Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Ryan Mullins, co-founder and CEO at Aglet. We're all about three things. First, building a new kind of game that takes lessons from the location-based mechanics of Pokemon Go and Foursquare. In our game, you explore the world, physically move around and earn an in-game currency that enables you to collect virtual goods, specifically virtual sneakers!
Second, we're inventing a new category of commerce. It's a category we call "onlife". We want to open a portal that connects the online and offline worlds. So, we've built a location-based commerce platform for virtual and physical goods.
Third, we believe in the power of this opportunity to unleash the creative genius of the next generation of designers. The next great brand will be a 15 or 16-year-old creating and selling a virtual brand on our platform. They will build a business on our game platform. Their products will be made in the physical world.
What were you doing five years ago?
Five years ago, I was running a company called Oolipo. I'm a sucker for the native technology of smartphones. So, we wondered how you could unlock that magic and give it to storytellers. Give them a platform for native mobile series. Like, what's a book to the Snapchat or TikTok generation? It was a wonderful experiment in the future of media and story creation.
What has been the darkest day of your career so far and what did you learn from it?
Darkest day was definitely shutting down Oolipo. It contained all my interests, passions, and loves. When that dies, part of your identity dies. But, reflecting on the reasons for its untimely death, you access the wisdom applied to the next venture. I learned some important lessons from this failure.
It's important for founders to vet investors more thoroughly. The feeling most founders have is that you're desperate for money, and you're just bringing on any investor because they inherently provide value. Not true. You're vetting them as much as they're vetting you. I made mistakes in choosing partners.
What has been the brightest day of your career so far?
Brightest day of my career has been working together with my co-founder, Owen Batt. He challenges me, pushes me to be better, improve, seek out my weaknesses, etc. He's the real enchilada. There's not enough written on founder psychology and the ups and downs of the roller coaster ride. But, having a teammate and friend like Owen not only makes it fun, but you can better prepare for the bumpy ride ahead.
What qualities do you look for in the people you surround yourself with?
I've no time for negative energy. I get rid of that stuff immediately. I'm looking for people who see challenges and problem-solve. Curiosity. Constant, life-long learners. Fearlessness. People with a robust sense of the human experience and human nature. Good listeners with a proclivity toward action. But, I'm also interested in people who thrive in (F.Scott) Fitzgerald situations:
"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self as you were starting out?
Don't believe the stories you're telling yourself. You're not those stories. You're freedom. You're choice. Choose you. Don't believe the hype.
What is your next challenge?
The next question!
Where do you see the business, and yourself, in five years?
My genuine desire is to have created a platform where a number of new brands and designers are building businesses and making money. They no longer have to rely on "client services" but can be free to flex their creative talent on our platform. This needs to exist. And, we will create it.
I also see myself in Malibu, chilling with my wife and son with Elon Musk and his family planning our trip to Mars. 😎
Get in touch
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