28: David Chen | CEO of Strikingly

Strikingly is a website builder that allows anyone to build a mobile optimized website in less than 5 minutes. Strikingly has empowered hundreds and thousands of people to start new ventures.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/haishachen
Website: https://www.strikingly.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Strikingly
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/strikingly
Personal Twitter: https://twitter.com/HaishaChen
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strikingly

May 31, 2016 41 mins Download (MP3)


00:30 - Introduction
05:50 - Lightbulb Moment When He Knew Banking Wasn’t His Future
11:10 - That Transition From Banking To Startup
18:30 - How David Received Feedback From Customers
20:00 - Have a Question That You Want To Ask, Use a Landing Page To Find Out!
23:25 - David’s Biggest Failure As a Leader
29:00 - How David Stays Mentally Fit (BTW The Answer Will Surprise You)
34:35 - How David Became Curious
38:50 - Chipotle and Everything on It

David Chen is one of the most dynamic, genuine, Chipotle eating, “Friends” watching entrepreneurs, I’ve met to date. But David never thought about working for, let alone owning one of the biggest startups in the tech community. David’s story begins during his internship with Goldman Sachs. Coming from a very “asian minded” family, David’s family wanted him to go into banking, which in the beginning was his dream as well. In fact, everyone he knew and went to school with were in the banking industry. It was a prestigious honor to work for one of the biggest organizations in the world, but David realized that he wasn’t as passionate about his job and therefore didn’t give 100%.

While interning at Goldman Sachs, he and his fellow students created a non profit called Money Think. The non profit helps teach finical literacy to urban youth. They teach young individuals who do not have a general understanding of budgeting and ways to save, are taught by mentors with a financial and banking background. The non profit took off quickly and it’s continuing to grow today. They validated their non profit early on and realized that they were truly helping those who participated. They saw an increase of those high school students that were recipients of Money Think’s education, not only graduated from high school, they also went onto college. David considers this his first crash course in business.

One of David’s tipping points in not giving 100% at his internship were his hours. David woke up at 5:30am, began work at 6am and then got home from work at 12am.When David came home, he had one hour to himself. David decided that he would spend that time unlike most; watching re runs of MTV and “Friends!”

Knowing that David’s time was limited at his internship, David decided to make the most of his experience. So, David decided to speak to some of the financial officers within the organization and began asking them questions about why they worked for Goldman Sachs. One of his HR representatives took notice to this and when up to him. That person said that he was the most problematic intern ever and began questioning his thinking. The main person who was one of David’s mentors (or at least supposed to be) ignored him because of his actions. But that didn’t stop David, it kept him going and continued to try to get her attention.

People told him to stop trying but it motivated him to keep going. To David it was a challenge. David wasn’t the ruthless, money hungry person that typically walked through the doors of Goldman Sachs. Instead, he wanted to make an impact.

After leaving Goldman Sachs, David went to Singapore for a conference. The Singapore governor stood up and discussed how the government were going to spend over 40 million to help develop entrepreneurship and startups in the country. David given his economic background knew that this wasn’t the right thing to do. The money that they were spending didn’t make sense to David because with the money that they were giving away would only go to the people at the top and not to the people who needed it the most.

David knew that 40 million wouldn’t be enough money to fix this issue, so David and his team built a crowdfunding platform to help startups seek the capital they desired. This was before Indiegogo and Kickstarter took off to what they both are today. One of the main mistakes they made when making this startup was that they never talked to the users. They lost about 8-9 months of their initial traction, because they simply didn’t know how to questions their users. So one day, they overcame their fears and began questioning why people were on the platform and why they weren’t doing, what David and his team wanted them to do. they finally started talking to users. they asked questions and finally got the answers they were looking for.

The overwhelming answer was that the people that were on the platform didn’t need funding at all. Even though, that was the purpose of the platform. David said “The thinking was completelyly backwards!” Instead, what people found the most value in was the profile page. The users used the profile page to seek funding and used the website to show off their body of work and accomplishments.

So, they began building landing pages for their customers to sell their business in one page or less. On one of the landing pages they created, they had an email signature that said: “If you want something similar, please reach out, click this link and sign up. In a week and a half, they had over one thousand signups by doing absolutely no work…That was a strong indication that they needed to solve a problem. So David decided to do something about it…

And that’s how Strikingly began.