GE 212: How First-Time Founder Melody McCloskey Built a Salon-Booking Empire that Did $1.6B in Transactions Last Year (podcast) With Melody McCloskey

Melody McCloskey

Hey everyone, today I share the mic with Melody McCloskey, CEO of StyleSeat, the largest marketplace for beauty services.

Tune it to hear Melody share how she encountered a problem in the marketplace and then set out to solve it, how someone with no background in tech built a booking company for stylists that did $1.6 billion in transactions last year, how StyleSeat acquired 10K clients with essentially no marketing, and why she chose an equity-based model for her employees.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How First-Time Founder Melody McCloskey Built a $1.6B:Year Salon-Booking Empire TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:48 – Leave a review and rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 01:07 – Eric welcomes Melody McCloskey
  • 01:17 – Melody’s company, StyleSeat, made $1.7 billion in bookings last year
  • 01:40 – StyleSeat is Melody’s first company
    • 01:50 – She is the daughter of a police officer
    • 02:02 – She is a French major and International Relations major
    • 02:12 – She planned on going back to France after college but realized she wanted to work on her own business while in San Francisco
  • 02:53 – Melody just recently moved to San Francisco and wanted to get her hair done but she had a hard time booking an appointment
    • 03:12 – She found out that the tools that were available were poor and awful
    • 03:32 – When she did her research, she found that part of the problem was that professionals in the industry did not have a good way to market themselves
    • 04:11 – Melody thought she could bring value to the business owners by helping them with their web presence, customer acquisition, and CRM
  • 04:26 – Last year, they made $1.6 billion in bookings, powered about $3.5 billion since the launch, and 70 million appointments across the platform
  • 05:04 – In the beginning, Melody was overwhelmed by the idea of starting a company as she did not have a background in tech
  • 05:12 – Melody mapped out all the things she needed to and then placed it into phases
    • 05:26 – Every day, Melody would attack one or two things from the phase she was in
    • 05:50 – Breaking it into small projects made the goal doable for Melody
  • 06:28 – Melody did not know a lot of stylists so she asked her friends to send her the emails of their hair stylists
    • 06:45 – Melody got 30 names and sent an email saying she wanted to change the beauty industry and that she wanted to meet them
    • 07:02 – Melody met the 30 at her friend’s salon and gave a presentation
    • 07:27 – The beauty professionals were excited about the mission and were willing to help Melody
  • 07:40 – When the first version was launched, the beauty professionals gave Melody feedback every single day
  • 08:10 – A year and a half later, they had about 10,000 businesses using them on a regular basis
    • 08:17 – It’s 100% organic and until now, they have done essentially no marketing and have grown through word of mouth
  • 08:58 – Melody loves that she is working on a combination of awesome software, product development and building a community
  • 09:41 – It was hard for Melody to be social but she got over it and loved hearing the feedback of people
  • 10:32 – In the early stages, it was about how good you can pitch your company, your vision, and being able to constantly sell
  • 10:46 – When people are buying, you now have to build your team
  • 11:06 – Melody had to be good at identifying talent and supporting them to do what they needed to succeed
  • 11:50 – The unifying theme for Melody is having a curious mind and eagerness to learn, change, and evolve
  • 12:07 – Melody assumes she knows nothing every single day
    • 12:21 – All she does at meetings now is ask questions and then makes decisions
  • 12:45 – Eric recommends the audiobook Multipliers – the premise is to ask questions, not give directives
  • 13:07 – Melody says it is about teaching people how to think
    • 13:52 – It is teaching your team to have ownership and accountability and to drive the solutions themselves
  • 14:47 – Melody says the market has been a little bit crazy
    • 14:57 – Melody was hiring a candidate and the candidate wanted a guarantee that she would earn $40 million in the next two years
    • 16:06 – Melody has been good at setting expectations
    • 16:30 – Melody believes in an equity motivated business rather than a high salary motivated business
  • 17:15 – Customer acquisition is done organically
  • 17:46 – From being free, they shifted to a paid product
    • 18:11 – Customers either left or those who paid had higher expectations
    • 18:52 – They dramatically improved the product
    • 19:07 – The experience galvanized the team and motivated them to fix the problem
  • 19:35 – The challenge of being a free product is that you get a ton of customers
    • 19:56 – When they were free, it was less clear who the real valuable customers were
  • 20:37 – Melody says advisers are everything
    • 20:42 – Find an amazing adviser who has done it before and can give you their time
    • 21:13 – Melody’s advisers change over time depending on the need
  • 22:32 – Melody found her first developer on Craigslist and she gave him equity from the beginning
    • 23:15 – The equity is diluted down as the company grows
  • 24:23 – Melody says the hardest part is the ups and downs
    • 24:56 – You have to be really good at all the things that are thrown at you daily
    • 25:20 – You have to lean into the pain and chaos and get good at solving problems
  • 25:55 – What’s one big change you’ve made in the last year that has either impacted you or your business? – Melody brought on a new executive team
    • 26:26 – Melody is also more into fitness
  • 27:11 – What’s one tool you’ve added in the last year, like Evernote? – Evernote and Sworkit
  • 28:28 – What’s one must read book you’d recommend to everyone? – The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
    • 28:52 – Tenacity and resiliency are the two most important traits needed as a founder
  • 29:10 – Follow Melody on Instagram and Twitter
  • 29:47 – End of today’s episode

3 Key Points:

  1. Teach people how to think by asking questions and letting them come up with their own answers—this will empower them to find solutions themselves.
  2. Find yourself an adviser who has walked this road before you and learn from them.
  3. Tenacity and resiliency are the two most important factors to becoming a successful founder.

Resources From This Interview:

Leave Some Feedback:

 Connect With Eric Siu:

Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Show transcript
Melody: So, it was really hard for me to be social and to talk to stylists and to, I was shy, I had anxiety. So that was actually really, really hard for me. But I've gotten over most of that and now it's really fun.

Speaker 2: Do you want to impact the world and still turn a profit? Then you're in the right place. Welcome to Growth Everywhere. This is the show where you'll find real conversations with real entrepreneurs. They'll share everything from their biggest struggle to the exact strategies they use on a daily basis. So if you're ready for a value packed interview, listen on. Here's your host, Eric Siu.

Eric: Before we jump into today's interview, if you guys could leave a review and a rating and also subscribe as well, that would be a huge help to the podcast. So, if you actually enjoy the content and you'd like to hear more of it, please support us be leaving us a review and subscribe to the podcast as well. Thanks so much.

Alright everybody, today we have Melody McCloskey, who is the CEO of StyleSeat, which is the largest marketplace for beauty services. And last year, which was 2016, they did over 1.7 billion, that's with a B, in bookings. Melody, how's it going?

Melody: It's going really well. How are you doing?

Eric: Good. Thanks for being here. So why don't you tell us a little bit more about kinda who you are and how you got to where you are.

Melody: Sure absolutely. Let's see, who I am. The company, or personally?

Eric: Personally.

Melody: Personally, okay. I am a first time founder. This is my first company, although I've been doing it for a while since we launched in 2011. I am the daughter of a police officer growing up. So didn't have too much experience with the tech world. Didn't really grow up in it very much. I took coding classes when I was younger, but I was a French major and a international relations double major, so that is not technical in terms of my education. I moved to San Francisco after college and the intention was to move back to France because I had studied a year abroad and absolutely loved it. So, my original genius idea was, I'll move to San Francisco and save some money and move back to Europe, which is hilarious for a lot of reasons. But, sort of fell into tech from there and met a lot of fascinating people doing really big things and starting a lot of really cool companies and realized this was actually what I wanted to do.

Eric: Great. So, StyleSeat. What's the [inaudible 00:02:43] for the idea and how did you start it?

Melody: Sure. Well, you know I first kind of, it was brought to my attention how this industry worked when I moved to San Francisco and I wanted to get my hair done. And booking an appointment was really hard. I am a fairly [inaudible 00:03:02] person and I want to find the best person in my price range, in my neighborhood and I don't want to wait that long for the appointment. Right? I want to do it in a couple of days or maybe a week.

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 2 of 11

And the tools that were out there were just really core and awful. So discovery's incredibly hard. Not a lot of information about who's better than who. At the time there was no real great source of like ratings and that data just wasn't available.

And so I wanted to provide that for myself and other women as a resource. But then as I started to do more research into the space, I realized part of the problem is that these professionals in this industry don't have a good way to market themselves and run and grow their business. And that became a much more interesting problem that I wanted to solve because I love small business owners, I love entrepreneurs and beauty professionals in particular are creative. They're passionate. They're talented, but they don't necessarily have a deep passion for business fundamentals. Right? Thinking about things like, customer acquisition and web presence and social media and CRM and stuff like that.

So, that stuff is like the fun stuff for me and I thought being able to bring that value to them and help them grow their creative business would be very, very exciting. And so that's what the platform does today.

Eric: Got it. Okay. What numbers can you share around the business today?

Melody: Sure. So last year, as you mentioned, we did about $1.6 billion in bookings. We've powered about three and a half billion since we've launched. We've powered over 70 million appointments across the platform. So, we're powering millions a month. So, the scale is big. It's bigger than it used to be, although, the industry is a $60 billion industry, there's a lot of dollars spent. We're very much at the tip of the iceberg.

Eric: Awesome. And how does somebody with no tech background get into something like this? What are some challenges you faced?

Melody: All of them, every day. I think, you know honestly, in the beginning it was like, it was overwhelming to think about how do I start a company. So one of the things that I did that I thought was hopeful is to say "Okay, let me map out all the things that I need to do, 'cause there's just so many. Right? And let me put it all on a piece of paper and just get all of them out. And let me put it into pieces, right? Phase one, phase two, phase three." And then every day I would wake up and just attack one or two things from the phase that I was in.

So if it was like, I want a start a giant market place that powers the entire beauty industry, that's impossible and crazy for a French major to say. But if I woke up and said, okay I'm gonna find an accountant today and I'm gonna find a lawyer, right? Or I'm gonna incorporate, or I'm gonna find an engineer, or I'm gonna find a designer. Whatever those little projects are, I think that made it more doable in the beginning stages when there was no traction.

Eric: Got it. So what I'm hearing is one step at a time.

Melody: Yes, yes.

Eric: Got it, okay. Now, in the early days, I mean now you have such big numbers, 1.7, or 1.6 billion in bookings and 70 million appointments, or did you say 70 billion or is it 70 million appointments?

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 3 of 11

Melody: 70 million, yes.

Eric: 70 billion's eventually. Is that feasible? Trying to think. Probably not, right now ...

Melody: Maybe not, but not yet. You never know, it's just not yet.

Eric: Cool. So how did you go about acquiring your first, let's just say, thousand customers?

Melody: So I didn't really know that many stylists. I had a couple of friends that were stylists and obviously have gotten my hair done before and asked a million questions. But what I did was sent an email all of my friends. I spammed them all and I said "send me the email address for your hair stylist. I would love to talk to them and get their advice." So I got about 30 names and I sent them an email. The email was basically "I want to change the beauty industry. I want to make you more money and I want to give you free champagne. So, can I have an hour of your time?" And I had a friend let me use her salon.

So we had 30 stylists who came to meet me and I gave them a PowerPoint presentation and I said "The industry is completely messed up. I want to change it. Here's what I want to do. I have no, nothing is built, right? But here's what I want to do. Tell me if I'm off. Tell me if I'm crazy. I want to hear from you. Tell me what you think of the industry." And so we had really honest and awesome conversation with a bunch of beauty professionals and at the end of it, I had a room full of people that thought I was nuts, but they were excited about the mission and they wanted to help me.

And, so when we launched the first version of our app, they helped us understand what that needed to be, right, that MVP. And they gave me feedback every single day, like multiple times a day. And I would go sit in their salons and watch how they did business and ask a million questions and add that into the app. I would get text messages night and day bout how it could get better, but we really built it together. And they would say "Well, how can I help?" And I would respond with "recommend this to a friend. Just tell more people about it. Let's get this app into the hands of more people. We want more feedback."

And so we got to a point where when we launched a year and a half later, we had about 10,000 businesses using us on a regular basis. And that was really fabulous because it was 100% organic and we still to this day actually, it's really rare and very bizarre, but we've done essentially no marketing. All of our businesses that use us have come to us from word of mouth and for that we're very fortunate and we thank our community.

Eric: Awesome. So it sounds like in the very beginning you were doing a ton of customer development. Did you know that you were basically doing customer development? Did you study anything or was it just kind of a gut feeling thing?

Melody: Yeah, I had had a product and business role before and then my job before that I had a product role. So it's not like I didn't know how product worked, but yeah I knew that it was product development. And one of the things I love about this industry is, StyleSeat is a combination of awesome software, product development and also community.

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 4 of 11

Because that's what it is, that's what the industry is. That's what the beauty industry is. People love their stylist because they give them awesome work, awesome services, but they're also this amazing community. They're a person you can talk to. It's a social experience. And so that's how we really built the company.

Eric: I always tell people probably the harder thing to do is actually build the community and afterwards you can decide what you want to help the community with. Is that kinda what happened for you guys?

Melody: Totally. I can tell you now, if I could sit in front of my computer and just spreadsheet and build powerpoints, I would be the happiest little clam if I could just write tickets and work with developers. So, it was really hard for me to be social and to talk to stylists and to, I was shy, I had anxiety. So that was actually really, really hard for me. But I've gotten over most of that and now it's really fun. Now I love hearing what people have to say, even if they're just like I hate everything. I'm like, fabulous, tell me why, so we can fix it. So it's a really, really important thing to really learn and know who your customer is and love your customer.

Eric: And how many employees do you have right now?

Melody: We have, I think it's like 40ish.

Eric: Okay.

Melody: It's under 50.

Eric: Got it. So when you're, let's say when you're first starting out, you're basically creating a product, doing a lot of customer development, you as a CEO of yourself. How have you evolved as a CEO to where you are now with 40 employees? What have you learned?

Melody: Oh my God. You know, the beginning stages of starting a company, it's like how well can you pitch your vision, how good is your vision and ... You're selling constantly, right?. You're selling to recruit people. You're selling to get money. You're selling to get customers. You're selling whatever all day. And then once you have something people are buying, it's about building a team, right, and your team slowly moves from generalist to specialist. That you have to learn to move from recruiting people that are just awesome and effective and smart to people that have proven track records and are really good at one specific thing. And that takes a lot of learning and growth.

And then you have to move from doing everything, right, I was the janitor and I ran customer support and I've done most of the things that StyleSeat, outside of engineering, to being really good at supporting, identifying talent, putting them in those roles and supporting them and giving them what they need to succeed. And you move to thinking, spending most of your time thinking about how do I upgrade our different operating systems? How do I make this business run faster, grow quickly? How do I fix systems and how can I think about culture and how can I think about what we stand for and incorporate that into the business strategy. And so all of those phases are very different and specific and require very specific skills.

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 5 of 11

And so I think, for me the unifying theme along the way has just been to always show up with a curious mind and an eagerness to learn and change and evolve, because you just have to. I've been doing this now for seven years and if I was set in my ways, I would've been gone a long time ago. But I have to just assume that I know nothing every single day and I'm learning and most of my interactions now are about asking questions, right? It used to be like, you do this, you do that. This is how it is. And now all I do in every single meeting is ask questions. And then I'll make decisions, but it's help me understand. Why did we make this decision? What are we doing? And how would you do it that way? Why is that this perspective? What am I missing? I think that's a huge difference as well.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, that's probably the most powerful thing I've learned in the past couple of years. It used to be in the early days, you tell people what to do. But I've read this book, I highly recommend it to everyone. It's this audiobook called Multipliers. I think the subtitle is How People Make Great Leaders. Or how great leaders get the best out of their people or whatever. The basic premise is you're just asking questions instead of giving directives and you're basically just teasing the answer out of people instead and it becomes much more empowering that way. Is that what you're seeing?

Melody: 100% and it's about teaching people how to think, because when you're in a contributor role, right, you're sort of doing stuff and directed by people. And until your manager says "Well, why?" And "How would you do it?" And "What am I missing?" And "Have you thought about this? And what do you think of this?" And have you considered this extra consideration? It's hard to go from, I do what I'm told to running strategy. And that's part of like upgrading the operating systems. It's upgrading your people and getting them to really take ownership. Because in the beginning, you can't own all the stuff and do all the stuff, but very quickly, once you get to be tongue people, you can't do that anymore. But it's not like people can just automatically know how to take ownership and do it. And so it's like teaching your team how to think for themselves and take ownership and responsibility and hold each other accountable and really drive the solution themselves instead of the coming from you. And it's really hard, but also the best thing ever.

Eric: Right, 'cause then you're not the bottleneck anymore.

Melody: Exactly.

Eric: So, you know what's interesting is, another story I'll share really quick is ... So I have a friend. Met him a couple of years ago and we both joined this entrepreneurs group. He's doing three million a year right? And I didn't see him for a while and then saw him a couple of weeks ago. And I'm like "Hey. How are things going?" And he's like "Well, you know we're doing 22 million a year now." I was like, okay, great, so like what the hell happened?

Melody: Yeah.

Eric: And he's like, 'You know what Eric, I just hired really great people and got the fuck out of

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 6 of 11

their way." It sounds really cliché and you hear it all the time. So I guess my question to you would be, especially in SF, it's really competitive when it comes to talent. How are you finding great talent right now?

Melody: You know it's interesting because the market has been a little bit crazy. I'm actually seeing it come back down to planet Earth now, which is really refreshing and fabulous.

Eric: Do tell.

Melody: Well, a couple of years ago, I actually heard this from a candidate I was hiring for a C level position. And the candidate told me, "Unless you can guarantee me that I'm gonna make $40 million in the next two years, I can't consider this role."

Eric: What?

Melody: And that's like the attitude that a lot of executives and people have, which is, I have a million options, so prove to me why you deserve my time. And that's just what a really bananas market does to people. They're just reacting to what they're being told. And we have never really overpaid. We've never really gone and sent those crazy banana offers. I'm not talking about $40 million, that's just crazy pants, but we did have a lot of pressure to close a lot of people and to do things quickly. We've never really done that, or if we've done that, it hasn't lasted very long. 'Cause now my expectations are that high and if you can't perform at that level, it's not gonna work out. Which is fair. Those are just the being honest and open on both sides.

But it's really about ... I think what we've done and especially recently we've gotten a lot better at this, is really setting expectations.

We would love for you to work here. This is our mission. We're about empowering small business owners and we really really care about them. And because we care about them and because we care about growing their business, we run our business efficiently so that we can give them the most benefit from the product from the resources that we have. And so if you're a part of the StyleSeat team, you understand that and you're excited by that. We're much more of an equity motivated business than a high salary motivated business. And that's true for everyone at the company and I think that's the way it should be because we're in this to build something big and meaningful and that's where our incentives are. So, yeah, things have gotten nutty. I'm glad to see them kinda coming down to planet Earth. But, it doesn't mean that you have to play by those crazy rules. You define what you want to be and what business you want to run and you attract people that like that.

Eric: Great. So I want to shift it to customer acquisition for a little bit, then jump around. So, what's working for StyleSeat today in terms of customer acquisition?

Melody: Well we're [inaudible 00:17:13] organic. So, organic is the one channel and that's what's working for us. I will tell you, we have had product market and lost product market that, along the way.

Eric: What do you mean by that?

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 7 of 11

Melody: Well, when we first started, we were a free product. And the very first tools and features that we had were fabulous tools that made professionals money. But also, they were sort of really paired down and simple. And so when we were free, that was awesome. We flipped the switch to being a paid product kinda early on and that shifted our community. At first, it was optional. Last summer, we actually made it mandatory. So we turned off our ... if you wanted to use our business tools, that no longer became available.

You can have profile, you can have web presence on StyleSeat, but we turned off our business tools and that was a really big shift for us. So, customers that had been using us for free and liking it, some of them didn't want to pay the $35. Or, they continued to use, and they left us. Or of the professionals that did pay, all of a sudden their expectations went up. So they said "Okay, I'm paying. I'm here, but here's all the things I need and whereas I used to be cool with it before, now I'm demanding it and I'm holding you accountable for really being worth this amount of money."

And that was a scary thing, 'cause we were like Oh shit, we thought we had this locked, but it turns out now the bar's been raised. And so we had to fix that and we saw changes in our business and we've dramatically improved the product over the last year and our community's very happy and we've the reflection in the numbers, but that was like, having it and then losing it, and then going oh my gosh, we lost it. That was a really scary moment, but it was good to galvanize the team to get them to fix it and to get it back 'cause we were pissed about it, you know. Oh people are saying we're not that good, we've always been the best in the game. Okay, let's fix this. So it was a good galvanizing moment.

Eric: Got it. So it sounds like there's a little backlash. You know, anytime you do something like that, there's bound to be people who come out with pitchforks. So, what was the process for you quote unquote, fixing this? What were some steps that you took to fix it?

Melody: Well, one of the challenges with being a free product is that you get a ton of customers. But you get the 80/20 rule. You have 20% of them are engaged and 80% them aren't really. But just because they're not engaged doesn't mean they're not complaining and talking to your support team and talking to your engineers. So when we were free, it was less clear who our real valuable customer was. And so we were creating features for a wide group of people and when we turned on the pay wall, that's when yes, the 80%, the customers that weren't engaged left us. But the ones that remained were very clear about what they needed and we were able to just focus on a much, tighter focus on what we needed to do to make them happy. So in a lot of ways, it was really, it was good for us.

Eric: Awesome. Okay, and I think, I guess around advisors. What are your thoughts around advisors and, 'cause I know you've talked about it in the past. What's your relationship to advisors?

Melody: I think advisors are everything. That would be the number one thing to do, even before you start the company. Go find an amazing advisor who's done it before and can give you meaningful time. So, not like an hour to a month. You need to have meaningful time. I ...

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 8 of 11

Eric: What's meaningful time?

Melody: Well my first advisor worked a full day or two per week and I was at his house three days a week, kinda just hanging out and when I needed his help I'd call him 'cause I was sitting in his kitchen. So, that was really helpful and I gave him meaningful equity in the company in exchange for that. What's interesting is my advisors have changed over time and I think that's really important, to recognize when someone is less valuable than they used to be and to go find someone who has a particular expertise in that new need that you have. So like in the beginning, it might be fundraising and then after you're done with fundraising it could be someone who's really good at product market fit in customer development. And then it could be someone who is really good in business development and sales, or whatever that is, 'cause it's different for everyone. I think it's really important to recognize what you're good at, what you're not. Where your big holes are in terms of skills set and to constantly be finding people that can support you around that.

Eric: Got it. Okay. And when I look at some of the divestitures that I have, I mean sometimes it could be .05% or .25% or sometimes as high as 2%. When you say meaningful shares, you don't have to give her an exact number. What do you mean by meaningful? How much percent are you thinking?

Melody: In this case, it was more than one.

Eric: Uh-huh.

Melody: And that came with investment. So, it was like we're working together several days a week, you're writing a check. In exchange for those two things, more than 1%. So I found my very first developer on Craigslist. I had no one to code the site. I had written specs. I had designs, but I needed an engineer and so I wrote an ad on Craigslist. And I was like "Stealth company that I can't explain to you is looking for a developer to code this huge piece of software for free, in exchange for equity." And someone actually responded and did it for me and did a great job. And I gave him a couple points in the beginning. So there are those early people where you're like "Thank you. This wouldn't exist without you." And then as you get bigger and the value of the company grows, that can go down, too. I think a quarter point is kinda standard, especially for companies around the Series A. For an investor that you're spending a day with per month.

Eric: So I'm assuming that that first developer, you gave him a couple points and he just got diluted down as you guys raised more money, right?

Melody: Well yeah, that's how it works. So, you establish shares and then everyone gets diluted as you bring more capital for the company. But the way it works is that he's given 2% at a valuation of 0, essentially, and when you go and raise there's 20% dilution for example, but then the value of the company goes to 8 or 10 or wherever. And so, while the percent of the company decreases over time, the actual monetary value of the shares increases over time.

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 9 of 11

Eric: Great, I'm just trying to see if there's anything else that was done, but it sounds like it was pretty standard? Okay, cool, so we've talked about a couple of struggles already, but is there any one particular big struggle tat really sticks to you as you were growing this thing? 'Cause it sound like, it's not just for you. It's always up and down with entrepreneurship. So is there one big thing that sticks out?

Melody: I think the big thing that sticks out is the ups and downs. The hardest part about doing this job, because it is very hard. I am doing a 100% different job every single month and I have been for the past seven years. And there very, very different. Require very different skill sets, it's pretty hard. I think, though, what's consistent with that is, that it is so up and down. You can come to work and something fantastic will happen and you're like "Yes! This is amazing!" And then in the afternoon, you lose a massive customer, or something happens with the product or the app store rejects your app. There's some security something, or maybe there's some issue with the server, something really bad can happen and you're like "Oh my God, this is the worst. It eclipses everything." And then you can end the day with something fabulous happen. And that's what happens every single day. And so, yes you're learning and you're growing, etc., but you also have to get really good at being okay with sort of shhh ... I don't know if I can curse on you podcast.

Eric: You mean shit all the time? Yeah.

Melody: Okay. With shit being flung at your face daily, kind of constantly. You have to move from "Oh my God, this is so traumatic, I'm paralyzed" to "Okay, bring it. Throw it faster next time. Make it bigger next time." You have to lean into the pain and the chaos and the craziness and love it and just get really good at solving those problems and getting a thrill from that. 'Cause that is not gonna change. It just becomes different shit, but it's still shit forever.

Eric: I'm just imagining like a big gorilla throwing shit at me while I'm running.

Melody: And like that gorilla's getting bigger. It may get slower, but the shit gets bigger.

Eric: Yeah, yep. Cool.

Melody: I'm glad we can paint that picture together.

Eric: Yeah, no I love it. That's the first time I've done this on this podcast. I love it. Okay, what's one big change you've made in the last year that has either impacted you, yourself or your business in a big way? So it could be, I don't know, you added some random fitness tracker or whatever.

Melody: Yeah. Turning on revenue, big massive crazy thing. Totally different type of problem than we ever had to solve before. I've brought on a new executive team and that has been really really fabulous because they are, just have a lot of expertise in working with early stage companies and that's been really, really fabulous and new for us. I've been more into fitness than I've been in before. And so I've seen a huge personal benefit for me around that. It's giving me a lot more energy. It's made me a lot more balanced. It's

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 10 of 11

made me a better CEO and I'm very thankful for that change.

Eric: What are you doing? Spin? Yoga? Gym?

Melody: I'm doing a personal trainer two days a week 'cause he kicks math and gives me a lot of flack and kind of keeps me motivated. I also take classes probably another three days a week. So, I'll do yoga is one of my favorites, or I'll do Pilates. Sometimes I'll do spin. I don't really like cardio. I don't really do that a whole lot. It's mostly like weight lifting and weight training, but yeah. I don't know. I just try to change it up. Class pass.

Eric: Great. And how about a new tool that you've added in the last year. Like Evernote.

Melody: Evernote is fabulous. Actually Lynda Kozlowski, who, Linda Finn Kozlowski, who is on our Board was the COO of Evernote. So I get to talk about Evernote a lot because we learn a lot from them as a business. So I'm a huge fan of that product. Let's see, I do everything on my phone so I have my phone in my hand constantly. So I use fitness tracker on my phone. There's this new company, Dixso, I don't know if you've heard of it. It launched this week, but they do live fitness training classes from your phone. I love, I use them. I use, gosh what is the other one that I use that I love, it has a really weird ... Twerkit. It is a bizarre name, but it's such a good, if you like high intensity interval training, you can customize your workouts. It's super good for that. You get cute little videos. That's really awesome. So I'd say, any new apps that I can get that make my life better, I'm all about it.

Eric: Is it Sworkit or Twerkit?

Melody: Sworkit.

Eric: Okay.

Melody: It's like Work it and sweat, or something, I don't ... I really, really dislike the name, but it's an awesome app.

Eric: Love it. Cool. And the final question to you. What's one must read book you'd recommendation to everyone?

Melody: I really like Ben Horowitz's book "The Hard Thing about Hard Things." 'Cause he goes real dark and he's very honest about how gnarly it can get and throughout the book you're like "Stop. What are you doing? You're crazy. Hang up those spurs." 'Call it a loss. And he's just like, then we kept going. And I think that tenacity, because tenacity and resiliency are the two, in my opinion, most important factors to be a founder. I think he talks about that a lot and I respect him for that.

Eric: Agreed. Great, so Melody, this has been awesome. What's the best way for people you online?

Melody: Let's see. I'm @Melody on Instagram. I am MelodyMCC on Twitter. Those are probably the best ways.

Growth Everywhere - Melody McCloskey Page 11 of 11

Eric: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. How did you get the Melody handle?

Melody: I was like the 5th person on Instagram. I knew Kevin and Mikey. We were in the same incubator together. So I next to them actually every day and they'd be like "Melody, what do you think of this new filter?" And I'd be like "It's awesome!" And in my head I'm like, "How big can a photo sharing app really be?" And then they fucking blew it out of the water and changed the world.

Eric: Wow.

Melody: So I'm such fans of those guys. I'm also happy I have that as my handle.

Eric: Cool. Well Melody, thanks so much for doing this.

Melody: Yes, thank you. This was really awesome. I appreciate it.

Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to this episode of Growth Everywhere. If you loved what you heard, be sure to head back to for today's show notes and a ton of additional resources. But before you go, hit the subscribe button to avoid missing out on next week's value packed interview. Enjoy the rest of your week, and remember to take action and continue growing.