Jeff Goldblatt, Startup Founder & Philosopher, StartupWhatever.com
Jeff Goldblatt is a serial entrepreneur with ~15 years experience with various B2C startups (and an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School). As creator of The Rejection Hotline® (and numerous other viral ventures that have engaged audiences of millions!), he has become a nationally-recognized authority on viral media and content creation .
"My (relatively unique) experience/expertise is creating and evaluating potentially-viral concepts and content that will resonate with large/diverse audiences, intuitively recognizing/analyzing MANY factors (the art, science, math, psychology, mechanics, etc.) impacting virality and differentiating an “idea” from an “IDEA+++" (an idea plus vision, viability, and viral potential)," he explains. "But there are 20 times more things that I suck at!"
2017 & Beyond...
~99% of Startups Will FAIL. (That's a problem.)
But why is that simply accepted as "that's just how it is"?!? (That's a bigger problem.)
Entrepreneurial Epiphanies, Lessons Learned, Thoughts & Theories (Pertaining to Prevalent Problems & Prominent Pitfalls), Improvement Ideas & Initiatives... and Seventeen (17?!) "Starter Startups" (Presently Pitching for Partners - Primarily Part-Time Partners!) #AlliterationAddiction
1) to encourage consideration, discussion, and implementation of some new ReThinkingStartups.com
Thoughts & Theories and Improvement Ideas…
2) to attract some great execution partners to help launch MANY new "Whatever Network" Startup MVPs (based on ReThinkingStartups.com strategies)
3) to improve success/fail rates, not only for our “Whatever Network” startups, but for the startup community in general.
The WHATEVER Network:
An Ambitious (Ridiculous?) and Unconventional (Unprecedented?) Plan (Delusion?)
to Begin “ReThinking Startups” to Create a Huge Network of Products, Services, Viral Content, Social Causes, WHATEVER!
Jeff's 12+ Years Creating "Viral Whatever"
2001: AskTheCollegeGuy.com — an online advice/humor column that “went viral” (before Jeff even knew what “viral” meant) and developed a loyal following of online readers on 739 college campuses, received millions of page views, and was syndicated in several college newspapers as large as The Centre Daily Times at Penn State...
2002: The Rejection Hotline® — created as a joke in 2001, the humorous fake phone number service took off virally in 2002 (thanks to word-of-mouth buzz and mainstream media coverage by CNN, the LA Times, and much more). It would go on to average more than 1 Million Calls Per Month for the next 10+ years...
2003: Just Thought You Should Know — a multi-medium notification service (email, phone, web) allowing people to alert others of something they might not be aware of (bad breath, body odor, stuff in their teeth, etc.), which went viral to the tune of 20 Million messages...
2004: It Could Always Suck More® — with just the right mix of serious inspiration/motivation and edgy humor, the trademarked phrase resonated with the masses, initially going viral via a Humor Hotline (25+ Million calls), but demonstrated additional viral/brand appeal selling 10,000+ “It Could Always Suck More” wristbands.
2005: Screen Numbers — Recognizing a need for secondary phone numbers (for dating, business, CraigsList, etc.), I haphazardly launched ScreenNumber.com in 2005. Despite decent traction (~10,000 users), it was unfortunately never made a top priority. On Sept. 25, 2006, a company named Grand Central launched the same service (11 months after us). Admittedly, they did it better. But it still stung a year later when Google bought them for $95 MILLION and it became Google Voice :)
2006: SnapVine — I had begun speaking at conferences as a Creativity and Viral Marketing expert and I was approached by the CEO of a startup in Seattle (bringing VoIP to Social Media) to be their interim Creative Director as they sought Product-Market Fit. We found it, scaled the product virally, and SnapVine was acquired by WhitePages.com in 2008 for ~$20 Million.
2007: Get Over It Day® — A goofy idea (to create a national holiday?!), but the core idea (that EVERYONE has SOMETHING to get over) resonated with the masses and we received thousands of emails from people telling us what they needed to get over, there were events across the country, national brands offered Get Over It Day specials, and Get Over It Day was announced to the world by Good Morning America, The Today Show, ESPN SportsCenter and more!
2008–2012: Humor Hotlines (RH Brands) — After firing myself as CEO of my own company, bringing on a business partner, raising ~$1 Million in funding and figuring out the “in-call audio advertising” business model, all my other ideas/projects were put aside and we had a great run (4+ profitable years of 7-figure revenue, 200+ Humor Hotlines, 475 Million calls), until...
... [2013: #ShitHitsTheFan] :( After Verizon and AT&T made some big changes to the mobile content industry (our main advertisers), we made the difficult decision to shut the company down — laying off our employees and selling off our 2000+ phone numbers. [Note: I personally bought back all unsold assets — including The Rejection Hotline and all Humor Hotlines’ audio files — some of which may be re-purposed & re-launched as part of The Whatever Network.]
2014: I moved into the Atlanta Tech Village and, while also investing in and advising a few younger entrepreneurs, I THOUGHT I had decided that Prediction Log would be my next full-time startup (the idea being that predictions are everywhere, yet there is no central location to officially log predictions, so there is a permanent record and “Proof that you called it!” (B2C = User-generated content & freemium models / B2B = users/data and/or SaaS models). I still believe there is a good opportunity here; BUT, after 6 months development and a moderately-successful semi-private beta test (~300 users, ~500 predictions), I abruptly hit the pause button after a few big epiphanies (most notably that I had picked that startup for the wrong reasons, I had little passion for it, and there were many other things I wanted to be working on)...