!!
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@shanecaulfield6 I dropped out of college my first semester when every one of my friends was taking the college route. I truly believe college is a waste of money unless you want to become a Dr., scientist, lawyer or a specific skilled profession you don't need to get yourself into huge amounts of debt for a piece a paper that doesn't have the same power in the real world as it once had. With the internet you can find tons of resources to self-educate yourself. There are many programs that cost a fraction of the cost of college to get self-educated. I have an article to discuss this further coming out tomorrow on my Medium.com publication 'LeadersCreateLeaders'
Shane Caulfield@shanecaulfield6
@gerardadams Thanks man! Appreciate the reply.. I was only going to college to gain some education on how to start a business, legal terms, etc.. I just don't know where to start on my own! At the moment i'm saving my money to start a business. One more quaetion - How do you find your passion? Is that what did, did you have a passion for Media when you helped build in Elite Daily? I look forward to your article on Medium.com!
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
@IAMGerardAdams hey! Was great meeting you the other week :) Wondering what was the initial strategy to growing the Elite Daily audience? Facebook played a strong part, so maybe more specifically, how did you figure out the 🔑Facebook virality?
Gerard Adams@gerardadams · Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
@nivo0o0 @iamgerardadams You're awesome! Thank you for making the time and look forward to building a friendship. It was a lot of experimenting to be honest. It took time. 80-100 articles everyday and then studying data analytics. We started to see what got our audience to tick or engage. Also, what types of titles worked, words that worked for us, tags... also getting our contributors and ambassador program to grow efficiently was key to our growth. Also, the type of content we wrote was raw and authentic which was key to our virality. We were't afraid to allow our writers to speak their minds and push the readers limits. This of course caused a ton of controversy at times but if you are causing conversation then you are doing your job as a publication especially in a world where millennials are the add generation.