Industry Insider: Brett O’Brien – Viddy iOS app co-founder interviewed

July 24, 2012
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Brett O'Brien - Viddy co-founder
“The best advice I can give is to fail quickly and often! It is the fastest way to learn and to figure out what does not work!” – Brett O’Brien.

The latest Insider in our series is the highly successful Brett O’Brien, Chairman and Co-founder of “Viddy”, a mobile video application for the iPhone and iPad market.

What is Viddy?

Viddy is a free mobile application that is compatible with any iPhone, iPad, iPhone Touch running iOS4.1 or above, which allows users to quickly turn 15-second raw mobile videos into cinematic shorts by using the app’s features [beautifying visual effects, graphics, color correction and audio]. Although a FREE download for users, the company has managed to make quite a tidy packet, in its first year alone. The company has also garnered $1.6 million in funding from Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures.

How does this relate to music?

The application has grabbed the attention of some of the hottest music stars on the planet [Justin Bieber, Panic at the Disco, Britney Spears, and Snoop Dogg are fans], who are using Viddy to share their lives with their followers and fans. ‘Panic At The Disco’ even used the application to crowd-source its next video!

A clip from Snoop Dogg’s viddy

With over 500,000 downloads [and counting] this Application looks to take over the social media world, and in turn have a strong impact on the music industry, as users inevitably post clips of themselves performing snippets of their material, and promoting their music online. Ngawara Madison for Industry Insiders caught up with Brett O’Brien to talk to the successful entrepreneur about his career, his involvement with the Los Angeles chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, and to get his advice for would-be entrepreneurs looking to make their own millions…

“I was fortunate to have been mentored by my coaches growing up, playing sports where you learn life lessons around the value of hard work, teamwork, discipline, commitment and develop a competitive spirit. In business, mentoring is invaluable and modeling success is a winning formula” – Brett O’Brien.

Viddy co-founder Brett O’Brien spoke with Ngawara Madison for Music Vice – Interview below:

You founded Viddy with business partner JJ Aguhob. What was your role specifically, in terms of creative concept, and business design?

Brett: JJ focused on designing and creating the product and my role is to bring it to life. My job is to raise capital so we have the financing to grow, to recruit talented team members and to manage the marketing and public relations activities so the world knows about Viddy.

What is the business process for a successful application launch, from the ‘eureka’ moment of creative conception to gaining over 30 million downloads? Is this the “new dot com” business boom?

Brett: From the point of inspiration, the challenge becomes creating a marketable product, quickly, and then getting lots of people to know about it and use it. From design to development to marketing, a lot of things must come together to achieve success with a new application.

Viddy has been described as a video answer to Instagram or Twitter. How would you describe it?

Brett: (We believe that) Viddy is the easiest and fastest way to capture, beautify and share video clips with friends, family and the world. (Viddy) is all about creative expression and we enable our ‘Viddyographers’ as we can them, to share memorable moments of their life with others, in real time.

Will you be making your own Viddy posts?

Brett: Yes, I am a power user, second only to my 9 year old son and 71 year old mother!

You founded the Los Angeles Chapter of Young Entrepreneurs Organization. What is the best advice you were given when you were starting out in your career? What advice would you impart on a young you?

Brett: Someone once shared with me to aim as high as possible — that it was better to aim high and come up a little short than to set average goals and achieve them. The best advice I can give is to fail quickly and often! It is the fastest way to learn and to figure out what does not work! In business, move quickly and iterate quickly — create something good as fast as possible, launch it and get feedback and improve rather than taking a long time striving to create something perfect.

Do you have any proteges at the moment who have really caught your eye from the organization?

Brett: There are so many talented and passionate and committed team members at Viddy that it is impossible to single out any one person.

Who did you look up to when you were starting out in your own career? Did you have any mentors, and what do you think of mentoring?

Brett: I was fortunate to have been mentored by my coaches growing up, playing sports where you learn life lessons around the value of hard work, teamwork, discipline, commitment and develop a competitive spirit. In business, mentoring is invaluable and modeling success is a winning formula. I have been fortunate to have been involved in Young Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) and Young Presidents Organization (YPO), where I have learned many lessons about life and business from a group of like minded peers.

Previous to Viddy, you co-founded two highly successful Internet based companies, XDrive, and Pluggedin.com; you also head up your own successful PR firm. Did you always intend to work in PR? What was your ‘big dream’ when you were fresh out of college?

Brett: I was interested in Entrepreneurship from an early age and always knew I wanted to start my own business. After college, my goal was to find an idea to start a company, and to be able to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible and have success in growing that business to be in a position to start other businesses.

How do you keep from blowing out of steam?

Brett: The best advice is to partner with and hire talented team members that complement your strengths. I am able to focus on what I do best, because there are so many superstars at (Viddy) that are great at what they do.

What is the key to effective time management?

Brett: The key to effective time management is to be ruthless in prioritizing and only focusing on the things that matter the most to the success of the business.

Ngawara Madison is your contact for Industry Insider. Please send any questions via Twitter @ngawaram or email ngawara.madison@musicvice.com. We love to hear from you!

© Ngawara Madison, Music Vice

Internet link:
Viddy

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