I had the pleasure of interviewing : Andrew Ranger, CEO and Co-Founder of skymorials.com, which is the world’s open community obituaries and memorial pages website.
Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?
I was working in a creative agency for about half a decade straight out of college, it was an amazing life experience, but after a while I became a bit sick of working on campaigns that would be there one day, and then gone the next — nothing lasted more than 3 months.
Through the agency you met some very interesting people and it was through them that we formed this idea that there was nowhere on the internet that I could publish a life story of a family member. With photos, videos and features like that of a social network, but made for our family legacy.
Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story
We created Skymorials.com because we wanted to use the product for ourselves. We wanted to build someone that would outlast even our own life stories. And we are now close to becoming self sufficient enough, and hosting is becoming cheap enough, that Skymorials could live on indefinitely. Which is an amazing thing to think about and wake up to each day.
Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Finding the right words is always the hardest thing when writing a family members history, or paying tribute, so we are building a range of AI Writing Tools to help people create a succinct life story, just by answering a few simple questions that we provide to them on screen.
Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Walter Issacson’s Steve Jobs autobiography is my favourite biography of an entrepreneurs life, it is a fascinating insight into a psychological personality type of a true force of nature, who bounced back multiple times and in the process created an amazing legacy. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but neither is Elon or Mark, and they are both going to leave an real impact on our present and future.
Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. It takes patience to be an overnight success: when I was mid 20s I thought everything happened quickly, and if it didn’t happen quickly then it was a failure. Stories of apps going viral overnight filled the media, but in reality it was probably their 3rd or 4th idea over multiple years that eventually went viral — but that’s not as great a story to tell.
2. Listen to other peoples mistakes, but be free make your own: more experienced entrepreneurs have done it all before, so listen to them. But be free to go against them and make the mistake yourself, if you think it’s worth the journey or the risk.
3. Don’t burn bridges: even if you have had a falling out with a supplier or business partner don’t continue to worry about it or cause more issues. It won’t help by keeping them on the outside and it’s just business.
4. Stand up before running: you can’t scale a product to mass market until you have proven you can do it with your first customer or partner. Get 1 customer first, then 10x it every 6 months until you have a great growth curve and a serious business.
5. Set a time limit in the future: If you haven’t achieved x by y date then you will pivot, crank it up or move on. This forces you to do two things, 1 — push towards your goal, and 2 — tell you when to stop.
Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Peter Thiel is the most fascinating entrepreneur / thinker in my opinion. I would love to have breakfast with him and just pick/debate with him on a range of subjects from politics to science, to education and the future
Jean: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
- Published on June 27, 2018