The 5am Club by Robin Sharma
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
News – Maxwell Murray
Messaging & Storytelling
I am writing this blog post to Miles and Rob, who are working towards creating content for FITS. There is two things that I want you all to keep in mind when making posts for Instagram. 1) Why to What 2) Audience, Intent, Message What to Why: Functional Benefits Last night, I mentioned the Dove Case Study from marketing class. When Dove first launched, they successfully created a beauty bar that doesn't dry out your skin. Therefore, their strategy was to tell everyone why their product is better than soap. In all of these advertisements, Dove talked first about What their product was and followed that by Why people should buy it. What = Beauty Bar, Why = It doesn't dry out your skin the way normal soap does. Why To What: Start With Why Start With Why by Simon Sinek Why = Our Purpose How = Our Process What = Our Results Dove changed their marketing strategy from functional benefits to start with why. They had a survey that asked thousands of people if they felt beautiful. "Only 2% of respondents worldwide chose to describe themselves as beautiful". Dove wanted to pivot to “Change the way society views beauty” and “provoke discussion and debate about real beauty”. They created a mission statement: Dove’s mission is to make women feel beautiful every day by broadening the narrow definition of beauty and inspiring them to take great care of themselves. Examples: Why to What: Nike These are perfect examples of how Nike goes from Why to What. They start with that deep passion and emotion that is in a person's heart. Their intent is to talk directly to a person's inner why. Their message is always to Just do it and always believe that you can be the person that does it. Audience, Intent, Message (AIM Framework) The first thing to do whenever establishing any type of message is define your audience. Who are you talking to? What problems are they facing? What inspires them to action? What resources do they rely on? Who are their peer groups and influencers? Do not talk to everyone when making a post, think deeply about these 4 questions and decide who exactly you want to speak to. Next, establish your intent for everything you are creating. Your intent is never just to inform people about what is going on. A few intentions: Educate, Inspire, Promote, Relate, Entertain. Try to motivate people to take some sort of action. What do you want the audience to do with your recommendations? What do they do with what you just said? What's next? Finally, after defining your audience and establishing your intent, it is time to craft your message. They say your message should be "brief, memorable, repeatable, emotional, and data-backed". Your message should end with a clear call to action. You can spread this message visually and through text. Pictures show people a version of themselves at times (look at the top tennis ad). Words inspire people to take action. Conclusion Every single time you are making any type of content for FITS. Think about how you plan on going from Why to What. Define your target audience, think about their emotions and desires. Establish your intentions and figure out what they should do what what you just said. Finally, craft your message and inspire them to take action. FITS Golden Circle We believe in the people that have been held back for generations due to their power struggle. We believe that creators can't be denied success. Everything we do is to give you the freedom to Create Your World. Creating your world means creating the life that you want to live. We do this by building products that support and showcase creators. And we happen to work with the most talented creators out. Discover Your FITS on the Runway and Create Your World on Create.
News – Maxwell Murray
I f*ucking hate Wednesdays. Freshman year of college was a great time for me. I just moved to New York City and was blessed enough to attend the school of my dreams. Every Sunday I think about the week that lies ahead and I get super motivated to wake up on Monday and go kill. Often times during different parts of the week I think about the different things that I want to start putting in my life and accomplish. I think to myself, okay on Monday I am going to start going to the gym. I am going to go to class every single day this week and I am going to accomplish x, y, and z. When the alarm goes off on Monday morning I always jump out of bed. For me, it is so easy to wake up on Mondays and go out there and handle business. On Monday's it's easy to go to class, go to the gym, and start checking off the boxes on the to do list in my head. Tuesday comes around and I am still riding that Monday high. With push day on Mondays, I can go to the gym and do a pull day on Tuesday. I will work on growing my biceps and back which I value because it looks good. I will go to class and maybe even have my most productive day of the week. Then Wednesday comes around and sh*t hits the fan. I am extremely unproductive on Wednesdays. When Wednesday comes around, I hit the snooze button 5-7 times and straight up can't get out of bed. When Wednesday came around freshman year, I flat out didn't go to class. I didn't go to the gym and hit legs because I hate doing legs. Nobody cares about legs, do I really need to go to the gym to do squats? Sophomore year I started seeing this pattern in my life where I would go heavy on Monday and Tuesday and just completely burn out on Wednesdays. It was such an easy thing to do for me and even though I always kind of knew, i'd still let Wednesday win every single time. My battle with Wednesdays is still as prevalent in my life as any time before. I think the main difference though is that I am aware of this consistent issue in my life and am going to war with it. Now I think about Wednesday on Sunday and how I want to go kill that instead of kill on Mondays. I wait around for Monday and Tuesday to come around just so that I can see what I end up doing on Wednesdays. Today, my alarm went off and I thought to myself "damn it's morning already?". The first thing I did was go to the clock app and gave myself an extra 30 mins of sleep. I laid in bed and though to myself "am I going to let Wednesday beat me again?". No, I woke up and killed Wednesday morning. I went to the gym and had probably the best workout of my entire life. I feel amazing because this I stepped over this huge hurdle that I have been dealing with for the past 2 years. However, that is today and next week or the week after can be completely different. My battle with Wednesday is not won because I woke up today. My battle with Wednesdays is an every single week thing that I have to constantly face and try to beat. I have no clue how war is going to go in the future but the one thing I do know is my number 1 goal for the week is to kill on Wednesdays.
News – Maxwell Murray
Yesterday morning I woke up and felt paralyzed. Something that I learned recently about myself is that I have a bit of an addictive personality. This may sound funny but it came to mind when I discovered the skittles gummies in the bodega down the street. From cookies to weed to bibibop, I have gone down different interesting rabbit holes throughout my life. My journey building FITS over the last year has been aligned with that. I am not sure if its an addictive thing but it definitely is intense for me at times. I have always wanted to run a company and build something that can change the world. I want it all now to be honest. There are times that I go over the smallest things in my head over and over. It gets to the point where I am up at night thinking about some random bullshit. But it's really not bullshit to me because it's what I like at this point. Bruh I talk way too much about FITS, just ask my roomates. But it is genuinely because throughout the day that is where my mind wanders to. It doesn't matter if I am in my bedroom, in class, playing madden, or at the bar; sometimes the shit never stops. It's not all that healthy. Yesterday, I took a day off. I wanted to remove myself from everything FITS. I sat on the couch and watched first take. Went to the gym with miles. Then, luckily my brother had a state semifinal playoff game that I could look forward to and kill some time. Seperating myself from my business is hard as fuck. Running a business is hard as fuck. I was going to tweet that yesterday but I didn't want to think about business. Mental health is something that I don't talk about too much. I think mental health as a startup founder is something that I don't really hear about. I saw the other day some startup is trying to treat mental health like going to the gym. I was reading the 5am club and the book explains that there are 4 interior empires that everyone must understand. Mindset, Healthset, Heartset and Soulset. Most people are in touch with their mindset which is your psychology and beliefs. Healthset is your physical and mental health. Being stressed, going to the gym, and eating healthy are a few different things that go into your healthset. Heartset is emotionality which is a very interesting thing for me. I am not naturally the most emotional person. I think ever since my last few basketball seasons and relationships back in high school, I haven't really tapped into that. I hope that this blog, my journal, and the feelings in the session podcast can be good outlets to express how I feel about things. Finally, Soulset which is who you sincerely are under the mask of your name or social mask. Journaling is something that I have found amazing. It is a time where I can be real with myself about my thoughts and feelings. As a safe space to truly express who I am. FITS and the Power Struggle Movement have really given me peace and purpose. I have truly fallen in love with the process. Thinking, whiteboarding, creating, and solving problems feels better than anything. I am thankful to be able to progress my ideas and work on this business with an amazing group of people. However, these creations don't define me and I am going to work on finding other outlets and hobbies to have some more balance in my life.
News – Maxwell Murray
Building FITS: The Lean Startup
Introduction “A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” “The Lean Startup method, is designed to teach you how to drive a startup. Instead of making complex plans that are based on a lot of assumptions, you can make constant adjustments with a steering wheel called the Build-Measure-Learn Feedback loop.” This blog post will document the lessons I have learned from The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and how I have applied them into building FITS. Creating A Business Every startup starts with a set of problems and a vision in mind to create a successful world-changing business. Your vision is a mix of your why and the idea you have on attacking that why. Then, you employ a strategy on how you plan on accomplishing that vision. This includes a business strategy, product roadmap, business model, and customer discovery. Finally, you build a product that is a result of your strategy. The product is what your customers experience from their interaction with your company. In looking at the build-measure-learn feedback loop, we can break down the process of building product. Build-Measure-Learn Feedback loop A startup starts with a problem and the founding team has a vision for what they want to build to address these problems. The first thing you can do is build a MVP (minimal viable product). This is the first step to see if your idea and product solves the problem that you set out to address. A MVP is the easiest product that you can build to validate your idea. It can be as simple as a landing page or as complex as a web app prototype but the goal of the MVP is to get a product out to the public in order to measure what happens. The next thing is measure what is going on. Talk to your customers and see how your product is working. Look at the data and google analytics to see how people are using your product. Measuring is constantly finding out new information about your business and product. You can measure what is going on through concrete data and talking to your customers. Finally, you have to learn from what you have built. What parts of your product have gone well? What parts of your product are still lacking? Did our idea work? After you learn, you must pick between one of two decisions: Pivot or Persevere. Pivot means changing some aspects of your product or service. Persevering is keeping along the path that you are on. The goal of the build-measure-learn feedback loop is to get to a point where you can learn and decide if you want to pivot your business or persevere along your current path. How We Started Lean As the CEO of FITS, I have applied the build-measure-learn feedback loop to our business more times than I can count. Problem Our problem starts with Robinson’s struggles as an emerging fashion designer. FITS started with 3 main problems: manufacturing, marketing, and finding a team / resources. For manufacturing, sourcing fabrics and finding a reliable manufacturer for your fashion collection is challenging. Making a blind investment into a domestic or overseas factory is a big commitment especially as an emerging designer. For marketing, the problem was finding your target audience and showcasing your work to people outside of your network. We felt like with platforms like Instagram, it was hard to showcase your collections to people that are 2 or 3 people away from you. Also, we don't think that people shop on Instagram or any of the other social platforms. Finally, a fashion collection takes a team and a plethora of resources to complete and this is something that is often hard to navigate for emerging designers. Our Idea: Written October 14, 2020 FITS is a fashion community that allows users to create, post, buy, and sell clothes. FITS will feature an app that is simply a cultural phenomenon; a social network lifestyle hub and a retail ecommerce business - all in one place. We plan to disrupt the fashion industry by allowing users to see far more than just mainstream clothing brands that are offered to them in today's market. Cultural, underground fashion is incredibly important and Fits is the first time where this is emphasized in our niche at hand. Anyone can be a designer and create their own personal wardrobe through ‘create’ in Fits. They will then be able to market and sell their wardrobe on the Fits app. Fits will manufacture the clothes in any color, design, and material that the designer wishes to use. This will create an online marketplace for users to interact with one another through community and fashion. How We Started: Building Runway MVP We had a huge idea to build this platform where users can create, post, buy, and sell clothes. We felt like on one side of the business there was a selling aspect. A marketplace that is designed to connect a fashion community of buyers and sellers. On the other side, we had this insane idea to manufacture clothes and fill in all of those gaps for emerging designers. I spent the first few months mapping out the idea and creating a wireframe on Adobe XD. However, this was a waste of time: if you want to build a company, start building. The first thing we did was set out to build the marketplace. We felt like a website that could act as the “Soundcloud for fashion” a place to discover emerging fashion designers, was the first thing that we could build. We took the mockup app wireframe and attempted to turn it into a website. We hired Brent Bobo who previously completed Robinson’s website and he got to work on building us the platform that we love. The main challenges were finding solutions that could make our website a true marketplace. We found a way to have a designer seller portal and have them list products straight onto our site and that completed the prototype for the FITS Runway (fits.clothing). How We Built: Create It was the very beginning of the summer and we had just been accepted into the Stern Venture Studio Program. Robinson and I wanted use this summer to find ways to create clothes. Our first idea was to hire seamstresses and try to manufacture clothes somehow. I say it like that because I really have no idea how that would’ve worked at the time. Then, we said you know what, we have connections in LA, NYC, and Milan: let’s try to just start helping make clothes. We reached out to a few designers at our school and told them that we wanted to assist them with anything they would need in their fashion process. Robinson began to hold “design meetings” to identify what parts of the process they’d like to work with us on. Our plan was: Needs Discovery / Incubation Period Design Manufacturing & Finance Content & Marketing Launch on FITS We worked with a few designers throughout the summer and learned so much. Our first project was with Quintessential and it was to do shorts and shirts. Kaia was amazing to work with from the start. Her designs were finished and she just had to source the materials, make the clothes, and shoot. Along this process with Quintessential and the other designers, we learned that there are a few places where people could fill in the gaps and a few where resources would do the job. This gave me the idea to begin building Create. The idea for Create is to put the whole fashion process from A → B → C in an accessible platform for emerging fashion designers. We started by introducing FITS Creatives: “Create is a freelance service marketplace for fashion creatives. Create connects fashion designers to creatives for freelance projects in order to progress their collections. As a freelance platform, fashion creatives can create listings, connect with designers, complete projects, and earn income. Use create as an opportunity to create your world.” Checkout Create: (https://www.fitscreatives.com/) In building Create, I realised that this platform can open up opportunities for such a larger amount of people. Where I wasn’t as passionate about selling clothes, I am extremely passionate about business that can create opportunities for people. Create is going to become the future of work for a new industry. My mission is all revolved around a Power Struggle and this platform is the foundation in which creators can break through. Creators can’t be denied and when this platform truly comes into fruition, we will live in a generation where work talks louder than a resume. Create has a long way to go in order to become the platform that we dream. We still haven’t officially launched our Development & Production product. However, it is extremely fun to find new problems that we can set out to build upon. I think the answer to all of our problems right now is a bright opportunity in the Web 3 space :) Lessons You Can Apply If you want to create anything, just start: There is no reason to not turn your ideas into reality and build something that can change the world. When building, remember your why: For our company, it is to empower fashion designers. I will never forget when my mentor and first investor called FITS a picks and shovels business. This means we aren't trying to become a huge fashion brand ourselves, we want to build products that brands and creators can use to blow up. One piece of our strategy is to always Sell Shovels. Measure and Learn: I thought that our idea from the very start would be our final product. However, we have changed our business, strategy, and products more times than I can count. This is because we have to learn from everything we do and decide when we should pivot or persevere.
News – Maxwell Murray
Our Why: Start With Why (Startup Journey Step 1)
Introduction If you have an idea and want to start a company: Start with why. Building a company is a marathon, not a sprint. Every single day you are running straight into darkness with no clear finish line in sight. There are bright days and there are days that make you question everything. No matter what day is ahead, all you can do is keep running and it makes it a lot easier to do that if you know why you are doing it in the first place. The Golden Circle The Golden Circle is the fundamental teaching point of Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. The Golden Circle helps us find order and reminds ourselves to start everything we do by first asking why. Why: Your Purpose Very few people or companies clearly explain WHY they do WHAT they do. Starting with why means being purpose driven. Why does your company exist? Why do you get out of bed every morning? Why should anyone care? Understanding WHY you do WHAT you do will give you a clear framework for every decision that you make. Company Why vs Personal Why Our business started because of Robinson’s (my co-founder) struggles as an emerging fashion designer. The main problems we identified were finding resources and a reliable manufacturer, building a team to make up for your weaknesses, and having an audience to showcase your work. In the beginning of FITS, everything we did was to support emerging fashion designers. Robinson is a fashion designer. Therefore, everything he does within this company is to support his younger self. I am not a fashion designer and I would say that I am not particularly passionate about fashion. However, I learned how to use FITS as a trojan horse for my mission. Back in 2017, my friends and I had an idea. We wanted to create a clothing brand that would make a societal impact, but we were yet to find our purpose. Then came along the two words that changed the course of my life. Power struggle. It encapsulates the idea that we live in a world where talent and hard work alone cannot guarantee success. The idea that those who truly deserve are stifled by the uncontrollable and unfortunate realities of our society. We believe everyone has their own Power Struggle. Be it race, income, gender, sexual orientation or anything this world holds prejudice against. From this, we created Power Struggle t-shirts to empower people to overcome their own Power Struggle, whatever it may be. 4 year later, I found myself raising my first round of funding for FITS, a process that carried an abundance of stress. I was forced to reflect as to why I lived, aspired and so desperately needed to be an entrepreneur. I realised that I want to build future businesses for the same reason I started my first business. I believe in the bright minds and talented people that have been constrained by the cards they were dealt. Through education and new businesses, we can empower a world in which people can truly create economic opportunities for themselves. That is why it is my mission to fight our power struggle by educating, inspiring, and building platforms for creators* to prosper. Creator: a person that brings something into existence. FITS is a business that is designed to fight our Power Struggle by empowering individuals to become creators. We live in a world where people are denied success by other people. Whether that is applying to college, being in clubs like the Stern Venture Society, or even when applying for a job: someone else has the power to be the gatekeeper to your success. I believe in the world of the creator because creators can’t be denied success. When you are a creator, your work eclipses everything else. Your talent and hard work is brought to light and nobody can deny you the opportunity to Create Your World. I wake up everyday and keep running in order to open up a pathway for creators to eat. This gives me a baseline for everything that I do and every decision that I make when it comes to our business. From there, it is much easier to come up with new product ideas or content ideas for our community because I know what the point of everything is in the first place. You may not have your why figured out completely, but I will challenge you to think about why you are doing what you are doing because your dream idea is a long road ahead and that why is going to be the only thing propelling you through the darkness and uncertainty of the journey ahead.
News – Maxwell Murray
The #1 Problem With The World
I asked Miles the other day "What is the number 1 problem in the world?". He said "Niggas are just too selfish". We began to talk about why that is the case and the different layers of society that lead us to here. Selfishness isn't anything new in society, we have been selfish since the beginning of time. I read something the other day that talked about fear and it said that way back in the day, people had to obviously kill for the food that they ate, while also being constantly worried about getting attacked at all times. Our risk of dying was extremely high and so that fear always protected us. We began to look out for ourselves and treat other things, whether that is animals or other people as potential danger to our safety. Now, we are in a time period that is a lot safer for us, yet we are still trapped in the same mindset as before. We are constantly worried about other people, how we compare to them, how they may perceive us, and that leads us to constantly being stressed and paranoid which I think causes this root of selfishness. People view success of others as a danger to them. They become jealous, start hating, and as a result of that become selfish. What they don't realize is that unlike before, when we had to go kill for our food, we live in a time period that has a plethora of resources. To the point where, your ability to eat has nothing to do with the person to your right or to your left. We live in a time where everybody can eat. Now, I am completely obsessed with competition. There is this quote from Moneyball that had me rolling, it says "I hate to lose more than I like to win". Ever since I could remember, I have been a relentless competitor. I care about every game from Madden to Rivalry basketball games to simply waking up before others to get an edge. I think business is a game and I love the fact that I am new to it and in the trenches with the strongest desire to build the biggest company in the world. However, that success doesn't have to come at the expense of others. The game of life is a game that doesn't have to have winners and losers. We don't need to put other people down, gatekeep the secrets of success, and be selfish in order to win. The best and most inspiring part of life is how far humanity has grown together. How many people it took to build the brooklyn bridge. The years of evolution and numerous inventors that turned weird looking boxes into personal computers into the iphone that we now have in our pocket. We are going through this life shit together and none of us are better than anyone else. We aren't more important than anyone else. We simply just have our own personal legend and role in society that we need to be relentless on reaching. The best part about life is that we all create the future together. We can live in a better future, one where we are all helping each other reach our personal legends. A future where we share the basketball and can be genuinely happy when other people score. Come on guys we can be better than this and it all starts with putting down that shield and providing real value to other people, only then can we create a society that is together and not so damn far apart.
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